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Great Bands, Lousy Songs

Join resident bozo, Jawsh, as he picks apart some songs of bands he loves.

Let’s talk about music, baby! All the good things and the bad things music can be! Actually, no. Let’s just talk about the bad things; that’s funner! And boy, do I have some doozies to discuss today but I guess I should start with a disclaimer. This article is just for fun, guys. I get that music is subjective and I very well may be shitting all over you and your friend’s favourite song but really, who cares? I still love these bands but these particular songs just didn’t do it for me. My hatred for some of these songs has cooled over the years but they could all be described as disappointing at the very least. For the interest of this article, though, I am going to pump the disgust back up to 11. Alright, let’s go!

Millencolin – Detox

Upon revisiting this one, it wasn’t as bad as I remember. It just sounds like any other bubble gum pop rock song you’d hear on the radio and I suppose that’s why I hated it so much. Oh, they even encourage you to turn on the radio in this song? Well, no wonder it made me want to puke so hard back in 2008. Millencolin was on a bit of a cold streak after releasing (arguably) one of the best punk rock albums ever in the year 2000 with Pennybridge Pioneers and fast-forward 8 years, they dropped unarguably their worst record on us with Machine 15. Again, it’s probably not as bad as I remember but context, kids, context! This record is the Phantom Menace of the Millencolin Saga.

While these Swedish beauties have never been known for their excellent lyrics, they’ve always been given a pass since they are an ESL band. There’s something about this line that just sounds weird to me: “Just like the meat you eat, the booze you choose, the nicotine, the coffee and the sugars that you need so.” It’s not even the actual words that bug me because as I’ve previously stated, I am used to their broken English lyrics but I always thought they were saying “The booze, the Jews” and I can’t unhear it! Of course, this band would never discriminate against any class, culture, or creed but I guess it’s somewhat humorous that I misheard the lyrics so hilariously. Luckily, these guys are back on track and their latest albums have been back in the realm of the Millencolin I loved so dearly as a pimply-faced puke. Order has been restored!

Bouncing Souls – We Love Fun

A quick history lesson on this band for those not in the know – they’ve never claimed to be shredders or musical geniuses. They’ve had success by working their asses off and being good dudes so I really don’t like knocking them but I’d be remiss not to point out that they’ve had a few duds over the years. In fact, I interviewed Bryan the bassist on the other podcast I’m apart of and he had no issues pointing out some of the glaringly brutal lyrics and extensive overuse of “whoas” in their catalogue. (see video below for a snippet).

Hear Bryan discuss their song "Ole" which has been obnoxiously sung by Habs fans for years.

This all being said, We Love Fun is an abomination. It sounds like it should be on an amusement park commercial and not a punk rock record. These guys won me over by singing about throwing toilets off the roof and getting sick from bad enchiladas and I was able to jump to my own conclusion that were indeed fun fellows. Luckily, they removed all doubt and nuance and let me and the world know that they “love fun and they’re going out and having some.” Jesus Christ, guys. This is one that should have never seen the light of day. But even though they sandbagged my ears with this trite, I still love ‘em. How I Spent My Summer Vacation and Anchors Aweigh are two fabulous albums, so if you need some ear bleach after listening to this track, those should do the trick!

Bad Religion – I Love My Computer

Bad Religion are punk rock royalty. They changed the trajectory of my life when I first heard them. The 2 Unlimited albums were removed from the discman forever and punk rock took hold. Their run from Suffer to Stranger than Fiction was nothing less than phenomenal. That’s 6 amazing records in 6 years. Most bands would kill to even have one killer album in that time window and they made 6. The writing tandem of Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz was untouchable, in my shitty humble shit opinion, and when I learned that Mr. Brett would be leaving the band, I was distraught and also 10. Then the Gray Race came out and I was pleasantly surprised. Then the other one with the girl from Third Rock from the Sun on the cover came out and I was not as pleasantly surprised.

The Gurewitz-less BR marched onward and the turn of the millennium brought us New America. *Sigh* I remember seeing the band perform the title track on the Craig Kilborn show and being underwhelmed at best. Somehow my older brother got his paws on the mp3s of this album, so we cranked it up for a summer but much like the Atari Jaguar, it just never caught on for us. One song stood out like a turd giant among men and that was I Love My Computer. From the weird dial up modem sounds and the cyber girl instructing someone to click her here, it just gave off a weird vibe. Keep in mind that DOCTOR Greg Graffin has used more syllables in one song then some songwriters have in their entire discography. The dude is brilliant. An actual scholar. That’s why it was so vexing to hear him sink to such a low. Although, upon reflection through my jaded, cynical failed musician eyeballs, it’s pretty clear that New America was the final commitment of a 3 album deal with Atlantic Records so the band probably just didn’t give a shit. They welcomed back Mr. Brett on their next record and were back in business. Never to produce another cruddy song again… er???

Lagwagon – Brown Eyed Girl

Now this choice may be confusing for you. It’s just another punk rock cover song, Josh. What’s the big deal? I remember the early days of mp3 culture when Napster burst onto the scene and my brothers and I were losing our minds for these songs. Pennywise covering the Beach Boys? Yes, please! There’s a band whose entire shtick is punking up classic rock tracks? Inject that shit into my veins, baby! In fact, Lagwagon included another cover of the Inspector Gadget theme on a previous album and it didn’t really bother me. So, what’s your problem, man! What’s up your craw?

What’s up my craw is that Lagwagon is one of my favourite bands and Trashed has got to be in my top 10 albums of all time. It would probably be top 5 and a perfect album if it wasn’t for friggin’ Brown Eyed Girl. It never made any sense to me why this song was on here. I even interviewed frontman Joey Cape once and forgot to ask him. What a bonehead move by me. It just doesn’t fit and as a result makes me irrationally irritated. They also once played this song as their encore at Pouzza Fest in Montreal, so it made me double down on my displeasure. All in all, if they had released this on something else, I wouldn’t care but the fact that they tarnished what would have been a perfect release with this dumb lateedah’ing song made me include it on this list. I still love you though, Lagwagon, just don’t hurt me again!

The Offspring - Cruising California (Bumpin' in My Trunk)

Yeah. This one. Now the Offspring are a fairly big deal as it’s safe to say they’ve transcended the punk genre and are a bonafide stadium rock band. But since I am a punk rock boy, I loved them for their punk rock songs. Hearing Dexter Holland repeatedly yell the F-word on Session was one of the highlights of my adolescent life (although my father did not see the beauty in such an intro) and I have many great memories of cranking Ixnay on the Hombre in my buddy’s basement while he kicked my ass at Mario Kart 64. I was never that great at video games. Sorry, Parker. I even got a kick of Pretty Fly for a White Guy when it first came out but must admit, that shit got old FAST! But this song. I don’t even know what it’s supposed to be. Some bands have caught a lot of shit for changing their sound drastically and some have even created a whole new band to “get these songs out of our system.” (See Face to Face and Viva Death) But I guess when you’re a band as massive as The Offspring you don’t really have to give a shit.

I did a small amount of research on this track and discovered the band is at least self-aware about this piece of crap. Dexter Holland has stated that the rest of the album had heavy subject matter, so he wanted to make a silly track. Ok, fair enough. But was it really necessary to crap all over Joey Ramone’s legacy with the “Hey Ho Let’s Go” chant? Come on, man! Sprinkle some auto tune here and what sounds like an R&B artist there and boom! We got a hot summer hit. Fuck. Remember when I said my distaste has worn off for some of these songs over time? Well, not this one. Fuck this song with a strap-on dong still! Sorry, Mr. Holland. I will not be bumpin’ to this one this summer.

To conclude, this list is meant to be a laugh and nothing more. I still love all these bands and lord knows, I have written my fair share of stinkers in my day. The only difference is these guys farted in the mouths of thousands/millions while I merely offended dozens or less. Maybe you liked a few of these songs or even all of them and guess what? That’s cool! The best part about music is that people hear it differently. The older I get, the less I care what other people are into and while I still find it annoying when art is created disingenuously, life is too short to really give a fuck. But I guess I just wasted an hour writing about it, didn’t I? Aww man, what am I doing with my life? Fuck it, I’m going to go listen to 2 Unlimited again. Peace!

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