And now the long awaited conclusion to the Top 5 list no one is following. The number one, without a doubt, song I hate the most… Rosanna by Toto. I’m quite unsure what this song is supposed to be. I believe Toto intended it to be a rock song but it ended up sounding like an 80’s show tune that should have never been written. The distorted guitars are completely out of place. The singing, while actually well done, harken back to the Oakridge Boys with the low end harmony. The combination of the finger snaps, bright horns, pre-Seinfeldian bass slapping, and punchy piano playing immediately makes me think of show dancers dressed in white gloves and flashy vests with no shirts as would have been seen on SCTV. At least the song doesn’t have a cheesy synth solo. OH WAIT, it does! Of course it does. Nothing goes along with distorted guitars, piano, horns, and multi-harmony singing than a cheesy solo on a synthesizer. And to end the song, an outro that does not fit with the rest of the song what so ever. Well done Toto, well done.
If Semisonic (see Top 5 Songs I Hate #4) had an influence in developing their melancholy, pathetic sound, it most certainly had to be Christopher Cross and his sad nautical epic “Sailing”. First off, I like sailing. I’ve been sailing. I’ve been sailing that resulted in a near disaster. I would rather experience that 10 times over than listen to this song. If I was listening to this song while sailing, I would run that boat aground. The stock drum track and his abuse of chorus is unforgivable if not criminal. Cross’s near monotone drone is akin to some kind of obscure acoustic torture technique. With enough exposure, the listener is ready to admit to national security secrets he/she knows nothing about just to make it stop. Puncturing one’s own eardrums, while drastic, would be completely understandable. Even just thinking about his voice gives me a headache and causes blood to leak from ears. Listen… if you must.
While known as Jefferson Airplane in the 60’s, they acquired quite a good reputation and following musically. In an attempted to re-brand, continue their relevancy in the 80’s, and admittedly after some changes in their line up, they updated their name to Jefferson Starship. They led their return with the Casio Keyboard inspired 80’s anthem “We Built This City”. It would have been far better for their reputation and music in general if this ship had been grounded. With a sound and beat better suited for the closing credits of the worst 80’s movie ever, one can only feel uncomfortable while listening to this song. The same kind of discomfort one feels (hopefully) when one hears a story of cousin’s marrying. Again I point to some lyrics to prove my point. “Who writes the wrecking ball in two wild guitars” and “Marconi plays the mambo” are obviously penned by the Shakespeare of our time [insert sarcasm emoticon here]. To reference Marconi, who stole the concept of radio from Tesla, is a crime in and of itself and a topic for another time. Overall, it’s just word salad presented on a plate of bad music. There is no direction or cohesion whatsoever. The video takes it to another level. Complete with a Lincoln Memorial statue that comes to life, the video is even less cohesive than the song itself, if that is at all possible. The fact that this band could write, record, and perform this song with any level of seriousness and without going into hiding after, especially in light of the band they once were, is mystifying. So without further delay…
While the 80’s was fraught with it’s own issues, the 90’s were much more so an abysmal void of music. Let’s face it, when you start the decade off mourning the death of Freddie Mercury and Mick Ronson, it’s not a good sign of things to come. And even though I was not a huge fan, Kurt Cobain’s death did nothing to help the situation. The lack of talent in the 90’s is perhaps best exemplified by the song “Closing Time”. It is basically four minutes of constant whining which seemed to be the standard of male bands of that decade. While Dan Wilson stated that it’s a song about impending fatherhood, you’ll forgive me if I call total bullshit on that. With lyrics like “one last call for alcohol” and “I know who I want to take me home”, it’s difficult to not take it literally and think he is really sobbing in his beer after yet another night of going home alone to his hand, vaseline, and kleenex. In either case, stop your friggin crying and move on. In a likely attempt to come across as deep, emotional, and complex, he only succeeded in coming off as a pretentious baby who feels way to sorry for himself. The song literally, not figuratively, makes me nauseous. Now, it’s not to say the 90’s had nothing to offer. Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, and Garbage with Shirley Manson who probably has more balls than the members of Semisonic combined. However, it was the music of Semisonic and those like them we were hit over the head with in that decade. The fact “Closing Time” was nominated for a Grammy as Best Rock Song further proves to me those award show foundations have no clue. So, without further delay, I give you “Closing Time”.