“A Horse With No Name” by America

There is a widespread piece of common wisdom among music fans that any band named after a state, city, country or continent is automatically going to be terrible. I’m not so sure I agree with this (I can think of a fair number of exceptions), but America is certainly the most convincing piece of evidence for that point of view. This has become one of those all-time memetic legends of the bad song canon, and there’s ample reason for that. The intensely annoying earworm melody and irritating vocals would be bad enough, but the real defining problem with this song is the pretentious and utterly ridiculous lyrics, which contain some of the most quotably idiotic lines in all of Psychedelic Rock (which is, let’s face it, no mean feat). On top of that, it’s blatantly derivative…the band pretty much admitted that they were openly trying to rip off Neil Young. Well, they certainly have Young’s pretentious qualities down, and the lead singer does a pretty convincing impression of Young’s squeaky vocals. Unfortunately, this song has none of the intelligence, introspection and honesty that makes Young’s work worthwhile despite these things, so basically imagine all of Neil Young’s faults with none of his strengths, and you have this band.

Verdict: Bad.

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