Let’s Talk About The Worst Song Of All Time

Do you know what it is?

Every time you think that they have finally run out of things to orally historicize there is yet another oral history just waiting for you.

I would complain about this but I am as bad as everyone else with the clicking and the sharing and even the complaining, which in our idiot era is just one more way of clicking and sharing, those being the only things that matter. (I sent this around to some friends from high school yesterday and one of them responded that he’d like to see an oral history of the ‘80s TV show “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century” with Gil Gerard and Erin Gray, which we all agreed we’d read the shit out of before the conversation devolved into a series of admissions of pre-adolescent yearnings for Erin Gray, in case you’re wondering what straight white men of a certain age do during the day now. Also I wound up with the theme to “Silver Spoons” stuck in my head, so look at me more as a figure deserving your pity instead of your disdain.) I’m sorry I read the whole thing, but I won’t pretend that I didn’t.

So listen, Starship’s “We Built This City” is a terrible song. Of this there can be no dispute. There is no level of irony or nostalgia that can make it in any way tolerable. I bow before its awfulness. But hear me out, because what I am about to say may strike you as controversial, perhaps even abhorrent, particularly if you are young enough that you had not yet attained consciousness at its point of origin, but there is a song that is considerably worse than Starship’s “We Built This City,” and that song is Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”

“But Al,” you say, “I’ve sung that at karaoke!” “But Al,” you protest, “it’s an American classic!” “But Al,” you implore, “the end of ‘The Sopranos!’” Listen: Fuck karaoke, fuck America, and fuck you, and also don’t call me Al, you fuckin’ Journey lover. The only thing that made “Don’t Stop Believin’” the natural choice for the end of “The Sopranos” is that it is a song about murder: in the show, the murder of Tony Soprano, in real life the murder of critical faculties and a sense of shame. “Don’t Stop Believin’” is a lyrical atrocity, a musical miscarriage, and a vocal irritation so persistent that after a while you know you need to get it looked at by a professional. There is nothing redeeming about it, not even the fact that it is not “Open Arms.”

Yes, on a technical level Starship’s “We Built This City” may be slightly more objectionable than “Don’t Stop Believin,” but the latter’s continued and baffling popularity, particularly among people who would otherwise be horrified to publicly admit that their favorite meal is a big bowl of shit washed down with a glass of warm piss, which is essentially what you are saying when you say you like “Don’t Stop Believin,” pushes it up past Starship’s “We Built This City” in the Worst of All Time contest. I’m horrified that we even need to have this discussion. It is a bad, bad song and you should all know better. Now that you do, please don’t make me bring it up again. I’m just very disappointed with you.

Like anything good could come out of something with a cover like this.