Saturday, December 24, 2016

Top 10 WORST Top 10 Hit Songs of 2016

I've never really tried my hand at writing about music, and while I would normally try to learn a little more about how I should go about trying this out, I actually know about as much about music and I do movies. In fact, in the years leading up to me getting really into movie watching/reviewing, I mostly spent my time listening to tons of music and have continued exploring various genres and expanding my knowledge ever since -- though I admit that has definitely slowed down. So, I've decided to go through the list of Bilboard's top 10 hits of the year and talk a little about the biggest duds (and later, successes) of 2016.

I don't have any specific criteria or rating system in place to rank these songs, all I have is a fairly basic knowledge of musical composition, lyricism, and just a general ear for music in my own subjective way. The songs featured on this list won't necessarily be "bad" in all of these ways, and I can't really expect most people to agree with me on these picks. Obviously, these songs were hits, which means I'm basically just going to be crapping all over nearly a dozen songs that a ton of people enjoyed. Also, I don't listen to pop radip, so something being overplayed isn't going to factor into my opinions on the songs. So there you have it. Let's get this started, I guess.

#10. 7 Years - Lukas Graham

Let me start this entry off with a few admissions and disclaimers. First, I thought this was a perfectly listenable song the first couple times I heard it. And secondly, I'm not including this on the list just because it has been nominated for several undeserved Grammys. I don't care about the Grammys, and just thinking something is overrated is not enough of a reason for me to hate it. But back to that first point, this song is musically very listenable. What irks me so much about it essentially all boils down to lyrical content; from the ultra-masturbatory self-congratulation to its incessant nostalgia pandering. This song is basically a music box filled with "look at how great and badass I am" verses that barely blend in with the rest of the lyrics, much like shitty rappers have been doing for years. I can't listen to this song without rolling my eyes and letting out a thunderous "UGH" before happily shutting it off.

#9. I Hate U, I Love U - Gnash ft. Olivia O'Brien

Every now and then you come across hit songs that bore you to tears. A lot of people complain about this with Ed Sheeran, but I can at least appreciate the musicianship and simplicity of his productions, so there is at least something to come out thinking positively about. Idiotic early '90s title aside (seriously, how are people still putting "u" in song titles anymore?), this song is just a total borefest. I like slow, thoughtful songs reflecting on change and lost love as much as anyone who was once an angsty teen, but when a singer sounds more bored than heartbroken and conflicted, it's hard to empathize with them. Pair that with bland and goddamn terrible lyrics rhyming "you" with "you", and "shit" with "shit" like John Lennon would've done had he been dropped on his head as a child, and the result is a boring, painfully idiotic, lazy, and dull song.

#8. Work From Home - Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dollar $ign

One of (somehow) two idiotic songs from 2016 which prominently featured and endlessly repeated the word "work", this is the less annoying of the two and still deserves a spot on this list. It's a stupid trend in modern pop music to feel the need to monotonously repeat the exact same word a half dozen times at the end of a verse instead of finding lyrics that could add to the song (you know, like what an actual songwriter might do), and this is just one in a sea of guilty party's. But I feel it's important to note the fact that this song, despite being less than 4 minutes long, uses that word over 90 times. I mean, shit. The rap verse is lazy, the tune is bland, the singing is soulless, and the lyrics are about as redundant as any song I've ever heard in my entire life. And it would have been higher if it weren't for this particular vegetable song...

#7. Broccoli - D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty

I don't know what is worse, the godawful "singing" featured in this song, or the ear-bleeding auto tune that fills in the gaps. There is a reason rappers rap instead of pretending they can sing, and this is a painful exhibition of that. By the end of the first minute, you'll be wishing the piano playing the same two notes on loop would just explode or something, and the obnoxious vocalists would swiftly follow suit. The lyrics are pretty standard rap garbage - money, bitches, etc. - and the performers seem about as bored as the rest of us. I don't need every song to be up-tempo and toe-tapping, but if you can't offer anything special lyrically, at least provide me with some tunes that don't make my ears want to fill up with blood for the sole purpose of drowning out the noise.

#6. Formation - Beyoncé

I have never understood people's fascination and admiration for Beyoncé. Not even her earlier music was interesting to me, but at least back then she sang music instead of droning through incomprehensible lyrics without any real effort or talent on display. It's like listening to someone who can't rap hold you hostage with their non stop need to rhyme. It's more embarrassing than almost any other song I've heard all year, like she's doing some even more obnoxious Nicki Minaj-style song (which is truly upsetting) filled to the brim with egomaniacal and often stupid and incomprehensible lyrics that all boil down to the same boring message she's put into virtually every song she's ever done: GRRRRL POWERRR. I accept this is not a song intended for someone like me, but that doesn't mean I have to pretend to like it -- because I really, reaaaallly don't.

#5. Needed Me - Rihanna

I generally find myself defending Rihanna, because I see her as a unique talent with an incredible vocal range and visibly great work ethic. But goddamn, this was a terrible year for her and her hit songs, and the fact this is only the second worst of them all is astonishing. This is about as close to a non-song as you can get while still technically keeping in tempo. Rihanna slurs and strings together words, over-singing in the worst kind of way in a mush of incomprehensible noise that winds up sounding like something dolphins and whales would attempt to communicate with. The verses and choruses are discombobulated, making it an unpleasant structural mess of a song with some of the worst singing she's ever provided on a track.

#4. Juju On That Beat - Zay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall

There's a special circle in hell for crappy dance songs, and I don't just mean something with a heavy beat that people can party to: no, this is one of those incredible songs that is trying to (presumably) teach you a dance. But unlike something that's actually entertaining in some way like Gangnam Style, this song is short, devoid or personality, and incredibly derivative. In a lot of ways, this isn't even a song at all, but somehow managed to become a top 10 hit thanks to a stupid online trend. There's not much to say about this track other than that it's thankfully only 2 minutes long, since there's nothing to like about it whatsoever. It's stupid, doesn't sound remotely good, and is just total nonsense.

#3. Hands To Myself - Selena Gomez

And from here on out, you're probably not going to be surprised by a single thing on this list, because these songs are as close to objectively shit as you could possibly define popular music. We all know - and are effectively creeped out by - the rapiness of Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines'. Well, this song is essentially the female version of that. So desperate to be seen as a sexy woman, everything about this song is desperate and cloying in all the same ways we always see former Disney stars when they decide to "grow up". It's not sexy, it's pathetic. And Selena Gomez is not good enough of a singer or performer at all to make a bland song like this work even if she tried to focus on the music and not just her attitude. At least Blurred Lines was catchy, this song is sterile and lifeless. It's like trying to make a dead fish sexy.

#2. Work - Rihanna ft. Drake

One of the worst songs of the decade so far, and among the defining examples of that repetitive end-verse trend that I mentioned earlier. While I complained about how Rihanna slurred and strung sentences together in her previous entry on the list, this one somehow manages to take the cake cake cake cake as even more ineptly sung and horribly incomprehensible. I don't care what style she was going for in this song, the results were horrible and virtually impossible to listen to without becoming enraged. Drake doesn't even factor in, because I honestly don't think I've even managed to get to his verse before shutting the song off. It's very similar to listening to goats screaming, only nowhere near as funny and at greater frequency. My tolerance for this song is about as low as you can get without screaming like a child until it goes away. It's a terrible sounding song with no lyrical content and the worst singing of Rihanna's career -- at least from what I've heard.

Now, before I talk about my #1, I want to add that I very nearly included 2 different songs by Zayn (formerly of One Direction), so I don't want anyone thinking I even remotely enjoy his music. I just happened to hate it slightly less than several of these others. Also, due to the way I view the charts, songs like Sorry - Justin Bieber, and Hotling Bling - Drake could have been on here had they not entered the top 10 back in 2015. I felt the need to add these to the conversation, because I don't want anyone wrongly thinking I don't also hate that crap, it just didn't technically qualify on my list. So here we go the #1 worst top 10 hit of the year:

#1. No - Meghan Trainor

In all honestly, it couldn't not be this one. Meghan Trainor is basically everything that's wrong with music, feminism, body image, retro/throwback style, and almost any other category you could put her in. Lyrically, she's an egomaniacal dump heap of "look at me, I'm so special that you aren't even allowed to talk to me", and musically she has the shrill squawking vocal tone of a dying bird. Everything about this song is unpleasant to listen to and think about. It's not "empowering" to women, it's extremely bitchy. And the pretense that anyone could even want to approach her is laughable. She is not clever, charming, or talented, but seems to think everyone needs to bend over backwards for her in every possible way because she somehow has been lead to believe she's goddamn royalty. It wasn't the presidential election that proved how awful we all are as a country -- it was allowing this shitty "artist" to become even remotely popular that sealed the deal. Be ashamed of yourselves, people who like her somehow. This is an awful song that leaves a sour taste in your mouth, a ringing in your ears, and an uncontrollable twitch in your eye. I'm getting mad now just thinking about this fucking song, and I haven't even listened to it in a while. It's an obnoxious tune designed for over-privileged bitches who seem to think it's some horrible offense to be approached by a guy when they're in a bar; you know, those places where people go to drink, relax, and socialize with people. Next time, just leave her stupid ass at home -- but don't you dare let her into the recording studio again.

EDIT: I just watched Buckley's video, and ohhhh man I love that man.

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