After 9 months of posting nothing, I am happy to announce that we are, in fact, back in this bitch.
2019 was a fucking incredible year for music.
I mean it, this is easily the best year since 2013. Country was explosive, Hip-hop was consistently solid overall with some amazing new talents popping up (side note: this is also the year a bunch of “soundcloud rap” I previously just dismissed clicked with me out of nowhere), pop, rock and edm were… nonexistent, and the few we did get weren’t that good, but hey they can’t all be winners I suppose. Think about it: for new debuts we got Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, DaBaby and Lizzo- all great! And that’s not even mentioning the unbelievable comebacks- like who the fuck thought Billy Ray Cyrus would ever get another charting song, let alone one of the biggest songs of all time? God, I could just go for hours gushing about all the great music we got this year…
But if you’ll look at the title, you’ll see that I sadly can’t do that. Positivity can wait, because it’s time to give the people what they want- lazy by-the-numbers cynicism and feigned rage. Yaaay! Fun!
I apologize for that, I’ve just been feeling bitter and negative for a long-ass time, and I’m sick of it. That shit sucks, it ruined like the past 3 years of my life. Please note that these are just my opinions no matter what, and it’s totally fine if you disagree. Most of my more extreme reactions are hyperbole, anyway.
Btw I did do a list similar to this one last year, it’s on this website, go check it out, I highkey snapped on a few of those reviews. But opinions do change over time, and this is what that list would look like if it were made today:
- Te Bote
- Bad At Love
- I’m Upset
- Yes Indeed
So a couple notable changes. First, I just don’t have it in me to truly despise Gummo anymore. At least it feels like it had some effort put into it. Walk It Talk It and No Brainer were both inoffensive enough to get bumped off in favor of the song threatening your partner with suicide, and Drake bitching about having to pay child support. I was almost going to let Yes Indeed off the hook too, but then I relistened to it, and… it’s still pretty bad.
But fuck the past, it’s time to analyze the… more recent… past. Ok that doesn’t work. Fuck it. Top worst hit songs of 2019, starting with dishonorable mentions- some of which I really had to reach for, seriously this year was just so solid. But anyway, here we go-
DHM. Leave Me Alone- Flipp Dinero
YE Position: 71
Look, I’m aware this song is absolutely awful in pretty much every way, from Flipp Dinero sounding like if Fetty Wap got addicted to meth to the schizophrenic beat, but sometimes this song’s a big mood, okay? During a very small window of time in March this year, this song was like my fucking anthem. Those were dark days, but they do count for something.
DHM?. Baby Shark- Pinkfong
YE Position: 75
I don’t actually hate this song at all, but I think we should all take a moment to acknowledge the fact that a song made for literal toddlers made the year-end hot 100. Truly, this was a surreal year.
DHM. Please Me- Cardi B & Bruno Mars
YE Position: 37
Remember Finesse? That was a thing last year. I still really like that song. But there’s plenty of reasons why I’m not nearly as fond of Cardi and Bruno’s second collaboration. And part of that may be due to how I’ve lost all good will I had towards Cardi B originally. Even beyond her outing herself as a shitty person, the wide array of new female rappers we got this year pushed her out of the spotlight, and rightly so. But what I usually give Cardi is she does have a distinct personality, which is absent here. Despite the sexual lyrics, this song feels extremely sanitized and safe- it just reeks of desperate corporate execs trying to churn out a big radio hit. Bruno sounds way more assertive than Cardi- which is just wrong- but not in a good way. He sounds like a creepy drunk guy here- not the only time he came across that way this year, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. And going back to Finesse for a moment, this production is a massive downgrade. We went from a fun 90’s retro sound to this… deluge of mediocre synths.
DHM. Close Friends- Lil Baby
YE Position: 74
The production on this song is fantastic. It feels so deep and chilled, like a clear beautiful lake.
But Lil Baby is a dick.
DHM. Thotiana- Blueface
YE Position: 47
This year had a lot of um… unconventional? songs from random rappers who have already faded from relevancy. Some- like Mo Bamba and Shotta Flow- were pretty good. But then there’s Thotiana- one of those songs I wanted to get into but I just can’t. The whole thing is just too loose and unfocused, it comes across as really sloppy. Blueface isn’t really a bad rapper (despite his gimmick being not rapping on beat, which is just stupid), and he’s done some good stuff, but he’s always going to be remembered for this messy White Frat Boy anthem.
Also, I just thought of something: at least one child has been named Thotiana by this point. Imagine six years from now, first day of kindergarten, the teacher calls for Thotiana while taking attendance, and everyone laughs. This laughing and mockery continues until one day, Thotiana’s had enough. Next thing you know, she’s the first female mass shooter. Wild, huh?
DHM. Speechless- Dan + Shay
YE Position: 35 (how and why)
Remember how hyped I was for these guys after Tequila nearly made my best list? Yeah, well one pop crossover later and they lost all that good will. Forget Lewis Capaldi, this is an example of “and IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII-” abuse. Just a sterile wasteland of a song overall.
DHM. Hey Look Ma I Made It- Panic! At The Disco
YE Position: 61
I almost considered giving a mention to High Hopes- aka the Pete Buttigieg song- as well, but while that song is just bland, it never actively gets insufferable, what with the production and the lyrics.
“and if you lose, boo hoo”
“HEY LOOK MA I MADE IT”
Contract testicular cancer and die, Brendon Urie.
DHM. 7 Rings- Ariana Grande
YE Position: 7 (lol)
Ariana Grande had an… interesting 2019, to say the least. I mean, this was the year she tried to become black and gay at the same time, all while this song dominated the charts. And her two latest singles completely flopped so… where does she go from here? Hopefully somewhere better, because this really doesn’t work for her. The lyrics and production would all make for an average brag rap song, but Ariana is clearly not a rapper. Hell, she’s not even rapping on this song, she’s just kind of speaking aggressively. With that said, most of the conversation surrounding this song is a complete mess. It’s not all that problematic or harmful to anyone (except maybe the poor “whoever said money can’t solve all your problems must not’ve had enough money to solve em” real classy), and hey, I guess basic white girls need hype songs too. I used to hate this song way more, but now- I suppose things could be worse. And on that note- the top 10.
Oh wait I got a couple more
DHM. Beautiful- Bazzi ft. Camila Cabello
YE Position: 95
I hate this song for what it represents. This should not be on the year-end, and you can’t convince me that this had more of an impact in 2019 than This Is It by Scotty McCreery, Good As Hell by Lizzo, and even Never Really Over by Katy Perry. Mostly I’m just pissed about This Is It. Everything was pointed in its favor, and yet it just missed out nevertheless. See? I even included it on my best list. Had a whole great dramatic intro for it and everything.
But couldn’t I blame one of the other songs blocking it off like Walk Me Home? Sure, but the story gets worse with Beautiful here.
Earlier this year, I did a rankdown on this website called Pulsemusic. Basically I made a bunch of other music nerds rank 50 songs that just missed the 2018 year-end that didn’t have a chance at any other year-ends.
Guess what song I included in those ranks?
Fuck you Delphox. Bitch-ass motherfucking shitcock.
DHM. God Only Knows- for KING & COUNTRY
Not a hit- not even close, but it did chart for a couple weeks, and it’s legitimately one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. If I was feeling suicidal and I heard this song, I’d have hung myself before the first verse finished. Yes, it’s that bad. And people call this song therapeutic and emotionally compelling? Ugh.
I could write several essays on how horrific that song is, but none of y’all want that. Now let’s do this shit for real.
And just as I was finalizing this list, it turns out that Juice WRLD has died.
This year, I expect to see songs like Be Alright and Someone You Loved pop up on more than a few worst lists. And I don’t really agree with that. Someone You Loved is just mediocre (when I called it a masterpiece on twitter I was just kidding), and Be Alright… well, you’ll have to wait for the next list to hear my thoughts on that one.
But there was one piece of adult contemporary radio fodder that did piss me off this year.
10. You Say- Lauren Daigle
YE Position: 60
Alright, firstly, just like with Let You Down last year, I feel the need to preface this by saying this supposedly being a Christian song does not matter. I’m not Christian, have no interest in Christian music, and this song doesn’t even explicitly mention God or Jesus, so doesn’t matter really. Just a regular song as far as we’re concerned.
First problem I noticed with this song was the production. It’s the same two piano chords, or notes, or whatever played on loop for the whole song. Actually that kinda reminds me of a certain other song, what was it?
Oh right, this. Good thing I thought about this too, because You Say has so little to it that it’s necessarily to artificially extend this segment by comparing it to another better song. The piano line in Someone Like You is repeated, yes, but it’s actually complex and doesn’t get tiresome 30 seconds in. Someone Like You had Adele’s deep soulful voice, You Say has the complete non-entity that is Lauren Daigle. Someone Like You had a story to tell and a reflective tone, while You Say can be, well, a bit problematic.
“The only thing that matters now is everything you think of me”
Ignoring the close proximity of “thing” and “everything”- which is just technically poor songwriting, that’s… not the best message. This is supposed to be a song about overcoming insecurities, and don’t get me wrong, having people around for support can be very beneficial. However, if you lean on them too much, you won’t start feeling self-positive on your own, and you’ll be left seeking constant validation. And the reason I chose to showcase that line in particular is because it encapsulates the worst implications You Say’s main theme can lead to- your happiness is now dependent on someone else’s view of you. And if they don’t like you anymore? Well, guess it’s back to isolation and depression! Yes, I know that the “you” in this song is probably Jesus, and yes, I know I’m looking too deeply into a song for white christian moms to get lit to, but come on, what else am I supposed to say? “It’s boring”? Well yeah, no shit it’s boring, it’s a fucking insomnia cure. Ugh, that’s all I’ve got. #9?
This one took a while, but wow does it sour more and more with every listen.
9. Only Human- Jonas Brothers
YE Position: 78
I’ll have to keep this brief; I’ve already promised several people this list would be out three days ago.
First of all: wow y’all really didn’t know how to follow up Sucker huh? Second: I’ve always fucking hated that horn thing. Y’know, the main part of the beat. Hated it on Suit & Tie, hate it even more here because it never stops. Sounds like asthma. Third:
“Stop pretending you’re shy, just come on and dance dance dance”
Or maybe she’s pretending to be shy (she might not even be pretending) to avoid talking to you. Cause you’re giving her good reason. I’d fuckin avoid you.
There’s more bad lines I could pick apart, but like I said, I’m late on this already. So next song…
Uhhh… top 10 anime crossovers?
8. Baby- Lil Baby ft. DaBaby
YE Position: 84
Ok, what an inexperienced (lazy) critic might dwell on is the title “Hahaha they really named a song with Lil Baby and DaBaby “Baby”.” Yeah sure, it’s kind of a meme-y title, and I doubt the song would’ve been as big under a different name, but it wouldn’t be a problem if the song itself was good.
And guess what? The song’s not good- it’s actually pretty fucking terrible. But before I tear into it, I’d like to exempt DaBaby of any criticism. Look, I love this guy, he’s one of the best new rappers of the past few years, and he is trying on his verse, trying to work with this flaccid cock of a beat. And of course I get why he made this song, the opportunity was too much to pass up. It’s probably the most phoned-in performance I’ve ever heard from him, but he does keep the song from ranking higher. God, I wish Baby Sitter with Offset was a hit instead of this. That shit slaps, go check it out if you haven’t. What was I talking about? Ah yes, the other Infant. The evil twin. The Meg Griffin- where the fuck am I going with this what the fuck-
I’ve said my piece on Lil Baby before with Yes Indeed, and most of that applies here as well. I will at least admit that his verses are catchy in an irritating way, but what use do I have for his tennis-ball sounding ass when Young Thug can do what he does with more range and personality, and put out an album this year? Well, at least Lil Baby can take solace in the fact that he’s not what truly tanks this song. That honor goes to the production. One of the worst beats all year, hands down. It carries no punch and never goes anywhere, just lingering under the vocals, sucking away any impact they might have had. I was joking before, but “flaccid penis” truly is the most fitting comparison here. It actually reminds me a lot of a certain other hit song from last year… what was it?
Bruh, if you’re gonna rip off anybody… why would you choose 6ix9ine?
But whatever, hardly anyone remembers this exists, never heard it discussed in school or online, so… ultimately it doesn’t matter. If you want a song that could actually have harmful repercussions, we have #7 for that.
I said it last year, I’ll say it again here: Drake has the power to give anyone a hit, but he really should be more careful who he props up. In this instance, he brought back everyone’s favorite domestic abuser! So let’s all give this guy as much time and attention as he deserves: none!
7. No- No ft. No
YE Position: 21- I mean No
I remember a day- think it was sometime in late January idk that point of my life has just sort of blurred together- when a certain tracklist got leaked for an album I was… relatively interested in. Though the first two singles had me worried, I still had hopes, given this artist’s talent and potential- as well as a consistent track record of “good but not great” albums. But once I saw this song’s title- just the title- no actual audio, my hopes were dashed. And somehow I just knew it would be the next big single.
I’ve been wrong about a lot of things, and this song’s success should have been one of them.
6. Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored- Ariana Grande
YE Position: 36
I’ll be honest: part of me does appreciate how up front this song is with its scumminess. It’s not pulling a Treat You Better and claiming to be acting out of genuine love and fear for the other person’s safety: no, Ariana just wants to fuck. Ok, cool. That’s still a shitty thing to do. Lemme be clear: being horny? perfectly fine. I myself am horny quite often. I immediately regret saying that. The point is: nothing wrong with wanting to fuck some random guy- we’ve all been there, I’m sure. Wanting to fuck a guy already in a relationship? I mean I wouldn’t- that does feel kind of underhanded, but if it’s an open relationship and his partner’s fine with it, go ahead, it’s all good. Demanding this guy break up with his girlfriend- who he could potentially be in a long term serious relationship with- just so you can suck his dick for five minutes? Nah, that’s fucked up and selfish.
And I guess she tried to push this as some sort of lesbian anthem? But there’s absolutely no indication of that in the lyrics. Not that it would matter, the song’s toxic and entitled either way- but the only thing that really points towards this is the music video. And even then, it never goes all in, just playing around with the idea and some mild flirting. It even cuts out right before they kiss, because I guess that would’ve been too much. Seriously, who directed this, JK Rowling? It’s about on the same level of shitty half-assed representation. “Ooooh look, these two people of the same gender are HOLDING HANDS and- and- SMILING AT EACH OTHER! How wild!” Yeah, why don’t you shut the fuck up and show an actual gay couple grandma. Or is that too scary for the white suburban moms- the same ones who think Bernie Sanders is the fucking devil.
Anyways, fuck this song. Let’s hope for better lgbt+ representation in the next decade, and better music in Ariana’s next album.
This is Eyes On You by Chase Rice. It was a minor hit this year, and I would have loved to put it on this list. I’ve been wanting a chance to tear into Chase Rice for years now, ever since his bro-country abomination Ready Set Roll from 2014. He’s been consistently one of the worst acts in country music, just producing the absolute bottom of the barrel every time. Thankfully the public recognized this and blockaded most of his efforts to cross over. Then this song happened, and it managed to just scrape onto the year-end list.
And y’know what? It’s aight. It shows some genuine improvement from the guy, and it makes for decent background noise. Not exactly high praise, I know, and I also know plenty of people hate this song. And y’know what? Fair enough, but this other country song came out the same week that was infinitely worse. And I’m so fucking pissed it managed to make the year end.
5. Talk You Out Of It- Florida-Georgia Line
YE Position: 94
I’m not even sure how this one managed to be a hit, it only barely cracked the top 60. I guess once you get on the inside of Nashville, country radio is obligated to push the hell out of your song no matter how worthless and shitty it is. Fun fact: this is the lowest-peaking song to ever make a year-end. We could’ve done a lot better, because now this piece of shit has something to remember it for! But at the rate the charts are going, it probably won’t be long until songs will make the year-end and peak at like 80 or some shit.
Anyways, I hate this song for one simple reason: it’s gross. I know that’s such a vague, nebulous term, but it’s true. The two douches attempt to be romantic, but they just show themselves as lazy assholes. The plot of this song is their girl wants to go out, but whoever it’s from the point of view of (Imma say “Florida”… god wtf does the other guy even do? In this scenarios, does he just stand in the corner and watch them fuck?). I got off topic, shit. Here we go: girl wants to go out, guy just wants to watch tv and fuck, and spends the whole song manipulating her into doing so, all accompanied by some blocky guitar. Yeah, I’m sure this’ll win all the ladies’ hearts. The public never wasted too much time on this shit, and neither will I! Number 4 time!
Bruno, what the hell were you doing this year?
4. Wake Up In The Sky- Gucci Mane ft. Bruno Mars & Kodak Black
YE Position: 51
Here’s a song that just got worse with every listen. Hell, every time I thought about it, it soured on me more. And I could waste time talking about the production, but Imma be honest, it’s late right now and I’m tired and I already have enough to say about each of these three individuals as is.
Let’s start with the supposed lead artist on this song: Gucci Mane. But the funny part is, he only has one verse and it’s even shorter than Kodak’s. And that’s nothing new: Gucci Mane is just like this. He’s had two solo hits besides this one: Both and I Get The Bag. With Both- that’s the song title, btw, I’m not addressing both songs at once, I don’t blame you if you forgot it existed. Hell, I did. And that’s the only song of his where he gets more than one verse. What a coincidence that is. I Get The Bag, meanwhile- it’s a decent, average Migos song. Takeoff’s verse is pretty solid, Quavo does fine on the hook, and I think there’s one other rapper here, shows up towards the very end, who was that? Oh right, the SUPPOSED LEAD ARTIST ON THE SONG! What I’m saying is, he’s a complete nonpresence and sounds like a feature even on his own songs. But lack of distinct personality has worked to his benefit- how else could he have kept his career going for m o r e t h a n t e n y e a r s w i t h 8 7 a l b u m s a n d m i x t a p e s- m o s t l y r e l e a s e d w h i l e i n p r i s o n. Well, perhaps that’s unfair- nobody actually bought his shit until he got featured on Black Beatles. And here, well he does his usual- fills around 40 seconds with nothing memorable. Great job continuing to build your legacy as hip-hop’s placeholder, my dude.
And as for Bruno…
Ok, I know people have said that once he ran out of throwback material, he’d have no idea what to do with his career, but like- those were supposed to be jokes. Between this and Please Me, I’m… a little concerned about his next album. Like, you okay buddy? Do ya need some time in rehab. You sound drunk- again.
All joking aside, what’s going on here? I don’t know why he delivers his lines like that, but he somehow manages to sound more rapey than the actual rapist. Speaking of-
“I’m so fly don’t need no flight attendant
Big Cuban link don’t need no pendant”
Why does Kodak still have a career? I thought we were done with letting terrible people blow up after 2018 ended. 6ix9ine’s gone and so is X (although that latter case is probably due to other circumstances). And Murder On My Mind was a hit this year too, so… yeah, guess not. Kodak’s still here probably cause Zeze fucking slaps, thanks to the beat, Offset, Travis- basically everything that isn’t Kodak.
But on this song, he might actually fare the best. He at least doesn’t disappoint. His voice sucks as usual, but his flow at least has some energy to it. There’s nothing all that bad about his verse, that is until the end where he tries singing.
“and I finally got my wiiii-iiiii-ings, they make me wanna siiii-iiii-iiing”
Yeah, sir, I’m gonna have to confiscate your wings. Pretty sure they’re against prison regulations anyway. Also, I don’t mean to body-shame, but do you really think going shirtless was the best idea? I mean, you’re out here lookin almost as bad as Juice… nevermind, that would be in bad taste now. He was a talented newcomer who was taken too soon.
Ok, who’s ready for some bad yeehaw?
No, no, I meant the one that actually belongs on the country charts. Don’t worry though, I’ll be getting to you two in a minute.
3. Knockin Boots- Luke Bryan
YE Position: 79
Let’s start with the non-negatives. Luke Bryan’s still an alright singer, and the productions starts out as complete shit, but it gets progressively better throughout the song (the first post-chorus solo not withstanding). By the end, you’re kinda like “aight, I can sorta vibe with this.”
At least you would be if not for the songwriting. As a writer, I just wanna give a bit of advice on gimmicks: you better be damn sure it can hold up. The gimmick in this song is every line involves “blank needs blank”. Can you see where that might get strenuous? Now allow me to over-analyze nearly every single lyric.
“this truck needs a half-tank
these wheels need a two-lane
this radio needs three songs to play
to get me cross town to you”
Ok, ok, fine so far.
“That dress needs to slip off”
We’ve entered sleazy territory, but ok, it’s not that-
“Friday nights need to do
what Friday nights need to do”
what does that-
“that’s the truth.”
What is? What’s the truth? What the fuck are you trying to communicate? Sex? Is that it? ‘Cause that’s not a Friday-night exclusive thing. I mean, my friday night routine is staying up too late posting shit tweets and generally being a sad fuck, and there’s nothin’ sexy about that.
“Yeah birds need bees and ice needs whiskey”
I’ll excuse the first one, but “ice needs whiskey”? Yeah sure, let’s pour alcohol on the icecaps to stop global warming. Thanks Luke Bryan.
“Boys like me need girls like you to kiss me”
Yeah the boys round here… drinkin that ice cold- dammit, why’d you have to remind me of that? Although I’d say we’re just about on that song’s level anyways.
and here’s the kicker-
“boots need knockin-
” knockin boots!”
Worst two seconds of the year. Oh my god. You take a shitty old expression that barely makes sense (why you wearing boots during sex?)
(spent a good 90 seconds of my life on this)
-not only do you use this dumb outdated expression for your fucking dad joke, you then have to rephrase it to “knockin boots”. This is the equivalent of that one friend at the movies who nudges you and says “hahaha get it? get it?” everytime someone says a joke. And you wanna punch em in the face, but you can’t because they’re your friend. With that said, I’d totally punch Luke Bryan in the face.
In case you’re wondering: no, the lyrics don’t get any better from here on out.
“That dance floor needs some me on you”
Bruh, don’t fuck in public. You’ll get in trouble!
“Tip bells need to be rung”
Ok, I agree. Service industry workers need tips to survive, they barely get paid anything.
“and backseats need I want you so bad”
uhhh… I don’t think you meant to say that part out loud. Although in reality, you shouldn’t have said any of this, and probably shouldn’t be allowed to talk to women anymore. Bye.
Told ya it was coming!
2. One Thing Right- Marshmello & Kane Brown
YE Position: 89
Ok, this – this is where the songs start to genuinely piss me off. Pretty cool that we only got 2 of those this year. Ugh, where should I even begin? How about with this comedic masterpiece?
Lol yeah ok sure buddy.
Alright, but for real now: the lyrics. Some might have a problem with them, because the song’s protagonist kinda sounds like a piece of shit, but nah, it doesn’t go that far for me. People make mistakes, and they can still deserve happiness after the fact. No, my problem is the fact that the writing is clumsy as fuck.
“mama had herself a little devilish child”
“actin’ like my mama’s little devilish child”
Not good. I dunno what else to say even, just… don’t write songs like this.
and of course, the main line of the whole song.
“I got one thing right-
*cue shitty drop that we’ll discuss later*
Same problem I mentioned with Knockin Boots. If you’re gonna put all your weight on one or two words at the end of the chorus, you’d better make sure they can carry said weight. And the tone makes this line come off not as sincere, but more douchey and self-congratulatory.
But despite all that I just said, I don’t actually care about any of that. Nah, the real culprit here is Mr Stupid Generic Dumb Lazy Hack- I mean Marshmello. Electronic music basically disappeared from the charts this year- for a variety of different factors, I’m sure- but y’know what? Imma put all the blame on him. We could’ve gotten that Kygo/Whitney Houston song on the year-end, but no, we get this shit instead. Up until recently, Marshmello has been a mixed bag for me. Silence from 2017 is still a legitimately great song, and I even kinda liked Here With Me from earlier this year. On the other hand, there’s his hits Happier (death through overexposure), F-R-I-N-D-S (just terrible), and this… abomination. At least with Friends, not all the blame was on him. Here, it’s all his fault. Now comes the part where I try to pick apart the song’s production while pretending like I know what I’m talking about.
The song opens with a simple enough rough acoustic guitar. Not the worst thing ever, although it does feel like it’s trying a bit too hard at sounding authentic. You got a guitar. Congratulations. But immediately this ends up being a problem, because immediately afterwards the synthetic snaps and percussion are thrown in. Already everything’s clashing. It gets worse on the prechorus, where we get the addition of a loud popping sound and this formless squeaking synth cutting in and out.
But then the drop. Oh my god the drop. People have said that Marshmello’s drops are formulaic, and yeah I can hear it. But at least with something like Happier, the tones used were bombastic and uplifting, not sour and ugly like this is. Seriously, what is this bleep-bloop shit? On top of sounding awful, it clashes with literally everything else in the mix. The acoustic-to-electronic switch up has been done before. Hell, one of my favorite songs of all time- Wake Me Up by Avicii- does this. But if Wake Me Up is the best possible outcome of this idea, One Thing Right has to be the worst. Usually the worst I can say for an electronic song like this is that the producer didn’t try, but here it’s so bad I feel like Marshmello had to put in effort to make it sound this horrific.
Oh my god, I didn’t even get to the worst part! The bridge. Literally only about three seconds of music, and it’s enough to put me in a bad mood. The guitar is far too heavy and leaden, and everything else slows around it, it’s like being trapped in a collapsing building, I just- let’s just get to #1 before I hurt somebody or myself.
Ugh, this is not gonna be easy.
I say that not only because of the song itself, but also because if any of you remember that top 20 ranking I did almost a full year ago at this point, I actually said I liked this song, and considered it a real step in the right direction for the artist behind it. But one day this song’s awfulness just hit me like a ton of bricks, and I knew I had to put it on the list somewhere, I just didn’t think it would be all the way at the top. But this song’s inescapable nature was what sealed its fate, and despite some late competition from the likes of One Thing Right and Knockin Boots-
Yeah, this position could only ever belong to Halsey. Because with this song, she more than earned it.
1. Without Me- Halsey
YE Position: 3 (why tho?)
Let’s start with the part that blinded me to this song’s awfulness for a good while- the production. I liked the atmosphere. And I still like bits of it- that wind-tunnel synth sounds pretty cool. But the rest of it hasn’t held up. Especially the snare percussion being too loud, popping out of the mix. It sounds unprofessional. The pitch-shifted backing vocals are difficult to notice, but once you start hearing them they won’t stop tormenting you, and everything else is just… nothing. I don’t even know how to describe it, it just… exists.
So of course, when a song’s lacking in production, the focus is shifted to the vocals and lyrics, right? First of all, Halsey’s singing isn’t the worst she’s ever done- she’s not straining her voice like on Bad At Love, but I mean at least that was something. She sounds like she could not give less of a shit here, which just makes her come across as disingenuous on what’s supposed to be an emotionally charged song.
Oh right, let’s talk about those emotions. This song is allegedly about Halsey’s relationship with G-Eazy. Let’s hear it.
“Found you when my heart was broke
I filled your cup until it overflowed”
Alright, when you met him, he wasn’t doing so good, you made him feel better. That’s all good, pretty wholesome. Where does this go?
“Took it so far to keep you close”
Ehhhhh… define “so far”.
“I was afraid to leave you on your own”
Like in a more broad sense or literally? Because one is just inherent to relationships and the other is creepy.
“And then I got you off your knees
Put you right back on your feet
Just so you could take advantage of me”
Ok, that sucks. Yeah, I’m on your side now.
“Tell me how’s it feel
Sittin up there
Feelin so high
But too far away to hold me”
I’d… assume he’s fine. Isn’t he the one that dumped you?
“You know I’m the one who put you up there”
G-Eazy had 2 hits before you came along, Halsey. Like, I’m assuming that’s who you’re referring to. Him & I wasn’t even that big.
“Does it ever get lonely
Thinking you could live without me?”
And just like that, so many ugly attitudes bubble up to the surface. 1) guilt-tripping. The chorus was guilt-trippy before, but it culminates in these lines. 2) narcissism. He can live without you just fine. 3) psychological abuse. You’re trying to make him feel dependent, like he needs you or else he won’t survive. This is actually a common tactic in abusive relationships: the abuser makes their partner too insecure to leave them. God, maybe this line from Him & I wasn’t a joke.
Hey G-Eazy is your penis ok? Just checking.
“Gave love about a hundred tries
Just running from the demons in your mind
Then I took yours and made them mine
I didn’t notice cause my love was blind”
wow, there’s a lot to unpack there. First, we’ve already established that this is guilt-tripping. And while these lines follow the same pattern of abuse seen in the chorus, except worse because she’s now dragging Gerald’s mental health issues and addiction into this. And with the tragic deaths of artists like Juice WRLD and Mac Miller due to drugs, these lines become all the more horrific. Halsey frames it like she was just too innocent to understand how dark and twisted G-Eazy’s mind was- a completely backwards understanding of mental health that we should definitely be past in almost 2020. That’s not to say you can’t leave someone who’s in a bad mental state- if it’s too much of a burden on you, that’s fine. But to view it in such a spiteful way and project mental issues in this light on your #1 hit song is just disgraceful.
“You don’t have to say
Just what you did
I already know”
Interpolating a classic 2000s song in a way that makes zero sense in the context of the song’s narrative. Good job. Like what, are you calling him out for cheating? If so, why would he bring that up? And ok, he cheated on you. That’s bad. I’ll give you some sympathy there. If you want to write a song about getting cheated on, write that song. Don’t come in here with this fucking savior narrative where you just tried your best to rescue him but he was too far gone. Fuck. Off.
It’s such a shame that we almost let this incredible diverse year be defined by the stale leftovers of all of 2018’s worst aspects- dreary sound, toxic lyrics and all that other good stuff. I’m eternally grateful that Sunflower and Old Town Road blocked this from being the biggest song of the year. Next time I’ll be discussing the best of this year, so be prepared for that. I got a lot of shit going on in the meantime, but I’m hoping to drop that list on Christmas day. See you all next time.