SONGS THAT SUCK: “Hangin’ Tough” (New Kids On The Block)

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songs that suck heading“Hangin’ Tough” (New Kids On The Block)

There’s no other kind of pop music concept I despise more – or get more amusement with – than the Boy Band. And in my four decades of life here on earth, spanning significant parts of two centuries, I’ve been subjected to a goodly share of them. They’re like herpes – every time they seem to go away, in time another one will flair right up out of nowhere, unprovoked.

Case in point: New Kids On The Block. To all of you Junior High girls that may have accidentally stumbled upon this blog while doing whatever it is your species do (I wouldn’t know), New Kids On The Block was kind of like the One Direction of your Mom’s generation. Assuming your mom was in Junior High in the later part of the 1980s.

Anyway, New Kids On The Block were uber-popular in the later part of the 1980s, into the first couple of years of the 1990s, presumably when their fans collectively realized that they haven’t been “new” or “kids” for quite some time. And sure, I could pretty much pick any one of their numerous chart-topping hits they churned out to make a blog post about, but I happened to pick the title track from their breakthrough sophomore album, “Hangin’ Tough”.

Why? Because there’s nothing that’s equally sad and embarrassingly amusing as a bunch of pretty boy pop balladeers singing about how tough they are. Seriously, watch that embedded video if you haven’t done so already and try not to chuckle. I dare you.

“Hangin’ Tough” is one of those songs that I still can’t bring myself to listen to, even with the buffer of years since they were still relevant. It’s too embarrassing.

Music That Sucks: “I Just Called To Say I Love You”

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I Just Called To Say I Love You

“I Just Called To Say I Love You” (Stevie Wonder)
Motown; 1984

I don’t know what happened to a lot of artists in the ‘80s.  Many who were innovators before then found that their material in the Decade Of…whatever you want to call it, was more adult contemporary pop crap that filled up a lot of Top 40 stations back then.  Sadly, Stevie Wonder falls into that category of otherwise great artists having the (pardon the unintentional pun) soul sucked out of them in the 1980s.

The release of the schmaltzy ballad “I Just Called To Say I Love You” in 1984 pretty much reset for all time Stevie Wonder from being known and loved as a funk troubadour in the ‘70s to the crooner of syrupy Adult Contemporary love ballads set to really corny music in the ‘80s.  Even his attempt at the “edgier” hit “Part Time Lover” the following year couldn’t shake the fact that he’s now known as the man who produced the most soulless, white-bread song Motown has ever released.  And his subsequent guest appearance on The Cosby Show pretty much sealed his fate.

To this day, every time this song comes on, and if I’m unable to shut off whatever device it’s playing on, I must get out of earshot within 30 seconds before the blood starts weeping from every orifice in my head.

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