The 111 Wussiest Songs of All Time (No. 1)


1. 'Shiny Happy People'
Listen to R.E.M.'s 'Shiny Happy People,' one of AOL Music's 111 Wussiest Songs Ever.R.E.M. (1991)
Disowned by the band on its 2003 greatest-hits album despite being one of the critically adored "college rock" group's biggest chart successes, 'Shiny Happy People' is a case in point that irony doesn't always translate. (That's why they created emoticons ;-) Supposedly written in response to the horrific Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989, the song finds poetic lyricist Michael Stipe borrowing from a bit of Chinese propaganda roughly interpreted as "shiny happy people holding hands." But the finished product was no trenchant political statement from a human-rights warrior exercising the power of his celebrity. Instead, it was an anthemic lobotomy, precisely the kind of pop puffery the band meant to skewer.

Listen to 'Shiny Happy People'
Editor's Note:

This list was compiled by real-live wusses (and some who have actually dated wusses) from Los Angeles (Bread country) to Dublin (land of Gilbert O'Sullivan). Our panel of wussperts limited the selections to songs from -- and relevant to -- the rock 'n' roll era: no '40s crooners, no show tunes, no Anne Murray. When compiling, we picked one selection to represent each artist: If you want 15 Barry Manilow numbers, please buy his greatest hits. Most importantly, the songs were selected for their inherent wussness, regardless of quality. Some are loathed, some are cherished (doh, we forgot 'Cherish'!) . . . all are wussy.

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AOL Music counts down the 111 Wussiest Songs Ever. Listen to all 111 one-by-one, or tune into the 111 Wussiest Songs station on AOL Radio where you can also learn limp facts about these wimpy songs.
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