Recently in Jukebox Junkyard

To understand MC Hammer is to understand parachute pants. They are showy, they are silly, they were briefly popular, but that was fleeting and now they’ve more or less disappeared, only to reappear on VH1 to be lampooned by people. Of course, parachute pants are just a oddly baggy and shiny garment, whereas Hammer is a human being, making his descent into the world of bankruptcy and television’s The Surreal Life (where he officiated Corey Feldman’s wedding) much more resonant. Briefly, thanks to “U Can’t Touch This,” and perhaps a bit of “Too Legit to Quit,” MC Hammer was on

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Huey Lewis and the News' "The Heart of Rock and Roll"

When did Oklahoma become the heart of rock and roll?
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There have been a litany of songs written about, well, how music is still going strong. I am a fan of that as a subject of a song, because, after all, I enjoy music and am well aware that every year excellent new music comes out and will continue to do so until the dystopian future that Styx’s “Mr. Roboto” predicted comes to fruition. As such, musicians writing odes to their craft tend to be songs I like, though of course, as with everything, execution is important. In the minds of many, the execution of Huey Lewis and the News’

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy"

We all know it's a joke but is anyone really laughing?
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“I’m Too Sexy” by Right Said Fred is a joke. I mean a literal joke, of course. The song is thoroughly facetious and ironic. It is purposefully silly and vapid. I presume most of the people, if not all of the people, who don’t like this song realize that. They know it is supposed to be a humorous, perhaps even satirical, song, albeit one that lacks more of an edge in favor of over the top declarations of sexiness. My God, the sexiness! Alas, there are probably some people who don’t get the joke, as the Beastie Boys’ “Fight for
Truman Capote was a writer who was kind of a dick. He wrote a novella entitled “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which inspired a movie starring Audrey Hepburn (who has an awesome name but is an overrated actress) and George Peppard (who was Hannibal on The A-Team). In the movie, Hepburn plays Holly Golightly, which is a ridiculous name for a character (even if it isn’t her real name), a woman who is, shall we say, a courtesan. It’s not that good of a movie, and it features Mickey Rooney in one of the most unbelievably racist roles in the history of

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Ricky Martin's "She Bangs"

Truth hurts: this song stinks...
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Ricky Martin is a gay male. This is not a big deal. Sure, it took him a long time in the public eye to admit it, but that’s not exactly egregious. It’s not like he was one of those people who went to the point of getting married and having kids to hide his sexuality. No, he just performed lousy songs about getting with ladies that, in retrospect, smack of the lady who doth protest too much. It’s not that Martin is gay that makes these songs bad. Stephen Merritt has made a habit of having people sing songs told

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Arenas and stadiums are no longer safe havens...
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Not since “Macarena” has a song so thoroughly infested sporting events like Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Sure, there are other sporting event staples out there, but they’ve stood the test of time. Queen’s “We Will Rock You.” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Rednex “Cotton Eyed Joe.” OK, so that last one is awful, but at least it mildly amusing in its awfulness. Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out?” on the other hand is one of the most annoying songs I’ve ever heard. It doesn’t just lack quality. It isn’t just stupid. It genuinely irritates me to have

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Starship's "We Built This City"

We all know it's bad but is it really *that* bad?
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When I was in high school, there was a grassroots campaign to get Starship’s “We Built This City” to be our class song. I was all in favor of it, because even at the time I realized that a high school graduation isn’t something that deserves reverence, and because the other two choices were Green Day’s “Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)” and Eve 6’s “Here’s to the Night” and both of those songs are awful. Unfortunately Eve 6 won out, but since it was a vote held by kids I’m not going to get annoyed with the people that

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby"

Go buy "Under Pressure" instead...
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Vanilla Ice is one of the most ridiculous people in the history of time. I almost feel compelled to declare that a fact rather than an opinion. It is hard to separate the song “Ice Ice Baby” from all the goofiness surrounding it and the man behind it. Granted, some of that ridiculousness finds its way into the song itself, but there is so much more absurdity surrounding Mr. Robert Van Winkle. I mean, just the name Vanilla Ice is amusingly inane. Sure, he wanted to broadcast himself as a white rapper (and his reworking of Wild Cherry’s “Play that

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Spin Doctors' "Two Princes"

Too much of a bad idea...
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I have two positive memories related to Spin Doctors. One involves Hank Venture asking Dean Venture, “Can’t you hear the road calling little miss, little miss can’t be wrong?” The other involves Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia handing a police officer a cassette tape regarding corruption labeled “Spin Doctors Mixtape.” Also, at the time he’s acting like Serpico. Obviously, the issue here for the Spin Doctors is that neither of these things involves their music. Is there a good reason for that? Let’s let their much maligned but once popular “Two Princes” speak for the band. The premise

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Los Del Rio's "Macarena"

You’re almost more disappointed in people for liking it than in the song itself.
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“Macarena” is thoroughly bizarre. Well, more to the point the Macarena, the dance that goes along with the song by Los Del Rio, is bizarre, and I suppose even more to the point the fact that it became such a prevalent fad is what really, truly baffles me. Why this song? Why this dance? And, for that matter, why anything? I mean, for starters, this song is in Spanish for large portions of it, including its title and the chorus. Granted, America is, to coin a phrase, a cultural melting pot (feel free to use that) but it is also

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Aqua - "Barbie Girl"

Are they serious?
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Before embarking on this quest, I had never really, truly listened to the lyrics to Aqua’s “Barbie Girl.” Now that I have, I would like to say for starters: Holy crap. I managed to read this song in two (very, very) different ways. In one way, this song is a scathing satire, and for that at least interesting. In the other way, it is a creepy, repulsive, and misogynistic song. Allow me to explore both options. First, and more palatably, the notion that the song is satirical. The “Barbie Girl” in question is a reference to the well known doll

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart"

Talk about a 1-hit blunder...
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 Billy Ray Cyrus could have been a pop culture footnote, and there would have been no shame in that. Were he just “That guy who sang Achy Breaky Heart” people might snicker at remembering that song, or perhaps laughed at the image of his ridiculous mullet. Maybe they would have done both. Still, that’s not exactly a tarnished legacy as a musician or a human being. He could have just folded into the morass of musicians who flickered in our collective conscious and was gone and, honestly, he would have been more successful than most musicians could ever hope to

Songs We Wish We Could Forget: Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy wit' It"

A hit that really missed...
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Will Smith is a huge movie star, one of the biggest of his era. He owes it mostly to his charisma and the fact he’s managed to put himself in projects with big marketing machines behind them, but there is no doubt that he is in and of himself a draw. Plus, it’s not like he’s a bad actor or anything. He’s solid in drama, and he does lighter fare very well, where he can play off that aforementioned charisma and crack wise while punching aliens in the face. Of course, before he was Will Smith the movie star he

Jukebox Junkyard: 4 Non Blondes - "What's Up?"

Did the video kill the song or did Linda Perry?
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I’m just going to get this out of the way before I get to the song: 4 Non Blondes is a lousy name for a band even if it delivers what it promises (though it also appears that at the time all four members of the band had died hair). Of course, in the end what is most important is that a band sounds good, but if you have a ridiculous or otherwise poor quality band name, it can easily act as a blockade to people who might like your music. I believe in a simple approach to naming a

The Jukebox Junkyard: Europe's "The Final Countdown"

Is the joke on us?
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To fans of sports and the late, bereaved television show Arrested Development, Europe’s “The Final Countdown” is a song they are quite familiar with. You would probably be hard pressed to find somebody who couldn’t recognize its synthesizer hook and, despite its less than celebrated state in the modern era, aside from ironic appreciation, it was an exceedingly popular song when it was released, reaching number one in many a country and number eight in the United States. Now? It’s the song that plays when G.O.B. Bluth goes about his over the top machinations in his magic act, and the