Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Top 15 Worst Hit Songs of 2014

Hello Everyone & Happy New Year's! We're at that time of year when we all tend to look back on the previous year and ask ourselves questions about it. What went well? What went wrong? How can I improve in 2015? Well, in 2014, a lot went well for pop music. Some great songs were able to take their places in the year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart. However, that's not what we're looking at here. It's time to take a look back at the bottom of the barrel, the worst of the worst, the crappiest songs the charts had to offer this year and see how we can do better next year. It's time to count down the Top 15 Worst Hit Songs of 2014. To qualify for this list, a song must have charted on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 chart. Don't expect to see any country songs on this list, as they will get their own best & worst lists. Why 15? Because I said so, that's why. Let's get started with some dishonorable mentions!

Dishonorable Mention #1- No Mediocre by T.I. featuring Iggy Azalea
Year End Chart Position: 87
Peak Chart Position: 33
Weeks On: 20

Starting off our list of the worst is T.I. & arguably-2014-music-MVP Iggy Azalea with "No Mediocre." It's funny they called it that, though, because this song is actually very mediocre. Let's start with the tropical-island-music inspired beat, which is courtesy of usually crappy producer DJ Mustard. However, here, Mustard shines, as his contribution is the best part of the song. While some of his usual bad elements are here (such as the gang "hey" vocals in the background of the chorus), the good outweighs the bad here as the steel drums throughout the song really work for me. However, the usually-good T.I. soon shows up to ruin things, spitting wack lines such as "You won't get no d*** if there's a bush down there" & "I'm kicked back with four pieces like a Kit-Kat." I don't think I need to get into more detail about the first verse. The chorus, also delivered by T.I., is basically "I only want bad b****es" and "I don't want no mediocre" looped for eternity. This is followed by a decent verse by Iggy (as a basketball fan I like the Mike Bibby reference) and then the chorus again. T.I. then returns to drop another verse that somehow manages to be worse than the first one (so many terrible similies and lines that just don't make sense). Then the hook repeats and this mess is over. Overall, while this song has some good elements, the individual pieces just add up like they would on a broken TI-82 (you knew that was coming too).

Dishonorable Mention #2-Chandelier by Sia
Year End Chart Position: 25
Peak Chart Position: 8
Weeks On: 33 (& still going!)

My first review and all my credibility already has gone out the window. Dang it. Anyway, on to the song. The music is actually pretty great, providing a huge, epic atmosphere. Which is where my main problem with this song lies: Sia just can't fill the shoes presented to her by the music. The vocals in the chorus are way too strained; just listening to them makes my throat hurt. In the rest of the song, the vocals are alright, except for the pre-chorus where the production team of Greg Kurstin & Jesse Shatkin needlessly slather Sia in autotune & pitch correction. As for the lyrics, the first verse is where I have the most problems, as Sia seems to realize the negative effect her partying addiction has on her, but still chooses to do nothing about it. This doesn't sit well with me. I can see why people like this song, but to me, it just seems like a worse version of Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" or Ke$ha's "Die Young".

Dishonorable Mention #3-Show Me by Kid Ink featuring Chris Brown
Year-End Chart Position: 43
Peak Chart Position: 13
Weeks On: 31
If I was a woman being hit on by Chris Brown (pun unintended), I think my first reaction to Breezy (what a freaking terrible nickname, by the way) telling me I remind him of something would be to call the police and get away considering Brown's past with women. The rest of Chris's contribution to the song is just as bad, using such classy lines as "put your panties to the side" and "hands in the air looking for a b**** right now" to try a pick up a girl. Seriously, why the hell do we keep Chris Brown around? As for Kid Ink, he's just okay, hitting all the points on the traditional brag rap checklist & a few crappy punchlines (I swear I've heard the babysitting one somewhere else, but I don't know where). However, at least he's classier than Brown, asking for his girl for her name & apologizing in advance for any hostile actions by his ex. The bleep-bloop Nintendo-like beat is a 4 out of 10 at best and is like any other traditional DJ Mustard beat with it's weird bass line and gang "hey" vocals. While Chris Brown may not be able to remember what he's being reminded of (see how stupid that sounds), I sure can: an awful rap song. Now it's time for the real list!

Number 15-Fancy by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX
Year-End Chart Position: 4
Peak Chart Position: 1 
Weeks On: 39
We start off our worst list with the song that kicked off the Iggy Azalea phenomenon. The first thing you notice once you turn this song on is the crapticular DJ Mustard beat that you've heard ten thousand times before. Next up is Iggy, who claims she's the "realest" and then claims that "she's still in the murder business" (highly doubt that). She then attempts to use brag-rap cliches & bad punchlines to try to prove that she's so fancy (you alredy know), while in the process completely missing the definition of fancy and sounding more like a 21-year old that's just won the lottery. Charli XCX's chorus goes further with this by saying she's fancy because she trashes hotels and gets drunk on their minibars. Quite fancy indeed. My other beef with the chorus is the "you already know" line. How could we know you were fancy if we've never even heard of either of the artists one the song before? There is a few redeemers with those song though, as Charli's vocals are pretty good and I like Iggy's flow on the second verse. However, both of these illustrate my main problem with this song: that both Iggy Azalea & Charli XCX can do better than this. While Iggy may have redeemed herself with the pretty awesome "Black Widow" & decent guest verses on "Problem" & "No Mediocre," I have a feeling that Charli XCX will probably show up again on this list.

Number 14-NaNa by Trey Songz
Year-End Chart Position: 53
Peak Chart Position: 21
Weeks On: 28
First off, Trey is lucky that "Touchin', Lovin'" & "Foreign" didn't qualify for this list, or one-fifth of it would have been occupied by him. As for this song, we start off with yet another terrible DJ Mustard beat, complete with all of the worst elements of his already-bad production. Trey Songz is probably the worst of the many Chris Brown-wannabes that emerged in 2010 and managed to stick around. This song is a display of all of the reasons this is true. Traditional brag-rap cliches? check. Terrible flow when he tries to rap? yep. Terrible vocals when he tries to sing? check. Douchebaggery of the highest order? you bet it. Just plain boring overall work? check. However, for me, the worst part of this musical tire fire is the video. While I don't usually comment on the videos, this one is so mind-numbingly bad that I must. The unnecessary and probably-just-added-to-make-the-video-look-artistic black & white is probably it's best feature, as the rest is just clips of pure douche-baller-bawss fantasy in workout tape form.Seriously though, who's idea was this? And why was it done so terribly?

Number 13-Partition by Beyonce
Year-End Chart Position: 95
Peak Chart Position: 23
Weeks On: 21
This is basically the female version of "NaNa," so pretty much just scroll back up and read that review again & change all the "he's" to "she's". Same goes for the video, just without the black & white. The only difference is that this is done by a much more talented artist, so this really could be so much better.

Number 12-Boom Clap by Charli XCX
Year-End Chart Position: 34
Peak Chart Position: 8
Weeks On: 25
This one will be a short one, too, as I don't have a whole lot to say about this song. The main problems I have with this song are the same problems I have with The Fault In our Stars, the movie this serves as the theme song to, which are that it is way too sugary & is obviously meant for the younger teenage girl demographic. Other more minor issues include Charli XCX's vocals (she can tend to mangle words sometimes), some of the lyrics (the first few lines don't really make sense), & probably just the extreme overplay this got here in Jersey. Looking back on it, I don't really know why I ranked this above Trey Songz. Rookie critic mistake, I guess.

Number 11-23 by Mike WILL Made-It featuring Miley Cyrus, Juicy J, & Wiz Khalifa
Year-End Chart Position: 90
Peak Chart Position: 11
Weeks On: 23 (what a coincidence....or not #illuminati)
Wow, I think we somehow managed to find a producer worse than DJ Mustard! I didn't think that was humanly possible! This beat takes Mustard's trademark bloopy noises, weird bass lines, & gang vocals and makes them about 10 times as worse. The fact that he is the main artist on a track that clearly belongs to Miley Cyrus somehow even more terrible. Speaking of Miley, while I don't really mind her "bad girl" persona as much as some do, she's starting to take it too far. Miley, you are not a rapper. You are not Nicki Minaj or Iggy Azalea & you should stop trying to be. Her verse, however, is just the beginning. Wiz Khalifa follows her with a mostly meh verse except for one line. And what a line it is. It goes, "Pro athlete, I'm not no wannabe." The mental picture of Wiz playing in the NBA is so hilarious that I'm going to give him a pass for the rest of his verse. Juicy J, who delivers the second most-memorable line ("J's on my feet, so get like me") in the song, is up next. He attempts to pay homage to the greatest basketball player of all time (sorry LeBron & Kobe fans) by referencing The Flu Game (a pretty great game, actually) & Space Jam. You read that right. Space Jam. Let that sink in for a minute. He also brings his usual non-punchlines & non-rhyming words. I wonder what MJ must think of this song. Thankfully, it has been mostly forgotten almost a year later. 

Number 10-Birthday by Katy Perry
Year-End Chart Position: 80
Peak Chart Position: 17
Weeks On: 18

Look what the cat dragged back from the flop pile! I really didn't think this was gonna make the year-end list, especially as high as it did. I mean, it peaked highly, but it only spent 18 weeks on the chart & most of that was in the bottom 50. But I digress. Anyway, let's start, as I have been, with the music. Which is probably the worst attempt at a retro track (if you can call it that) that I have ever heard. The synth lines on top of the mix are extremely choppy, and the drum in the bass is the most basic line ever. But that's just the beginning. Katy Perry's voice has never been her strongest asset, and that shows in full force here. Let's just say that she really should never again go into falsetto or belt. Never. Again. The lyrics are mostly birthday/sex puns and, man, I don't think I've ever seen more cheese in one place. "Pop your confetti"? "I got you spinning like a disco ball"? "I hope you got a healthy appetite"? Whoever wrote this should be banished to songwriting hell. The worst part, though, is the bridge. "So let me get you in your birthday suit; It's time to bring out the big baloons." I'll let that speak for itself. If this song was a gift I got for my birthday, It better be coming with a gift reciept.

Number 9-Cool Kids by Echosmith
Year-End Chart Position: 59
Peak Chart Position: 13
Weeks On: 23 (& still going!)
At first glance, this seems like the kind of song that would be pretty far away from this list. The kind that might make my Best of the Year list, even. Solid, raw instrumentation, an interesting topic, & a good performance from Echosmith frontwoman Sydney Sierota all seem to propel this track to about a 15-10 finish on my Best list. But there is one major stumbling block. The lyrics. I can't stand them. It starts out well enough, with Sierota telling the story of a girl who doesn't exactly fit in with her peers. But then the chorus comes in. "I wish that I could be like the cool kids, 'cause all the cool kids they seem to fit in" it goes. Instead of having the girl/boy in the second verse embrace her/his individuality, or show her/his attempts to fit in (presumably failing, based on my personal experience), they just go for the two most pandering lines in pop music. And, after the second verse, these lines are repeated over and over again like they're so much more than what they really are, pandering, whiny bull. This same topic is done so much better in other recent hit songs, too. Just look at "Royals" or "Team" by Lorde or "Legacy" by Eminem for evidence of that. In fact, without any of the previously stated positive elements above, this is a contender for Worst Hit Song of 2014. Ouch.

Number 8-Bang Bang by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj
Year-End Chart Position: 27
Peak Chart Position: 3
Weeks On: 21 (& still going!)
There are so many random, unneeded noises in the production of this song that when I first heard it, I thought this was literally a song about making noise. This beat should have just been thrown out & completely replaced. Anyway, Jessie J is basically Katy Perry lite, and this is her most Katy Perry-like song to date. In fact, pretty much all of the traditional Katy Perry issues are present here: terrible double entendres & puns, copious amounts of pitch correction (even on Ari, who really doesn't need it), & misuse of decent appearances by guests (just look at Dark Horse for that). Ariana is alrght, as her vocals are superb as usual but the lyrics for her part are atrocious ("she might've let you hold her hand to school, but I'mma show you how to graduate") and casting her as the "bad girl" was a terrible decision. Nicki, however though, follows up on her promise to show Jessie J & Ariana how to do it. Her verse is pure fire and her flow is at the best its ever been. I'm starting to think that Nicki Minaj is sorta like Ludacris or Lil Wayne, who are at there best in guest verses. 

Number 7-Anaconda by Nicki Minaj
Year-End Chart Position: 36
Peak Chart Position: 2
Weeks On: 20 (& still going)
My Anaconda don't want none unless you learn how to sample, hun. Seriously, the overuse of the Sir Mix-a-Lot sample makes this song seem like it should be Sir Mix-a-Lot feat. Nicki Minaj. The bass line (which may also be sampled, I'm not sure) is almost as loud as Nicki & twice as annoying. Which is saying something considering the random car noises she makes & how bad her voice is on this song. This fact is made worse by the pure stupidity of the lyrics. Apparently, Nicki's gauge for whether a man is boyfriend material or not is how much cocaine he sells & what kind of stuff he buys her. This is what Kanye West was talking about when he made "Gold Digger." I haven't even gotten started with the outro yet, in which Nicki takes Meghan Trainor's advice to screw the skinny b****es way too seriously. It makes you wonder why the producer didn't just edit this part out and end this mess already. When Minaj says she is on some "dumb s***", she really means it.

Number 6-Say Something by A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera
Year-End Chart Position: 17
Peak Chart Position: 4
Weeks On: 26
If I had any credibility left after the "Chandelier" incident, it surely is gone after ranking "Say Something" ahead of the likes of "Anaconda" & "NaNa". The piano riff, while it may sound pretty, is composed of the three easiest chords to play looped over & over again in different octaves. The rest of the instrumentation is standard piano-ballad backup & not worth discussing. A Great Big World member Ian Axel's vocals are not unlike Owl City's, and, like Owl City, he strains to emote & just comes off as tryng too hard. While this cannot be said for Christina Aguilera, she comes on too strong & over powers Axel, leading to the two sounding out of sync. Aguilera also tends to come in about a half-second after Axel, which, to me, sounds like someone at a karaoke bar who doesn't know their lines. Overall, this song is, in my opinion, just mind-numbingly boring. And that is enough to land it ahead of interestingly bad tracks like "Birthday" & "23".

Number 5-Can't Remember to Forget You by Shakira featuring Rihanna
Year-End Chart Position: 85
Peak Chart Position: 15
Weeks On: 19
First, I would like to say that the music for this song is pretty awesome, with great guitar lines & better trumpet (I think that's what it is). That's not the reason this song is this high. Rihanna isn't the reason either. Between this & "The Monster", I'd say she had a better year just doing features than some artists who had 4-5 singles come out. The two reasons this song is the 5th Worst Hit Song of 2014 are how bad the arguably two most important elements of the song are: Shakira & the lyrics. I wasn't one of those clamoring for Shakira's return earlier this year. Vocally, she makes me feel like someone is rubbing a cheese grader on my brain, and Young Thug can enunciate better than she does on this song. I only can understand a few words in the entire first verse. However, upon looking up the lyrics, perhaps I should be thankful for that because it is pretty bad. Same goes for the rest of the song. Like I said, Rihanna & the beat save this song & keep it from becoming a top 3 entry on this list.

Number 4-Wiggle by Jason DeRulo featuring Snoop Dogg
Year-End Chart Position: 40
Peak Chart Position: 5
Weeks On: 21
Hey Jason, I got one question: How did you fit all this suck in one song? From obnoxious recorders in the into & chorus to made up words ("just a little bittle") to the worst line in any pop song in 2014 (YOU KNOW WHICH ONE IT IS), this song had a it all. Throw in an obvious cash-in verse from Snoop Dogg & you have a VIP all-included tour of everything wrong with pop music in 2014. The fact that it reached number 5 the same summer "Good Kisser" by Usher couldn't get out of the bottom 50 makes this truth even more unbearable. Most years, this would be in the #1 spot. But not 2014.

Number 3-Loyal by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & one of three irrelevant rappers
Year-End Chart Position: 30
Peak Chart Position: 9
Weeks On: 36
CHRIS BROWN HAS NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN THAT GIRLS AREN'T LOYAL TO HIM. I WOULDN'T BE EITHER. Okay. Deep breath. Now let's start the review. Lil Wayne opens up the song with a traditionally good guest verse (now why can't he be good on his own songs?) & the beat is pretty good, but other than that, there is nothing to like about this song. After the dreadful chorus, we have two terrible rap verses by Chris Brown including such lyrical masterpieces as "Just got rich (what is this, 2006?). Stole a broke n**** b****." followed up by "but I don't f*** with broke b****", which contradict themselves. If Chris doesn't like broke girls, then why would he steal a poor guy's girlfriend? Wouldn't she probably be broke too? Chris also thinks that his new girl "likes all the rappers (which means that she most not like Brown, because he sure isn't a rapper)." Yet, in the chorus he complains that the girls aren't loyal. Using this logic, why did Chris even bother to steal the girl (which, by the way, shows how much Chris values loyalty) &, after finding out this fact, why didn't Chris dump the girl? So many unanswered questions. Next is a mostly forgettable verse from French Montana which was actually not too terrible, at least in the version Philadelphia radio played. Apparently there are two more versions with Tyga or Too Short in Frenchy's place. I'm not going to listen to them, but I'm betting they're as bad as this one. The only reasons this isn't number 1 are Lil Wayne & the beat.

Number 2-Drunk In Love by Beyonce featuring Jay-Z
Year-End Chart Position: 35
Peak Chart Position: 2
Weeks On: 20
Man, what happened to Beyonce being a good singer? She sounds either really lazy or really strained on this song & sometimes both. Also, what happened to Jay-Z being a good rapper? He also sounds really lazy on this. The random screams in the intro and scattered in the rest of the song make my head hurt & the rest of the music is just a standard, boring R&B/Hip-Hop beat. Beyonce's randomness, while memorable, makes no sense (what the hell do surfboards & watermelons have to do with this?) & Jay-Z sounds like shell of his former self, opening his verse by saying "If I don't say so myself" 3 times. In fact, I actually forgot he was on this song until I prepared for this review. However, like "Say Something" before it, my main problem with this song is how suprisingly boring it is, especially considering that these two artists are considered among the greatest today. While they may in real life be happily married, you wouldn't know it from this song. They just sound bored with each other. That is why this is ranked ahead of "Wiggle" & "Anaconda" & "Loyal". While those songs were in theory worse than this one, they were at least interestingly bad. This is just a gigantic snooze-fest with the most wasted potential of any song in 2014.

Number 1-Lifestyle by Rich Gang feat. Young Thug & Rich Homie Quan
Year-End Chart Position: 72
Peak Chart Position: 16
Week On: 23 (& still going!)
Here we are! The worst hit song of 2014 is "Lifestyle" by Rich Gang (specifically Birdman), Young Thug, & Rich Homie Quan. The very first moment I saw this song, but before I even listened to the first note, I knew that this was a canidate to top this list. It is performed by an all-star team of the worst rappers to have hits this year ("Stoner", Young Thug's hit, & "Walk Thru", Rich Homie Quan's hit, certainly would have been here had they qualified) & produced by obvious DJ Mustard-wannabe London on da Track. But then I listened to it. And all of my worst musical nightmares came true. London's beat wound up being worse than any produced by Mustard himself, with somehow even less personality. I would next go into talking about the lyrics, but I can't understand a single word Young Thug says in his way-too-high-pitched, nasally voice. From the few lines I can gather, YT (as we will call him) tries to brag rap but fails, instead saying that he has an STD. He also compares himself to the Tennessee Titans (one of the worst teams in the NFL), quotes Quan's verse in "My Hitta" (a song that just missed this list due to Young Jeezy's awesome verse), & spells the word "fly" wrong. I don't think that's how bragging is done, Young Thug. Just when you think it can't get any worse, Rich Homie Quan shows up and also fails at bragging. He compares himself to Willie B (a gorilla on display at the Atlanta Zoo) & makes bad punchline after bad punchline, including "I'm skating, like that n**** Lupe (Fiasco)" when Quan couldn't even hold a candle to Lupe in terms of rap skills. Then comes Rich Gang's (Young Money's new name) contribution to the song: a four-line outro by Birdman. Remember that Rich Gang is credited as the lead artist. He makes the most of those four lines, though, saying that he is out in the middle of the ocean presumably getting laid by "a bunch of bad b****es". This comes as nothing out of the ordinary until he says that he is "doing this for Ms. Gladys (his mother)." I'm sure that that is the life his mother envisioned for him. Between this & the last song, there was a total of about zero redeeming elements. That is why they are Numbers 1&2 over arguably worse tracks like "Loyal", "Anaconda", "Wiggle", "Birthday", & "NaNa'". 

Wow, writing all that negativity takes a lot out of me. Trust me, I'm not usually a very negative person. Good thing it's New Year's Eve so I can take a little break & party tonight. Anyway, the Top 15 Best Hit Songs of 2014 should be out soon, probably by Saturday. Then I'll get to work on the country lists. Happy New Year's everyone & may your 2015 & the music of 2015 be great!

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