Friday, January 29, 2016

SDP Music Awards 2015 (Part 2)

Previously on the SDP, I kicked off the inaugural SDP Music Awards, leaving only two categories aside for a second post: the Worst Song and Best Song of 2015.  As explained earlier, I did this setup instead of my usual top-tens to explore some alternate options for evaluating the year's audio output, and to hopefully cut down on the writing I'd have to do (which sort of backfired).  But as I was compiling nominees for the worst and best lists below, I found myself adding more and more until I hit ten for each, at which point I decided to myself, "You know what?  Let's just do top tens anyway!"  And thus I ranked them all up from 10 to 1 with a little description for each, although shorter than usual because like I said, I tried to do less work with this.  As a reminder, all entries must have made it onto the Billboard year-end Hot 100 Songs chart for 2015, and songs which appeared on said chart for previous years are disqualified.  So, sorry Ed Sheeran, it's great that "Don't" made a return appearance on their list, but I already got around to praising it this time last year.  With that out of the way, let's get the SDP Music Awards wrapped up and over with.

Worst Song

10) "Post to Be" by Omarion, Jhene Aiko, and Chris Brown (#24)
First of all, it's "supposed to be", not "post to be".  Second, Chris Brown.  Third, produced by DJ Mustard.  Fourth, the line "eat her [noun] like groceries".  Enough said.

9) "Hit the Quan" by iLoveMemphis (#83)
This iLoveMemphis guy, whomever he is, sounds like a yowling maniac, and repeatedly fails to keep the beat while rapping.  Although to be fair, I don't think any rapper or singer could have salvaged this dumb material.  If nothing else, at least it's only the second-worst dance-rap song on list!

8) "Marvin Gaye" by Charlie Puth & Meghan Trainor (#75)
Charlie, just invoking the name of Marvin Gaye without adopting any of his musical stylings will not rub his greatness off on you.  Instead, it just leaves you with the dorkiest and un-sexiest sex song since "Afternoon Delight".  As for Meghan Trainor, this only cemented her status as an emotionally disconnected dork only your mom could love.

7) "Girl Crush" by Little Big Town (#63)
Little Big Town made a song about a lesbian romance!  ...Not really.  For example, "I want to taste her lips / Yeah, 'cause they taste like you".  The fact that country radio stations turned their back on this song, when it wasn't really all that racy, speaks volumes about their conservative society, but this song's so boring and toothless anyway, so I'll take any excuse!

6) "No Type" by Rae Sremmurd (#70)
The boys of Rae Sremmurd are quick to boast they have no type in women, only to immediately contradict themselves by adding, "bad [noun]es is the only thing that I like".  And the rest of the song has nothing to do with that statement whatsoever.  The only reason this isn't higher is because they also made "No Flex Zone", which I missed last year but is somehow even worse.

5) "Dear Future Husband" by Meghan Trainor (#74)
Much has been made about how this song self-imposes a domestic role for women, and they're not wrong, but to be honest, it doesn't have an uplifting message for men either, and Meghan comes across as nothing short of catty and demanding.  Bottom line, this song was a mistake for her image.

4) "Ayo" by Chris Brown & Tyga (#86)
I already railed on "Ayo" in the "Most Generic Rap/R&B Song".  The jist of that spiel was that Chris Brown is one of the least likable figures in all of music.

3) "Worth It" by Fifth Harmony & Kid Ink (#23)
Combining the horn riff from Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty", an barebones beat a la DJ Mustard, a hook consisting of a single repeated line, and a rap verse from Kid Ink which he ever so slyly copies verbatim later in the song, "Worth It" is not.

2) "Only" by Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil' Wayne, and Chris Brown (#51)

Between the disgusting lyrical content, the creepy four-note beat, and half the performers, the song reminds me most of is Weezy's own "Love Me" (no), which as you may recall clinched my bottom spot a couple of years ago.  And while "Only" didn't leave me feeling quite so unclean, it did so more than any other song this year.  Except perhaps...

1) "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" by Silentó (#8)
Holy crow, did I finally manage to do a bottom-ten list without putting Lil' Wayne and/or Chris Brown at the "top" spot!?  This calls for a celebration!  How about a dance party?  Wait, DJ, don't put on "Watch Me"!  FUUUU--

Out of all the nominees, this is the only one which I could not get through all the way. I mean it, literally, I could never bring myself to finish listening to this song. And it's not a long one either; it clocks in at a shade over three minutes.  See, as I described when awarding Silentó my Worst New Artist "award", "Watch Me parentheses Whip slash Nae-Nae end parentheses" consists entirely of him asking you to watch him do the Whip.  And the Nae-Nae.  And all manner of other dance steps that people have been using in Vine videos and such that have until now totally passed me by.  He ya jerk, don't you know that ignorance is bliss?  I usually drop out when he brings up the Superman from Soulja Boy Tell'Em's "Crank That", which as I recall, was a previous title holder for "Worst Song of All Time".  Well, that throne is now occupied by... "Love Me" (no) by Lil' Wayne.  I just... I still can't get over that song!  But "Watch Me" is still really freaking terrible, so much that I had to christen it the worst song of 2015.

Best Song

10) "Honey, I'm Good" by Andy Grammer (#25)
"Honey, I'm Good" is a folksy, hokey, but charming song about a man who's in a relationship and denies the advances of another girl, which is a message I can get behind.  I don't mean to be a Moral Orel or anything, but in the midst of all these other songs about stealing YOUR girlfriend, dang it, somebody has to take a stand against that [noun]!

9) "Time of Our Lives" by Pitbull & Ne-Yo (#39)
Pitbull has finally learned that if you're stuck with a painfully limited palette of topics to rap about, you might as well be genre-savvy about one of them.  Having Ne-Yo and a euro-house groove on hand help this song's standing as well.

8) "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd (#12)
The Weeknd managed to channel none short of Michael Jackson for one of the most engaging musical performances of 2015.

7) "Love Me Like You Do" by Ellie Goulding (#13)
Between Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey, which "Love Me Like You Do" comes from, what is it with horrible romance movies having such great soundtracks?  Maybe it's just my tastes, but I was attracted to "Love Me Like You Do" for its epic pop sound that I thought we had lost after Phil Collins retired from music.  As was also the case with...

6) "Take Me to Church" by Hozier (#14)
I know I nominated this for Most Boring Song, but the quiet parts of "Take Me to Church" manage to accentuate the louder parts, already powerful with their cathedral-like echoes, even more.  Hozier knows how to build an atmosphere with music.

5) "Style" by Taylor Swift (#29)
After so many years of dissing ex-flames with the power of hindsight, Taylor Swift finally switches it up and presents the romance of a relationship in medias res.  It was also the first single from her 1989 album which even remotely sounded like it belonged in the year the album was named after.

4) "Downtown" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, and Grandmaster Caz (#84)
Somewhere between "Thrift Shop" and "White Walls" in its subject matter, Macklemore wrote a song that made going out on a moped sound awesome, and the chorus of golden-age rappers adds some well-deserved vintage street cred.

3) "Hello" by Adele (#35)
A heartfelt, if inconsistently passive-aggressive, reunion song that even manages to serve as a sequel to her breakup singles from her 21 album.  And unlike Sam Smith's works, it actually builds up its slow start over the course of the song. into something that's not short of grand.

2) "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars (#1)
Mark Ronson's '80s-funk production and Bruno Mars's Morris Day-slash-James Brown delivery make "Uptown Funk" one of the most positively unique songs of the year -- or the past few years, even.

1) "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk The Moon (#6)
Whereas picking the "winner" for the worst song of 2015 was a cinch, settling on a best song was considerably harder.  For much of the year, I was torn between "Uptown Funk" and "Shut Up and Dance".  "Hello" made a strong case for itself later on, however its slow start may turn off some listeners (myself excluded, thankfully), and Adele sort of wavers on whether she truly wants to make up with the guy she's calling, or whether she just wants to flaunt their breakup in his face.

So, going back to my original dilemma, "Shut Up and Dance" won out in the end.  It and "Uptown Funk" had a lot of the same things going for them.  They were packed full of bouncy energy which allowed me to give them many, many repeated listens.  But in the end, the deciding factor was their lyrical focus.  "Uptown Funk" was all about Bruno Mars esentially boasting about his swag.  Of course he could still back up his claims, but there was a little more to "Shut Up and Dance", which recounts a dance-floor date with some Manic Pixie Dream Girl, with just enough detail to make it feel real.  Basically it's like "Best Song Ever" by One Direction, only not made by One Direction, so bonus.  Like I said, this was a tough decision, and all of the songs in this top-ten deserve mounds of credit, but only because I have to pick just one to rise above them all, I pick "Shut Up and Dance" as the best song of 2015.  Don't like it?  Shut up.   ...And dance!

And finally, the winner of the award for Best Animated Movie is When Marnie Was There by Studio Ghibli.  I know that doesn't have anything to do with music; I just wanted to pre-empt the Academy before they blindly give it to Inside Out or some [noun].

This is IchigoRyu.

You are the resistance.

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