What Are The Lamest Song Lyrics Of All Time?

Vote for the best lyricists ever

Writing decent lyrics: to paraphrase Duran Duran, it’s about as easy as nuclear war.

Sure, there are plenty of superior wordsmiths featured in the new issue of the mag. But sadly those gifted songwriters tend to be outnumbered by lumbering cliché-machines whose lexical ‘gifts’ make Noel Gallagher look like Philip Roth.

The history of music is littered with basic factual errors. Personally, I have never drunk cider from a lemon, rarely gauge my own walking pace in relation to that of a cannon ball, and, call me pedantic, but I reject the existence of any human/dancer duality – I’m fairly sure it’s possible to be both.

Furthermore, birds don’t fly at the speed of sound, women’s breasts are seldom confused with mountains (even ones that are neither small nor humble), and “pompitous” is not a word recognized by the OED, despite what the Steve Miller Band might speak of in ‘The Joker’.


But, while misguided, those examples are at least memorable, which means they’ve succeeded on one level. By contrast, what’s the shonkiest, most irredeemably rubbish couplet ever conceived? To qualify, I’d say a lyric has to be both ham-fisted and vaguely irritating.

One that’s always enraged me is this line from Bloc Party’s ‘Song For Clay (Disappear Here)’.

“At the Trois Garcons we meet at precisely 9 o’clock/I order my foie gras and I eat it with complete disdain…”

Foie gras! There’s just no way of singing that and not sounding like a pretentious berk (although I have to admit Kele’s new solo album is so good it almost makes me forgive him).

Another one that sticks in my memory like a stubborn tide-mark on a U-bend is this howler from Stereophonics’ clod-hopping ‘Doorman’ (who writes a song about a bouncer?):

”You look like a monkey scowling at me (ooh ooh aah aah)/Well suck my banana, suck it with cream.”

Not sure exactly what effect Kelly Jones was aiming for here, but he manages to whip up violence, ugly innuendo, bestiality and queasy physicality into one revoltingly unpleasant linguistic smoothie. Ugh.

Anyway, over to you. What are the couplets that get you riled up with their sheer rancidness?


NME TV is running a series of Greatest Lyricist video specials – tune in for the following:

April 16
12pm Damon Albarn
9pm Alex Turner

April 17
10pm Jaime T & Thom Yorke

April 18
10am Damon Albarn
11am Alex Turner

April 19
11am Alex Turner
10pm Paul Weller & Morrissey

April 20
2pm Damon Albarn & Thom Yorke
8pm Alex Turner & Paul Weller

April 22
9pm Jamie T & Jay-Z
10pm Jarvis & Morrissey

April 25
9pm Thom Yorke
11pm Jay-Z

April 26
9pm Thom Yorke

April 27
10pm Morrissey

Tune in via Sky Channel 382