Top 16 Songs With Great Music and Awful Lyrics

As voted by UG community.

Ultimate Guitar

This week's traditional Wednesday Question saw the people of UG community discussing tunes packing amazing music, but also awful lyrics.

We received a nice chunk of votes and around 350 comments, all of which were combined into a Top 16 rundown.

You can check out the list below.

16. The Police - De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da

UG user shwilly, who also nominated The Police track, had this to say about "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da": "Typing that song title alone felt pretty stupid to me, imagine being Sting in the early 80s and pitching these actual lyrics to your bandmates..."

Don't think me unkind
Words are hard to find
The only cheques I've left unsigned
From the banks of chaos in my mindAnd when their eloquence escapes meTheir logic ties me up and rapes me

De do do do, de da da da
Is all I want to say to you
De do do do, de da da da
Their innocence will pull me through
De do do do, de da da da
Is all I want to say to youDe do do do, de da da daThey're meaningless and all that's true

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15. Disturbed - Down with the Sickness

Can you feel that?
Ah shit...

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14. Dream Theater - The Count of Tuscany

Up next, you folks voted Dream Theater's "The Count of Tuscany," pointing out how they "lack poetic harmony, they are just pointing out things mostly."

Several years ago
In a foreign townFar away from homeI met the Count of Tuscany

A young eccentric man
Bred from royal bloodTook me for a rideAcross the open country side

Get into my car
Let's go for a drive
Along the wayI'll be your guideJust step inside

Maybe you recallA cannibal curatorA character inspired by my brother's life

Winding through the hills
The city far behindOn and on we droveDown narrow streets and dusty roads

At last we came upon
A picturesque estateOn sprawling emerald fieldsAn ancient world of times gone by

Let me introduce
My brother
A bearded gentleman
Sucking on his pipe
Distinguished accentMaking me uptightNo accident

I want to stay alive
Everything about this place
Just doesn't feel right
II don't want to dieSuddenly I'm frightened for my life

I want to say goodbye
This could be the last time
You see me alive
I may not surviveKnew itFrom the moment we arrived

Would you like to see
Our secret holy place?
I come here late at night
To pray to him by candlelight
Then peering through the glass
I saw with disbeliefStill dressed in royal clothesThe saint behind the altar

History recalls
During times of warLegend has been tracedBack inside these castle walls

Where soldiers came to hide
In barrels filled with wine
Never to escapeThese tombs of oakAre where they died

Down the cellar stairs
I disappearLike the angel's shareThe end is near

Come and have a taste
A rare vintageAll the finest winesImprove with age

I want to stay alive
Everything about this place
Just doesn't feel right
II don't want to dieSuddenly I'm frightened for my life

I want to say goodbye
This could be the last time
You see me alive
I may not surviveKnew itFrom the moment we arrived

Could this be the end?
Is this the way I die?Sitting here aloneNo one by my side

I don't understand
I don't feel that I deserve thisWhat did I do wrong?I just dont understand

Give me one more chance
Let me please explainIt's all been circumstanceI'll tell you once again

You took me for a ride
Promising a vast adventureNext thing that I knowI'm frightened for my life

Now wait a minute man
That's not how it isYou must be confusedThat isn't who I am

Please don't be afraid
I would never try to hurt you
This is how we liveStrange although it seemsPlease try to forgive

The chapel and the saint
The soldiers and the wineThe fables and the talesAll handed down through time

Of course you're free to go
Go and tell the world my storyTell about my brotherTell them about me

The Count of Tuscany

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13. Extreme - Play With Me

As ShoopDaLazor nicely explained, "Nuno Bettencourt fucking SHREDS this track, but those lyrics... I DON'T WANT TO PLAY MONOPOLY!"

Ring around the rosie
Hopscotch, Monopoly
Red light, green light
G. I. Joes and Barbies
Hide and seek, kick the can
Cowboys and IndiansWiffle ball, paper dollsHacky sack and hangman

Do you wanna play with me

Tag you're IT, cops and robbers
Jungle gym, chutes and ladders
Tic tac toe, Mister Rogers
Marco Polo, London bridges
Simon sez, steal the bacon
Time out, trick or treatElectric companyOlly olly oxen free

Do you wanna play with me

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12. The Killers - Human

"The lyrics raise a question that is worthy of scholarly debate," mrsuns10 assessed, with N7Crazy chiming in: "'Are we human OR are we dancer' sets up a clear definition that one cannot be either. Either you are a dancer, or you're a human. The song in itself is very catchy and ideal for dance floors, ergo, we can conclude that 'are we human or are we dancer' is actually the band mocking people who go out to clubs and dance to their own songs as being inhuman automatons, surrendering themselves to whatever four-on-the-floor beats that may pop up.

"Either that, or Brandon whatever-his-name-was just needed some simple filler lyric for a single."

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11. Korn - A.D.I.D.A.S.

Up next is Korn with "A.D.I.D.A.S.".

Screwin' may be the only way that I can truly be free
From my fucked up realitySo I dream and stroke it harder, 'cause its so fun to see myFace staring back at me

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10. System of a Down - Vicinity of Obscenity

Banana banana banana terracotta
Banana terracotta terracotta pieBanana banana banana terracottaBanana terracotta terracotta pie

Is there a perfect way of holding you baby?Vicinity of obscenity in your eyes

Terracotta terracotta terracotta pieIs there a perfect way of holding you baby?Vicinity of obscenity in your eyes

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9. Any Chickenfoot song

Apparently you folks aren't too keen on Chickenfoot lyrics...

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8. Five Finger Death Punch - The Bleeding

RnFnR95 noted: "I came here just to say any song by FFDP. I happen to really like them and i think a lot of their songs are really fun especially in a live setting to just rock out and sing along to, but even being a fan i have to agree their lyrics are cheesy, bland, and lack diversity/creativity. They can be entertaining but are impossible to take seriously."

Well I'm so empty
I'm better off without you and you're better off without meWell you're so uncleanI'm better off without you and you're better off without me

Well you're so filthy
I'm better off without you and you're better off without meWell I'm so uglyYou're better off without me and I'm better off alone

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7. Megadeth - Mechanix

"Makes the Four Horseman lyrics seem brilliant," Circumstances23 said.

I'm giving you my room serviceAnd ya know it's more than enoughOh one more time ya know I'm in love

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6. Van Halen - Tattoo

I got Elvis on my elbow
When I flex Elvis talksI got hula girls on the back of my legAnd she hula's when I walk

(Tattoo, tattoo)
Sexy dragon magic
(Tattoo, tattoo)
So very autobiographic
(Tattoo, tattoo)
Got a hold on me(Tattoo, tattoo)You put a spell on me-eehh

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5. Iron Butterfly - In-a-Gadda-da-Vida

Up next is Iron Butterfly with "In-a-Gadda-da-Vida," or "In the Garden of Eden" as it was supposed to be pronounced by a singer who's not out of his mind on drugs. ImagineTheThorn summed it up nicely: "All fried on acid. Left the tape rolling. Forgot to stop playing. Great music, doesn't stop the lyrics from being horrible though."

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4. Lou Reed & Metallica - The View

"I AM THE TABLE!", obviously...

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3. Muse - Psycho

You folks agreed that removing the drill sergeant would fix a part of the problem, but the lyrics to Muse's "Psycho" would remain the song's weak point nevertheless.

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2. Limp Bizkit - Break Stuff

It's just one of those days

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1. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Suck My Kiss

And the gold medal this week goes to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and "Suck My Kiss," specifically this lovely little part:

Chicka chicka dee
Do me like a banshee
Low brow is how
Swimming in the sound
Of bow wow wowAw baby do me nowDo me here I do allow

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150 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Anthony Keidis' awful lyrics are part of his charm.
    At least he doesn't mention California in that song.
    The Red Hot Chili Peppers with lyrical themes ranging from the culture of southern California to drug use in southern California.
    there's a shout out to Bow Wow Wow, and other bands in his lyrics, but yea, generally i felt like rhcp would be close to the top of this list.
    I actually love the lyrics to The Count of Tuscany. They're straightforward and cheesy sure but they tell the story well and fit the music perfectly.
    +1. And it tells, what Petrucci says, an actual story that happened to him.
    Yeah. "Lack poetic harmony, they are just pointing out things mostly." How does that make the lyrics awful ?!
    It's the entire point of writing lyrics There's literally no poetry in the song at all, just Petrucci pointing what happened in an awkwardly straightforward fashion, it doesn't really have much effort or creativity whatsoever
    Every time I listen to the song, it paints a pretty good picture for me. I can imagine what he's seeing and what happened. Pretty sure that's what the point of lyrics are. They don't have to be poetic.
    Literally everyone can write lyrics then, what's the point in writing lyrics if it'll be the same thing as talking?
    'Misty Mountain Hop' by the Zep is in this same category. They just reference what they're seeing around them. Don't hear anyone giving that song crap.
    Yes, everyone can write lyrics. There are tons of songs where it's people having a conversation back and forth. I seriously don't have a better argument then that. You think only special people are allowed to express their thoughts and feelings?
    No, but if we're gonna categorize "good" and "bad" lyrics, then what's the point of reference, exactly? The concept of The Count of Tuscany may be interesting, but that's it, Petrucci has all the right to write about it, but it's not a good piece of lyrics by any means, because literally everyone can just write what they see without playing with words
    yeah I was kind of butthurt about that one. I love that song and I think the lyrics do a good job painting a picture.
    I found all his lyrics on BC&SL kinda silly.That one is about him thinking this guy is gonna kill him and after 20 minutes we get the big finale 'I'm not gonna hurt you, you just read this situation entirely wrong'. Nightmare to Remember is this super longs song about a horrifying car accident and then at the end in some random ass death growl section its like 'But everyone was fine, we're all good'. C'mon Petrucci
    Keidis and the Chili Peppers are famous for their weird, scat-inspired, gibberish lyrics. The verses of "By The Way" are pretty much just random two-syllable phrases that rhyme.
    Sure, except for the part where they rhyme: "Steak knife Card shark Con job Boot cut" "Dogtown Blood bath Rib cage Soft tail" "Song bird Main line Cash back Hard top" There's another section that does rhyme, which just makes you wonder why Kiedis didn't go to the trouble on the other three. I've thought for a while that most RHCP albums are too long (fucking Stadium Arcadium), and that good old Tony Kie tends to be forced to stretch ten songs worth of decent lyrics across 15-24 songs per album, so he fills the blanks with gibberish. "I know, I know for sure Nong nong ning nong nong nong nong nong ning nang" Fucking genius.
    Well to be fair the part in Around the World was during one of the choruses. The earlier choruses went "I know I know for sure That life is beautiful around the world". The only reason he kept in the Ding dang dong dong parts was because he had done that when they were still coming up with the song and Flea's daughter really liked it.
    I kinda like Break Stuff...
    Everyone does, deep down. Haters gonna hate.
    Tha Funkinator
    Hey, it's possible to love a song while freely admitting the lyrics are dumb as fuck. Steve Miller made a career out of it. I still crack up every time I hear him try to rhyme "Texas" with "facts is," "justice," and "taxes." Or "Abracadabra/Gonna reach out and grab ya." Or him speaking on the pompetice(???) of love.
    how does "Down With the Sickness" make this list? The entire song is a dope metaphor for how society looks at those who are different, and how "mother society" attempts to force everyone to behave the same and be the exact same and fit into the mold she creates.
    Agreed... The song is actually pretty meaningful, except for inarticulate growls in the intro
    Which are totally the best part of the song. Don't know why it made the list.
    It made this list because it was suggested and then up-voted enough to top the other suggestions.
    Some of those lyrics are dumb. BUT YOU PEOPLE ARE EVEN MORE STUPID. If you don't get how profound some of those lyrics are. I am the table ! He's not saying he his a table. He's saying he's THE table. Don't you get it ???
    i found it weird that they didn't point out the part where he basically calls his mother a bitch, sadistic f*n whore...
    Yes because "OH-WAH-AH-AH-AH!" is a really powerful metaphor. Get real and drop out of your Philosophy 101 class.
    The theme and metaphor they went with was cool but the actual lyrics themselves are cringy. And it's beyond me how they chose the intro as an example and left out the part where David throws a hissy fit at his mom.
    MaxLees666 · May 20, 2016 08:07 PM
    I can't comment about those who run UG, be it pro or con, because I never met them. But I can safely say the reason why you feel those who comment are retarded is because you have no sense of humor. The members of UG, generally speaking, are a bunch of irreverent smart-asses(myself included). It comes with the package of being a musician. Just...try to relax...and smile. Oh...and last, but not least... *doubly
    Random question: How do you guys decide how many songs are going to be on each list? It used to always be 10. Now it's 20, 25, 16, 11, 17, 12, etc. Just pick a random number?
    They probably have a hard time just picking 10, so they just pick out all of the high votes and make one big list would be my guess.
    You probably picked the worst example of "bad lyrics" from 5FDP, because the lyrics to The Bleeding are actually pretty good. The further you go into the career the more of a disaster their lyrics become, should have gone with Jekyll and Hyde or something
    Came here to say this. There's just so much God damned weight on my shoulders All I'm trying to do is live my motherfucking life Supposed to be happy, but I'm only getting colder Wear a smile on my face, but there's a demon inside There's just so much God damned weight on my shoulders All I'm trying to do is live my motherfucking life Supposed to be happy, but I'm only getting colder Wear a smile on my face, but there's a demon inside Oh, yo, yo, there's a demon inside Oh, yo, yo, just like Jekyll and Hyde Oh, yo, yo, all this anger inside Oh, yo, yo, I feel like Jekyll and Hyde
    I have nothing against cursing in songs, but all the cursing he does add no meaning to the songs. Take out all the curse words in the song and you still have the same meaning. It like he curses just because.
    nothing by Rush?
    I love Rush, but songs like Dog Years and Virtuality are two that come to mind.
    man i've always liked RHCP's "suck my kiss" i never thought of it as lame at all
    GGAllinsPizza · May 20, 2016 12:45 PM
    De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da is awesome always has always will be
    Weird as the lyrics may be, Andy's guitar work melds beautifully with Sting's vocals, especially in the somewhat understated verses. Lovely song.
    Psycho is genius, Muse are genius. Psycho is written from the perspective of a psychotic despot brainwashing other psychos to join his cause and the rationality actual psychopaths use to justify their behavior. It seems dumb because psychopaths are dumb but the lyrics pretty much are word for word how psychopaths think. "You will kill on my command and I won't be responsible" Exactly it
    Yeah but it has the subtlety of a stop sign. It's like when Enter Shikari gets political: it's bad lyricism riddled with platitudes and shaky politics.
    Yes psychopaths are dumb. They are extremely left brain dominant and are bad at seeing things from a bigger picture because the right brain is crucial in analysing the world and creating synthetic understandings of complex problems. They neglect half of their personality and are entirely self centered which results in negative consequences because we live in a society based on mutual interests and task completion through organization. It's not supposed to be subtle, I know the psychology of psychopaths and the lyrics are word for word what they think like.
    Just to be pedantic, there isn't such a thing as being "left brain dominant," it's a misconception, and I vowed to the ancient gods of psychology that I would stop it it wherever I saw it sprout up.
    There is such a thing as left brain dominant. One study of hundreds "American researchers took a magnetic-resonance imaging scanner to a medium security prison in Wisconsin, and scanned the brains of 40 prisoners in a doing time for similar offences, half of whom had been diagnosed with psychopathy. Results of the study revealed both structural and functional abnormalities in the brains of the psychopaths, with scientists finding there was less communication between two key areas of their brains than the other prisoners."
    Then maybe they should stop writing music and become contributors for the DSM-VI
    I mean it has such thought provoking lyrics as "I'm gonna make you a f-cking psycho, your arse belongs to me now"
    i don't mind the lyrics to psycho by muse haha. still less cliche than a heap of bands lyrics and is an honest depiction of propaganda and brainwashing that goes into training soldiers/use of soldiers as puppets for matters they don't always understand and are left ruined at the end of it. I bet a lot of murrica didn't appreciate their patriotism being attacked haha
    What exactly do you think is wrong with Break Stuff? Great song imo.
    Edgy "everything suck and I'm so angry" lyrics that aren't very well written.
    Carbin Monoxide
    I like the lyrics to 'Count of Tuscany'. Yeah, they might not be the most graceful lyrics but at least it's not nonsensical gibberish. I find it more grating when a generally good lyricist writes sub par lyrics. Steven Wilson and Devin Townsend have some pretty clumsy lyrics...
    So System of a Down made this list because people don't understand System of a Down at all. Makes sense.
    I love Soad, but writing bad lyrics intentionally doesn't make them better
    Dadaism isn't the same thing as "bad". System of a Down regularly have absolutely absurd lyrics, often with a point, but sometimes without. "Bounce" for example is another meaningless, absurd song. I'm not saying all SOAD lyrics are perfect, but Vicinity of Obscenity did exactly what it set out to do and I can't call that "bad". I happen to love the lyrics because I don't care if something's absurd or not, as long as it's well constructed (which it definitely is with that song). If you want bad SOAD lyrics, I'd say "Lonely Day" is one of the worse examples. I don't think the lyrics in that song are "bad" but they're weak for SOAD standards. They come across as whiny rather than sincerely depressed which is the tone they're attempting.
    List definitely nails the "awful lyrics" part, but I seriously question the "great music" part.
    greif hammer
    Funnily enough I always heard "are we human, or are we denser?" in the Killers song. I guess part of me wanted to automatically correct the grammar.
    I always thought "Purple Haze" by Hendrix could have been much more than a song about getting stoned. It is still a great song and I think the lyrics are good, but just not for the music that was written behind them.
    Some of these really are stupid, but The Police? Really? I think that song's lyrics are actually pretty interesting and thoughtful (no, obviously not talking about the hook). I think they are very well written, and they do carry a sense of anti-seriousness, so that's the whole idea.
    Well, the lyrics of Chickenfoot that is the goal to be some easy-going stuff. Count of Tuscany after all tells a cool weird ass psycho story, I don't see the reason, why it's on the list.
    I love the Killers, with a passion, BUT they have shit lyrics, very few of their songs actually have any coherent meaning to them
    The Police wrote De do do do because of the dopey lyrics. It's the entire point of the song.
    Limp bizkit 5fdp shouldn't be on this list Shit music to go with Shit lyrics
    m4ss3 m/
    Why Break Stuff? Yeah, someone could say the lyrics are kinda cringey but I think it's a good angst song.
    While I submitted Limp Bizkit as my choice. They should of linked to the track Why Try for truely silly lyrics
    But this is list of songs with great music. Break Stuff is awesome instrumentally, Gold Cobra as an album is horrible, maybe with 2 exceptions Anyway, Vicinity of Obscenity? These are perfect lyrics
    Limp Bizkit has AWESOME tracks musically but regarding the lyrics... Oh well.
    I'll back you up there. Wes Borland has got some beastly tone, and riffs. It's a shame they're wasted on Limp Bizkit songs!
    Did you know that Wes does have a solo band where he sings and writes his music all by himself? It`s called Black Light Burns and you should check out their debut Cruel Melody!
    Iron Maiden's "Alexander The Great" should have made this. These are not lyrics, that's a history book. And that fuckin ending? "Alexander the Great, His name struck fear into hearts of men, Alexander the Great, He died of fever in Babylon." "He died of fever in Babylon"? What the fuck were they thinking...
    now dont get me wrong on this, I'm a music enthusiast so i look into basically everything. regarding this exact topic i have a prime example of good music with awful (and wrong) lyrics. there is a certain right wing band whos instrumentally really really good, but needless to say the lyrics are not ok. sad to see that potential can be wasted in such a way
    No Whitesnake, huh? David Coverdale's non-stop heartbreak just made me not care about lyrics at all back in the day. Think that something as precious as love can get so tiresome.
    In-a-Gadda-da-Vida - why? It's about the garden of eden. It's repetitive, but what the lyrics are? They're fine.
    I came here expecting Crazy Town's "Butterfly" to be number 1 but I guess RHCP still won for their own song?
    Atilla should be on the list
    Always gotta have opinions you can suck my dick Always gotta have the last word such a little shit Always gotta try to hide it but I fucked your bitch Doesn’t matter what the press says I won’t quit Doesn’t matter what the feds say smoke my shit When I’m rollin pass the 5-0 I stay lit If you feel like you’re a victim... RAPE THIS PIT Take a hit of this SHIT Let the moment set in always open ears and listen Everybody CAN SUCK MY FUCK Doesn’t matter what you think I’m here to prove you wrong hit the back button repeat this song
    Yeah, they have the awful lyrics down perfect. But, they'd have to have great music to be considered here.
    where is steel panther dude !? outstanding music and the rest of all is bullshit jejej
    Buckwheat Sings beats 'em all hands down...especially the song at the 30 second mark in the video. PURE COMEDY GOLD.
    Extremes 'Play with Me" sounds a bit like FFDP's 'The Pride' so I was expecting that more than 'The Bleeding'. Both are still good songs, I guess the difference is that 'The Pride' is better than 'Play with Me', just a thought.