2003 was a mostly good year for music. It’s also pretty much the prelude to the club boom where more and more songs are geared towards getting people moving on the dancefloor. Two big trends occurred during this time: the dancehall explosion where nearly every song made for the clubs had a more Caribbean sound thanks to guys like Sean Paul and there’s also the rise of crunk thanks to acts like Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz that, alongside dancehall, became the soundtrack to nearly every party of the rest of the decade, for better or for worse. Now for the list, which leans more towards the worse. Let’s get started.
We start off with John Mayer, an artist who I’ve been indifferent towards (who I like more as an artist more than as a person). I’ve been wanting to do a Target Practice on Your Body Is A Wonderland for a while now, but I never got to it because I couldn’t think of any good material out of it (it’s still going to happen, I don’t know when). Now that it’s on the list, time to talk about it: it’s a song about afternoon sex. Yep. Just like Afternoon Delight, but on a different level. It tries to be sexy and it fails miserably thanks to the lyrics, which are very awkward and head-tilting like…
One mile to every inch of
Your skin like porcelain
One pair of candy lips and
Your bubblegum tongue
Something ’bout the way the hair falls in your face
I love the shape you take when crawling towards the pillowcase
You tell me where to go and though I might leave to find it
I’ll never let your head hit the bed without my hand behind it
Apparently, this song was written when John was 14 and it’s obvious that this was the work of an amateur. The music isn’t bad (a bit bland, maybe) and I can tolerate John Mayer’s voice, but this is easily one of his weakest songs.
Making yet another appearance on my Worst Songs list is Beyonce, this time, with Baby Boy featuring Sean Paul. The premise of women’s fantasies isn’t a bad idea on paper, but this song doesn’t do it any justice. Beyonce’s barely in the song as she’s outshined by Sean Paul, who takes up the majority of the song. Listening to the song, you think that Beyonce was the guest feature instead of the other way around. But they’re not even the worst part of the song. No, that goes to the production with the dancehall percussion and the Arabic strings that leaves no impact. This beat is just weak, weaker than Superman exposed to Kryptonite. And it’s all thanks to the producer, Scott Storch. This guy worked with The Roots, plus, he contributed to Dr. Dre’s 2001 album, and he was responsible for a good amount of mediocre-to-bad club songs in the mid-2000s, including this. His beats are so stale and devoid of life that, compared to his contemporaries, there’s no need for him. Not the worst song that Beyonce or Sean Paul have ever done, but it’s definitely one of their weakest.
You know what amazes me about R. Kelly? In spite of his status of being one of the most influential R&B artists of all time and bringing us some amazing songs, there’s also a number of stinkers that he was responsible for like Thoia Thoing. This is a typical club song that could’ve only existed in the 2000s that attempts at a dancehall sound and ends up sounding shitty and cheap. The production doesn’t help matters either with its thin guitar and overblown percussion. It’s hilarious to hear R. Kelly use a Jamaican accent in the verses because of how fake it sounds. Oh, and the chorus is repetitive as fuck, most of it is just this high-pitched voice going “thoia thoia thoia thoia thoing thoing.” It’s the audio equivalent of a swarm of tiny flies laughing at you at once. Do I even want to know what thoia thoing means? No, I don’t. Because this song is shit.
Did I ever mentioned that I never watched a full episode of American Idol? Even out of curiosity, the most that I saw were clips on YouTube. In spite of my indifference to the show, it started the careers of a couple of good artists, Clay Aiken is not one of them. He just flat-out sucked. How he got far in AI, I’ll never know. But I can tell you that his debut single, This Is The Night, blows more than a pissed-off airbender. The instrumentation is a limp, lifeless sludge that sounds like every dime-a-dozen soft-rock ballads. In spite of the song being 3 and a half minutes long, it drags so much, it feels like the song is actually 3 and a half hours long. Clay’s singing doesn’t help matters either as he’s mostly belting without actually saying anything. Apparently, this song was written in response to 9/11 and was supposed to sound uplifting. But just like With Arms Wide Open, it failed and ended up sounding depressing. And this was a number one hit? What the hell, America?
Here’s a familiar sight, one of my old Target Practice victims, Shake Ya Tailfeather. If you have time, check that review out; I explained everything wrong with it. For this list, I’ll keep it as short as I can, this is what happens when Nelly is at his worst. With a choppy beat that combine a bunch of sound effects together that nukes any sense of melody, it’s worse on the chorus where you have a bunch of hollering and the Atlanta Braves tomahawk chop playing at the same time with the production, making the song unlistenable noise. The lyrics are just these dudes hitting on chicks at the club, coming in with weak punchline after weak punchline. Nelly isn’t even trying, P. Diddy is unnecessary, and Murphy Lee is just awful. Nelly, you were hoping that you were gonna make a star out of the Tony Yayo of the St. Lunatics? C’mon, son. Overall, stay away from this song, plus Air Force Ones.
This sleep-inducing dreck is If You’re Not The One from Daniel Bedingfield and my God, this song is worse than Gotta Get Thru This. The instrumentation is adult contemporary schmaltz that you would hear on Lite FM. I can hear Michael Bolton singing over this type of instrumentation for one of his shitty songs. If NSYNC made this song, it would have been the worst thing they have ever done since Digital Get Down. Daniel’s singing is at his worst. His falsetto is ten levels of unlistenable cringe. Every moment he hits those high notes sounds like another needle is being jabbed into his nuts. And the lyrics suck, too. They’re the “girl, you’re my world” cliche and a lot of these lyrics are laughable and borderline creepy. If you were to tell me to name some examples of shitty love songs, this would most definitely be one of the first that I’ll mention. This would be Daniel’s last hit in the United States, but it won’t be the last time we hear from a Bedingfield, unfortunately. You’ll get your time, Natasha. You’ll get your time.
If there ever was a picture that perfectly describes She Hates Me by Puddle Of Mudd, it would be this.
Dear Odin. Talk about self-loathing. So this is a break-up song where Wes Scantlin is bitching about his ex-girlfriend, who he feels hates him. Why, it’s never explained and that’s one of the reasons why She Hates Me fails, the lack of details. There’s no details in why the relationship went south, everything presented is very vague and you’re left with this douchebag whining for about three and a half minutes and I have no sympathy for him. It’d be one thing if he eventually got over it, but looking at this song, it sounds like he hasn’t. Outside of that, the instrumentation is by-the-numbers post grunge (and not the good kind) and Wes Scantlin’s singing is terrible. It sounds like what happens if Chad Kroeger and Scott Stapp fucked and had a baby and that baby was exposed to secondhand smoke, causing throat cancer and started a music career. This is music made for angsty teenagers who just broke up with their girlfriends and need a temporary release. There’s no room in my playlist for this crap. NEXT!!
Here’s a not-so shocking fact: Chingy sucks. There’s no way around it. The guy is basically the poor man’s Nelly without the personality or charm and with an annoying voice. Right Thurr tells you everything you need to know about him. It is truly awful. The production is a mess with a shrill synth in the chorus that sounds like a broken harmonica in an echo chamber, another synth line that’s just one note being played over and over, and drums that are cheap and sound like plastic banging against each other. Chingy himself is devoid of any rapping skills as he attempts to talk to a girl and he displays how unflattering he is as a person, using every bottom-of-the-barrel cliched pick-up lines that’s in a lot of these songs about women and of course, the chick has a man, so add this to the list of songs about stealing another man’s girlfriend. Not helping is his voice, which sounds like it was dubbed by Steve Urkel with a hay fever, and his poor enunciation skills that he got from copying Nelly. No matter how you feel about Nelly, you can’t deny that he’s unique, a luxury that Chingy doesn’t have and never will have.
Ladies and gentlemen, hip-hop at its lowest point in the early 2000s. I already mentioned how awful Ja Rule is in my previous posts and now we’re looking at not just one of the worst songs Ja Rule has ever made, but one of the worst songs of the 2000s in hip-hop and music in general, Mesmerize. My goodness, do we have a stinker here. This is the epitome of a bad “thugs need love, too” song. It’s so formulaic that you can make your own “thugs need love, too” song with this as your blueprint. The beat is okay, sure it samples Stop, Look, Listen by The Stylistics (which is a great song, BTW), but it’s okay. But it can’t save this song, mainly because of one reason: Ja. Fucking. Rule. Jesus buttfucking Christ, Ja Rule is awful in this song and I’m not just talking about his rapping, but his singing. His horrible, horrible singing. He sounds like the Cookie Monster after sniffing several kilos of coke. He can’t hit any notes if they had a target painted on them and were holding still. This man should be banned from singing for life. Being that it is a “thugs need love, too” song, it’s all about hardcore sex and more “girl, you need a thug in your life” bullshit that’s been overdone. Ashanti, the go-to singer for hooks in the early 2000s who easily blows Ja out the water, isn’t even at her best vocally as in spite of Ja saying things like “I got a fetish for fucking you with your skirt on, on the backstreet in the back seat of the Yukon,” she’s willing to go with it because he’s such a romantic guy. Fucking barf. This is why a majority of these gangsta rap love songs don’t work for me, I don’t feel any sense of love or affection out of them, especially when Ja and many other rappers describe all of the women they’re in love with in a sexual connotation. Is sex part of a good number of relationships? Yeah, but it’s not the only thing that makes relationships. If the only reason you’re with someone is for sex, then you clearly don’t have long-term plans to be in a relationship with that person. That’s not love, that’s friends with benefits.
And now, here are some dishonorable mentions.
- Nelly ft St Lunatics-Air Force Ones
- Chingy ft Ludacris & Snoop Dogg-Holidae In
- Uncle Kracker-Drift Away
- Lil Kim ft 50 Cent-Magic Stick/The Jump Off
- B2K-Bump, Bump, Bump
- Mya-My Love Is Like… Wo
- Sean Paul-Like Glue
- Amanda Perez-Angel
- Ginuwine ft Baby-Hell Yeah
- Young Gunz-Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop
- Field Mob-Sick Of Being Lonely
And finally, the worst song of 2003 IS……….
Now this might get a little more touchy because of the subject matter, so brace yourselves. In the aftermath of 9/11, a buttload of patriotic songs came out of the woodwork and no other genre benefited from this more than country, which always had a patriotic side to it. One of these songs is Darryl Worley’s Have You Forgotten, a song written in the perspective of a crazed American who loves his country too much trying to convince the listener why going to war in the Middle East in the aftermath of 9/11 is a good idea. I already addressed in a Target Practice why this is bullshit, I’m going to repeat those points here; going to war in the Middle East has just made things worse and outside of catching Bin Laden, the entire war was pointless. You have cities being bombed (causing God knows how much collateral damage), US soldiers killing innocent men, women, and children, plus, our national debt has increased, causing the Great Recession where our economy fell apart for the first time since the Great Depression. Did I ever mentioned the Islamphobia that increased after 9/11? I’m fully aware of how horrific the events of September 11 was for America and the people responsible need to be held accountable, but this was released two years after the event and people are still trying to move on and you want to reopen those wounds by guilt-tripping them into fighting for their country when you’re not even doing that recording this song? Fuck off, jackass. I’m going to stop here because if I keep going with this train-of-thought, I might offend more of the right-wing. I rarely talk politics on this site because I want people to be entertained and have fun and there’s no fun in me standing on a pedestal spouting out my political views all the time. At the end of the day, no matter if you agree or disagree with my opinions, I want you readers to have a good time while you’re here and not be miserable. Congratulations to Have You Forgotten for being the worst song of 2003.
So those were the ten worst songs of 2003. Next month, BACK TO THE 2000s continues with the Worst Songs of 2004.
SONGS OF THE WEEK
Semi Charmed Life-Third Eye Blind