Today our mission is to rewrite the list of the cheesiest, most ridiculous prom songs ever. Some of them will be wonderful. Others, just plain terrible. But none of them will be Chris DeBurgh's "Lady In Red." Why in the world are they still playing that slop at prom? It's the romantic equivalent of "The Hokey Pokey." And while we're at it, are you familiar with the mind-boggling lyrics of Eric Clapton's unkillable prom wrecker, "Wonderful Tonight"? Read them and weep:
We go a party/ And everyone turns to see/ This beautiful lady/ Thats walking around with me/ And then she asks me/ Do you feel alright?/ And I say, Yes. I feel wonderful tonight.
Unreal, right? Are prom DJs living underground?? Do they work for your parents?!? It's appalling. But, bad as cheesy prom ballads can be, they play an important role in our culture. Without "Lady In Red," can you imagine how many boring old people would never have fallen in love? That is why I offer you the following cheeseballs. So that maybe we can get through our lives and still fall in love, without ever hearing "Lady In Red" or "Wonderful Tonight," ever again.
One of the first questions I ask when judging a prom song is, "Does this amazing love ballad inspire me to ball both of my hands into fists, hold them out in front of my face and sing along with my eyes closed really tight?" Savage Garden is a major "YES." This means that it packs the emotional wallop of a Creed video without bumming you out by being a Creed video.
Your voiiiiiiice! Oh MAN! If you're already slow-dancing face-to-face when the epic chorus of this new-school tear-jerker hits and you don't make out, check your chest for a heart.
This song was meant to be heard outside in the pouring rain. For chicks, it's the ultimate, because all of them dream of making out with Batman. Bonus points for including "Kiss" in the title.
Subtlety is great, but sometimes you gotta just cut right to the chase. Day26 pull no punches on this prom-ready, perv-out, egging on the shiest of dancers with lines like, "Booty bumpin’ like the sounds in my car (she should)/ Let me take it up a notch/ Get her off the block/ Take her to my spot and it’s on!"
As a prom ballad, "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" is interchangeable with any Disney love theme of the past 20 years ("Did you ever hear the wolf cry at the blue corn moon?," anyone?). This one's only downfall is that it's not sung by Peabo Bryson, who, if cheesy love songs had their own country, would be a shoo-in for President. Its greatest asset: inclusion of the word "vagabond," which, let's face it, is one of the world's most romantic words.
Dudes. No matter how bad of a scrub you are, when Mario's bumping hard out of the PA, you become righteous just by association (although if you're really bad it may have the opposite effect). Look: "If I was your man, baby you'd/ Never worry 'bout what I do/ I be comin' home back to you/ Every night, doing you right." On top of that, this beat could make a corpse do a neckpop. See also: The Remix.
+ Get more cheesy prom songs after the jump!
I know this one's old. And PC crusaders may frown on it for being too morbid. But those fools must've never read Romeo & Juliet (another oldie), where Shakespeare invented love with lines like this: "When he shall die/ Take him and cut him out in little stars/ And he will make the face of heaven so fine/ That all the world will be in love with night/ And pay no worship to the garish sun." That being said...
No! Cut! This will not do! I'm sorry Sarah McLachlan, but "I Will Remember You" should be pulled from every prom playlist. Despite what the desperately jealous loneliness on the faces of your middle-aged chaperones may tell you, prom is not a funeral! It's not even graduation. And, while closing your eyes is totally acceptable behavior during a slow dance, it's not cool to fall asleep. Or worse... Vitamin C and "Time Of Your Life," I'm looking at you, too.
The beat on Bow Wow's new banger may not exactly be conducive to dancing close and whispering sweet nothings, but it's suggestive and sappy enough to be the perfect lead-in to a slow-burning ballad.
+ "You And Me," by Lifehouse
If you've never been kissed, keep your ears perked up for this one. Anybody who's ever seen a movie knows that there's a fool-proof three-step process that goes 1) swelling music, 2) deep, meaningful eye contact, 3) passionate frenching. On "You And Me," Lifehouse knock out the first two steps ("I can't take my eyes off of you..."), leaving you with only one option. This principle also applies to Lonestar's "Amazed."
The only conceivable drawback to 1994's most cosmic cheese-dripper is that the chorus may cause the whole room to burst into tears.
Although it may be a bit of a romantic buzzkill thinking of three brothers making meaningful eye contact as they sing this one, you can't deny that these lyrics are pure Velveeta: "Gonna tell you that I love you/ In the best way that I can/ I can't take a day without you here/ You're the light that makes my darkness disappear."
Clearly this isn't even the tip of the iceberg. Submit your own cheesy favorites in the comments section!