Songs are poetry set to music. And today, on Bad Poetry Day, we remember that not all poems are good. Some of them make awkward word choices trying to force a rhyme. Others use clumsy metaphors. And still others do things with English grammar that, well, you just can’t do. Out of the hundreds of songs released every year, it’s no surprise that some aren’t necessarily bad music – but the lyrics are terrible poetry.
Listen to the entire playlist below or click here!
Empire State Of Mind – Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
I like Jay-Z. I like Alicia Keys. I even like this song, as in I know every word to the rap verses. But the chorus drives me crazy every time. “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of?” There are so many easy ways to fix this. Take off the “of.” Change the “where” to “that.” Hell, even toss in a few commas and change the “where” to “which” and bingo, we have a restrictive clause: concrete jungle, which dreams are made of…
Sexy Bitch – David Guetta feat Akon
There are SO MANY words to describe a girl without being disrespectful. For instance: brunette. Like 5’6, 5’7. Looks like that one girl who was in our sociology class. Wears a lot of patterns. Basically anything you would say when making a witness report. David Guetta and Akon find none of them.
Champagne Supernova – Oasis
Where were you when Oasis was getting high? Not sure, but I know where Noel Gallagher was: writing this song. He’s said himself that “slowly walking down the hall, faster than a cannonball” makes no sense so I don’t even feel bad about this.
Whenever, Wherever – Shakira
The real question is what does this guy do when he comes across breasts that are NOT small and humble? I picture Shakira’s paramour shrugging dejectedly, reaching for his Columbia backpack, clipping on a few carabiners and filling up the ol’ Nalgene when he meets a busty lady, sighing “this is going to be a steep climb.”
Sk8er Boi – Avril Lavigne
This is what the pop-punk trend of the early 2000s wrought: ratty straightened hair, lots of hot pink, spikey bracelets, and Sk8r Boi. It makes no sense. A ballerina who’s not allowed to be into punk because she has to – what, listen to Tchaikovsky always? And why do her friends all share a single nose? But that plot twist near the end makes the terrible lyrics almost all worth it. AVRIL is with the SK8ER BOY? Did not see that one coming.
My Humps – Black Eyed Peas
You could basically choose any Black Eyed Peas song and I assure you there will be at least one stupid line. In this particular song, the offense comes from the word “lumps” – sorry, more specifically, “my lovely lady lumps”. Come on Fergie, you really thought this would be a great way to describe your breasts? Although, you did change your name from Stacey Ferguson to just Fergie, so maybe it’s just in your blood to name things horribly.
Eenie Meenie – Justin Bieber ft. Sean Kingston
A good rule of thumb is not to use children’s nursery rhymes in your songs. Especially if those lyrics are slightly sexist. “Eenie meenie miney mo/Catch a bad chick by her toe/If she holla (if, if, if she holla) let her go” Does that even make sense? If a girl does holla, wouldn’t that be a good thing (for him)?
I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys
Listen. I love the Backstreet Boys. If you’re new to our blog, this is not brand new information, as evidenced here. But I will gladly admit this song does not make any sense. Like the chorus and the verses don’t want the same thing. Also, what is “it”? In fact the boys themselves will admit it doesn’t make any sense. I’ve even seen them multiple times say in interviews and stuff, “What way? You want it what way??” Kevin’s explanation was that Max Martin, Swedish superproducer, wrote the song and at the time his English wasn’t that good. Too bad it’s like their most popular song ever.
Soda Pop by Britney Spears
Britney Spears isn’t really known for her lyrics. Or her singing. Don’t get me wrong, I love the girl but, come on, let’s all be honest with ourselves. If you grew up in our generation, you know how big this … Baby One More Time album was. A deep cut from said album is Soda Pop, a song referring to a beverage that no one actually calls “soda pop”. But props to Brit for namedropping the likes of Homer, Agamemnon and Zeus then later singing, “Open a soda pop, watch it fiz and pop/The clock is tickin’ and we can’t stop/Open a soda pop, bop-a shu-bop shu-bop” But the real reason why she’s popular is that you get these songs inexplicably stuck in your head for the next few hours.
Any song by Kesha
I feel like there is a clear line before Ke$ha and Kesha. Pre-Kesha was so much more of a shit show, and her lyrics reflected that. Particularly on her 2010 album Animal, which included her breakout hit song TiK ToK, and other notable songs called Dinosaur (about an old man hitting on her), Stephen (in which she’s an annoying little bitch asking why Stephen won’t call her back) and Party at a Rich Dude’s House (which is exactly what it sounds like). Then there’s the song Blah Blah Blah that’s about Ke$ha meeting some dude at a bar and she wants him to just shut up and have sex with her and it’s maybe borderline non-consensual? “Come put a little love in my glove box/I wanna dance with no pants on, holla” Everything about that lyric is horrible.