Year-End Playlist: 20 Worst Songs of 2016
2016 has had its fair share of respectable, even superb songs. Even so, there have also been some totally awful songs that simply aren’t forgivable.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every awesome record or song, there one that’s absolutely atrocious. 2016 has had its fair share of respectable, even superb songs. Even so, there have also been some totally awful songs that simply aren’t forgivable. This list selects the 20 worst songs of 2016, but don’t think there were just 20 duds. These are just the bottom of the barrel and they are indeed the bottom. Interestingly, there are two duds that were also part of the best-of list. Does this speak to the musical prowess or lack thereof in 2016? Perhaps!
1. Corey Feldman ft. Snoop Dogg, “Go 4 It”
(Angelic 2 the Core: Angelic Funkadelic / Angelic Rockadelic)
Two words: Train wreck! Former child actor Corey Feldman recorded a double album, Angelic 2 the Core: Angelic Funkadelic / Angelic Rockadelic. The title of the album itself speaks to the quality, rather, the ineptness or disillusionment of its creator. Basically, Feldman had to be out of his mind assembling such a 94-minute mess. Thankfully, until a disastrous performance on the Today Show, Angelic 2 the Core was the year’s best kept secret. Too bad we can’t forget that timeless, viral performance of “Go 4 It.”
Take one listen to “Go 4 It,” and the questions (or speechless) runs abounds. The first question is more exclamatory – WTF? The next is aimed toward Snoop Dogg: Hmm, Snoop Dogg really – REALLY DOGG? You must’ve been high AF to agree to a feature on this god, awful, monstrosity. Then, it’s a matter of addressing everything else that makes “Go 4 It” one of the worst records in years. That includes and isn’t limited to the vocals, the synths, the songwriting – everything. GODAWFUL. HELLISH. BLASPHEMY. SACRILEDGE. BULL…
2. Jacob Sartorius, “Sweatshirt”
(The Last Text EP, 2017)
Many have argued against the music of 2016. True, there have been some weak albums and songs. The songs are most disappointing because it is a time where tracks and singles are thriving more than albums. There have been some great songs nonetheless, but then come along horrendous songs from purported up-and-coming artists like 14-year old “wunderkind” Jacob Sartorius. Unfortunately for all of us who aren’t pre-teen or tween girls, our ears bled profusely hearing “Sweatshirt.”
Ultimately, “Sweatshirt” is a nightmare of the worst kind. Vocally, Sartorius does have potential, but not necessarily potential to be a recording artist. That shows throughout the course of “Sweatshirt,” which is an amateurish performance through and through. Adding to the horrendousness are the theme and lyrics. It’s just plain dumb. Essentially, only Corey Feldman could manage to make a worse song, and not by much.
3. Meghan Trainor, “No”
Whether she intends to irritate or not, Meghan Trainor has become one of the most annoying pop musicians ever. Add an expletive – preferably starting with the letter “f” – in front of annoying to be precise. For whatever reason, she brings out the worst in the listeners. The irritation factor wasn’t nearly as bad on her debut Title as it is on her sophomore album, Thank You. Both “No” and “Me Too” would make a saint’s ears bleed, not to mention the deeper cuts of the album.
For our purposes, we’ll focus on “No.” Essentially, whether intended or not, “No” comes off as childish and offensive as opposed to representing a strong feminist perspective. Essentially, Trainor degrades her own message with the stupidity of the song, which sounds like it could be written by a child. Think about it – isn’t no one of the favorite words of a child? After winning Best New Artist, Ms. Trainor finds herself without a Grammy nomination in a year in which she was eligible for album Thank You. Almost every worst of list has at least one Meghan Trainor song.
4. Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar, “Don’t Wanna Know”
Once upon a time, Brent Faulkner (yours truly) actually enjoyed the music of Maroon 5. That was back during their heralded Songs About Jane days when Adam Levine was, well, quite horny to say the least (“This Love”). Since album no. 1, things have changed drastically… sigh*. Call the band what it is – a sellout.
Let’s keep it 100. “Don’t Wanna Know” is by far the weakest, most whack Maroon 5 song ever. EVER! There is no nice way to put it – this song sucks, blows, and everything else. Levine has a terrific voice and is legitimately a talented musician. On “Don’t Wanna Know” his musicianship doesn’t translate because it’s a generic, sanitized pop record that’s lazy AF. Unfortunately, Kendrick Lamar doesn’t make this unsalvageable pop track any better. He’s heads and tails above this.
5. 3OH!3, “My Dick”
After a while, the hilarity of penis jokes wears off. For many, this maturation happens after high school, at the very latest, college. Simply put, if such jokes were ever funny, the comical nature doesn’t last. Don’t tell this to the two 3OH!3 members, who are both in their 30s. Sean Foreman is 31, while Nathaniel Motte is 32, writing a dumb song about genitals. Why is a pop song about the size of their schlongs funny or acceptable? Boys – rather men – you can’t stay frat boys forever.
6. Charlie Puth ft. Meghan Trainor, “Marvin Gaye”
(Nine Track Mind)
The real, late, great Marvin Gaye would turn over in his grave if he heard “Marvin Gaye.” Geez Louise! “Let’s Marvin Gaye and get it on.” Who says that? Furthermore, if “Marvin Gaye” is the definitive guide, who does that? Defamation may be too strong in the context of this song, but clearly Puth and Trainor have a different take on sex than Gaye ever did… “Let’s Get It On” was raw and passionate, while “Marvin Gaye” doesn’t even let the heat of the passion percolate. It’s too conservative…too poised. And to quote numerous music critics, “the whitest song ever.”
7. Igga Azalea, “Team”
Iggy Azalea doesn’t have to concern herself with being a one-hit wonder. She managed to score big hits with both “Fancy” and “Black Widow.” The problem is, once the recycling began (“Beg For It”), and the novelty wore off, the appeal of Iggy waned tremendously. Couple that background with an undercooked new single, “Team,” and it’s easy to see why it failed to create any serious buzz.
“Team” was built all wrong from the start… Maybe the same could be said of the artistry of Iggy. Regardless, “Team” sounds too much like both “Fancy” and “Beg For It,” which doesn’t bode well for an artist suffering an identity crisis. The next problem is the flow is predictable. It’s not so much that its lazy, but it doesn’t come over as authentic – it sounds manufactured. The nail in the coffin is lyrics that are abysmal. There’s no redeeming qualities ultimately. “Minor setback for a major comeback” – No – not in the least! Awful!
8. Daya, “Sit Still, Look Pretty”
(Sit Still, Look Pretty)
Give Daya props for being a teen-pop star. There is nothing wrong with her pursuit of pop stardom. The problem is, the material and a highly annoying vocal performance. “Sit Still, Look Pretty” is in contention for the most annoying song of the last couple of years. The production is eye-roll worthy, while the lyrics are as corny AF. Clearly, Daya has attitude: “Call me HBIC.” Translation: Head bitch in charge. Hmm. The silliest reference is courtesy of Walt Disney: “That Snow White, she did right in her life / had seven men to do the chores / cause that’s not what a lady’s for…” O…M…G… Honestly, I cringe a little bit every time I hear just the intro of this song.
9. Zayion McCal & Zay Hilfigerrr, “JuJu on That Beat”
Just when it seems utter stupidity can’t grow any stupider, here comes a record that’s as annoying AF. Is there anything worse than a viral sensation? The answer is a resounding “HELL NO.” Annoying, annoying, annoying! What’s the point ultimately? THERE IS NONE!
10. Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez, “We Don’t Talk Anymore”
(Nine Track Mind)
Charlie Puth is the gift that keeps on giving…said no one ever. Here, Puth is paired with another oft-annoying pop singer, Selena Gomez (“Hands to Myself”), for one of the most trying duets of the year. “We Don’t Talk Anymore” states the obvious, which is part of the problem. Too often throughout Nine Track Mind, Puth keeps things ridiculously simple. No, he’s not asked to be trivial, but “We Don’t Talk Anymore” limits itself without leaving anywhere to expand. The production only adds fuel to the fire of the annoyance.
The biggest reason this duet is lackluster other than narrow lyrics are the vocals. Charlie Puth has a pleasant voice, but he doesn’t have an instrument that electrifies. He has a very light voice that doesn’t pack much punch. The same can be said of Gomez. The final product, hence, is so airy that it floats along in forgettable fashion. If music is meant to immerse the listener into magic and/or memorability, “We Don’t Talk Anymore” clearly fails miserably.
11. Kiiara, “Gold”
(Low Kii Savage)
The best way to describe “Gold?” All production, no substance. For whatever reason, “Gold” shot up the charts. As to how and why, we still don’t know. Being frank, this sounds like a minimalist piece of… fill in the ellipsis. There is no need for deep analysis. There is nothing deep about “Gold.” WTF is she even saying? Kiiara, back to the drawing board dear.
12. Fergie, “M.I.L.F. $”
Stacy Ferguson aka Fergie is 41-years old. By being 41-years old, that means that she is middle-aged. There is nothing wrong with being middle aged, but there is something wrong with trying to be something you’re not. Basically, Fergie isn’t a spring chicken in the music game anymore. When The Dutchess arrived in 2006, Fergie was 31 years old, and the style fit. On trashy comeback “M.I.L.F. $” it is clear that Fergie is trying to win over the same market she left more than decade ago. That’s NOT going to happen. Even if it were going to happen, it’s not going to happen with something as substandard as “M.I.L.F. $.”
13. Jacob Sartorius, “Hit or Miss”
(The Last Text EP, 2017)
Jacob Sartorius strikes again! Thankfully, “Hit or Miss” isn’t as shameful as the aforementioned flop, “Sweatshirt.” Unfortunately, that’s saying very little. Indeed, there is nothing – NOTHING – that makes “Hit or Miss” a hit. Hopefully, we – an audience of sensible folk who love real music – won’t be in it with Jacob Sartorius for the long haul. This song is total BS.
14. Meghan Trainor, “Me Too”
“If I were you, I’d wanna be me too.” Overconfident there Meghan? Ugh! Everybody understands what Meghan Trainor is attempting to do. The problem is, her attempts have the adverse effect. Narcissism has been thrown around a lot when discussing this “gem.” “Me Too” is arguably catchier than “No,” but both records are questionable.
15. Charlie Puth, “One Call Away”
(Nine Track Mind)
We’ve really given Charlie Puth lots of crap. What’s a little more? In one sense, “One Call Away” is among the strongest moments of Nine Track Mind. BUT…is that saying much with an album that’s as week as Nine Track Mind? No, sadly. The biggest problem with “One Call Away” is that Puth is too sensitive. While he tries to showcase some grit, his voice remains on the light side of the spectrum. Besides the sensitivity, he kills any sense of machismo with a corny reference to Superman: “I’m only one call away/ I’ll be there to save the day / Superman ain’t got nothing on me / I’m only one call away.” If we’re nitpicking, the way he sings “me” is also annoying…
16. Hailee Steinfield & Grey ft. Zedd, “Starving”
Arguably, “Starving” isn’t half as terrible as the rest of the songs that grace this list. Still, this song irks every time it comes on radio. Some songs you hear on XM you want to buy and support the artist on iTunes. In the case of this Steinfield, Grey & Zedd collaboration, the desire is to “Run Like Hell” from it, to quote Pink Floyd.
17. Desiigner, “Tiimmy Turner”
Let’s not get too analytical here. Desiigner uses a cartoon character as inspiration for a rap song? What’s wrong with this picture? He gets pass for the Grammy-nominated juggernaut “Panda,” but “Tiimmy Turner” is much sketchier. The production is pro at least.
18. The Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan, “All We Know”
For the most part, The Chainsmokers can do no wrong in 2016. The hits are abundant and the two former frat bros are along for the lucrative ride. Still, arguably, “All We Know” feels closer to a misstep than a triumph. No, the duo doesn’t fall incredibly short, but following the domination of “Closer” featuring Halsey, “All We Know” trends ever too close in sound and vibe. This is the proof that you can’t recycle and expect the same level of success. “All We Know” is no “Closer.”
19. Drake ft. Wiz Kid & Kyla, “One Dance”
How dare a big-time, no. 1 hit grace the worst songs of 2016 list? Here’s the thing – it also graces the 50 Best Songs of 2016 year-end list. Contradiction! Maybe it’s cruel, but screw it – we’re keeping it all the way real! Honestly, Drake’s “One Dance” earns a rightful place on this list. Drake has released some truly awesome songs over the course of his career, but this hybrid rap/sung-dance joint isn’t amongst them. It’s ever too light, lacking substance… It’s as if Drake didn’t put much thought into this one – see the video of the SNL performance… SMH.
20. Justin Timberake, “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”
How about another contradiction? Justin Timberlake earned a spot on our 50 Best Songs of 2016 list much like Drake (“One Dance”). Even so, at no. 33, it wasn’t without reservations: “It’s not pop’s second coming, but “Can’t” is fun and infectious.” Indeed, Justin Timberlake has recorded better songs, some of which didn’t reach no. 1 like “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” Some argue that the Trolls song is the worst song of 2016. We won’t go that far… it’s not great, but it’s a step above “Go 4 It” or “Sweatshirt” any day!
Photo Credit: Epic, T3 Music Group, Artist Partner Group/Atlantic,