“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus

Billy Ray Cyrus is, even after the horror that was the ‘Bro-Country’ trend, still a serious contender for the worst Pop-Country act of all time. This is the man who wrote painfully embarrassing songs from the perspective of both jingoistic conservatives (“Some Gave All”) and bleeding-heart liberals (“Trail of Tears”), proving that at least he was willing to make both parties look bad. But this is the song that launched his career, and while it’s a commonly acknowledged fact that this song is bad, it actually kind of defies description how bad it really is. The lyrics are completely idiotic and nonsensical, Cyrus’ singing sounds like a stereotypical Z-grade Elvis impersonator, and the tune is one of the most irritating earworms in all of popular dance music, right up there with “The Macarena” in terms of sheer annoyance. We’ve become so familiar with the song by now that it almost sounds amusing when we hear it now, simply as a relic of a bygone age of pop music, but when you examine the composition, you realize what an absolute abomination this song actually was. in fact, I can’t think of a single Pop-Country hit in the twenty-plus years since it came out that was this blatantly inept, and that’s saying something considering that was the era that gave us “Honky-Tonk Badonkadonk”.

Verdict: Not only bad, but much, much worse than even most of its detractors fully realize.

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