Rolling Stone magazine recently released the outcome of a
readers’ poll for the ten
worst songs of the 1980s. Now I’ll be the first to tell you, that there
were some songs released in the 80s that made a pancake on a turntable sound
good, but I had to laugh when I saw this list. (Even Andy Greene admitted in the
article that the readers got it wrong.) I'm gonna give you my take on this list and why this needs to be Rolling Stone's "final countdown."
Here is the list:
#1 Starship - "We Built This City" #2 Europe - "The Final Countdown" #3 Chris De Burgh - "Lady In Red" #4 Wham! - "Wake Me Up (Before You Go-Go)" #5 Men Without Hats - "Safety Dance" #6 Falco - "Rock Me Amadeus" #7 Bobby McFerrin - "Don't Worry Be Happy" #8 Tony Basil - "Mickey" #9 Taco - "Putting On The Ritz" #10 Rick Astley - "Never Gonna Give You Up"
My first problem with this poll is there is no real definition of "worst." Is it based on a general dislike for the song? Is it because it sounds bad musically or the singing off key? Or is it because there is no substance to the lyrics? My guess is most people voted because of a general dislike for the song. I could see maybe voting for a couple of these songs for the same reason, but I would have a problem voting for any song that had tremendous success. Here are the positions, respectively, that these songs peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 chart: 1, 8, 3, 1, 3, 1, 1, 1, 4, 1. To reiterate, that's 6 number 1s, 3 top 5s, and 1 top 10!!! It's hard for me to believe with this kind of success, that this poll accurately represents the USA as a whole.
Which brings me to my next point. The audience polled by Rolling Stone includes people that should not get a vote. But wait, isn't Rolling Stone a music magazine? Shouldn't its readers know a thing or two about music? Of course they should, but this kind of poll should use an audience that is age appropriate. By that, I mean people who know have heard these songs many times and remember a time when they were first popular. By their own statistics, 30% of Rolling Stone subscribers are ages 18-24. That's people who were born in 1987-93! C'mon, they shouldn't get to vote! If you polled that group on what radio station they listen to, do you think the station would play any of these songs? I'd also venture that 90% of the people who voted for Rick Astley were in this group and voted just because they were sick of being "Rickrolled" three years ago.
I say enough with the top ten list polls as a whole. I think personal top ten lists are fine to voice your opinion, but the right audience needs to be right on any polling topic or else you'll get results such as these. Nice try, Rolling Stone, but next time keep your results to yourself!