The RiffTrax Blog header image 1

BAD SONG OF THE WEEK: Deluxe Edition Volume 1

August 6th, 2008 by Kevin Murphy · 61 Comments

It was easy to focus on Devendra Banhart as bad artist of the week; his songs could fill out an entire calendar. But to pick one single song as our week’s portion of yuck was excruciating. Witness for example one of his signature songs, performed here on Jools Holland’s show. Enjoy the poncho.

Now you can see why this is difficult. For those of you unfamiliar with Devendra, and who perhaps out of sheer perverseness want to know more, suffice it to say that he has taken the Hippy mantle onto himself, having been born fully bearded and with a voice like an infant being burped. His song styling may remind one of a somewhat more talented Vincent Gallo, and he has a penchant for performing in his underpants, which is just fine if you’re Flea, but not if you’re infested with them.

Generally Devendra excretes his own compositions, but to get to the heart of true badness, we need look no further than his live rendition of George Gershwin’s best-known composition.


I could only make it through three minutes of this before I was taken with the overwhelming urge to push everybody involved down and set fire to the stage. it was the guy in the cape, satin underpants and Buster Browns that got to me. See how far you can make it and report back.

As always, we encourage you to submit your nominations for our Bad Song of the Week, so long as it’s commercially available, not filthy, and not yours. Unless you happen to be Adam Duritz.

Tags: Bad Music · Creepitometry · In the Media · Kevin · RiffTrax · Riffer Blogs

61 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JJ on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Only got to 1:58 and that was before I saw your challenge. He must be fun on karaoke night.

  • 2 Marty (Gromit) on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:23 am

    Two mintues was also my limit. Once it was obvious that the spotlight on the “dancing” “guy” was not light coming from a giant cartoon magnifing glass that would incinerate him it had to be turned off.

  • 3 Smuttynose on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:27 am

    1:06. Now I understand why people kill.

  • 4 Scooter on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:41 am

    those of you not making it through the last video are missing out on some great fruit eating action.
    and I don’t think I can say anything bad about this, for I am friends with a few so called hippies.

    but I would like to nominate Mika-Lollipop

  • 5 The Professor on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:43 am

    Damned hippies , with there long hair and their underpants and their hippie music! Baahhh! (I lost the challenge. I couldn’t sit through three minutes.)

  • 6 Bill Corbett on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:47 am

    REAL hippies don’t wear underpants. They wrap woven-hemp loincloths around their personal areas.

    …But ONLY for summer solstice festivals. The rest of the time they go commando — though they reject that warlike word to describe their aerated love-zones.

  • 7 Smuttynose on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:51 am

    I’m not saying it is right mind you, but I understand.

  • 8 Smuttynose on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:52 am

    Burning Man alumni are we?

  • 9 Beatnik Samurai on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:55 am

    It’s only a matter of time before Banhart convinces some of his hippie followers to murder a coffee heiress and Roman Polanski’s wife.

  • 10 MST3Kelly on Aug 6, 2008 at 8:03 am

    ’strum, o enchanted elf-man-
    warble and tease us mortals with
    those pubic-hair clad lips
    spilling hopeless, nameless truths.
    dance, o child of the stars-
    create a warm puddle of your genius
    wherever you go…’

    ‘Devendra.’ gimmie a break. this guy is like those rich kids that hang out in the town square in Mill Valley. burdened by the family millions, they inform the world of how misunderstood they are by borrowing fashion tips from Charles Manson- minus his winning charm- and are a bottomless pit of whininess. this guy goes home to daddy’s plush palace nestled in the redwoods, to munch tofu righteously while shirtless and eye-lined in front of the mirror. then, in his well-appointed private recording studio, he lovingly mixes master tracks of his own specious brilliance to unleash upon the world…

    this guy thinks he is both Keith Richards and Billie Holliday. let’s hope he discovers heroin soon.

    and what is that around his neck? I wish it were his own dried liver…

  • 11 Mystok on Aug 6, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Darn your eyes, Kevin! Now I will never be able to sleep at night again! And I could sleep through zombie attacks! And people who use too many “!”!

    Do you get the feeling that Banhart eats a lot of fruit during any given concert… because he is just a child!

  • 12 Onil on Aug 6, 2008 at 8:31 am

    I made it through all the videos but then again I have self-loathing issues.

  • 13 Nanobots on Aug 6, 2008 at 8:39 am

    I couldn’t quite make it through two minutes. Most of the first minute I was thinking “this is actually a pretty good song, if someone else was singing it and I didn’t have to watch this dancing guy”. But by the two minute mark I was thinking, “there’s plenty of more exciting things I should be doing, like watching some paint dry”.

    On the upside: by quitting when I did, I avoided any urge to kill people. I could feel it coming on, though.

  • 14 Danni on Aug 6, 2008 at 8:40 am

    Whoa – only made it to 0:27 – that first close-up of his face had me running for the hills.

  • 15 Heather on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:05 am

    It’s a goat. With a lisp. And makeup.

  • 16 Avy on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:05 am

    15 seconds. The first note was enough for me… >.<”

  • 17 ety3 on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:16 am

    The most painful thing of all? This tool is dating Natalie Portman.


  • 18 Conor Lastowka on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:18 am

  • 19 Danni on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Wonder if he holds her like he did by the lake on Naboo?

  • 20 Charlie W on Aug 6, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Well the guitar playing is nice but the voice is like shoving needles into my ears. Not even the great guitar playing of Jimi Hendrix could compensate fo that monstrosity of a voice.

  • 21 Marty (Gromit) on Aug 6, 2008 at 10:04 am

    Thank You Conor!!!

    I think we all needed that to ease the pain…

  • 22 Marty (Gromit) on Aug 6, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Pheeew… He’s not on the list of performers for the Philly Folk Fest next week, not that it’s something I ever go to, but it’s good to know he probably won’t be in the area….

  • 23 Bat Masterson on Aug 6, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Wow, this is making me sad… I didn’t think there was anyone who hated him.

  • 24 LemSlaw on Aug 6, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Made it all the way to the end of all three. Now I have to go hit my knee with a hammer for awhile before I go watch Theodore Rex.

  • 25 Enron Hubbard on Aug 6, 2008 at 11:23 am

    Are we sure that this isn’t Crispin Glover doing a Chris Gaines type of thing?

  • 26 Shadoestar on Aug 6, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I found his album “Cripple Crow” at and was shocked to find that it had a score of 79 out of 100. Which adds weight to my theory that the more an album is praised by rock critics, the more it’s bound to suck.

  • 27 Geena on Aug 6, 2008 at 11:48 am

    :29. This asshat SUBTRACTS the “win” from Gershwin.

  • 28 mathey on Aug 6, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Dear God.

    Take the tedious pseudo-artiness of Cirque de Soleil, the hair and makeup of an elderly drag queen, and add the single most retch-inducing nasal simper of a singing voice – and you’d still end up with something better than this clown.

    Man. Can we return to the homespun earnestness of dumb songs about money and womens’ butts? ‘Cause…ugh.

  • 29 unityofeffect on Aug 6, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    The second I saw the dancer making a circle/pyramid with his hands at 5 seconds I knew I was in trouble. By 30 seconds in I just felt so mad at the senseless butchering of this song I had to stop.
    Since I have slight masochistic streak to me I may force myself to watch more but it’s too early in the day for me to watch it now.
    And Natalie, never date a man who joyfully claims that he is a baby while he bounces around in his underwear.

  • 30 R.A. Roth on Aug 6, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    After having slogged through all 4:03 of Summertime, I noticed a strange tingling sensation all over my body, like I was imbued with immense and godlike power. I play it again only to discover that his voice and the gay man in shiny golden underpants bothered me not. Overcome by wonder, I played his other two musical turns. The inanity bounced off me like bullets off Superman’s groin…I assume. That was when I realized that I am:


    Able to withstand 3 hours of Yoko Ono, more powerful than a New Age festival, Bad-Music-Appreciation Man! A man so impervious to bad music that he actually appreciates it!

    But what is this? The Off-Tune Fiddler has our intrepid tin eared hero trapped in the clutches of his most ominous invention to date, The Brittany Spears-anator, a device capable of reproducing every song know to man but with Brittany Spears’ vocals!

    Can our hero survive or will the shrill showbiz shrew’s fortissimos fry his brain?

    Find out on the next exciting episode of:



  • 31 Jason on Aug 6, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Great- he’s from Houston (which is where I’m from). First Jandek, now this guy.
    How much you want to bet the guy dancing is the guy who finances his whole outfit- “Dude, I’ll float you the cash, but you gotta let me dance! I got an idea for some really deep, groovy moves…”.

  • 32 Kyle on Aug 6, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    Meh. I hate hippies, but I admit that Banhart has some good songs. Believe me, it’s much better to listen to his music without the videos.

  • 33 RemmieBarrow on Aug 6, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    WHAT!!!?, HE’S FROM HOUSTON????? OH DEAR GOD, NONONONONONONONONO, Haven’t we got enough problems in Texas without people like him being from there.

  • 34 Matthew Manard on Aug 6, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    2:20 …There is no longer truth or beauty in the world [sob]

  • 35 Stacia on Aug 6, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    The dancing hippie has OLD MAN SOCKS. I cannot get past that. This is cool? People like this? I can fathom liking a crappy singer because it’s a guy in eyeliner (gasp!!!! it’s so edgy!!!!eleventy!!), but there’s a hippie in a spotlight dancing around in brown shoes and black socks pulled up as high as they will go.

    I mean, COME ON.

  • 36 Jason on Aug 6, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Noo! I love Devandra Banhart’s music.

  • 37 Mike Nelson on Aug 6, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Kevin, you are one of oldest and dearest friends. And then… this.

    Dear God, how I loathe you.

  • 38 Enron Hubbard on Aug 6, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    The missing word in the first sentence obviously being “Charro’s”.

  • 39 David TC on Aug 6, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    I was totally bummed out by that video of Summertime, (which I got exactly 51 seconds into) so much so that I felt compelled to find a better performance of this song to counteract the sheer awfulness of this Devandra dweeb. This one’s a bit better:

  • 40 Jer on Aug 6, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    well, after Ella there, i feel bad trying to post a better version, but i can’t miss an opportunity to shamelessly promote my friends’ band.

  • 41 Kevin Murphy on Aug 6, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Ah, that nerve is dead. I’ll need to drill into fresh pulp. I’ll ask you again: Is it safe?

  • 42 Fifty "percent" Krieger on Aug 6, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    The inner walls of my skull are quivering, WHY KEVIN WHY!? EeEeEeE, IiIiIiIi,AaAaAaAa…. i’m dying.

  • 43 Nanobots on Aug 6, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Actually, that’s a very good rendition of the song. I liked it quite a bit. You shouldn’t apologize, I’d rather see some music like this get a bunch of hits on YouTube instead of some guy dancing in a bathrobe.

    Not that I have anything against people dancing in bathrobes, it’s just that they shouldn’t stand up in front of a group of other people and force them to watch.

    The SarahMacBand version is much nicer. It’d be nice if her video got a lot more views.

  • 44 Marty (Gromit) on Aug 6, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    A bit better, yes. I think we now have the opposing ends on the talent spectrum clearly demonstrated.

  • 45 Clint on Aug 6, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    :28 seconds. Does that mean I lose or win??

  • 46 camcat on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    Thank you sooooo much! I may never get that damned lollypop refrain out of my head. Were they saying, “don’t suck hard on your lollypop, love’s gonna get you down”? I don’t supppose that’s pornography–

  • 47 camcat on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    That was a really nice antidote to the loser version. I have a new band to listen to now, I am eternally grateful. Sarah is a damned good singer. I hope she prospers.

  • 48 camcat on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    I watched the whole damned thing–it was deja vu all over again. If the govt really wants to make an anti drug propaganda film, all they have to do is tape a concert of these wastrels. And I confess, thirty years ago I was so stoned I probably would have been a groupie for this guy. God–what was I thinking?? Remember “Tiny Tim’? It’s a terrible legacy we have given you, my children, I am shamed and remorseful. Where’s my Jerry Garcia doll?

  • 49 zoidberg on Aug 6, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    I’m convinced that’s really Vincent Gallo. His star is just too big for one body…

  • 50 DestyNova on Aug 7, 2008 at 4:31 am


  • 51 DestyNova on Aug 7, 2008 at 4:32 am

    And that’s too much “gersh.”

  • 52 Charlie on Aug 7, 2008 at 6:22 am

    I watched the whole thing and I have to admit that i am somewhat speechless. As a musician who regularly plays this song I wonder if maybe I need to re-evaluate my interpretation of what Gershwin was trying to say in this song.
    Or maybe my mind has just not expanded to this ‘higher’ level of experience yet.

  • 53 Kevin Murphy on Aug 7, 2008 at 9:44 am

    Fair enough. Send me a video of you twirling in your underpants, old man shoes and a poncho, and I’ll lay off.


  • 54 Nanobots on Aug 7, 2008 at 9:50 am

    I can’t help but think of that old saying, “The wisest and best is to fix our attention on the good and on the beautiful, and not guys dancing in their satin underwear.”

    Or something like that.

  • 55 Hugh on Aug 7, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I don’t think he’s that bad. The last video was a bit much, but one has to assume that it was largely the drugs talking – and singing and playing and dancing. Granted, he’s a dirty hippy, but I don’t understand why there’s such fierce opposition amongst some people towards anything that’s, for lack of better wordage, different or “artsy-fartsy.” Those traits don’t invariably make something awful.

    That said, Banhart isn’t my cup of tea. Don’t care for his voice.

  • 56 BSnPapproved on Aug 8, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Seriously, Jan Terri. Maybe some of you remember her; I had certainly never heard of her (until Youtube, that is).

  • 57 Scotty on Aug 10, 2008 at 5:50 am

    THis is why the terrorists want us dead.

  • 58 Ian on Aug 11, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    My Generation + Media Attention + Drugs=Self-Delusion

  • 59 Ellen on Nov 25, 2008 at 1:10 am

    AAAAAAAAA! How the hell long Is that song?? It left me “fwoating awound in circoos…”

  • 60 Ellen on Nov 25, 2008 at 1:10 am

    Fascination with the abomination…

  • 61 ginbot on Mar 17, 2009 at 6:56 am

    Wow, this is what Jamie Braddok from the X-Men would be like if he was a dirty hippie ballader. In his underwear and everything. For comparison:

    He can control the strings of reality, and this is what he chooses? Must be related to Pumaman.