The 20 Worst Songs of 2010, #1: Train, "Hey, Soul Sister"

F2K10 has been a countdown of the 20 worst songs of 2010. Relieve the journey here.

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The future of rock music, right here.
Here are some important things to know about Train's "Hey, Soul Sister."



"Hey, Soul Sister" was the only rock song to land in the Billboard Hot 100's top 10 this year. This is pretty much proof that rock music is dead, right? We're not gonna tell Nickelback to come back because all is forgiven, but this warm washcloth of facepalmy puns and cutey-poo pukulele might be why Captain Beefheart died.

It's pretty much the whitest song to ever have the word "soul" in it, and that includes Death Cab's "Soul Meets Body." There is less soul in the entirety of Train than in the palest single member of Collective Soul. "Hey, Soul Sister" is soul for people who refer to peanut butter and jelly as "soul food." It makes the California Raisins look like the second coming of Sly and the Family Stone. It's so white, Sarah Palin just named it her running mate for 2012.

At its outset, it sounds like that All-American Rejects song that was popular last year. Remember that one? Here, we just Googled it for you. Train, you owe us 20 seconds of our lives back, and we owe All-American Rejects a cut of our vast F2K10 riches.

The chorus is jacked from an even worse place. "Hey Soul Sister" is an orgy where bad ideas trade STDs, and the most syphilitic brain-fart stumbled in drunk from a Smash Mouth show. (For those of you who arrived late, Smash Mouth was a band from the late '90s that was formed when a soul patch met cake frosting. Their wikki-wikki scratching and dorkpie hats did to music what blood-soaked clowns do to the dreams of sleeping children.) Listen to "Hey, Soul Sister" a few times and you'll inevitably be reminded of the "whistling solo" from the Shrek house band's inescapable "All Star." From Smash Mouth, Train picked up an earworm that burrowed into society's asshole, laid 4.7 million iTunes eggs, and gave birth to a grey cloud of banality that covers the Earth.

The lyrics represent the weird hippie fantasies of a yuppie toolbag. Quoth front-nozzle Pat Monahan: "I just wrote on my computer for a while what I saw as a group of beautiful women at Burning Man dancing around the fire. I've never been there before, but that's what I imagined it would be like." Yes, this song is the result of a grown bajillionaire who dresses like a 19-year-old Dane Cook stan sitting pud-handed at his MacBook and writing fan fiction about the fun times hippie girls have at Burning Man. Dude is like five feet and 10 inches of midlife crisis.

How much do you want to bet that the initial rhyme to the word "direction" in the second verse was "erection," and not "Love Connection"? Because, really. Erection.

It makes hashtag rap look poetic. The references to the '80s in "Hey, Soul Sister"--the untrimmed-chest bit, the Mr. Mister and Madonna name-drops, Love Connection--they're all lazier than Garfield in a lasagna coma. Oh, fuck-now they've got us doing it!

The ukulele. The fuck?

It lowered the bar for blowjob references on pop radio. "Your lipstick stains / On the front lobe of my left side brains"? Congratulations, Flo Rida: You just became the front-runner for the National Book Award (Fellatio Division). When the inevitable "keep Train's song out of our precious commercials" movement sprung up, it was called Stop Advertising From Pulling a Train, which is a better sex joke in that it a) makes sense and b) wasn't sung over a ukulele.

The ukulele player looks like Howie Mandel. I mean.

It was the lone pop song to manage cultural ubiquity in a year when that was pretty much impossible. Think about the last time you were stuck in a long line while making a toilet paper run, or were forced to spend time on hold with somebody who assured you that your call was very important, or forgot to DVR Project Runway so you had to sit through all the ad breaks. You probably heard Pat Monahan's weiner warble at some point. That's because "Hey, Soul Sister" is made for those moments when you're forced to do nothing else but listen to it, and it's just catchy enough to rattle around in your head during that downtime's aftermath, disrupting any activities you actually enjoy.

It's never going to die. You thought "Hey, Soul Sister"'s ubiquity on the adult-contemporary charts was enough for it to live on in Walgreens' white-noise perpetuity? Well, there's a country version of the track as well, with the fiddles and vocal harmonies and slide guitar turned all the way up. Somehow the lyrical reference to Madonna is intact -- c'mon, guys, "Loretta" scans just as well, and if you think hard enough you can probably squeeze a reference to "Fist City" in there!

And just think: When your shitty kid marries someone you violently disapprove of 20 years from now, this song -- with its references to blowjobs and songs that were ground into the ground before the kid was a twinkle in your eye -- will serve as the couple's first dance. As you watch your offspring and new in-law twirl around the dance floor, you will reach for a glass of Champagne Loko (President Kid Rock won't try to ban the stuff until he's up for re-election in 2032) and wonder how everything went so, so wrong.

The 20 Worst Songs of 2010:

20. Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder, "Rocketeer"
19. Ringo Starr featuring Joss Stone, "Who's Your Daddy?"
18. Godsmack, "Cryin' Like A Bitch!!"
17. Trade Martin, "We've Got To Stop The Mosque At Ground Zero"
16. Lil Wayne, "Paradice"
15. Susan Boyle, "Hallelujah"
14. Liz Phair, "Bollywood"
13. Christina Aguilera, "The Beautiful People (From Burlesque)"
12. Jackyl Featuring DMC, "Just Like A Negro"
11. NeverShoutNever, "cheatercheaterbestfriendeater"
10. Die Antwoord, "Orinoco Ninja Flow (Wedding DJ's Remix)"
9. Santana featuring Scott Stapp, "Fortunate Son"
8. Ludacris featuring Nicki Minaj, "My Chick Bad"
7. Aaron Lewis featuring George Jones, Charlie Daniels, and Chris Young, "Country Boy"
6. Salem, "Trap Door"
5. Artists for Haiti, "We Are The World 25 For Haiti"
4. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, "Don't Pull Me Over"
3. Cast of Glee, "Loser"
2. Bret Michaels, "What I Got"
1. Train, "Hey, Soul Sister"



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198 comments
jeffandtaraglenn
jeffandtaraglenn

Maura Johnston & Chrissy Whineygarten's opinions are more obnoxious n pathetic than there looks!! White People invented soul u bunch of ignorant twits.. You two wouldnt know good music, if it landed on your wimpy liberal faces.. Trains Song, Soul Sister is Fun & Unique!!! Get a Life, your both not qualified to judge a toddlers bike race..

ali.polatay
ali.polatay

Hey soul sister? Really? F*** you, Seriously...

Guitarist117
Guitarist117

This article is a horrible waste of time! The Whoever wrote this is a douchebag too influenced by rock music and he doesn't know that all different genres are the outcome of classical music. This ass, likes guitar distortion effects, truth is there isn't one person on earth who can play it well without learning acoustic guitar. Ukulele is a guitar family instrument. So, whoever wrote this is paranoid.

Patriot
Patriot

Heard "Train" perform "Hey Soul Sister" at the NFL Wembley match and they were brill!

LucasCorso
LucasCorso

Great list. Thank you. Every song you list belongs there, and Train's abomination is definitely THE worst of them all.

Taufiq Ul Haque
Taufiq Ul Haque

People here are retarded to the point that they actually think they are smart. I dislike most of the songs in this list. But Train? Hell no! Not a die hard fan but this song was definitely not bad! Clearly you people didn't explore music back in 2010, so decided to shit on the ones you listened to and had a stroke. Also, google the word "worst", or look it up in a dictionary. Either way I want you to know what this word really means. I'm also kind of curious about what you all haters listen to. Please list some of your favourite artists, so I can judge how much "better" you are then the rest of us. In my opinion, you're just a common hipster.

La_la_
La_la_

You know what? Go to hell, loser. Train is AWESOME. I hope you die in a hole. 

David Traver Adolphus
David Traver Adolphus

This is the first time I ever heard, or heard of, the Soul Sister song. And now I envy the dead.

Kwesiidun
Kwesiidun

Why isn't "Forget You/"Fuck You" by Cee-Lo Green number one? That song is WANK!!!

notworthittosaymynamehere
notworthittosaymynamehere

You obviously have no idea of music and entertainment. Hey soul sister is not the worst song. There are a lot of songs that could rotten in garbage and Hey Soul Sister is not one of them. Please, accept other music styles other than your favorites.

Serena
Serena

Really? Who ever wrote this article is a fucking joke. get over yourself man

Bill
Bill

Hey some of those songs you listed I actually like. Feel a little embarrassed now. 

Jackyl713
Jackyl713

Thank God! I hated it every freaking time that stupid song came on! Man I couldn't believe it was even a hit! But today's people like that kind of garbage. Somebody needs to come up out of the shadows and save music! Not just pop, but rock, r&b, and country too! Maybe a guy named...Romero?

Cpmillerhomepro
Cpmillerhomepro

people like train just love to show the world how in touch they are with some higher form of soul thats more closely related to the great black artists of past generations which of course it isnt. they also make white people look silly , desperate for black approval and set us back about a thousand years in the process. now go git yourself some tool albums and shut the fuck up whitey

Faggott
Faggott

Amazing, this review is so biased I can't even believe it. Man, you really have no taste on music, a few songs in that list are awesome these days. 

hahahaAmateurs
hahahaAmateurs

...nope. Not 2010. I remember distinctly, this came out right before the beginning of my senior year of high school, and I'm a 2010 grad. Now, don't judge me for being a "young'un" or whatever, but this really isn't bad. Train's newest album has worse singles (have you heard "Marry Me"? Utter crap, and it actually came out in 2010). Point is, I feel this entire list was a pretentious, washed-up derision that dug so deep into the music of 2010 (and 2009, apparently) that it passed right by the truly horrendous popular music of the year. (Drake and will.i.am were even mentioned multiple times, yet their crap music didn't even make it on the list. What the hell?) It seemed to me that most of the songs on the list were blasted for inane and blasé lyrics more so than blasé musicianship. I was surprised that there wasn't much Autotune on this list. Sorry, but you guys have crap taste for old fogeys. I expected better.

Hal
Hal

I love reading these things. Whoever you guys are, never stop posting! I love you, every one of you, b/c you can't help but give into trolls, douchebags, arguments, and general stupidity. It's what makes the internet great. So yeah never change.

Tytykitten
Tytykitten

my chick badddd??really u have no taste top put my chick bad on this list

Denearo
Denearo

"Hey Soul Sister" rocks. It represents true music artistry.

Meankittylove22
Meankittylove22

My little brother loves this song. SHAME ON ALL OF U LOSERZ!!!!!!!!

Read
Read

I agree this song is terrible, but so is the writer of this article. There are better ways to be funny than being a snide, condescending asshole. Then again, this type of douchebaggery has been rampant in music criticism for decades. Robert Christgau would be proud.

Hilbosf
Hilbosf

sounds like someone is bummed out their music career didn't pan out the way they had hoped...or are you just another self-important, semi-educated blogger?! Go F off...

bernard s.
bernard s.

It was worth reading this entire comments section just for this:

"Mike D. 1 week agoAnd by the way...only squares don't think the ukelele kicks ass."

Young Will
Young Will

A girl told me, that we reminded her of this song. I felt kind of sick when she said it then, but now I feel like a dead horse getting beaten, again and again and again. So I wrote a lyric; "I dont need a soul, sista"

Pounds777
Pounds777

First of all, your way off base comparing this song to soul music. Just because it has the word soul in it doesn't make it a soul music song. If you had any inkling of intelligence, you would realize, like the rest of us that like this song, that it is about a person's soul mate not soul music. Also don't criticize others about racial slurs, considering how many you have in your article. I would like to see what your top 10 songs of 2010 are, no other comment there!!

christopher weingarten
christopher weingarten

the 10 worst journalists in 2010

AND THE WINNER IS ................................................................................ Christopher Weingarten !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shew-ver
Shew-ver

I don't know what you're on -- but can you share it with the rest of the class...?!?! This song is a great sing-along and catch to the max. Maybe you should find a job you're good at.

Youlost
Youlost

This song has created a Pavlovian effect, whereby upon hearing it I immediately bash any button on my car radio to get away from it. Train is the Nickelback of awful wuss pop rock.

Vic Garbarini,  Lava
Vic Garbarini, Lava

Train? Really? I mean, sure, but whadabout dat song by Macca and the LadyMadonnaGaGakajagoogoodolls...?

Mike D.
Mike D.

And by the way...only squares don't think the ukelele kicks ass.

Mike D.
Mike D.

Music Publications, especially nowadays blogs, absolutely feel the need to be anti-mainstream/anti-corporate. That's really the only reason the world gets useless articles like these.

Same mindset that voted "We Built This City" worst song ever (Blender). Same mindset that earlier saw "Big Yellow Tax" voted worst song of the 00s. I mean really? Really? You can't think of anything better? And what's worse, you have to token bash anyone that would like the song as if musical tastes can't be wide-ranging. Anyone believing themselves to have any taste at all is clearly delusional if they disagree with your list?

Yada yada, heard it all before. Going to go back to listening to my Starship, Train, and plenty of other artists the "anti-establishment establishment" feels dead set on bashing.

Kull87
Kull87

I wholeheartedly enjoy hating bad music. There is nothing wrong with that. That is my god given right, and I don't even believe in god. The Village Voice is on point at least 80% of the time and that's not too bad.

Disgusted
Disgusted

Really? Not a SINGLE mention of Justine Beaver? Really? Really.

La_la_
La_la_

Cee-Lo makes me want to kill people. Gosh that voice is so annoying. 

jeffandtaraglenn
jeffandtaraglenn

Whitey?!!!! Go fucking pick cotton u fucking nigger!! Us White People invented Soul while u spear fucking chuckers ate british bullets yor nothing more than a pathetic dipshit!!

Tanya
Tanya

Soul Sister became so popular because it struck a chord with so many...it was a happy, catchy, uplifting song.The worst song of the year...absolutely not.  The author(s) are wrong. I think they picked Soul sister because it is an easy song/group for wanna be hipsters to pick on.If the point of the article was...Soul Sister was #1 song to become overexposed and overplayed because of the TV commercial usage..... then yes, absolutely. 

La_la_
La_la_

The thing that wrote this forgot Taylor Slow, Avril Lavigne, Maroon 5, and Drake. And Justine Beaver. 

maura
maura

what about me? :,(

La_la_
La_la_

Somebody needs to bash YOU. 

Ted Tinasky
Ted Tinasky

LadyMadonnaGaGakajagoogoodolls is one of the more genius words of the new year. Vic, I salute you.

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