We’ve been building up to some big things based on what we love here. We’re attempting to showcase what means the most to us for any number of reasons, and sometimes we’ve lucked out and had it resonate (indeed, last week we saw some record traffic through one of our most obscure tracks). This will not be one of those days, as we continue our countdown of what may well be the worst songs out there.
As usual, let us consider the modern culprit. Today, we examine Carly Rae Jepsen’s earworm “Call Me Maybe,” which despite our exposé last year about how the song may be better than it seems, certainly has all the hallmarks of the terrible song genre. It infiltrates your consciousness, beating the listener with its cutesy vocals and assertive orchestral hits through the chorus. For a child of the Mario Paint era, I cannot listen to Jepsen’s song without seeing rows and rows of geese. Of course, there’s also the trite lyricism about wishes and kisses and wells and tells and cute boys and such. There’s the bizarre rhythm of the chorus, and the not-so-crazyness of giving someone you just met your number (this is, after all, how dating worked for decades). But to me, the oddest bit is the bridge:
Before you came into my life, I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so so bad
Pure poetry! But also, pure weirdness. It speaks to a certain desperation and potential insanity: this woman has desired someone she just met for longer than she’s known him. Is she desperate for a partner, or lonely for other reasons? Who knows! All we’re sure of is, she’s coming on strong from the get-go, and it makes me unsettled in a way that another classic pop song always did. Ladies and gentlemen, #9 on our countdown: Savage Garden’s “I Knew I Loved You.”
Savage Garden was always the silliest of all possible band names, since there was nothing Savage about them. The band, if one could call it that, whispered through pablum as syrupy as chikka-cherry-cola. Despite some fairly big hits, the band is ultimately forgettable. This particular song, however, always stays with me, in part because my sister always had a distinct problem with the core chorus lyric:
I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
This sort of thing makes Saran Wrap seem less clingy. It makes dryer sheets almost obsolete. Nothing could feel more insidious than this sort of desperate, fawning attention. It puts the subject on a pedestal, and then allows the speaker to take the full statue for his atrium. It both deifies and objectifies at once. It’s not a comfortable position to put one in. Yet, these sorts of wild exaggerations are often taken as the height of romance, and it signals something disturbing about our society and our views of what is romantic. It is the same melodrama at work when Bruno Mars insists “I’ll catch a gruh-nayd fu’ yuhhhh.” This sort of manipulation of emotion is a signal of a sociopath, not a modern day Romeo or even a Casanova. It goes a step beyond emo self-loathing and brings others into the mix, dragging them down. It’s the epitome of unhealthy relationship.
Friends, don’t guilt or threaten people into relationships. And don’t be creepy about it: Dreaming someone into life before even knowing them is creepy, just like Pinocchio is creepy, and just like RealDolls are creepy. And above all else, if you must do these things, set them to respectable music. Please. Don’t be a Savage Garden.
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