As a rule, I prefer to share stuff I adore. Rare finds. Unlikely but likable things. Unexpected pleasures. Books that I think deserve a wider readership, for instance, or experiences that I'd like to encourage others to have.
But that basic human urge to share the other side --the irresistible impulse that says, "Jeepers, this stinks! Sniff it!"
Is there a Germanic term for this instinct , like schadenfreude? There ought to be.
It would be generous to imagine that our impulse to share things revolt the senses is like –– as the old phrase has it, trouble shared is trouble halved.
But I don't guess kindness is any part of the underlying motivation. I believe the reason we love sites like cake wrecks and people of Walmart is NOT to reduce the shock one feels. Sharing amplifies that shock but also, like a clever party-goer, scrapes off the offending image or scent onto someone else. Here, look, isn't it awful?!
So when I say the three worst songs in my music history are as follows, I am not simply trying to entertain.
I can live with Flock of Seagulls' one hit. And Tony Basil's "Micky" just makes me smile fondly at those early MTV days. But Toto?
I don't care who covers "Africa."
It's still a tone-deaf ear-wormy catchy damn tune that irritates me down to my cuticles.
This song, plus Europe's "The Final Countdown," and Toto's other smash-me-in-the ear, "Rosanna," make me doubt in the cheering power of pop music.
Sure, it was funny on Anchorman. But the earnest warbling of "Afternoon Delight" so lacks irony or even basic self-awareness...
And ultimately it's worse, even, than those other two late 70's sex embarrassments, Captain and Tenille's "Muskrat Love" and Paul Anka's awful "Having My Baby."
Super creepy AND awful, so when you find yourself humming the refrain of "Into the Night," you've become complicit.
Trying to listen to this –– why do I even remember it? see above. The wretched refrain! –– was a toss-up of unpleasantness with the almost-equally miserable "Young Girl, Get Out of My Mind" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, another pedophilic tune that, oddly, falls right into my vocal range.
Karen was always on the skins.