6 Turkish Pop Songs to Torture your Friends With!

When I was an adolescent, my family and I often played a game called Crazy 8 Countdown. To play this game, you dealt eight cards and started to play Crazy 8s. Each time a player ran out of cards he or she was dealt in again, but with one less card than before until that number reached zero.

One fateful day, my younger brother invented “Very Crazy 8 Countdown.” Instead of playing a normal game of Crazy 8 Countdown, before dealing the first card somebody would choose a song and put it on repeat. We were not allowed to turn it off until the game finished.

My brother is now head of the Torture Department at a top-secret prison complex at an undisclosed location.

Unsurprisingly, our fondness for Very Crazy 8 Countdown did not last long, but it did last long enough for me develop a lifelong aversion to Billy Joel, who accompanied us through one particularly torturous and long game of Very Crazy 8 Countdown. I have lived my life in constant fear of hearing the strains of a Billy Joel song on the radio, and so moving to Turkey was something of a relief. The politics are crap, the mayonnaise is suspiciously bright white, it happens to be one of the ISIS capitals of the world, but at least I can live my life in the relative peace of knowing that my existence is now a Billy Joel-free one.

Unfortunately for me, Turkey has produced its fair share of terrible pop tunes. Unlike terrible American pop ditties of all kinds, the worst Turkish pop songs rarely reach the foreign airwaves. Feeling lucky? Think again, because I am about to provide you with the fodder for seven horrible games of Very Crazy 8 Countdown of your own.

1. Kendimi Kontrol Edemiyorum

Gençkan’s Kendimi Kontrol Edemiyorum is notable for it’s electric guitar solos during which Gençkan pretends to play an acoustic guitar, it’s sleek 90s styling and, last but not least, its monotone panache. The chorus translates to I can’t control myself / I’m so so angry / Don’t make jokes my friends / I’m pretty out of sorts today. Gençkan’s attempted subversion of the angry-music genre by singing without the help of tones falls a little flat in more ways than one.

Fun Fact! Do you know that it is impossible to find any trace of a grown-up Gençkan anywhere online? It’s almost as if he’s embarrassed or something.

2. Çukulata Kız

While not as musically horrifying as Kendimi Kontrol Edemiyorum, Çikolata Kız (Chocolate Girl) is notable for seeming to take advantage of tourists to Ephesus without their knowledge, climbing on pillars at historical sites, and being racist. The elderly dancing tourists in the video likely just signed up for a trip to Ephesus and not to be in a music video. (If there is one thing I would like to know, it’s whether those people are even aware that this video of them is even on the internet.) As for the racism, culture critics (aka probably just me) have criticized the fact that the word ‘Chocolate’ is used to denote a black woman and that part where the black girl’s boyfriend shows up and ends up not being angry because Ragga Oktay is dancing. Because black people love to dance! Get it?

3. Çikita Muz

Muz means banana in Turkish, and Çikita Muz is what Turkish people call what us North Americans fondly dub ‘the normal banana’ and what scientists and nomenclature lovers have christened “The Cavendish Banana.” (Turkey is also home to the anamur muzu which I think is just the Turkish name for the rare Gros Michel variety that was popular in North America until disease made it impossible to cultivate for commercial purposes.)

The reasons this video is bad are fairly self-explanatory. There is no need to even translate the lyrics. Enjoy (or don’t). At least you learned something new about bananas.

If you feel like more, Ajdar Anık also has a song about mint.

Fun Fact! Ajdar Anık has a degree in Engineering.

Bir Gün Beni Arzularsan

Dear Banu Alkan, thank you for putting your boobs in a bowl. We notice that you aren’t particularly flat in the chestal region. The vocal region, however, is quite another story.

Fun Fact! In 1976, Banu Alkan starred in a film called Taksi Şoförü (Taxi Driver). That same year, Robert De Niro starred in a film called Taxi Driver (Taksi Şoförü). Wild, right?

4. I Love You I Love You

Musically speaking, this is far from being the worst Turkish song ever. However, a Turkish man singing to a photograph of a blond foreign-looking woman and imagining her responses is just too reminiscent of the daily sexual harassment many women, and particularly foreign women, and extra particularly blonde women experience in Istanbul.

Fun Fact! Because of this song, the only thing my mother-in-law knows how to say in English is “I love you.”

5. Hello Obama

It was 2008, a simpler, more hopeful time. Mustafa Topaloğlu was swept up in the hopenado sweeping the rest of the world like a house in Kansas. Unfortunately, the superfluity of hope he was probably experiencing extended to his understanding of his abilities in English, and led to the creation of this song which, much like the house in Kansas, could probably kill a wicked witch if it really tried.

I have so many questions about this video, and here are a few.

1. Is he wearing one of those tuxedo t-shirts? Or is his tuxedo designed to look like a tuxedo masquerading as a tuxedo t-shirt?
2. Did he do his own subtitles, or was his subtitler as delusional about his English abilities as his boss?
3. Who is the rapper and why is he too embarrassed to show his face?

Fun fact! Mustafa Topaloğlu was on Turkish Survivor in 2012.

Less Fun Fact! My sister-in-law says that Mustafa Topaloğlu is known for beating his wife. But because my Turkish isn’t good enough to read all the Turkish tabloids, I cannot confirm this.

6. Foolish Casanova

When she says “Shut up! Shut up!” I think the Petek Dinçöz might actually be singing to herself.

If you can make it to the part where she says it, then you are probably drunk or not worthy of being my friend. (Full disclosure: I made it there, but it was for research ok?)

Fun Fact! This singer has worked with 12(!) music labels. I can understand why a label would drop her, but how she has managed to find new labels is beyond my ken.

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