Do you have a list of songs you simply detest? I know I do. The worst are the old hits because they’ve already bothered you for so long and, to spite your disdain, you know they’ll continue making money for the recording artist or their estate long after your demise.

Sometimes you are forced to listen. If you’ve worked construction, you know that the most essential tool is a jobsite radio. Apparently building codes state that contractors can listen to only three types of music: classic rock, country or screaming metallic rock, as that’s all you ever hear. Once the radio is on, it stays on. You simply must endure whatever songs come up, like them or not.

One of my least favorite tunes is that inanely childish ditty from the Five Man Electrical Band called “Signs.” You know “Sign, sign everywhere a sign, blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind. Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

Please, give me a break. This is civilization. That’s why we have signs; we need signs. Signs keep us informed and oftentimes safe. They exist for convenience so we don’t have to continually ask questions and people don’t have to keep telling us what needs to be communicated. If the sign conveys a message of repression or discrimination, it is not the sign’s fault but an indication that there are societal problems that need to be addressed far beyond just getting rid of the sign.

Apparently, even Wikipedia doesn’t like the song. Of course they don’t offer an opinion but it’s not hard to read between the lines to get the drift. The entry reads:

“The song’s narrator describes four instances of encountering signs that anger or concern him, as follows:

A notice that “long-haired freaky people need not apply” for a job opening. He stuffs his hair into his hat in order to get an interview, then contemptuously reveals it once he has been offered the job.”

Yikes. The entry continues describing the other three sign encounters with similar attitude.

One of the worst characteristics of least favorite songs is that they stay with you long after the song is over. My wife forbids me to even hum any of the songs that are on her least favorite list as it may compel her to do me in with a rolling pin. I am even forbidden to mention them here.

I know: some people like the songs I can’t stand but that doesn’t necessarily mean the world wouldn’t be a better place if those songs simply ceased to exist.

And while I’m bringing up least favorite songs, how about the tunes that bemoan the sad and unbearably painful life of a rock star on the road? To be sure, there are several songs along this line but I’m talking about poor old Bob Seger who is “on a long and lonesome highway east of Omaha” (stop me if I start crying), where he doesn’t feel much like riding on the bus. And there he is: on the road again and bored, then up on the stage, playin’ star, again. Oh for heaven’s sake, turn the page already. Boohoo. I am so awfully sorry to hear you’re a rock star. Cry me a river. Any time he wants he can bus himself over to one of my jobsites, get up on the scaffolding and scrape some paint or put up some shingles in the cold while listening to his songs on the jobsite radio.

Please know that I like Bob Seger, but you just have to wonder if he didn’t write this song to see how far he could push the dubious concept that rock stardom is the most miserable lifestyle on the planet before someone noticed. Well, I notice every time the song comes on when I am doing anything more taxing than riding on a bus between concerts.

If I were king, aside from ridding my realm of simple slotted screws, I would have to banish these songs forever to the academic archives where only scholars with special permission could study these songs only for the purpose of preventing any similar scourges from infecting the kingdom.

Since I am not king yet, I would like to propose a last stanza to the “Signs” song that might go:

“The sign said ‘Explosive Gas Vapors Present, No Smoking Please’

So I pulled out my cigs and lit up a match and —”

End of song. Turn the page.