Hey all. So, it’s been pretty quiet here at the Ranting About Music office this week because I’ve had final exams, but those are over and done with, and before I got to the big year-end lists, I thought I’d come back for one of the worst songs of the year. Seriously, I mean that. I found this song while looking up songs for the year-end top ten, and even though it isn’t in the top 20 or on the year-end chart, it’s so bad that I just couldn’t pass it up.
I thought we were done with will.i.am. The Black Eyed Peas announced their hiatus earlier this year, and I happily went back to ignoring them other than the rare occasions that I heard their surprisingly good single “Just Can’t Get Enough”. By the end (or The Beginning, depending on how you want to look at it), the Black Eyed Peas had written themselves into utter predictability, even for a group as redundant as they were. The song starts with an overly long intro, the sampled and/or Fergified chorus kicks in, will.i.am makes his case for the most subpar famous rapper of the past five years, chorus again, another verse, chorus, bridge, then one of the non-will or non-Fergie dudes mumbles a verse, and we’re done. Sometimes it worked, but most times it didn’t.
With all of that in mind, “T.H.E.” might be will.i.am’s worst song ever. His opening lyric? “Oh my goodness, this beat is so hard!” He then follows it up with an 808s-Kanye style AutoTune wail over a beat that is definitely not hard. Of the song’s many problems, will.i.am himself stands at the front; his lines on “T.H.E.” (goddamn, there are a lot of periods in this entry) set a new record for personal worst. These lyrics push past lazy, and get so bad that I wouldn’t be surprised if will.i.am announced that he’s just trolling us with this shit. Just narrowing a list down to the five worst was harder than it needed to be.
Honorable mention: “I get stacks of cash, you get cashews/I go hard, statues” I’ve written hashtag rap jokes better than this.
5: “Hard like motherfucking liquid swords” …what?
4: “Imma go hard like a motherfucking boner” So I’m guessing Will has 12 year old boys ghost-writing for him now that the Black Eyed Peas left him.
3: “I woke up in the morning, hard like morning wood in the morning” Rules of dick jokes in pop music, 1: Be clever, 2: Limit one per godawful single. You’ve broken both rules.
2: “You can go hard or you can go home” Imagine this line repeated 8 times. No, you didn’t just walk into a Nike store, and yes, that is the song’s chorus. So, next time you’re in a gym and you see someone with a ratty shirt saying “Too legit to quit” in faded white lettering, start writing.
1: “This beat is the shit, feces” …the fuck am I supposed to say to this? It’s not funny or smart; it’s just crass, lazy, and dumb. Will.i.am, turn in your mic, you talentless hack.
Lyrically, “T.H.E.” is bad enough to make “My Humps” look like a Dylan tune, because fuck me, at least “My Humps” was about more than some creatively dead schmuck comparing himself to a penis and calling his own music excrement.
Then again, calling this music shit isn’t too far from the truth. It comes across as the in-bred cousin of famous badly produced hits “Like a G6” for J.Lo’s chorus and the general beat, and the Peas’ own “The Time (Dirty Bit)” for part of the verses with droning synth. It’s kind of danceable when the percussion really kicks in, but other than that, it’s mostly cold and unimaginative, like a bad cyberpunk villain’s entrance music.
Also, let’s call “T.H.E.” what it is: a bad Black Eyed Peas outtake. It’s not hard to imagine the demo for this sitting in the studio, and with the band broken up, why not hire a couple of popular names to replace the other Peas? Think about it: will.i.am shows up in all the spots that he did for the BEP’s later output, and that tuneless, monotonous hook Jennifer Lopez got stuck with sounds built for the frequently misused Fergie. So what dope did they get to stand in for Taboo or Apl D App to jabber over the end of this over-long techno monstrosity?
What the hell is he doing on this piece of junk? Between this and that universally disliked SuperHeavy project, is he in a pissing contest with Steven Tyler to see who can abuse their Lifetime Credit Pass harder? Ok, to be fair, Jagger’s last-minute is entertaining just for how surreal it is: 68-year-old rock pioneer Mick Jagger is more or less rapping about going hard over an electro-pop beat, including the line: “Watch out, I’m going in!”
“T.H.E.” is horrible, but at the same time, it’s so consistently horrible and Jagger’s appearance is so absurd that the whole trainwreck comes off as kind of fascinating despite being borderline unlistenable. Interesting doesn’t mean good, or quality, but the song’s probably worth hearing once, just because of how nuts it actually is.