Even legendary musicians have given us less-than-satisfactory and outright horrible songs. Hold onto your headphones as we go through 25 of the strangest sonic misadventures ever concocted by the greatest minds in music history.
1. “Ass Like That” by Eminem
If you were looking for the exact point Eminem began to fall off, you should probably start around the time he dropped “Ass Like That,” a silly, stupid song that's on his mostly mediocre 2004 album, Encore.
2. “Lift Yourself” by Kanye West
“Lift Yourself” features a sample that's designed for someone to go off on, but Kanye instead used it as an epic troll. Because of that wasteful act, we're giving him this L.
3. “Ghetto Techno” by Jay-Z
Picture Pitbull's “Culo” going through an absolute meltdown. We're talking about a chaotic song that could turn innocent little kids into pint-sized troublemakers who bite strangers and start launching blocks through windows.
Jay-Z‘s whiny chorus about waving shot glasses feels like a Lil Jon imitation gone horribly wrong.
4. “Who Killed It?” by Nas
Taken from Nas' lackluster 2006 album, “Hip-Hop is Dead,” this tune is more cringe than crime-solving. Nas trades in his usual flow for an irritating film-noir gangster voice, narrating his search for the murderer of hip-hop.
Now, Nas is a master storyteller, usually captivating and vivid, but even he knows he went too far with this one. In his own words on Desus & Mero, “I wilded out… it happens.” Case closed.
5. “Maggie Mae” by The Beatles
The Beatles are musical gods who blessed us with timeless hits and catchy tunes. But sometimes, even legends stumble. Enter “Maggie Mae” from their album “Let It Be.” Now, I get it, the album was about returning to basics, but this loose folk jam is more like a doodle on the back of a napkin.
It's the epitome of filler, lacking any substance or unique elements. Kudos to Paul McCartney for saying, “Nah, not this one,” and wiping it off the revised LP, “Let It Be… Naked.”
6. “Superman” by Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg‘s track “Superman” from his 2011 album, “Doggumentary,” will make you question your commitment to the cannabis-loving lifestyle (just kidding… maybe). It's no secret that Snoop's career took a bit of a downward spiral, and “Superman” didn't exactly help matters.
This bluesy concoction left us wondering if Snoop should consider a break from his herbal delights.
7. “Gallons Of Rubbing Alcohol” by Nirvana
While the album “In Utero” was already pretty uncompromising, this dissonant noise is like a sonic assault that leaves you emotionally scarred once the album concludes.
Just when you're enjoying the beauty of “All Apologies,” you're hit with an audio whiplash strong enough to break you. This song may be unique in its own twisted way, but it resides on the wrong side of listenable.
8. “Valley Girl” by Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa, the master of rock satire, was a pioneer in his own right. After his brilliant 1968 masterpiece, “We're Only in It for the Money,” he earned his stripes. However, he took a slight detour into self-parody with his unexpected hit in 1982, “Valley Girl.”
In theory, it's a hilarious roast of the San Fernando Valley, complete with meathead riffs and over-the-top vocal parodies. But in practice, it falls flat on the laughter meter and leans more toward cringe-worthy territory.
9. “Vertigo” by U2
Hold on to your hats, folks, because U2 is about to take you on a wild ride with their 2004 track “Vertigo.” Well, maybe not a wild ride, exactly.
Despite the hype surrounding their “comeback” album, Bono's opening lyrics of “Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorce!” still make zero sense all these years later. Seriously, counting off 1, 2, 3, and 14 is a mathematical mystery.
10. “Wiggle Wiggle” by Bobby Dylan
After finding salvation in the late '70s, Bobby Dylan seemed to misplace his creative spark for the next decade. Sure, there were some shining moments, but he was spitting out more drivel than gold. Case in point: “Wiggle Wiggle.” This song is so short; it's like a musical snack with chart aspirations.
11. “Might As Well Get Juiced” by Rolling Stones
Somewhere along their musical journey, the Rolling Stones took a misguided detour into electro-funk. The result? A complete mojo-stripping disaster called “Might As Well Get Juiced.” It feels like someone is stuck on a single key for a whopping five minutes.
12. “Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley (Feat. LL Cool J)
“Accidental Racist” by Brad Paisley featuring LL Cool J is quite the ride. If it weren't for the serious subject matter, you might think it's all just one big joke. Imagine Brad Paisley apologizing to a random black Starbucks barista for wearing a Skynyrd shirt while LL Cool J pens a tribute to Confederate generals. What's all that about?
13. “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)” by The Beatles
Who needs complex instrumentals when you can have drunk people singing in a car park? The Beatles took a wild detour with this one. It's like they forgot to delete a drunken jam session recording. This song is teetering on that fine line between fun goofing around and a genuinely lousy song.
14. “Look What You Made Me Do” by Taylor Swift
When Taylor Swift unleashed the lead single from her album “Reputation” in 2017, it left some scratching their heads.
It was horrifying and fascinating, with lyrics that fuel the never-ending Kanye-Taylor feud and a beat that borrowed heavily from Right Said Fred's '90s hit. It's like a bizarre pop concoction that makes you question everything. But hey, it definitely got people talking!
15. “Put Your Hearts Up” by Ariana Grande
We've all had those cringe-worthy moments we'd rather forget. For Ariana, it's “Put Your Hearts Up.” This early track and its cheesy video were aimed at kids but ended up feeling inauthentic and fake to Grande herself.
It's like scrolling back too far on Facebook and cringing at your old posts. It's a good thing Grande has undoubtedly come a long way since then.
16. “Email My Heart” by Britney Spears
Britney Spears has given us some of the best pop hits, but “Email My Heart” is not one of them. There's something inherently cringe about pop songs that latch onto outdated technology. It's like trying to listen to a floppy disk in a streaming era.
Entertainment Weekly ranked it as her worst song; even Britney's fans weren't thrilled about it. The truth is it's a forgettable filler track in her otherwise iconic discography.
17. “Galway Girl” by Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran's “Galway Girl” took a beating from critics when it dropped in 2017. The upbeat track about a girl from Ireland was scrutinized for its melody and lyrics. Time magazine even named it one of the year's worst songs, suggesting it might discourage tourism to Dublin. Let's hope Sheeran learned from this one.
18. “The Hard Stuff” by Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake's “Man of the Woods” album didn't hit the mark with critics or fans. “The Hard Stuff” was one of those tracks that missed the mark.
Time described it as a messy, twangy tune where Timberlake's voice gets lost in saccharine lyrics and overbearing production. Sometimes experimentation doesn't always pay off; at least he tried something different, right?
19. “Beauty and a Beat” by Justin Bieber (Feat. Nicki Minaj)
“Beauty and a Beat” might not be the crown jewel in Justin Bieber's discography. From the corny title to the overall song, it falls short. Some have raised concerns about the age-inappropriate dynamics between Bieber and Nicki Minaj in the lyrics. Bieber admitted he wasn't a big fan of the song; it was a popular style then.
20. “Glow” by Drake (Feat. Kanye)
Now, we gotta be honest with you, this song gets stuck on repeat both musically and lyrically. The line “Watch out for me, I'm about to glow” is like an annoying jingle you can't escape. It plays over a slow, uninspiring beat that leaves you longing for something more exciting.
21. “Love in the Dark” by Adele
It's not terrible, but it's like comparing a sparkler to a fireworks extravaganza. This ballad doesn't capture the same vocal prowess and emotional depth found in Adele's other chart-topping hits. In a 2018 tribute, Billboard ranked it as Adele's least impressive recorded song, saying it's drowning in maudlin vibes.
22. “Smooth” by Santana (Feat. Rob Thomas)
Remember the late '90s, when rock legend Santana teamed up with Rob Thomas from Matchbox 20 for a collab that, let's be honest, grated on our ears?
It's like a strange mix of Latin-rock grooves and alt-rock hooks that never quite found its rhythm. And to make matters worse, this awkward fusion stuck around on the radio waves for what felt like an eternity.
23. “A Brand New Me” by Aretha Franklin
In 1971, Aretha decided to venture away from her Detroit R&B roots and embrace a pop, Vegas-style sound. She recorded and performed this song with a big band and an overwhelming number of horns. Now, the song was written by chart-toppers Jerry Butler, Kenny Gamble, and Leon Huff, but unfortunately, it didn't do justice to Aretha's incredible talent.
24. “Seamus” by Pink Floyd
We all know and love Pink Floyd for their masterpiece “Echoes” on the album “Meddle.” But right before that gem, we stumble upon an experiment gone horribly wrong. Complete with a dog barking in between the music, this song is a bit… well, distracting, to say the least.
25. “Back to Black” by Beyoncé & André 3000
Oh, we adore Queen Bey's talent and charisma, but covering one of the late Amy Winehouse's unforgettable hits is no easy feat. And unfortunately, “Back to Black,” featuring André 3000 and recorded for 2013's The Great Gatsby, falls flat.