Lame Old Song

Proof that today's popular music is just as good -- and bad -- as it's always been

The Greatest Hits: 1982

Pop plus: "Shake It Up," by the Cars: Still capable of getting motors running.

Guilty pleasure: "867-5309/Jenny," by Tommy Tutone: Surprisingly, it's the right number.

The ugly: Richard Marks
The ugly: Richard Marks

Bad as Britney: "Don't Talk to Strangers," by Rick Springfield: Everyone who's sure 'N Sync will still have a career in 20 years should give this a listen.

From Celine to shining Celine: "Roseanna," by Toto: Fits the Supreme Court definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

The Greatest Hits: 1985

Pop plus: "Freeway of Love," by Aretha Franklin: Get in that baby and drive.

Guilty pleasure: "Walking on Sunshine," by Katrina & the Waves: Why this hasn't been used in a floor-wax ad, I'll never know.

Bad as Britney: "Broken Wings," by Mr. Mister: Broken eardrums is more like it.

From Celine to shining Celine: "Can't Fight This Feeling," by REO Speedwagon: A power ballad with a severe power shortage.

The Greatest Hits: 1986

Pop plus: "Word Up," by Cameo: Fake Zapp that's every bit as good as the real thing.

Guilty pleasure: "Walk This Way," by Run D.M.C.: It's not really rap, but it's not bad.

Bad as Britney: "No One Is to Blame," by Howard Jones: I beg to differ.

From Celine to shining Celine: "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)," by Glass Tiger: Forget who?

The Greatest Hits: 1989

Pop plus: "She Drives Me Crazy," by Fine Young Cannibals: This act did a fast fade -- but it sure was enjoyable while it lasted.

Guilty pleasure: "Kiss," by the Art of Noise featuring Tom Jones: Proof that subtlety can be overrated.

Bad as Britney: "Heaven," by Warrant: A little slice of hell.

From Celine to shining Celine: "Right Here Waiting," by Richard Marx: And you thought Karl Marx was unfunny...

The Greatest Hits: 1990

Pop plus: "The Power," by Snap: OK, it's not that much of a plus -- unless your other choices are Vanilla Ice's "Ice Ice Baby," Stevie B's "Because I Love You (Postman Song)" and Poison's "Unskinny Bop."

Guilty pleasure: "Pump Up the Jam," by Technotronic: And keep the jelly tight.

Bad as Britney: "Opposites Attract," by Paula Abdul: So perfect for Ms. Spears that it's amazing she hasn't covered it already. Pray she doesn't think of it.

From Celine to shining Celine: "Release Me," by Wilson Phillips: Dreadful enough to make Dion's stuff seem tolerable by comparison.

Just kidding.

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