I'm going to tell you what I told my friends last week, 24 miserable hours after I decided to "definitively" rank every single song written and performed by the American comedian Adam Sandler: This was a huge mistake.
I used to really like Adam Sandler. As in, last week, I was a big fan. I figured I knew about all there was to know about his shortcomings; bad jokes, often inappropriate ones. A penchant for wearing tracksuits (actually the best thing about him). But it turns out I have been underestimating the American comedian Adam Sandler for years. I've been singing his praises; even defending him when people said Grown Ups 2 was an abomination. Trying to hark back to the joyous, playful youth of "The Christmas Song," or the painfully sweet sincerity of "I Wanna Grow Old With You." Not realising that he is responsible for one of the worst, most upsetting catalogues of music of all time.
I was naive, living in a fantasy world. A bit like Billy Madison, actually.
But here we are. I said I was going to do a thing even if it killed me. Which, frankly, I wish it had. So here it is. Counting back from 1 to 40: every single Adam Sandler song, ranked. Skits from studio albums are not included for your safety and because I really didn't fucking feel like it.
1. "The Christmas Song"
Welcome to the time when Adam Sandler was at his hottest, funniest, cheekiest, most accessible, and most unexpected. The man had wormed his way onto our TV screens, and into our hearts. This was Adam pre-blockbusters and Rob Schneider. What I wouldn't do to go back to this time. "What made me say that?!"
2. "Somebody Kill Me"
If only everyone's suicidal post-breakup breakdowns were this beautiful and generous. It's just like IFC said, "Sandler's climactic ode to depression from The Wedding Singer is a downright catchy track in its own right." So, so true. Thank god for depression. Really.
3. "I Wanna Grow Old With You"
I actually can't tell you how many times I've seen The Wedding Singer. Not because I don't know, but because if I did, I don't think anyone would speak to me ever again. They'd realise that every time I'd said I was busy, or that I was working late, or that I was doing literally anything, I had actually been crying to Steve Buscemi covering Spandau Ballet. This song? Wow. It's just… it's true love. What else can I say?
4. "Forgetful Lucy"
I didn't know he had it in him: a late-era Sandler hit seemed unthinkable. And yet, here it is. The melt-in-your-goddamn-mouth "Forgetful Lucy" from 50 First Dates. That chord progression. The sincerity. The vulgarity. Very endearing stuff. I loved you, Adam.
5. "Lunchlady Land"
"Navy beans, navy beans, navy beans." That's good shit.
6. "Thanksgiving Song"
Where to even begin? The chorus! The accent! The part about how "50 million Elvis fans can't be wrong!" Don't even get me started on the live version from They're All Gonna Laugh at You, where he asks the audience to stop clapping because it's confusing and making him forget the lyrics. Classic Sandler.
7. "The Chanukah Song"
"The Chanukah Song" is almost as good as "The Christmas Song" and "The Thanksgiving Song" except that it's not as cheeky as either. And cheeky is what Adam Sandler is for. Still a true great, though.
8. "Red Hooded Sweatshirt AKA Valentine's Day Song"
A love song, but dedicated to a hoodie. Actually very touching. Unfortunately, during his soft rock phase, Adam decided to do a "Red Hooded Sweatshirt" reprise as the closer on one of his albums with an earnestness that actually made my skin crawl. And that is why it's not in the top five. Also you should know that I don't just know that because I'm an Adam Sandler fan. That's not information I've been carrying around. I know that because I've been listening to Adam Sandler's records for the last three days.
9. "The Goat Song"
This is where things get messy, because this is classic Adam Sandler. This is the real Adam Sandler. The idiot man-child who thinks that anal sex and funny voices and swear words are the height of comedy. And so, this is the point at which we acknowledge that it is pretty fucked up that he's so famous. It's also seven minutes and fifty seconds long.
10. "The Lonesome Kicker"
Welcome to Sandler's all-American, Springsteen-esque parody song that was probably at least partly responsible for The Waterboy. For that I'll give it a minuscule amount of props. Minuscule.
11. "Stan the Man"
This is an extremely sincere song about Adam Sandler's late father and all the things that made him great. It appeared on Shhh… Don't Tell, alongside such classics as "Secret" and "The Amazing Willy Wanker." More on those much, much further down the line.
12. "The Every 10 Years Song feat. Drew Barrymore"
I am going to pretend that Adam Sandler did not write this song. It's so try-hard Sandler, it's such watered-down Sandler. I refuse to believe he had anything to do with this. The one saving grace is that he is wearing a tracksuit on a national TV appearance.
13. "A Song About Elmo"
This one's hard to watch. This is the shell-of-a-man, sold-his-soul-to-the-fucking-devil-and-I-don't-mean-the-beautiful-cheeky-Liz-Hurley-kind, no-longer-cares-if-he-lives-or-dies Adam Sandler. Those are the cold, dead eyes of a man who used to be cool, bro. The only reason this isn't ranked below "Farewell Song to David Letterman" is because Elmo is an undeniably uplifting character, and he brings life to this song. I've said it before and I'll say it again, thank fuck for Elmo.
14. "Farewell Song To David Letterman"
I can't help but imagine him, ten minutes before curtain call, in his dressing room, his head between his legs, furiously rubbing his face and doing one of those deep-throat, what-hope-is-left groans, but longer, deeper and louder than is right. He looks up to the ceiling—beyond—to a god that has deserted him and he mouths "What have I done?" He prays for another shot. A second chance. A do-over if you will.
15. "Welcome My Son"
"Welcome My Son." It's certainly not good, is it? But it's not "She Comes Home to Me" (stay tuned for that disaster set-to-music soon). This is the part of the list where everything turns into this weird combination of offensive and yet totally inoffensive, and it all begins to blur together. It was also during this song that I started to cry at my desk—that's a true story. Broken, lost, and confused, and looking for some sign of life in this musical discography, I came up empty handed and all I could do was cry. Four days in. God rested on the seventh day of creation, and on the fourth day of ranking Adam Sandler's songs, I had a breakdown. Pretty similar stuff. Obviously my work will have more of a cultural impact but you see my point.
16. "Pickin' Daisies"
This song makes me feel nothing at all. Which in turn makes me sad.
17. "Sweet Beatrice"
I don't relate to this song. I am not amused. Nice chord progression though. More importantly: What the hell am I doing?
18. "The Respect Chant"
All I can do is assume that Sandler and friends were having an extremely good time on this particular day, joking around, getting high, enjoying some harmless horseplay in the studio provided by big wigs ready to profit off a young, up-and-coming comedian's cult-like fanbase. So while I appreciate that this is the product of a good time, I do not appreciate it being put on a fucking album and me having to listen to it.
19. "Bad Boyfriend"
I'm not even going to justify why I don't like this. I just won't. I'm not going to review it in any way because I actually refuse. Okay I've just been informed that I have to. Okay: 0/10.
Right, okay. So this is a classic, Guns N' Roses-style song about a man who is all-together likeable, however—and this is the joke of the song, the twist if you will—"his hobby is murder." Pronounced "moyda." This song opens the 1997 album What's Your Name. This is probably a good time to mention that it is no coincidence that we are descending into nonsense with several songs from the same album in a row. This album is particularly confusing and isolating on the whole.
21. "Corduroy Blues"
What to say… This song made me feel very angry indeed. Carly Rae Jepsen's Emotion was criminally overlooked by society as a whole, finding cult status almost a year after its release and even then was not particularly critically acclaimed. And yet "Corduroy Blues" by Adam Sandler was toured around the world and has hundreds of thousands of plays on Spotify. Brave, dedicated citizens serve in the army often can't afford food or shelter or health care and yet Adam Sandler owns mansions, at least in part due to this song and the personality that created it. David Bowie is dead and this song lives on. And thus is the cruelty of being.
22. "Dee Wee - My Friend the Massive Idiot"
I honestly don't even know what this song is about. The one thing saving it from being torn apart right now is that factor. You cannot roast what you literally do not understand at all. I'm also still thinking about "Corduroy Blues."
23. "Food Innuendo Guy"
This a song full of sexual innuendos using foods. That's all there is to say about that. The title functions more effectively than the song itself. Also, I have now decided that Adam Sandler's best work was most likely the collaboration of Sandler and twenty writers at NBC, or six executive producers at Universal. The entire green room at a comedy club in Manhattan's Lower East Side, perhaps. Just somebody to gently say, "Look, Adam, it's great. It's funny. It really is. It's just… a little risky. A little too left field. Maybe do another one of those holiday-type funny-guy jingles! Everyone loves those! Or, you know, just say 'ballsack' a little less…"
24. "Four Years Old"
Whatever. It's fine. It's extremely stupid and annoying but it's also not making me want to kill myself.
This song, however…
26. "The Mayor of Pussytown"
So, okay. This is supposed to be… an Eminem parody? And the parody, is that… the rapper… is not tough? He is, conversely to what a rapper may often rap about, rapping about being… a weak ass, afraid-of-stuff pussy. So… bear with me… he is mayor of Pussytown, in a way that you may not have… expected. Not Pussytown like… how rappers say it. Not like, a figurative place where you slay a lot of pussy. But Pussytown like… in a different way. Like a place where people who are pussies live. So that is the joke.
27. "My Little Chicken"
To learn that Adam Sandler is capable of singing this well—ignore the chicken noises if you can, for a moment—makes me very, very frustrated. It also makes me think that at some point in his life, probably in high school, Adam Sandler actually wanted to be a musician. He wanted to write actual, non-comedy music. He wanted to be Springsteen, not just parody him. And I'm starting to think that maybe Adam Sandler, at some stage, got up the gaul to show this dream to somebody. Perhaps by performing a song in an assembly, or a school concert. And maybe the school jock or bully or whatever teased Adam Sandler half-way through, interrupting the song before the best part. Maybe he threw half a sandwich on stage and it hit him in the face—"O'Doyle rules!"—and so, the course of history was changed, and it fucked Adam Sandler up forever. And maybe that night, up in his room with his acoustic guitar in five big pieces and a few shards at his feet, and his cheeks sticky with tears, Adam Sandler swore to himself that he would never sing anything with meaning aGAIN.
28. "Best Friend"
Wow. A song in the voice of Neil Young about having a best friend. Sounds alright, doesn't it? It's not.
29. "What the Hell Happened to Me?"
A soft-jazz number about a pervert reminiscing on being an innocent young boy, before his days of flashing and fetishes. It's not so much the idiocy of the content that annoys me, but that he made an entire fucking band of session musicians congregate in an actual studio to play, and presumably do numerous takes of, a song that has Adam screaming, with every fibre of his being: "I even whipped it out in a restaurant!!!!" as if his goddamed life depended on it.
30. "Dancin' and Pantsin'"
This is where it all falls apart. This is where the subject matter of the songs becomes a major problem for me. They weren't just silly, they are fucking maddeningly insane. I want you to know that in order to rank and review all of these songs I had to listen to them each more than once. I also had to read lyrics. Lyrics like "Clench your ass cheeks tight with sexy grandma Betty White / You'll see the light when your sphincter's tight." By the way, I also had to listen to every single skit and comedy sketch on every album in case there were songs in the middle of them or something. Which brings me to my next point: While I was listening to this song, "Dancin' and Panstin,'" my colleague tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if everything was okay. Probably because I had my head in my hands and had tears of exhaustion and confusion gathering in my eyes. And because I was repeating, out loud, "why, why, why, why…"
31. "Dip Doodle"
So Adam Sandler's career, I've decided, is basically the equivalent of when the school class clown does something extremely dangerous and humiliating and it makes the class laugh so they keep doing it over and over and over and the laughs get louder and louder until there's no sense to anything anymore, we're all just laughing at ourselves laughing. The original joke happened so long ago that now we are doing that weird, wheezing, breathy laugh that doesn't actually make any noise at all. It's like devolution.
And this song is the equivalent of the earth-shatteringly stupid joke that breaks the teacher, forcing her to stand on her chair and scream at the class clown about never graduating and ending up poor and stupid and depressed and alone, then leaving the room in horrified silence. I am the teacher. Sandler is the child.
32. "Piece of Shit Car" (Sometimes known as "Ode to My Car")
Oh, man. I mean… Do I even have to write anything about this? I realise that I'm going to get a lot of death threats from men who were teenage boys when this came out and they found it funny then and so now it's dear to their hearts. I apologise. I get it. I still think The Mark, Tom and Travis Show is funny. But I didn't have that with this song. So it's just not a good experience for me.
33. "Zittly Van Zittles"
This one's a track about a man who has a pimple on his back, that he cannot reach on his own in order to pop. It then has a subplot about how if he had a girlfriend, like he has in the past and hopes to again in the future, they would be able to reach and then pop it for him. I think this song is meant to be in the style of the late, great Johnny Cash. I mean, what can I say? I think I'll just post the lyrics here. I don't know what else to do.
Well, I had myself a girlfriend
For almost two whole years
We had no secrets
We had no fears
There was nothing we wouldn't do
When we were in the sack
She'd even pop the zit on my back
But one night I was out cheating
After I drank a few
She caught me red handed
And said we're through
Now she's got a new boyfriend
It nearly gave me a heart attack
'Cuz who's gonna pop this zit on my back?
Well I got a pimple and I don't know why
It keeps growing in the same place
I can't reach it with my left or right hand
I wish it was on my face
It's four days old
And it hurts so bad
But it's ready for a squeeze
Won't somebody pop it for me please?
I'll give you ten dollars
If you're a girl in this lonely world
And you're looking for a guy
I'll never cheat again, I promise
That's no lie
There's only one thing I ask of you
Could we name our first child Zak?
Oh, one more thing
Please pop this zit on my back
I'm dying here!
A pimple ay-hee
Well I'm sitting alone by the phone
And no one seems to call
I try to scrape my zit off on the kitchen wall
Well that don't work, so I look around
And find a big shiny thumb-tack
Put it on the floor, lay down
Pop the zit on my back
34. "Mr. I Do and The Doos Doos"
Not to get all feminist in an article about Adam Sandler—I promise I didn't come here specifically to do this because that would just be so, so stupid—but the lyric "if she ever stops having sex with me / We'll all gang bang her hot sister" got this one where it is in this list. Congratulations, Adam, you're the worst.
35. "At a Medium Pace"
I don't know what to say. I had no idea this song existed. Aaaand I wish I could go back to that time.
36. "Listenin' To The Radio"
Okay, now I'm really annoyed. This is a song about all the great loves of writers of classic pop songs: Rosanna, Angie, Billie Jean, and how Sandler is yet to find his own. He's just listing all their names!!!!!! What are you doing, Adam?!!! In fact, fuck this song! It's as if he wrote the lyrics in place of something else and then decided that he just didn't need to write real lyrics! Because his target audience literally find the weirdest, stupidest, most fucked up, unbelievable shit amusing and he can do whatever he wants! It's insanity!
37. "The Amazing Willy Wanker"
Let me just say that the comedian known as Adam Sandler was thirty eight years of age when he decided to write, record and release this song about child abuse and sexual assault. That's not even the worst part: I'm pretty sure this is supposed to sound like the musical stylings of the band Oasis.
"Secret" is a song by Adam Sandler that appeared on the 2004 album Shhh… Don't Tell—a lyric taken from this very song. It is written in the style of 90s piano house. It is written from the first-person perspective of a young man, a club kid, who has… that's right, a secret. Want to know what the secret is? I'll tell you what it is if you promise to never listen to this song in all your long life. Promise? Okay. He trims his pubic hair. That is the fucking narrative climax of this song. Let me also add that I believe this song is being sung in what Adam Sandler believes is the voice of a gay man. Oh wait. I just found the official music video. Yep, it is.
39. "7 Foot Man"
I swear to God, listening to people laugh and clap and scream in response to Adam Sandler singing this song live on the album Stan and Judy's Kid makes me feel like I'm on acid. It makes me feel like I'm the only sane person in the world. It makes me feel like I'm in the Truman show only I can't scream out loud cause whenever I try nothing comes out.
40. "She Comes Home to Me"
My God. We did it. I did it. This is the end. This is officially, according to me in a very official way, the worst Adam Sandler song I have had the unfortunate displeasure of listening to. Fuck everything about this song. It's not funny or fun to listen to and it's mean and gross and completely offensive and fucked up and I hate it. I hate this project. I will never do anything like this again I swear to God I am so sorry to everyone on Earth. I am also sorry to anyone I have ever hurt or annoyed and I am especially sorry to my maths teacher from year seven, for the acrostic poem about your acne and the size of your butt. I now realise that that was not funny and was evil and I am honestly sorry. I'm also extremely sorry for this last video.