The Ten Worst Fucking Pop Singles Of 2011*

*based on absolutely no criteria whatsoeverOh dear.

Here we go.

I have already sung the praises of all the wonderful things that happened in pop music this year (in my post on the Ten Best Fucking Pop Singles Of 2011), but let’s be honest — when it comes to Top 40 (and wannabe-Top-40, especially), there are a lot more misses than hits.

And when they flop, they flop haaard.

These are not merely songs I am tired of hearing, as I suspect many “Worst Of” lists are. These songs were terrible at first listen. Ears bled at first contact.

How comprehensive is this list? Well, likely I have wiped a few atrocious singles from memory, in order to preserve some semblance of hope for the future of the human race. And perhaps I’ve been lucky enough not to have heard some of the year’s worst songs at all!

But to the best of my knowledge, here are the ten greatest crimes against our ears this year:

10. “Winning” // Charlie Sheen, Snoop Dogg & Rob Patterson featuring Carmen Electra

In which Charlie Sheen (yes, that’s actually him) takes Auto-Tune to a whole new level. His voice is wholly unrecognizable and he might as well not have even bothered to be featured, since this song is only a flash-in-the-pan novelty to begin with. By now Charlie’s fifteen wacky minutes of fame are about up, and this little number is long forgotten. But it still has some campy entertainment value, less because of Mr. Tiger Blood and more because every other choice made regarding this production is so knowingly tacky. (Like an intro from Carmen Electra). But be forewarned — a little of this song goes a long way, and its three minutes feel like an eternity.

9. “Man Down” // Rihanna

Rihanna popped up twice on my “Best Of” list, so it’s time to take her down a notch. It’s not that “Man Down” is a terrible song, or even a bad one. It’s not. Rihanna’s an island girl, thus she’s entitled to do a little reggae every once in awhile. Totally justified. Instead, just consider this punishment for so many lackluster Loud singles this year, most of which came complete with snooze-worthy music videos — the yawn-inducing “California King Bed,” the odd Avril Lavigne sampling of “Cheers (Drink To That),” the reptitive “What’s My Name?” (does she have Alzheimer’s?). As an album track, “Man Down” was fine. But why, oh why, was it a single? Someone was making some bad choices. Consider yourself served.

8. “Gucci Gucci” // Kreayshawn

Confession: I don’t hate this song. In fact, I kind of like it — but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the worst singles of this year, and anyone who finds it unfathomably annoying is totally entitled to feel that way. The grungy video doesn’t help matters any — it really represents the worst of LA, and thus my reason for including it here. However, even while acknowledging that on an objective level, I’ll admit that I sorta dig its in-your-faceness, and the “Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada / Basic bitches wear that shit, so I don’t even bother” slam of the hook. Take that, basic bitches! So instead of posting the actual original Kreayshawn version, I am posting two slightly more palatable versions for your enjoyment/mockery:

7. “Run The World (Girls)” // Beyonce

Sorry, guys — I’m just not that into Beyonce. Rarely do her singles captivate me, but never has that been so true as with her lead single from 4. Please ignore the expensive and admittedly awesome music video, which almost makes up for the song, but not quite. Sampling can either be a fantastic enhancement or a lazy excuse for an artist to do nothing, and this song’s cribbing from a tired Major Lazer tune from 2009 is the latter — a crutch. Would I like this song better if I was a world-running girl? It’s possible. But I’m not. So no.

6. “I Got AIDS” // Lil B

No, “I Got AIDS” is not a show tune from The Book Of Mormon. Though it easily could be, since it’s equally funny. Maybe this isn’t really a pop single, and maybe I should give it a pass for good intentions… but… wow. It’s difficult to pick out one lyric to exemplify what’s wrong with “I Got AIDS,” since they’re all unintentionally hilarious — but let’s go with: “On top of that, I got herpes!” (Meant to be taken totally seriously.) Why does a supposed AIDS Awareness song sound so… ignorant? Also, please note: Lil B titled his 2011 album I’m Gay (in support of homosexuality…?) although he is clearly heterosexual, as evidenced by the wonderful lyrics of this song. If ever there was a song for one of Lady Gaga’s ear condoms, this is it.

5. “Friday” — Rebecca Black

At this point, Rebecca Black scorn is passe. It’s much cooler to defend the poor little teen and her kitschy viral earworm. And that’s fine. Rebecca Black seems like a sweet girl, and it’s clear Ark Music Factory did her very wrong — and yet, very right. Just look at the results! Rebecca Black wanted to record a pop song and sing in a music video, and she sure did, and it was beyond horrendous. So horrendous, in fact, that it turned her into a household name, the kind of person who gets asked to cameo in Katy Perry videos. Mission accomplished! But let’s go back to that song for a moment — “Friday” is godawful in every way, from lyrics that range from banal (“Gotta grab my bowl, gotta have cereal”) to perplexing (“Which seat can I take?”), not to mention the flat singing and the embarrassing rap bridge. You couldn’t write a worse song if you tried, and that’s why none of the parodies really worked. It’s already as bad as can be. So yes, I’m glad “Friday” exists, because that video is still funny for all the same reasons Showgirls is. But let’s never forget how atrocious the songwriting is — correct me if I’m wrong, but is there a single rhyme in this song? Sigh. At least it’s entertaining.

4. “Price Tag” // Jessie J

I don’t enjoy picking on Jessie J, because she’s a talented songwriter with a terrific voice. But this song is just… no. I won’t say much about the hypocrisy of releasing a song with the chorus “It’s not about the money” for profit (and hey, notice how they make you watch an advertisement before the video?). But on a musical level, it also bugs me. And again, I might give “Price Tag” a pass had it remained an album track I probably never would have even had to hear, but considering that this was the single Jessie J chose to introduce herself to America (we’re capitalists, Jessie!), I have to bestow extra minus points. Clearly she had better options available.

3. “Facebook Official” // Heart2Heart

This might rank even higher (AKA lower) on my list if I was convinced everyone here was taking it seriously. But Jesus. How could they? Unlike the inept “Friday,” “Facebook Official” seems too self-consciously vapid to be taken at face value — yet, impossibly, too dumb to be a parody. Suffice to say, whatever they were going for, it didn’t work. It’s like the Joaquin Phoenix documentary I’m Still Here for tween girls — who, by the way, I’m pretty sure would never actually go for most of these gays (let’s face it, they’re even gayer than most boy band members). And surprise, surprise: Lance Bass mentored Heart2Heart, which makes me wonder if he wasn’t just exacting some kind of weird revenge for all the boy-band torture he endured — but is the joke on Heart2Heart, or us? Maybe both. We all suffer. I can’t fathom how this came together as either a bad idea or a so-bad-it’s-good idea (for an example of how to do it kinda-right, see: Hot Chelle Rae), but to paraphrase Ghost World, it bypassed good and went back to bad again. Heart2Heart? More like Palm2Face. Let’s make it official: I am putting a frowny-face on my page.

2. “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” // will.i.am featuring Jennifer Lopez and Mick Jagger

Okay, I’m convinced — will.i.am ruins everything. Pretty much any Black Eyed Peas song could just as easily finds its way to this list, but this one is even one drop worse. It’s hard to put into words just how bad this song is. First, just look at the annoying title. Will.i.am has proven to be one of the worst lyricists of all time, and actually seems to get worse with age. “Oh my goodness, this beat is so hard!” he “sings.” Hard to listen to, at least. And why is Jennifer Lopez featured here? Did Fergie take a pass after hearing how much it sucked? Was this one just a little too shitty for her? Did she finally draw the line somewhere? Let’s forget about the senseless Mick Jagger cameo, too. “You can go hard, or you can go home,” J-Lo tells us. I clearly choose to go home.

1. “Jam” // Kim Kardashian

Back when this little gem premiered, I took it to task on Fabulous Apple. So rather than put myself through the excruciating process of having to consider it again, I’ll just copy myself:

This song isn’t even comically bad. It’s actually painful. It is appropriately titled, because I immediately wanted to “Jam” something in my ears to drown out the sound of my soul (and the souls of all human beings) being sucked out of our bodies into a black futureless void. But beyond that, nothing is right about it. The lyrics are the very definition of “banal.” I think, if you somehow inserted just one clever or original lyric into this song, all the other lyrics would shrivel up and die, along with Kim Kardashian, like a witch who is so old and dried up she melts at even a drop of water.

This is the worst song I have ever heard.

I mean, yeah, there are other songs that are more annoying, and probably less pleasant to listen to. Kim Kardashian’s singing is certainly bad, as if she was just absent-mindedly singing along to the radio under her breath while scrubbing the bathtub at home one day, and someone happened to turn it into a pop song. (Did she know they were recording this? Did anyone?) It’s not full-on belting, voice breaking, flat notes, piano-falling-down-the-stairs bad. She just can’t sing, which comes as a surprise to exactly no one except Kim Kardashian. She’s absolutely correct when she sings that “Jam” is her jam, and in this case, the possessiveness applies indelibly. This is Kim Kardashian’s jam, and absolutely no one else’s.

That’s what makes “Jam” so bad. The lack of ambition or any attempt to actually produce a distinct, memorable song makes this about the laziest track I’ve ever heard. The song repeats bad lyrics over and over, and what’s worse: we have already heard these lyrics in marginally less-bad pop tunes. There is no attempt to actually write a “song.” (Wikipedia defines a “song” as “a composition for voice or voices, performed by singing. A song may be accompanied by musical instruments… The lyrics of songs are typically of a poetic, rhyming nature.” None of that applies here, obviously.)

Clearly no one currently writing Top 40 hits has ever stopped to think, “Hey, why am I even writing a song about asking the DJ to turn the music up, anyway? I’ve never done that at a club! The music is always plenty loud already!” Surely a more fitting subject would be a bunch of people standing still in a club, grimacing, and deciding to go home early because the music sucks, but that’s not what “Jam” is about. It’s about people liking this song. Well, nice try. But they don’t.

So why bother, Kim Kardashian? Why make all the effort to produce, record, and market a single if you won’t make a real effort to write and sing it? It’s obvious that “Jam” will get a decent amount of listens as a novelty, and a few days’ worth of publicity for being as bad as it is, and then it will go away and no one will ever hear it again. Except anyone who parties with Kim Kardashian, who will undoubtedly self-fulfill this song’s prophecy and ask reluctant DJ’s across the world not only to play her “Jam,” but also to turn it up, woofers be damned.

So, ladies. Reality show stars. Aspiring bad musicians. Kardashians everywhere. If all you have to write a song about is how you like the current song that you are writing, and how you wish — nay, demand — that said song be turned up at the club, and if your song is addressed to the DJ, who for some strange reason has decided to play your “jam,” maybe because you are paying him a large sum of money — well, then, do NOT write a song.

Go home. Sit and think for at least one minute. Try to have a genuine emotion during that minute, be it happiness, anger, despair, or otherwise. I promise, whatever that sentiment is, it will be more valid than a song about liking your own “jam” and wishing it were louder.

So please, whatever you come up with — write a song about that.

Or better yet. Don’t.

4 replies »

  1. While your “best” lists of songs and movies always help me find gems that I have missed, I can gratefully say that I have completely missed out on hearing even a single note of the songs in this list.

  2. i couldn’t get more than fifteen seconds into ‘facebook official’ until the little anime goblin faces terrified my browser into closing itself.

    love the Kardiashian Kritique. We can agree, though, that they need to disappear? we cannot make them disappear until we ignore them and their headline whoring. Hey, we managed to get Paris Hilton to drop off the earth, right? Let’s all, for the sake of humanity, put our heads together and agree to not reackt to kardashian kultural kruelty.

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