Bottom 10 of 2013

Published by Rick on Tagged Uncategorized

Usually when I compile a bottom 10 of the year, I try to avoid the boy bands or the reality-show-created stars, because they’re too obvious a target. We know their stuff is largely calculated crap, but this year there were “stand-outs” among those performers that I felt deserved recognition. There were absences among my perennials, too; no Katy Perry, no Jessie J, no Lana Del Rey, all of whom released product that I didn’t care for, but just didn’t hate enough to spotlight. I continue to find Eminem’s act increasingly annoying, but much as I disliked every tune I heard from “Marshall Mathers II,” there was nothing so dreadful as his spousal-abuse duet with Rihanna from three years back, so I let him grumble. However, the easy targets are well represented here, as we shall see.

10. WE CAN’T STOP – MILEY CYRUS – A bad year for Miley, except for raising her profile and bank account. This, the first single displaying her supposed “liberation,” lost me in the first 30 seconds when she used that timeworn phrase “put your hands in the air, like you just don’t care,” which scarcely made sense when the funk group Cameo coined the phrase 27 years ago in “Word Up.” On the other hand, I wound up LIKING “Wrecking Ball,” especially after she sang it perfectly in tune on X Factor (unlike an entry further down the list) with no twerking, and no showing of her tongue or her tits.

9. BEST SONG EVER – ONE DIRECTION – Easy to knock the boys I know, but this is more about lyrical content than anything else. When I saw the title, I was hoping it would be like Tenacious D’s “Tribute,” but this group is too young and sheltered to try irony. Instead the title finds its way into a story about the girl refusing to go home with him so they “danced all night to the best song ever.” If I knew a song associated so strongly with a strikeout, it would be pretty far down my list of songs I’d ever want to hear again, let alone any “best songs” list. Still waiting for something resembling harmony from these guys, too.

8. NEED YOU (100%) – DUKE DUMONT feat. A*M*E – Forgettable, repetitive dance tune that mercifully cuts itself off before the three-minute mark. This tune gained an extra week at the top of the UK charts because despite an online campaign to send “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” to the top of the charts after the death of Margaret Thatcher, no way was the BBC going to allow that to happen. It’s similar to the way they kept “God Save The Queen” by The Sex Pistols from hitting the top in 1977 despite all sales figures giving it the nod.

7. JACK – BREACH – And if the Duke Dumont single wasn’t innocuous enough, how about this one with no message further than “I want your body, Everybody wants your body, So let’s jack” repeated ad nauseum and utilizing every electronic sound available on Breach’s laptop? Why didn’t they just say “fuck,” and forget trying to be cryptic? Not that it would have made it that much better a record.

6. WALKS LIKE RIHANNA – THE WANTED – As badly misguided a story line for a song as could be. “She can’t sing, She can’t dance,” the boys testify, but for some reason all the guys are attracted to the woman subject because of her ability to walk like the famed singer. I didn’t know that’s what made Rihanna the star she is, but THESE guys seem to be convinced.

5. WAITING ALL NIGHT – RUDIMENTAL feat. ELLA EYRE – There does seem to be an abundance of monotonous dance tunes on my year-end list, but damn, if the shoe fits… Rudimental was a highly acclaimed act this year, but I failed to see why. OK, we get it, you’ve fully driven it into our heads that you’ve been waiting all night for him to tell you that he needs you/wants you. And we’ve been waiting almost that long for the song to end.

4. PYD (PUT YOU DOWN) – JUSTIN BIEBER feat. R. KELLY – I only heard this once on the radio, but it was so astoundingly awful, I felt a need to find it on YouTube and see if what I heard was that bad. Indeed it was, the 7th of 10 weekly tracks that Bieber released over the last few months of the year. In most dictionaries highlighting phrases, to “put someone down” means to belittle someone or maybe to break off a relationship. The Bieb wants to add a new meaning, so he lists, in a most irritating falsetto, all the places he wants to put the girl down, i.e. to have sex. Enlisting self-proclaimed sex god R. Kelly along for this bumpy ride, the two have dueling falsettos for over four minutes, and I truly couldn’t imagine any Beliebers rating this among their favorite tracks. Peak positions #30 UK, #54 US, nuff said.

3. HARLEM SHAKE – BAAUER – A dance “craze” that lasted a shorter time than the Lambada, plus there’s nothing resembling music in the 3-minute single. Managed to top the US charts for FIVE WEEKS! Its total time on the UK charts was less than that, thankfully.

2. I HOPE – REBECCA FERGUSON – Not a hit outside UK, and for good reason. Because Ferguson was runner-up in X Factor three years ago, she was asked back on the show to debut this song in November. Amazing that someone could sing such a poor song, and sing it so badly, but she accomplished both in one fell swoop. As she runs out of best wishes for the lucky lady that her ex-lover is with, she decides to repeat the title six times in a row. Then does it again! As she finished to courtesy applause, I remember thinking “I hope I hope I hope I hope I never hear that one again.” Its chart life was deservedly short.

1. SCREAM AND SHOUT – & BRITNEY SPEARS – In case you didn’t know who’s singing it, they tell you several times. But if she hadn’t identified herself, we might not have known it was Britney doing the worst English accent since Dick Van Dyke. What places this one at the top of the 2013 scrap heap was that unlike the other repetitive dance tunes mentioned above, this one went “on and on and on and on” (though I know that’s not exactly what they sang) for over four minutes when a good two would have sufficed. They both proclaim they want to Scream and Shout, but they never do!

Maybe some will disagree with my choices, or even the order of placement, but I hope I inspire some to actually hunt these tunes down, maybe as a form of self torture. Otherwise have a great musical year!

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