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The 25 Worst No. 1 Pop Songs

on January 15, 2014, 1:38pm
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25. Rick Astley – “Never Gonna Give You Up”


Two decades after “Never Gonna Give You Up” had been consumed, disposed, and forgotten by the public, Rick Astley’s first and biggest hit returned to life thanks to Rickrolling. If you spent any time on the internet in 2008, you fell victim to the clickbait-and-switch troll at least once. So, why was the art of Rickrolling such a successful form of trolling? “Never Gonna Give You Up” sounds like just another product from the assembly line of a cynical team of executives, scientists, and composers that calculated the exact percentage of repetition needed to lodge a song into a listener’s head for several hours upon even minimal exposure. Rickrolling became officially over after a cover by Barry Manilow and an IRL troll job from Astley himself on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. –Frank Mojica

24. Paul Anka and Odia Coates – “(You’re) Having My Baby”

In another world, “You’re Having My Baby” soundtracks an Anchorman dream sequence, something like this one, where Ron Burgundy professes his gratitude to Veronica Corningstone for carrying his child with a perfectly cheese-drenched, scathingly 1974-satirical ballad as they ride unicorns across the sky. “The seed inside ya, baby/ Do ya feel it growin’?” he growls, singing while playing flute. “I’m a woman in love and I love what’s goin’ through me,” she answers, nuzzling his moustache. It becomes one of the most quoted scenes in the movie. In our world, this song was actually once the U.S.’ most popular. —Steven Arroyo

23. Right Said Fred – “I’m Too Sexy”

You can’t even joke about “I’m Too Sexy” anymore. If you really want the cheap laughs that come with “that bald dude isn’t too sexy for anything, girlfriend” jokes or white tank top-ripping parodies, turn on VH1. Something about Right Said Fred should be on within the half hour. In a social media world, “I’m Too Sexy” would have been burned to the ground with holy Twitter fire, especially for its egregious Jimi Hendrix sample, and buried right next to Rebecca Black’s “Friday”. In 1992, despite it supposedly being an indictment of runway model culture, it caught the imagination of the fading yuppie remnants of the self-obsessed ’80s. –Chris Bosman

22. The Osmonds – “One Bad Apple”

The Beatles had The Monkees, Transformers had Gobots, and The Jackson 5 had The Osmonds. Their transition from Andy Williams Show staples to teen idol pop group may have been as awkward as puberty itself, but it still connected with a large audience as the white counterpart to The Jackson 5.

“One Bad Apple” isn’t so much bubblegum pop as it is a five-year-old piece of Bazooka Joe that will break your teeth long before a cavity ever gets to form. And, despite what Donny’s high-pitched squeal tells us over and over (and over) again, science proves that one bad apple does, in fact, spoil the bunch, thanks to the release and spread of ripening agent ethylene. The song was actually written with The Jackson 5 in mind, but they wisely turned it down in favor of a little number called “ABC”. –Frank Mojica

21. Pitbull feat. Ne-Yo, Afrojack, Nayer – “Give Me Everything”

“Me not working hard?
Yeah, right, picture that with a Kodak.
Or better yet, go to Times Square
Take a picture of me with a Kodak”

Yes, someone had the audacity to rhyme “Kodak” with itself for a double-dip of distracting product placement. As if the lyrics weren’t aneurysm-inducing enough, the beat to “Give Me Everything” is just a slight variation of the same sound found in every Afrojack track. Pitbull was actually sued because of this chart-topping club pop anthem’s rhymes. Not because of undue emotional distress from being exposed to such unprecedented and unrepentant laziness, but for having it “locked up like Lindsay Lohan.” Her defamation suit was discarded because of that obscurity called the First Amendment, and Pitbull was free to revel in his club-obsessed buffoonery. Where’s Michael Vick when you need him? –Frank Mojica

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