We love music. You love music. But let’s be honest, no one bats 1.000. Every artist, even the ones we love the most, has at least one song that we skip. It can be tough to admit something that brings you such joy has flaws, but it’s okay. We’re all friends.
The Uproxx staff all entered the circle of trust together and opened up about our least favorite songs by our favorite artists. Here’s what we came up with:
“A Punchup at a Wedding,” Radiohead
Yes, I’m that guy who still insists Radiohead is the best band on the planet. I even liked King of Limbs! (More than most, anyway.) But “A Punchup at a Wedding” is literally the only song in their catalog, B-sides included, that I absolutely cannot stand, to the point that my college roommate and I would heatedly argue about its merits. (Surprise! Neither of us got laid much.)
Why? it’s Radiohead’s take on funk, and even typing that combination of words feels wrong. I admire the bass line, but it doesn’t fit the band. And that chorus, ugh. Thom Yorke is capable of reaching angelic registers, but the way he blather-vomits the words “It’s a drunken punch up at a wedding, yeahhhhhhh” just makes my skin crawl. The only good thing I can say about this song is that skipping it gets me to “Myxomatosis” faster. – Tom Mantzouranis
No one ever talks about Incubus anymore. Since forming in 1991, the band’s trajectory has been fraught with internal struggle and external attempts to discover and rediscover themselves. Vocalist Brandon Boyd, guitarist Mike Einziger, and drummer Jose Pasillas haven’t had difficulty, but the bassist and DJ roles? A revolving door, just like their music. Don’t get me wrong — Incubus makes great music.
But every time I listen to the band’s catalog, I think the same thing, exemplified by Morning View, their fourth album. It’s a great collection of songs that don’t always seem to mix, but at least that weirdness unites them. Except for “Warning,” which is an aural piece of elevator-music sh*t. The song is one of the record’s blandest tunes, and like all hated pop songs, radio stations loved the hell out of it in March 2002. They played it all the time, the one song that contributes absolutely nothing to the album.
Do yourself a favor. If you ever hear a radio, TV, computer or personal device broadcasting “Warning” like a clarion call, kill it with fire. – Andrew Husband
“Carrot Rope,” Pavement
Pavement’s first two records are stone-cold classics, two of the best albums of all-time. Wowee Zowee is weird, but delightfully so. I like Slay Tracks (1933-1969). I like all the rarities and odds and ends that were added to the deluxe re-releases of their albums. I even really dig their cover of “No More Kings” from the Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks album. Then, there’s their final album, Terror Twilight, and its final song, “Carrot Rope.” And… it’s not good. It’s more reminiscent of Stephen Malkmus’ hit-or-miss work with The Jicks than anything Pavement related. Pavement almost had a perfect run, and then they dropped the ball at the very end. It’s like you took Casablanca and replaced the final scene with the final scene from Sleepaway Camp. – Chris Morgan
“People on the Street,” Neil Young
Neil Young might be my all-time favorite person outside of my immediate family, and I feel bad dumping dirt on a guy whose music has meant so much to me, but damn did he produce some trash in the ’80s. Sifting through Young’s “difficult period” — roughly everything he released from Re-ac-tor (1981) to Landing on Water (1986) — requires patience and understanding, and it’s a rite of passage for everyone who dares to call themselves Neil Fans. I’ve done it, and let me tell you, the journey changes you, man. The abyss stares back.
After two decades of research, I’ve determined that “People on the Street” (off Landing) is the worst Neil Young song of all-time. I’m not exactly sure what happened here, but I’m assuming that Young got his hands on an unused Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis track, wrote the most stale-ass lyrics he could think of, then filmed a music video in which he’s struttin’ around like Lloyd Christmas. Can you imagine going to a Neil Young concert back then, hoping to hear “Cortez the Killer” or something, and getting this unchewed piece of white-man funk? Painful, painful stuff. This is music for people whose favorite rapper is Debbie Harry. – Ben Goldstein
“Bugs,” Pearl Jam
I remember the collapse of Pearl Jam within my group of friends like most people remember the collapse of the Berlin Wall. For Ten, we gathered in our friends’ garages and pretended to mosh like the Doc Martens-wearing dipsh*ts that we were. The same went for Vs. because “Go” and “Leash” were the kinds of fast-paced songs that could make my wannabe grunge pals justify the need for flannel in South-f*cking-Florida. And then Vitalogy came along, and my friends didn’t want to have listening parties anymore, because, well, there just wasn’t that same furious edge. I didn’t mind, and still don’t, because Vitalogy has some great songs on it. Except “Bugs.” I still have no clue what that song was supposed to be, and it baffles me that Pearl Jam would play it live. Does it have special meaning and therefore holds a special place in the hearts of PJ fans? Don’t care, I’m already standing in line for two more beers while everyone “sings” along. – Ashley Burns
“Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-On,” Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen will always be my main man. No matter the mood, there’s a Cohen song to suit. His haunting lyrics with minimalist musical accompaniment can easily flow from beauty to triumph to sadness to seduction. Unfortunately, Cohen smoked some good stuff in the late 1970s and decided to hire Phil Spector for production. Huge mistake. Cohen’s presence was swallowed up by Spector’s Wall of Sound, and this song was the absolute apex of their collaboration.
The song is bad enough on its own, but it also had the nerve to arrive on an album called Death of a Ladies’ Man. Curious ears never fail to be seduced upon hearing such an album title. Please don’t give it a whirl. When introducing people to Cohen, I always warn them not to listen to the album, and especially not the Song That Shall Not Be Named. They never listen to me, but they do listen to the song. Then they summarily decide that Leonard Cohen is garbage and never give him a chance again. Thanks a ton, Phil Spector. – Kimberly Ricci
There are plenty of bad Eminem songs, but none are even close to being as insufferable as “Fack.” The track is flat-out insulting, on so many levels. First of all, Slim Shady is detailing his sexual escapades in ways that should never be shared, beyond maybe one or two bars. Yet, Em — arguably one of the greatest MCs of all-time — decided to turn out an entire song about “splurting” on chicks. Not only is it in bad taste, his delivery is purposely obnoxious, making the song impossible to sit through in full. The worst part is that he put this piece of garbage on his greatest hits album, Curtain Call: The Hits. Ugh. That is not a hit. It is an insult to the Detroit MC’s fanbase and a reminder his yes men clearly exist. – BEWARE
“Anything,” Jay Z (feat. Pharrell and Usher)
Even Jay Z said Kingdom Come was his worst album, and just about nobody is debating that. So, naturally, his worst song ever also doubles as the worst song on that awful album. “Anything” with Usher and Pharrell is just terrible, that’s the most accurate adjective I can assign to it. Jay is busy blurting out cringeworthy lines like “Take it slow like Neo when shots was firing in The Matrix,” and all four minutes and 29 seconds are like a venereal disease for the ears. To add insult to terrible music is the fact Jay has another song called “Anything” that’s infinitely better, it’s all like a recipe for disaster with some steaming dog poop thrown in for good measure.
In all actuality, Hov has been too busy being in a relationship with our lord and savior Beysus Christ for too long to actually remember what happens in strip clubs. Plus he’s far too rich to go anywhere without being mobbed and recorded by every cell phone within a two-mile radius, so random trips to Magic City and Only are a no-no for him. Add all that up, and you get exactly what “Anything” is… a 40-something-year-old guy rapping about strip clubs he can’t even remember and dragging his friends along for the ride. I’ll defend Jay to the death as the best rapper to ever walk the surface of the Earth, but this song was without a doubt his Ewing with the Sonics moment (it’s not even good enough to be Mike with the Wizards). Let’s all just pretend it never happened. — Bansky
“Drunk and Hot Girls,” Kanye West (feat. Mos Def)
The reason I dislike “Drunk And Hot Girls” so much is… well, there are plenty of reasons, actually. Conceptually, sonically, lyrically; it’s such a half cooked track. The effort is just not there. It’s a goof. And I like self-effacing, goofy Kanye West, but this is not that. For the only track which brings back Jon Brion, who masterfully produced on Late Registration, “Drunk and Hot Girls” is a waste of a good sample and an overall embarrassment. So much so, it’s used as shorthand as the worst track on a Kanye album. For someone who takes their work so seriously, to let this appear on a finished product explains his entire musical approach and emotional distance with his fans in respect to his art from Graduation to 808s & Heartbreak. – Michael Depland
“Breathe In, Breathe Out,” Kanye West
I remember sitting in my dorm room when the advance for College Dropout leaked. My expectations were pretty damn high after hearing “Through the Wire,” “All Falls Down,” and “Slow Jamz,” but could Kanye deliver a full album? After one listen, I knew Yeezy had dropped an instant classic. Skits aside, there were no skips on the album, with the exception of one stinker: “Breathe In, Breathe Out.”
I was excited to see a Ludacris feature on the track list because he always blacks out on his guest verses. For some reason, though, here he was wasted on a lackluster chorus, backed by what sounds like a throwaway beat. As for Mr. West’s verses, he admits he’s on some “bullsh*t ice rap” from the jump, with apologies to “Mos and Kweli.” While Kanye’s lyrics can be interpreted as a criticism of materialistic rappers and a chance to poke fun at himself for his own excesses, there’s no excuse for lazy lines like “strippers named Cinnamon, more chips than Pentium” and “I always had a Ph.D., a Pretty Huge D*ck.”
It’s fair to say nobody would’ve missed the track if it had been left off the final cut, and maybe we would’ve been better off it had been. – Eddie Fu
“Michael Jordan,” Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar has put together some of the greatest albums in modern rap since Section.80 dropped in 2011, but lost in his critically acclaimed work is the monstrosity “Michael Jordan” from his 2010 project, Overly Dedicated.
There is no shame in a young artist making a poppy, watered-down single to get some attention, but, I mean… geez, Kendrick. Over a trap beat blander than a white bread and ice sandwich, Kendrick brags at a fifth grade comprehension level. He also made sure to mention he met Lil Wayne in every single hook. We’ll chalk this up as a “learning experience” for the young K.Dot. – Ryan Alfieri
“Highly Suspicious,” My Morning Jacket
Sometimes, you just have to say enough is enough. I’ve been talking myself into liking “Highly Suspicious” since it came out. I defended it to people, I put it on mix CDs back when that was still a thing. I heard them play it live and summoned up the kind of forced enthusiasm usually reserved for holidays and post-Michael Scott episodes of The Office. But the truth is that I don’t really like the song. I actually find it kind of annoying. Because I love My Morning Jacket so much, a little part of me dies admitting this. Yet that little part of me is smaller than the part of me that coils in repulsion when the song comes on. I appreciate what the band was trying to do on Evil Urges; they were experimenting and getting a little funky and soulful. I’m cool with 90 percent of the album. “Highly Suspicious” is the 10 percent. – Ryan O’Connell
“My Best Friend,” Weezer
Weezer didn’t have the best 10 years after Maladroit came out in 2002, but I defended every single album they released. Even Raditude. When Make Believe came out I remember getting a leaked copy from a friend, skipping “Beverly Hills” and getting right into it. Upon the first listen, I thought it was great, but was left with a sour taste in my mouth. That sour taste was almost entirely from “My Best Friend.” Everything about the song is lazy, repetitive, and seems more fit for a Disney movie. I still cringe every time I hear that chorus. Rivers Cuomo was searching for a new audience around this time, and this song is evidence, but still. Thank God for 2014’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End, which almost makes up for everything the band did from 2002 to 2013. – James Sullivan
“Thug Passion,” Tupac Shakur
With the massive amount of recording he did, Tupac was bound to have more than a few duds in his catalog. Even the greatest hitters in baseball struck out, right? I still maintain that ‘Pac managed to make the most out of mediocre production at times, and “Thug Passion” is an example of a song that languished from all angles. Jewell didn’t add anything with her chorus, The Outlawz were dead weight, and Johnny J took a misguided turn with this beat. But what could we expect when the drink associated with the song’s title was a mixture of Cognac and Alize, which already has cognac in it? Doomed from the outset. – GOTTY
“Big Girl,” Nas
In 1998, Nas had ambitious plans to release a double album like Tupac and Biggie before him. Unfortunately, this was the early days of internet bootlegging, and a lot of the material leaked online. The label’s solution at the time was to build up some new material and release two albums months apart in 1999. I Am… dropped in March, but at the last minute, Nas felt he could create a second album of new material before November. He rushed it, fans noticed, and Nastradamus still comes up as the worst album of Nas’ catalog.
And sure, it’s a bit cliché to go with the worst song on the worst Nas album, especially when “Braveheart Party” is sitting right there. But between the double-time flow, singing on the chorus, subject matter with no redeeming value, and awful beat, it’s not just a bad Nas song, it’s the prototype for all bad Nas songs. – Chet Manley
“Blowin’ In the Wind,” Bob Dylan
For as great as Bob Dylan is, he’s put out more crap than even the worst artists. That’s what happens when you release 36 studio albums, on top of numerous bootlegs. “Man Gave Names to All the Animals,” terrible. “When Did You Leave Heaven,” awful. “Seeing the Real You at Last,” NOPE. But those are all fairly obscure, and therefore less offensive, duds. My least favorite Dylan song is one of his most well known: “Blowin’ In the Wind.” It’s representative of a version of Dylan that didn’t last very long (humble folkie), but many of his so-called fans still hold him accountable for ditching their scene for the wild mercury brilliance of Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde. “Blowin'” works as a bumper sticker on a hippie’s van. But as a listenable song? Not so much. — Josh Kurp