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Ranked: Summer Songs From Worst To Best
Fifty years of roadtrippy, picnic-y, beachy nostalgia.
BY NICK KEPPLER
Every summer there emerges a song that marks the season. As summer of 2013 comes to a close, we’ve gone back to the Billboard charts of the last 50 years, found the song that stayed at number one for the longest span of June, July and August and ranked them all (picking whichever one had the greatest accumulation of sales when there was a tie for the year).
50. Richard Marx - “Right Here Waiting” (1989)
This stinker of a piano ballad is about as flimsy, ridiculous and poofed up as Marx’s hair.
49. Katy Perry - “I Kissed a Girl” (2008)
I hate this song. I hate the clumsy electro-rock melody. I hate the strained, breathy vocals. I hate the way this airhead treats a small act of affection shared by millions of lesbian couples before they leave for work in the morning as some kind of accomplishment worthy of a merit badge.
48. Enrique Iglesias - “Be with You” (2000)
The Latin pop wave was a race to the bottom to see who could pound their sound into a mushy, pandering, cultureless pulp that could be played inconspicuously on the speakers of an Old Navy store. Congrats, Enrique, you and that awful club beat won!
47. Captain and Tenille - “Love Will Keep Us Together” (1975)
Just try to think of a possible karaoke selection more groan-inducing than this song.
46. Mariah Carey - “We Belong Together” (2005)
By the late ’90s, Carey’s show-off-y moan at the start of the song had become a signal nothing fun or exciting would happen for the next three minutes. “We Belong Together” doesn’t disappoint.
45. LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock - “Party Rock Anthem” (2011)
There is nothing happening in this song. There is no melody, no hook and no lyrics that are not clichés or grunts. There is nothing but a synthesizer turned up to 11.
44. Brandy and Monica - “The Boy Is Mine” (1998)
Brandy and Monica were nearly identical lab creations: a duet between them is like a mix margarine and low-fat butter.
43. Olivia Newton-John - “Magic” (1980)
Xanadu, the film flop that produced “Magic,” disappeared a few weeks after its release. As for its soundtrack, the people of 1980 weren’t so lucky.
42. Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg - “California Gurls” (2010)
This song is a salad of rusty Cali clichés but it has a decent beat and the Auto-Tune software sings it well. If Snoop keeps doing stuff like this, explaining he was once a sly, dirty emcee will be like when my mom told me Rod Stewart used to be a rock god.
41. The Black Eyed Peas - “I Gotta Feeling” (2009)
Before going out, will.i.am has a feeling it’s going to be a good night and that is apparently worth a song.
40. Puff Daddy and Faith Evans featuring 112 - “I’ll Be Missing You” (1997)
Sampling like this is more cheap than lazy. (Take one central melody and you only need to pay one copyright holder.) Still, Puffy’s Sting-based memorial to Biggie sounds lazy and — I hate to say this — not emotionally affecting.
39. Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald - “On My Own” (1986)
A breakup song penned by Burt Bacharach and handed to lady funk icon LaBelle could have been great. Then yacht rock maestro McDonald got his hands into it.
38. Usher - “Burn” (2004)
“Burn” is not better, worse or different than any other Usher single, and no Usher single has been all that good.
37. Christina Aguilera - “Genie in a Bottle” (1999)
When Aguilera debuted, we were impressed because she sang better than Britney Spears. This song earns a few points for getting phallic innuendo on the radio.
36. All-4-One - “I Swear” (1994)
This ballad was first a country hit and then was taken on by a Boyz II Men clone to create slow-dance fodder for your mid ’90s prom.
35. Heart - “Alone” (1987)
The one-time “female Led Zeppelin” does an ’80s power ballad. The icy piano melody is okay but, good god, that over-the-top chorus.
34. Paul McCartney & Wings - “My Love” (1973)
This slow-tempo groaner was the first reason to be seriously worried about McCartney’s post-Beatles career. Still, any song Sir Paul has touched is better than anything listed so far.