Friday, December 21, 2012

Top 10: Worst Hit Songs of 2012

Well my good peoples, another year its at its end -- without the world getting destroyed, I might add -- and with it comes another Year-End Hot 100 chart courtesy of Billboard.  The winner this year was "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye and Kimbra, and I will address that song in due time.  But for now, out of that set, I present to you my votes for the top ten worst songs of the year.

10) "Rack City" by Tyga
from Careless World: Rise of the Last King

Year-end Position: #45

Tyga is a young rapper out of the label Young Money, the house that Lil' Wayne built.  It also houses the likes of Drake and Nicki Minaj, so yeah, it's pretty much donimated the charts over the past few years.  As for Tyga, his verses on songs like "Bedrock" and "Deuces" did not leave a good impression on me, but his first solo hit, "Rack City", leaves even less of an impression.  Like we need another strip club anthem in the world, least of all one with a quiet, dingy beat that makes me want to take a shower afterwards.  Then again, with his monotone delivery, he could've been rapping about ways to solve the Syria crisis and he still couldn't make me care.  Seriously, who in the world would sound bored in a strip club of all places!?  ...This guy.

9) "We Are Young" by fun. featuring Janelle MonaƩ

from Some Nights
Year-end position: #3

It pains me that a song from a genre I would like to be popular does so, but doesn't deserve its success.  Such is the story of "We Are Young" by fun., a Brooklyn-based band, which spent five weeks at #1.  So despite it being an alternative rock power ballad, not a genre I genrally associate with bad music, how could it have made so many mistakes?  Although the beat for the first verse is interesting, not even a minute in the tempo drops, never to recover.  There's a guest appearance from underground R&B singer Janelle MonaĆ©, but her voice is mixed so quietly it's hard to even distinguish her from the over voices that were dubbed over her part.  And the verses clash with the chorus; is this an apology song or a live-like-there's-no-tomorrow song!?  Pick a side, we're at war.

8) "We Run The Night (Remix)" by Havana Brown feat. Pitbull
Non-album single
Year-end position: #90

The success Pitbull garnered in 2011 has spilled over into this year, but sadly, he hasn't learned anything that would make him a better artist.  Take this track, for example.  I featured it on my list of Pitbull's worst lyrics (NB: Thank you for making it my new most-read article).  But even if you were to take Pit out of the equation, this song still exemplifies much of what I hate about today's music.  The Australian DJ and vocalist Havana Brown repeats and stutters words in her lines in order to fill in blank space, and the beautiful trancelike choruses abruptly drop into a dirty, beepy hook.  I like to call this sort of thing a "dirty bit" in dubious honour of the Black Eyed Peas Song which kicked off this tradition.  Also, Pitbull.

7) "50 Ways To Say Goodbye" by Train
from California 37
Year-end position: #81

It appears I will never be done talking about Train, not as long as they keep putting out songs with idiotic metaphors.  "Drive By" may have been a bigger hit this year, but with his band's follow-up single "50 Ways To Say Goodbye", Pat Monahan and company have reached critical-mass in that regard.  The song is all about making excuses for what happened to his girlfriend after they broke up, such as:
She went down in an airplane
Fried getting suntanned
Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand
She dried up in the desert
Drowned in a hot tub
Danced to death at an east side night club
You can tell he's clutching at straws here.  I mean, how are some of these things even plausible?  And these are not ways to say goodbye!  The title's a liar!  The music has a mariachi background to it, which I suppose makes it more exciting to listen to -- that is, until the awful lyrics take hold -- but it's just so random, you know?  And besides, isn't Train from San Francisco -- which has significantly less Mexican influence than places down south, like Los Angeles or San Diego?  Save yourself the trouble and just stick to the 50 ways to leave your lover.

6) "Boyfriend" 
by Justin Bieber

from Believe
Year-end position: #28

Since the last time I discussed Justin Bieber, my position on him has evolved to this: I don't so much hate him as I am afraid to like him.  But don't worry, he hasn't given me any cause to like him.  Like this song, "Boyfriend".  It starts with this off-key whistle in the background which would be creepy enough once or twice, but it never stops.  And then we have lines like this:
I got money in my hands
That I'd really like to blow
(swag, swag, swag) on you
Yes, that's right: he essentially paused the track to repeat the word "swag".  For those who remember the Mike Posner Paradox, allow me to present the Justin Bieber Corollary: If you feel you need to remind everyone you have swag, charisma, or some other quality, then you don't have said quality.  But it gets better: he rhymes that line with "fondue".  Say bye-bye to your swag, Biebs!  And finally, there's this gem in the second verse:
Girlfriend, girlfriend, you can be my girlfriend
You can be my girlfriend
Until the w-w-world ends
They way they used that stutter to fill time, you'd assume he was actually using the F-bomb at this point and you were hearing the radio edit.  But Bieber's image being what it is, there is no way that was the case.  So that's where you come in!  Now, I'm normally an anti-cursing crusader, but to all my listeners, I dare you to fill in the blanks so to speak.  Bonus points if you have any young, impressionable Bieber fans in the vicinity.  Because I'm a troll like that. >:-)

5) "Want U Back" by Cher Lloyd
from Sticks And Stones
Year-end position: #55

Despite all I've put him through, I can't stay mad at Justin Bieber because, judging only from the content of his lyrics, he sounds like a pretty nice guy.  The same cannot be said of Cher Lloyd, partly because, well, she's a she.  And partly because she comes off as a scumbag.  For the uninitiated, she made her debut on series 7 of The X-Factor UK, getting eliminated at 4th place.  She then went on to record "Swagger Jagger", which I might have mentioned before.  Yeah, it sucks on toast with a side order of blow, but even though debuted at #1 in her native Britain, it failed to chart in America, thank gob.  So now she's back with a vengeance, starring in the breakup song "Want U Back".  And having taken the role of the dumpee, as it were, she is not taking it well.
Remember all the things that you and I did first?
And now you're doing them with her?
She says that like, "You can't do that with her, you already did them with me!"  What are you, four years old?  Or how about this gem from the bridge:
I thought you'd still be mine
When I kissed you good-bye
And you might be with her
But I still loved you first
News flash: having a significant other before he/she takes on anyone else does not count for squat.  Remember the last time I complained about a lack of perspective after a breakup?  This is even worse.  And while we're on the subject of Justin Bieber, she's also doing the not-really cursing thing during the chorus.  If I haven't already made it abundantly clear, listening to this song hurts so much, you'd swear it was me making all those grunting noises in the background.

4) "The Motto (YOLO)" by Drake feat. Lil' Wayne & Tyga
from Take Care
Year-end position: #20

For those who haven't been on Twitter for the past twelve months, "YOLO" is an acronym for "You Only Live Once".  Sounds like a strong message, eh?  When we die, we lose all our chances of doing the things we've always wanted to.  Yeah, try telling that to all the wasteoid fans who've co-opted YOLO as an excuse to shirk responsibility and do all those crazy stunts that will foul up their lives forevermore.  We're all screwed.  But "The Motto" didn't make this list for that reason, but for being a boring, grimy, cliched piece of glam rap.  It's the same trap "Rack City" fell into, but at least that song didn't tease us with insight into any phenomenon!  Plus, that song didn't have Lil' Wayne on it.  Spouting out the same gross misogyny you've been giving us for the past few years is bad enough, but at least sound different from the droning flow provided to us by your co-stars!  Dangit man, I thought you changed!

3) "Back In Time" by Pitbull
from Men In Black 3 [soundtrack]
Year-end position: #62

You may remember that I wrote a review of this song when it came out.  Even though I was making videos at the time, I chose not to do one based on that, since it had been tackled by not one, but two high-profile video critics.  I think the three of us have covered all this songs' bases, but for those of you who have yet to check out either of them, I'd be happy to sum up.  Despite the fact that this is supposed to be a tie-in with a movie set in 1969, the song they sampled was over a decade too old, and Pitbull's lines overly rely on bragging and lame puns, with only last-minute references to the film it's supposed to be promoting.  Also, dubstep.

2) "Dance (A$$) (Remix)" by Big Sean feat. Nicki Minaj
Non-album single
Year-end position: #57

If you'll recall the 2011 worst-of list yet again, I listed this as one of the worst songs that didn't make the year-end chart.  But its momentum carried over into the beginning of 2012, and lo and behold, I'm talking about it here and now.  In case you haven't heard of it yet, the lines in the hook consist almost entirely of the word "ass" over and over.  Compare the hooks of the great booty james over time: going from "Baby Got Back" in 1992, to "Ms. New Booty" in 2006, to this, and it becomes just one example in an ever-growing mound of evidence which would seem to prove that humanity is locked on an ever-dumbening path.  The version which charted highest replaces one of Big Sean's verses with one by Nicki Minaj, thus providing a rather disheartening dichotomy.  Whereas Big Sean is allowed to brag about topics including his sexual prowess and material value, the majority of Nicki's lines revolve around how good of a desireable sex object she is, proving once again that we may never achieve gender equality in the rap game.  We're all screwed.  Oh, and the edited version isn't even trying:
And I want all of that
Dance, dance, dance, dance (etc.)
As one of the few people on Earth who still likes the swears scrubbed out of the songs I listen to, I'd admit that even this is going too far.

1) "Birthday Cake (Remix)" by Rihanna feat. Chris Brown
Non-album single
Year-end position: #79

After Chris Brown's assault of Rihanna in 2009, she had taken out a restraining order on him.  So, I would imagine that their parts on this song were recorded separately.  But just because they found a way to get Breezy and RiRi (gah, that hurts just to type) on a song together, doesn't mean they should've, because as bad as "Birthday Cake" is on its own, the context of its performers makes it even more disgusting.  It's merely a sex song, but when they let Chris Brown get away with lines like "Give it to her in the worst way", I can only think of one thing.  Not that Rihanna does anything to justify the work herself, either; you keep reminding us that "it's not even my birthday", but why is that important!?

Even better, this song sucks in two flavours!  There's the version from Rihanna's album Talk That Talk, which takes out Chris Brown's lines but is only 1:18, and the single-only version with Breezy present.  Evidently the full version is so bad, it's not even available on iTunes!  (At least I keep telling myself that's the reason.)  I've read a comment on YouTube which said that this is the song the viewer would like to get a lapdance to, but lemme tell ya, if they played this then, it would beat down the mood just like Chris Brown beats me at checkers.  And to Rihanna, I'm begging you, please revise the terms of your restraining order to preclude musical collaborations with Chris Brown.

Wildcard) "Beez In The Trap" by Nicki Minaj feat. 2 Chainz
from Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded

Fun Fact: This song was going to be my pick for #1, but it didn't make the year-end charts, and was thus ineligible.  But as despicable as the real #1 worst song was, I don't think I've ever heard a song that was so devoid of anything good -- at least one that didn't involve Soulja Boy Tell'Em, may his career burn in Hell.  Take for example the chorus:
[nouns] ain't [noun] and they ain't saying nothing
A hundred mother[verbers] couldn't tell me nothing
I beez in the trap, bee-beez in the trap
I beez in the trap, bee-beez in the trap
Let's see... excessive use of profanities (take my word for it), rhyming words with themselves, and the title phrase "beez in the trap" means nothing, either taken alone or in context.  To think that's only the hook -- and not a very "hooking" one at that.  Even on her other bad songs, Nicki Minaj manages an entertaining performance, presenting a persona on the verge on insanity.  Not so here -- she seems to have lost all interest in dissing her poorly-defined haters  I can say with zero hesitation that "Beez In The Trap" is Nicki Minaj's worst song -- rather shocking considering how many times she's set the bar in the past -- and I thank you, American listeners, for keeping it at bay.

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