Hi guys, welcome back to The Social Tune! And... 2020 has been a goddamn Hellscape!
Between the politics, the police brutality, and the global pandemic, this year was filled with confusion, anger and people desperately scrabbling for something that made sense! Something we could all use as an anchor to ground ourselves and preventing us from spiraling into the void.
And thus, the music stepped up: our heroes, the artists and musicians of 2020 decided to make this one of the best years for music on the Hot 100 in a while! I'd argue this has been the best year for pop music since at least 2017, and possibly even longer, only time will tell! Because honestly, I genuinely struggled to find 10 hit songs I actively hated this year, which made this list pretty hard to put together. It's like a reverse-2016, and I am SO down for that!
Now with all that being said, after actually looking at what made Billboard's Year-End Hot 100, I can definitely see why some people may disagree with that. There were a few AWFUL songs released this year, and arguably more decent stuff than active greatness. Either way, for the bad eggs, I take solace in the fact that I don't expect many of them to stick around. When people look back on the year 2020, I very much doubt that the music will be the first thing that's brought up, so I wouldn't be surprised if these songs faded into obscurity sooner rather than later. So let's do this everyone, these are the Top 10 Worst Hit Songs of 2020!
I've observed an interesting trend developing in country music for the past year or 2. Once the bro country trend officially breathed its last with Body Like A Backroad, Nashville started shoveling out sappy, pseudo-romantic songs that seemed to be aimed at a younger audience, repackaging acts like Thomas Rhett and Chase Rice. Now, this is nothing new, country music has a proud tradition of love songs that has persisted for decades. The problem is, they decided to keep the clunky, artificial, cheap-sounding production that characterised a lot of country hits these past few years, instead of the more neo-traditional sound the rest of the genre seems to be veering towards. And if I could point to a poster child for that subgenre right now...
Be Like That by Kane Brown (Ft. Swae Lee & Khalid)
Kane Brown has been growing in popularity for a couple of years now, and I even remember liking his first couple of hits on the country charts like Heaven. But then came Lose It and One Thing Right, and I was immediately back on guard! I can't say I don't like the guy... frankly, he doesn't have enough of a personality for that. But he does seem like he will say yes to anything his label tells him to do, which probably explains the huge push behind him these past few years. Sure, I'd rather have him get that attention than Sam Hunt, but it's a dangerous line to tow, quality-wise. Case and point: this song, which may as well be renamed Mixed Messages.
You see, this is a pseudo-break-up song where all 3 of these guys really let these girls have it... but the instrumentation is light and bouncy, borderline fun. In fact, I dare say this is a song that would play well at a beach party if those ever become a thing again, it has the perfect vibe for it! It certainly doesn't give me a break-up vibe though, it's FAR too happy, not helped by our performers, who approach this with a breeziness that is kinda funny because of how dickish it makes them come across. Honestly, the main issue I have with the production from an aesthetic point of view is that ever-so-subtle bass that comes in around the 20-second mark that doesn't match the rest of the production at all and which I can't possibly unhear anymore!
But while that's merely a grating production touch, the "mixed messages" part is what sealed its spot on this list. See, the chorus says that sometimes our frontmen might be better off on their own, that they hate how you constantly call them, and even say that they wish they'd never met you... damn, tell us how you really feel! But then they also say that they miss you and can't move on and that they need you... see the problem here? And again, if there was some sort of mixed tone to the song or even more emphasis on the struggle, that would be one thing, but instead the 2 sentiments just bleed into each other with no warning or transition, all delivered in that chipper tone of voice. And the only explanation provided is that, sometimes, it just be like that... does it though? I mean, Kane Brown says he wishes he'd never met her, and that no medicine can fix them, that sounds pretty definitive! The only reason I can see you doing this is if you're trying to have it both ways, which comes across as manipulative and doesn't make you look all that good.
And the other 2 aren't great either. Swae Lee probably fairs the best, promising to keep you warm and that he'll give you the world... only to close his verse by saying he'd rather be your friend, claiming he'll be right back and then fucking leaving, presumably for good! Meanwhile Khalid only talks about how awful this girl is to him, but still decides to stay with her. Well, he's not wrong, sometimes you are the one who lets a girl walk all over you while expecting nothing in return, it's sad but true.... Again, what tone is this song going for???
This is one of those songs that fascinates me for all the sense it doesn't make. A mismatch of production, lyrics and performers that I just don't understand, it's certainly the furthest thing from country! Just one of those airy Summer songs that I end up overanalysing way too much, and in fairness, sometimes it do be like that.
This was the year of TikTok. Whether you love it or hate it, whether you think it should be banned or not, nobody can deny the impact it's had both in music and outside of it. Maybe being locked inside for most of the year caused many of us to seek human connection anywhere we could find it, but it was already blowing up before the lockdown, so who's to say? And frankly, a lot of the songs that charted because of it were actually pretty good, which certainly places it above Vine in the history books!
However, from the first moment I heard this song, I was baffled by it. Because with a title like that, you invite certain comparisons that I can't help but make... and you don't come out looking good because of it.
Roxanne by Arizona Zervas
For those of you wondering what I'm talking about, Roxanne is the name of one of the most popular songs from English rock band The Police. And while I promise you that I did my best to avoid comparing the 2 in my head... the song itself really doesn't help matters!
Apparently people like this... I'm sorry, I just don't see why. For one, the production is cheap, looping and filled with mildly irritating sound effects that soured on me real fast! For another, this Arizona Zervas guy is terrible! His delivery is incredibly one-note and dead-eyed, he doesn't sound remotely invested in anything he's saying. The song refuses to evolve or go through any type of melodic change during its runtime, it's just a perpetual migraine that's quick, short and annoying.
On top of that, you have the lyrics. The Police's Roxanne was a sympathetic song about a woman who is forced to work as a prostitute until Sting saves her. Ok, a tad questionable in theory, but it made up for it with a great chorus and an engaged performer! Meanwhile, this song is about a spoiled rich girl whom our protagonist clearly loathes by the way he describes her, and yet keeps paying her to have come back to him... which now I spell it out, seems odd, right? I mean, you claim she just wants to party all night and spend your money even though she thinks you're an asshole, but you also mention that she's from Malibu and that she's living off her dad's money... well then, if her dad's loaded, why does she need you? Also, you say that she'll never love you and that's alright... honestly, the more I read into this, I'm not sure which of you 2 I dislike more. I mean she seems bitchy, treating everyone around her like shit, but you're clearly a pathetic fuckboy who still complains about her constantly while desperately trying to keep her around, so I'm not sure why I'd sympathise with either of you.
Now that said, I am grateful for how short it is. Arizona Zervas is a complete non-presence and the song is so repetitive and cyclical that it sort of hypnotises me into a hazy state of annoyance until I suddenly realise it's over. But sadly, it's catchy. Very catchy. Ungodly catchy! Which means a song that should have been the easiest thing in the world to ignore became a huge top 10 hit and forced me to keep thinking about it all year, allowing it to fester in my brain until I actively disliked it.
Arizona Zervas appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth, but I have the nasty feeling this song may still stick around for a while yet. I, for one, hope I'm wrong about that.
So along with the death of bro country in favour of "boyfriend country", we've been observing another change in genre recently: the women are back! Yes, from Maren Morris to Maddie and even Tae, the country charts and even the Hot 100 were flooded with some real country smashes in 2020! Sure, you could argue the production still has some steps to go before it gets back to its organic roots, but for the most part, I'm in full support of it. It makes me so hopeful for the genre's future, you know... see, that's hope. A pure concept. Why did you have to bring cattiness into it?
I Hope by Gabby Barrett (Ft. Charlie Puth)
To be clear, I never liked this song, even before the remix. The obvious comparison to make is Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats, a song Gabby has openly said inspired this one, and which I have always been lukewarm on. It's just always felt kind of petty to me, just not something I'd ever see myself doing. Don't get me wrong, in some cases, I am VERY petty, but when it comes to breakups, I tend to just leave the past in the past and move on, sometimes to my detriment. But hey, if you found that song cathartic, I get it; the chorus is catchy, the instrumentation is genuinely great, and I do think it's one of Carrie's better vocal performances.. none of which I can say for I Hope!
My first big issue with this song comes in people praising the bait-and-switch; see, a good bait-and-switch song remains good after the first time you hear it. Take Stan or She Don't Love You or Hell, the fucking Pina Colada Song! Those songs all work because their twists are at the END, you journey through the song thinking one thing before it all gets flipped on its head, it's satisfying! Meanwhile I Hope blows its load in the first hook of the song, which just leaves an awkward 2 or so minutes of sheer, unadulterated spite!
See, as much as I want to support someone dealing with getting cheated on, which does suck, this kinda feels like overkill. I mean if she had just said she hopes he gets cheated on once, that would be one thing, but she just goes on and on about it, it's so goddamn negative. And at a certain point, I just start to feel like she really needs to move on! Getting cheated on sucks, but if you just wallow in a revenge fantasy for too long, you're just going to let him win! Especially because, well, people who cheat tend to do so repeatedly, so it's more likely he'll just cheat on this new girl as well. This girl, who I'll remind everyone, you hope falls in love with him completely, so her heart would probably be broken just like yours. I dunno, if this were just a song where Gabby cheated on him just to get back at him... well, that's petty too, but I get it, there's catharsis there! Here, it just feels bitter and resentful, which don't get me wrong, COULD be effective with a restrained and emotional performer... but that's the other issue: this song is a cacophonous mess!
It just hits full force, with no real sense of how to properly build up a crescendo, and Gabby herself has zero restraint or moderation. And while I at least respected the original for its country elements like the guitars -which were mixed sloppily, but at least they were there- that's not the version that pushed the song over the top and launched it into the top 10. Because yeah, the remix with Charlie Puth reduces the instrumentation to mush, as the guitars become rubbery and practically unrecognisable, and the handclaps and finger snaps that are now typical of pop the past few years join the mix to make everything worse! And as for Charlie himself... dude, I've learned to love you these past couple of years, but this is awful! He's belting in his upper range for a lot of this, which is NOT making the best use of his vocals, and his presence adds nothing but more bitterness to the track, as he takes things even further by hoping this guy cheats on her after proposing, using his last dime to buy a ring, what the fuck?! And to be clear, he doesn't even play the guy who cheated on Gabby, he's just a completely separate character who adds nothing to her story, no new perspective or anything, just very ugly and extreme bitterness, none of which remotely comes through in his delivery by the way!
Honestly, on its own, the original would have probably been a dishonourable mention, but this remix soured on me SO quickly and easily vaulted its way onto the list. Charlie... come on dude, I know you can do better! Who knows what's next for Gabby Barrett, maybe she will be the next Carrie Underwood, but based on this, I hope not! ... There, I limited myself to 2 "hope" references, I hope you all appreciate my restraint! Goddammit, I hate remixes in 2020!
No seriously, you know what, despite the quality of the music, this was the year where talking about music was an absolute chore for music critics paying attention to the Hot 100! In between the continuous album bombs, stream-trolling and multiple artists manipulating the charts and their fans in order to unrealistically boost their numbers, it was very hard to predict where a song would be from one week to the next, and organic hits became increasingly rare. But again, the one way that trumped them all for me were the remixes! And of all the songs that tested my patience with unnecessary remixes this year, from Gabby Barrett to Jack Harlow to yes, even BTS, the most egregious one of all came from one of the worst people I know... Dr. Luke.
Say So Remix by Doja Cat (Ft. Nicki Minaj)
This may be considered cheating. After all, this remix wasn't the one that stuck around the longest on the charts, nor the one that made the year-end list. It rarely gets the same amount of radio play as the original, and most of you probably completely forgot it even existed. Here's the thing though: it wasn't the original that reached number 1 on the charts. It wasn't the original that combined stream-trolling and aggressive marketing from all the artists involved to get it pushed to the top of the charts merely to satisfy someone's fragile ego. It was this, the remix that sounds worse in every single way, doesn't elevate the song at all and was pretty much created entirely so that Nicki Minaj could finally hit number 1.
And I have to ask: was it worth it, Nicki? You already sold yourself out repeatedly by siding with 6ix9ine a couple of years ago and pandering to the lowest common denominator for a lot longer than that! You've lost a ton of fans over the years due to repeatedly starting and pursuing beefs that only make you look worse and worse. You have been acting so petty, and frankly, like an awful and unpleasant human being for so long now that... I'm done defending you. I said back when FEFE made my worst hits list that there was still hope for you, but that ship sailed a LONG time ago. And this? Siding with another sex offender- oh I'm sorry """alleged""" sex offender - in Dr. Luke, just so that you can finally reach that milestone that you were never able to reach on your own? Just to deliver a pathetic verse where you just brag about how all these other female rappers are irrelevant compared to your supposed greatness, over a beat switch that comes in like whiplash and is so minimal that it's basically just an ugly trap skitter over some limp bass? I'd say that's the last straw, but I left you by the wayside a long time ago. Fuck you for ruining a perfectly good song.
On that note, Dr. Luke, aka Tyson Trax or whatever the fuck you go by these days just so people will give you a pass after all the shit you've done over the past decade, I hope you choke and die alone. Painfully. That is all, you're not worth any more of my time.
However, despite how much I clearly hate this remix and everything it represents... I do still like Doja Cat's part. She sounds great on this and, despite my complete derision for the scumbag rapist behind it, the productions IS really great on her parts. Sure, whenever Nicki Minaj comes in it sends me into a seething rage, but otherwise I can just pretend it's the original song.
So no, I can't place it higher on this list based on the good parts, but the bad parts are terrible enough that they more than warrant me putting it here. In a year where remixes were the bane of popular music, this one is the poster child and I fucking detest it!
At least it was a charity single. That's the only good side I can see to this.
Stuck With U by Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber
Oh wow, in a year of embarrassing flops for a lot of people, this may be one of the worst! If for nothing else than because a collaboration between these 2 artists should have been HUGE. Instead, it had to cheat its way to number 1 like so many songs did this year, before promptly collapsing into the abyss. And it isn't hard to see why, because this may be one of the most boring songs to touch the charts in a long time!
Now normally, boredom isn't enough to land you a spot on this list, usually I just forget those songs even exist. But this one caught my attention for a few reasons. For one, the controversy surrounding its release, as many have alleged this never should have debuted as high as it did, and just stinks of Billboard playing favourites... or getting paid off by the right people, same thing basically. Then there was the factor of the 2 artists involved, who again, have both been pretty ubiquitous for the past year or so. However, for me, the often overlooked issue is that this song is a clear rip-off of Perfect by Ed Sheeran, a song many dislike and which I still unabashedly love to this day! Why? Because it's sweet, it's earnest, it's better produced than a lot of songs of its kind, and it's a better wedding song than Thinking Out Loud ever was, fight me! Now imagine if you took that song, removed any organic instrumentation, especially those luscious strings, and replaced Ed's earnest vocals with the overly polished and processed voices of Ariana and Justin, who have less than zero chemistry to boot!
A song about being "stuck with someone" is a bit dicey at the best of times (which 2020 decidedly was not), as it kinda implies that you're sticking together out of necessity or habit rather than love. The best of these songs play it up for laughs or for tragedy, both of which an audience can relate to. This, on the other hand, plays it as safe and as boring as possible, a song about being in a relationship because the other person has gone beyond your initial expectations and causes you to fall in love with them. Cuuuuute... in theory. In reality, a lot of people fucking died in 2020! And it would be a little more forgivable if they at least tried harder! I have never heard Ariana sound this bored (including that song about her being bored!!!), Bieber is trying about as hard as he did on anything else this year, and the lines about having your expectations subverted are mentioned once at the very beginning and then never again. The rest of the lyrics are just romantic platitudes that are half-assed, generic and would be kinda romantic if the chorus didn't repeatedly compare their relationship to being "stuck"!
And look, at the end of the day, this song was only made to profit off of people locked up inside during quarantine, and it did it in the most basic, boring and predictable way possible. It's a cynical cash-grab that practically everybody saw through, got really angry with and immediately forgot about. Say what you will about Perfect, it'll last for years to come, while this will be lost to time by the time I finish writing this. ... ... What was I talking about?
Not much to say on this one. Seems pretty obvious to anyone with ears.
Falling by Trevor Daniel
This is Trevor Daniel. Of course, that doesn't matter, because after this I'm never going to see him again. His voice splits the difference between the worst of Juice WRLD and Post Malone, with an extra nasal tone slapped on top of it to make it one of my least favourite things to listen to. Although in fairness, it IS the type of sound that would lend itself to a break-up song... whiiiich this isn't, whoops, I'm sorry about that! Guess I just assumed, what with the mournful, warbling production and the overall whininess of the whole thing. Nope, this is a love song... or so I am told...
Yeah, sorry, but if you spend most of your love song complaining about your last girlfriend and then needily nagging your new girl to tell you how much you mean to her, to give you all her love, basically getting down on your knees and begging... yeah, it sort of sends the wrong message. He even proclaims that he feels you're the one, it's pretty fucking clingy and aggressive!
But hey, maybe you're into that? Well, too bad, because in his final lines, he says he'll never give it his all again and that you're sure to break him down just like the last one, probably because all girls are the same... well, that was a rollercoaster! The song is under 3 minutes and I barely have any clue of what the protagonist is even thinking. It's just clingy, bitter, unpleasant, and then over before you know it. Probably a good thing, as it goes by so fast you might miss it... if it wasn't for the sound of it, which once again, sounds like a dying, mournful airhorn. So yeah, it's terrible, but quickly forgotten... unlike:
Yummy by Justin Bieber
I don't hate Justin Bieber. Hell, I'd like to hang out with the guy, he seems like he has the potential to be cool! I could fix him... Anyway, he's made a few songs I genuinely love, for the right reasons and the wrong ones. But this is just... no. If I can think of one song this year I've only heard a handful of times, but never ever EVER want to hear again, this is right at the top of my list. I heard it once in a public place before we all went into lockdown, and believe me, the room instantly grew tenser. Because let's be honest, EVERYBODY knows this song is terrible! The only reason it even made the year-end list is because Bieber's fans rabidly did as he asked and tried to get this to number 1... and they couldn't even do that right, this peaked at number 2 and then dropped like a stone! For good reason!
The word "yummy", as a rule, should not be used in a sexy way. Heck, really, it should never be used, period! But you know what's even worse? Using it as a noun!!! Justin telling this girl that "you got that yummy" or just "that yum-yum-yum" on the bridge, is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard! And while that should make the song hilarious, I can't give it that because of how icky the hook feels, and how astoundingly boring the verses are! Seriously, aside from that "toes curling" line -which again, I do NOT need to hear- the verses of this song are completely and utterly forgettable, they just serve as white noise before you get back to that gag-inducing chorus!
This is a song so bad that just one look at the title tells you all you need to know, which is "STAY AWAY!" If you want a song about eating pussy, go listen to Harry Styles' Watermelon Sugar, it's better in every single way! Stay in your lane Justin ... I did like that "elated that you are my lady" part though... I'll give you that.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don't hate this song! If anything, this has given me more joy and laughs in 2020 than any other song on the Hot 100! It is a train wreck like we only rarely see touch the charts! And it's also by far the best and the worst thing Julia Michaels has ever been involved with!
If The World Was Ending by JP Saxe (Ft. Julia Michaels)
Where to even begin?! Well, for starters, there's a reddit thread on whether this should be called If The World WERE Ending that is waaaaaaaaay too long, which just makes me weirdly happy. That's fun. Speaking of fun, this song dropped back in late 2019, and probably would have gone nowhere if it weren't for the global pandemic that ravaged the world, forcing us all indoors and looking for music to relate to our situation! And I mean, with a title like that, how were we supposed to resist?
The song starts from the guy's perspective, as he starts to describe how he survived an earthquake and how that made him think about his ex. Oh, he assures us he's over her, that it's been a full YEAR since they broke up, and that he knows that they weren't meant to be together forever... or actually, he says "I know, you know, we know, you weren't down for forever"... which is convoluted as shit. Not to mention the fact that he adds "and it's fine" to the end of it, which feels decidedly passive-aggressive. But anyway, after all those reassurances about being over her are out of the way, he asks her if she would come over if the world was ending; would she spend her final moments with him? ... I mean, dude, it's been a year! Chances are, she's rather spend that time with her friends, her family, maybe her new partner, I dunno, anyone but her ex!
Actually scratch, he doesn't ask her, he STATES it and then tags a "right?" onto the end of it, almost like it's a given! Wow, I would say that's super ballsy if your voice weren't so willowy and devoid of any sort of emotion. However, this leads to one of my favourite moments in music this year! Because at the end of the hook, he asks the question one more time... and then repeats the "right?" in a tone that sounds incredibly uncertain! Which then prompts him to ask again, sounding steadily more unsure of himself. And it absolutely cracks me up, because it sounds so genuinely fearful for a brief moment, as if he suddenly realised that she hasn't said yes yet! It's absolutely perfect and justifies the entire song for me!
And if that weren't bad enough, Julia Michaels comes in to give the girl's perspective... and it's the exact same as his! You expect her to at least respond to his advances by telling him to fuck off, but nope, she's just as insecure, just as uncertain as him, which begs the question, like with I Hope: what is the point in making this a duet?! Except this was a duet from the beginning so it's even dumber! And by the way, these 2 have NO chemistry, as their voices timidly bump into each other near the end and never quite blend correctly, almost like they're speaking in unison, but are also afraid to interrupt each other. Which is kinda fitting considering what terrible and weak singers they both are.
This song is completely baffling, completely awful and completely wonderful! Normally I would give it the number 1 based purely on how hard it tries to be so bad, but... well, we'll get to that. First, let's get to the first of only 2 songs on this list that I absolutely LOATHE!
You all remember Despacito, right? Remember the Justin Bieber remix? Now, remember that infamous footage where Bieber just spouted incoherent mumbling when performing his guest verse live, because he didn't actually seem to know the words? Well, now imagine an entire song like that!
RITMO by Black Eyed Peas & J Balvin
I'm not the biggest expert when it comes to reggaetón. For that, I recommend you check out Rodrigo Pasta on YouTube, he does great stuff. But even I could recognise what an absolute hackjob this song was the first time I heard it! Reggaetón is at least supposed to carry a certain punch and groove, whereas this... no joke, after listening to it a few dozen times, this limp turd is about on par with The Time (Dirty Bit) for me! Now, that's a pretty grandiose statement, comparing this Latin knockoff to one of the worst hits of the early 2010s! After all, most of you reading this probably only heard it a handful of times when Bad Boy For Life was announced and then never again, it's just a song that samples a classic 90s hit by watering down the beat, that's nothing new for The Black Eyed Peas. And hey, at least it's not as immediately ugly as when they did that with I Had The Time Of My Life back in 2011... well, maybe not, but I'll give Dirty Bit this: at least its drop fucking felt like one! See, while the chorus of RITMO samples Rhythm Of the Night by Corona (DON'T, it came out in October of 2019), the drop & verses use the beat from You Know You Like It by AlunaGeorge & DJ Snake, a song I would have forgotten about completely if not for Ethan of TheDoubleAgent claiming it to be the best hit song of 2015... I mean, whatever works for ya bud. However, let me be clear, while I'm not wild about that song myself, DJ Snake can create a great fucking drop, and the original certainly has that! This song not only severely lowers the reverb and bass on the original drop to rob it of any power, but then also spreads it out behind the verses, which... I mean, do you not see the fundamental problem with that?! A song with a drop is supposed to be a build-up with a payoff, how the Hell can you appreciate a build to something you're already hearing throughout all the verses??? Now, putting aside the fact that this entire song is so pathetic that it has to rely on not 1 but 2 semi-nostalgic samples to exist, I also have an issue with the way they use the Rhythm Of the Night here. When they're not just letting it play without any real changes or creativity, making the nostalgia-baiting as blatant as possible, I actually found the way they repeatedly looped the word "rhythm" at various parts to be one of the worst sonic experiences of 2020! Something about the strained and artificial sound, that particular inflection on the 2 syllables of that single word, it just grates on my eardrums whenever I hear it, and genuinely makes me kinda anxious, I do NOT like it!!! And on top of all of that... these lyrics... "Tonight's like fuego, we bout to spend the dinero, we party to the extremo" is bad enough, but then you have those verses! Will.i.am delivers his worst writing performance since My Humps, where every single line is awful, but I'd like to bring special attention to the way he actually manages to mess up hashtag rap, by first having his adlib referencing the line that preceded it ("Live it up, hit 'em up, that's the scenario (2Pac)") then suddenly flipping it to reference the lines which FOLLOWS the adlib ("(Flu shot) I am so sick I need medical"), I mean seriously, how incompetent can you be??? Plus, the line "I get around like a merry go" may just be the stupidest thing I've heard all year. Meanwhile Apl.de.ap (because yes, that is still his stage name) has the troubling lines "Can't stop, I am addicted I never quit, Won't stop, don't need to speak to no therapist"... K. And let's not forget J Balvin, whose verse may be in Spanish, but even I caught that stupid "Hakuna matata like Timon and Pumba" line, my GOD is this idiotic! For me, this is the same brand of AGGRESSIVELY dumb that My Humps falls under, the kind of dumb I just want to slap! And the crazy thing is that this is probably still one of the better songs off of their godawful album Translations this year! And well, you know what they say: what's worse than one of the BEST songs off of one of the worst albums of the year? I'll let you think it over as we skim through our dishonourable mentions.
Intentions by Justin Bieber (Ft Quavo)
This is a terrible, gutless song with awful production and a pointless verse, but it's also just way too easy for me to tune out.
Toosie Slide by Drake
This may be Drake's laziest song to date, certainly one of the most gutless dance songs I've ever heard. Thankfully it's so gutless that I never expect to hear it after 2020. Next to hits like In My Feelings, One Dance and Nice For What, I feel confident in saying this will be forgotten in record time.
My Oh My by Camila Cabello (Ft. DaBaby)
Awww, I feel bad about this, Camila seems nice... but her voice is still fucking terrible and every time she raises it above a murmur on this song, I physically wince! DaBaby's verse is the only thing that saved this from the top 10.
Rain On Me by Lady Gaga (Ft. Ariana Grande) I thought I could like this one, but it just REEKS of a performer trying to recapture an old spark! In a year where pop music felt revitalised, this is the most sad and backwards-looking thing Gaga has done in years and the drop is completely gutless. Also, I didn't even realise Ariana was on here the first few times I heard it, how does THAT happen?! Complete waste of potential. One Margarita by Luke Bryan Despite the usual gummy production, in any other year, this would be one of the better Luke Bryan singles. In 2020, it's tone-deaf and genuinely pisses me off with its stupid face! Savage Love by Jason Derulo (Ft. Jawsh685) Normally I like this type of Jason Derulo song more than most, but the lyrics are a tad too pathetic to distract from how obnoxious and ugly that drop is. Plus, apparently Jason leaked this without permission from Jawsh 685 or even crediting him... that's just scummy. How many is that, 6? Ummm yeah, I normally do 10, but I didn't dislike that many song this year . There's been enough negativity in 2020 without me piling on.
Alright, enough stalling, let's get to it:
So overall, I'd still say 2020 was a good year for the charts. Yes, those were some bad songs we just covered, but I have dealt with far worse in previous years! However, in a year like that, a song like this feels especially out of place. Because make no mistake, this might just be one of my least favourite songs to ever top one of these lists. So gloves off, let's finally address this Sam Hunt issue.
Hard To Forget by Sam Hunt
Fair warning, this is going to go on for a few paragraphs, feel free to scroll down if you've heard this all before. Anyway, I think it's fair to say that Sam Hunt has had a very rocky career. In 2014, he burst onto the scene with one of the hugest country albums of our time, Montevallo, with massive hits like Take Your Time, House Party and Leave The Night On even crossing over to the Hot 100! But then his career seemed to stall out, releasing singles from that album all the way into 2016, and only dropping another song every once in a blue moon after that. Then came Body Like A Backroad, an incredibly dumb song that became one of the biggest country hits of the decade, and which I still can't bring myself to hate because how goofy it is. But even after that, he refused to buckle down and release a proper follow-up, and it did make me start to wonder: were his label and managers just completely incompetent?
Well, turns out, yes they are, but it's not entirely their fault. See, it was Sam Hunt's decision not to release any more music because he simply didn't feel like it. Which... ok, then just retire. One triple-platinum album to your name isn't a bad legacy! But instead, it seems Sam Hunt wants to have it both ways, as he didn't want to release a new album, but also wanted to maintain his success and wealth... And look, maybe it's just because I personally know struggling musicians who can barely afford a meal most days, especially this year, but that absolutely REEKS of privilege to me! And the worst part: his label, MCA Nashville, appear to be in full support of this! The scumbags who spent the past few years blackballing Kacey Musgraves because she wouldn't acquiesce to their demands, despite multiple quality and successful albums, someone who could have been huge in Sam Hunt's place these past 10 years, and they instead put all their support behind a guy who just kept taking up their money and their time (ironic). And yeah, I can't lie, the thought that we could have had Same Trailer, Different Park do the same numbers as Montevallo did, or that we could have had hits like Slow Burn instead of Body Like A Backroad... yeah, that definitely sours me on a lot of this guy's existing output!
But anyway, 6 years after Montevallo, his label finally convinced Sam Hunt to get off his ass and half-heartedly record a bunch of new songs for a new album: Southside. An album that sounds and feels like a soulless cashgrab that contains every loosey Sam Hunt has dropped over the past few years, even Body Like A Backroad from 3 years ago! And although I will say it is awful, one of the worst albums of the year, I did at least take comfort in the fact that nobody seemed to be clamouring for it, so it probably wouldn't have any hits... and then MCA Nashville reared their ugly heads yet again and pushed this, just hard enough that it scraped into the Top 30 by a hair, barely qualifying as a hit! The song is called Hard To Forget, and it just might be the worst single he's ever dropped.
The song samples Webb Pierce's 1953 hit There Stands the Glass... or more accurately, it sodomises that song is the back of a pickup truck. The blending and mixing of this one sample in the beat is one of the most sinfully ugly things I have ever heard, on a country song or otherwise. It's chipped, it's autotuned, it's twisted and amorphous! And of course, they decided to make all the guitar pickups in the song just as rubbery, twangy and obnoxious. This goes beyond not being country music, it's barely even music at all! And I kinda get the feeling Sam Hunt knows this. Compare his delivery here to his one on House Party or Body Like A Backroad, and you quickly realise he is miserable here, he clearly wants to be making this about as much as I want to listen to it! And if all that weren't bad enough, the lyrics suck too! See, this is along the same lines of Break Up In A Small Town, which just so happens to be one of my least favourite songs from Sam Hunt... at least this one doesn't have the spoken-word pseudo-rap thing going on in its verses. But not to worry, it makes up for that with even worse content! See, in that song, he was just sad about the fact that his ex has started dating someone he knows, because after all, that's what happens when you break up in a small town. On Hard To Forget, he and this girl are also broken up, and he keeps being reminded of her, as he sees her mother, her sister and even recognises her car; so far, along the same lines. But then he says that he sees her face in crowds and smells her perfume in crowds... which immediately set off some alarm bells for me. And sure enough, he suddenly comes to the conclusion that she's a cold-hearted bitch who's messing with his head, that she's toying with his emotions just to torture him. Because obviously, the issue can't be with HIM, the creep smelling her perfume in crowds and who clearly needs to move on, it MUST be because she's trying to tempt him back, playing h... *sigh* playing hard to forget... because get it, it's like "hard to get"... GET IT?!
I just feel bad for this poor girl! In the second verse, she actually comes by his house and while she CLAIMS she's just there to pick up some stuff, WE obviously know better. *wink wink* For fuck's sake, she even tells you to just leave it outside rather than come in herself, clearly even she sees what a mess you are and wants to keep her distance! It's just so blatantly creepy and quite apart from anything else, really not a healthy mindset for anyone to have post-breakup! Even aside from the fact that this self-serving logic reminds me more than a little of the mind gymnastic of Daughters by John Mayer, the fact that he's blaming her for not getting out of his head is BEYOND pathetic and obnoxious! The line about the dress is especially gross to me, as it implies a certain "you know what you're doing, dressed like that" mentality that I just find disgusting. I'll say this for Break Up In A Small Town, at least he had to good sense to blame the town! It was dumb, but it was still more mature than this! And that was 6 years ago!!!
What this song is, is pure, concentrated ugliness, braying douchebaggery that even from a guy like Sam Hunt, I was not prepared for! On his previous awful singles, he could be a little cold and bitter, maybe slightly emotionally manipulative, but it felt thought-out and real to some degree. This is a caricature, and a really unpleasant one at that! And it's one that's going to linger and stick with me for a while, as one of the worst hits of the past few years, and easily the worst hit song of 2020! Once again, Sam Hunt, just go ahead and retire, nobody needs to hear any more of your artistic vision! Leave us alone to forget you in peace!
And that's it everyone! I appreciate the feedback and I'd be curious what you thought of this year, share your thoughts down there. Also, if you'd like to keep up with the blog posts, please subscribe and follow me on Twitter @TheSocialTune, that's where most of the communication happens.
Top 10 Best Hit Songs of 2020 will be dropping within the next few days, so stay tuned for that! And until the next time, I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune signing off!