THANKS FOR THE nominations for title of worst song / lyrics ever in the comments columns and through emails yesterday.
An obvious top scorer is Benny Lava, a Bollywood YouTube hit from 2008, which might be the most random song ever.
It was created by accident. An English-speaker tried to write down the lyrics of a Bollywood song, interpreting the Hindi words as if they were English. The result was complete nonsense which seemed to have a chorus focused around the name “Benny Lava”. Below is the original classic video:
In terms of bad interpretations of nonsense lyrics, it’s hard to beat William Shatner, nominated by TS and Paul Foxgrove, doing a classic John Lennon number.
Shatner, the actor who played Captain Kirk in the original TV series of Star Trek, tried out a different career as a pop singer. He couldn’t really sing, so he just sort of spoke the lyrics as an actor would.
But what is truly amazing is just how awful the delivery is. Check out the video below if you haven’t seen it.
Shatner also recorded Pulp’s rocker Common People, TS pointed out. I can’t bear to inflict two doses of Shatner on anyone in a single day, so I will just provide the link in case anyone can handle more of this awful man: Common People by William Shatner.
Still on the subject of of nonsense lyrics, here are two examples of songs which have a lot of words, but in no known language—one good one and one bad one.
We’ll start with the bad one. Hubba Hubba Zoot Zoot sounds silly and it really is. It’s a Swedish hit with meaningless sounds assembled end to end.
In contrast, the composer Karl Jenkins wanted to do something vaguely Latinate, but did not know any Latin, so he made up his own nonsense words for the following piece.
Jenkins is a really good composer, and the nonsense words fitted the song so well that millions of people bought the CD, not realizing that the lyrics had no meaning whatsoever.
Now back to Asia for a song nominated by Christyn Rana. This hit by Nima Ruma partly in the Nepalese language and partly in English is sad on several counts.
Nima can sing and his band can play (Nepalese people are a very creative, attractive bunch in my experience), but one can’t help feel uncomfortable by the assumption that the right way to make a piece of artistic work is to copy the West.
The guitar solo at 0.47 in this song is perfect—IF the song had been recorded in the UK in, say, 1966. For a song released in Nepal in 2009, it’s the wrong sound at the wrong time in the wrong place.
But perhaps the real challenge is that the chorus is built around the English word “Shoes” – a word which Nima unfortunately cannot pronounce. So the platform shoes in the chorus (at 1.07 onwards) becomes “block hill sooze”.
Finally, going back to where we started, here is a Bollywood classic: the Nipple Song. After reading the lyrics to this, it is impossible to listen to this song without hearing the English version of the words:
What do the above hits teach us? Why be clever, when you can just be silly instead? It’s a point well worth learning.