From Justin Bieber to Celine Dion, these artists' songs have scaled the charts. But according to critics, that's not always a good thing. Here's a look back at controversial tracks from throughout the years.
30. Barenaked Ladies — “One Week”
Back in 1998, the smash hit One Week was placed high up on the Billboard charts thanks to its simple but catchy lyrics. But that wasn't the only list that the band Barenaked Ladies landed on as one of the top 5.
According to Mental Floss, their hit song is placed in fifth place as one of the most annoying tunes. That low ranking may have something to do with the seemingly random lyrics like, “Chickity China, the Chinese chicken/You have a drumstick, and your brain stops tickin.”
29. Pharrell Williams — “Happy”
Pharrell Williams really wanted the world to know that he was in high spirits back in 2013. His release of Happy sent the word into a frenzy with people nonstop blasting the retro-soul upbeat track. It seemed nearly impossible to escape hearing this song.
...Especially after it was featured in the film Despicable Me 2. But after a while, the hype of the song began to dwindle down, though we can't forget how ingrained that tune is in our heads. And apparently, neither could USA Today, who ranked the song as the 7th most annoying hit song ever.
28. Tones and I — “Dance Monkey”
We can't forget that opening beat that starts off Tones and I's song Dance Monkey. The electropop track quickly made its way on international charts as a smash hit. The music video even received more than 1 billion viewers on Youtube. But still, while some loved it, others were reaching for the off button.
Based on a survey conducted by Album of the Year, the community voted that Dance Monkey was the most irritating track of all time. Maybe it was because they couldn't shake those lyrics out of their head. Whatever the case, we doubt it had anything to do with Toni Watson's eccentric vocal range.
27. Starship — “We Built This City”
In 1985 Starship dropped their debut album, and one of the tracks included was We Built This City. The rock and roll song may have been enjoyed by their fans, but there was one specific person who felt quite differently about the band's infamous music.
Stephen Thompson was a music critic for NPR, the radio news channel. He believed that the track Starship caused the death of the rock and roll genre... ouch, that's gotta hurt. But not as much as when a Rolling Stones poll claimed it was the worst song from the 80s.
26. Right Said Fred — “I’m Too Sexy”
Im Too Sexy quickly made its way up as the number 1 song on the US music charts back in the 1990s. Richard and Fred Fairbrass were two brothers who were joined by a third group member to create the now infamous track. But despite its popularity, some argue the song is annoying.
The website Worst Songs Ever included this banger on their list. They explained the "worst" part of the catchy song, "The so-called chorus, in which, instead of mumbling, Fairbrass tries to sing. Stop it. Stop it now!" Yet still, not everyone feels this way. Taylor Swift's, Look What You Made Me Do was influenced by the tune.
25. Vanilla Ice — “Ice Ice Baby”
If the chorus in Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby ever sounded familiar, it's probably because it sounds like a different song. The artist's song eerily resembles Queen and David Bowie's, Under Pressure. And although he claimed he wasn't influenced by them, the court's ruling proved otherwise.
But just because he had to pay the musical legends for "stealing" their iconic whispery hook doesn't mean that many critics didn't find it annoying. According to The Drop, the song Ice Ice Baby belonged on their list of the most annoying rap songs. They explained that it still to this day "is beyond overplayed."
24. Bobby McFerrin — “Don’t Worry Be Happy”
Although Bobby McFerrin is a commended singer in the soul genre, he is still arguably best known for his more catchy, obnoxious tunes. Don't Worry Be Happy may have been intended to lift people's spirits and encourage them to think positively. But things don't always go how they are planned...
Many have found the chirping sounds included in the song to be irritating - even McFerrin himself has agreed to that! Over 15 years after its release in 1988, Rolling Stones put the song on their list of worst songs of the decade. The track was listed as being in 7th place!
23. Meghan Trainor — “All About That Bass”
All About That Bass helped many people around the world feel more comfortable and confident in their bodies. But while the message of the song was a positive one, its beat and tune became negative for many after it was repeatedly played on the radio.
Meghan Trainor's mom (who's mentioned in the song) even once confessed that she is completely over the popular song. And she's not the only one. The Top Tens listed the bubbly pop song as the 27th most annoying song ever. One critic wrote, "This song was so absurdly overplayed that I just can't take it anymore."
22. Flo Rida — “Right Round”
This song was spinning around our head constantly back in 2009 when Flo Rida dropped this smash hit. Right Round became the artist's second number-one hit song, thanks to the sample he used to create the track. Flo Rida sampled Dead or Alive's song You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record).
But according to music critics, the rapper's version was a bit more on the obnoxious side. NME named it as the 12th most annoying song ever. "What does all this say about us as a society? Mainly that we really, really enjoy cheesetastic '80s hair-pop hits in whatever form we can get 'em," said an Entertainment Weekly critic.
21. Chumbawamba — “Tubthumping”
Despite this one-hit-wonder band's song being heard worldwide, Chumbawamba's track was deemed as an annoying tune by critics. The one-hit wonder's song Rubthumping was unfortunately listed in 12th place on Rolling Stone's 2007 list of the "20 Most Annoying Songs."
Before they were making it on the charts, this British group was spending their time in activism rather than trying to make a smash hit. "I get knocked down, but I get up again," they sang in their song that has arguably become well known as a drinking anthem for loud crowds.
20. Nicki Minaj — “Anaconda”
It seems like many of the musical world experts deem songs "annoying" if they were sampled from a different beat. And that also seems to be the case when it comes to Nicki Minaj's song Anaconda, which the rapper sampled from Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back.
It comes as no surprise that one smash hit will create another smash hit, and that's exactly what happened here. The Top Tens placed the derriere-loving track as number 18th on their annoying song list. Despite the criticism, the song charted in first place on Billboard's Hot Hip Hop list.
19. Kid Rock — “All Summer Long”
Kid Rock played on people's nostalgia when he decided to use the same guitar hook as Lynyrd Skynyrd's smash hit song Sweet Home Alabama for his own song, All Summer Long. The 2008 song release became incredibly successful all over the globe. But there were still some who criticized the music.
One user on Rate Your Music wrote a pretty harsh review about the pop-rock song: "complete with pianos, gospel choirs, references to Sweet Home Alabama and more. It just makes me cringe. Not because it glorifies America, but because it's such a stereotype."
18. Toni Basil — “Mickey”
We have Toni Basil to thank for providing us with the now infamous song, Mickey, which has become a classic cheerleading anthem. But it's not just her chirpy sound that made the song so popular - it was also the dance move that the artist created to go along with it.
Despite its overwhelming catchiness and the fact that many dancers and cheerleaders are familiar with the lyrics, the track was not loved by all. Based on the website Stereogum's opinion, the pop song is "one of the great obnoxious crowd-rockers of the early New-wave era." Ouch!
17. Snow — “Informer”
Way back before Eminem or Mac Miller made headlines, there was a different Caucasian rapper dropping smash hits. Snow's song Informer, which he dropped in 1993, became a popular tune in the reggae community. The artist actually wrote the track while he was behind bars.
Yet still, many criticized him and his music, calling him a middle-class youngster trying to act like he was a bad boy when he really wasn't. Spin readers voted that Informer was one of the most annoying songs and music videos of the year back when it was dropped.
16. USA for Africa — “We Are the World”
From Bob Dylan to Lionel Richie, the artists featured in this iconic song are some of the greats. Yet still, even these musical geniuses couldn't stop We Are the World from becoming a target by critics. And neither could the fact that it was recorded for charity.
Mental Floss placed it in third place on their list of most annoying songs to ever exit. It's pretty shocking to learn that successful artists like Michael Jackson and Bruce Springsteen somehow made their way onto such a list. Looks like there really is a first time for everything!
15. Lumidee — “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)”
This jumpy track blew up after its release in 2003, which made sense since it was, in fact, a well-produced song. But thanks to a mix-up in the vocal range that Lumidee could be heard singing on Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh), the critics came for it hard.
According to the artist, the original backing that she sang in the studio didn't end up being included. That may be why Rate Your Music gave it a 2.99 score out of 5. One user wrote, "Masterful rhythm, subtle, almost-not-quite-there vocals… a wistful, rather sexy chorus."
14. Justin Bieber — “Baby”
Ah, the good ole days, when JB was just a fresh-faced 15 year old with a high-pitched vocal range. Who could forget the sensation pop single Baby, which quickly landed on the number 5 spot on Billboards charts? And while thousands of fans with Bieber Fever loved the song, there were some people with a different opinion.
Two high schoolers in Chicago decided to put it to the test: how annoying could the song really be? They played Baby through the loudspeaker system on their campus, and they said they wouldn't stop till they raised $1,000 for charity. It didn't take long for them to reach their goal… we'll just leave that one here.
13. Ed Sheeran — “The A Team”
Ed Sheeran made headlines after releasing his 2011 single, The A Team. The slow indie-pop track quickly made its way to the top of the charts. It seemed like everyone constantly had this hit playing, but after a while, it started to become rather annoying to many.
NME placed it as their 19th most annoying song. And they weren't the only ones who found it to be overplayed. There was a meme circulating a few years back explaining that because the track started with the letter 'A', anytime an AUX cord was connected to a phone, it would automatically be played. Perhaps that explains a lot.
12. Celine Dion — “My Heart Will Go On”
Fans of Titanic may know the iconic Celine Dion song My Heart Will Go On as the one that plays during the end scene of the movie. Thanks to its popularity, it has been played in many funerals and weddings. So much so, that there are many people out there who hope they never have to hear it again.
Newstalk surveyed their audiences, and the results of the poll revealed that the slow song was voted as the most annoying choice out of all the musical eulogy options. A user on Rate Your Music confessed, "Is it overplayed? Yes. Is it extremely cheesy? Yes. Is her accent incredibly annoying? Yes indeed."
11. Nickelback — “Photograph”
Nickelback has been the target of criticism for quite some time. And although the band has some smash hit tunes, there is one track in particular that many fans have found to be obnoxious. Photograph was rated a low score of 1.6 out of 5 by users of Rate Your Music.
"I could not drag enough words out of my vocabulary to do justice to just how atrocious this song is, so I will not bother," one person harshly commented about the pop-rock song. Luckily these music critics haven't slowed down the band from recording more post-grunge hits.
10. Bruno Mars — “The Lazy Song”
In 2010 Bruno Mars released a song declaring how much he loved to just sit around his home, "chilling in his Snuggie." But despite the artist's evident talents, the catchy track was soon deemed to be one of his lesser favorites by fans. Why, exactly?
A year after it came out, NME didn't just put it on their list of the top 25 most annoying songs. They placed The Lazy Song in first place. Luckily for the singer, since the release of the catchy melody, he has recorded a few songs that charted on Billboards Top 100.
9. James Blunt — “You’re Beautiful”
After dropping his song You're Beautiful in 2004, Blunt's track was beloved by many - but others were not big fans. That's not to say they didn't like the artist himself, it was the indie-pop song that was found unenjoyable by many. At one point, even he himself agreed that it was annoying.
Despite being named the number 1 song the year of its release in 11 different countries, it also was placed as the top choice in another list. CBC put You're Beautiful as the most irritating song on their list. "Any song that is No. 1 for so long does start to get annoying," said one survey voter.
8. Billy Ray Cyrus — “Achy Breaky Heart”
This rocker's family is arguably well known for making songs that easily get stuck in our heads. But before Miley Cyrus was releasing smash hits left and right, her dad Billy Ray was the one on top in the music world. His release of Achy Breaky Heart became pretty popular.
The 1990's track may have been playing in bars across the nation, but that didn't mean that the tune was liked by everyone. Rolling Stones placed the song as one of the 10 worst songs of the decade. It was actually the only one on the list that was from the "country" genre.
7. Lou Bega — “Mambo No.5”
With its brass hooks and catchy lyrics, this Lou Bega song is arguably well-known by many people. It's hard to forget such a distinct beat. But despite it being repeatedly played on the radio, Mambo No. 5 has made its way onto many unfavorable song lists.
The website Celebrity claimed that it is "objectively one of the worst songs ever conceived." And even over a decade after its release, NPR placed it on their list of worst songs to ever exist in 2014. We wonder how Erica, Rita, and Monica feel about that.
6. Los Del Rio — “Macarena”
Most people may probably know both the lyrics and the infamous dance that goes along with the song Macarena. But it wasn't always so popular - it took about four years after it was dropped to become an international success. Although maybe it was too much of a hit.
Because after being played so much, the catchy beat was placed on Rolling Stones 2007's list as the 2nd most annoying song. Yet still, even after nearly three decades since its release in 1993, the Los Del Rio track is still constantly played at many birthday parties and events.
5. Limp Bizkit — “Rollin’”
Limp Bizkit was one of the famous rock n roll bands of the early 2000s. Their song Rollin' quickly made its way up to the number 1 song in the UK. The nu-metal track may have been enjoyed by fans in Britain, but that didn't mean everyone liked the beat.
According to a list created by Blender magazine, the rock metal track was placed 5th out of 50 of the worst songs ever. So, it's clear that it would make its way to our list of the most annoying songs. One user on Rate Yoru Music explained, "Yeah, it's bad - but still catchy. Great when I'm jogging on the treadmill."
4. Michael Jackson — “Earth Song”
From Smooth Criminal to Man in the Mirror, this musical legend has gifted us with numerous hit songs. But unfortunately, they can't all be winners. Michael Jackson's track Earth Song was perhaps not some of his best work. And it seems like it wasn't just fans who thought that.
During the 1996 BRIT Music Awards, fellow artist Jarvis Cocker infamously jumped on stage and crashed the King of Pop's performance of the catchy tune. And let's just say that people weren't too upset about it. The song was ranked in 14th place, according to Scribol's list of annoying songs of all time.
3. LMFAO — “Party Rock Anthem”
In 2011, this house song truly did become the Party Rock Anthem. Nearly all clubs, bars, and house parties were dancing along to the LMFAO hit. "Lyric and chord changes are a buoyant joy which will always resonate with human ears and transcend time," explained Cherrytree Records founder Martin Kierszenbaum about its success.
But over time, it got to a point where it perhaps became too overplayed. Eventually, fans started to roll their eyes whenever they heard that now infamous beat come on at any concert. NME recognized it as being an irritating tune, placing it as number 14 on their list of annoying songs.
2. Aqua — “Barbie Girl”
The Danish-Norewiegina pop group Aqua had no idea just how popular their fun dance song would become. The track quickly hit number 7 on Billboard's Hot 100. And even over 20 years since its release in 1997, Barbie Girl is still arguably a well-known song amongst many.
Regardless of its success, Mattel filed a lawsuit against the group for using their trademark name of the iconic Barbie doll. Eventually, the company dropped the charges, and they actually used the song for their ads. Yet still, the tune became overplayed, and Rolling Stones named it one of the worst songs from the 90s.
1. Rebecca Black — “Friday”
Anyone who was on the internet in 2011 may probably already be familiar with the popular track Friday. The then-new artist, Rebecca Black, took the world by storm with her catchy lyrics. It seemed like it was all anyone was singing for months after it was dropped on Youtube.
But it was possible that most of the views it received were from people criticizing the catchy pop song. Scribol named the song the 11th most annoying one of all time. Yet despite all the hate she's received throughout the years, Black has continued to put out music to this day...