Truely Bad Song Lyrics

There are many good songs out there… but there are many terrible ones too. What song gets your vote for Worst Lyrics Ever?
My vote goes to Australian artist Vanessa Amorosi for her hit song “Shine”

  • You can lose your life
    You can lose your soul
    You can bang your head or you can
    Drown in a hole *

Teenage poetry at its worst!

With all the boy bands out there these days, bad song lyrics have hit new heights. Share the words that make you shudder!

From your favorite vocalist, and mine, [Mariah Carey]( I SAW YOU):

I don’t know about y’all, but I try to stand outside myself 3-4 times a day. My doctor told me it’s good for my schizophrenia.

Does anyone think Mariah knows what “transcending” means?

You oughta check out a Dave Barry book about this. I’m not sure of the exact title, (Bad Song Book?)but I saw it at the bookstore the other day. He breaks them down by category and everything. I read it when it first came to the library. The one he hates the most (and I concur) is MacArthur Park. The lyrics make no sense at all.

Also, how about The Mighty Quinn? Back in the days when I still ingested various illegal and quasilegal substances, we used to sit around and listen to this song for hours, trying to figure out what they were singing about. Anyone enlighten me?

I don’t know who chooses songwriters for Faith Hill, but they should be shot. Every song of hers that I have heard has had lyrics that make me cringe, and I actually have built up a bit of a tolerance for country music (my father listened to it).

There is some song getting a lot of airplay that has some line about dolphins crying in the chorus that makes me want to hurl. And about everything by Creed suffers from bad highschool poetry syndrome.

Cast your mind back to the bland band that took the name of our country and about which the ** Rolling Stone Record Review ** said “all their albums are lame, without exception.”

Yes, we are talking about America and the infamous Horse with No Name.

 In the desert you can remember your name

** For there ain’t no one for to give you no pain **

My good Lord, that’s ghastly. And a department of redundancy department speciman to boot.

I’ll just save time and say Wesley Willis.

“Someone left my cake out in the rain.
I don’t think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
and I’ll never have that recipe again.”

Who doesn’t love a baking simile?

BTW, Weird Al, on his album Alapalooza, made a parody called “Jurassic Park”.

“Someone left T-Rex out in the rain
Well this sure ain’t no E-ticket
Gonna tell them where to stick it,
and I’m never coming back this way again.”

Check out this recent thread.

Not so much bad lyrics so designated because they’re maudlin or amateurish or whatever, but a subset of this question is lyrics that just don’t make grammatical sense.

I’m not talking about stuff like “She don’t love nobody” (which has the twin virtues of subject/verb disagreement AND a double negative) – we’re all willing to grant songwriters plenty of artistic license in this regard.

I mean lyrics that simply don’t scan, no matter how you squint your eardrums, as it were.

My three favorite examples…
From The Ronettes’ “Walkin’ in the Rain”:

(Johnny) No he’ll never do
(Bobby) No it isn’t him too

From the Marshall Tucker Band’s “Heard It in a Love Song”:

…(something) (something) just over the hill
I was born a rambler and a gambler
And I guess I always will

(I always will…what? There’s no verb antecedent anywhere to be found for “will.”)

From the Sanford-Townsend Band’s “Smoke from a Distant Fire”:

I just want to know
Do you love him or just makin’ time

(Some have tried to convince me that this means “Do you love him or do you love just makin’ time?” but I still think that’s pretty shaky. Based on the overall context of the song, the words the brain wants to fill in here would be “[are you] just makin’ time.”)

George Harrsion… “Got My Mind Set On You”

Ice T… “Cop Killer”

The grand prize however goes to:

They Might Be Giants… For EVERY SINGLE WORD OF MINDLESS NONSENSE that comes out of their mouths. “…Particle Man Hates Triangle Man…” ??? WTF???

Just to play Devil’s Advocate…

I was listening to Phil Schaap’s radio jazz program “Bird Flight,” yesterday morning, and he had David Frishberg (pianist and composer of the astonishing “Van Lingle Mungo”) as a guest.

Frishberg had some interesting things to say about composing song lyrics…he’s only able to do strightforward stuff, but he admires lyricists who can create a “mood” through meaningless words. He cited a pair of classic jazz/pop standards:

“Star Dust,” words by Mitchell Parish (1929):

Sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely night
Dreaming of a song?
The melody haunts my reverie,
And I am once again with you.
When our love was new, and each kiss an inspiration.
But that was long ago: now my consolation
is in the stardust of a song.
Beside a garden wall, when stars are bright,
You are in my arms.
The nightengale tells his fairy tale
Of paradise where roses grew.
Tho’ I dream in vain, in my heart it will remain:
My stardust melody, the memory of love’s refrain.

And “The Shadow of Your Smile,” words by Paul Francis Webster (1965):

The shadow of your smile when you are gone
Will color all my dreams and light the dawn.
Look into my eyes, my love, and see
All the lovely things you are to me.
Our wistful little star was far too high,
A teardrop kissed your lips, and so did I.
Now when I remember spring
All the joy that love can bring
I will be remembering
The shadow of your smile.

Now…“Star Dust” is pretty damn awful, but “Shadow”…yow! Sounds like something scribbled in the notebook margin by a 13-year-old schoolgirl.

Nonetheless, a couple of great songs, right?

I gotta go with that Neil Diamond line,

“I am, I said, to no one there—
And no one heard at all, not even the chair.”

Not even the CHAIR?! He couldn’t come up with a better rhyme than THAT? How about “So I called up Cher,” or “I changed underwear,” or “I wrote with a Flair,” or “So I washed my hair . . .” I mean, how goddam lazy IS he?!

But let’s not forget the great 1920s pop song:

"Horses, horses, horses,
Crazy over horses, horses, horses,
Nutty over horses, horses, horses,
Goofy over horses, horses, horses . . . "
etc., etc. . . .

While “Macarthur Park” is truly a milestone in bad lyrics, its songwriter, Jimmy Webb, has done much worse.

Exhibit A: “Rosecrans Boulevard”

This is an obscure track on an old Johnny Rivers Album. First of all, the lyrics didn’t rhyme. OK, Soft Machine and “Frank Mills” made that work, but Webb’s attempt is the perfect definition of God-awful. Consider:

There are bad lyrics, and there are terrible lyrics. And, unfortunately, there’s “Rosecrans Boulevard.”

One I just heard a couple of days ago: Sting’s “All This Time” -

“One is better to be poor
Than a fat man in the eye of a needle”


My favorite bad rhyme (the lyrics are good, but the rhyme is terrible) is from Sam Cooke’s classic, “Cupid” -

“…I promise I will love her until eternity
I know between the two of us her heart we can steal
Help me if you will (pronounced wee-al)”

Many of the songs are notorious for being cryptic and jam-packed with nonsequiturs. I’d offer one that’s perfectly direct and coherent–and that’s its fault:

Heart’s All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You.

Truly wretched dreck, a particularly overwrought soap-opera.
It makes me pine for the nonsensical lyrics of “Macarthur Park.” Gimme rainy cake over Heart’s Nineties crap any day.

An even worse lyric from the same song

The heat was hot



The specific quote is (AFIK) a reference to the old Spider-Man Cartoon theme. (Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can…) so they’re just doing a super-hero riff.


The never-recorded lyrics to the theme from the original series of Star Trek have to be right up there. They were written by Gene Roddenberry:

The rim of the star-light
My love
Is wand’ring in star-flight
I know
He’ll find in star-clustered reaches

Strange love a star woman teaches.

I know
His journey ends never
His star trek
Will go on forever.
But tell him
While he wanders his starry sea
Remember, remember me.*

It’s enough to make your eyes bleed, isn’t it? :eek:

The fine folks at Snopes have the story behind the lyrics at

Still, it might be fun to write lyrics for all the other Trek themes…

Anyone remember “All I Need” by Jack Wagner (Frisco on General Hospital)? This thing was in the top ten:

All I need
Is just a little more time
To be sure what I need
Isn’t all in my mind
'Cause it seems so hard to believe
That you’re all I need.

And then there’s that other godawful early-80s rock ballad, the one about the lonely prize-fighter? I don’t know all the words to this or who sang it, because it makes me cringe whenever I hear it:

I wanna hold you til I die
Til we both break down and cry
I wanna hold you
Til the fear in me SUBSIDES!!
Okay, now I must disagree with Turbo Dog on the subject of They Might Be Giants. I submit the following lyrics from the song “They’ll Need a Crane.” They don’t rhyme, but I think they’re great, especially compared to the other crap I’ve already quoted:

Don’t call me at work again,
Oh no, the boss sill hates me.
I’m just tired, and I don’t love you anymore.
And there’s a restaurant we should check out where the other nightmare people like to go.
I mean nice people.
Baby, wait,
I didn’t mean to say nightmare.

What? No one’s yet mentioned that pathetic, once-overplayed song [have suppressed memory of actual title and artist] called something like "I’ve Been to Paradise’? Circa, what, 1979?

“I’ve been undressed by kings,
and I’ve seen some things,
That a woman’s not supposed to see”

and then some shallow crap including something about “unborn children”. AAAARRRGGH! I can hardly stomach thinking about that song.