Nine Classic Songs We Should Put a Moratorium On

“What I Like About You”

"Moratorium" is a good word: it's a legal term that means, in this sense, "a suspension of activity". The following nine songs have reached such a level of media saturation that their activity should be suspended for at least fifty years. People may still listen to them in the privacy of their own homes, but please, no more use in TV commercials, movie soundtracks, wedding receptions, karaoke bars, or oldies radio stations. It's not that they're bad songs - on the contrary, most of them are so good that the shame is that, due to massive overexposure, we can no longer enjoy them. Behold:

  1. "I GOT YOU (I FEEL GOOD)", James Brown. The hands-down winner in this category, James Brown's output is so huge, and so consistently soulful, that if we retired this one for good, people might start discovering the wealth of material in this man's back catalog. And I don't mean "Living in America".
  2. "RESPECT", Aretha Franklin. A truly great song that has lost every last shred of its impact, thanks to being whored out to any commercial enterprise who's got the money.
  3. "WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU", The Romantics. Forget what I said in the opening paragraph. This is not a good song. It should be banned simply because it's awful. It's the most overplayed awful song ever.
  4. "CELEBRATION", Kool and the Gang. This isn't a good song either. Frankly, I've never heard a less convincing ode to celebrating, good times, or parties.
  5. "I CAN'T HELP MYSELF (SUGAR PIE HONEY BUNCH)", The Four Tops. Runner up: "Reach Out (I'll Be There)". The Four Tops seemed to favor song titles with parentheses (didn't they).
  6. "YMCA", The Village People. Though it's funny to watch homophobes at wedding receptions shake their butts to this flagrantly gay anthem, there are plenty of other Village People tunes that will produce the same effect, without all the arm movements.
  7. "MY GIRL", The Temptations. It's a shame that so many people primarily associate The Temptations with this safe-for-old-white-folks ballad, instead of with their powerful late '60s/early '70s "Psychedelic Soul" period.
  8. "YOU SHOOK ME ALL NIGHT LONG", AC/DC. In my opinion, this band should have called it quits after original singer Bon Scott died. That said, the title track to Back in Black still feels fresh. This ode to sex with an American girl does not.
  9. "SATISFACTION", The Rolling Stones. I would love to get no "Satisfaction" for a good, long time.