It was a rough year for a lot of people, 2017. But one thing some people said is that at least the Trump presidency would inspire a lot of great protest music, like Reagan jumpstarted punk rock in the 1980s.
Looking at the charts, though, that didn’t happen. Instead, the year saw the ascendancy of even more YouTube white boys following the Justin Bieber path to stardom without even pissing in a mop bucket. Bieber himself was all over the radio with “Despacito,” a song we’re sure to hate eventually, but the men and women on this list managed to sink even deeper.
What follows is a true and honest ranking of the 11 worst songs to hit the airwaves in 2017, from inept reality TV rap to bro-country, to patriotic music that will make any eagle cringe. . Let’s hope we all do better next year, for everyone’s sake.
The red-headed English crooner with a face like a pumpkin was everywhere in 2017, from Game of Thrones on down. But few people turned out crappy music with the intensity and dedication of Ed Sheeran.
Picking just one of his hits from the last year to declare the worst was difficult, but in the end the faux-Irish patois and corny instrumentation of "Galway Girl" won out. This is seriously the kind of song your mom turns up on the radio when she's driving to drink wine and paint pottery with her mom friends.
It was a particularly tough year for country music, as the genre continued to morph into the audio equivalent of a supermarket romance novel cover. Sam Hunt's "Body Like A Back Road" features the bizarre quasi-talk singing style that several big hits have copped, paired with the most generic musical accompaniment since I turned on a Casio in 1992.
This is the apotheosis of "bro-country," potentially the dumbest musical genre ever invented.
It's not fun to come down hard on a song that has such good intentions, but man did they blow it here. Suicide awareness is a big deal, especially in young men, but when you reach out to a group on the edge you should probably try to do it with some kind of actual knowledge of what being ready to kill yourself is like? Not only is it a dull slog, but the lyrics are boneheaded and flow like somebody watched a few CSI episodes and thought they were a profiler.
It was a rough year for America, but some people are happier about it than ever before. Those people also just discovered Auto-Tune, as "Salute The Brave" by a duo of YouTube chuds demonstrates. Adam Calhoun, though, has an interesting history. Dude likes to steal valor online while bashing gays, Muslims and other folks.
He's been called out on it by several veterans groups but apparently decided that moving into music was a better choice. It wasn't.
We can forgive Katy Perry for a lot of things, even the new haircut, but it looks like the formerly unbeatable pop princess is sliding hard into the late-Madonna phase of her career, where she frantically signs up guest stars to make The Kids interested in her mediocre albums.
Migos isn't enough to save the insanely dull and corny "Bon Appetit" from the dustheap. "Swish Swish" was bad, too, but at least the Nicki verse delivered.
If you want an illustration of just how dickless modern pop music is, look no further than the Chainsmokers. This duo seem like they were grown in a lab to create tracks for Pilates classes to stretch to, and there seems to be no end in sight for their ultra-boring, formulaic junk. The only thing that could make them any worse was teaming up with the boys in Coldplay, so of course they did just that.
The rocket to viral stardom is one that typically burns out pretty fast, but Danielle Bregoli - the "Cash me ousside" girl who came to fame on Dr. Phil early in the year - is intent on milking that cow until it's dry.
She debuted her hip-hop alter ego "Bhad Bhabie" in August and immediately made a play for this list. Unsurprisingly, somebody best known for being mean to her parents doesn't have much in the way of flow or lyrical ingenuity.
There has to be at least one white boy novelty tune on every worst of the year list, and Israeli DJ / rapper Borgore fits the bill with this insanely stupid, grating tune. You thought you were done with dubstep? It's not done with you, as this track proves. The presence of Disney starlet Bella Thorne just pushes it over the line into cash-in territory, as she adds absolutely nothing to the proceedings but her name.
We're not going to re-litigate the NFL knee-taking controversy here, because I'd like to read the comments section without wanting to kill myself.
Football players have every right to sit or stand or kneel or whatever and cops should stop shooting people. Don't tell that to country crooner Neal McCoy, who made a grab for viral fame this year with "Take A Knee My Ass," the only song that starts with the Pledge of Allegiance and gets more patriotic from there.
Listen, we were ride or die with Tay Tay for a while. Even after the Kanye voicemails we held out hope that sister would just get over it and get back to making bangers. And then this thing dropped and it was all over.
If you're going to make a clapback song, you have to make sure that it actually, you know, claps. And this hokey piece of recycled Right Said Fred does anything but. The whole thing sounds like Taylor is doing a Benjamin Button and she's now a sulky 11-year-old writing in her burn book.
There is no other way this countdown could end, to be honest. Jake Paul represents everything awful with modern music and culture rolled up into one white boy from Ohio. The Vine star got a job at the Disney Channel and a house in Hollywood on the basis of doing backflips at the mall or something, and then proceeded to inundate the universe with Content until people were begging him to go away. This weak-willed attempt at hip-hop namedrops Pewdiepie in the first fifteen seconds and just goes downhill from there. Truly the worst song of 2017.
Well, the good news here is that the year is pretty much over with. And now let’s all wait and see what 2018 brings us. It can’t be worse than 2017, right? Actually, don’t answer that.