In my first “Bad Song!” post, I shared a “Bad Song” exercise I’ve developed that can be used in solo writing, as an ice-breaker or warm-up in co-writing, and as a classroom or workshop exercise. The spirit of this exercise is about letting go of professional aspirations for the resulting song. Otherwise it turns into “work” and you lose the point of the exercise.
That being said…
Since I first developed the exercise, the universe has been presenting me with a steady progression of great examples of “bad song writing” (not to be confused with “bad songwriting”!) that truly are professional opportunities.
First off, there are countless TV shows, like Friends, How I Met Your Mother, Frazier, 30 Rock, and the like, where bad songs are integral to the story lines. Some of these songs are side-splittingly funny, like the episode of 30 Rock (Season 5, Episode 12, “Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning”) where Jack Donaghy decides to pre-record disaster relief benefit shows for disasters that haven’t happened yet. Jenna Maroney winds up singing: “Help the people the thing that happened happened to…”—which would be funny, even if she weren’t singing about “Mayhem in Mago” and the wreckage of Mel Gibson’s sex jacuzzi.