So, for this anniversary’s post I had this really honest and confessional entry that came from the heart. But then I thought ‘fuck it’, let’s do a post with crappy pop songs! You can thank Muriel who inspired me to confess to my ten biggest Ohrwurm sins on my playlist
Ok, before we start on this, a short disclaimer: There are bands I listen to that could be considered guilty pleasures in the general music nazi community but that I genuinely love and therefore never would add to a list like this one.
I also exclude the army of nostalgic Eurotrash, boygroup and otherwise craptastic songs that I listened to during my childhood and that therefore have this weird place in my heart where I know I really shouldn’t enjoy them but I do because they represent my youth.
I included songs, that I could listen to on end and that I discovered at a time when I already knew about good music but nevertheless decided to dork out to the following tunes.
1. Westlife – when you’re looking like that
Boygroup fans were extreme, you either were team Backstreet Boys or team N’Sync, it might not have been as extreme as East and Westside gang shootings of Hip Hop stars but girls (and boys, and not just gays for that matter) picked their sides and that was that. So when Westlife entered the market, I did not fall for them because my heart belonged to Brian from the Backstreet Boys because he was so funny (he wasn’t but puberty sucked all sense of humor out of my brain like a 70s horror movie alien).
But even after I was long over BSB (that’s ghetto slang for Backstreet Boys, y’all), I would eventually stumble over this song and I liked it. And I still like it, nay, love it. It’s one of those pop songs that immediately put a grin on my face and I can sing along even if I never really wanted to. It’s one of those songs you can make goofy youtube videos to, like the Carly Rae Japsen one that also features in this list. I wouldn’t be surprised if these songs actually brainwash you into believing that this kind of music is anything more than a soulsucking industry of old dudes who prey on little girls (and boys, and not just gays for that matter).
2. Hanson – Mmmbop
After my boygroup and my girlgroup phase (which was even worse and also included the extreme feminist phase), Hanson entered the scene with this song that has lyrics that not even little girls would write in poetry albums without feeling a little cheesy. It’s the best.
My best friend and I always fought over who would marry Taylor and who would settle for Zac. No one wanted Isaac, sorry but…no
(the guy in the video, the one with the bad English is a beloved actor and once was one of the best hosts at MTV which now – as everywhere – sucks balls. He starred in the movie “Herr Lehmann” which was written by the singer of a popular German band called Element of Crime and that movie is probably one of the best German movies ze Germans will talk about if asked about German cinema.)
3. Carly Rae Jepson – Call me maybe
Instead of feeling embarrassed that I like this song, I should feel proud that I am apparently still young enough to dance to music like this. Given that I am not one of those crazy ladies that have posters of the Biebster in their bedroom, this also counts as being young instead of being infantile. It also has a lot to do with the fact that I love songs that you can perform with gusto at Karaoke night.
4. Stacie Orrico – Stuck
Oh, little pretty Stacie, what happened to her? I am honest, I have no idea why I like this song but I remember that it was one of those that came on 20 times a day on music television (which I apparently watched a lot during my late teens/early twenties) and at some point it stuck(hahaha, pardon the pun).
There is this theory that love is strongly connected to absence, where the long intervals between not seeing someone (but seeing them often enough) lead to you creating a certain idealistic image of them which makes them appear more perfect when you see them again. I think the music industry knows about it and has figured out that the right interval is approx. 1 hour.
I mean, how often did you dislike a song and after hearing it around 200 times over two weeks on the radio, actually started to like it? It’s the “500 miles” effect…
5. Faith hill – This Kiss
I blame one of my romantic comedy guilty pleasures for this one, because this song runs through one of the sickeningly cute scenes of “Practical Magic” which involved all tropes, clichés and stereotypes I absolutely hate about romantic comedies. I still love this movie to death and watch it every other month and yes, I start to smile when Sandra Bullock gets her beau. God, I hate myself…
6. Celine Dion – It’s all coming back to me
There is this really horrible German sampler series called “Kuschelrock” which I never ever would have bought were it not for this song. However, internet didn’t exist at that time and I bought it on a whim, thinking that the one Celine Dion song on this sampler was “It’s all coming back to me”. It wasn’t, it was some other bloated ballad (I think it was “All by myself”) and it would take years till I finally heard this song again.
It has the defining sound of cheesy 90s ballads that Meat Loaf perfected during that time (I bet if we would dissect this song and “I’d do anything for love” we would find a similar structure in climax and open-your-arms-and-look-desperately-into-the-sky-moments). She also drives off on a motorcycle if I am not mistaken.
You know why there is no Bonnie Tyler or Meatloaf in this list? Because they rock. But Celine Dion is like a robot, I don’t believe anything she sings. I do love this song for the karaoke reason I mentioned earlier because even though you only can lose singing it, you can make the best show out of it. If I can do the whole 80s fist in the air and emotional whispering shtick, I am happy.
(Whenever I try to sing it with that much, ahem, “emotion”, though, I cannot keep a straight face. Try it, it’s impossible)
7. Alex Johnson – 24 hours
For some time I watched the teen series “Instant Star” each week after my seminars, yes, I said seminars because I was already old enough to study and to know that a series to push music sells of a Canadian popstar was nothing to fall for but I did. And I listened to a handful of songs from the album and I still enjoy them and girly out, so if I ever appear at a party in a nice dress, nail polish and even some make up you can be sure that I listened to Alex Johnson that night.
8. Heinz Rudolf Kunze – Dein ist mein ganzes Herz
I was a very lucky kid. My parents didn’t listen to Schlager (the cheesy country equivalent for Germany) and neither did my grandparents. That’s fortunately the main reason why I don’t know any of the numerous “classics” in this genre that a lot of my friends prefer to sing as soon as the good wine and beer are empty and the sticky liquors appear on the table.
However, because this was and is a favourite for Top 40 radio stations, I now and then listened to this song on car rides, in the dentist’s waiting room and wherever else you are subjected to top 40 radio stations.
And I like it. It’s even on one of my mixtapes.
9. Marillion – Kayleigh
Once upon a time, Marillion was a progband that men with beards and a King Crimson record collection liked. I once shocked my mom’s boyfriend (who is a man with beard owning King Crimson records) by telling him that Marillion did songs like this and “Lavender Blue” which has the best music video ever (which in this entry means that it’s the worst).
He didn’t believe me but the internet soon cruelly tore his music nerd heart apart and showed the cheesy truth about Marillion.
(geez, Fish, I know that face paint was kinda cool in the 80s but not even ironic hipsters would wear it tacky like that. Hell, an 8 year old on a birthday party could not apply face paint that ugly, why didn’t you call someone from Visage? Oh God and that shirt, it’s not flattering…someone is trying too hard to look younger than they are, it’s like watching your uncle dancing to Hip Hop)
It’s always fun to see how many progressive bands faltered into weird pop during the 80s, I am actually shocked that prog fans speak so low of Genesis because compared to some of their colleagues they delivered pure gold in a time when a lot of R’nR music travelled to cheesetown. That’s why no one likes the keyboard players anymore, they destroyed Prog.
I’d love to say that I sing this song with the karaoke glee of Celine Dion and Heinz Rudolf Kunze but now and then I actually get a little emotional over this one.
I blame the Bridget Jones effect for that one:
(Every slightly pathetic love song works wonders when you’re in that state…)
10. Evanescence – My Immortal
Speaking of getting emotional. I hate the lyrics, fourteen year old me might have written something like this, but I know that singer Amy Lee had been a little older when she wrote it. Plus, I actually suspect that everything in this song was deliberately designed to get confused and depressed teenagers to flog into record stores and buy the album. But as I said, when it’s getting winter and it rains and after watching this really sad episode of Ally McBeal (not the one with Billy but with the transvestite hooker that gets killed) and having bought this huge big ass chocolate cake – this song is a trainticket to teartown.
Bonus: Within Temptation – Ice Queen
When I discovered Queens of the Stone Age – which was around 2000/2001 – I still watched music television and there was this 2-4 rock special each Sunday. I would sit in front of television to record all Qotsa songs on an actual VHS together with all other rock songs I kinda liked. They had a phone in system and polls on the bottom of the screen so you would always know which song would come next, so you didn’t cut off too much of the song by hitting the rec-button during the last seconds of the previous song (remember, it usually took ages until it actually recorded).
Anyways, for some reason this song came on an awful lot and after re-watching the mixtape video I discovered to my terror that this song was on it.
I hated it. No, that’s wrong. I pitied it. The video alone put video making of the 21st century to shame, it looked so cheap and everything was so horribly tacky.
But after a couple of months of listening to this song four times each Sunday (each song had a one hour block after it got voted on, so they could run four times in four hours), I apparently started to like it.
I still think it’s ridiculous, though and I wouldn’t be surprised if Within Temptation are a very clever Spinal Tap-like project.
(to be clear, this video was done in 2001, 2001! What we’re seeing here is the fancy version for the international market, now, maybe I am wrong but “fancy” doesn’t really translate to me by doing exaggerated metal movements in front of some cheap screen savers that look like a school project of the IT class. And the guitar player is just taking the piss, I’ll never believe that he’s serious)