Saturday, March 6, 2010
"I Love You" by Vanilla Ice (1990)
I've viewed a lot of 'worst songs ever' lists online and am surprised by how often I find "Ice Ice Baby" on the list. Surprised because in my opinion it's not half bad a song. I mean, it'll never make anyone's top ten, but it's hardly abhorrent. What I think is happening is that people are quite rightly condemning Robert Van Winkle, the charlatan responsible for the song under the name Vanilla Ice, and in so doing pointing their fingers at his most well-known song. But terrible acts can make good (or at least half-decent) songs, and to deny that is to pretend that Milli Vanilli's fall from grace in some way affects what a great song "Blame it on the Rain" is. Silliness.
Or look at it this way: Robert Van Winkle (I just love that name) has a discography of seven albums or more (several of which are in the 'nu-metal' genre, whatever that is). All of these albums are filled with music just as dire as your gut instinct tells you it must be. There's a very good chance that "Ice Ice Baby" is actually the best thing Van Winkle has ever done. So how can it show up on 'worst ever' lists, unless the lists devote themselves entirely to the Vanilla Ice oeuvre? (One album is attributed, hilariously, to "V-Ice".)
For truly dire, though, we need not go very far. "To the Extreme", Vanilla Ice's major label debut and home to that Queen-smapling track, contains the present song, "I Love You", a truly limp attempt at a romantic love ballad. Before listening to the two back to back, I was ready to describe this song as a weak take on LL Cool J's "I Need Love". The truth is, though, that the rather embarrassing "I Need Love" is still way better than this piece of work, which features back-up singers crooning random words from the lyrics, a cheesy drum machine beat, enough saxophone to shake a stick at (this song came out in 1990 but is a perfect example of the 1980s tendency to stick saxophones onto cheesy songs just to underline their cheesiness), and the piece de resistance: Vanilla Ice rapping in a whisper the shockingly pedestrian lyrics to this pathetic love-man ditty. I used the word 'limp' before, and I think it's the perfect word to describe this song: incredibly, disturbingly limp, and an embarrassment to anyone by any standards: so bad, and stop to marvel at this for a second, that it could even be seen as an embarrassment to Vanilla Ice's career. Just how bad is that?