The Worst Singles of the Decade, Part 5: #10-#1

monkeyThe Worst Singles of the Decade, Part 5: #10-#1

Alan Jackson, “www.memory”

Wasn’t there anyone who could tell him that this wasn’t going to work? It’s a terribly awkward effort to force a classic concept into a current framework. (See also: Lorrie Morgan, “1-800-Used-To-Be”)

Reba McEntire & Kelly Clarkson, “Because of You”

This could’ve been great. Two great singers, one great song. The fatal flaw is that it just doesn’t work as a duet. The lyrics don’t make sense when it’s two people singing to each other.

Lonestar, “Mr. Mom”

Mr.Mom was the first movie that I saw in theaters. Back then, the concept of a stay-at-home Dad was novel. By the time this song rolled around, it was hard to even take the conceit of the song seriously. This guy’s not struggling because he’s a guy. He’s struggling because he’s a bumbling fool.

Kenny Chesney, “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”

The song that made Chesney a superstar doesn’t involve him lounging around on a tropical island, but it sure does make me thankful that he stopped singing about country living.

Kellie Coffey, “When You Lie Next To Me”

It’s rarely the prototypes that are terrible. It’s usually the copies. By the time “Where Were You” became “I Raq and Roll”, the post-9/11 song was insufferable. Here’s what “Breathe” finally devolved into: a schlocky mess that is such a lazy copy that “Just breathe” becomes “Just be.”

Toby Keith, “Stays in Mexico”

Though it’s a fairly tasteless song to begin with, production choices sink this one in the end. Silly sound effects and a backing track that makes “Hot! Hot! Hot!” seem subtle and understated push this dangerously close to novelty status.

Rascal Flatts, “Bob That Head”

A desperate attempt to come off like edgy rockers.

Taylor Swift, “Picture to Burn”

Criticizing Swift for being an irrational teenager is like criticizing water for being wet.  But this really is Swift at her absolute worst. Not only is a juvenile lyric coupled with a disastrous vocal performance, both of which are bad enough in their own right.  But the underlying message that most of Swift’s songs send to her teenage girl audience is on most naked display: Your happiness and self-worth are solely determined by the men and boys in your life.”

John Michael Montgomery, “The Little Girl”

The most horrific “inspirational song” that I’ve ever heard is directly ripped off from an urban legend that showed up in songwriter Harley Allen’s inbox.

Chad Brock, “Yes!”

Nothing captures how country music embraced mediocrity better than this Chad Brock single, which actually spent three weeks at #1. The storyline is completely unbelievable, the production is as generic as a Karaoke track, and Brock’s performance is so faceless that it might as well be a demo recording.

As awful as some of the other songs on this list are, they at last aspired to make a larger point. Spectacular failures can still demonstrate a noble ambition. “Yes!” aspires to be nothing more than radio filler, and it succeeded in dulling down the radio dial during its entire run.  Hearing it again on satellite radio last month was the inspiration for this list.  The song’s only indication of personality being the exclamation point in the title? That secured its place atop the list.  It truly does represent country music being drained of all of its heart and soul until just a token fiddle is all that’s left to identify it as such.


  1. I enjoyed reading these lists and the ending was a shock, didn’t see that coming. I’m glad cuz ‘Bob That Head’ would have been too obvious. I’m also shocked that ‘Yes!’ was number 1 for 3 weeks. It tells a sad message for other artists in that, if you want a number 1, sound like me!
    The same description given to this song could also be given to ‘Mrs Steven Rudy.’ which didn’t make the list.

  2. Well, I’m sad to see the list end. It was a lot of fun so thanks for putting it together, Kevin. And I can’t find any reason to disagree with this Top Ten.

  3. Pretty much agree with all of the top ten, except for “Because of You”, but I do agree that the original was better. I’m surprised not to see “Online” by Brad Paisely, especially since you gave it an F in your reveiew of the song. Good list, though.

  4. I expected more Paisley songs than just ‘Ticks’ too. And I don’t think the song not working as a duet is any reason to declare ‘Because of You’ one of the top 10 worst of the decade, but there ya go.

    Enjoyed all the comments and this list in general.

  5. All I have to say is: you criticize “Yes!” for being dull and lifeless, yet “Shiftwork” is at #40.

    Anyway, whether or not I agree with some of the things on the list doesn’t matter, it was still fun!

  6. “Bob That Head” would be at the tip top of my own list while the Brock song is more like a “meh” song for me, but the reasoning behind “Yes” is compelling, as far as it symbolizes the mediocrity that mainstream country music has all but settled for in the past six years.

    My list would look different than Kevin’s, in places, but this was a lot of fun.

  7. “Why are there no Carrie Underwood songs on this list?”

    He’s saving them for the Best Singles of the Decade list.

  8. Keep in mind that this list really should be titled 50 Worst Hit Songs of the Decade. There were many songs, far worse than any of these that were buried on albums or released by artists who received no traction at radio.

    My own list of 50 worst would probably include about 35 of these songs, so we have substantial agreement

  9. I have to agree with Erik that I think that some of Carrie’s songs could have been on this list – over some of the others.

  10. I can’t say Carrie’s really put out a single that I strongly disliked. If she’d have sent “The More Boys I Meet” to radio though, it would’ve been in the top ten.

  11. “I can’t say Carrie’s really put out a single that I strongly disliked. If she’d have sent “The More Boys I Meet” to radio though, it would’ve been in the top ten.”

    I can agree with that!! LOL!!

  12. If “All American Girl”, “Cowboy Casanova” and “Last Name” aren’t bad enough for this list, I really have no idea what is.

  13. Erik,
    I’m sure your list would be different from my list. I wouldn’t put any of those Carrie singles on a best of list either, though.

    Occasional Hope,
    I like that song. I included it on some favorite singles list back in the day. It wasn’t in the top 300, but it was on there.

  14. Re: “Because Of You” — why do you see it as a song with two people singing to each other rather than a song that two people sing together?

    Are all duets considered to be songs with two people singing to each other? I don’t think so!

  15. Carrie Underwood is in no way shape or form a artist I like but her songs arent terrible, she has a vocal to back them up. But I would have put “Last Name” somewhere in MY top 40 list, but this isnt my top 40 list so oh well. I would have put Swift’s song on this list but maybe not top 5, “Shiftwork” would have been much higher. I actually would have had enough George song’s on this list to be put on ever 50 something Texan housewife’s hit list.

    Kevin, funny thing was today, I was driving around and heard “Stays In Mexico” and I thought to myself “I bet that make’s Kevin’s list hahaha

  16. I heard “Stays in Mexico” on the radio today, too! Good old XM.

    My only real disappointment was finding out that “Two Teardrops” came out in the late nineties and not this decade. Wow, did I want to write about that one!

  17. If “All American Girl”, “Cowboy Casanova” and “Last Name” aren’t bad enough for this list, I really have no idea what is.

    CC I understand though don’t agree. The other two define “worst singles of the decade” for you? There’s a bucket load of singles released in the past decade by artists whose vocals are as mediocre as the singles themselves. I would think they’d come first.

    Cheers on another entertaining series, Kevin! It was a fun read.

    Agreed. Great fun, and I love seeing this side of you!

  18. It’s stuff like “Bob That Head” and “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” that make it nearly, if not totally, impossible for non-country music fans to take the genre seriously, at least insofar as the mainstream country radio is concerned (IMHO).

    Of course, every genre in every decade has some true clinkers, there’s no point in arguing that. But the first ten years of this century have seen far more than I would have ever imagined in a genre that gave us Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard.

  19. my entire top ten would’ve been alan jackson songs.. so points to you for varying it up! Good list, good times, bad song.

  20. Thanks. Enjoyed reading the lists even though I actually liked 8 or 9 of the songs. One other song I would have included in your worst list is “River of Love”. I hope you’re already at work on your 50 best of the decade.

  21. ok you had me till this REBA should never be on a list like this she could sing the phone book and it be a classic

  22. While I agree that some of the songs are terrible, most are just medicore.

    “Bob That Head,” “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and “Mr. Mom” are the only songs that tuly belong on this list.

    My personal thoughts?

    How could “www.Memory” be chosen over clunkers “I Still Like Blogna” and “Chatahoche?”

    How could you not include “She’s A Hottie or “Whiskey Girl? Truly terrible songs that have awful lyrics and objectify women in every way? Oh, yeah, and I can’t take this list seriously if it doesn’t include “American Ride.”

    I honestly don’t think this list was very thoughtgful. There are so many terrible songs out there- not medicore as many of these choices, but truly terrible.

    I agree Carrie Underwood does not belong on this list- some of her material is medicore, but she has the vocals and sincerty to back it up.

    That being said though, I think the only songs of hers that belong on any “best of” list are “Just A Dream,” “Jesus, Take The Wheel” and her remake of “I Told You So.”

  23. While I think “I Still Like Bologna” is a strong contender, I still think “www.memory” takes the cake. “chattahoochee” is definitely not from this decade.

  24. Opps, you’re right about “Chatahoochee,” Leann.

    I still believe “I Still Like Bologna” and “Good Time” belong on this list over anything by Alan Jackson, but that’s just me.

    I’m completely baffled that there are no Rodney Atkins songs on this list as well- terrible vocals, and every song is truly gag-inducing in terms of lyrics and primping every sterotypical American value there is.

    In my personal list I’d include more much more Lonestar, Toby, and Trace.

    “It’s stuff like “Bob That Head” and “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” that make it nearly, if not totally, impossible for non-country music fans to take the genre seriously, at least insofar as the mainstream country radio is concerned (IMHO).”

    One, two, or even three terrible songs by one artist shouldn’t turn a listener off to an entire genre of mostly fantastic music. I think anyone who does so based on such a judgement already has their pre-concieved notions in place and they probably couldn’t give the genre a fair shot if they tried.

    “All I have to say is: you criticize “Yes!” for being dull and lifeless, yet “Shiftwork” is at #40.”

    Agree. This should would’ve been in my top three. Along with Atkins, Adkins, Keith and Chesney I’d love to throw some Eric Church in there. “Love Your Love The Most” exemplifies every sterotype and stupid lyric in country music; it’s incredibly ironic that he’s consistently praised for being such a great artist.

    “Your happiness and self-worth are solely determined by the men and boys in your life.”

    Although the song and vocals are terrible, I truly don’t think Taylor was trying to send a negative message. Yes, the song is immature, but believe it or not that is the maturity of most younger teenage girls.

    If you say Taylor is trying to say the self worth of young women is determined by young men, shouldn’t you be saying the same about male artists who are gulity of singing about relationships to women?

    Or worse, how about all the middle aged men who objectify women in their songs and videos?

  25. “Love Your Love The Most” would totally make my list. But then, it’s amazing how many bad songs there really are when you get to counting.

  26. “it’s amazing how many bad songs there really are when you get to counting.”

    Which is why I’m dissapointed that most of these songs are only mediocre instead of truly terrible.

  27. Yes, I agree. So many songs could easily qualify for a list like this. I don’t think this was meant to be a comprehensive exercise, but rather, a sampling of some of the schlock of the last ten years.

  28. K,
    I’d imagine any of us would come up with rather different lists if we were to try this out. So, I suppose it’s all kind of relative in the end. For Kevin, these are the worst songs of the decade, which won’t necessarily be agreed upon by everyone else who reads the list. I agree with some of the songs that you think belonged here, but not all of them, which is how it seems you feel about this particular list. And so it goes with informal countdowns such as these.

  29. “The most horrific “inspirational song” that I’ve ever heard is directly ripped off from an urban legend that showed up in songwriter Harley Allen’s inbox.”

    SMH at this. I like the song myself, don’t get the hate.

  30. Good feature Kevin, I actually like 10 or 12 songs on this list but you did make solid arguements for their inclusion. That being said I feel there are several glaring omissions, including 4 song that would have made my personal top 5 last right behind “Bob That Head”. Toby Keith’s “Angry American” and “She’s a Hottie” along with Underwood’s “Last Name” and Phil Vassar’s “Bobbi With an I” are all terrible and deserve spots in the top 5 in my opinion. Also Keith’s “High Maintenence Woman”, “As Good as I Once Was”, and “I Wanna Talk About Me” all should have made the list somewhere along with Trace Adkins “Badonkadonk” and “I Got My Game On” RF’s “Me & My Gang” and Tim McGraw’s “Last Dollar”

  31. Wow that was a shocking twist as far as number 1 goes! I had completely forgotten about that Chad Brock song…I’m surprised that was released this decade.

    I have to say I’m a bit surprised there weren’t more Toby Keith songs, mainly “I Love this Bar.” Now to me thats a stupid and pointless song! Oh and Cledus T Judd’s remake of it “I love Nascar” was just as stupid and pointless. Overall great list! Can’t wait to see the “Best of” list!

  32. “Because Of You” would not be found on my worst-of list. However, I do not rank the song among Reba’s best.

    Glad to see “Bob That Head” and Taylor Swift on the list.

    for me:
    1. “Bob That Head”
    2. “Shiftwork”
    3. “Change” (TS).. OR “Should’ve Said No”
    -Picture To Burn didn’t seem as bad as these two..

    Seems like the list was an attempt to gather 50 individual artists’ worst songs together.. Thus, doting the reason for the one Swift song on the list… I would think. IMO. No offense to anyone.

  33. Sorry, but if you put “The Baby” and “The Little Girl” as high on this list as they appear, what you’re mostly doing is saying that there’s an important aspect of country music that you just flat-out don’t get.

  34. “Yes” is ‘worst of the decade?’ And the storyline is unbelievable? If I remember correctly, it actually is something that happened to him and it was written in the euphoria of that relationship which then didn’t last too much longer.

    Anyway, nice list of songs you didn’t like.

  35. I agree with many on this list, if not in the same order. However, if you can belive Chad Brock, the storyline of yes is how he met his wife (is he still married?). So while It may be unbelievable, according to him it is true.

  36. I believe he’s been divorced from her for awhile now. I guess monosyllabic courtships aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

  37. #11: A desperate attempt by the “author” to come off as edgy as Robert K. Oermann. This list is what’s “horrific.” (Maybe save “Stays in Mexico…” come to think of it, it would have been better off to list all Toby Keith songs).

  38. Wow … incredible list.
    Very entertaining read … nice work Kevin.

    To agree or disagree matters not. But the memories stirred because of this list … well, they do indeed.

    Houston, Texas

  39. Reba McEntire has had a wonderful career, and a terrible decade. I am suprised more of her songs didnt end up on this list, especially “Somebody” There comes a point where you need to focus on quality rather than hit making, McEntire is all about the hits. And I dont see her voice and so wonderful she could sing the phone book, if she tried I would probally throw the book at her.

  40. I don’t get the whole phone-book singing argument myself. I love Reba as much as anybody, and more so than most. Still, I don’t want to hear her sing the phone book, or the equivalent with inferior material. Still wouldn’t throw anything at her though. :)

    I agree this has been a terrible decade for her musically. We fans of Reba’s music from yesterday are just barely hanging on with her focus on television and of course, hit-making. It’s a shame that she has a new album out that may not even make my top 10 of the year – a 30 year-artist should be making five-star albums. Waiting for her to finally dry up at radio …

  41. “So Small”, I think, was in competition for the most overused cliche’s crammed into one song and endless mismatched metaphors.

  42. I’m adding to the noise, but as am admitted Carrie Underwood detractor most of the time I’m actually surprised “before he cheats” didn’t make this. The only reason it was even released was to get another hit single for Carrie’s arsenal.

  43. “Making a true story sound unbelievable just might be the definition of poor songwriting.”

    I think sometimes some country songs don’t follow a cooly rational process. They may require elements of faith (e.g., The Little Girl, There is a God) or a willingness to believe the “unbelievable” (e.g., Yes). Some folks can do that and get more out of a song. Others cannot.

  44. I’d put “Before He Cheats” on my Best of List.

    So would I, along with “Just A Dream”- simply stunning song and vocal.

  45. Thank you for letting everybody know that Chad Brock’s song “YES” is the WORST song ever made.
    I have hated, loathed, this song since I was a Senior in high school. This song ruins my day every time I hear it, which, sadly, is quite often. Our local radio station, FROGGY 103.5, plays it likes it brand new. I wish somebody would take this song and burn it so we never, NEVER, have to “listen” to it again.

  46. I would think hearing the “Froggy” branding and stuff like “Have a Hoppy Birthday” just after they played “YES!” could really put you over the edge.

  47. If there’s any Carrie Underwood song that should have made this list, it’d be “Last Name” but everything else by her is golden for me.

    As for Taylor Swift, I think “Picture to Burn” is kinda iffy but I think “Should’ve Said No” is even worse.

  48. I know my credibility will go down the tubes once I say this, but I love “Last Name.” It’s different for Carrie, and it’s undoubtly happened to millions of women (and men) in the world. I thought every live performance she did of the song was superb as well- she added a certain sass to it that got lost in the production on the recorded vocal.

    Her Grammy and American Idol performances of the song were two of the best I’ve seen from her to-date.

    Although I’m a huge Carrie fan, I’d put “All American Girl” on this list in a heartbeat. The song is enjoyable, adorable pop-fluff, but it’s cringeworthy in all its cliches and cutness.

  49. IMO the Alison Krauss harmony vocal alone is enough to lift the JMM song off of this list. However when he and Jewel sang the song for whatever awards show they sang it for, it made me realize how not good the song really was.

  50. The only one I disagree with is “Because of You.” One of the greatest songs of the decade, if you ask me. Of course, the singing to eachother is a little awkward, but still a great song.

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