Earworm Alert: Rolling Stone Ranks the Worst ’90s Songs

  • Share
  • Read Later
Marion Curtis/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Aqua sign copies of 'Barbie Girl'

The decade that was the 1990s might be making a comeback of sorts but that doesn’t mean we should give it a free pass.

Rolling Stone magazine recently posed a question well worth asking: they wanted to know what the worst songs of the decade were. Coming out on top from 1997 was the utterly horrific “Barbie Girl” by Danish act Aqua. The magazine notes that it was “an incredibly polarizing song,” which seems a strange statement, as NewsFeed can’t remember anyone caring for it. Apparently some people “loved the over-the-top cartoonish video and bizarre sound of the song.” In a word: no.

But their comment that “many people were offended by the portrayal of a woman as a man’s plastic doll, begging him to ‘undress me everywhere'” is far more in keeping with reality. Somehow, Aqua would end up on the soundtrack to that Gwyneth Paltrow movie Sliding Doors. The movie’s key moment surrounds a Tube train and we’d happily throw any remaining copies of “Barbie Girl” under said train.

(LIST: Top 10 Songs of 2010)

The runner-up comes from the previous year, 1996, and was the audio agony that was the “Macarena” by Los Del Rio. It spent 14 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 10o and spawned a worldwide dance craze. The planet is still recovering from the collective shame.

In third place is “Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus, a song so bad that it makes the entire canon by his daughter Miley sound like Kate Bush fused with Billie Holliday in comparison. Coming fourth was “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice. This tune roughly took the following pop-culture path: from bad to so bad it’s good to somewhat ironic to disastrous (which is where it now permanently resides). But what’s most unforgivable is that it sampled the bassline of “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie, and they didn’t initially receive songwriting credit or royalties until after it had become a hit. Shame on you, Ice. And making up the top five is “Tubthumping” by British band Chumbawamba, which wasn’t really all that bad. Was it?

See the full list at Rolling Stone. And then use our comments box to suggest any songs that you think are missing. What’s undeniable about most of this top 10 is the following: they’re criminal records.

LIST: Top 30 Music Videos of All Time

Glen Levy is an Executive Producer at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @glenjl. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

0 comments