The Worst Lyrics Ever?

The First Essential Scary Truth

Once again a song sticks in my head…

This morning I found myself listening to the Golden Palominos “Dying From the Inside Out.”  The last stanza stayed with me all day. (And believe me, I was grateful it wasn’t “Africa” Toto.)

Down there where the river bends/I guess that’s where the story ends/and if you ship sets sail without me/here’s hoping that you’ll think about me/the pain begins to amplify/I stop to wonder if I’m dying/trying so hard not to show/dying from the inside out.

Not the best lyric ever written, the rhyme scheme (if you want to call it that) is strained but it is slightly evocative with the river bend imagery.  However, the meaning is really brought to life by the strangled passion of Bob Mould’s vocal and Richard Thompson’s searing solo.

Yes, rock lyrics AREN’T supposed to be poetry. (Especially if written by Bono and Sting but occasionally coming up to the poetry line if written by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen.) But that is the best part of rock lyrics: they aren’t subject to the same rules of verse a poet has to learn and/or follow so they can go anywhere, do anything, be nonsense (Who Put the Bomp) or utter literal (the Clash).

Even with the freedom of anything goes inherent within the lyrical part of the art form, there are still those lyricists who have overreached, been slightly less than artful or just plain bad.

So dear reader, without further adieu on this last Sunday in April, here are my five worst lyrics of all time.  They appear in no particular order.  Artist is listed first then album, song and finally the offending piece of English with a little commentary from your occasionally intrepid blogger.

Bob Mould – Workbook – ‘Sunny Afternoon’

“They’ve held me down for long enough/like a flower I need to grow.”

Maybe the worst lyric EVER written.

U2 – Pop – “Staring at the Sun”

“There’s an insect in your ear/If you scratch it won’t disappear/It’s gonna itch and burn and sting/you want to see what that scratching brings.”

No, I just want it to stop you twit.

Duran Duran – Rio – “Save a Prayer”

Bob And you wanted to dance/so I asked you to dance but fear is in your soul/some might call it a one night stand but we can call it paradise

Until the wife finds out.  Bryan Ferry has a lot to answer for.

Lou Reed – Berlin – ‘Caroline Says’

“Just like the poison in a vial/but hey, she was often very vile.”

There is no such thing as better living through chemistry.

Right Said Fred – Right Said Fred – “I’m Too Sexy”

“I’m too sexy for my cat too sexy for my cat/Poor pussy poor pussy cat”

I guess bestiality was the hip thing for pop stars to do back in 1992.





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