There is a certain musical formula required in order to create an instant hit. But for some reason, some songs slip through the cracks, and then what’s even more baffling is that these songs hit number one. These songs either rely on an incredible gimmick, perhaps a dance routine or an animated frog. Others are just terrible songs.
But what were the worst number ones? Well, that’s what we’ll try to get to the bottom of. Taken strictly as songs, stripping away all gimmicks or the intentions behind their release, none of them deserved to hit number as they’re all quite subpar songs. But why stall any longer, on with the show.
50. Robbie Williams: Millennium (1998)
What is that chorus? I don’t even know. Released to coincide with the upcoming turn of the millennium, it was clear Williams wanted a sure fire hit. Now the production isn’t horrible and the vocal isn’t bad, by Williams’ standards. But the chorus is painful to endure, as is the outro. It doesn’t even sound like him. The song is also horribly repetitive, which only really works if what you’re repeating is actually any good.
Williams has had much stronger songs where he is clearly in his comfort song, but I can’t escape the feeling that ‘Millennium’ was released as up to that point he had failed to land a number one on his own.
49. The Wanted: All Time Low (2010)
Apparently, The Wanted’s debut hit was shunned by a majority of radio stations, leaving a rather sour taste in their mouth. But can you really blame them? The lyrics are horrible, and the vocal delivery is rather bland. The song’s second half is undoubtedly stronger than the first half, but only because the chorus pack that extra punch needed.
Ballads have never been the strongest tool in their arsenal, so to kick off their career with a subpar mid tempo number was not a wise move. It’s no surprise ‘Glad You Came’ served as their debut single worldwide, as it’s a much stronger number that doesn’t showcase the band’s weakest assets.
48. Take That: Babe (1993)
One of Take That’s weakest hits. I’ve always found a majority of their songs which place Mark Owen at the forefront are quite lacklustre, despite his strong vocal. However, in order to show some type of fragility and vulnerability to his voice, Owen decides to whisper and mumble his way through a majority of his lines. It’s quite a heinous crime, as the production is very lazy and dreary, thus his vocal offers nothing to the song.
Owen nowadays reserves his voice for the upbeat numbers, leaving Gary Barlow to helm a majority of the band’s ballads, and I can’t help but think that this dismal effort is the reason why.
47. Hanson: MMMBop (1997)
‘MMMBop’ was undoubtedly one of the biggest hits of the 1990s, but it’s actually quite a subpar song. The vocals are very strained, especially in the lacklustre verses. The chorus is able to salvage some credibility, but only because the band’s harmonies chirp in and cover up the stretched lead vocalist.
Nonetheless, the music is fun and engaging, so all is not list. But the vocal performance leaves a lot to be desired. Towards the end of the song, the backing vocalist is able to showcase his voice, and it actually asks the question that perhaps he’d be able to deliver a much stronger performance.
46. Spice Girls: Too Much (1997)
Aside from being their most forgettable hit, ‘Too Much’ is also the Spice Girls’ blandest single to hit number one (I can’t say blandest ever because ‘Headlines (Friendship Never Ends) deserves that accolade).
It’s incredibly beige for a single, with very little that makes in stand out. ‘Stop’ was a much more deserving number one. Sporty Spice is the only saving grace of this song, who manages to inject some life into her short lived verses. The chorus is incredibly dreary and mind numbingly dull, whilst the production offers very little in terms of variation, or decency for that matter.
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