Why Margaritaville Is The Worst Song Of All Time

The contest for Worst Song in the World has a lot of entries. My own father, for example, holds that the shittiest song of all time is “A Horse with No Name” by America — a fine choice, I must say. Another contender is absolutely anything by The Eagles. But I’d like to make the argument that Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville,” that late-seventies ditty about a descent into alcoholism during an extended Florida vacation, is the single most laughably terrible song ever to sully our airwaves. If you will, a lyrical analysis:

Nibblin’ on sponge cake

Okay: It’s the first image in your song about a wasted summer spent on the sunny beaches of Key West. What are you going to use to set the scene? Sponge cake? Oh.

Watchin’ the sun bake

The sun is baking you, which is a thing that you feel.

All of those tourists covered with oil


Strummin’ my six-string


On my front porch swing
Smell those shrimp they’re beginnin’ to boil

Would you smell boiled shrimp, though?

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville

Okay, here Jimmy establishes why he’s stuck in this tropical black hole: to get wasted on margaritas, favorite libation of Real Housewives when they’re feeling particularly wild and caliente.

Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt

This is not a metaphor. “Margaritaville” literally translates to “this land where I drink a lot of margaritas,” and a shaker of salt is a real component of that process. Jimmy Buffett has actually misplaced his actual salt shaker, presumably during some depraved triple sec-fueled bender, and instead of simply buying another at the gift shop around the corner (they have this great one that’s a cactus wearing a sombrero!), he has chosen to make its recovery a quest.

Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know it’s nobody’s fault

Take note: At this point, it’s nobody’s fault.

I don’t know the reason
I stayed here all season
Nothin’ to show but this brand new tattoo
But it’s a real beauty
A Mexican cutie
How it got here I haven’t a clue

Fine, whatever, this verse is fine.

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
Now I think
Hell, it could be my fault

Jimmy is already starting to come around on the blame thing. And how clever he thinks he is!

I blew out my flip-flop

Here’s the definition of “blow out,” as Mr. Buffett is using it: “To fail or break down, as from being operated under extreme or improper conditions.”

A flip-flop does not have parts. A flip-flop cannot malfunction. A flip-flop can, perhaps, be worn away to the point that it’s no longer a piece of foam beneath a foot, but seeing as a piece of foam beneath a foot is the entirety of what makes up a flip-flop, if this happens, the flip-flop has not blown out, it has ceased to exist.

Stepped on a pop-top


Cut my heel had to cruise on back home

Great verb choice. A lot of solid “cruising” is done on a gashed, tetanus-incubating foot.

But there’s booze in the blender

Hold on a second…

And soon it will render

Wait, wait, wait just one moment…

That frozen concoction that helps me hang on

Holy goddamn, Jimmy was drinking frozen margaritas this whole time! Frozen margaritas! It isn’t alcoholism that ails him, it’s brain freeze.

Wastin’ away again in Margaritaville
Searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt
Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
But I know it’s my own damn fault
Yes and some people claim that there’s a woman to blame
And I know it’s my own damn fault

You know what, Jimmy? It sure as shit is.

This post originally appeared on Lianablog.

Share This Post:
    • Goldie

      God, you just reminded me of so many awesome vacations. Sorry, Jimmy Buffet is so overplayed at the beach but the law of positive associations won’t let me hate this.

      • Karen

        :D ding! right on.

    • Karen

      It may well be a not-so-awesome song, but it is still better than your way-oversnarky blog article.

      • Mel

        lol this.

        Don’t like the song? Rather than writing a shitty article, just don’t effing listen to it!

      • Will

        My thoughts exactly. throwaway article.

    • Katie

      I live in south florida, and work at a seafood resturaunt that plays nothing but Jimmy Buffett. NOTHING ELSE BESIDES HIS MUSIC. You don’t know hatred for this song until you’ve actually lived in Florida.

    • Janet

      Ive blown out plenty of flip flops!! The part between my toes comes out or breaks beyond repair…worst walk home ever

      • Lindsey

        Yeah. I was so confused, hasn’t everyone had a shitty 1 dollar flip flop blow out?

    • alanc230

      Aww, c’mon now, it’s not that bad. At least not to those of us who remember it when it was new. And, as Mel said, just don’t listen to it.

    • porkchop

      I don’t love Jimmy Buffett, but Escape (The Pina Colada Song) is the worst song: my lady and I tried to cheat on each other, but we’re so boring we just ended up in each other’s arms again. And we suck so much that we think it’s romantic. Hearing that song makes me picture the harsh light of day falling on the weather-beaten and deeply hungover faces of 2 people with feathered hair passed out on a waterbed.

    • Jennifer Dziura

      Worst lyric ever? I nominate:

      I’ve seen a million faces, and I’ve ROCKED THEM ALL.

      I will rock your face!!!

      • Karen

        LMAO! You’ve unwittingly convinced me that that is the BEST lyric ever.

      • t3h

        Just yes.

    • Sarah

      I second that, while the song is overplayed, especially here in Florida, and may not be a shining literature example of lyrical genius, it’s certainly not as bad as the pretentious tone of this article that makes very few valid points. For starters, the line “watching the sun bake all of those tourists covered in oil” is a complete line, meant to go together, therefore the sun is not just baking the singer, or itself, but the tourists. And yes, tourists covered in oil ARE repulsive, welcome to Florida. That’s likely the reason it was included in the song, it’s not a particularly happy song, so talking about repulsive, shiny, faux-coconut-scented snowbirds would be quite the scene-setter indeed. Nothing wrong with playing guitar, you CAN smell boiled shrimp, you can blow out flip flops when the thong breaks and they are no longer wearable, and stepping on the pop-top and “cruising” back home isn’t referring to cruising on his bloody foot but most likely in his boat, which if you ask anyone is a rather unfortunate way to end a fishing trip.

      It also blows my mind that you have a problem with nearly every element of the song but that fact that he was so drunk he got a tattoo of a Mexican woman and can’t even remember getting it, THAT you think is fine. But guitars on front porches are repulsive…you, Ms. Maeby, have rather skewed priorities.

    • Elizabeth

      There’s a type of key lime cake in the Keys that is basically like getting your brain smashed out by a lime with a brick inside. It’s just sort of a plain-looking yellow sponge cake, but then you taste it and you’re like, “Holy crap, taste explosion!”

      And I think you mis-cut the second and third lines. He’s not watching the sun bake itself, he’s watching the sun bake the tourists.

      Still kinda hate the song, though. Frozen margaritas?? FROZEN? Oy. It reminds me of the old Kids in the Hall skit about “The Girl-Drink Drunk,” where Dave Foley is in an uptight office, trying to sip surreptitiously from a giant mudslide with whipped cream and chocolate shavings that he’s hidden in his drawer.

    • t3h

      You can blow out a flip flop. The flip flop consists of the foam piece and a thong. He stepped on a pop top because he wasn’t wearing shoes because his flip flop blew out.

    • Crochater

      Great article. Jimmy Buffet has gotten a lot of mileage out of absolutely no talent.

    • Rosa Garcia

      This was funny, but totally disagree. The lyrics are terribly descriptive: I smell shrimp, feel Sandy, smell the beach and feel hungover. Also, have you never heard Heart’s “All I wanna do?” Ghastly.

    • beeg

      Had to stop at watching the sun bake, clearly the entirety of the statement is “Watching the sun bake all of those tourists covered in oil” It is something you can watch, not feel. Sounds a bit nit-picky.

    • ashley ingram

      It’s a Souther thing; Yankees will never get it

    • Sean Connolly

      pretty bad article.