Well, another year is coming to a close, which means it’s time to say goodbye to many things. Of course, I will be more than happy to say goodbye to some of those things, including various pieces of music, many of which I wish had never transmitted themselves through sound waves into my brain. I will unfortunately never get to un-hear these pieces of crap, but I can take my vengeance on them by making a list of the ten very worst.
Now, if you’ve been following Knife Ink Reviews for a while, you know that my very first post was my Top Ten Worst Songs of 2013 list, so needless to say these lists hold a very special place in my rotten little heart. Not only does this mark the end of the year, this also marks the approximate 1 year birthday of Knife Ink Reviews, and what better way to celebrate than to recreate the list that started it all?
Some ground rules. 1 – only songs from Billboard’s year end Top 100 list, and 2 – Only songs that were released in or only made the charts this year, in 2014. There are plenty of songs, like “Wrecking Ball” and the like, that have stuck with us since the year they were released. They don’t count. Sorry.
All right then, let me just take a listen to some songs, I’ll be right back. How bad could it be?
[TWO HOURS LATER]
Those were possibly the two most painful hours of my life. Let’s just get this over with.
10. “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry
Katy Perry escaped my list last year, and she wasn’t going to make my list this year, until my history professor explained to us the misrepresentation of Cleopatra, and while the music video for “Dark Horse” doesn’t necessarily mention Cleopatra, it’s still pretty obvious that’s what they were going for. Anyway, the misrepresentation and blatant sexualization of Cleopatra is really getting tiring and is unfair as she was actually an extremely capable leader, more so than many men of her time. So there.
In actuality, though, this song annoys me because, like most Katy Perry songs, it gets stuck in your head, but unlike some Katy Perry songs it lacks the dumb enjoyability that I’ve managed to find in several of her singles. They may not be good songs, but I can understand the appeal to “Hot N’ Cold” and “Last Friday Night” – they’re stupid, but they’re fun, catchy, and when they get stuck in your head they just want to have a good time, like a little kid poking you over and over begging you to take him to the park or something. When “Dark Horse” gets stuck in your head, it wants to drill itself into your brain. It’s a disgusting earworm that latches onto your brain cells and sucks the life out of them. It has a dull, plodding beat that’s not at all fun and really the song doesn’t make much sense and the music video’s even worse. I just don’t get you, Katy Perry. Who – who are you?
9. “Chandelier” by Sia
Get out your torches and pitchforks, I don’t care. I just don’t see the appeal to Sia. She has a voice so grating it makes me feel like my brain is exploding. On the chorus of “Chandelier” she sounds like a wolf in extreme pain. She is literally howling the word “chandelier,” and I certainly wouldn’t be able to make out that word if it wasn’t the title.
I had to look up lyrics for this song because I couldn’t understand a word Sia was singing. She has a way of mushing words when she sings, making them virtually unrecognizable. And that’s not an accent or anything, because I’ve watched interviews with her and I was able to understand her fine; it’s just the way she sings. Maybe it floats your boat, but I find it annoying.
I’ve seen a lot of comparisons between “Chandelier” and “Habits (Stay High)” by Tove Lo because they have similar subject matters – coping with life, getting through day by day by drinking, partying, etc. I like “Habits” better because it actually sounds like someone who’s going through a tough time. I had to look at the lyrics to “Chandelier” closely to realize that it wasn’t an empowerment ballad, which is what it sounds like. Maybe Sia was going for the juxtaposition between the song’s subject matter and its tone, but I doubt it. In any case, I can actually understand what Tove Lo is saying, which gets her points.
“Chandelier” seems to try and make a point and loses it, and while I do appreciate that it’s not about merely getting high in a club and partying all night, it lacks focus and because of that, it turns into a song that has virtually no identity at all. Besides the screaming wolf.
8. “Rude” by MAGIC!
This song got really annoying really fast. I’m not sure what else to say about it. I suppose I could launch the usual criticisms at it – that it’s a rather poor take on “cod reggae,” that it’s slightly sexist, that it doesn’t really make much sense as the narrator claims he’s going to marry the girl anyway but still keeps asking for the dad’s permission – but it’s all been done before, and I find that what bothers me the most about this song is the fact that it stayed relevant for so long, that there are very, very few positive things about it but it still gets played a lot and yeah I just don’t ever want to hear it again.
Oh, and worst band name ever. Ick.
7. “Say Something” by A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera
I’m not going to make any friends for this one, either.
I can’t stand music like this – harmonically uninteresting, lyrically bland, falsely profound snore ballads that could be written by literally anyone. I could have written this song. You could have written this song.
This song deeply irritates me because, like most slow pop ballads, it passes itself off as something really moving and thoughtful when in reality it lacks substance. Its lyrics are generic and unclear, it’s slow and plodding, it’s harmonically boring, and I hate it I hate it I hate it.
6. “Summer” by Calvin Harris
I can’t speak for other places, but where I live, this song was everywhere. It got played long past summertime, that’s for sure. So part of why I dislike this song is very much the same as why I dislike “Rude” – I just got sick of hearing it.
For me, though, there’s another huge reason why this song irritates me, and that’s Calvin Harris’s voice. He sounds like he has a cold, but more than that, he just sounds so uninterested in what he’s singing. He has no passion for this song whatsoever. I may not like Sia’s voice but I do have to give her credit for at least caring about what she sings. Calvin Harris sounds like he’s half-singing, half-mumbling, totally not invested in the performance. Now, that’s not an assessment of him as a person; I have no idea what he’s like in real life. I’m just describing what he sounds like to me, on the song.
5. “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz
Okay, I’ll admit it. I put this song on the list somewhat out of obligation. Really, this song was #6 on the chart this year and I have a sense of duty to the human race which tells me that if I am making a Top Ten Worst Songs of 2014 list, I must put “Talk Dirty” on it. It is just something that must be done.
In reality, I do like one small, tiny, tiny thing about this song, and that’s the funky Latin-style riff in the chorus. I think it’s fun and catchy. The rest of the song is the dumbest thing to hit the charts with the exception of…well, you’ll see in a minute.
Jason Derulo, besides being essentially talentless, comes across in his songs as an incredibly gross individual and someone I really would not want to hang around. The “it’s just dumb dance music” excuse has been used for far too long when it comes to sexist, insensitive shit in our music, but, in fact, may be the most fitting description for this song. If I am insulted by anything in “Talk Dirty,” it’s that it’s the most brain-dead thing on this list (besides…well, you’ll see in a minute). It’s just dumb. The end.
4. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
“Shake It Off” is, without any fraction of a doubt, Taylor Swift’s worst song. The very worst she’s ever released. Now, I’ve never been a Taylor Swift fan, but after hearing this song over and over again, watching the music video over and over again, I began to long for the days when Taylor Swift just sang about boys named Drew and never ever ever getting back together.
What’s more, “Shake it Off” made me realize something about Taylor Swift. While she may not be the most talented artist ever, she does (or did) possess lyric vision. Her songs, while they did sound like seventh grade textbook poetry most of the time, were identifiable and very much Taylor Swift. Identity is huge in today’s music world, and Taylor Swift seemed to have a firm grasp on it, much more than other artists (*COUGH* Miley Cyrus *COUGH*).
“Shake It Off” could have been sung by anyone. Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, any of them could have done it. There’s nothing that makes this song Taylor Swift, except for her extreme aversion to haters, which is by far the most irritating and actually quite insulting part of her personality which I just can’t let slide. We apologize profusely, Taylor Swift, for your “haters” and also for your fucking net worth of $200 million. We’re really sorry.
3. “Wiggle” by Jason Derulo ft. Snoop Dog
“Wiggle” was the song I kept referencing in my “Talk Dirty” explanation. I didn’t even know this was possible, but it’s about ten times more idiotic than “Talk Dirty” and lacks the funky Latin-style riff that made “Talk Dirty” slightly redeemable. My reaction to the main riff in “Wiggle” was, I kid you not, almost exactly the same as Todd In The Shadows’s. Upon hearing this riff, Todd said:
That’s a goddamn recorder.
I feel ya, Todd. I feel ya.
“Wiggle” is even more disgusting and perverted than “Talk Dirty” and its lyrics – again, I didn’t even know this was possible, but its lyrics are even dumber than those of “Talk Dirty.” I don’t even want to think about how many of my brain cells died after listening to this “song.”
To give you an idea of how awful “Wiggle” is, let me say this: it is so bad, it is the only song Postmodern Jukebox could not rescue. (I mean, their version is better but it’s so stupid it still doesn’t work.) Yeah. It’s that bad.
2. “Maps” by Maroon 5
So far, none of the songs on this list have really insulted me beyond being brain-dead or irritating to listen to. These top two songs genuinely insult me because of their subject matter, dreadful lyrics, and in some ways, the artists singing them.
So, with that said, hi, Maroon 5. How’s it been?
I really hate Maroon 5. I’m not sure any of the other members besides Adam Levine are even relevant – I certainly don’t know anybody else’s name, and he’s the one who gets featured predominantly in their videos – so most of this is going to be targeted at Adam Levine.
First of all, let me start off by saying that Adam Levine has my least favorite singing voice on this list and possibly of all time. I just can’t stand the way he sounds. I know that’s personal preference, but I don’t know how to describe it, he sounds like a jerk when he sings and his songs, this one in particular, really do a good job of reinforcing that jerkiness.
In the music video for “Maps,” Adam Levine’s girlfriend gets hit by a car and the song is all about how much he does for her, how she messed up and dishonored him, how he’s remained loyal and faithful to her even when she’s treated him like dirt. Oh, and she dies at the end.
1. “Loyal” by Chris Brown ft. I don’t care let’s just get this overwith
You know, for some things, I need to explain why they’re bad or why I don’t like them. For other things, I would hope, I would pray, I would beg, that people would be able to figure it out on their own. So I’ll just do this.
Remember when Chris Brown violently beat up a nineteen year old girl?
Here are some of the lyrics in his song “Loyal.”
These hoes ain’t loyal
These hoes ain’t loyal
Yeah, yeah, let me see
When I call her, she gon’ leave
And I bet that bottom dollar she gon’ cheat
Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like what Chris Brown accused Rihanna of before he…oh, never mind. I’m sure he’s grown up and moved past that in his life or whatever.
Things I Need to Clear Up
No, These Are Not Good Songs
“Fancy” by Iggy Azalea – okay, it’s not really a good song, but I can’t bring myself to passionately hate it.
“All About That Bass” – again, I can’t bring myself to hate it, though it has numerous faults. (Making a swipe at eating disorders is not cool.)
“All Of Me” – boring, generic, and bland, but John Legend is a really good singer.
“Timber” Pitbull ft. Ke$ha – Oh wait I’m supposed to hate Ke$ha and Pitbull, right? (*YAWNS*)
“Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake – …I kind of like it?
“Boom Clap” by Charli XCX – I can at least get behind this song, even if it is incredibly annoying.
“Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj – Oops, I forgot to care.
Stay tuned for the Best of 2014!