Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Science Helps Find Worst Song Ever

We all have our reasons for liking a certain song, and now we have science backing our gut reactions. Sometimes the tunes we encounter each day affect us in such a harsh and negative way it's almost inexplicable.

Not anymore. Now the scientific method has been applied to the issue and the result is categorized elements which lead to hating a song. The basic goal of the research was to find an answer to the question "What is the worst song ever?" The result is a paper titled "The Pain, The Pain: Modelling Music Information Behavior and The Songs We Hate." Glad to see college students are getting science and research into the burning questions of our time. Oh, and creating nifty terms like Music Information Retrieval

Read the full report here (via MetaFilter).

The report does identify the Worst Song Ever and I totally agree it is painfully awful. My question is what do we do to stop the millions of people who paid money to hear the tune voted most awful? Why did it irritate so much? The report says

" ... respondents objected to its earworm qualities, lyrics, overly-simple melody, its taste culture, and yes, even cited personal associations (“My ex used to try to dance to it when we went out, and I have hated it and him since”)."

One respondent to the inquiry claimed the Gershwin tune "Summertime" was the worst, leaving an emotional stain on the listener. I don't understand that at all - who hates a tune that can be covered by the likes of Janis Joplin, The Zombies, The Beatles, James Brown - in fact one site claims it has been recorded more than 2600 times!

And while I agree that the tune cited in the report as Worst is bad - the most recent winner of the Worst Song Award is the "My Humps" tune by The Black-Eyed Peas. Did I say tune? I meant "tuneless".


  1. Achy Breaky's got nothin' on My Humps. That song is the devil.

    ...And now it's stuck in my head again.


  2. Ann Lloyd10:45 AM

    "Afternoon Delight" by the Starland Vocal Band has Billy Ray beat to hell. Ain't nothing worse... and I was a DJ at a pop station when it was a (gulp) hit!