Open Cord (June 15): Embarrassing Songs

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Graphic by Wade Thompson

Question: Discovering and listening to music is an aspect that can reveal a lot about your personality and taste. Sharing, singing and grooving along to songs set the tone of what you like to listen to and whether or not there are people around you who feel the same way. Music can help paint the picture of your identity that you want others to see in a positive light, but sometimes there are a few tracks that get exposed that go in a more humiliating direction. They’re catchy, they ring in your head all the time, you know every single word. They’re the songs that are labelled embarrassing by your pals and opens up room for your taste and music ego to be laughed at. We all have our guilty secrets; this week in Open Cord, the staff admit to the most embarrassing song they know ALL the lyrics to. Read it and laugh; all we ask in return is that you don’t judge us…

Stephanie Truong, Graphics Editor: One song that I am extremely ashamed and embarrassed to know all the words to would be the infamous “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber. I know that this song is horribly overplayed and by the Biebs, but it is so darn catchy. I hold my taste in music to a pretty high regard — I’m one of those in-the-closet-hipsters that listen to bands who name themselves after animals and other obscure things — but this song just wriggles into my ears and nestles itself comfortably in my brain for the ENTIRE day. At first I took on the usual approach: wrinkling my face in disgust whenever it came on, but sure enough, it began to grow on me. Admittedly, the little whispering bit freaked me out at first. But after awhile, I found myself whispering along too… then eventually, every other word that followed. There is no force more relentless than mainstream pop music.

Alanna Fairey, Lead Reporter: Oh geez, do I have to admit this out loud? Before I tell my story and the reasoning behind it, I ask that you all still look at me the same way afterwards; I don’t want anyone’s perceptions of me to be altered because of this humiliating revelation of mine. Remember that musical/romance/comedy film called From Justin to Kelly that starred American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini? Remember how it was also a box office bomb and it was criticized for its awful dialogue, acting skills and even the song choices? Well for some reason, which I cannot fully fathom, I was (kind of still am) obsessed with that movie. I was probably the only person in the world who actually “liked” that movie. So in the fresh stages of my obsessional phase, I watched it religiously. And because I watched it so much, I memorized the lyrics to all the songs that they sang in that movie, especially because I idolized Kelly Clarkson and her voice. I’m not kidding. I wish I were, but all of the lyrics are etched into my memory forever. Sometimes they will just pop up in my everyday conversation and I just make myself look like a goon. I especially look moronic when I start to rap to the songs. To add to my chagrin, I also know all the dialogue off by heart. And just to add the icing on the cake, I’m watching that movie as I’m writing this… and singing along to all the songs, still thinking that I’m Kelly Clarkson. Yup, I would seem to be pretty embarrassed at this moment.

Elizabeth DiCesare, Campus News Editor: Please don’t judge me (too much) after reading this answer. I went through a really weird phase in high school … Don’t ask me why or how, but I know all the lyrics to “I’m A Gangster” by Josh Tobin. It’s such a terrible song, and I feel like trash whenever I hear it because I have to sing along, but hey, it happens. Haters ‘gonna hate, yoooo.

Justin Fauteux, Editor-in-Chief: This one was a bit of a no brainer for me. It all started on a Tuesday production night in the Cord office. First, we had our initial exposure to the phenomenon that was “Friday” by Rebecca Black, and that led us to something that was (if you can believe it) even more hilariously awful. I’m talking of course about “My Jeans” by Jenna Rose. The song is similar to “Friday”, just swap out the day of the week for a pair of jeans. Featuring such oh-so brilliant lines as “it feels like heelys are racing on my spine” (heelys are those shoes with wheels… yeah) and “I can go anywhere in my jeans” and the granddaddy of them all “ha-ha-ha-ha, jack my swag”, the lyrics are so comically bad, that they just stuck with me. While Jenna Rose singing about jeans is funny enough to make me remember the lyrics, what really clinches it is the rap verses by featured rapper Baby Triggy. In addition to a lengthy question and answer about a “new BlackBerry”, this is an actual line from Triggy: “Sorry, I was stuck in a daydream when I bought those jeans with my new ice creams”. Need I say more? (I don’t think I really need to explain why it’s embarrassing that I know the words to this song).

Shelby Blackley, Sports Editor: So this became a very difficult question for me. Let’s be honest, to any eye, the fact that I know the lyrics to every Nickelback song is enough embarrassment on its own to be deemed appropriate for this question. However to me, that seems like a regularity. So to figure out a possible embarrassing song, I literally went through my entire iTunes — which doesn’t end — trying to find one that I would say “wow this is embarrassing.” Sadly, I found that I just know a lot of random songs — but not necessarily embarrassing. The two I concluded with were “Hamlet’s Soliloquy” recited by William Shatner, and “Mr. Simple” by Super Junior. Before you judge me for having a Shakespearean soliloquy in my library, I have to defend myself! Thanks to that recitation, I managed to achieve a 98 per cent in my grade 12 English class where I had to say the entire soliloquy in front of my class with no aids. To this day — over a year later — I can still recite it perfectly. That’s embarrassing. The second song is embarrassing just because I am literally the whitest person you will EVER meet — and it is a Korean Pop genre song — with Koreans singing it. Yet somehow, I know every word. How? I couldn’t really tell you. It may be because in my hometown, I am a minority in a group of Asian friends. Their corruption of KPOP has made me not only know every word, but love it… sadly.

Katelyn Cullum, Lead Reporter: “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot. I’m pretty sure I was a rapper in another lifetime… or at least I pretend I was.

Colleen Connolly, Features Editor: This confession dates back to a time when there were no part time jobs or excessive amounts of homework filling my spare time, a time when it was my prime adolescent objective to learn as many useless skills as possible before the onset of any real, grown up responsibility. Now I was a rather musical child, so while other kids learned to turn cartwheels and stick whole fists in their mouths, I took it upon myself to memorize the entire choreography of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” along with all the lyrics to Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby.” Yup, I’m that shameless girl who gets excited when the opening notes of “Under Pressure” come over the speaker because it might just be that one hit wonder I know so well instead. And for the record, I still can’t do a cartwheel.

Marissa Evans, Lead Reporter: Considering that I don’t know all of the lyrics to the song I chose, I still have some credibility… right? Either way the first song that came to mind was Carly Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe”. I’m not generally someone who listens to mainstream pop music (is that even what you would call it? It’s so mainstream, I don’t even know. But it’s not my fault that these songs are so catchy), so the only time I really hear it is when I have the radio on the car. But even then I’m more likely to plug in my iPod rather than listen to the radio, so it’s kind of a wonder that I know most of the lyrics! Couldn’t be the fact that the song is basically comprised of a chorus now could it? Oh well, at least I haven’t stooped to putting the song on my iPod… yet.

Lindsay Purchase, Local and National Editor: I don’t care what you say, Bowling for Soup is fantastic. Okay fine, they suck. But there was that one song, right? Of course, I didn’t just listen to “1985“. I know the lyrics (or at least enough of them) to every song on their album A Hangover You Don’t Deserve, including such greats as “Trucker Hat” and “Next ex-girlfriend.” In my defence, I got the CD off a recommendation from a friend who I thought was cooler than me (we were equally uncool). And I didn’t have a lot of CDs at this point, so if I had it, you’re damn right I knew it. While my tastes have upgraded a bit since then, I have to admit that every once in awhile I still like to reminisce and listen to a few songs. Now, everyone sing it, “I don’t want to get inside your mind or your pants, I don’t wanna waste my time with love and romance!” Yeahhhh!

Carly Basch, Life Editor: “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal. It’s embarrassing because ever since I was a little girl, I have always wanted to slow dance to that song. This is in addition to me belting out the chorus alone in my room and my heart melting right when he starts singing “ba de dah de dah dah dah dah”….

Nick Lachance, Photography Manager: I would just like to take the opportunity to say I know almost all of the words from every song on Dance Mix 95 and that neither makes me embarrassed nor ashamed. I think the album is the pinnacle of music creation. “Saturday night“, “Dreamer“, “Every Shade Of Blue“, “Total Eclipse of the Heart“, “What is Love” ?!?! Who could ever be embarrassed by those songs? I have no shame, only good memories. Yes I remember when it was released. Shut up.

Shaun Fitl, Web Editor: When “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley starts playing it is usually not my fault. There I would be, just minding my own business, searching for trailers for movies that do not yet exist (like Star Wars VII) when all of the sudden I am ambushed by infectious rhythms and brilliantly choreographed dance moves. The worst part is that even after I’ve been Rickrolled I will still sit there and reluctantly sing along to the musical equivalent of taking a sip of Perrier when you thought it was 7up, dang.

Cristina Rucchetta, Lead Photographer: Those who know me, know that I’m the kind of person who listens to and appreciates almost every extreme of music from ska to country to pop to punk and everything in between, but my one weakness is boy bands. Generally I’m not ashamed of admitting that I know every Backstreet Boys song ever made and released or that I was once a Jonas Brothers fan when they reached their peak in the music industry. However, to this day, I am ashamed to admit that I know the entire first O-Town album like the back of my hand. After rediscovering my once favourite album, I found it hard to believe I supported a band who released singles like, “Liquid Dreams” and “We Fit Together”, or, what’s worse is that I still knew all the lyrics. Now, whenever the opportunity arises, I still can’t help but turn up the music and happily sing along to every word.

Wade Thompson, Visual Director: Well, I’m not really embarrassed by any song that I know the lyrics to. There are a number of options that I could write about which should fall under that category but I find it way more hilarious to know ridiculous music than to be embarrassed by it. Now that being said, I do still have a few songs that I say to myself “it’s a little sad that I know this”. I was going to also answer “My Jeans” by the incomparable Jenna Rose, but Fauteux took that one so I’ll throw out another option. Back in the days of the boy band mania and all those Mickey Mouse Club kids who started to get famous and racy, there was an uber successful all-girl alternative venture running the circuit. And of course when I say “uber successful”, I of course mean barely memorable. I am without hesitation referring to those award worthy songstresses, Liveonrelease. I am quite proud/ashamed (but mostly proud) to proclaim that their one hit (natch) “I’m Afraid of Britney Spears” is packed away amongst my memory bank. When they came out with that jam I thought it was amazing. “Someone is really giving it to all those dumb pop artists!! Hooray!!” Little did I know that it was far worse than a lot of the songs being released by the artists they were “afraid” of. Anyway, that’s one of the great, terrible songs of our time, and I know all the words. I will sit idly by while they form a reunion tour consisting of that one tune.

Justin Smirlies, Managing Editor: News: Don’t ask.

Kate Turner, Photography Manager: I don’t even know how this came to happen, but I know every single word to Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” and I am not ashamed. Usually. The only time that this golden lyrical knowledge becomes inconvenient is when people decide to sing this at Chainsaw and my friends proclaim that they hate it. So I am then presented with two options: either sing it in my head (which is harder than you’d think, seriously this song is the best) or face the horrified stares of my friends by belting it out with pride. I usually go with the latter. A slightly (and I mean slightly) embarrassing thing about knowing these lyrics is that the song is nearly 9 minutes long. That is a lot of lyrics.

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