[I first posted this one back in early 2008, i.e. the ass end of the Bush Era, and if you had told me at the time that things would be even more screwed up in this country in 2015 -- at the beginning of what Charles Pierce accurately refers to as The Reign of the Morons -- I would have suspected you of huffing drugs more potent than I had ever imagined. In any case, I've done some rewriting and added a new entry, although all that proves is, in the immortal words of my old chum Erik Frandsen (doing business as existentially depressed German UN ambassador Hans Beinholtz), that the sad farce continues. -- S.S.]
POST-ELVIS MOST VAGUELY OR CRASSLY OFFENSIVE POP/ROCK SONG OR VIDEO EVER!!!!
You know -- one that's in ridiculously bad taste, politically obnoxious, or just annoying on some level not necessarily related to aesthetics.
Okay, here's my totally top of my head Top Eleven:
11. The Buoys -- Timothy
I don't know what's creepier -- the fact that it's a bubblegum song about cannibalism, or that it was written by Rupert Holmes.
10. Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler -- Ballad of the Green Berets
Next stop is Vietnam!! Whoopee, we're all gonna die! BTW, Sadler went on to be a noted collector of Hitler memorabilia.
9. Dickie Lee -- Laurie (Strange Things Happen)
The ultimate teenage death song, with the added sick twist that she's a ghost. Think "The Sixth Sense" for morons.
8. Frank and Nancy Sinatra -- Something Stupid
Or as we used to call it back in the day, "The Incest Song." 'Nuff said.
7. G.G. Allin -- Needle Up My Cock
This guy had so many tender love madrigals it's hard to pick one. Of course, he did have the good grace to actually die for our sins....
6. Napoleon XIV -- They're Coming to Take Me Away (HaHa)
Me, I think this one's funny, but actual crazy people disagreed and got it banned in some markets. Interesting....
5. Madonna -- Open Your Heart
42nd Street peep show jerkoff palaces as a cute rite of passage for adolescent boys? Yuk. This is the video I show people when they tell me how smart Madonna is....and yes, I know it sold.
4. The Crystals -- He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)
Let's hear it for spousal abuse!!! Seriously, Carole King wrote this as a sort of protest song, but producer Phil Spector kind of missed the point (in retrospect, not much of a shock).
3. Buju Banton -- Boom Bye Bye
Granted, there's a large selection of offensive hip-hop and rap records out there, but this one, which suggests it might be a good idea to off gay men, kind of screamed for inclusion. Of course, in its defense, it is largely unintelligble, even with a lyric sheet.
2. Nicki Minaj -- Only
Let's forget, for a moment, the fact that this song sucks hippo root, that this woman has no fucking talent whatsoever and that she would, if she thought it would gain her some attention, quite literally set her hair on fire.
That said, I will leave you with the joke I wrote for the forthcoming Village Voice critics poll (which, with any luck, will garner me a check for fifteen dollars). To wit:
"The quote of the year clearly belonged to Nicki Minaj, who when people objected, for some reason, to the totalitarian imagery in her "Only" video replied ""I'd never condone Nazism in my art." Mighty white of you, Nicki. Incidentally I liked that fascist stuff a lot better in 1991 when Janet Jackson did it as "Rhythm Nation."
But the hands down, most twisted sick record of all time is without question ---
1. Bobby McFerrin -- Don't Worry, Be Happy
"Ain't got no place to lay your head/Somebody came and took your bed/Don't worry, be happy..."
Tell that to a real homeless person, asshole. Seriously -- as my old colleague Glenn Kenny famously wrote about this song in the Village Voice, there's only one possible response to it:
Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be?