We’re at about the exact midpoint of 2016, a year as full of good music as it has been the very bad. Today we’re heading over to the dark side and celebrating the utter worst this year has spewed forth. We can’t be responsible for any unexpected leprosy your ears may experience after subjecting them to:
Disturbed – The Sound Of Silence
Take everything that was good about Simon And Garfunkel’s haunting original, hurl it into an abyss and then supplement it with David Draiman’s disgustingly autotuned baritone and a whole lot of soullessly melodramatic orchestral arrangements and you arrive at nu-metal has-beens Disturbed and their agonisingly limp cover of The Sound Of Silence.
Some of their first material after an incredibly welcomed five year hiatus (to anyone who uses their ears for good) from making music for people who still wear Monster Energy apparel in 2016, misery, utter shrieking misery is the only way to describe it. Draiman probably thinks he sounds operatic here, but it sounds more like he’s having a colonoscopy without anaesthetic while he hideously warbles some of the greatest lyrics ever written, treating each individual vowel he encounters as though it looked him in the eye and called his mother a cheap whore.
What made it so much worse is the sheer traction this picked up after some probably now future-endeavoured intern let Disturbed onto the set of Conan to perform it live, where it was then broadcast to millions of tasteless dad rock-loving ears worldwide, the owners of which leapt at any and every opportunity to smash their caps lock into the kill position and bogan-yell down anyone who contested that this watery, flavourless nonsense wasn’t a legitimate artform but shameless to the point of parody.
You’re allowed to think Disturbed’s cover of The Sound Of Silence is good music in the same way that you’re allowed to think the earth is flat: you have every right to, but people will still assume you’re a moron beyond help. Speaking of which…
B.o.B. – Flatline
Who would have thought back at the peak of his career when pop-oriented ATL rapper B.o.B. was comparing himself to Andre 3000 (HA!) and releasing innocent enough garbage like Nothing On You and featuring alongside Eminem and Hayley Williams that in just a few years he’d be releasing diss tracks like this year’s Flatline that sound as though they were written in a cirrus cloud of vape as a joint collaboration between a neckbeard and a fedora.
Neil deGrasse Tyson had no idea the type of man he was fucking with when he all but doubled over laughing at B.o.B.’s ridiculous claims on Twitter that the Earth was flat (among other things). Nope, Tyson’s many doctorates and masters in the fields of things B.o.B. considers inconsequential like astrophysics and his many published and academically recognised works on our universe, even his People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive’ award (no!), all totally PUNCHED FROM EXISTENCE by B.o.B and his vaguely threatening rhymes on heliocentrism, clones and the ‘cults’ of Masonry and *gasp!* science. The only let-down was that the portmanteau ‘sheeple’ wasn’t used anywhere despite its diverse rhyming potential.
The end result is that Flatline is the approximate sound of a lizard person hissing chemtrails conspiracies in your ear. There are people out there who believe Elvis did 9/11 who would snort with derision at how ridiculous B.o.B. sounds trying to take on possibly the most well-informed man on the planet regarding the subject of the shape of our Earth.
Let Neil deGrasse Tyson’s merciless pantsing on this song serve as a lesson and watch your mouth Stephen Hawking, lest your bullshit theories on space and time invoke the all-knowing wrath of B.o.B.
Soulja Boy – Snapchat (ft. Lil Yachty and Rich The Kid)
We’re at peak 2016 with this gibberish. An entire song detailing ‘how to use a multimedia sharing app in the foulest way possible’? You know that human tapeworm Soulja Boy has got you covered.
Featuring trap beats a trained rodent could have created backing such lyrical pinnacles ripped directly from the core syllabus of the Pitbull Academy Of Rhyming as ‘she send me that pussy on Snapchat/she bussin’ it open on Snapchat/she twerkin’ that ass on Snapchat’ and enough similarly egregious uses of the word ‘Snapchat’ that it has the potential to make the Roxanne drinking game look like Pass The Parcel at a toddler’s birthday.
Snapchat comes off as though it was written by someone whose sex education consisted of the YouPorn comments section and the halcyon days of Zoo Magazine. There are 15-year-old kids who would scoff at the immaturity of this utter trash and the end result is about as pleasant as an unhideable no-reason boner in a room full of people you dislike. It slid up in the world’s musical inbox like the kind of unsolicited dick pic you can almost smell through the phone right around the time those abhorrently overused cat and dog filters started taking off as a new and exciting way to tell your friends and family that you are unquestionably a fuckwit. We can only speculate that some jackass member of Soulja Boy’s PR team decided capitalising on this newfound surge in popularity of Snapchat could best be done via a platform as rancid as this song.
It’s 2016 and you’re still making grotty ringtones Soulja, go home.
Redfoo – New Thang
Hello Redfoo my old friend… No longer fouling up Australian television with his unwanted presence, the man at the head of the pack for the most disparate ratio between shitheaded entitlement to actual musical ability put out yet another album the world wanted about as much as a kick to its collective groin in the absolutely paralysis tick-infested Party Rock Mansion earlier this year.
An album that didn’t even sell well enough for Redfoo to afford the rent on a Party Rock Single Bedroom In A Halfway House, let alone this mythical mansion of poor taste he speaks of. If you were seriously one of the 144 people who used real money to purchase this album then please, know that we are here for you and somebody loves you but also know that you are horrible to the point of being irreparable on the inside.
New Thang was its lead single, three minutes and forty-five seconds of the most ear-stabbingly rotten hip-hop/dance music you’ve ever heard, Redfoo slitheringly propositioning some poor female he has decided he would like to mate with as his ‘new thang’ over a shitpants terrible recycled beat and a derivative saxophone hook so gratingly obnoxious that it makes everything achieved in that field prior by people like Jason DeRulo and Macklemore (more on him later) seem positively forgivable. Listening to this will cause even your collarbone to pop, it’s that douchey.
There are mummified corpses with more life in them than Redfoo’s career at this point and even their tombs aren’t marked with curses as horrifyingly disfiguring as those at the entrance to the Party Rock Mansion. Please stop giving this man even the littlest bit of money.
Meghan Trainor – Me Too
The first two-time member of this list after last year’s abysmal Dear Future Husband launched her career on the wings of a million screaming locusts, is Meghan Trainor, who backed up her debut record with Thank You, a salutation evidently directed at anyone silly enough to buy her music the first time around. If you’re wondering who is responsible for this ongoing reign of terror she calls a career, it’s pretty much every vanilla white mum who gets a steely glint in their eye during Farmer Wants A Wife commercials and who still thinks The Coffee Club is fine dining.
While her insipid rapping over lead single NO is arguably more sonically rubbish, it’s the sheer audacious stones behind sophomore single Me Too that angried up my blood the most. Over a dance beat that even people in 2002 would laugh at, Meghan Trainor shrieks from the rooftops to the world just how much she loves herself some Meghan Trainor (SPOILER: the answer is ‘more than anything’).
Seriously. This is the most self-centred drivel I’ve ever heard. The entitlement on record here makes Redfoo up there look like Nelson Mandela, as Trainor breathes in a stunted and wholly unappealing manner about how everyone should want, nay, yearn with every fiber of their being, to be Meghan Trainor.
I’m sure Me Too was supposed to come across as a song of bold empowerment and a middle finger to ‘haters’ everywhere, but what it actually reeks of is hilariously misguided self-absorption and fathomless delusion without even being slightly musically pleasant to back it up. I’d absolutely take the innocuous doo-wop-ripping Meghan Trainor from last year over this, the noise of a plague of scuttling cockroaches that presently make up the soundscape of ‘edgy’ dance music Meghan Trainor.
Iggy Azalea – Team
I almost feel bad including Iggy Azalea, joining Meghan Trainor as our other back-to-back artist carrying over from last year, it’s almost too easy to rip on her, but her latest single Team is so noxiously choking that it can’t go unchecked.
Evidently Iggy feels as though she can just regurgitate and rehash everything she’s ever done and her fans will be lunkheaded enough to still enjoy it. The hamfisted production on damn near every one of her songs is exactly the same, her snotty, ear-grinding and not-at-all endearing delivery is exactly the same. The skull-bashingly obvious basketball references and metaphors are meant to be hip but they come off absolutely lame as fuck, like this song was constructed with the sole intention of being used in time outs and commercials during NBA games (something I can sadly confirm happens regularly).
All I can thank her for is that she (her poisonous writing team really) probably used great personal restraint in not calling it Squad, a word that results in an animal that is as cute as it is endangered being chokeslammed every time a white person uses it to refer to their social circle. The overarching sentiment is exactly the same though and it’s cringingly painful to hear.
Team was supposed to be the first taste to get us all excited for it, but that next album of yours is looking less and less palatable by the second, Igs. Put this song in the bin, airlift it out over the Mariana trench and drop it directly into the deepest, darkest part of the sea where it belongs.
Macklemore And Ryan Lewis – White Privilege II
If making music was truly a meritocracy, Macklemore would be on welfare. After making a great deal of us cringe so hard our necks disappeared temporarily with utter ass-piss like Thrift Shop and Downtown, he and co-conspirator Ryan Lewis made it permanent and recorded possibly the most self-indulgent tripe of the last decade in their probably well-meaning but stupid and hypocritical beyond belief White Privilege II.
Eight minutes and forty-five awkward seconds of pure wank. The sequel to a 2005 song that was already a terrible enough idea at the time, White Privilege II makes the thought of two more Avatar movies seem like something I’m looking forward to. I’m not sure which part is worse, the simpering #NotAllWhiteRappers message behind it or him calling out some of his peers for being guilty of cultural appropriation, including Miley Cyrus, the aforementioned Iggy Azalea and even Elvis Presley, accusations that are rich as all fuck coming from him despite eventually acknowledging his own guilt.
The importance of the Black Lives Matter movement and the issues raised by Macklemore in this song cannot be overstated, but doing so via this mess of a song, where he pretends the focus is on the larger issue but is actually squarely and shamelessly on nobody but Macklemore, is one of the least effective ways to do it.
The world was never looking to Macklemore to give his two cents on this, one of the most important issues the world is currently facing. That he thought himself important and influential enough to do it anyway and then do it with not only complete mediocrity but pure selfishness, is why White Privilege II is the frontrunner for the worst song of 2016 so far.
May God have mercy on us all heading into the back half of this year…