We can finally put 2018 to rest. And with it, all the bad music that came with it. There was a menagerie of sub-par or middle-of-the-road nonsense, so don’t expect that here. This is just the stuff that is infuriating to considered to be some of the most popular offerings of the year, according to the year-end charts.
But, before we delve into the bottom of the barrel, let’s take a look around the edge of said bottom, for the stuff that— fortunately for these artists— didn’t quite make the cut.
Selena Gomez & Marshmello – Wolves
Coming soon to a department store background music catalog near you.
Mashmello seems like a swell guy, always making positive music and feeling like the life of the party. But that doesn’t work with a song like this. And the chorus sounds like a really badly organized pep rally. Not bad enough to get on the list, but worth a mention
Florida Georgia Line – Simple
Speaking of cheery, good ol’ Florida Georgia Line delivered to us a jangling little diddy that oughta make you get the spoons out and slap your knees. Not really much to say here, but their delivery here is just nauseating.
This song is where I draw the line with Florida Georgia Line.
Childish Gambino – This is America
Yea, I said it. I fully expect a few flaming bags of turds on my lawn by butthurt fans.
Before you do, really listen to the song. Not the with the video, not while reading the hundreds of essays written about the deconstruction of American’s history of Jim Crow posturing and dancing and pleas against gun violence.
Listening to this simulates spinning around and feeling ready to barf while hearing chipmunks pleading you to “get your money.”
While not on the list, “This is America” is not remotely anything worth your time outside of the political and racial commentary-infused music video. To its credit, the song legitimately has some moments of genuine flow and harmony, keeping it off the list.
And now for the meat and potatoes of this list, and why you came here. Let’s get started.
#10 – Russell Dickerson – Yours
Compared to the aforementioned middle-of-the-road schlong, this one takes up the berm of the road and managed to hit the guardrail. Dickerson here sounds like he was trying to evoke Coldplay but made it more saccharin and ham-fisted. Apparently, this song was a testament to his wife. That doesn’t really help his cause, as this same message is represented better in other average songs of the year like Lauv “I Like Me Better”, without feigning depth. If this is yours, you can keep it.
#9 – Sauce – Justin Timberlake
You would think with the throwback hits that made my best list, this wouldn’t have made my worst. But you would be wrong. While I liked “Man of the Woods”— Timberlake’s critically mixed social experiment of a country/pop fusion album that genuinely delivers some new classics for his discography— his aping of Prince feels flat, and his choice of vocal range clashes with the instrumental to make for a uncomfortable listening experience.
#8 – Juice WRLD – Lucid Dreams
I can’t fully blame the lyrics for this being on the list. I might have related to this if I was still 14 years old and was mad some chick ghosted me online and having a really deep conversation about the complicated nature of the DC Cinematic Universe.
Seriously, this song reeks of juvenile pettiness, half-hearted remarks of bitter separation and grasping at the straws at the concept of moving on. Making sure someone ‘never forgets you’ sounds like a crazy person who doesn’t know the meaning of closure, and Tropicana Planet here drones on in a tone of voice that doesn’t exactly scream a broken heart. I suppose the best thing about this is this beat. I could give it that. But I suppose I really have to credit Sting for that. Never mind. Moving on.
#7 Lil Dicky feat. Chris Brown – Freaky Friday
Do I have to explain this? So many other critics have lambasted this with much more vitriol than I. It’s more of a disdain than hatred for this particular collaboration, as Lil Dicky has been capable of funnier material and Chris Brown is past the point of being self-aware for a couple of yucks. The jokes are middle school playground territory and the cameos at the end are honestly the best part, and even those delve into some pretty odd areas. Not worth remembering, not worth elaborating.
#6 Drake & Lil Baby – Yes Indeed
This isn’t Drake’s fault. In fact, his verse starts this song off with a sparkle of hope. Upon seeing criticism for this, I took a listen to those first few lines and thought “Oh, this can’t be that bad.”
Then Lil Baby started to do ‘his thing’. Which is apparently rummaging through the recycling bin of rap clichés and feign crying like a little baby. Like a regular baby, I’ll saw “Aww” and set him down to continue crying without me caring.
#5 – Imagine Dragons – Natural
The fact that I still like Imagine Dragons while they continue to dilute their sound is making me question my sanity. “Origins” was not a strong album, and— while this particular single has some oompf, if you will— this doesn’t exactly save the album or create anything but a semi-creepy music video.
#4 – Kanye West & Lil Pump feat. Adele Givens – I Love It
What a train wreck of samples, monotone delivery, uninspired instrumentals and an overdone of swearing for the sake of being edgy. Lil Pump regurgitates the same stuff as he always does, and Kanye… just gave up on this.
And at only a little over 2 minutes with these repeated phrases, it feels more like a desperate gasp of relevancy in Kanye’s worst thing since that “shoopity-poop” verse.
#3 – Iggy Azalea feat. Tyga – Kream
And the winner of worst forced chant of the year goes to…
So, Iggy Azalea is apparently still around. And made a stripper anthem that would make Buckcherry blush. Tyga really doesn’t add anything to this song, either.
#2 – 6ix9ine… Just, 6ix9ine.
Do I have to pick one song of his?
I’ll use his rowdy attempt at a gang violence anthem, “Billy”, as a placeholder for the sake of the list, but in reviewing the charts and checking out what the rap game’s misspelled cretin has to offer, it escapes me to find one good song of his. Nothing has substance or originality, his voice grates on the mind, and he reeks of undeserved swagger. Can we move past this in 2019? God willing.
#1 – Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B – Girls Like You
Dammit, Adam Levine. And this went to the top of the charts for a long time. And why was Cardi B on it?
The middle of the road never seemed so sweet as what used to be one of my favorite acts has dug deeper into the cesspool of easy listening with this plucky ‘summer jam’. You can’t really jam to this song, even in the loosest sense of the word, and Levine’s cries out for female companionship come across as superficial and nothing more. The cameos of the music video don’t save this from being for the worst song of the 2018.
So, there you go, the best and worst songs of the year. Have we learned anything? Probably not. There will be good songs to grace the pop charts and other bad songs to tear to shreds. And I’ll be here to cover it all for the end of this year. Until then, do as the Doobie Brothers do and just listen to the music.