2015 is said by many to be the best year for popular music in the 2010s and I agree with that statement. All genres had their moments to shine; pop, rock, indie/alternative, R&B, country, and even hip-hop, which I’d argue was the strongest out of everything else that year, at least outside the mainstream. This was also a year of the tropical sound, which is most present in EDM. We still had to deal with songs blowing up from Vine to my annoyance. The good songs from this year were really good and most of the bad songs weren’t as bad as other years with some noted exceptions that you’ll eventually see. We’ll be taking a look at what I consider to be the worst hits from five years ago. Spoilers: Fight Song won’t be on this list. It’s bad, but it’s not the worst thing ever and everyone else said what needed to be said about it. Plus, cuts had to be made. Before we do start, let’s go through some dishonorable mentions.
DISHONORABLE MENTIONS I
Holy shit, it’s been five years since Fetty Wap was a thing. Now this might count as an unpopular opinion because I remember a lot of people liking this guy and his breakout hit Trap Queen, which I didn’t buy the hype for. It’s a gangsta rap love song where Fetty proclaims his love to a ride-or-die girlfriend who helps him sell drugs. Aside from this not being an original concept and it being full of cliches of money, drugs, and running into someone’s house and fucking another man’s girlfriend, what kills this song for me is Fetty Wap’s voice. His yelping sound like he dragged his nuts across a cheese grater and it’s not like he’s an exceptional emcee because his bars are basic at best. There’s also the fact that this man is a one-trick pony whose follow-up singles don’t even try to hide the fact that they’re Trap Queen retreads and not subtle ones either. The reason this song isn’t on the list proper is because the production isn’t that bad and there’s much worse songs of this type out there. It still earned its place here, though.
There is so many issues to be had with Where Are Ü Now, the creation of Diplo and Skrillex under the name Jack Ü. There’s the production which alternates between thin synths, awkwardly-offbeat percussion that throws off the melody, horrible pitch shifting, and a squawking sound in the drop that won’t shut up. There’s also Justin Bieber’s weaksauce crooning that can put babies to sleep and the writing, which paints Bieber as a whiny prick who wants his ex to be there for him when he gives his all. Had this song flopped, we would have been spared another five years of Justin Bieber. I say this because it paved the way for him to make a comeback after previous years of scandals and being a shit-eating nuisance to the public (seriously, look back at his 2013 and 2014, they were not good times for him). This man really is the white Chris Brown, only without the beating his ex-girlfriend to a pulp.
I do not miss Fifth Harmony at all. They were a Simon Cowell creation through X-Factor that put too much focus on worst member Camilla Cabello and made shitty girl-power music that hasn’t aged well. And if you dared criticized them online, watch out for their teenage fanbase. You thought K-pop stans were bad? They’re fucking saints compared to the Harmonizers. Anyways, Worth It. It’s a hollow track with flat production and a sax ripped straight from Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty, awful vocal performances outside of the prechorus from Normani (whose talents are way above this group), Kid Ink delivering the same lazy verse twice, and a sense of unearned arrogance from the girls as they tell us guys to give it to them because they’re “worth it.” Yeah, no thanks. Not to end things on a bad pun, but this song ain’t worth it at all.
In the time when the Jonas Brothers were on hiatus, Nick Jonas started his solo career and he was not off to a good start thanks to Jealous. It’s obvious he’s taking a page out the Justin Timberlake book and it’s embarrassing. Just look at the writing alone where he doesn’t want his girl to hang around other men. He says, “I turn my chin music up, and I’m puffing my chest,” and “It’s my right to be hellish.” Dude, come on. You have to know how cringe this makes you look. This, plus the limp groove of the production, makes for a weak song overall. I will say that his follow-up singles are better, even if I don’t think they’re the best music ever. But this song is still pretty bad. Next.
Before Body Like A Backroad, Sam Hunt infested the charts with songs like Take Your Time. It’s a meandering ballad where Sam Hunt half-sings, half-speaks through washed-out instrumentation that doesn’t even want to sound like country. But what turns my stomach about the song is the writing, which shows how much of a sleazy douche Sam Hunt really is. It’s obvious he wants to have sex with this girl, but he tries to hide it with under the pretense of wanting to take her time. Some of the lines in this song are very telling, like when he says, “I don’t have to make you love me,” like he believes that his nonexistent charm alone will make her fall for him or even when he mentions that one of her friends is coming to get her, which makes me believe that this friend sees through his bullshit and is trying to save this girl from making a big mistake. That’s a good friend right there because there’s no way you can make any of these lines in this song any appealing. In other words, it’s a Sam Hunt song.
Now onto the list.
Boy, do we have a doozy for number 10. By this point, bro country was in its last legs and Nashville was desperate to squeeze out every penny they could out of this subgenre. Thus, this leaves us with dreck like this.
I’ve seen a lot of people call this Luke Bryan’s worst song, which I’m not too sure on because there is a LOT of contenders for that. But Kick The Dust Up does make a case for itself because it is complete dogshit. This is That’s My Kind Of Night if you removed all of the hip-hop pandering. The production is synthesized garbage where the drums are too punchy, the banjo is watered-down to death, and the synth textures just muddy up the sound even more than it has been. There’s no coherent melody or groove, it’s just noise. And then there’s the smugness of Luke Bryan calling out city folks for buying expensive drinks while he’d rather tailgate in a cornfield in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know about you, but this sounds more like jealousy than someone who’s cool. Whatever backwaters, moonshine-driven party you’re throwing doesn’t sound like a good time. Let’s leave this dried-up turd in the dust.
2015 has seen its share of comebacks, some more deserving than others. The main artist behind the number 9 song isn’t one of the deserving ones as he’s backed by DJ Mustard and Chris Brown.
For those who didn’t know, Omarion was a member of B2K, an R&B boy band from the early 2000s. When they broke up, he went solo and managed to get a couple of hits under his belt. He’s currently signed to Rick Ross’ label and thus, we have Post To Be, produced by DJ Mustard who gave this song another one of his bland minimal beats. Funny enough, Omarion is a nonpresence in his own song using more Auto-Tune than Chris Brown, who’s his usual unpleasant self. Speaking of unpleasant, this is yet another song about stealing another man’s girlfriend and it makes both Chris and Omarion even more punchable. There’s also Jhene Aiko, who has no business being on here as a great artist and she’s easily the best part. But even she was brought down by this song when she delivers the line, “I might let your boy chauffeur me, but he gotta eat the booty like groceries.” No. No. Just… no. Y’all made the most talented artist say the worst line out of the entire song and it’s the highest charting single she’s been on. That is a crime as is the rest of this song’s existence.
Number 8 goes to a brother rap duo who blew up in late 2014 and would see more success despite their limited talents.
When I first heard Rae Sremmurd, my immediate reaction was that these kids have no business in front of a microphone. But I’ve seen people defend them and say that they shouldn’t be critiqued that harshly because the music they make is for the clubs. I don’t buy into any of that whatsoever because I know what good club music sounds like and it always has a pulse, something that is missing in most of Rae Sremmurd’s music. This is exemplified in their breakout singles No Flex Zone (which is full of flexing despite the title), and No Type, which became the bigger hit and made the year end list. Let’s get to the obvious issue: the chorus sucks ass cheeks. Swae Lee proclaims in heavy reverb, “I don’t got no type, bad bitches is the only thing that I like.” Grammatical errors and misogynistic objectification aside, this is an obvious contradiction. I’m pretty sure that “bad bitches” are a type. Granted, a vague type that could mean anything, but it’s a type regardless. The rest of the song is more generic empty flexing on top of a murky Mike Will Made-It beat with a paper thin synth melody. This is just plain terrible. Next.
Say what you will about Rae Sremmurd, at least one of them would be involved in some decent music later in the decade. I can’t say that for the artist behind the number 7 song, who hasn’t been in anything good ever since their career started.
Honest question: what was the appeal of Rich Homie Quan? His breakout single Type Of Way showed how limited he was artistically as he was just another Future wannabe and he’s only been riding the coattails of YG and Young Thug up to this point. And with that, he got a hit on his own with Flex (Ooh Ooh Ooh), which only strengthens what I said. The production attempts to create a summery atmosphere, but the limp synth melody and percussion doesn’t really work. Rich Homie Quan spends a good chunk of the chorus going “ooh ooh ooh” because rhyming things is hard. In that same chorus, he insists that he doesn’t flex, which is contradicted by the rest of the song where he does a shit ton of flexing along with taking someone else’s girlfriend, giving girls ecstasy in order to have sex with them, describing blowjobs as a toupee (which makes no sense whatsoever), and saying he’s a big dog and she’s a cat who “loves it from the back.” And that’s what you’ll get out of the lyrics if you can get past the incoherent slurred mumbling. If there’s any real catharsis out of this, it’s that this is the last hit song from Rich Homie Quan. Good. Let’s keep it that way.
You know? I understand wanting to make something lighter and more accessible after such an ambitious project. But if you’re gonna do that, make something good, first and foremost. The artist behind the number 6 song didn’t do that, and thus, we got this.
Oh, my goodness, this is embarrassing. Where do I begin with 7/11? This song is Beyonce embracing her ratchet side and it’s just hard to listen to. First off, the production is your standard trap beat with a warped synth line that’s more eerie than anything resembling fun. Beyonce is putting on one of her worst vocal performances to date as she’s drenched in Auto-Tune and there’s no point in talking about the lyrics as they’re nothing more than dance instructions that, when acted out, makes you look like you’ve had too much to drink and are moments away from passing out onto the floor covered in your own vomit. I think that’s the best way to describe 7/11, a sloppy, inebriated mess that’ll leave a splitting headache that last for hours. Not the kind of party that I would want to be at. This is up there with some of Beyonce’s worst work to date, which is saying something coming from the same woman who unleashed Diva unto the world.
Before we continue, here are the final dishonorable mentions.
DISHONORABLE MENTIONS II
Rihanna has made so many mistakes throughout her entire career and making this song was one of them. Bitch Better Have My Money shares its title with an AMG song and it’s another example of Rihanna failing at doing trap with this ugly mess of a beat that’s a mixture of bad Travis Scott and Yeezus-era Kanye, both happen to be involved in writing and production. Vocally, Rihanna sounds horrible as she spends the majority of the song just shouting and not sounding as intimidating as she thinks she is. If this song was a dog, it would be a Chihuahua that thinks it’s a Rottweiller. All bark, but no bite.
Oh, I’m sorry. Was this song supposed to be a club banger to turn up to? I couldn’t tell over the hazy production and sleepy warbling from both Drake and ILoveMakonnen, the latter being signed to the former’s label. Tuesday is a song about selling drugs on weekends while partying up on the weekdays, doing drugs, and having sex with your girlfriend, yet this song makes all of that sound boring. I don’t know about you, but I expect a song for the clubs to have some punch to it. This sounds like a fucking lullaby. Then again, I’ve heard lullabies with more energy than this audio NyQuil.
There were so many Vine rap songs blowing up that it damn near felt like the late 2000s when ringtone rap was a thing. One of the worst examples of this is Hit The Quan by ILoveMemphis. Aside from featuring a dance (that has nothing to do with punching Rich Homie Quan), the production is way too murky to be any fun and ILoveMemphis is an amateur rapper who has no business making music. I wish I could talk lyrics, but aside from a Ninja Turtles reference, there’s really nothing there but empty flexing and taking people’s girlfriends. It’s not even worth discussing, it’s an embarrassingly dated time capsule that should remain forgotten throughout history. Let’s keep it that way.
This is Loyal part 2. Okay, that’s not entirely fair. The production to Ayo is at least upbeat and doesn’t make me want to vomit chunks, until we get to Chris Brown and Tyga… being Chris Brown and Tyga a.k.a. two despicable, self-absorbed dickholes who brag about how awesome their lifestyle of excess is. I don’t even want to talk about the lyrics because of how shitty they are. Highlights include having sex with your girlfriend and throwing her away like trash, having lesbians in their section of the bar, wanting to have sex with Ice T’s wife, having the car smell like ammonia, being “tatted like a Mexican,” and more. This is the type of music that I’d expected from two human poop emojis whose assholery behavior continues to be celebrated and rewarded instead of ostracized and derided like it should. That really says a lot about our society.
Damn it, Ne-Yo. Why did you do this? This is what one of the more talented singer-songwriters in R&B is reduced to, making trashy strip club music way below his talents, which is exactly what She Knows is. Ne-Yo’s soulful and classy singing does not mesh well with this unpleasant trap beat with cheap horns and synths that amount to nothing but noise. There’s also that weird baby sound that does not fit with this song about strippers. Juicy J is the best part of this song as this is where he’s most comfortable, but even his verse isn’t that good. This came out around the same time that Usher did ANOTHER strip club song featuring Juicy J, I Don’t Mind, which isn’t good, either, but Usher at least fits in that song much more than fucking Ne-Yo. Sweet buttery Moses, this is a waste of talent and time.
Number 5 asks a question that no rational person was ever thinking: what would happen if you let white America’s sweetheart collaborate with a rapper who, in 2015, put out one of the blackest and best albums of the entire year and decade? I’ll tell you what you get: shit.
There’s no way in hell you can convince me that this thing isn’t a cynically calculated creation from executive hacks trying to cash in on two different audiences. Bad Blood was a song off of Taylor Swift’s 1989 album and it’s considered to be one of the album’s lesser songs. Then, a remix was made in the last minute with different, darker, and sloppily mixed production that sounds like ass and does no favors for Taylor and a guest feature from friggin’ Kendrick Lamar, of all people, who delivers one of his weakest performances to date and adds nothing to this song aside from rehashing lines from Backseat Freestyle, a much better song than this crap. And speaking of crap, Bad Blood is a diss track to Katy Perry and it’s delivered in the same purposely vague way Taylor would write songs about her exes where no names are named, but there’s enough clues to figure out who it’s about. It doesn’t even work here because Taylor’s writing has taken a massive nosedive where she rhymes “bad blood” with “mad love” and she delivers one of her worst vocal performances ever. There’s also the fact that everything surrounding the song feels fake, like when she did the music video and got a bunch of female celebrities to be part of her BFF squad while dissing another female pop star. Peak white feminism, ladies and gentlemen. And this was the first number one hit that Kendrick has appeared on, in the same year To Pimp A Butterfly was released with Alright and King Kunta sitting right there, begging to be hits. Another example of white mediocrity being praised over black excellence. Hell, Style is a MUCH better song that deserves to be number one over this shit. Music buying public, what the hell is wrong with y’all?
The number 4 song isn’t going to be a surprise to anyone since it was made for lists like this. Let’s get it over with.
I thought people had some common sense and wouldn’t let this become a thing. But then Vine made it a huge hit and it would not go away and I’m suddenly reminded that dance crazes will always be a thing regardless of quality. It just so happens that Watch Me by Silento is an awful, awful song. The beat has a melody ripped straight from 2007 in the peak of ringtone rap. Because I wanted to be reminded of that dreaded era. There’s also Silento’s nasal vocals, which makes this song harder to listen to. He doesn’t even rap here. Like 7/11, the lyrics consists of nothing but dance instructions and the dude doesn’t even come up with his own dance, he just rehashes other dance crazes like the whip, the nae-nae, the stanky leg, and for some forsaken reason, the Crank That dance. That tells you all you need to know about this song’s nonexistent creativity. This is another one of those songs that people will look back to and be embarrassed by. Hope Silento saved his money and invests it wisely because he sure as hell isn’t getting another Watch Me anytime soon nor is anyone going to be watching him.
I’m gonna put as much effort introducing the number 3 song as the people who made it because that’s what it deserves.
If Anaconda was the song that killed Nicki Minaj in my eyes, then Only was the final nail in the coffin. There’s no going back after this because this shit is horrendous. When Chris Brown is the best part of your song, you’re in deep trouble. Even then, his hook doesn’t really fit with the rest of the song, which is this slug-paced slime that’s way too long. Multiple people (including Dr. Luke) were involved in producing this song and the best that they could come up with is a reverbed four-note melody and poorly-mixed beat that generates a feeling of unpleasantness. Every verse starts with the proclamation that Nicki Minaj did not have sex with Lil Wayne and Drake and it doesn’t get any better from there. After having her ass eaten like a cupcake (lovely imagery, BTW), Nicki delivers a barrage of weak punchlines like explaining the duct tape line. Drake ends up embarrassing himself gawking at Nicki’s boobs like an adolescent boy looking at his dad’s porn collection and thinks partying with a crack-smoking former Toronto mayor is a flex. And there’s also Lil Wayne, who sounds like he’d rather be somewhere else as he “pisses greatness like goldish yellow” and delivers disconnected, incoherent bars. This is just a miserable song where nobody’s having any fun and it’s up there with some of the worst to ever come out of the hip-hop genre.
By the end of 2015, I was already annoyed by the artist who would be number 2 on this list by emulating an era and idea that should remain in the past where it belongs and it further exposes how unlikable this artist is.
I mean, you all know everything that’s wrong with this song. I did an entire Target Practice on it a long time ago when it was on the charts. Let’s talk about Dear Future Husband again, where Meghan Trainor makes a list of demands for any guy who wants to marry her. It starts off nice and inoffensive like taking her out to dates and getting her flowers, but then it gets worse where the demands become more deranged and possessive where she’s always in the right and the husband has to be a walking doormat in order to get some kisses. This does not sound like a healthy relationship, it’s one-sided, toxic, and is a terrible idea for feminism. It’s made worse by the adoption of the romanticized 1950s Leave It To Beaver lifestyle in both song, thanks to yet another co-opting of the doo-wop sound ripping off Runaround Sue by Dion, and the music video. If Meghan Trainor was aiming for a satire of 1950s Americana, that’d be one thing, but the tone of her performance doesn’t suggest that. She genuinely believes in everything she’s singing and she’s not aware of how toxic this shit is. Like I said, this type of thinking should have been left behind in the past where it belongs. And this wasn’t even the worst thing that she was on in 2015.
When I first did this list, this song was on the lower half of that list. But as time went by and I looked back at 2015, I realized that I was too kind to it and my hatred for it grew stronger and stronger to the point where it eventually became my number one pick. It’s not just bad, it’s also guilty of a heinous crime: cultural vandalism.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Afternoon Delight of the 2010s. I know I’m not the only person to make that comparison, but am I wrong to make that comparison? Where is the lie? If Pat Boone was a millennial, he would make a song exactly like this. Leave it to Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor to make one of the most vanilla, whitebread songs about sex in the 21st century and it’s named after Marvin Gaye. One of the most insulting things about this is the fact that they took the name and songs of one of the greatest soul singer-songwriters and used them for terrible sex puns.
Let's Marvin Gaye and get it on
You got the healing that I want
Just like they say it in the song
Until the dawn, let's Marvin Gaye and get it on
You got to give it up to me
I'm screaming mercy, mercy please
Just… insulting. Also, way to go, Charlie Puth, for using Mercy Mercy Me, a song about the environment, as an orgasm reference. The rest of the lyrics are just as shitty. “It’s Kama Sutra show and tell” and Meghan Trainor saying she’s like a dog without a bone. And just as bad as the writing is the music. Instead of pulling from the Motown soul sound that Marvin Gaye, the artist, helped craft, Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor went with doughy 50s doo-wop along with a trap beat, gang vocals, and a bassline ripped from Stand By Me by Ben E. King. It’s a tonal clash that throws off the song’s entire mood or whatever mood it was trying to set. This does not sound like a sex song or even a song from people who know how sex works. It sounds like it was made by a church boy and girl who get nervous at looking at genitals because they’re afraid of going to Hell. Muskrat Love is sexier than this shit. That’s right, I said it. Muskrat Love is a better sex song than Marvin Gaye, the song. I don’t say that lightly. Because of this song, every time I mention Marvin Gaye, I always have to clarify whether I’m talking about the artist or the song because I don’t want there to be any confusion. This only exists to desecrate his good name and associate it with meager, timid whiteness. That kind of cultural vandalism should not stand. And that’s why Marvin Gaye, the song, is the worst hit song of 2015.
And those were the worst songs of 2015. We’re now at the end of the revisions, which means I can now finally get started on my 100 Best Songs of the 2010s list. Look forward to that next month and keep an eye on the UPDATES page.
SONG OF THE WEEK