The 10 Best Songs from Awful Musicians

Categories: Columns

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Stopped clocks are right twice a day. Geoffrey Arend is married to Christina Hendricks. Performance artists get federal funding. Canada is south of Detroit. People wear Google Glass and think they look awesome. Some things you just can't explain, like how really shitty bands occasionally luck into recording splendid songs. To wit, here are the 10 greatest songs ever recorded by not-so-great musicians:

"Apologize," One Republic
Ryan Tedder is a hit-making robot in the worst sense imaginable. Crafting melodies with the sole objective of charting, he's a pop-music panderer, whether for his own band or the slew of sellouts he produces for. But here's the thing about pop music: Bad as the listening public's taste can be at times, sometimes mass affection is warranted. "Apologize" is one of the times they--and Tedder--got it totally right. The song is reminiscent of Chuck and Blair locking eyes from across a crowded club in Gossip Girl. There's just nothing more emotionally gripping.

"Boogie In Your Butt," Eddie Murphy
This might be the most sophomoric song ever recorded. The lyrics--clearly the fruits of an extremely inebriated green-room conversation--consist of Murphy rapping about shoving a bunch of disparate objects that rhyme into a rectum. ("Put a telephone in your butt/ Put a dinosaur bone in your butt.") But(t), in a still-on-the-rise (this was '82) Murphy's hands, it's infectiously hilarious, and the backing band is funky, like Morris Day loaned Murphy the Time for the night.

"Demons," Imagine Dragons
Taking the baton from Limp Bizkit, Imagine Dragons seem to operate under the mistaken impression that relentlessly cranking everything up to 11 magically makes music better. Except on "Demons," where Dan Reynolds backs the verses into methodical Coldplay territory before the chorus explodes. Somehow it works.

"Alone," Heart
The Wilson sisters are rightfully hailed as feminist trailblazers in what was then a rock landscape completely immersed in testosterone. But that doesn't mean their music was any good. Yet on Heart's most powerful of power ballads, "Alone," all the melodramatic guitar-lickin' works, and the chorus' come-on is oh-so-steamy.

"Drops of Jupiter," Train
This song has been so mercilessly overplayed since it was released 13 years ago (!) that you'd be forgiven for considering it annoying. But that's not Train's fault. "Drops of Jupiter" could be 99.9 percent trash and it would still be redeemed by the amazing line, "The best soy latte that you ever had and me." But the tune, masterfully paced and lyrically ballsy, isn't trash. It's actually pretty good, unlike the balance of Train's discography.

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How could anyone say The Doors weren't great?


I don't care who you are or what your favorite kind of music is. Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time" is a great fucking song. Unquestionably his best song. His only good song, actually.


There should be a law written somewhere that says you automatically lose all journalistic integrity when you start making top 10 lists.


There was a time I'd agree with you about the Doors, but when Jim was sober, or at least not wasted and disinterested, live they were a great band as evidenced from a few of the official bootlegs they have released.  Plus L.A. Woman is a great record.


that is one batch of awful songs, no matter what excuse you use.

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