It’s that time of year again!
With Billboard’s official list of the 100 biggest songs of 2012 published, it’s time to count down the worst, and the best of what this past year has offered us. Two quick reminders: for a song to qualify, it has to be on that list, and my own unofficial rule is that the songs generally aren’t leftover hits from last year (for example: “We Found Love” and “Sexy and I Know It” were featured in last year’s Best/Worst, so they won’t be here as well).
Also, I want to thank everyone who’s read Ranting About Music over this last year, I couldn’t keep this up without y’all. So, let’s find 20 ways to say goodbye to 2012, starting with the worst songs of the year!
10. Phillip Phillips – Home
The fact that “Home” even made the year-end Hot 100 puts Phillip Phillips head and shoulders above other American Idol alumni in terms of success. Instead of releasing a bland, soulless, empty pop song as a first single, Phillip(s) released a bland, soulless, empty pop song that aped the biggest rock trend at the time as a first single.
Let me be clear, I’m not Mumford and Sons’ biggest fan, but even I can admit that they’ve made some kickass songs. And “Home” just doesn’t touch that. The lyrics sound like they were written in ten minutes, Phillips’ forced grunt for vocals is grating, and the song’s attempt at warm fuzzies leaves me cold and angry. “Home” is so boring it doesn’t even provide the cheap thrill from a crowd singalong that it so desperately wants. I never thought I’d hear a song bad enough to make me want to listen to Mumford & Sons, but there you have it.
9. Tyga – Rack City
2012 was the first year that G.O.O.D. Music noticeably trumped Young Money for Most Popular Hip-Hop Roster. That’s not to say that G.O.O.D. is categorically better (*ahem*), but when “Rack City” was Young Money’s first hit of the year, the stakes were quietly lowered. On this (I guess) boast track, Tyga throws some serious clichés around about having cash and bitches over an uninteresting beat with the most unbearably repetitive hook of the year. The song’s three and a half minutes, but repeats itself so often it feels like five. Tyga makes a life of money, being a star, and one bitch fucking with the other bitch sound hopelessly monotonous.
8.Lee Brice – Hard to Love
I know I don’t talk about country a lot on Ranting About Music, but when I hear songs like “Hard to Love”, can you really blame me for avoiding the genre?
Alright, that’s not entirely fair; even I know that “Hard to Love” is shitty by country-crossover standards. The music aims for the same scholocky, godawful pop band sound of a spineless act like The Fray, but is so neutered that it makes The Script sound edgy. And I get songs that say, “Hey, thanks for putting up with my shit, I love you”, but there’s no payback in “Hard to Love”. The lyrics paint our protagonist as a self-centered, possibly abusive, alcoholic jerk without giving him any redeeming qualities. If you’re going to write a song about being Homer Simpson, you’ve got to remember all the times he’s bent over backwards for Marge. Hell, the woman in the song doesn’t even get an “I love you” out of this guy. And we’re supposed to be sympathetic to him. “Hard to Love” is impossible to like.
7. Karmin – Brokenhearted
Of all the schticky YouTube artists out there, Karmin–a duo whose sole gimmick is “white woman raps dirty hip-hop songs while endearingly boring guy plays an instrument”–makes a good case for being the most annoying. Their covers are kinda cool to hear once, but do you watch this, and say “Hey, you know what? I’d really like to hear their original material!”?
Karmin’s problem when it comes to original material is that they completely lack their own sound; they just play a “quirky” arrangement of whatever they’re covering. So, when they were picked up by a major label, and pressed to record their own stuff, it only makes sense that the resulting single “Brokenhearted” sounds like an anonymous Katy Perry/Jessie J/Cher Lloyd knockoff. With rapping. And the rapping in “Brokenhearted” sounds completely shoed-in, as if it’s only there because hey, that’s what made the group (in)famous. Add in some enforced silliness (“Cheerio!”), and the fact that Amy Heidemann’s voice is actually really annoying, and you have a pop lowpoint of the year.
6. Gym Class Heroes feat. Neon Hitch – Ass Back Home
After a somewhat successful solo outing, Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes seems to think that fuck it, his band can make it on the charts, too. Then again, I’m not sure I’d ever attribute the singles from The Papercut Chronicles II‘s success to the main band.
Like “Stereo Hearts”, the guest vocals on the chorus are pulling the audience in, and doing most of the work. But, unlike “Stereo Hearts”, it doesn’t sound like it belongs here. Neon Hitch’s smooth and sweet pop chorus, the reggae/dub verses, and Angels and Airwaves-y bridge don’t mesh at all. “Ass Back Home” (what, did “Get Your Ass Back Home” sound too logical?) suffers on just about every front: the lyrics aren’t good, Travie’s flow here is awkwardly all over the map, and none of the music sounds like a cohesive song. It sounds like a few ideas strung together.
That’s it for today, tune in tomorrow for the conclusion of the Worst Hits of 2012!
Ranting About Music Listmas Schedule
Dec. 16th: Worst Hits (10-6)
Dec. 17th: Worst Hits (5-1)
Dec. 18th: Best Hits (10-6)
Dec. 19th: Best Hits (5-1)
Dec. 20th: Best New Music
Dec. 21st: Best Albums
Dec. 22nd: Odds ‘n Ends