NPR logo Top Five Most Embarrassing Songs on My iPod:

Top Five Most Embarrassing Songs on My iPod:

Fellow NPR Music producer Stephen Thompson says there's no such thing as "guilty" pleasures when it comes to music. Anything we like, no matter how sappy or vapid, is simply a pleasure. That said, if anything ever happens to me, these are the five songs I'd like a close friend to delete from my iPod before anyone at NPR finds them:

1. "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen: Coworkers say I'm dead inside and don't have a sentimental bone in my body. The truth is, I'm a "sensi" and still cry every time I see E.T. I think this song rules.

2. Theme to E.T. The Extra Terrestrial: John Williams wrote the soundtrack to my youth. As such, I find his music very evocative. If this track pops up, I'm back in the theater, scrunched in my seat with wide eyes. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen loathes John Williams. But we'll save that for another post.

3. "The Crawdad Song" by Andy Griffith: Andy Griffith was another childhood hero. The sheriff without a gun! Every now and then he'd serenade a girlfriend with his guitar, or the Darling family (played by real-life bluegrass band The Dillards) would come down from the mountains for a jam session. I thought the music was pretty awesome. So I bought this collection of Andy Griffith hits.

4. "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins: Honestly I don't know how this one ended up on my iPod.

5. "I'm Not in Love" by 10cc: I think I read about the ridiculous origins of the band's name and subsequently downloaded this song from iTunes. The truth is, no matter how cheese-tacular this song is, it's a pretty remarkable studio feat. Recorded in 1975, the track includes multiple choral overdubs by the band, each singing the same, continuous note, creating a total of 256 voices. This was obviously before computer sampling and loops.

Runner Up: "Logical Song" by Supertramp. So embarrassing it might actually give me street cred by having it on my iPod

Second Runner Up: "Freedom" by George Michael. He was everything I hated about '80s pop. Then he released this song in 1990 and I couldn't believe how much I loved it. I still can't believe how much I love it.


Consider this a tree of trust where you can confess everything. What do you hope no one ever finds on your iPod?



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If you have "The Logical Song" because of the "Magnolia" soundtrack, that's not embarrassing at all. If you've got it from the original Supertramp album...yeah, a little weird.

It's actually from an "essential" collection of '70s music. -- rh

Sent by Piggy | 4:24 PM | 12-10-2007

"Scatman" by Scatman John.

It was once discovered at a party on my ipod shuffle, and I was teased with "be bop do bop do bop" for weeks.

Sent by Angela | 5:09 PM | 12-10-2007

1. Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend": What can I say? It's catchy. Although, I might delete since I can't stand it ever since it hit every teen movie trailer this year.

2.The Brian Setzer Orchestra's "Jump Jive An' Wail"/Cherry Poppin' Daddies' "Zoot Suit Riot": Just to help me remember the great thing that was the swing revival of 1997!

3. Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again": I crank this up when I'm going down the freeway and think of just leaving everyone I know and starting a'new.

4: Not a song but Sugar Ray's Greatest Hits. I don't care what anyone says, I think their singles were great.

5. Sheena Easton's "Morning Train (9 to 5)": I thought this song was perfect as Kramer's montage music as he's working in the Seinfeld episode "The Bizarro Jerry". I downloaded it and listened to it out of jest but now I really enjoy the song.

I think I'd agree with Stephen and say that these aren't really guilty pleasures to me but I know if someone was searching my iPod they'd stop on these artists and just give me that look of disappointment.

Sent by Ivan | 5:29 PM | 12-10-2007

"Wildfire" by Michael Murphy could haunt me.

Sent by craig bradley | 5:48 PM | 12-10-2007

"Mystical Experience" by Boyzone. I try to pass it off that Boyzone was the best of the boy bands and that this was the best of Boyzone's songs, but deep down I have shame.

Sent by Eddie D. | 6:52 PM | 12-10-2007

Three words: Third Eye Blind.

Say what you will about them, but their song "Losing A Whole Year" rocks my socks off every time I hear it. I love it without shame.

D'alright, maybe just a little dallop of shame.

Sent by Matt | 7:33 PM | 12-10-2007

10cc's "I'm Not In Love" is nothing to be ashamed of. It's a song that can be appreciated on a few levels. At face value it's a corny love song. Then again, as you point out, it's an incredible studio achievement with the swelling chorus of voices. OR if you really listen to the lyrics and know the band's other work and their ironic tendencies, you can enjoy its tongue-in-cheek brilliance.

Sent by Geoff | 12:49 AM | 12-11-2007

Haha, George Michael is awesome. Don't resist!

I tend to agree with what Stephen Thompson says, but there are definitely selections on my iPod that I'd rather my fellow directors and DJs at my radio station not know about. Like Matchbox 20 and other such bands from when I was still a total musical cheeseball.

Good post!

Sent by Tamara Vallejos | 4:46 AM | 12-11-2007

"Freedom" is INCREDIBLE. No shame here.

Sent by Lars | 7:54 AM | 12-11-2007

Not on an iPod, but my musical guilty pleasure is -- argh! -- college football fight songs. AND, I never went to college!

Sent by David Hollis, Hamilton, NY | 9:10 AM | 12-11-2007

1. "Rich Girl" By Hall & Oates: it won't get you too far; I think he was referring to the amount of respectful comments about my music taste

2. "All Over" by Live: yes the 90's alt rock phase is over for good reason and to much relief but now and again you have to pump that fist and cry out those horendous lyrics.

3. "Boyz are Gonna Rock" by Vinnie Vincent Invasion: Geeze if the induendo in the title alone wasn't bad enough this song sports awful guitar solos, the 80's hair, and a lot of regret. It doesn't help that the song immediatly following is titled "shoot you full of love". Yeah that doesn't mean anything *ugh*

4. "She's My Man" by Scissor Sisters: To be honest, I could have selected any song off of "Ta-Dah!" I mean come on; Just look at friggin title! I will not lie, I love this entire album with a passion. As due punishment, it does not lend me a shred of dignity.

5. "Bubbleman (live) by The Advantage: Not only is this a videogame jingle played with traditional instruments, not only did I download it for free (off a legitimate site), not only is Megaman 2 one of the greatest videogames of all time, but this track is bootleg of a live show . . . of a band I have not seen only once live. The geek-osterone scent is reeking

Sent by Devin(shire) | 11:29 PM | 12-11-2007

"Careless Whisper" by Wham! is one of my all-time favorite songs. Of course, no one understands. I listen to it loudly in my car and sing along with lots of emotion. Sigh.

Sent by Kerry | 3:44 PM | 12-13-2007

Definitely no shame in "I'm Not in Love." I just bought it on 45. And here's a cover of it by Tempe, Ariz., band Gloritone.

Sent by Kevin | 6:15 PM | 12-14-2007

"Crazy In Love" by Beyonce. what's worse is that I have both the album version (Complete with Jay-Z rap) AND the Karaoke version. on my iPod. yikes!

Sent by jrudian | 2:26 PM | 1-4-2008

The Carpenters Christmas album! Partly it's the nostalgia - growing up with those songs around the holidays - but there's more... the way one songs flows to the next, the innocence, Karen Carpenter's voice. You bet it'll be back on for next year's holiday season.

Sent by Tina Owens (WMRA) | 1:47 PM | 1-5-2008

You're not alone. I feel exactly the same way about "Freedom".

Sent by Rob | 3:20 PM | 1-11-2008

i have to admit i have mmmbop on my cd - i cant even claim nostalgia cus i was - i think - in my 30s when it came out!

i also have 4 john denver songs and some neil diamond!

Sent by dan, the oldermusicgeek | 7:06 PM | 1-11-2008

Embarrassing to some but not to me:
*The Partridge Family's Greatest Hits (album!)
*Several songs by Supertramp, Styx and other s words
*Keep on Lovin' You by REO Speedwagon
There are others but I should stop.

Sent by Tommy G | 6:18 PM | 1-13-2008

I have an entire playlist's worth of Menudo songs. In Spanish.

Gentlemen, we have a winner. Or loser, depending on the stakes.

Sent by Carlos R. Pastrana | 4:47 PM | 1-21-2008

"The Rain, The Park and Other Things" by the Cowsills. To be 15 again and head over heels in love with a girl in my 9th grade home room who barely knew I existed.

Sent by DaveD | 5:50 PM | 1-24-2008

Okay - okay - and like NOBODY else bought these things - they only sold like a buhzillion copies (I hope):

1. Bad Girls - Donna Summer
2. Blue on Blue - Bobby Vinton
3. Sister Christian - Night Ranger
4. The Air That I Breathe - The Hollies
5. Too Shy - Kajawhatevertheheck

And no - I have not been diagnosed with any personality disorders.

Sent by Rob Evans | 12:20 PM | 2-1-2008

"Horse with no Name" America

In the desert you can remember your name
'Cause there ain't no one for to give you no pain
La, la ...

No list is complete without this monument to bad lyric writing. Its lyric writing achieved a level of stupidity rarely achieved. 30-some years following its release, I believe it remains the standard bearer to which all poorly written songs must be compared.

Sent by Dave Roan | 12:48 PM | 2-2-2008

This list has already touched upon many of my guilty pleasures. I would have to add "True" by Spandau Ballet as well as many Bryan Adams tunes.

Sent by Matt | 3:50 PM | 2-5-2008

I'm a little embarassed to admit I like "Toxic." There's something about it, probably the rhythm that I find kind of infectious...Yep, it's true.

Sent by Abby | 11:24 PM | 2-7-2008

"Move B****" by Ludacris. No, it's not very progressive, but it's fantastic if you ever have to walk through Times Square during rush hour.

Sent by Helen | 10:48 PM | 2-8-2008

For Matt three comments above: Steve Buscemi's rendition of "True" at the end of "The Wedding Singer" (1998) is a precious caricature of the song. if you haven't seen it, check it out!

Sent by Dave Roan | 1:51 PM | 2-10-2008

I have all three A*Teens albums.
Betcha didn't even know they HAD three albums, did ya? Well they do.

Sent by Hannah | 5:09 PM | 2-12-2008

all of the hair metal songs of the 80's yep thats just about sums up every song to be embarrassed of.....

Sent by Mykul | 11:28 AM | 2-15-2008

Embarrassed by hair metal songs of the 80's? There are still a few good ones. I have the Scorpions "Still Loving You" on my ipod. I still love that song!

Sent by John | 2:50 AM | 4-4-2008

"Balls to the Wall" by Accept
Really it predates the 80s hair metal scene - more of an AC/DC knockoff. For what it is, though, it RAWWWWWWKSSS!!!

Sent by TK | 10:11 AM | 4-4-2008

I'm lucky enough to have a whole radio station in my hometown dedicated to the best of cheesy pop tunes from 4 decades, ending with the 80's! We listen at work every day, and though I cringed my way thru many a Barry Manilow and Carpenters tune in my youth, now when I hear this stuff I feel a bit nostalgic, because it reminds me of radio stations when I was a kid, before computers and ipods and all that. And yes, some of these gems have made their way to my ipod! I actually paid money to have them!!! Neil Diamond, Abba, Donna Summer, the Bee Gees...and no, I'm not embarrassed! I actually enjoy shocking people with the sudden left turns in my musical "taste"!

Sent by Laurie | 11:58 AM | 4-4-2008

I don't have songs I don't like...if I like them then I'm just not embarassed. Interestingly though, I have songs on my pod other people think I shouldn't Cheryl Lynn's "To be Real" I mean c'mon...that's a great song!!

Sent by Misty Letts | 12:13 PM | 4-4-2008

'Toxic' by Britney is great! I discovered Scatman John while living in Uzbekistan. My Uzbek friends couldn't understand why I was laughing so much while listening to the Scatman.

Sent by Tom | 12:26 PM | 4-4-2008

I agree with the sentiment that there is no such thing as a musical guilty pleasure. I love The Archies, "Sugar, Sugar," as much as I love, "Never Said," by Liz Phair, as much as I love R.E.M.'s, "Shiny Happy People," as much as I love The Beatles...

Sent by Michael Oliver | 1:18 PM | 4-4-2008

"Elemental" by Tears for Fears. Musical...yes. Killer vocals...yes!!!!Cheesy...yes. Guilty pleasure???...a little. Their 90's stuff was as considerably amazing as the big 80's hits!!!

Sent by Jo Bradbury | 2:49 PM | 4-4-2008

Maybe, just maybe...if someone reads this and gets some inspiration...they may look up the following tunes that I listen to as the my Top Five Most Embarrassing Songs: 1) Come and Get Your Love...a wild hit by Redbone 2) the Cranberries...a true vocal classic 3) Mandinka by Sinade O'connor...another vocal classic 4) Southern Nights..a great Amercian tune... ~~~~if I could stop this world from fighting~~~~ great lyric 5) Dear God by XTC and runner up is : Night Fever...and if you don't know who this song is by...find out!

Sent by Julie Duggan | 11:35 AM | 4-9-2008

I have the Pokemon theme song on my iPod...Gotta catch 'em all!

Sent by James | 12:30 AM | 5-19-2008

I believe i will win with.. Eddie Murphy .. Party all the time... end of story

Sent by Er | 12:48 AM | 5-20-2008