Ah, yes. My birth year. 1994. This is what I considered to be the last year of the 80s before the 90s truly kicked into effect. In this year, hip-hop continues to dominate the charts. The year has also been kind to R&B, alt-rock, and house music. But the year hasn’t been kind to country music (hell, most of the 90s wasn’t kind to this music) as the most popular country songs are the more watered-down, poppy versions. Most of the bad songs in 1994 suffer from being dull and uninteresting. Before I start this list, I want to state that there will be a change in how I do these lists. I usually go through a year’s Year-End Hot 100 chart and make my selections based on that chart. Starting with 1994, I am also factoring in the Year-End Airplay charts because some of the most popular songs didn’t make the Hot 100 for reasons that I can’t explain. Enough talk. Let’s start the list.
Poor Peter Frampton. His song Baby, I Love Your Way has been butchered by piss-poor covers for many years. First, Will To Power covered the song, along with Free Bird, in a horrible medley in 1988. And now we have reggae group Big Mountain’s cover. The original Peter Frampton song is a simple folky soft rock ballad. The Big Mountain version is a weak as fuck cover with the sloppiest, most polished reggae production you would have heard with a cheesy sax solo in place of the electric piano solo from the original. The singers are bland as hell and don’t do anything new or unique with this cover. This song easily blends in with all of the other bad reggae that was released at the time. There is no reason to give this any thought at all and I’m going to move on to the next song because this song doesn’t deserve my time.
All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow has continuously bugged me and it all starts with the first line. “This ain’t no disco and this ain’t no country club, this is L.A.” Nobody was thinking that. I get that this is a reference to Life During Wartime by the Talking Heads, but it’s just completely random and pointless. Onto the rest of this song. The production is a mess, from the percussion to the inaudible twangy guitars. The content of the writing leaves much to be desired. Basically, Sheryl Crow is at a bar during noon, drinking with some dude named William and Willy likes to peel off labels from beer bottles and light up matches for no good reason. There really is no story in this song, it’s just mundane occurrings and I’m not given a reason to give a shit. Nothing is happening in this song, my time is being wasted. It’s just a bunch of nothing over irritating instrumentation.
Ah, another reggae cover song. That seems to be a thing in the 90s, isn’t it? This time around, we have General Public with their cover of The Staple Singers’ I’ll Take You There. The smooth funkiness of the original has been replaced by UB40-esque faux reggae that tries so hard to sound like the original song and fails. The production and instrumentation is a clusterfuck of the worst aspects of either bad reggae music or what white people think reggae sounds like. The singer is weak as all hell and isn’t very convincing. Just like with Big Mountain, this song has no reason to exist and is interchangeable with a lot of popular reggae songs. It was always gonna fail because it’ll never overshadow the song it covered.
Ugh. I always cringe whenever I hear Dreams. It’s no One More Try, but it is an unpleasant listen. Why? Well, let’s look at the production first. Over-textured guitar with limp strings and drums. This production is pop music at its most squeaky clean, it’s ridiculous. It’s almost like a stereotype of stereotypical pop music. Gabrielle’s nasal voice is grating to the ears. It’s like she recorded this song with a cold. The writing is cliched and laughable. It’s a generic love that we’ve heard a million times before. Could you get anymore cliched than fucking dreams? No. Ugh. I hope I never hear this again and considering that I never hear anyone play this song, I can sleep happier at night.
What do you get when you get bunch of rock singers past their prime on one song together? You get All For Love, of course. Made for The Three Musketeers soundtrack (which is weird, but then Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves had (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, so it’s not completely far-fetched), this song displays Bryan Adams, Sting, and Rod Stewart at their worst. All three are singing about empty promises on some of the most bland soft rock instrumentation they could find. Sting sticks out the most, mainly because both Rod Stewart and Bryan Adams have raspy voices, which makes it difficult for me to tell who’s who when they’re singing. You can tell these dudes are just phoning it in. They’re just resting on their laurels. I’m still pondering why some movies always have unfitting songs for their soundtracks.
Oh, lordy. Look. I don’t like picking on little kids because that’s just mean. But this group is just bad all around, especially their name. Immature. So fitting. Anyways, this is their big hit Never Lie and it’s your typical, dickless teen-pop ballad from the 90s. The production is too squeaky-clean with a combination of acoustic guitar and stiff drums and bass that would plague a lot of teen-pop songs later on. These kids can’t sing to save their lives. It seems like Immature are trying to emulate the older R&B boy bands like New Edition and Boyz II Men, but due to their age, they’re not convincing. I don’t blame them for making cheesy, generic love songs, I blame the writers and the producers who make this shit for them.
I can sum up why Crash Test Dummies’ Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm fails in one sentence: it’s boring and lazy. The lead singer himself admitted that he was too lazy to write the lyrics, so he just jotted down whatever and it’s easy to tell. If you can’t write song lyrics, that’s fine. Don’t do it. Have someone else do the writing. Spare us from shit like this. This lyrics of this song are just completely random train-of-thought. And the instrumentation fits the lyrics, meaning it’s BORING. This is the most boring folk-rock instrumentation I have ever heard. I literally fell asleep halfway through the song. It is literal audio anesthesia. The fact that this band scored a hit off of something this lazy and sleep-inducing and an actual record label allowed this to get released is fucking sad.
More fun with Miami bass. Yipee. I swore, when I first heard this song, I thought it was Whoomp (There It Is) by Tag Team. It had the same production and the choruses blend in to each other well. But I was shocked when I heard that this is a completely different song, so yeah. This is Tootsee Roll by *snickers* 69 Boyz. *laughs* I’m sorry, but that has to be one of the worst names a rap group could give themselves. 69 Boyz? Are they implying that they’re good at doing the 69? Because that’s TMI. Anywho, the lyrics to this song are shit, unsurprisingly. It’s just a bunch of shouting. I still have no idea what the hell Tootsee Roll means, unless it’s like another phrase for ass-shaking. Because we don’t have enough words and phrases for that activity. And no. I don’t care if it’s a party song that’s meant to get people on the dance floor moving than appealing to those who appreciate lyrical content. That is not an excuse for laziness and incompetence.
You ever just looked at a song title that made you want to choke the artist in question and yell at them about how much they’re an idiot? Well, that’s the feeling I got with Michael Bolton’s Said I Loved You… But I Lied. Bolton is back doing what he does best: sucking and making himself unappealing at the same time. The content of the song can be summed up in the title. He told some woman that he loved her, but he lied about it. What a douchebag. So every time you told your girl that you loved her, it was complete bullshit. You basically lived a lie through your entire relationship and are wasting everyone’s time. You are a despicable human being who deserves to live alone without anyone to love. Oh, and the instrumentation is garbage. Shocker there. How Michael Bolton got hits off of shit, I’ll never know.
And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.
- Jon Secada-If You Go
- Richard Marx-Now And Forever
- Bryan Adams-Please Forgive Me
- Enigma-Return To Innocence
- DRS-Gangsta Lean
- Domino-Getto Jam
- Joshua Kadinson-Beautiful In My Eyes
- Tevin Campbell-I’m Ready/Always In My Heart
And finally, the worst song of 1994 IS……
Fun fact: I was actually considering making this a tie between this song and Don’t Take The Girl, the problems with the latter are McGraw’s voice and the writing. But I decided to just stick with one song for the number one pick, which is Indian Outlaw. Wow, this song was a bad idea. The song’s biggest problem that puts it up this high on the list isn’t the instrumentation (which isn’t bad, but I’ve heard it before in other songs) or the vocals (which are tolerable compared to Don’t Take The Girl), but it’s in the lyrical content and the overall execution. Basically, Tim McGraw portrays himself as a Native American. Yeah, a white dude portraying himself as another race. That’s not gonna sit well with certain people. And I’m not lying. A bunch of Native Americans hated this song because McGraw is just playing up the stereotypes of their race and I don’t blame them. If some white singer made a song portraying themselves as an African American and just played up the stereotypes, I’d be offended, no matter the intent. You just don’t do that. I’m pretty sure Tim McGraw didn’t have any ill intentions with this song. After all, he doesn’t have any writing credit for it. But considering the core audience of country music and the industry that pushes it, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one stepped in and said “this is a bad idea.” One last thing: this song “borrowed” (stole) lines from Paul Revere & The Raiders’ Indian Reservation (Cherokee People) and worked them into this pile of guano. Nice. Congratulations to Indian Outlaw for being the number one worst song of 1994.
So those were the worst songs of my birthyear, 1994. Next month, BACK TO THE 90s continues with the Worst Songs of 1995.
SONGS OF THE WEEK
Can’t Hold Us-Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft Ray Dalton
I Want To Be Free-Ohio Players
Whip It-LunchMoney Lewis ft Chloe Angelides
Till I Collapse-Eminem ft Nate Dogg