2001. A new year, a new president, and new music. At this point, R&B has become the dominant genre once again with hip-hop not far behind. With that, more pop artists started incorporating R&B elements into their music. Rock has pretty much stayed the same with post-grunge and alternative. And country music is… well, country music. Outside of that, 2001 was pretty much the same as 2000, only with more great songs. Not much else to say, let’s start the list.
Hello, Jennifer Lopez. Not surprised to see you here. Out of all of the female pop stars to ever become famous in the early 2000s, J Lo is the least interesting out of them all. Outside of being a Latina, there’s not much to her. Her singing range is limited and her production is always a reflection of the times. She just happened to be lucky to blow up during the Latin explosion back in 1999 (plus, being attractive as hell doesn’t hurt much). Anyways, J Lo makes the list thanks to I’m Real. There’s two versions of this song, I’m going with the remix with Ja Rule because that’s the one people know about the most. I’m Real is the standard “thugs need love, too” song that plagued the early 2000s with J Lo singing about how much she loves the unnamed dude while Ja Rule raps about how much of a gangster he is. The contrast between the rough verses and gentle hook doesn’t work as there’s nothing that brings them together seamlessly and the relationship they’re talking about doesn’t sound like one I want. I’ll give it this; the beat is decent. Too bad it’s not enough.
Even though I’m not the biggest country music fan, I can recognize when a song from that genre is good. The Way You Love Me is not one of those songs. Hell, this is barely a country song with its sterile production that you would hear in pop music of the time. There’s not much in the writing as it’s basically a generic love song. But what makes this song bad outside of the production is Faith Hill herself, who sounds checked out as she isn’t even trying with her singing, which is buried in vocal effects and the Auto-Tune sticks out in certain parts like the middle of the chorus after the line “there’s no where else I’d rather be” where you hear what sounds like Rosie from The Jetsons trying to yodel. And it comes straight out of buttfucking nowhere. How do people like this dreck?
Even as a kid who didn’t have a music taste, I knew that I couldn’t stand this song. 3LW (3 Little Women) are basically the poor man’s Destiny’s Child (if there were no Beyonce or Kelly Rowland) and their music was basic as all hell, but No More (Baby I’ma Do Right) stood out the most as the absolute worst. The production is so fragile and thin, they’d fit perfectly in a FL Studio preset. The Auto-Tuned vocals are grating to the ears, especially when the girls already have high-pitched voices that could break glass. The concept isn’t bad, dealing with a boyfriend who suddenly thinks he’s a player, but the execution is WAY off. This might seem like a nitpick, but nearly every line in the verses and chorus repeats the last words and it annoys me because it signals lazy writing. And for some goddamn reason, there’s a rap breakdown after the bridge from someone who thinks they’re Left Eye. No. Just no at everything in this song.
I’m surprised that this isn’t much higher up on the list. Bootylicious is despised by nearly everyone and you can add me to the list as well. One question that popped into my mind when listening to this song is… why? Just… why? The production samples the guitar riff from Stevie Nicks’ Edge Of Seventeen and paired it up with a clusterfuck of percussion. It just becomes noise to me. Beyonce, Kelly, and Michelle (the other one) aren’t at their best vocally as they brag about how sexy they are, which we already know and it reduces itself to ego-stroking. This is also the song that people claim to have coined the term bootylicious (it even got an entry on the Oxford dictionary) even though those knowledgeable with hip-hop would know that it was Snoop Dogg who said it first on Dre Day and back then, it was another term for wack. So with that context, when Beyonce is saying that her body is too bootylicious, she’s saying that she has an unattractive body (which is a damn lie, BTW). Wow. If that’s not a lyrical backfire, I don’t know what is. Well, it won’t be the first time Beyonce gets something wrong nor will it be the last time someone takes a word that means one thing and give it another definition. Regardless of definition, Bootylicious is still a terrible song.
One of the re-occurring running gags of this site is that even though I said that I don’t hate NSYNC, I always find myself either criticizing them or making fun of them. For some reason, they give me plenty of material to riff on them on. Anyways, I never liked any of NSYNC’s ballads; (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You, I Drive Myself Crazy, a majority of their Christmas album, etc. They all stink of sugarcoated sappiness that’s reminiscent of Savage Garden. We can also add This I Promise You to that list with its lightweight strings, guitar, and drums that makes Christian rock look like thrash metal. Vocally, the guys sound good, but what they’re given to sing isn’t that good as they’re spouting out empty promises and nearly every smaltzy “girl, I love you” lyric out of the book. NSYNC, you’re better than this.
Here’s another song that most of you probably don’t remember. You know how some female pop stars embrace the bad girl image and most of them aren’t that convincing? Well, Willa Ford is a good example of that with I Wanna Be Bad. The production is pretty much a product of its time with its thin guitars, cheap percussion, and horn stabs that gets annoying with each passing second, plus, gratuitous Auto-Tune that makes Willa Ford sound like she’s drowning in an indoor pool. The writing is very cliched in terms of trying to be a grown woman and it just ends up sounding more immature. I don’t buy Willa as a “bad girl.” It’s just trying way too hard. Oh, and there’s a pointless rap feature in there (because why not?) provided by Royce Da 5’9. Yep. You read that right. Royce Da 5’9. I’m guessing Marshall wasn’t giving him enough attention, so he thought he could gain some recognition with this one-hit wonder. Won’t be the last time he’ll be appearing in a disappointing track.
Nas… WHY?! Just… WHY?! Why did you make this crap? People, Nas is one of the greatest rappers of all time with Illmatic being the textbook definition of a classic hip-hop album. Oochie Wally, on the other hand, is not a good representation of who Nas is as an artist. This song (outside of You Owe Me and Nastradamus) is considered to be his worst song ever and for good reason. It’s Nas’ attempt at a sex song and the cringe levels are at maximum, starting with an unflattering intro. The chorus sucks, half of it is just repeating the phrase “oochie wally wally, oochie bang bang,” which I don’t want to know the context of, and the other half is this woman describing various ways a dude is fucking her, including him gutting her. I get that this is another phrase for penetration, but couldn’t you have picked something that doesn’t remind me of someone getting murdered? And we haven’t even got to the rap verses yet. All of the members of Bravehearts (including Nas’ younger brother) provide basic bars about their sexcapades with Nas having the best verse, but even he sucked. Nas…
Now I’ve already done a full Target Practice on this song, so go check that out if you have time. I’ll be brief. The beat is a blatant ripoff of The Jackson 5’s I Want You Back along with the way it’s sung, Romeo’s bars are weak as fuck, and the lyrics are just him bragging about how cool he is and how all of the girls want him, which isn’t helped by a grown woman singing about how much she wants Romeo, which brings disturbing, pedophilic context to this already horrific song. This is the worst of pop-rap music made for prepubescents. In the words of a great music reviewer, NEXT!!
Anyone remember 112? No? Well, I don’t blame you. They were an R&B group signed to P. Diddy’s Bad Boy label. And that enough about them. The biggest thing that they’ve ever done was the bridge of P. Diddy’s Biggie tribute I’ll Be Missing You. They’re not an interesting group at all and none of their songs have hooked me, especially not Peaches & Cream. First off, this production is horrible; it’s the same beeping synthesizer noises and a bassline that sounds like someone having chronic flatulence. It’s the same loop farting into your ear for three minutes. The lyrics aren’t any better as the dudes of 112 sing about their addiction to sex and comparing it to ice cream. So there’s going to be white sticky stuff everywhere? Well, there goes my appetite for ice cream. There’s nothing that can salvage this song, not even a certain amount of charm and charisma, which 112 lacks. This is horseshit and it’s not even the worst song of the year.
And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.
- Blu Cantrell-Hit Em Up Style (Oops)
- Uncle Kraker-Follow Me
- Evan And Jaron-Crazy For This Girl
- Sugar Ray-When It’s Over
- Toya-I Do!!
- Jessica Simpson-Irresistible
- Brooks & Dunn-Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You
- Mariah Carey ft Cameo-Loverboy
- Trick Daddy-I’m A Thug
- Eden’s Crush-Get Over Yourself
And finally, the worst song of 2001 IS…….
If there ever was a song that perfectly encapsulates the worst of the early 2000s sound of pop music and teen pop of the era as well, it would be He Loves U Not by girl group Dream. This is what happens when a talent scout throws four white girls with the presence of tumbleweed into a group and have them sing shitty music. The production of this song is atrocious, incorporating some of the worst aspects of pop music of its time with the most prominent element being those beeping synthesizers that won’t shut the fuck up; it enough to give anyone a migraine by the end. It’s like the producer just threw in the worst sound effect from the sci-fi kit. Dream themselves are bland as hell and are forgettable as performers. If you were to compare them to other girl groups, they don’t stand out at all. Plus, it doesn’t help that I can’t tell who’s who vocally, especially when they’re buried 6 feet under Auto-Tune. On paper, the writing and premise aren’t that bad, confronting a woman trying to steal someone’s boyfriend, but the way it’s presented and the attitude of the girls makes me want to not root for them. It reminds me of He’s Mine by Mokenstef, mostly because they’re just dissing the other girl in an immature fashion that recalls schoolyard bullies. Oh, and guess who Dream signed to?
Yep. P. motherfucking Diddy and Bad Boy Records. That perfectly explains why they haven’t stuck around. Congratulations to He Loves U Not for being the worst song of 2001.
So those were the worst songs of 2001. Next month, BACK TO THE 2000s continues with the Worst Songs of 2002.
SONGS OF THE WEEK
California Girls-Beach Boys
Summertime-DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince