we asked people

We Asked People About the Songs That Absolutely Piss Them Off

“‘Toto’ by Africa. I mean ‘Africa’ by Toto. I can’t even say it right that’s how much that song fucks me up.”

by Rosie Hewitson
19 February 2019, 3:57am

All images by the author

This article originally appeared on VICE UK

Everyone has at least one song that just properly fucks them off. Just makes them absolutely wild with rage. Didn’t even have to think about it did you? You know exactly what it is already. You hate it. You hate it with your life, and ugh... now it’s in your head.

Perhaps it’s that 12-minute prog rock B-side that keeps getting queued on the Sonos at work by a surly intern who never says hello when you share the lift and is always reheating fish in the microwave. Maybe it’s that saccharine single that always comes on at the gym right when you think your heart might actually be about to explode from four minutes of light jogging on a treadmill. Or that stupid shitting song they used to blast on Heart Radio every Saturday morning for the two years that you worked in retail during A Levels, and now whenever you hear it you get horrible flashbacks to struggling to process a 40p refund for a shouty middle aged woman while aggressively hungover from drinking cans of Carling all night in somebody’s mum’s basement. There’s also a pretty good chance that it’s something by Jessie J.

Whatever it is, your fists are now clenched and your blood pressure has just skyrocketed at the mere thought of it. Sorry mate... didn’t mean to upset you. Why don’t you go and have a little breather outside? Your face has gone really red? Sorry again.

You’re not alone on this one, though, trust me. Here’s what everyone else can’t stand:

Cai and Linda

Cai and Linda
From left to right: Cai and Linda

Hi guys, what song really grinds your gears?
Linda: Like... any Ed Sheeran song?
Cai: Yeah I was definitely gonna say that too.

Thank you, I was really hoping that somebody would bring up the little ginger goblin.
Cai: I knew we were both thinking the same thing there.

They’re all quite infuriating but is there a specific song that is worse than the rest for you? Linda: I do my best to avoid them so fortunately I don’t think I actually know them well enough to say.
Cai: I think “Shape of You.”

Why that one?
Cai: Probably just that it was everywhere, you couldn’t escape it. And also just that there’s this whole cultural thing where a guy with an acoustic guitar can be so mediocre and so hyped, and everyone says “he’s such a great songwriter”. And like...I guess he’s written some ok songs but he’s really nothing special. It’s like he’s just come back from his gap year and picked up a guitar cos he thinks he has something to say. That’s the thing that annoys me the most about him.

The bar is so low for a white man with a guitar.
Cai: It really is.

Dime and Matt

Dime and Matt
From left to right: Dime and Matt

Noisey: Hey lads, tell me about a song that pisses you right off.
Matt: Oh, anything by Jamiroquai! Maybe like ‘Space Cowboy’.

That was a really quick answer – why?
Matt: Cos his voice is well annoying, everything he sings about is well annoying. He looks like a fucking idiot. Just everything, yeah.

Harsh! What do you think caused this hatred?
Dime: He met him once and he was a right twat.

Really?
Matt: No! I think it’s just that I remember everyone well rating this song and thinking “ah this is rubbish” and the more songs I heard by him the more I disliked it.
Dime: He’s mates with Jamie Oliver as well, isn’t he?

I mean that speaks volumes.
Matt: Exactly. I remember seeing that he was playing at Hyde Park once on the same line-up as Joss Stone and I actually thought to myself “I don’t know what amount of money you’d have to pay me to be there”. I reckon at least my entire year’s rent for me to even spend an hour at that gig. Like, honestly, who would put those two together on a line-up? What kind of people are buying a ticket for that?

Truly I have no idea. Stupid hat as well.
Matt: So stupid.

What about you Dime?
Dime: dunno if I can top that really. Probably a lot of stuff on the radio, but I don’t really listen to the radio anyway. I rarely find myself listening to stuff that annoys me, I just don’t listen to it.

Strong tactic. And there’s even the mute button on Spotify now too.
Dime:
Exactly, so you don’t have to even get caught out with that. Yeah I’d have to agree that Jamiroquai is pretty annoying.

Craig and Zac

Craig and Zac
From left to right: Craig and Zac

Any songs that properly wind you up?
Craig: What’s that Billy Joel one? The really famous one. ‘Piano Man’.

How come?
Craig: I just hate it. Like it’s a good song but I’ve just heard it so, so many times. It’s the harmonica bit, it just makes my fists clench.

Yeah I’ve always found harmonicas deeply irritating. Zac what’s your answer?
Zac: I was gonna say that Cascada song but I think I’ll go with R. Kelly, the remix to “Ignition,” I think just because it always gets played by girls at parties and I’ve never liked it.
Craig: Well anything by R. Kelly would get on my nerves now.

Yeah, I hope he’s not getting played anymore these days, but I do feel like this particular song has always been a sign that you’re having a bad night.
Craig: Yeah it just always, always gets played at shit parties.

I feel like it reminds of like... chain cocktail bars in the city.
Zac: Yeah the kind of places where all the blokes are wearing pink shirts and loafers.
Craig: I think it always signals the moment at a house party when you realise it’s time to go home.

I feel nauseous just thinking about it. Good answer!

Kostas

Kostas
Kostas

Noisey: What’s the most annoying song in the world?
Kostas: Ummmm for me it would have to be “Blurred Lines.”

Because?
It was really annoying and got in your head which was a problem because it’s super sexist. I haven’t heard it in a really long time though, thankfully.

Yeah me neither, thank god. Why do you think that is?
I guess we’ve moved on a lot in the past few years? And I don’t think it would have been so successful if it was released today.

The album he released after was a complete flop, it only sold like a few hundred copies in the UK.
Ah I didn’t know that, but it makes me happy.

Me too!

Alex

Noisey: What song just properly gets on your nerves Alex?
Alex: It’s a bit of a weird choice but it would have to be “Free Nelson Mandela” by… is it The Specials? I think so.

Niche choice. Not a fan of Nelson Mandela? Did you want him to stay in jail?
No, it’s actually got nothing to do with what the song is about. Basically I went to Oxford and the college that I was at used to play it at the end of every party. I think they passed a motion in support of him back when he was in prison in like the eighties or something, that meant that you had to end every bop with that song.

And you just heard it too much?
Well it wasn’t even really that, like it was Oxford we didn’t exactly do that much partying, I think it was just... the way everyone thought it was a hilarious joke or something and it really isn’t that funny. And I think ending up at a uni like Oxford you either embrace the stupid traditions or you end up hating them and I definitely ended up hating them.

I feel that.
I can’t let you take my picture though cos I’ve never told anyone that I secretly hated that song. Feel like a bit of a traitor.

I’m sure Nelson would understand, don’t worry.

Becky and Angs

Becky and Angs
From left to right: Becky and Angs

Tell me about your most hated songs.
Becky:
That stupid…what’s he called? With that stupid dance *she demonstrates*. The Korean guy, Psy, that song ‘Gangnam Style’. Uuuugh oh my god I hate it, I HATE that song.

Wow you’re raging. Probably a bit silly asking you this cos literally who doesn’t agree, but what is it exactly that you hate about it?
Becky: I think it’s because everyone played it ironically but you couldn’t escape it and usually if you do something ironically it’s funny for a bit but then it just becomes...not funny anymore and actually just very annoying.

And you Angs?
Angs: I think there’s lots at the moment but it has to be ‘Baby Shark’. Yeah, that one is easily the most annoying right now.

I think even just hearing it mentioned has lodged it in my brain for the next week, so thanks.
Angs: Sorry.

Yeah, you should be.

Maz

Maz
Maz

What song really fucks you off Maz?
‘Fireworks’ by Katy Perry. I hate that song man. I think it’s just...excruciatingly painful.

How come?
I think it’s mainly the lyrics, I just find them so inane. Like if you’re going to be a singer then have something to sing about. Write some decent lyrics. Not ‘do you ever feel like a plastic bag?’

So you’re saying that you don’t ever feel a plastic bag?
No, I don’t! I don’t feel like a cornershop blue bag. The thing is I feel like Katy Perry started off as like, quite a cool singer, kind of gospel and rock and roll. And I get that she got bigger and was commercialised and wanted to appeal to a bigger audience but she just became like...ugh.

Ultimate white girl?
Exactly. And like…she didn’t have to do it like that. Lady Gaga did it right.

We stan.

Bonnet

Bonnet
Bonnet

Any songs that just really rub you up the wrong way?
Bonnet: That Justin Bieber one “Despacito.” I just found it incredibly annoying because everybody was playing it, I was doing some travelling at the time and it was so popular across the whole world that everywhere I went somebody was playing it. So it became one of those situations where a song gets played so much that it just triggers you.

So you liked it at first?
No, I mean I never liked it but it didn’t make me angry in the same way that it does now. Now I just cannot physically stand to be in a room when that song is being played.

Fair enough.

Lewis, Ollie, Richard and Will

Lewis, Ollie, Richard and Will
From left to right: Lewis, Ollie, Richard and Will

Tell me what song pisses you off like nothing else.
Ollie: Hmmmm what about that one by the Darkness? Anything by the Darkness really yeah.
Richard: Ah but there’s a kind of cool ironic thing about it though isn’t there?

I’d have to disagree with that.
Lewis: For me it’d be ‘Toto’ by Africa. I mean ‘Africa’ by Toto. I can’t even say it right that’s how much that song fucks me up. Ah it’s funny but it really annoys me at the same time.
Ollie: Yeah that’s a good one, what gets me about it is that it’s clearly been written by people that don’t know anything about Africa.
Richard: Ah no I actually quite like that song.
Will: Yeah I love it, it’s actually probably one of my favourite songs.

Bold statement!
Will: Ok maybe not one of my favourites but it’s alright.
Ollie: No. No it’s annoying.

Agreed. Thanks guys.

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