#Billbored – A Look at Billboard Hot 100 (on Twitter)

The Top Ten Worst Songs of 2014

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-Dark-Horse1

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

Sia-Chandelier-Feature

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!

tumblr_inline_n8lbmrEsYH1sk3tmm

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

A-Great-Big-World-Say-Something-2013

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

Calvin-Harris-Summer

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

20140322061918!Jason_Derulo's_Talk_Dirty_album_cover

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

“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

jason-derulo-performance-tcas

“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

BqnvTX6CUAArk9S

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.

giphy


1. “Loyal” by Chris Brown ft. I don’t care let’s just get this overwith

url

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

and

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.

giphy


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!

A Look At Billboard Top 10 – Week of 8/25/14

Oh, Billboard. Well over a month later and you’re still unbelievably uninteresting.

Okay, so that’s not strictly true. I will admit that this glance-over fared much better than the previous one, which you can read here. And once again I’m going to be indecisive on how I want to handle this whole Billboard thingy and stick with the top ten.

Also, because I’m a nice person, I’m going to shake things up and provide you all with the songs for listening, right here on this blog. That’s right – I am saving you the excruciating effort of typing in the names of these songs into Google, clicking the link, and waiting for that stupid leg lotion ad that won’t leave YouTube alone to finish playing. You can thank me later.

I will make a few exceptions to the Top Ten restriction before I start reviewing the Top Ten of the Hot 100 right now, and that is only to say that Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be” is the best song of the summer and I absolutely, shamelessly, passionately, adore it. I never get tired of it.

 

 

And if you want another good listen, the Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake song “Love Never Felt So Good” isn’t half bad either. No, not even the Justin Timberlake half.

 

 

There have been a few other good ones here and there, too. Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” has still managed to stay in the Top 20 and is actually crawling back up, if you can believe it. And yes, I can hear the moans and groans even from this side of my computer, but honestly, out of all the songs in the universe that could be overplayed as much as “Happy” I’d say we got pretty lucky, wouldn’t you?

(Wait a minute…got lucky? Like “Get Lucky”? Get it? It’s another Pharrell Williams song? Get it? Get it? I didn’t even realize I made that joke until after I wrote it!)

Anyway, you guys don’t want to hear “Happy” again so I’ll just leave the Weird Al version below instead.

 

 

But let’s talk about the Hot 100 Top 10 of right now, because there are a few surprises. A few.

1. “Rude” by MAGIC! 

 

 

You know, I’ve never particularly cared for “Rude,” but unlike most pop songs where I can kind of see the popular appeal, I just can’t figure this one out. Ever since “Rude” replaced “Fancy” as the #1 song on Billboard, I kind of stopped following Billboard for a few weeks – not for that particular reason or anything, just to take a break. I check back in a few weeks later expecting to see a whole new list, and I was honestly shocked to see that “Rude” was still at the top. Who knew that reggae-influenced pop had such staying power?

If I had to guess, I’d say that “Rude” will probably be MAGIC!’s one and only claim to fame, but I have been wrong before. If you keep going down this list you will definitely see.

2. “All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor

 

 

When I checked back in on Billboard’s list, this song immediately popped out to me because it was one of the only songs that was marked as actually moving up in the charts, and not down, as most of the songs in the top ten have been doing as of late. And – yeah, I’m kind of surprised about the success of this one. It’s a pleasant surprise, though.

What is happening to Billboard? Some of the year’s biggest hits have very much deviated from traditional pop sounds, going for a reggae or retro feel instead. And, yeah, I’m totally a big supporter of it. Forget the loud, buzzy, repetitive EDM crap, bring me more of this.

Anyway, about the song itself, as it is by far the most interesting thing on this list, it’s…good. I had to listen to it a few times to come to that conclusion, but I think I’ve made up my mind that compared to other songs on the list, it’s good. It’s not great, but good. I think if I had to make one complaint, it would be that it doesn’t really know how it wants to get its own point across. I get that it’s criticizing societal views of weight or whatever, but I’m not really sure what being “all about that bass” has to do with body weight, unless that’s a slang term or something I’m not aware of. Also it might not help that the song contains the lines “Go ‘head and tell them skinny bitches that. Naw, I’m just playing, I know you guys even think you’re fat, but I’m here to tell you that you’re perfect” which barely escapes being hostile towards these supposed “skinny bitches” especially since being underweight can be a serious health problem, yadda yadda yadda. I’m not going to take it that seriously. Especially since the singer, Meghan Trainor, apparently said this in response to that line: “But, I’m not bashing skinny girls. Some girls have commented, ‘I’m a size zero, so you must hate me.’ But that’s not it at all! There have been battles on my YouTube page, like, ‘You don’t know what she’s talking about. She’s actually saying, ‘I know even you skinny girls struggle’.’ And that’s exactly how I feel.” Well, you might have articulated that a little better in the actual song, but for now I’m giving you the thumbs up.

3. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

 

 

Sam Smith, the guy with possibly the most boring name in pop music history, has written a song that isn’t actually as good as it thinks it is. It is the epitome of a mediocre song with too much false hype. Still, I do recall writing this over a month ago:

This poor guy is going to be gone by next month.

-Knife Ink, “A Look At Billboard Week of 7/11/14”

Ugh. I am bad at this.

4. “Break Free” by Ariana Grande

 

 

This is a good season for Ariana Grande, let me tell you. She has three hits in the top ten right now. Unfortunately “Break Free” is my least favorite of those three. The last time I heard it, I actually forgot it was Ariana Grande singing.

5. “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX

 

 

Okay. This is ALL I want to say about “Fancy” ever again – I sincerely wish that it had come out earlier so that Weird Al could have made a parody. That is all.

6. “Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz

 

 

You know, I just don’t get “Am I Wrong?”. And for all it repeats “that’s just how I feel,” I find myself screaming at the song, “HOW, SIR? HOW DO YOU FEEL?” Can anybody explain this song to me because I just. Don’t. Get. It.

7. “Problem” by Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea

 

 

I’ve already spoken about “Problem.” Not Ariana Grande’s best song, but it is admittedly catchy as hell.

8. “Black Widow” by Iggy Azalea ft. Rita Ora

 

 

I WAS RIGHT! I WAS RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING!

Okay, I know I’m basically wrong about 95% of the time when it comes to predicting chart success, but remember this?

There’s a new Iggy Azalea song at #97 right now. Why do I have a feeling it’s going to be higher?

-Knife Ink, “A Look At Billboard 7/11/14”

Oh yeah! Who called it?

“Black Widow” is so much worse than “Fancy” it’s not even funny, and “Fancy” wasn’t even that good. I’m nobody to start judging rap, but I don’t even thing Iggy’s that great on this one. And she seems to have star quality, like she could end up making some good stuff eventually. But then again, “Black Widow” could be the greatest rap song of our generation and I wouldn’t know the difference, so I probably shouldn’t be saying anything.

9. “Chandelier” by Sia

 

 

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, don’t like this song.

10. “Bang Bang” by Ariana Grande, Jessie J, and Nicki Minaj

 

 

And so we come to the final song on the list, which is also the third song in the top ten to feature Ariana Grande. Kind of. When you have three major pop stars on your song you kind of have to share, if you know what I mean. And Jessie J has such a loud, blasting, grating voice that she pretty much dominates whatever song she’s in, whether it’s intentional or not. Ariana’s got a nice voice and all that, but she’s too sweet and cute to be appearing in a song with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj. There’s an imbalance here that just doesn’t make this song completely work for me. Still, I can at least see why it’s gotten popular. It is, as is now becoming associated with Ariana Grande, catchy as hell.

Besides, it will never replace the one and only “Bang Bang”.

 

 

Well, that’s all, folks. I leave you with a present: Al Stewart’s “Soho – Needless to Say” and if you find better lyrics than these in the Billboard Charts I will applaud you. Spoiler alert: you won’t.

 

 

Also follow me on Twitter. It’s for the good of humanity. Just kidding. But follow me anyway.

Random Stuff – Legend of Korra Season 3, Other Random Musings, with Special Guest!

I’m excited to share with everyone a lovely conversation I had with a very good friend of mine. We discussed Legend of Korra Season 3 and other random things. I split our conversation into two videos, 1 about Korra, 2 not about Korra. If you haven’t seen Avatar: The Last Airbender or ANY season of Legend of Korra, do not watch the first video. And then go watch Avatar: The Last Airbender because it’ll change your life. 

Thanks to my friend for having this conversation with me, and hope everyone enjoys it!

Disclaimer: We were drinking tea during this recording so there is much scuffling, clanking, and general annoying-noise making. I apologize. One day I promise to record with something better than an iPhone. 

 

VIDEO 1: LEGEND OF KORRA SEASON 3

VIDEO 2: RANDOM MUSINGS (NOT KORRA)

A Look At Billboard – Week of 7/11/14

All right, so you’ve probably noticed that the title of this post isn’t “Billboard Top 10” as it usually is. That’s because I’ve decided to become even more annoying with these Billboard posts and basically just jump around Billboard’s list and talk about whatever I find, mainly because I’m sick of talking about the same songs over and over again, or having nothing to say about a certain song. Hopefully I will be able to address new songs and new artists I haven’t before, as well as refresh certain views on artists I have talked about before.

Speaking of which, let’s start with a little band called Maroon 5.

9. “Maps” by Maroon 5

There are many things in this world I hate, and one of those things is Maroon 5. But I’ve realized recently that hate might really be geared towards the main face of the band, Adam Levine. You see, I’ve heard bands that create the same bland, boring songs over and over again (*cough* Coldplay), but there are very few bands whose lead singer’s voice closely resembles an autotuned injured wolf. Every time Adam Levine goes into the falsest of autotuned falsettos, I kind of want to punch something.

“Maps” is no different from any other Maroon 5 song – boring, bland, and incredibly annoying. Because of this, I find that in order to even tell one song apart from the other I have to watch the music videos, which is unfortunate, because Maroon 5’s music videos are just…awful.

The music video for “Maps” features a woman whom Adam Levine apparently had a relationship with getting hit by a car, and we have to watch people bring her bloody, dismembered body into the emergency room, and then Adam Levine sings a song that is, of course, all about him and how she treated him terribly.

Wow. Adam Levine, you are a reprehensible human being. Please stop trying to make music.

All right, moving onto #5.

Who the hell is Sam Smith?

5. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith

First of all, Sam Smith, if that is his real name, should probably have changed it to something a little more memorable. I mean, you don’t get much more boring than that. Sam Smith. This poor guy is going to be gone by next month. Unless, of course, his music is good enough to keep him in the spotlight.

Which, it isn’t, really, but I will cut “Stay With Me” a little bit of slack because while I don’t think it’s good, I don’t really think it’s bad, necessarily. I like the layers of harmony on the chorus, I like the one itsy bitsy chord that, for a brief moment in time, verges away from the four chords of pop. The song would be improved if Sam Smith didn’t sound like he was singing with a pillow over his face, but I honestly can’t bring myself to hate this one too much. I don’t see it sticking around, but my predictions have been wrong before.

7. “Summer” by Calvin Harris

I’m not at all familiar with Calvin Harris, so I have to ask: does he sound like he has the flu on all of his songs?

11. “Latch” by Disclosure feat. Sam Smith

Bland. And Sam Smith’s voice goes from muffled to annoying.

28. “Me And My Broken Heart” by Rixton

Who the hell is Rixton??! What is happening to Billboard?

I actually think I could get into this song, if I were in a good mood. It uses a chord progression (or almost uses it) that I haven’t heard in a while and is welcome, although I wish they could have used it like Al Stewart did in “The Palace of Versailles.” Which is, like, the best song ever.

2. “Rude” by MAGIC!

I very much appreciate the reggae beat. Now, if only I could erase the premise and the lyrics of this song (neither of which are very good) every time I hear it, it might be a little more enjoyable. Still, I can’t pretend like I hate it.

Oh, yeah, and MAGIC! is possibly the dumbest name for a band.

Ever.

15. “Break Free” by Ariana Grande ft. Zedd

Ariana Grande wasn’t too successful with her huge hit “Problem,” in my opinion, but she’s talented enough to redeem herself. Although teaming up with Zedd, who did the abomination of a song “Clarity,” doesn’t give me much hope.

(After listen)

…Boooring. Moving on.

14. “Classic” by MKTO

Eh…it’s okay, I guess. I certainly don’t hate it. I do wish it actually sounded more “classic.”

16. “Amnesia” by 5 Seconds of Summer

First observation: if you want to be a successful, chart-topping music group, naming your band “5 Seconds of Summer” probably isn’t the smartest idea.

Second observation: I think I’ve heard this song ten million times, under different names by different artists.

Third observation: 5 seconds of summer is probably all 5 Seconds of Summer is going to get on Billboard, relatively speaking.

20. “Boom Clap” by Charli XCX

This song is literally the most annoyingly dangerous thing in the universe. I almost didn’t put it on this list because I knew once I typed the title it would start playing in my head and never ever leave. I’m serious. It’s an absolute parasite of a song. It will suck out your major thought processes and leave you with nothing but a loud, obnoxious pop song playing in your head for eternity. Don’t listen to this song if you haven’t done so yet. Escape it while you can.

17. “Chandelier” by Sia

I can’t understand a single word she’s singing. She sounds drunk.

38. “Come With Me Now” by KONGOS

Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! Accordions! Guitar solos! ROCK! Actual rock chords and beats and vocals! YES!! ME LIKE!

Other observations…

I’m glad to see Coldplay’s song has dropped so low. I’m also sad to see that the Michael Jackson/Justin Timberlake song has as well. 😦 Much sadness.

Does Ed Sheeran only release songs with one-word titles?

Jason Derulo really has a song called “Trumpets,” which I assume is composed of the leftover sound bites from “Talk Dirty.”

There’s a new Iggy Azalea song at #97 right now. Why do I have a feeling it’s going to be higher?

A Look At Billboard Top 10 – Week of 5/25/14

Wow, finally things have changed!

As of right now, Pharrell’s song “Happy,” which sat at No. 1 for weeks, has dropped to No. 4 and has been replaced with…

…John Legend’s “All Of Me.”

…..

………..

…I just don’t know what to say. I mean…really? That song? You guys picked the blandest, most boring-as-hell, underwritten song out there?

Um, whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Anyway, let’s see what’s new on the list. And from now on, I’m only doing the top ten, simply because I don’t feel like going through the top twenty. I just don’t. Have mercy on me.

All right, let’s see what we have here…

Anything in bold is me before I listen to the song, normal type is after.

No. 2 – “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX. I’ve never heard of it. Be right back after a listen…

Well, that was a miserable 3 minutes and 24 seconds of my life. How do I describe this? It was like an endless ear raping. And it only lasted three minutes and 24 seconds. Just the same monotonous, shallow, horrible chorus over and over again, with verses that were either equally intelligent or completely unintelligible. No. 2. Huh. Billboard, you’re really starting to suck.

No. 3 – “Problem” by Ariana Grande. Oh, good! Ariana Grande. I like her. She’s actually quite talented. Let’s see what she’s got for us here.

Well, she took a leaf from Jason DeRulo’s book and added in the irresistibly catchy horn, but other than that, I’m sad to say that I don’t see anything particularly special about this song. It’s not even close to her best work, and it’s kind of annoying. Still, it’s better than the two that come before it, that’s for sure.

No. 4 – “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. I’ve already spoken about this one many, many times. It’s wearing out its welcome, but it’s still a good song.

No. 5 – “Turn Down For What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon. I’ve already spoken about this one too. I’m going to do something absolutely shameful and quote myself.

“Turn Down For What” is not a song, but a conglomeration of the various noises emitted by autotuned robot chipmunks. It is unbearable.

I’ll keep quoting myself until the song’s taken off the list. So there.

No. 6 – “Dark Horse” by Katy Perry. GO AWAY. GO AWAY. GO AWAY.

No. 7 – “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo. Man, maybe the charts aren’t so different after all.

No. 8 – “Not A Bad Thing” by Justin Timberlake. Okay, I take everything back. Nothing has changed. There is absolutely nothing new on this list. Billboard sucks. The most boring song ever written is at No. 1, autotuned chipmunks dominate the No. 5 spot, Katy Perry still controls half the country’s minds and Justin Timberlake is still making bad music. Forget it. This is stupid. I’m never doing one of these agai –

No. 9 – “Love Never Felt So Good” by…Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Wait, what? Michael Jackson? What? What is this? *Goes to Wikipedia page to find out what this is* No way! They released a new Michael Jackson song? And had Justin Timberlake sing on it? Could this possibly mean that Justin is actually going to show off some…talent for once? And in a freaking Michael Jackson song? Oh my gosh, I’ve got to listen to this right now! *Hurriedly goes to YouTube*

God bless you, Billboard.

Okay, I’m not a Michael Jackson fanatic or anything, but compared to the other songs on this list, this is golden. Say what you want about the music or the man, but Michael Jackson was a phenomenal singer, and listening to this song reminded me of just that. Throw in a catchy beat, some nice chords, and a good Justin Timberlake and you have what I consider to be a pretty decent song. The fact that Justin can hold his own against Michael Jackson is PROOF of my theory that Justin is way more talented than he’s willing to let any of us believe. Well, you don’t fool me, Justin. I can see right through you.

Well, I’m pumped! Who’s at the No. 10 spot?

No. 1o – “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay. The thrill is gone.

Well, what do you know, ten seconds in and it sounds like EVERY OTHER COLDPLAY SONG IN THE FREAKING UNIVERSE.

Actually, this song is a perfect representation of why I don’t like Coldplay very much. They’re not the worst thing out there for sure, but they’re nowhere near as good as people think they are. Just look at the title of this song. “A Sky Full of Stars.” How original. Next they’ll be releasing singles called “An Ocean Full of Water” or “A Dog Food Container Full of Dog Food.” The song itself starts like pretty much every Coldplay song starts – piano entrance, bland lyric here, bland lyric there, uninteresting four chords of pop. Not even worth a full listen. I’m going back to the Michael Jackson song now.

Well, there you have it. Billboard slowly getting worse. Or possibly better. Only time will tell.

………I couldn’t help it.

dog-doodles-dogs-accessories-illustrated-doodled-style-32472605

A Look at Billboard Top 10 – Week of 4/12/14

Life has been so busy these past few weeks that you can imagine my excitement when I had a few spare moments and thought to myself, “Oh, goody! I can make a blog post! Let’s look at the Billboard Top 10!”

Yeah, not much is different from when I last looked.

Sure, things have gotten shuffled around a bit and there are some new additions to the Top 10, but all in all it’s still essentially the same list. “Happy” is still No. 1, although in my opinion it’s well-deserved, and we still have that abomination of a song by Katy Perry, whose managers must have pulled some strings somewhere because I cannot fathom how such a dull, plodding song is at No. 3. “All of Me” is still at the top and is as bland as ever, and Lorde’s “Team” is surprisingly still very high.

But we do have some new songs on there, so let’s take a look.

First of all, I have to mention “Let It Go,” which is the obvious one. People have been freaking out so much over this song (and the movie) that it’s almost impossible for this song not to be in the Top 10 – in fact, it’s at No. 5 and I’m surprised it isn’t higher. I’ll say for the record that I don’t dislike this song, although I did not think it was the best one from the movie and I’ve never been a fan of Idina Menzel. I suppose I’m just tired of it. But it’s a good song. I must be fair.

I can’t stand “Pompeii,” which shouldn’t be an enormous surprise to those who have read my “Top Ten Worst Songs of 2013” post. I just don’t like music of this sort – indieish British bands who try to make universal anthems about NOTHING. This song’s premise is stupid, its lyrics are stupid, its music is unremarkable and it frustrates me deeply.

I tried to listen to “The Man,” but found it so unfulfilling I didn’t make it past 45 seconds.

“Turn Down For What” is not a song, but a conglomeration of the various noises emitted by autotuned robot chipmunks. It is unbearable.

Glancing past the top 10…

No. 11, “Best Day of My Life,” has raffle lyrics worse than Maroon 5’s “Daylight” (see Top Ten Worst Songs of 2013 for a definition of “raffle lyrics”).

No. 12 – I remember nothing about it except it’s not worth clicking on the open tab to see what the title of the song is.

No. 13 – Ke$ha. That is all.

No. 14 – JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE STOP BEING TALENTED AND MAKING SHITTY SONGS.

No. 15 – See No. 12

No. 16. “Hey Brother” by Avicii. Didn’t like it.

No. 17 – “Drunk in Love” by Beyonce – I don’t know what to say about this song except that I feel incredibly dirty for some reason whenever I listen to it. Ugh. Makes me shudder.

No. 18 – One Direction sucks

No. 19 – “Say Something” Oh, good, it seems to be losing popularity. I’ve developed a real hatred for this song since my last Billboard post. What an utterly talentless attempt at meaningful songwriting.

No. 20 – #SELFIE Is not a song. It’s a joke.

It’s a joke, right?

Right?

 

Music Review – A Look at the Billboard Top 10 (for this week)

Ever since I started this blog, I’ve made an effort to listen to more pop music. I can’t say that I’ve necessarily enjoyed doing so, but I do enjoy the thought that I’ve at least kept an open mind in regards to what I listen to. And I will admit there have been some surprises.

Still, even though I am getting more acquainted with the genre, I can’t pretend to know what the most popular songs are, because I don’t really listen to the radio and very few of my friends listen to popular music (they’re all like me). So I instead have to turn to the Billboard Hot 100 each week to get a feel for what people are listening to. Now I realize that one must take Billboard with a grain of salt, but as of right now it’s the best I’ve got.

As part of the music review section for this blog, I’m going to make an effort to take a look at Billboard once a month or so, just to see how things are changing. Every time I do, I’ll write a blog post about it.

I’d also like to say that I have no idea how Billboard updates its list. I literally went on their site yesterday and it had a slightly different ranking. So all of this may be changing as I write this now. I have no clue.

Because of the ever-changing nature of the rankings, I’m not going to go in order. Instead, I’ll point out songs I either already know or ones I’ve just listened to for the purpose of these posts. I will comment on No. 1, though. Make no mistake.

So without further ado, let’s begin.


First thing I noticed right off the bat, and it wasn’t even at #1: KATY PERRY.

I mentioned in my Top Ten Worst Songs of 2013 post that Katy Perry has a King Midas ability to turn every single she records into a smash hit. I don’t know why. I haven’t heard a single song by Katy Perry that I ever thought was good, or even so bad it was good (well, maybe some of them are, depending on what mood I’m in). Katy Perry herself isn’t that remarkable, either – she doesn’t have much vocal ability and I doubt very seriously she contributes much to her own songs. That being said, she doesn’t irritate me quite as much as other pop stars because of her refreshing lack of pretentiousness. Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Lorde, etc….they all carry with them an air of superiority that screams LOOK AT ME. THIS IS ART.

Katy Perry doesn’t do that. Her songs and videos are unbelievably stupid, but they’re genuinely stupid. Perhaps that’s why Katy Perry gets so popular – her songs are stupid but in a way sincere.

And they NEVER LEAVE YOUR HEAD.

Maybe that’s the mad genius of Katy Perry. She’s able to record really stupid, bad songs that, once entering your head, never leave. It would certainly explain why she’s had hit after hit after hit.

Or maybe not.

Her newest song, “Dark Horse”, is so forgettable I couldn’t hum it for you if I were chained to a stake about to be burned alive. How this got to #2 (and it was #1 earlier this week!) is completely baffling to me. There is nothing memorable about this song whatsoever, and the music video just might be her stupidest yet. The music is so slow and plodding. Nobody can dance to this. HOW DID THIS GET TO #2??!!!!

I’m telling you, Katy Perry is King Midas. Soon she’s going to transform the entire world into one bad pop song. Be very afraid.


Movin’ along…hmmm, let’s see.

“All of Me” is pretty boring as far as songs go. There’s nothing in it musically interesting – familiar chords, cliché lyrics, etc. But John Legend, whoever he is, is a very good singer, so that’s something.

“Talk Dirty” is atrocious. The lyrics, such as they are, are incredibly moronic and shallow. But I can see why this song is so popular, at least for the time being – there’s something strangely, disturbingly catchy about those trumpety interludes.

“Drunk in Love” – it’s another Beyoncé song….? I feel like I should have more to say about it than that, but I don’t.

“Pompeii” – THE MUSIC VIDEO IS AN X-FILES RIPOFF! Granted, I think everything is an X-Files ripoff, but still IT’S TOTALLY A RIPOFF DID YOU SEE ALL THE DARK EYES IT LOOKED LIKE THE ALIEN VIRUS! ALSO I’M PRETTY SURE THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PEOPLE IN POMPEII.

Lorde’s “Team” is basically the exact same thing as “Royals.” I admire Lorde’s attempt to make pop music about the masses, but she might want to come up with a slightly different approach. Maybe make her music a little less pretentious. I mean, she’s how old? Seventeen?

“Counting Stars” – I have no idea what he’s talking about. His lyrics mean nothing. Makes sense, as OneRepublic is basically the exact same thing as Imagine Dragons. That band I hate.

“Say Something” – I don’t like this song. But I can’t bring myself to really hate it, either. I think there could possibly be a situation, a low moment in my life perhaps, when I’ll hear it and think, “okay, that’s a little pretty.” As long as I don’t have to watch the world’s most depressing music video ever again. Jeez.

“Timber” – Wow. This song manages to combine everything I dislike into 3 minutes and 33 seconds: country music, bad pop music, and Kesha. Way to go, guys. Way to go.


And now, here’s something positive! (I know, right?)

#1 on the charts right now: a little song by Pharrell Williams called “Happy,” and I am very pleased to say that I like this song very much. It’s upbeat, it’s positive, has interesting chords, is catchy, and generally makes me feel, well, happy. Plus, it actually sounds like thought and effort were put into both the music and the words. Pharrell Williams seems to be trying to redeem himself after collaborating with Robin Thicke on “Blurred Lines”. He released “Get Lucky” a few months later, another song I rather enjoyed, and he seems to be adopting this nostalgic funk feel. I like where this is going. Hopefully he can keep it up, and hopefully, so will the charts. If this remains at #1 for a while, I will be very…happy indeed.

Well, that’s it for now. See you next time.

The Top 10 Worst Songs of 2013

Another year is almost over, and the music critics of the internet are getting ready to make their top 10 worst and top 10 best lists before the new year hits. Well, for me, I don’t think I have the ability to create a top 10 best list, since doing so suggests that there are ten songs out there which deserve to be on such a thing. Now, I am not one of those people who thinks that pop is a horrible, destructive, talentless genre. I am aware that many pop artists are very talented. My problem with pop music is that it makes room for people who aren’t talented, songs that use the same four chords over and over and over again (if you have no idea which four chords I’m talking about, just listen to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and you will definitely know) and meaningless, redundant lyrics that either say nothing at all or are incredibly stupid. A song gets popular for how much it gets stuck in your head, not by the quality of the music or the lyrics.

Though it might seem strange to say so, I actually judge pop music the least harshly out of all the genres, and I think it’s because my expectations are so low. Since most of it sounds the same, it’s a welcome relief every time I hear something even slightly interesting or good. But that happens very rarely. Most of the time I just ignore it. It takes a special type of badness to really get under my skin and annoy me.

This list will contain songs that have been on the charts, and will contain no exclusively rap songs. Rap is a genre I just don’t understand or know much about, and I don’t think it’s fair for me to say anything about it.

So with that, let’s get started. These are the Top Ten WORST songs of 2013. This list will contain songs listed in the Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten Singles of 2013, which can be found here.

10. “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons

radioactive

Ever since I first became aware of Imagine Dragons (which was undoubtedly years after the rest of the world) I am convinced that they are a band created solely to annoy me. There is nothing that bothers me so much, in music or books or movies or otherwise, than false profundity, and this band is the absolute epitome of false profundity. What do I mean by this? Well, I’ll probably be writing a short post about it under “Random Stuff” soon, because believe me, this is a term that will probably pop up a LOT in this blog. False profundity is when someone slaps a whole bunch of words together that sound like they mean something really heartfelt, but upon close inspection really mean absolutely nothing at all. It is the result of laziness.  Yes, it’s true that meaning comes more easily to some people than it does to others, but that doesn’t mean that those to whom it does not come easily can’t try a little harder. The worst part about false profundity, though, is that it fools a lot of people. People generally don’t like to pay attention to things that closely, so many songs that actually mean nothing at all grow very popular, and I expect this is how Imagine Dragons got to be successful. And no song is quite so demonstrative of this than their chart-topping single of 2013, “Radioactive.”

Talk about a song that means absolutely nothing. Most of it is comprised of “woah, oh, oh, oh, oh,” which is what people put into songs when they can’t think up other lyrics to sing. And the only reason you wouldn’t be able to come up with lyrics is because your song isn’t about anything, which perfectly describes “Radioactive.” It is about nothing. And it also includes the deeply irritating line “It’s a revolution, I suppose” which is a contradictory remark. Revolutions, by definition, are supposed to be dramatic and influential and important. You are not supposed to regard revolutions with nonchalance. If a revolution can be viewed with nonchalance, then it’s not really a revolution, is it?

And what’s all this stuff about being “radioactive”? I know it’s a metaphor. I get it. But a metaphor for what? This song mentions a “new age” but it doesn’t say anything about what that new age is or what it entails or why it’s important. So what is there to feel “radioactive” about?!

ANNOYED. Moving on.

9. “Wrecking Ball” – Ciley Myrus

wrecking

Ugh, I was hoping Ciley Myrus wasn’t going to end up on here. First of all, I’ve heard enough about her and I don’t really care. Secondly, if people were really that disgusted with her, they wouldn’t make such a fuss. No, I believe the world actually loves Ciley Myrus. Either that, or they haven’t discovered that the best way to make something stop being a thing is to not talk about it at all. You see, all some artists need to be successful is reaction. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative; reaction is the only necessity. Ciley Myrus feeds off reaction like koalas feed off eucalyptus leaves. Every time you guys post on Facebook “HEY LOOK WHAT HANNAH MONTANA DID NOW” you’re only adding fuel to the fire. So I have made it my personal goal to completely ignore Ciley Myrus in the hopes that everyone else will start to catch on and the whole thing will die quietly. I couldn’t avoid it this time around, but I’m not putting this song on here for the reasons most people might suspect, although it still has much to do with the ridiculousness that’s surrounded the whole thing. But I do have very good reasons why this song is on this list and “We Can’t Stop” isn’t.

What?!! you might say. How on earth could I possibly leave out “We Can’t Stop”? Isn’t the song the absolute epitome of everything that annoys me in pop music?!

Actually, no, it isn’t.

Look, it’s bad, I know it’s bad. But “We Can’t Stop” actually does several things other pop songs don’t do. For one, it doesn’t take itself seriously, and it doesn’t try to. For another, it makes no attempt to hide the fact that Ciley Myrus is crazy and on drugs. And thirdly, it made a great SNL parody. I don’t watch SNL but I saw that video on YouTube and it was hilarious.

“Wrecking Ball,” on the other hand, was the world’s first clue that the new Ciley Myrus was here to stay. We kind of laughed off “We Can’t Stop,” because we knew it was a joke. But when we first heard “Wrecking Ball,” I’m pretty sure many people had the same reaction I did: “Oh, God, really?”

I’d venture to say that “Wrecking Ball” is worse than “We Can’t Stop” – much, much, worse. At least “We Can’t Stop” doesn’t contradict itself; in “Wrecking Ball” I’m not sure who’s the wrecking ball, who’s doing the wrecking, if she wants the guy, what he did to her…it’s just a careless, sloppy song. It goes from “I came in like a wrecking ball” to “All you ever did was wreck me” – so isn’t the person she’s singing about technically the wrecking ball? WHO EXACTLY IS THE ONE DOING THE WRECKING? And if all you wanted was to break him up, then why are you so sad if he wrecks you? It makes no sense.

I’m not even going to talk about the music video, except to say that it did not surprise me in the least that Ciley Myrus would make something like this. “Wrecking Ball” didn’t even give us any good parodies. Trust me. I’ve watched a lot of them, and I haven’t found one that’s particularly funny. And no, I don’t find old naked men pretending to be Ciley Myrus that funny. At all.

Onward…

8. “Heart Attack” – Demi Lovato

heartattack

Man, this song is annoying. Actually, Demi Lovato is annoying. She has one of the most irritating singing voices I’ve heard. I don’t know why pop singers feel the need to gasp so much in between lines. I mean, are they really pushing their voices that hard? Or perhaps they’re so emotional about the song they’re singing that they just can’t help it. In any case, I don’t like listening to people hyperventilate, which is exactly how “Heart Attack” sounds. Not to mention it doesn’t offer anything unique musically or lyrically, except perhaps a few lines which are unintentionally honest:

“I gasp for air”

“The feelings got lost in my lungs”

Truer words were never spoken. Whatever real, honest-to-God emotions that might have been found in this song were lost in Demi Lovato’s lungs as she so frequently and annoyingly gasped for air during its recording. I wouldn’t be surprised if she actually did have a heart attack after singing it. In any case, listening to its incredibly cliché, campy lyrics and boring melodic structure gives no indication of why this one became a hit. Thankfully, though, I haven’t heard as much about it as some of the other songs on this list. Hopefully it’ll go away before it sends someone into cardiac arrest.

7. “Daylight” – Maroon 5

daylight

By now, I’m sure you’ve started to compile a list of things that bother me when it comes to pop music. “Daylight” by Maroon 5 is a song written with practically all of those things I hate in mind.

Cliché, vague, meaningless lyrics? Check. Contradicts itself? Check. No unique musical structure? Check. Same four chords or a variation of those same four chords? Check. Singer sounds like everybody else? Check.

I know I’m probably going to piss a lot of people off by saying this, but Maroon 5 is a terrible, terrible band. They have little musical talent and even less songwriting talent. Their songs all sound the same, and the ones that don’t are just plain stupid (“Moves Like Jagger”, I’m looking at you). Because they have no distinguishable, unique sound, they cover that up by making bland, boring, generic music that could literally be attributed to almost anyone. And no song demonstrates this better than their hit of 2013, “Daylight.”

This song is boring. And not just by pop standards, either. It is a snore fest. The singer sounds like he’s singing it half asleep. The lyrics are a perfect example of what I call “raffle lyrics” – lyrics that sound like someone put a bunch of cliché, overused lines in a hat and pulled them out at random order. Just as long as they rhyme at certain spots, you’ve got an “acceptable” song. That happens all the time, and I hate it. Raffle lyrics happen only when nobody is talented enough to come up with good words or everyone is too lazy to even try. In Maroon 5’s case, I think they’re guilty of both.

6. “I Knew You Were Trouble” – Taylor Swift

knewyou

Ah, Taylor Swift. We all knew you were going to shrug off what little country you had in your music and become a pop-only artist. How’d it work out for ya?

Well, honestly, it worked out great for her. “I Knew You Were Trouble” is technically a song from 2012, but it was so successful that it remained on the charts going into 2013, so I think it counts.

I almost feel bad about including Taylor Swift on this list because as much as I hate pretty much everything she’s ever recorded, I do have a tiny amount of respect for her. Not as a singer or a songwriter – she’s awful in both those areas – but for possessing the ability to make smash hits. Practically everything she puts out gets on the charts somewhere. Now, maybe they don’t get to No. 1, but I’d venture to say they are more widely played because they are “family friendly” – no bad words or sexual language or drug references. No, Taylor Swift is the same innocent, heartbroken, lovestruck girl that she’s always been, whether she uses actual guitars or pop beats in her music.

Her first song to reach No. 1, “We Are Never Ever Ever Ever (Are there more Evers?) Getting Back Together”, strangely enough, is a guilty pleasure of mine. Not because I think it’s a good song – Taylor Swift does not possess the ability to make a good song – but because it’s the first song I heard by Taylor Swift that didn’t sound like poetry a seventh-grade girl might scribble in her math textbook.  It sounded like something a seventh-grade girl might say to an ex-boyfriend, and although Taylor Swift undoubtedly needs to stop acting like a seventh-grade girl, it is nonetheless a lot more realistic than the sentimental crap in most of her songs. And it is, I admit begrudgingly, kind of fun.

“I Knew You Were Trouble” is Taylor Swift’s transition from seventh-grade textbook poetry to seventh-grade textbook poetry. In other words, there’s no change at all apart from the fact that her music sounds more electronic than acoustic. What really irked me when I first heard this song was the opening monologue at the beginning of the music video – a monologue that sounds suspiciously like the one at the beginning of Lana Del Rey’s song “Ride.” In fact, I actually heard “Ride” for the first time not long before I heard “I Knew You Were Trouble,” so the first thing I thought when I saw Taylor Swift’s music video was “She’s ripping off…Lana Del Rey?”

See, here’s the difference. Lana Del Rey is allowed to have pretentious monologues at the beginning of her videos because that’s something you would expect her to do. It’s very in tune with both her music and the image she’s made for herself. Lana Del Rey’s music is slow, atmospheric, and brooding, and her image is that of a brooding young adult (if not one that has had a few too many drinks). Taylor Swift still seems like she’s stuck in high school. Pretentious monologues don’t fit with her music at all, and the one before “I Knew You Were Trouble” is like watching Titanic while listening to “Old MacDonald Had A Farm.” It just doesn’t fit. And it does seem a little bit suspicious that “I Knew You Were Trouble” was released almost exactly two months after “Ride” – plenty of time to take someone else’s idea and steal it.

Okay, so do I really think Taylor Swift ripped off Lana Del Rey? Well…I’m not really sure, but let’s just say I definitely think Taylor Swift listened to “Ride” before making “I Knew You Were Trouble.” But does that necessarily make it a bad song? Look, people rip off other people all the time. “I Knew You Were Trouble” is just a bad song. Its lyrics are practically interchangeable with any other Taylor Swift song. She still hasn’t even gotten rid of the “once upon a time” thing. Why is it that she’s obsessed with fairy tales? And why do I want to pull out my hair whenever I hear her sing “trouble, trouble, trouble”? Maybe I’m not explaining very well why I so dislike this song, but I do. At least one good thing came out of it: goats.

5. “I Love It” – Icona Pop

iloveit

Icona Pop’s “I Love It” pretty much insults everything I value about being a human being. It’s a terrible song that glorifies bringing pain to others and causing destruction. Also, it has that stupid “I don’t care” attitude which doesn’t even work in this song because it’s immediately followed up by “I Love It.” If you love “it” (FAULTY PRONOUN REFERENCE) then obviously you must care a little about something. And therein lies the problem with this song. I have no idea what it’s supposed to be saying. I realize that it’s meant to have this general “f*** it” attitude, but I don’t really see how crashing your car into a bridge and letting it burn is really “f*** it.” It’s more like a terrible excuse to feel good about something awful that happened to you. Unless, of course, you’re a crazy, messed-up psycho that crashes cars into bridges for fun (which, given the nature of the song, seems a lot more likely). I’m not sure how metaphorical this song is supposed to be. Either way, literally or metaphorically, it doesn’t make sense. I hope, however, that the use of the word “shit” is metaphorical. I really, really do. If it’s literal, then Icona Pop – you are one messed up group.

As for the music, it’s this unrelenting, monotonous beat with screamy vocals over it. Nothing special, and terribly annoying. However, the music wasn’t bad enough to get this song at #5; the words are what really rubs me the wrong way. It’s just a mean-spirited, adult way to say YOLO. And I hope I never have to hear it again.

4. “Clarity” – Zedd

clarity

Look, I’m all for pop singers using slant rhyme, but my GOD I didn’t want it to sound like this.

In case you don’t know what slant rhyme is, it’s basically when two words have similar sounds but are not exact rhymes. Emily Dickinson used it a lot in her poetry; it’s also called half rhyme or near rhyme. Here’s an example:

The soul selects her own society,

Then shuts the door;

On her divine majority

Obtrude no more.

Notice how “door” and “more” are exact rhymes, but “society” and “majority” only share the same end “y” sound. That’s a slant rhyme. Here’s another example by William Butler Yeats:

When have I last looked on

The round green eyes and the long wavering bodies

Of the dark leopards of the moon?

All the wild witches, those most noble ladies,..

“Bodies” and “ladies” don’t rhyme exactly, but they have that same “dies” sound at the end. Still unclear? Here’s another example:

If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy?

If our love’s insanity, why are you my clarity?

 

Now, all of these are examples of slant rhyme. The difference between them is that the first two are highly regarded poems and the third comes from a crappy pop song.

Everything about this song is bad. The words are bad, the music is bad, and its beat makes me want to bang my head against a wall repeatedly. I’m not sure if Zedd realized she was even using it, but her poor use of slant rhyme makes for one of the worst choruses to a song I’ve heard in a long time. It goes beyond committing the common crime of being the same as every other pop song; it sounds the same and yet also sounds worse because REMEDY AND CLARITY DON’T RHYME.

And I’m not saying pop songs have to rhyme, but why use slant rhyme? Especially in this way? It just sounds awkward and unpolished.

I’m not even going to talk about the subject matter of the song, because I feel doing so would be redundant. But I do wonder why there are so many songs nowadays that take this sort of “I still love you even though I don’t want to” position. I mean, I’m sure it happens, but is that really so common a situation that virtually every pop singer has to put out at least one song that focuses on it? How relatable is it, really? Maybe some people have crappy relationships and they actually don’t love one another anymore. I mean, that may be a ridiculous assumption but it could happen. Right?

3. “Come & Get It” – Selena Gomez

comeandgetit

Ciley Myrus isn’t the only one giving a musical finger to Disney (or trying to, anyway). Selena Gomez is the next in what I’m guessing will be a whole series of Disney child stars moving on from their life with Mickey Mouse to pursue horrible music careers. Now, Ciley Myrus did this by doing drugs and going completely, bat-sh*t crazy, and she’d been in the music industry for a while, anyway. But Selena Gomez? I mean, I knew she’d done some music during her time with Disney, but I didn’t think anybody took that stuff seriously, and I certainly didn’t think she was serious enough about it to continue a music career after her time with Disney was over. Because let’s make something perfectly, perfectly clear: Selena Gomez cannot sing.

I don’t know how good of an actress she is, but as a musician, she has no ability at all. Most of her songs are horrendously autotuned, and the live performances I made myself watch were all very painful to listen to. And it’s nothing against her as a person or a celebrity or anything. If singing isn’t your thing, it isn’t your thing, and singing is definitely not Selena’s thing.

Which is why I am baffled that “Come & Get It” was a hit.

“Come & Get It” is not a song. It is a conglomeration of various loud, buzzy, annoying noises, one of which is Selena Gomez’s voice, mushed together into one awful soup of cacophonous vomit-mess. In the midst of these horrible sounds lies some semblance of lyrics, which talk about how Selena Gomez is “ready” for you – are you ready for her? No, Selena, we aren’t ready, and we don’t want to be. Stop singing.

I’m not saying Selena shouldn’t have a career after Disney, and I’m definitely not saying that child stars shouldn’t have singing careers at all. What I’m saying is that only child stars that can sing should have singing careers. So where are those people? Nickelodeon seems to have had more success with talented singers; Ariana Grande, for example, can sing and for the most part has made fairly decent music, and she’s not trying to remake her image and she certainly didn’t have to go crazy to be successful. So what has Disney done with all its singers?

I don’t know enough about celebrities like Selena Gomez and Ciley Myrus to really give many other examples of failed careers, but there is one post-Disney star that I know of that is more talented than Selena Gomez and Ciley Myrus can ever dream of being, at least at singing, anyway. Her name is Anneliese Van Der Pol, but you might know her better as Chelsea Daniels from the Disney show That’s So Raven. Anneliese Van Der Pol has an amazing voice. She was trained in musical theatre before she ever got the job with Disney, and yes, she did release some pop songs under Disney’s name and although they weren’t great they were much better than Selena Gomez’s stuff. After Disney, she went on Broadway as the last Belle on Beauty and the Beast. To be fair, she was older than the average Disney Channel star when she was on That’s So Raven, but it doesn’t matter. The point is, she managed to play to her strengths after her Disney days were behind her, and although she may not be making heaps of money off bad pop songs like Ciley and Selena, from what I hear she’s doing okay.

And in all honestly, I don’t see Selena’s music career continuing for that much longer. She just doesn’t have the talent to sustain even a little bit of fame as a recording artist. Sure, she had this one hit, and there may be a few more, but eventually she’ll have to stop. Besides, there’s only one “Come And Get It” in my book, and that one was written by The Beatles.

2. “Best Song Ever” – One Direction

bestsongever

I have nothing but indifference when it comes to One Direction. I don’t hate them; I don’t like them; I just don’t care. That is, I didn’t care until I heard about this new song of theirs almost everywhere I looked. The name of the song is “Best Song Ever,” and I could write a whole article on the title alone. Oh, dear, is this one bad.

When I first started hearing things about this song, I listened to it and thought it was awful, but soon forgot about it and went on my merry way. Then I started hearing accusations that this song was a rip-off of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” I didn’t see it at first. Whenever I heard someone say that, I was like, “Nah. You’re exaggerating.” You see, people make those kind of accusations all the time and sometimes they’re true but most of the time they’re a little over the top. Sometimes songs sound similar on accident, because popular music is, as I have already established, extremely repetitive. So I shrugged off those comments. Until one day, when I decided to listen to both songs back to back. And yeah, the beginning of One Direction’s “Best Song Ever” is pretty much a rip-off of the opening to “Baba O’Riley.”

Now, the opening chords aren’t exactly the same, but their sound and placement are certainly very similar. The thing that got me was the fact that the background guitar or whatever practically emulates The Who’s synthesizer sound in “Baba O’Riley.” That can’t be an accident. And while the rest of the song is notably different, I don’t know, there’s just something a little infuriating about One Direction ripping off The Who. I mean, The Who. One of the most famous and influential rock bands in history, and they have the gall –

Actually, I might be less annoyed if it hadn’t been for what is possibly the dumbest music video of all time. It’s almost like One Direction can’t even take itself seriously. Believe me, this band is on the path to destruction. I give them maybe a year before they break up and quickly become nobodies. I bet in ten years if you ask somebody what One Direction is, they’ll be like “Who?”

But not The Who. Some things, as One Direction must clearly learn, pass the test of time because they have something quite necessary with which to do so:

QUALITY.

Before we get to #1…

Before we get to #1, I’d like to give some Honorable Mentions as well as briefly discuss some songs that were either guilty pleasures or ones that I legitimately liked.

Honorable mentions

Katy Perry’s “Roar.” This one gets an honorable mention for being a Katy Perry song. Katy Perry, like Taylor Swift, has that King Midas ability to make any song she records a huge hit. Unfortunately they’re either annoying, stupid, or both. “Roar” is no exception.

Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness” (Remix). Although it’s not one of my favorite Lana Del Rey songs, I definitely wouldn’t have included it in Honorable Mentions if it weren’t for that god-awful remix. The remix absolutely kills the song.

Avicii’s “Wake Me Up!” I really don’t like this song, especially the screamy vocals. But admittedly it wasn’t bad enough to put on the list, so I let it slide.

Everything Justin Timberlake records: Justin Timberlake annoys me because I actually think he’s very, very talented. You want evidence? Click here and here. But he wastes his talent making either bad or mediocre pop songs. Why not make music that actually shows off his voice? It’s quite frustrating.

Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child.” I really don’t like this one, especially when the lead singer sings the word “worry.” He sounds like he’s punching someone, which really doesn’t fit in well with the song’s message.

Songs I kind of like, despite myself (guilty pleasures)

Lady Gaga’s “Applause.” I have nothing to say to justify this, except maybe that it’s because I’ve watched Barely Political’s parody so much that I’ve developed a soft spot for the actual song.

Lorde’s “Royals.” I don’t think this song is bad at all but Lorde’s attitude bothers me a little. She’s a little young to be that righteous.

Ariana Grande’s “The Way.” Ariana Grande is beautiful and adorable and she’s a good singer. It’s just not my type of music. But she looks like she has fun while she’s doing it, and I really appreciate that.

Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” It sounds like it was made with a sort of nostalgia for funk and disco, and that’s a nice change.

Songs I legitimately like

Pitch Perfect‘s “Cups.” This song is actually a lot older than Pitch Perfect. It was originally recorded as a bluegrass tune in 1931. Now, sometimes when people do modern versions of old songs, they suck. But Pitch Perfect’s version managed to update the song while still making it an enjoyable and slightly folky tune, and I really like it. I’m glad it got so popular.

Yvis’s “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” This song is hilarious and no one can tell me any different. I will gladly listen to it on a regular basis.

As for the songs that didn’t show up on this list, they were either rap songs or I didn’t find anything in them worth mentioning.

And now…

The number one WORST song of 2013.

Like you don’t already know what it is.

1. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke

blurredlines

I want to make something absolutely clear before I begin. I tried to not put this song at #1. I really tried. I looked through every single song on that Billboard list and looked for one, just one, that was worse than this song. I tried to defend this song. I tried to make excuses for it. I even told myself that if I put it at #1, no one would take me seriously because that’s such a predictable thing to do.

But I couldn’t. Maybe it is a predictable thing to do, but you know what, sometimes things are predictable for a reason. And honestly, there’s a reason Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is the worst song of 2013.

And no, it’s not that it is a sexist song, although as a feminist it does bother me in that sense. It bothers me very much, and the music video is even worse. But if I may say so, I think the reason that it comes across as sexist is because Robin Thicke and his producers are all blithering idiots. If they couldn’t guess that the song was going to cause controversy, they really are quite stupid. Or maybe they wanted to cause controversy to make the song popular and get money, in which case they’re either lucky blithering idiots or absolutely detestable, reprehensible geniuses. In any case, the song does not portray women well, and it does so carelessly, almost as if it were its own parody. I mean, “domesticate”? And the girl is holding a goat? Really?

I think that’s what really makes me angry. This song is stupid, stupid, stupid, and decked with more stupid. It is a sloppy, half-assed, miserable excuse for a piece of music, and the fact that time and energy were put into making this both baffles and infuriates me. The lyrics are disgusting and make no sense. The music is the same thing over and over again, never reaches a climax, never does anything unique. The singing is awful. Robin Thicke cannot sing to save his own life. He wasn’t even on the right pitch at the VMAs. The music video is the worst music video ever made. Naked girls walking across the screen in a line. Sometimes holding farm animals. Oh, and don’t forget #THICKE every two seconds. Although they might have put that in there just so you don’t forget who’s singing this piece of crap song, as you likely would otherwise.

This song is puke. Puke created by people who care nothing for music, art, or anything that they don’t think has monetary value. They believed that they could just lazily slap this piece of crap song together and make millions of dollars off it. And the worst part? They were right.

This song was #1, folks. FOR TWELVE WEEKS. And it was in the top ten for 21 weeks. For not the first time, I can’t come up with a single reason anyone would buy this sorry excuse for “music,” except that brainwashing is apparently a very quick and easy thing to do.

Well, there you have it. My top ten worst songs of 2013. Do you agree? Disagree? Care? Whatever the case may be, have a very happy New Year. And let’s hope 2014 turns out to be a better year for the charts than 2013 was.

Music Review – Lana Del Rey

lana-del-rey-tropico-film-7.12.20132

Before I begin, I have to make an explanation regarding my musical tastes.  I’m pretty old-fashioned.  And when I say “old fashioned” I mean I was raised listening to classical music – like, the Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart kind – and I am not a fan of most popular music produced oh, maybe after 1980.  That being said, I have branched out lately.  I used to be much worse; I wouldn’t listen to anything popular if it was recorded after 1980.  But I’ve come to realize that the popularity of things like YouTube has expanded the music industry unbelievably, as now just any random guy can pick up his guitar and put his stuff out there, and much of that stuff is quite good.

So I’d like to make a distinction when I talk about “modern” music.  When I say “modern” music, I mean music that is produced and recorded by mainstream recording studios and by popular recording artists.  I’m talking about people like Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Ciley Myrus, and the likes.  Pop music, which I generally associate with the electronic, robotic, four-chord, idiotic, generic annoyances that relentlessly enter into my waking life, has, if you couldn’t tell, never been a favorite genre of mine.  I love jazz, I love classical, I love classic rock, but pop music just doesn’t do it for me.

But for whatever reason, I really, really like Lana Del Rey.

Not as a guilty pleasure, either, although a small part of me is still hesitant to say that.  I legitimately like some of her music.  I don’t like all of it, but it’s a miracle that I like as much as I do.  And I do.  I think she’s a good singer and often times her lyrics aren’t half bad, to say nothing of the melodies.  I think her music is something you have to either be personally attracted to or open towards – it’s certainly not going to appeal to everyone, but I think that’s part of why I like her – she has her own indentifiable style.  Artists like Beyoncé and Ciley Myrus are so inconsistent that whatever talent they may or may not have is mostly covered up by their image.  Lady Gaga’s image takes precedence over her music WAY more than people give her credit for.  But Lana Del Rey, although she may not be extraordinarily consistent, is definitely more consistent than her colleagues.  I can listen to a Lana Del Rey track and say with some surety, “That’s Lana Del Rey.” And I don’t think I’d be able to do that for Lady Gaga or Ciley Myrus or even Beyoncé.

But I realize that obviously isn’t enough explanation as to why I like Lana Del Rey when I have, for so long, expressed nothing but disdain for the pop music industry.  Fortunately, it isn’t hard to justify.  There’s much about Lana Del Rey that is quite different from many other pop stars, both in her image and her music.

Let’s talk about that image for a minute.

Image is not really something that concerns me that much.  I judge pop stars more on their music than on how they look, and it’s annoying to me when other people don’t.  Image accounts for about 65% of Lady Gaga’s fame.  Note that when I say “image” I don’t just mean physical appearance; I also mean how you put yourself out there.  Lady Gaga has a reputation for being rather…odd.  Which, ironically, is nothing unusual or even bad, but she’s let it dominate her identity as a pop star, image before music.  Which is actually unfortunate because from what I understand Lady Gaga does have talent.  She can sing and play the piano at the same time, and I will always have respect for people that can do that.  I mean, it’s not like she’s the only person that can do it, far from it, but at least we know she has musical ability.  As for Beyoncé, I don’t know much about her except that her fan base will flay me alive if I say anything too negative, so that’s as far as I’ll go.  And Ciley Myrus…c’mon, guys.  She’s like Twilight; if you guys had shut up about her instead of made a wild fuss, she would have gone away.  You’re playing right into her producers’ money-grabbing hands.

Lana Del Rey definitely has an image, and it’s definitely a large part of her pop star identity.  But the difference between her and other pop stars is that she has the music to back her image up.  Sure, she makes vintage videos and does some weird things in her music videos (but then again, which pop star doesn’t?) but her songs are interesting, different, and at times rather pretty.  To be fair, though, I have to admit the songs I like best are the ones that aren’t that popular, like “Pawn Shop Blues,” “Bel Air,” and “Yayo.”  But I still like a lot of her mainstream ones, too, at least compared to most other music.

I suppose, though, I can’t let her slip by without some criticism.  The subject matter of her songs isn’t exactly very woman-friendly, and as someone who considers herself a feminist I must say it does make me a bit uncomfortably disappointed.  And I’m also sick and tired of pop stars putting this weird shit in their videos and being like, “This is in no way drug or alcohol induced.” Yeah, right. At least Ciley Myrus makes no attempt to hide it; I’ll at least give her that.  Even The Beatles admitted it.  Just accept your problem and get over it.  (Seriously, though, have you seen her “short film,” Tropico?  That is the kind of stuff that can only come from interacting in some way with some sort of substance that does weird things to your brain, be it vodka, pot, or Gorilla glue.)

That being said, I actually look forward to when she releases new songs, which is more than I can say for any other mainstream pop artist.  She’ll never be at the top of my playlist, but I do appreciate her for managing to have her own musical style – and actually making music – in today’s world of bland, generic music. She may not be perfect, but she is making something good.