Bottom-10 Worst Songs from Iron Maiden
I’m a huge Iron Maiden fan, but as much as I love the band I do also recognise that they have produced some genuine crap, along with some of the most memorable and classic Heavy Metal songs of all time. But with a catalogue of some 150+ songs, you can only imagine that there are quite a few mediocre ones that have slipped on to their albums.
However, these are the songs which in my view are just plain bad and which is why I don’t listen to them all that much. Now, even though it’s my least favourite album by the band, I’m letting A Matter of Life and Death off the hook this time because I didn’t think any of the songs on that album were really “bad”, just overlong and really boring to listen to.
The otherwise excellent Piece of Mind album has two real stinkers on it that I have to put up here. The first one is Quest for Fire, based on a French movie by the same name. The song is about a caveman group’s search to find fire because they’re too thick to realise that all they need to do is rub two sticks together.
The song begins with the lyrics: “In a time, when dinosaurs walked the Earth, when the land was swamp and caves were home…” It doesn’t help that Brucie is really overdoing his high-pitched singing at this point which just makes it really hard not to bust a gut while listening to the song’s opening verse. The rest of the lyrics are over done, awkward and in places just plain silly.
However, Quest for Fire is a guilty pleasure for me. It’s a song that’s so stupid it puts me in a good mood.
Iron Maiden are also known for their ambitious and epic 6+ minute numbers that are bound to be the show stopper for any of their albums… most of the time. No Prayer for the Dying, which is another album from the band which I’m not too wild about, is plagued by a lot of mediocrity in the song-writing department and unfortunately the worst of it is saved for the last.
It’s sad that Mother Russia is such a bad song, because it really seems like the sort of number I should be into. I loved Alexander the Great, Phantom of the Opera and of course, the 14-minute epic, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. But Mother Russia, a song dedicated to the soon-to-collapse Soviet Union andRussia’s long history, is just a long and boring song. That’s what it boils down to.
And if you’ll read on you’ll soon see more examples of how, just because it’s over 6 minutes doesn’t mean it’s good.
Powerslave is another really strong album with only a few less than spectacular numbers, but I just had to mention the Duellist. Now to be fair, it’s not really a horrible song. The lyrics aren’t too bad and the chorus is only mildly annoying, but you’ll have gotten used to it by the time you hear it for the second time.
Why then am I including it on a list of the worst Iron Maiden songs? Because this song blatantly recycles its main melody from Where Eagles Dare from the Piece of Mind album. It wouldn’t be that bad of a thing except that Where Eagles Dare was one of the stand-out songs from its respective album, whereas Duellist is just fluff-filler and not even that memorable at that.
And as a related note, I actually like the movie Where Eagles Dare as well.
Fear of the Dark has a couple of lame songs but is generally one of my favourite albums from Maiden. However, The Apparition is by far my least favourite song on the whole album and generally just a huge suck-fest. Even the title sucks… the Apparition? What happened to Spectre, Phantom and Ghoul and the gazillion other cooler names for a “ghost” or a ghost-like figure? Why Apparition? Did Steve Harris just blindly pick the first word that he found in a thesaurus?
But as for the song itself, The Apparition is one of those songs that just has a steady beat from start to finish with little to no variation. These types of marching songs can either be really good or really bad and Apparition is the latter. The marching melody just gets repetitive after a while, the lyrics are boring and there just isn’t any hook to the thing.
Whenever this song comes up while I’m listening to Fear of the Dark, I just skip this song…
Another Epic length track gone awry. Whereas Patrick McGoohan was cool enough to allow Iron Maiden to make a somewhat cheesy but not terrible song tribute to his cult 60s TV show The Prisoner (on The Number of the Beast), Mr. Frank Herbert wasn’t as understanding when Iron Maiden politely asked permission to make a song dedicated to his Dune books.
All the same, To Tame A Land is just a really boring song to listen to. It suffers from the same problem as Mother Russia by not having any outstanding musical sections or lyrical hooks. And despite the fact that Maiden were not permitted to use the title “Dune” for the song, it very blatantly is about the Dune books.
Those of you who are fans of the books may actually find something worth while about this track, but I personally never bother with it.
If this song didn’t exist, I’d consider Gangland the weakest song from The Number of the Beast album. Total Eclipse was a song which Maiden actually wanted to include on the original printing of the Beast but for one reason or another (possibly due to time limitation of the LP record) it wasn’t and became just another B-side track for one of their singles.
When all of Maiden’s past records were re-issued on CD in the late-90s, the band had Total Eclipse put back on the album. My only question is: Why? Total Eclipse is a horribly generic apocalyptic song about the Sun going out and everyone on Earth freezing to death. The basic beat is nothing special and the chorus is unmemorable.
From the very same album, Invaders is a violent and over the top heap of junk and Gangland is just a messy track, but both are reasonably catchy and memorable. Total Eclipse is neither.
I’d listen to the song Seventh Son of a Seventh Son seven times rather than listen to this song even once. Like The Apparition, this song has that marching steady beat all the way through the song, but with much more annoying lyrics and vocals. Seventh Son isn’t my favourite album to begin with and the fact that it happens to be a concept album means that nearly all the songs sort of follow a certain structure to conform to the almighty concept of the album.
Once again, to pick an example of another weak song from the same album, The Clairvoyant is another track I’ve never been wild about, but it’s a reasonably good song in spite of its dodgy and awkward chorus. Prophecy can’t even escape its own mediocrity because it just has that same base melody all the way through.
Fuck this song.
Another one from No Prayer for the Dying, this one is just plain awful. If Iron Maiden has one consistent weakness with their songs, it would have to be repetitive choruses. Assassin is a grade-A example. The chorus is literally just Bruce hissing the word “Assassin” four times over.
Iron Maiden’s overtly repetitive choruses have ruined other songs too which really weren’t that bad to begin with. Sure, Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter and Rainmaker are in fact very catchy songs despite the fact that the chorus is repeated way too many times. However, Nomad, No More Lies and Innocent Exile are examples where I think the repetitive choruses just flat-out ruin the song.
This song wasn’t that great to begin with and the hook just makes it worse.
This latest stinker comes from Maiden’s newest album The Final Frontier. There’s just no excuse for this one, it’s just flat-out bad. Nothing in the song appeals to me. The instrumentation just grates my ears, the lyrics are uninspiring and I don’t think Bruce was really at his best with the singing.
Very rarely do I get an instant reaction from an Iron Maiden song where I’m just instantly sick of it within seconds. Usually I can bear listening to it to the end. On a second listening I’m usually not as harsh on the song. I’m even willing to put up with some pretty ridiculous things in some cases, but El Dorado just doesn’t strike my fancy at all.
It’s just fucking awful…
I think everyone expected this as the number one choice and it would be unfair not to have it on the list. It is easily the most notorious Maiden song out there. I wouldn’t say the song itself is all bad but it has one horrible feature about it: the fact that it’s the only Maiden song, or any song for that matter, (that I know of) where the chorus is repeated over 20 times.
Overkill doesn’t even begin to describe this. You really have to wonder what Steve Harris was smoking when he thought it would be a good idea to make a seven minute song where five minutes are spent repeating the lines: “Don’t you think I’m a saviour? Don’t you think I can save you? Don’t you think I can save your life?”
The three-minute music-video version is, in my view, far more tolerable and if I could get a copy of Virtual-XI where that three-minute version replaced the original seven minute one, I’d pick that cut of the album any day of the week. But seriously, there is no excuse for this mess of a song…