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Most Annoying Songs Of All Time: 10 Ear-Bashing Horrors To Avoid!
List & Guides

Most Annoying Songs Of All Time: 10 Ear-Bashing Horrors To Avoid!

From viral novelties to chart-topping hits, the most annoying songs of all time never fail to cause irritation of the ears.

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There are many songs that, for better or worse, evoke nostalgia for all the wrong reasons. Whether through unrelenting repetition, bizarre lyrics or perplexing charm, the most annoying songs of all time have gotten stuck in our heads, only to find there’s no way out. Becoming cultural touchstones against our better judgement, they can elicit reactions that range from awkward laughter to plain old confusion, leaving a legacy of earworms and cringe-worthy tunes that are simply unforgettable – and unbearable.

Whether you love them or hate them, the world’s most annoying songs continue to divide opinion and prove impossible to escape…

Most Annoying Songs Of All Time: 10 Ear-Bashing Horrors To Avoid!

10: Joe Dolce: Shaddap You Face (1980)

An unforgettable entry in the annals of the most annoying songs ever recorded, Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face is a tune that, once heard, is nearly impossible to shake. Famous for beating Ultravox’s synth-pop masterpiece Vienna to the UK No.1 spot in February 1981, the song’s catchy yet grating chorus and Dolce’s comically exaggerated Italian-American accent is a textbook example of cultural appropriation gone awry. Nevertheless, Shaddap You Face’s irreverent humour still managed to lodge itself in the collective consciousness, and it remains a polarising cultural relic forever etched in the history of annoying earworms.

9: Pikotaro: PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen) (2016)

Catapulted to viral stardom thanks to Pikotaro’s idiosyncratic dance moves, PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen) will have you raising your eyebrows from the first moment you hear it. With shrill electro-pop synths and seemingly nonsensical lyrics, the song was released in late 2016 and somehow peaked at No.76 on the US Hot 100 thanks to its infectious absurdity and relentlessly repetitive vocal hook. While undeniably a product of its time, PPAP’s ceaseless catchiness has secured its place in the pantheon of the world’s most annoying songs, lingering in the memory far longer than one might wish.

8: Rednex: Cotton Eye Joe (1995)

A boisterous barnyard anthem that somehow manages to straddle the line between jollity and exasperation, Cotton Eye Joe, by Rednex, is a Eurodance remix of an old North American folk song. Reaching No.1 in the UK and No.25 in the US back in 1995, its relentless fiddle riff and bumpkin-inspired lyrics, coupled with an almost manic tempo, make it an instant earworm – one that, for many, immediately overstays its welcome. While its high-energy blend of country and techno may have made it a novelty hit, Cotton Eye Joe quickly established itself as one of the most annoying songs ever to get stuck in the brain. Once there, it’s nearly impossible to dislodge.

7: Bombalurina: Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini (1990)

Masterminded by children’s TV presenter Timmy Mallett, Bombalurina’s rendition of Brian Hyland’s 1960 novelty hit Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini is even more annoying than the original. Attempting to update its bubblegum-pop melody and saccharine lyrics into a house-inspired dance-pop anthem, Mallett took the song to No.1 in the UK back in 1990, its repetitive chorus and cloying cheerfulness making it an undeniable contender among the most annoying songs of all time. In fact, one wishes its creator would have put his mallet to better use…

6: Fast Food Rockers: The Fast Food Song (2003)

Like a group of gaudily-dressed cheerleaders obsessed with eating takeaway meals, Fast Food Rockers scored themselves a novelty hit in the early 2000s with The Fast Food Song, which sent the nation’s cholesterol levels soaring when it peaked at No.2 in the UK. So cringeworthy it’ll make you want to crash your car at the drive-through, the song’s cheesiness and over-the-top enthusiasm is almost commendable, but its chorus is so repetitive you’ll be reduced to sticking French fries in your ears to block out the noise (“A Pizza Hut, a Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut/McDonald’s, McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut”). A stark reminder that a song’s memorability doesn’t always equate to its musical genius.

5: El Chombo: Dame Du Cosita (featuring Cutty Ranks) (2018)

Set to an almost hypnotic beat with bizarre, alien-like vocalisations from Jamaican dancehall singer Cutty Ranks, El Chombo’s Dame Tu Cosita is a sonic assault on the ears. A viral video helped the song become a global phenomenon in 2018, and it reached No.36 on the US Hot 100, but its occasional displays of comic flair are very much overstated. While some may find Dame Tu Cosita endearing, for many it’s symptomatic of the inanity of internet meme culture, and the only place it truly belongs is on this list of the most annoying songs ever made.

4: Crazy Frog: Axel F (2005)

Crazy Frog’s cover of Axel F is a cacophonous collision of electronic noise that beggars belief.
Given a frenetic tempo that catapulted it to the UK No.1 spot in 2005, the iconic melody from the Beverly Hills Cop theme is subjected to a relentless onslaught of synthesisers and Crazy Frog’s notoriously high-pitched, motor-like gibberish. More likely to leave you with a headache than with a fond memory, it’s a novelty song that swiftly wears out its welcome, earning its place in history as one of the most grating pop tunes ever to grace the airwaves.

3: Black Lace: Agadoo (1984)

Famously banned by the BBC for lacking musical credibility, Black Lace’s Agadoo nonetheless managed to peak at No.2 in the UK back in 1984. This tropical-flavoured party anthem spawned a call-and-response dancefloor craze as irritating as a fruit fly (“Agadoo doo doo, push pineapple, shake the tree”) with mind-numbingly repetitive lyrics that’ll have you wanting to fumigate the disco from the moment it starts playing. While it may evoke nostalgia for some, others are left with a lingering itch for a mute button, and despite Agadoo’s status as a kids’ party staple, it has more than earned its reputation as one of the most annoying songs in pop history.

2: Pinkfong: Baby Shark (2019)

Provoking instant cringing and a desire for immediate silence, Pinkfong’s Baby Shark turned a nursery rhyme into a viral phenomenon that kids loved but parents despised. While the song’s popularity among young children is undeniable – remarkably, it peaked at No.6 in the UK – for many adults it is a maddeningly annoying tune that now sounds as sinister as the Jaws theme. With chomping dance motions and a bloodcurdlingly simplistic melody, Baby Shark is proof that the power of annoyance in music knows no age boundaries, and if there’s anyone we shouldn’t trust to determine a hit song, it’s children.

1: Ylvis: The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) (2013)

A surreal cacophony of quirky animal noises, The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?), by Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis, has more than earned its place in internet history. With over one billion views on YouTube and peaking at No.17 in the UK, this novelty hit from 2013 has a bizarrely catchy chorus that speculates about the vocalisations of various creatures, delivered with an earnestness that verges on absurdity. Musically, it’s a fun dance-pop track, straddling the line between novelty and nuisance with a barmy sense of self-awareness. Bewildering and bemusing listeners in equal measure, The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) amply demonstrates the unpredictable nature of internet culture, and that’s why it tops our list of the most annoying songs of all time.

Need to give your ears a break? Check out the best songs of the 2020s.

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