In HateSong, we ask our favorite musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth to expound on the one song they hate most in the world.
The hater: With Hot Tub Time Machine 2 out this weekend and Childrens Hospital season six on any day now, Rob Corddry is doing all right. The onetime Daily Show correspondent has been working steadily in Hollywood since the early ’00s, pulling down roles in Community and Sex Tape, among others, and getting shows he created, like Newsreaders and the aforementioned Childrens Hospital, on the air. Corddry’s next project is Ballers, an HBO series about football starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
The A.V. Club: Why this song? People thought Annie Lennox was great at the Grammys a couple of weekends ago.
Rob Corddry: Maybe that’s why I thought of it. Because next to John Mayer’s guitar playing, Annie Lennox was the most compelling thing about the Grammys. And I feel like at that moment, I finally got it. I saw what fans see in her, and I got a glimpse into her artistry. She’s compelling because she was the only one up there who seemed to be digging what she was doing. Her and John Mayer. It was amazing.
AVC: So you’re just not into “No More ‘I Love You’s”?
RC: I guess I’m a very reluctant elitist. I have very eclectic taste in music, but this song makes me feel bad about myself because Annie Lennox is so unassailable. I feel like when I’m just hating that song and a lot of her music—I don’t really respond to any of her music—it’s just me butting heads with another clique of elitist snobs.
Here’s kind of the story of my evolution with this, why I’m a reluctant elitist. When I met my wife, I was in the heyday of my Guided By Voices, Sebadoh, indie-rock era, and the first time I went to her place I went through her music collection, which she had in one of those big fat folders, which that in itself, I was like, ugghh… you know? Because music is a badge of honor for a snob like me. She’s from Texas, so she had a lot of ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan-ish stuff. And now I had, at the time, only known ZZ Top as doing “Legs” and just representing a terrible time in music, no matter how much DJs in Miami try and bring it back. So I just made fun of her. And I continued for years to make fun of her taste in music. She’s also a huge Annie Lennox fan.
But I realized over the years that [my wife] was indulging me and I wasn’t indulging her. She liked my music because she’s open-minded, but it came to a point with TV, where we were watching Grey’s Anatomy, and I would be sort of reading, but watching it over her shoulder, and I would just be making fun of it at every possibility. And then finally she got angry. She was like, “Look, I don’t watch this show because it’s great TV; it’s a compelling soap opera. So stop making fun of it, because I would like to enjoy it the way that I enjoy it.” And that had a real effect on me, especially with music.
It was with ZZ Top that I came to understand how amazing they are. I’m a big fan of the blues, and to say that ZZ Top is garbage, as a blues fan, is antithetical. So I came to terms with it. I ended up taking her to ZZ Top on her birthday in Vegas and it was the best show ever. Also, having kids that listen to Top 40 music, I’m way more open to the feelings I have when I listen to those songs. There’s some really, really great pop coming out. Like “Call Me Maybe”? I could still listen to that piece of crap. Or even Lorde’s “Royals,” I wouldn’t turn that off if it came on the radio right now.
But if my wife gets in an Annie Lennox mood, for me, there’s no evolving. The clock just slows down, man. And especially this song, because the video is so grating. If you don’t remember it—it was something I used to make fun of with my friends—it was basically like a bunch of men in tutus ballet dancing made up like possessed dolls in a horror movie. It’s a reminder that, by the way, this song is not for you. The video screams, “Thanks for buying my records, gay men and theater chicks.” And then they cut to the crowd watching these gay ballet dancers, and they’re bored. They’re from a weird time period I can’t identify, and they’re as bored as I am. And I just wish that I could get on board. Because it’s sort of the last hill to climb, you know? Because I understand, especially after the Grammys. But I find that song insufferable. And most of her music.
Maybe I’m trying too hard, in a way, but on a Sunday morning when I come downstairs and Diva is playing on the Sonos, it’s like my morning just slows down, man.
AVC: Are there any Annie Lennox songs you like?
RC: Yeah. There is. What is it called? Hold on, I’ve got to look at it right now. Because this was a song that my wife played. She was like, “Come on, listen to this.” And I had no reaction to it at the time, but I since have grown to at least tolerate it.
AVC: I kind of like “Walking On Broken Glass.” That’s on Diva.
RC: I hate that song! I can’t stand it.
Oh: “Money Can’t Buy It.” That’s a pretty good song, because there’s some there there, you know? Maybe just because it cooks a little bit more, but I don’t know. Annie Lennox proved to me that she can show me the back of her balls. But she just does it so rarely on her albums.
AVC: Is it just all too slow for you?
RC: I like slow music, of course. Folk blues is maybe my go-to now, and there’s nothing slower and sadder and more melancholy. But it makes me feel something. I have a visceral reaction to it. And I feel that way about a lot of music. I don’t love classical music, but sometimes it will really fit a mood. Most of the time it just makes me feel bad because I don’t know anything about it.
Here it is: I like music that surprises me in any way or that catches me off guard. The worst thing that music can do is bore me. Those are the worst kinds of bad songs. Because I can say I don’t like “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina And The Waves because the horns are like penetrating my brain like swords, but at least that makes me feel something. It makes me feel like, “Oh, god, this is trying too hard.” But Annie Lennox makes me feel nothing. Nothing. And I’m a bad person because of it.
AVC: Well, I’m sorry that we made you dredge up some horrible memories.
RC: The worst part of this—because I asked my wife last night when I saw the topic of this interview, I was like, “What’s my least favorite song?” And she was like, “I don’t know, you like everything. Let me think about it.” And then we didn’t speak after. And so now I’m going to have to tell her that it’s this? You just started a war in my relationship.
AVC: Hopefully she can get you back.
RC: Oh great. Yeah, I’ll look forward to that. She’ll get me back by playing it over and over again.
AVC: There are a lot of different versions of it, apparently. She could play all sorts of different covers for you, some instrumentals…
RC: Isn’t there an original? It’s not even her song, right?
AVC: Yeah, it’s a cover.
RC: So she’s just like murdering someone else’s song? I wonder if the original is any good. It’s not even fair to choose that song. I really just don’t like all of her songs, evenly.