Being a DJ has a ton of perks: I get to play music for living, pretend I'm kinda-sorta famous and go on an unqualified ego trip for a few hours every night and most importantly, get wasted at work in full view of my employers with absolutely no fear of consequences. But with all those golden career advantages come some pointed downsides: ridiculously late hours, shaggy 30-something men needing to let me know how they "used to DJ on vinyl," the alcohol problem I've developed at work and the inevitability of annoying drunk girls throwing a fit because I won't play "Call Me Maybe" again / let them stand in the booth / they don't understand why I'm taking so long with their vodka cranberry when they ordered it 20 minutes ago, HELLO!?
One of the primary downsides, though, is hearing those culture-defining songs I get stuck playing over and over again until I want to go all Van Gogh on both of my ears. While some of these unavoidable pillars of popular music age better than others (e.g., "We Found Love," almost every Michael Jackson song, see below), others become so insipid that even if I loved them initially, I'd sign a pact with the devil to never hear them again in my whole life. Others still just straight-up blow right from the jump.
So if Lucifer ever comes forth to offer me said agreement, here are my 10 songs whose complete banishment from my eardrums for the rest of my existence would be fully worth eternal damnation, in no particular order:
"I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas: This is the song I had in mind when I set out to pen this little index, so let's kick it off here. God, how I detest this song. "I Gotta Feeling" falls squarely on the list of tunes I never even liked when it was at its zenith, being played on a constant loop at every club, wedding and middle school dance, in every cab and beer commercial and oddly enough, consistently at my weed dealer's four-story walk-up in Bushwick for an entire year. Look -- I'm all about frivolous fun (the truth is, I'll probably play "Call Me Maybe" again, with joy, for the aforementioned inebriated chick), but the Black Eyed Peas just revel in stupidity and this is the height of it (see also, Will.I.Am's current aural affront, "Scream & Shout" and of course, "My Humps"). An entire verse of the song is dedicated to just reciting the days of the week. Bottom Line: Us Jews had no choice but relinquish the term "L'Chaim" after this debacle.
"Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z & Alicia Keys: This was pretty euphoric before it suffered an arduous and painful death due to shameless over-saturation, especially around these parts. "Over-played" is far too kind a word for this song. It was basically bludgeoned to death with the with the long-forgotten corpses of former Carter-Knowles employees who even dared to look sideways at Beyonce's golden weave. Also, I hate to point this out, but "New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of" is not a complete sentence, any way you twist it.
"Don't You Want Me Baby" by The Human League: There is no way for me to hear this song and not think about the crew of doushy, beer-bellied bros in some sports bar on Long Island screaming the "OOOOOHHHHH!!!" part of the chorus, off-key, in unison right before one of them vomits from drinking too much 4 Loko.
"Teach Me How To Dougie" by Cali Swag District: We learned (well, some of us did. "A" for effort anyway, white people). Next lesson please.
"Thriller" by Michael Jackson: It feels borderline sacrilegious including Mike on this list, but "Thriller" has gotta go the way of its creator. It's hardly that this is a bad song but unfortunately, the holiday that helped make it so indelible, Halloween, also kinda destroyed it. Instead of its classic parent album, "Thriller" mostly brings to mind Party City commercials and the cassette "Spooky Songs For Kids!" that my mom played while shoving our hands in "human brains" (cold noodles) in the makeshift haunted house she set up in our basement. Then of course, there's consummate white-girl Jennifer Garner completely bastardizing the iconic dance sequence in 13 Going on 30. Apologies to my dearest MJ: This is largely not your fault. Thankfully, I'll probably never be sick of basically every other piece of music you ever touched.
"OMG" by Usher & Will.I.Am: "OMG" this is the soundtrack of a gruesome, dystopian auto-tuned nightmare! It shouldn't have been such a surprise that this sucked as hard as it did (it features vocals from Will.I.Am, after all), but the track's most egregious offense is how it single-handedly dismantled any credibility Usher had built up over the preceding 10 years of far-superior hits. He has never recovered.
Any Flo-Rida song: Friends, why do we keep encouraging this guy? The reason anyone even "likes" a Flo-Rida song is always because of some aspect of it other than Flo-Rida. Sometimes it's the sample (Eiffel 65's "Blue" in "Sugar," Avicii's "Levels" in "Good Feeling"), sometimes it's the guest who sings the hook (T-Pain on "Low," Ke$ha on "Right Round") and mostly, it's just Sia. Flo-Rida is definitively the worst part of every Flo-Rida song and yet he racks up hit after horrid, cranium-exploding hit. Please join me in ending this man's delusion and hence our own collective suffering, once and for all. Please?
"Levels" by Avicii: This song has become the "in-joke" of the DJ community. It was really amazing for a while there, but somewhere along the line Avicii, every DJ the world over, and the rise of molly managed to turn Etta James into the most ridiculously overplayed club artist of the past three years.
"Gangnam Style" by Psy: Do I really need to explain this one? We were warned about this kind of perverse phenomenon 15 years ago with " The Macarena." Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on the inexplicable K-Pop explosion, I guess?
"Don't Stop Believing" by Journey: I have completely stopped believing. Forever.
So that's that. No offense to any of these artists (besides Flo-Rida, I fully mean to offend you), but these songs definitely need to be punished and shown to the gates of Hades where they will have ample time to think about what they've done. That's my kill list. What's on yours?