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Tuesday, July 22, 2014 | Last updated: 10:24pm

Birthday songs: the good, the bad, and the ugly



Sometimes it feels like every week some friend has a birthday, but it’s the perfect excuse to gather for a big, shared experience that both warms the heart and slakes the sober tongue. To that end, here’s the Daily Wildcat’s compilation of birthday songs that can either set the perfect tone for that special day or destroy it completely.

The best:

“Birthday Gal” – The Replacements

While we’re always game to plug The ‘Mats whenever possible, this song is truly the perfect way to cap off a birthday fated to be like all the others. Singing with the shaky confidence of a man who has seen a few too many birthdays himself, Paul Westerberg croons excellent, scene-setting lyrics like “Wax is dripping from the frosting of the cake … We sang off key, and all the dishes china-blue.”

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Throw in a perfectly ramshackle guitar solo and some world-weary contemplation about growing up, and you’ve got yourself the perfect birthday song.

“Birthday” – The Sugarcubes

Or maybe this the perfect birthday song. It all depends on how deep you are into celebrating. Björk’s elastic vocal performance and the wonderfully Cure-like composition serves as an inspiring sing-along for everyone.

Of course, it might be difficult to hit the notes she’s hitting, but who needs notes when you’ve got birthday sentiments as maudlin or cathartic as “They saw a big raven, it glided down the sky, she touched it. / Today is a birthday, they’re smoking cigars”? It’s just amazing: Explicit birthday wishes be damned.

Now, the worst:

“Birthday Sex” – Jeremih

Admittedly you have to admire a song that unabashedly celebrates a uniquely specific part of the best birthdays around. By delivering such an oddly sincere ode to an experience no one else would ever write a song about, Jeremih has ensured that his auto-tune washed “Birthday Sex” will forever remain in some sad, lonely crevice of the birthday-having public.

However, Jeremih’s unnervingly melancholy delivery of lines like “Don’t need candles and cake / Just need your body to make,” and “We grinding with passion cause it’s yo’ birthday,” do little to capture the rock ‘n’ roll birthday we all deserve.

“Birthday Song” – 2 Chainz featuring Kanye West

The only thing worse than a birthday song that completely misses the joyous beauty of birthdays is one that further aggravates Kanye West’s astounding slump of half-assed guest verses and lame G.O.O.D. Music collaborations.

2 Chainz is upfront about his desire for “a big booty ho” to make his birthday dreams come true, but Kanye is frustratingly elusive about what exactly anybody’s birthday truly means to him. Tossing off a line like “Last birthday she got you a new sweater / Put it on, give her a kiss, and tell her to do better” is hardly what anyone had in mind when we heard you were releasing a birthday song, Yeezy.

“Happy Birthday”- Stevie Wonder

That damn tropical synthesizer. It takes Stevie Wonder all of five seconds to ruin birthdays forever, but with this song, he reveals the true sadism behind his 40 year career. What other explanation could there possibly be for making this song just shy of six minutes long?

This was the song that started it all, and the one that makes you wonder which birthday songs could possibly be worse than this one. The answer? None. Not one of them.


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