We all have moments in our past that we’d rather forget, moments of embarrassment that make us cringe when we remember them unintentionally.
But apart from our individual moments of embarrassment, we, as a country, have another set of those moments.
It’s hard to look back on television shows like Full House or Too Close for Comfort and believe that these shows were ever popular, bringing in millions and millions of views each week.
Similarly, the recent history of pop music in the Western world includes many songs and artists we secretly wish we’d never listened to.
In case you had successfully forgotten any of these cringe-worthy tracks, we’re here to save the day. We’ve compiled some of the worst hit singles of the 2000s for your tentative enjoyment.
Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
The chorus of this song may very well be permanently engrained in the collective consciousness of our society.
The lyrics are nothing very complicated, and even today we may still be wondering what a hollaback girl really is. It has survived as one of the truly great mysteries of our time.
Despite its vaguely sexy implications, this song still got played at just about every middle school and high school dance in the U.S. for a solid 7 years.
Poker Face – Lady Gaga
Sure, Lady Gaga was pretty big before this track, but Poker Face was the moment when Gaga really did blow up into one of the biggest pop stars of recent memory.
This was the song that made Lady Gaga a national conversation. It was actually difficult just to avoid mention of her name, as well as mention of this very song.
The song was so big that pop culture itself swallowed it up and spit it out again and again and again in many different forms.
There were covers galore and parodies out the wazoo.
Yellow – Coldplay
It’s hard to believe that there was a time when Coldplay was still a small band with a dedicated following.
And maybe it’s because that time was very brief. It didn’t take long at all for the world at large to push the band to new heights of mass popularity.
Yellow actually came pretty early on in Coldplay’s career. Its devilishly catchy, bouncy melody got stuck in heads for days or even weeks at a time.
As with Poker Face, the song spawned an enormous amount of parodies, including Jimmy Fallon’s Troll Doll spoof.
Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
One hit wonders are pretty common in American pop music. They come from all genres and enjoy their 15 minutes of fame before burning out and disappearing into the clouded annals of history.
But Gnarls Barkley is his own specific kind of one-hit wonder. His track Crazy was popular across many different age groups. And the song was used in many different public places for years and years, including sports games and air shows.
Somehow, Barkley was able to convert this singular moment of widespread success into a starring role on a broadcast network competition show, The Voice.
Regardless of how you feel about his work, you’ve got to give it up for that kind of impressive pop culture maneuvering.
Low (feat. T-Pain) – Flo Rida
Apple-bottom jeans? Yep. And do they have the fur? Yes, yes they do.
The song itself lasted much longer than that particular fashion craze. It was another song that somehow found its way into the sets of DJs often hired for school dances and weddings.
Older audiences never really connected with this track and often held it up as an example of how pop music nowadays was of generally low quality.
Which is true, to an extent. But it was also a simple song with a great hook that was easy to sing along to, and also very easy to dance to.
You’re Beautiful – James Blunt
James Blunt’s ballad of open-ended encouragement was snatched right up by heartbroken little girls as well as the bulk of the adult contemporary scene.
And once a track falls into the category of adult contemporary, its life is automatically extended. Adult contemporary songs can live on forever by being played in shopping malls, easy listening radio stations, and chain restaurants.
The only problem with that afterlife, in this case, is that You’re Beautiful can only be listened to about three times before it becomes the most annoying song of all time. And that’s just scientific fact.
Temperature – Sean Paul
Yeah, I’m guessing you already forgot about this song, and I apologize for bringing it back to mind again.
This is one of those songs that has lyrics vague enough that it can be used for just about any occasion. It’s a party song, general celebration song, a club anthem, and so much more.
And now that I’ve mentioned it, the song’s droning drums along its chorus will be stuck in your head for the rest of the week. Sorry about that.
Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
Older generations had their own set of songs that they would learn on guitar early on, mainly because they were so easy to learn.
Smoke on the Water is an old classic that fits this description exactly. But for kids growing up in the 1990s or the early 2000s, Hey There Delilah took its place as an easy pop song to learn on the guitar, usually without any real skill.
It solidified the Plain White T’s as yet another one hit wonder group, who are remembered only for this singular track.
The song’s whiny lyrics are an embarrassment. And it’s even more embarrassing that most of us had every word of this song memorized at one point or another.
This trend isn’t going to die out anytime soon, either. Ten years from now, we’ll be embarrassed to think that the likes of Mac Miller and BROCKHAMPTON were the biggest acts of our time. In the end, very few musical acts hold up against the test of time.
And that’s ok. As we’ve said before, like what you like, even if feels embarrassing sometimes.