Tom Breihan is in the middle a long series of music reviews for Stereogum. To be specific, he is reviewing every song that was #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart since 1958. You can see them all here. This week, he is up to December of 1989, in which “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel was #1 for two weeks. Breihan doesn’t hold back.
I hate “We Didn’t Start The Fire” so much. I hate it with my whole being, my entire soul. I hear that nattering keyboard riff and those hyperactive bongos and “Harry Truman Doris Day,” and I become a different being. My blood becomes lava. My teeth become knives. In seconds, I could reduce a rhinoceros to ashen bone with the sheer acidity of my stomach bile. As a song, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” is a cursed and godforsaken work of torment, a towering abomination. Its sheer musical unpleasantness is, in its own way, almost impressive. If Billy Joel had actually set out to create eardrum-stabbing experimental hell-music, he couldn’t have done any better.
Okay, now tell us what you really think. I always considered “We Didn’t Start The Fire” to be a so-so song with a catchy chorus and nonsensical lyrics. To be honest, I had no great expectations for a Billy Joel song by 1989. But Breihan explains his hatred for the song, and then adds a few videos of cultural references and parodies spun from “We Didn’t Start The Fire” at Stereogum. -via Metafilter
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