Stick to the Keys, Jimmy Buffett.
Stick to the Keys, Jimmy Buffett.
Photo by Sayre Berman

The Six Worst Songs Ever Written About Miami

Here's a pattern worth noting: None of the band's on this list are actually from Miami. It's hard to do justice via song to a place you see only once a year in person or once a week on HBO through the eyes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Look, famous musicians. We're glad you enjoyed your vacation here. But you don't have to write us a song. Seriously. We're good with just your money. Now prepare for an earache. 

6. Randy Newman, "Miami"

Sometimes it feels like Randy Newman is literally making songs up as he goes. For example: the first three lines of every verse of this tune: "There's a girl over there/With the rhythm everywhere/She's a very fine girl." Or, "Gee, I love Miami/It's so nice and hot/And every building's so pretty and white." Or, "There's a man over there/With the conk in his hair/He's a very bad man." These lyrics all sound like Randy Newman wrote them after being woken up at 4 a.m. and told he had two minutes to write a song or a million kittens would get diarrhea. In "Miami," Randy Newman pulls off the difficult task of sounding like he genuinely loves Miami while also sounding like he's never even been here. Like, when he says, "Best dope in the world, and it's free!" What? Hold up. Either Randy Newman knows a magical place in Miami where people give you free weed or Randy Newman does not know what weed is, and, one can only assume, has been smoking actual grass that he finds in the ground. Also, this song comes from an album called Trouble in Paradise, and track one on that album is called "I Love L.A." Damn, Randy! Can't you even try to be sneaky? You don't have to make it so obvious that we're your side chick.

5. John Mellencamp, "Miami"

If ever there was a musician less equipped to write a song about Miami, it's John Mellencamp. What, was Ted Nugent too busy calling antelope racial slurs? Did Donny Osmond have the flu? This ode to the women of Miami was doomed from the start, when Mellencamp creepily explains, "Well I hear in Miami they have a lot of girls who toast their flesh in the sun." OK, John. Who's your source on that one? Jeffrey Dahmer? The song somehow manages to get even weirder when Mellencamp says, "I know you're nowhere near twenty/But I ain't the kind to kiss and tell, or tell lies." Easy, buddy. Does Chris Hansen play the bass? Because we need someone to keep an eye on ol' Johnny Mellencamp over here, chasing teenage girls through the hotel lobbies of Miami. 

4. Jimmy Buffett, "Everybody's Got a Cousin in Miami"

Who better to capture the plight of the immigrant than Jimmy Buffett? Literally everybody, that's who. What an odd, seven-minute musical journey this tune takes us on. The opening scene starts with a group of Cuban immigrants risking their lives to get to America (to a very cheery soundtrack, nonetheless), and the last verse ends with Buffett hungover in Coconut Grove. This song is, I guess, about the fact that most people seem to have a cousin in Miami. And that cousin is usually involved in some sort of illegal activity. There's also a weird bridge toward the end where Buffett attempts to give a brief history lesson of Miami and says the city used to be run by pirates, which, I'm pretty sure, isn't true, but I also don't know enough about Miami pirate history to definitively say so. Also, the intro to this song features a lot of whistles. What's with people thinking we all have whistles in Miami? You could give me a week and I still couldn't find one person who owns a whistle. Toward the end of the tune, Jimmy gleefully declares, "In one way or the other we're all refugees." That sounds nice, but when's the last time someone asked to see your papers, Jimmy?

3. Sander Kleinenberg, "This Is Miami"

The concept behind this track is simple enough. Sander Kleinenberg uses the process of elimination to eventually let the listener know that this is, in fact, Miami. Although, the first line of the song is, "This Is Not Miami." And that's confusing. Because the song is called "This Is Miami," and it's supposed to be about the fact that this is Miami. Despite that hiccup, my biggest complaint with this song is that it's not ten hours long. I want Sander Kleinenberg to keep naming things until there are literally no more things left: This. Is Not. My Kitchen. This. Is Not. A frisbee. This. Is Not. My mother's lasagna. It's honestly a brilliant technique, because, like this song or not, by the time he finally gets to the part where he reveals that this is Miami, one can't help but ejaculate enthusiasm all over the dance floor. This song is a French bulldog: so ugly, it's actually cute. 

2. LMFAO, "I'm in Miami Bitch"

When it comes to LMFAO, there are simply too many things to get mad at. Where does one start? The fact that the two members of LMFAO are named Redfoo and Sky Blu seems like a good place. Also, Redfoo is actually the son of Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, and Sky Blu is Gordy's grandson. That's infuriating, for some reason. You can snap pencils in half all day thinking about LMFAO's two Grammy nominations or that, despite the duo's preference for dressing like gender-neutral Bratz Dolls, they've still had oh-so-much more sex than you. The rage can be overwhelming, we know. But let's narrow down the hatred to one specific, four-minute-long collection of noises: "I'm in Miami Bitch." For a year, track two of LMFAO's debut studio album, Party Rock, was everywhere in Miami. Mansions were built with the revenue made from selling neon green "I'm in Miami Bitch" tank tops on South Beach. (One silver lining of those shirts was that they were instant indicators of whether you should talk to someone — kind of like what a Trump bumper sticker does today.) How do you know a song is shitty? When that song spawns an entire culture of shit around it. If the song "I'm in Miami Bitch" is an anus — which, musically speaking, it is — then the gross merchandise that spewed out from it is poop. So by that logic, LMFAO literally took a shit on Miami with this song. Redfoo and Sky Blu owe us all $10, I think. That sounds fair.

1. U2, "Miami"

You know how sometimes you can get a little too comfortable? Like, I remember one time when I was 14, I was at the gym feeling particularly confident, so I decided to try to add more weight to the bench press than I'd ever done before. Five minutes later, I was trapped underneath the bar, trying to wiggle free like a terrified caterpillar. I can only assume that's what happened with this song. U2 walked into the studio and said, Hey, we're U2! We can make a song that sounds like it was recorded in a high school locker room during a German orgy! Sadly, that was false. And this song is not only the absolute worst U2 track in the history of U2 but the worst bit of art ever dedicated to the city of Miami, and that includes The Real Housewives of Miami.  

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