The Worst Songs I Have Ever Heard #11: “Everything I Do, I Do It For You”

Canada has a pretty stellar musical legacy.

No, really. They’ve given us the Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, the Handsome Furs, the Band, Broken Social Scene, Metric, Fucked Up, and the New Pornographers, to name but a few.

But Canada has also given us Loverboy and Bryan Fucking Adams, the latter being a purveyor of some of the schmaltziest schmaltz to ever gum up your ear holes. I was in a store the other day when I heard Adams’ “Can’t Stop This Thing We Started,” and I thought I was going to write about it for The Worst Songs I Have Ever Heard (and I probably will someday because the lyrics are dumb at best and semi-rapey at worst) until I remembered that Adams is responsible for an even larger audio atrocity known as “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” which was featured on the soundtrack to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, a film that, Alan Rickman notwithstanding, was probably the first sign that we shouldn’t allow Kevin Costner to do movies anymore.

Of course, back in the summer of 1991 (seriously? This song happened when Riot Grrrl was happening. It probably wasn’t a leading cause of that movement, but I’m gonna pretend it was), “(Everything I Do [Including Taking a Poo]) I Do It For You” was a massive hit.  Why? Because it has a plodding piano part and a sentiment that, as long as you don’t think about it…um… at all, is pretty lovely.

In case you didn’t catch my oh-so-subtle poop joke in the last paragraph, the first problem I have with this song is the concept of doing everything for someone else. Bryan Adams is, in this saccharine “power” ballad (well, Wikipedia thinks it’s a power ballad) implies that, when he drops a deuce, it’s for the titular “you.” What a lucky girl. Or guy. We don’t discriminate here at Bollocks!. The real problem here is one I have with a lot of really popular, really awful songs and that is this: these people are not thinking before they put pen to paper. If everything Bryan Adams does is for “you,” that means every time he jerks off, it’s for you. As is every time he does his taxes or scratches his balls or makes a sandwich (actually, that could be pretty nice) or watches The Real Housewives of Who Gives a Fuck County or murders someone or steals candy from a baby or assassinates a world leader. To say that everything you do is done for someone else is such a broad statement that it is essentially meaningless and putting in a  love song strikes me as pretty fucking lazy to boot.

The whole “I do everything for you” sentiment isn’t my only lyrical beef with “(Everything I Do) Electric Boogaloo.” At one point, Adams claims, “There’s nowhere/ unless you’re there,” which is just demonstrably false. If you’re not somewhere, there are plenty of other places, namely everywhere you’re fucking not. Let’s say Bryan Adams’ titular “you” is, just for fun, Kevin Costner. In that case, we are expected to believe that there is nowhere unless Kevin Costner is there. By that logic, I would currently be writing this sentence from nowhere because Kevin Costner most definitely is not here. But I’m not nowhere; I’m in Van Nuys (“nowhere” being somewhat preferable to Van Nuys). I guess that could mean that I’m the “you” Bryan Adams is addressing in “(Everything I Do) I Do It Out of Contractual Obligation to My Record Label” (which is extra creepy because I was eleven when this song came out. I don’t know what the age of consent is up there in Canada, but I’m guessing it’s not eleven). In that case, there would be nowhere unless I’m there and that’s also provably not the case. For that to be true, Bryan Adams would have to have sung the song from nowhere, you would be reading Bollocks! in the middle of nowhere (readers in Kansas notwithstanding), and everyone I’m currently Google chatting with would have to also be nowhere. But, to take the latter example, those people are somewhere; they’re at work. And I’m helping them not get any work done.

So the lyrics are lazy and they’re stupid and I know saying that won’t make anyone who adores this song adore it any less (in fact, some will probably accuse me of being some sort of snob or hipster or hater or some other such thing; so be it), but if you were on the fence about this song (seems unlikely to me), I’m hoping to give you a persuasive shove over to my side, which is the side that thinks “(Everything I Do) I Do It To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” is a fuck-terrible song.

And it’s not just the lyrics – the music itself is insipid. If you watch the video (I linked to it, and if you have four minutes to flush down the toilet, why not give it a look?) and can stand it to about the two minute and forty-seven second mark, you’ll see/hear the most unnecessary guitar “solo” in the history of modern music. And it’s played by this moron in a leather jacket who closes his eyes and whips his long hair slowly side to side like a… fuck, I can’t even come up with a simile for this. I’m too busy wanting to throw up. Look: if you like the guitar solo in “(Everything I Do) I Do It for Cindy-Lou Who,” there is a 98% chance that you also enjoy Kenny G’s music. Before you get all sniffly and defensive, liking Kenny G doesn’t make you a bad person. But you should know that the guitar solo in “(Everything I Do) I’m Tired of Making Up Jokes About the Song’s Title” is to guitar solos what Kenny G’s music is to jazz and that can best be described using the word “antithesis.”

But why pick on a schmaltzy love song if so many people love it? Because it’s a cheap, lazy love song and I think cheap, lazy love songs cheapen love itself (yes, really). There are great fucking love songs out there and people should go find those instead of relying on Kevin Costner movies to provide pure dross like “(Everything I Do [Including Killing You]) I Do It For You.” Doesn’t your love deserve better? For the sake of whomever you’re in love with, I certainly hope so.

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7 thoughts on “The Worst Songs I Have Ever Heard #11: “Everything I Do, I Do It For You”

  1. What boggles my mind is that Bryan Adams is responsible for this bloody mess and also one of my favorite nostalgic love songs ever: Summer of 69. Theories as to how this could have happened?

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  3. This song was a hideous strain of pop ballad virus when it came out in Australia. For a while you couldn’t stand anywhere -including deep in an old decommissioned coal mine 34 miles out of a ghost town- without hearing it. A soundtrack force fed into everyone’s lives. A horrible indiscriminate virus that spared no one. I lost most of the hearing in my left ear because of it. Two of my friends died of pop cancer. The spike in suicide numbers was like a donkey phallus on the statistical chart. It sill defies belief our government didn’t ban it.

  4. @saulacious because bryan adams is a buisnessman. Bryan adams was 10 in 1969, he wrote the song for song to evoke a sentiment from middleaged people who were between 18 and 25 in 1969. he wrote this song to evoke a sentiment from people who don’t pay a lot of attention to the music they’re listening to.

    @simon Holy shit! I wonder what happened to Australia when “The only thing that looks good on me is you” hit the airwaves!

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  7. Any idea who bought this shit? Bryan couldnt afford to keep buying them singles himself for 16 weeks in the UK. No iTunes back then…. who bought it? I didnt, my grandma didnt, the fit lass sat next to me didnt…. anyone? Who bought it? I rememeber the sickness that came over me as school girls woo’ed by Bryan kept telling me how good it was… I was only 15. Im now going to write a song about the summer of 76. When I was born. In competition with Bri, who was 10 in the Summer of 69. Any want to buy a copy? I can go for 17 weeks at No.1 and we can all share the profits….. takers? I have searched the net, all Wiki says is that it was at No.1 for 16 weeks, no shit, I rememember the pain…..

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