Is Bieber's "Baby" so brilliant?

Five beloved pop songs with lyrics more derivative than "Friday"

Rebecca Black isn't the only singer whose songs are the musical equivalent of a lobotomy. Why blame only her?


Drew Grant
March 22, 2011 2:22AM (UTC)

While the rest of the world was busy debating how much worse 13-year-old Rebecca Black's song "Friday" was than the current situation in Japan or Libya, Cord Jefferson from new media magazine Good was putting things in perspective. "Calling 'Friday' disastrous is akin to The New York Review of Books tearing apart The Berenstain Bears," wrote Cord, "Sure, it doesn't meet your standards. It's not for you."

Then again, a lot of pop songs don't really have the most thought-provoking lyrics. Leaving aside the fact that Rebecca didn't write "Friday" (though maybe it would have been better if she had), most of our Top 40 songs are catchy because of – not despite – their repetitiveness. Cord gives the example of Katy Perry's songs, but honestly compared to some of the crap out there, "Teenage Dream" is friggin' "Finnegans Wake." Below, five pop hits with the most stupid lyrics imaginable, and why they are worse for our culture than "Friday."

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1. Ke$ha: "Blah Blah Blah"

Sample lyrics: Blah blah blah/ Think you'll be getting this/ Nah nah nah/ Not in the back of my/ Car-ar-ar/ If you keep talking that/ Blah blah blah blah blah

Why it's worse than "Friday": One time I went to an art show and there was a painting for sale that was basically just white canvas spray-painted with the words "Blah blah blah." It was the laziest piece of crap I've ever seen. I don't care if it's trying to make some commentary on our "Who gives a shit" generation. You're the artist, you should give a shit. Try harder.

2. Lady Gaga: "Boys, Boys, Boys"

Sample lyrics: Boys, boys, boys/ We like boys in cars/ 
Boys, boys, boys/ 
Buy us drinks in bars/ 
Boys, boys, boys/ 
With hairspray and denim
/ Boys, boys, boys
/ We love them/ 
We love them

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Why it's worse than "Friday": Because Gaga writes her own songs (this one was based on Motley Crue's "Girls, Girls, Girls"), and if she spent half as much time thinking of lyrics as she did thinking about dressing up like a drag queen from Mars that has started to hatch, we might get more "Bad Romances" and less "Telephones."

3. Justin Bieber: " Baby"

Sample lyrics: Baby, baby, baby ohh/ Like baby, baby, baby noo/ Like baby, baby, baby ohh/ I thought you'd always be mine

Why it's worse than "Friday": Because when Rebecca sings about days of the week, she gets universally criticized. When Bieber sings the word "Baby" approximately 100 times, he gets nominated for a Grammy. At least "Friday" could be used in elementary schools as a learning tool.

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4. Baha Men: "Who Let the Dogs Out?"

Sample lyrics: Seriously? No. You go ahead and Google it if you can't remember.

Why it's worse than "Friday": Hey, say what you want about Rebecca Black's song, but at least it has a cohesive narrative structure. This is just some crap about dogs but also about girls having a bone (like a boner?), yet for some reason it was a Billboard hit and hotly contested by both the Mets and Seattle Mariners as being "their song." (Which was "a little like scientists arguing over who discovered a deadly virus," according to ESPN.com.)

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5. The Black Eyed Peas: Every song in their catalogue

Sample lyrics: "What you gon' do with all that junk? All that junk inside that trunk?/I'ma get, get, get, get, you drunk, Get you love drunk off my hump."

"No, no, no, no, don’t phunk with my heart"

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"Imma be, Imma be - Imma imma Imma be/ Imma be, Imma be - Imma imma Imma be/ Imma be, Imma be - Imma imma Imma be/ Imma be be be be Imma imma be/ Imma be be be be Imma imma be/ Imma be be be be Imma imma be"

(I could go on, but I'll spare you.)

Why it's worse than "Friday": I have yet to hear a Black Eyed Peas song that features a chorus of real words that weren't made up during one of Fergie's meth binges.

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Drew Grant

Drew Grant is a staff writer for Salon. Follow her on Twitter at @videodrew.

MORE FROM Drew Grant

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Justin Bieber Ke$ha Lady Gaga Music Television

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