The 5 Most Annoying British Songs of 2010

BBC America viewers voted, and these are the most annoying songs from British acts in 2010. Anglophenia contributor Fraser McAlpine gives his take on these torturous tunes.

Duffy in “Well Well Well”

There’s a knack to creating a truly annoying song. It has to be relatively close to being a very good song, but with one or two key variations. Bad songs and good songs both rely on lodging into the brain and never, ever leaving. The difference is, a good song enhances its host skull, making it a wiser, happier and more content place to be.

A bad song, on the other hand, festers and irritates the cerebral cortex like salt in a paper cut. Its sharp, rusted edges scrape against consciousness and attention, leaving nothing but shredded meat where once there was personality and intellect and calm.

And if that sounds like I’m overreacting, you clearly have not heard this lot…


5. Scouting For Girls
“Famous”

Pop stars should not be allowed to pass comment on other people’s dreams. Mocking modern society for being celebrity-obsessed, from the not-so-lofty perch of pop stardom — which is only supported by that same urge — renders the song pointless, and worse, leaves the casual listener wondering if Roy Stride is less worried about our values and more worried about competition for the limelight.


4. JLS
“The Club Is Alive”

This probably would not have been considered anywhere near as annoying had it not appropriated the theme song to The Sound of Music — albiet with an altered melody — as its main hookline. As it is, the worldwide consensus on Julie Andrews (favorable, it’s fair to say) meant that you could hear howls of outrage from Istanbul to New Zealand every time it was played.


3. X Factor finalists
“Heroes” (David Bowie cover)

“I, I wish I could swim. Like dolphins, like dolphins can swim.”

I, on the other hand, wish you could shh. Like breezeblocks, like breezeblocks can shh. Saying this is the least terrible X Factor pass-the-mic karaoke charity outing so far — purely because it is relatively restrained, even after the key change — is a lot like saying a jar of mayonnaise is the least terrible of the following hats: a live octopus, a lawnmower, Brazil.


2. Katie Price
“Free To Love Again”

Things Katie Price is good at: arguing, pouting, underwear, bending over, horses, making books happen.

Things Katie Price is not good at: modesty, marriage, holding her tongue, any form of music whatsoever…oh, and acting.


1. Duffy
“Well Well Well”

Less a song, more an uppity car alarm that won’t turn off. Y’know when people say that some voices are so great, they can sing anything and make it sound wondrous? Well, that’s a theory we no longer need to put to the test, isn’t it?


Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

See more posts by Fraser McAlpine