Hello, I’m MusiCommentator, and now that it’s the end of the year, it’s time for my year end lists! I apologize for being absent for almost all of December, but my life always gets busy in December, and I had to do a lot of work to compile these lists. However, for the next four days, I will be posting all of my lists, starting with worst singles, then worst albums, best singles, and best albums of the year. Let’s get started.
In my opinion, I think that 2018 was a great year for music. There was so much good material put out by new and old artists alike, and I’m excited to share with you all the great music I have heard this year. But, with all the good that came out, there was a lot of bad, too. Quite a lot of it, and I thought it would be best to pummel through the bad stuff before we get into the good, so here are my top 10 worst singles of 2018. First, some rules.
My usual list rules will apply here (10-2, honorable mentions, #1). I know many “worst of” lists that cover only the hit songs, but I think doing that leaves out a lot of the filthy stew boiling just under the surface of the charts, so a song doesn’t have to be a hit to qualify for the list. However, a song does have to be a single released in the calendar year of 2018 to be on here. That means that any song which came out on the release of an album (even if that song became a hit) does not count. Also, only one song per artist. If an artist is featured as a guest on a song, they can still be on the list with one of their own songs, but if an artist is featured as one of the main artists on a track, they cannot be featured as a main artist of another track on this list. And, as with all my other posts, this is all my opinion, so if I rip on a song you like, I’m not personally attacking you, it just means I don’t like that song. With that out of the way, it’s time for…
#10: Zero (by Imagine Dragons)
I know a lot of my fanbase is Imagine Dragons fans, so I know I’m going to be crucified before I even get through this first spot. I guess I can’t help it that Imagine Dragons makes bad music.
This is a movie tie-in single for the second “Wreck-It-Ralph” movie, and while I have yet to see the film, I can say with certainty that this is the worst single released by Imagine Dragons this year. Imagine Dragons is at their best when they can make loud, empowering anthems with a chorus that makes you want to get down and wild out, like “Radioactive” or “Believer”. This single is the opposite of that. There are times when the verses have more energy than the hook, which is fine for some songs, but definitely not an Imagine Dragons song. Not to mention, the lyrics are generic. That’s no surprise from this band, but what they’re saying has absolutely no correlation to the instrumentals. The upbeat, poppy sounds of the drums contrast so heavily with the chorus that it’s a little unbelievable the band thought it was a good idea to use this beat. I don’t believe Dan Reynolds for a second when he sings “Hello, hello/Let me tell you what it’s like to be a zero, zero/Let me show you what it’s like to always feel, feel/Like I’m empty and there’s nothing really real, real”. This sounds like something a really shallow emo rapper would say. Even if it is irrefutably catchy, it’s quite bad. I’m just glad this didn’t become a huge hit, because I wouldn’t be able to stand hearing this track all the time.
#9: Level Up (by Ciara)
Speaking of songs where the lyrics don’t match the beat, meet “Level Up” by Ciara. The beat on this is horribly wonky and awkward, with the drums and weird, plinking instruments never seeming to match up. It’s frankly quite astounding why Ciara would choose a beat like this, but the true egregious sin of this track is the hook. “All this on me so yummy, all this sauce so yummy/Know you want this yummy, yummy all in your tummy”. Oh gosh! Are you trying to sound sexy? That sounds like something an alien getting accustomed to human life would say in attempt to seduce someone. The verses are not any better, either, as it’s just basic bragging, but that hook alone makes this song worthy of being on this list. Who thought that was a good idea? I’m quivering with cringe.
#8: MOVE TO MIAMI (feat. Enrique Iglesias, ft. Pitbull)
In one of my former posts on the surge of international music in America, I talked about how Latin pop/hip-hop is becoming more popular in the USA than it has ever been before. With this in mind, it’s baffling how two of Latin music’s most recognizable names sound so out of place in a time when Latin pop is huge.
On this trainwreck of a track, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull–because they still make music, apparently–try to hope onto current trends to hit the charts, but they’ve never sounded so dated. Iglesias’s voice is actually not that terrible in most songs, but the overuse of autotune and his strange vocal inflections make him sound like he’s never sung before. And of course, Pitbull is just Pitbull, bringing some garbage lyrics to this track. “What happens in Miami, never happened/She said ‘No hands”‘, booty still clapping/She wanna be Eve, baby, here’s an apple (haha)/Welcome to the booty shakin’ capital”: every one of these lines feel like contenders for a worst lyrics of 2018 list, and these are just the first four lines of Pitbull’s verse! Was he intentionally trying to make awful-sounding lyrics? Not to mention the beat on here is a hot mess, especially those oddly placed guitars in the beat breakdown. This is the best example this year of irrelevant artists trying to be relevant, and it’s sad to think that this isn’t even the worst Latin song of 2018…
#7: BEBE (by 6ix9ine, ft. Anuel AA)
I’ve made my feelings on 6ix9ine’s music very clear in my review of his song “FEFE“, which the 1 out of 5 the song received should show, but even that track can’t beat the abomination that is “BEBE”. The track is terrible right at the very first note, with the incredibly cheap synth notes blasting right in your ear. This cheapness is only exemplified by the incredibly generic drum pattern and the sub bass, which clashes harshly with the synths. With such an appalling beat, it’s no wonder that the voices on top of it sound just as abhorrent. 6ix9ine’s nasally tone rivals Anuel AA’s tone-deaf bleating as the two sloppily auto-croon over the whole runtime. For being of Mexican descent, 6ix9ine has never sounded so out of place on a song, especially one with Latin influences such as this. I’m just glad 6ix9ine’s in jail now, not because he is getting justice for all of the terrible acts he has committed, but because I won’t have to listen to any more music by him for a looooong time.
#6: Tequila (by Dan + Shay)
Bro-Country has been the most prominent subgenre in country ever since Florida Georgia Line broke onto the scene, and ever since then, country music has been a big wash of small-town parties and toxic masculinity and it’s been all over the airwaves. There are some exceptions, like Luke Combs’s “One Number Away” or Brett Young’s “Mercy”, but the best way to describe most modern country is “douchey”, and Dan + Shay’s “Tequila” is the prime example of this statement.
I’m actually a big fan of the instrumentation on this track, as the melancholy pianos and soft guitars help set up a moody atmosphere, but this is all ruined right when the singers open their mouths. In short, this track is about the singers thinking about an old love, but only when they “taste tequila”. Just describing this song’s message makes me sound considerably douchey. Just take a look at the some of the lyrics on the chorus: “But when I taste tequila/Baby, I still see ya/Cuttin’ up the floor in a sorority T-shirt/The same one you wore when we were/Sky high in Colorado, your lips pressed against the bottle/Swearing on a Bible, baby, I’d never leave ya/I remember how bad I need ya, when I taste tequila”. This is supposed to be a romantic, reflective song, but all it sounds like he’s doing is implicitly bragging and appealing to the lowest common denominator of country fans. “Sorority t-shirts” and “getting sky high”. Gimme a break! The verses are even worse: “I can still shut down a party/I can hang with anybody/I can drink whiskey and red wine/Champagne all night/A little Scotch on the rocks and I’m fine, I’m fine”. I feel like I’m saying this a lot, but the douchbaggery of this song is stunning! The message basically feels like “I love you even when I’m doing all these cool things, but only when I’m drunk out of my mind.” I bet most of the people this song appeals to aren’t even old enough to drink tequila. I’d rather listen to Florida Georgia Line than this drole.
Now, we approach the top 5 worst singles of 2018, which turn from awful to truly malignant. Let’s start off with:
#5: Ye vs the People (by Kanye West, ft. T.I.)
Many people remember the off-the-wall single released by Kanye towards the beginning of the year “Lift Yourself”, which sees Kanye trolling everyone by building tension with a two minute sample and ending off the song with a verse consisting exclusively of the words “poopity scoop di poop di whoop di scoop”. While some great memes came out of that track, I can’t say it’s really that good, but very few people seem to remember the single that came out on that same night, “Ye vs the People”, and boy is it SO much worse than “Lift Yourself”.
Kanye was one of the most polarizing figures of 2018, as his incessant reminders of his political views made almost everyone turn against him. On this track, Kanye and T.I. throw conversational bars at one another as West debates why he has his political views and why he wants to run for president. I could talk for hours on why Kanye shouldn’t be president, but I think the main reason his views are skewed can be explained through this line: “Make America Great Again had a negative perception/I took it, wore it, rocked it, gave it a new direction/Added empathy, care and love and affection/And y’all simply questionin’ my methods”. First of all, Kanye seems to think that he can just take an image and shape it in any way by just wearing it. While this may seem like a stretch, think about a Swastika for a second. No, I’m not comparing Trump to Hitler, so stop jumping to conclusions. Just think about the symbolism that comes with the sign of a Swastika. Because of its history, it represents oppression in many people’s minds, so if anyone walked around with a Swastika on, people would think that they stand by the oppression the Swastika symbolizes. The MAGA hat has many negative connotations in many people’s eyes, especially Kanye’s fanbase. Just by wearing it, he’s not going to change people’s perceptions of how it’s viewed just because he is the one donning it. If he were to wear a Swastika, he wouldn’t be changing it’s symbolism, he’d be siding with the Nazis. Secondly, he seems to think that he “added care and sympathy” to the symbol. Again, it’s incredibly hard to change a symbol, especially if you were to go about showing it in the brash way Kanye did, so saying that he added anything to it makes no sense. This ties into him making these claims of making unity if he were president throughout the song, but the question is: how? How will you create unity? You’ve shown nothing to prove you will, so how? Almost every other person who has ran for president has called for peace and unity, so what makes you different? This song just shows how thoughtless he seems to be when sharing his political views.
It sucks, too, because this song actually has a great beat. It’s just disappointing to listen to the lyrics of this track. On another note, it’s strange how T.I. makes the most sense with his points and views that are brought up, but the way it’s framed, it’s like we are supposed to side with Kanye, so it’s almost like watching a movie from the villain’s perspective, like watching Star Wars from The Emperor’s point of view. But, now that I’ve bored you all with politics, let’s move on.
#4: Get Along (by Kenny Chesney)
With all the division and hatred that has been a part of 2018, Kenny Chesney saw fit to make a song of unity to try and bring people together. However, “Get Along” ends up being the most un-unified unity song ever.
In a unity song, it’s best to try and play off of two or more different sides’ similarities and use these to bring the parties together in peace. This song feels like it’s trying to do the same thing but with only one side. Just look at the things Chesney suggests we do to try to get along: “Paint a wall, learn to dance/Call your mom, buy a boat/Drink a beer, sing a song/Make a friend, can’t we all get along”. I doubt you would be able to show this to any inner-city Chicago community and have them instantly get along with racist white folk. This is just so insufferably shallow that it’s sickening to think someone can be this unconscious of society. Unless you’re in a redneck bar in Alabama, since when has buying a boat ever created peace between two arguing sides? This is just so unabashedly pandering that it’s mind-boggling. Also, there’s one line in the second verse that always angers me when I hear it: “Saw a model on a billboard, 1-800 get to know me/Wondered was she Photoshopped, or were her eyes really that lonely?”. How pretentious can one be? First of all, this has absolutely to do with the song, but to think that someone can stand this high on their high horse is nauseating. Screw you, Kenny Chesney! Get this song off the charts and keep it in southern bars where it should stay and never come out!
#3: Politically Incorrect (by Tom MacDonald)
Most of the time, when I review songs or albums on this blog, I try to keep context out of the review and focus on just the qualities the song/album has to offer to give it a fair review. However, sometimes context is necessary to look at a song in the right light.
So, Tom MacDonald made a lot of waves in the musical landspace this year with the release of his single “WHITEBOY”, where he spoke on the racial injustices that white people faced and how he’s always falsely accused of being a racist just for being white. I know, that sounds ridiculous, and the song makes it sound even worse. It’s like Joyner Lucas’s “I’m Not Racist” but without the second perspective of the black man. Of course, that single got tons of people furious, and later on in the year, he decided to release this song, which focuses on his anger at how people are always so offended nowadays. If you haven’t yet, let that sink in. Tom MacDonald released a song about himself being offended by people calling him racist because he’s white, and then he makes a song telling people to stop being so offended by inconsequential things. A man made a song about being offended by something, and then made a song saying people should stop being so offended by things. If that complete lack of self-awareness and utter hypocrisy doesn’t make this song deserve this spot on the list, then I don’t know what does.
#2: My Teachers (by Jake Paul, ft, Sunny & At3)
I tried to keep most YouTube music off of this list. One of my favorite YouTubers, BionicPig, explained the idea of “YouTube music” quite well. To summarize, it’s music made by popular YouTubers who suddenly decide they want to start a music career to get a quick buck from their fans. In all honesty, I probably could have filled my entire list with YouTube music, but most of them follow the same formula. This song, on the other hand, goes much deeper than that.
On this single, Jake Paul raps about how teachers never taught him anything, as he never used any of their skills to get where he is. Just listening to the chorus can show you how misguided this concept is: “My teachers never taught me that/How to deal with this or that/How to make my paper stack/How to get a DM back/How to buy a Lambo cash”. How is it a teacher’s job to show you how to buy an expensive car? This concept, though, isn’t enough to make this a bad song. It’s no surprise that most of Jake Paul’s fans are little kids, and seeing Jake Paulers in action, they aspire to be this dude. Just look up videos of Jake Paulers obsessing over him; there are tons of them. Now when you think about how impressionable his fanbase is and how he’s basically telling kids that school isn’t good for them, the true malignant nature of this song shows itself. Jake Paul has millions of young fans and he’s going to tell them not to go to school. This has to be one of the worst messages a song can have. Not to mention, no one on the song can rap to save their life and the beat sounds like was made from a compressed fart, so that doesn’t help it’s case.
Now, before I get into my number one worst single of 2018, let’s go over the…
Honorable Mentions (in no specific order):
Popper (by Bart Baker)
I know I said I wasn’t going to include any more YouTube music, but this one hurts especially because I used to watch Bart Baker a lot. Now he’s become what he used to make fun of. Tragic.
Esskeetit (by Lil Pump)
Lil Pump has never been one of my favorite artists, so putting him over a beat as horrid as this makes my ears bleed. His flows are better than usual, though, so I couldn’t put it on the list.
Drip Too Hard (by Lil Baby & Gunna)
Young Thug Impersonators 1 and 2 makes a generic song over a generic beat about generic rap topics. I really don’t know how these two got as famous as they are now, as they sound so nondescript. Whatever, I guess it’s not bad enough to make the list, though.
And now, I present to you the worst single of 2018 (drumroll please)…
#1: B*TCH I’M BELLA THORNE (by Bella Thorne)
I’m frankly, honestly surprised I haven’t heard more people talk about this song, because this is truly an atrocity to the name of music.
I don’t even know where to begin with this single. I mean, just saying that Bella Thorne is trying to make a serious rap song is enough to make this the worst single of 2018, but this goes way beyond that. The production on this is obscene, from the weird plucking synths to the basic trap drums, nothing about this is appealing. What’s worse, though, is her rapping. Oh gosh, her rapping! It’s awful! It’s terrible! It’s atrocious! Imagine the whitest girl you know trying to rap and multiply that by ten. That’s still not enough to show what her rapping is like. Her voice is so high pitched and creaky that it’s gruesome to sit through. I know I use the word “cringe” a lot on this site, but when I listen to this song, there are parts where my shoulders unintentionally hunch up and I get goosebumps from fright. I’m not exaggerating. That’s how bad her voice sounds. Specifically the way she ends a lot of her rhyme schemes is ear-shattering, with the creaks in her voice hitting all the right spots in your ear to make you cower in fear for your life. That’s not even where this song is it’s worst, though. The lyrics are on here abominable. There are many lines where she is trying to sound sexy and dominating, something Cardi B or Nicki Minaj would do, but it falls so hard on its face that the concrete it fell on breaks apart. Lines like “P*ssy scuba diver, need a surfboard” represent this perfectly. Like, what on God’s green Earth is a “p*ssy scuba diver”??? Or take this line: “I’m only 20, and a queen/By the time I’m 23, I’ll probably be the king” What??? You’re a female, you can’t be a king! That’s not how feudalism works! And the line that gets me every time has to be “Every guy that I meet tryna give me a ring/I say, ‘Get down on your knees, and eat the whole damn thing!'”. I don’t even think your boyfriend would want to hear you say that. No one wants to hear you say that. I don’t think anyone has ever thought the idea of Bella Thorne telling them to “eat the whole damn thing” is appealing. And don’t even get me started on the chorus! Not only is it a rip-off of Madonna’s song with almost the same title as it, but Thorne’s voice sounds even worse on the chorus than anywhere else in the song. I said at the beginning that I’m sad more people haven’t talked about this song, but I’m pretty glad they haven’t, because any kind of exposure this song could get would be a detriment to music. If this song had somehow become a hit, I think I would have to stop listening to music for the rest of my life. And for these reasons, I deem this song as the worst single of 2018.
Whew! That’s over! Thank you for reading my Top 10 Worst Singles of 2018 list. If you liked this list, make sure to follow my website, Twitter, and Instagram, like this post, and be sure to check in tomorrow for the next list. Also, if you have something you want to see me review, tell me in the comments. Until then, keep on listening to good music! I know I will.