Under Fire: Popular Rock Songs That Make Me Irrationally Angry

I spent a significant amount of time working in a function venue. As such, I have listened to a lot of playlists, DJs, and cover bands. Certain songs come up time and time again, but despite their universal popularity, I simply cannot get into them. There is something about certain songs that really rubs me the wrong way, but it wouldn’t bother me as much if they weren’t loved and lauded by seemingly every single person in the world. Here are five popular rock songs that make me want to stab myself in the frontal lobe whenever I hear them. There is no order to this — it’s complete chaos, like the society in which we live. 

The Eagles — Hotel California 

Throughout the course of my life, I have spent more time ageing during the solo to Hotel California than I have showering, cooking, or going to the bathroom. That’s not to say I’m unwashed, unfed, and dealing with a bowel obstruction — the solo is just so goddamned long that you can use it to measure the time until the harvest is ready. That in itself wouldn’t be a horrible thing, it’s just that the solo is incredibly boring. It’s the same basic pattern across the fretboard, and it was decided, for some reason, to play it over and over for approximately four months. The lyrics themselves aren’t particularly offensive, but they definitely come smack of a brain that thinks it’s a lot more clever than it actually is. Bring me my wine, we haven’t had that spirit since 1969? Wine isn’t a spirit, mate. Jog on. 

Warren Zevon — Werewolves of London 

I don’t even know what the hell this song is. I will say this: the first verse contains a lyric that I would consider to be one of the worst in rock history. Namely: “He was lookin’ for the place called Lee Ho Fooks/For to get a big dish of beef chow mein.” A lot of words rhyme with rain. A. LOT. There is precisely no reason to rhyme it with a mince dish. I can’t tell you why, but food and rock do not go together. Sing about whiskey, or drugs… but chow mein? Fucking hell. The way that line is written as well… for to get a big dish? Was it written by a stunned chimp? And I get that the song is called Werewolves of London, but the iconic “A-WHOOOOO” part makes me want to anally stimulate myself with a rake. No disrespect to the late Warren Zevon, but this song goes in the bin. Next. 

John Mellencamp — Jack and Diane 

Any song that starts with the line, “Little ditty,” can fuck right off. I know it’s a little ditty — thats what a song is. That’s what we’re listening to. Music. It’s lazy writing, and the fact that it starts the song essentially ruins the rest of it for me. That is, of course, if the rest of the song was any good to begin with. That irritating bass hook hits a really weird part of my brain and causes my eye to twitch, and I really believe that this isn’t a good enough story to warrant an entire gospel movement. Everybody rock, everybody roll out of the fucking door. I’m really glad that Mellencamp dropped “Cougar” from his name, but I’m also disappointed that he didn’t replace it with “Janglepants.” John “Janglepants” Mellencamp. It works for me, but this fucking song doesn’t. 

Dire Straits — Sultans of Swing 

This was a really hard inclusion for me. Not because I secretly like Sultans of Swing, but rather because I hate literally everything Dire Straits has ever done. It’s all equally quaalude-heavy singing mixed with jangly, fussy guitar parts. Listening to Dire Strats is the sonic equivalent to riding a unicycle. It takes a ton of effort, a lot of time, and the payoff is precisely fuck. all. Also, the only people who enjoy doing it are a bit fucking weird, and smell like the sort of shops that sell tarot cards. I chose this song in particular because it is their most iconic, but this paragraph could apply to any number of songs, and especially Romeo & Juliet (which coincidentally just came on TV, no joke), in which Mark Knopfler manages to pronounce “cry” like Trey Parker doing an impression of someone doing an impression of Trey Parker singing. This band is Knopfler me. 

Billy Joel — Piano Man 

The most identifiable part of Piano Man is a fucking harmonica riff and that’s all that really needs to be said about this absolute arsehole of a song. In order to make a rhyme work, Joel uses the like, “tonic and gin,” despite nobody every calling it that in the history of bars, gin, and drinking in general. As a writer, you need to make lyrics work, rather than fucking with convention in order to shoehorn an idea in. Is it true that Billy Joel doesn’t actually sit behind his piano, and that he’s just actually that short? I’m not sure why this midget key-pounder decided to wax lyrical about a bar he’s likely never been to, but I do remember one time he was talking about how another one of his songs was basically a hip-hop song (wasn’t), and came out on stage in a crooked, fitted cap, and did that white dad rapping where you do that ‘thing’ with your hands. You know what I mean. Fuck Billy Joel. 

This hasn’t been an academic essay. I realise I’m in the minority with these picks, but I simply couldn’t go on living without venting it in a public forum. I’m ok with who I am, and if you love all of these songs it doesn’t mean we couldn’t get along. It just means I won’t respect you, and would wish harm upon you if they came on in your playlist. We all have different tastes in music, and some tastes are wrong. Not mine. 

By Haggis McKilt

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