You know those songs that get stuck in your head and DO NOT LEAVE? Pretty awful, right? But isn’t it particularly painful when the tune playing on loop in your mind is just terrible? And you know the words. All. Of. The. Words. You shake your fist at the sky and mumble under your breath something about pop radio, and before you know it, you’re singing it again.
One-hit wonders aren’t necessarily bad things. Look at songs like “Tainted Love” by Soft Cell, “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners, and “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum—those are all pretty awesome one-hit wonders. Heck, did you know that even Johann Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” (yes, the one every new bride walks down the aisle to) was a one-hit wonder as well?
But how on earth did some other one-hitters even get produced—nevermind become legend. Perhaps some were catchy enough that they just slipped through the cracks. But others are just so god-awful it’s amazing that you can still remember every single lyric.
“Tubthumping” — Chumbawamba
This song perhaps straddles the line between terrible and mildly entertaining. Besides, when deciding what cocktail you’ll imbibe on any given night, how many times have you run through the options offered in this song? Whiskey drink? Vodka drink? Lager drink? Cider drink? Oh, Danny boy.
“I Touch Myself” — Divinyls
The melody on this is actually quite good, as is the voice of lead singer Chrissy Amphlett. But I just don’t want to think about this lady touching herself over and over again. And I’m not a prude. Just not interested. Maybe dudes would disagree.
“I’m Too Sexy” — Right Said Fred
I hate this one so much because it’s so catchy. It’s like the plague—once you get it, it takes over. The irony is that Richard Fairbrass really isn’t all that sexy. So, it makes watching the video that much more intolerable. And anyone who needs to sing that much about being sexy must not be, right?
“Because I Got High” — Afroman
Was this song supposed to be a joke and someone produced it on a dare? The joke is on us, I guess, because this song actually hit when it came out. There is so little merit to this that it’s kind of hard to even call it a song.
“Mambo No. 5” — Lou Bega
I remember being slightly jealous of my friends Mary and Sandy when this came out because their names were featured in this song, but mine was not. But I promise that’s not why it is on this list. It’s here because it gets stuck in your head the way popcorn gets stuck in your back molars. Plus, this guy is totally gross—how about just pick a lady and call it a day? Bonus bad points for making it a line dance song: “Take one step left, and one step right. One to the front and one to the side.”
“Who Let the Dogs Out” — Baha Men
I love dogs, I really do. But I want nothing more than for these dogs to be put down. The half-hearted “woofing” that completes the chorus is just terrible. Plus everyone inevitably has that one friend who starts singing this disaster when you inadvertently and innocently ask “who let the dog out” when referring to your own pet.
“Macarena” — Los Del Rio
I hate this song because every person who does not speak Spanish still sings all the Spanish parts, using gibberish until the “Hey! Macarena!” part. I hate this song because we all know the dance—and it’s pretty dumb. But mostly I hate this song because it’s like the smell of smoke that permeates your clothes.
“MMMBop” — Hanson
Why were these kids ever famous?! And how did this song get them there? And what in the world are they singing about? And why can’t I stop singing “mmmbop” over and over? What the heck IS an mmmbop?!