‘Psycho,’ ‘Broken’ and more: Songs we hated most in 2018

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‘Psycho,’ ‘Broken’ and more: Songs we hated most in 2018

When I look at the year of pop music in review, I like to notice the overarching, unifying themes that defined the year. 2016 was the year of EDM pop, with artists like The Chainsmokers and DJ Snake infiltrating the top 40. Meanwhile, 2017 was the year of Ed Sheeran, much to my chagrin. So, what feeling did 2018 encapsulate? What type of music infested the radio waves? The dominant motif seemed to be Xanax-induced songs that simply exist to take up space rather than elicit any sort of meaningful emotional reaction. The soundscape of music in 2018 makes me pine for the bygone days of 2012, where hits like “Whistle” by Flo Rida and LMFAO’s brief reign of popularity were undeniably terrible, but at least fun to break down. By contrast, reviewing 2018’s pop feels like a soulless endeavor. If I can’t analyze Flo Rida’s confused metaphors about fellatio, then what was this all about?

“Psycho” by Post Malone

It’s so excruciatingly easy to make fun of Post Malone that I almost didn’t want to put him on this list. Being a white rapper who looks like he’s never taken a shower in his entire life, Post Malone’s presence invites scorn; when I target him, I feel like a high school bully stuffing a nerd into a locker.

But his dirge “Psycho,” which scored a No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, is too terrible for me to ignore. I get it; Post Malone is all about his benzos. But “Psycho” is such a downer, so soporific that it must have only reached its stellar chart ranking from passive listening and playlist fluff. The title “Psycho” promises so much. “This is going to be the song where Post Malone goes bonkers! Watch out, he’s crazy!” Foolish naivete. Even in the song where he’s supposed to brag about his money and ladies, Post Malone perpetually sounds like he just woke up from a nap. Even between bars that rehash concepts that have been used in rap before (“Lil mama bad like Michael”), the lyric that stands out as being particularly loathsome is, “Had so many bottles, gave ugly girl a sip.” It may have felt pointless bullying him before when everyone else was doing it, but I’m completely ready to viciously mock him and his casual misogyny now.

“Girls Like You” by Maroon 5

Maroon 5 is a band completely barren of artistic integrity. Fronted by Adam Levine and his bizarre, screechy vocals, Maroon 5 specializes in producing pop-rock that sounds like it’s been focus-grouped to death. Charting staggeringly and undeservingly high in the Mainstream Top 40 and Hot 100, “Girls Like You” sounds like the result of someone treacherously whispering into Levine’s ear, “Remake ‘She Will Be Loved’… but about women’s empowerment.”

The result is a typical “white guy with acoustic guitar” song with lyrics that say absolutely nothing. When you hear the lyrics, “Girls like you/Love fun, yeah me too/What I want when I come through/I need a girl like you, yeah yeah,” what do you feel? Personally, I feel unreasonably angry, because unless it’s “Yeah” by Usher, the word “yeah” should never be uttered over 60 times in a song. Yes, I counted. Yes, I’m ashamed.

In a way, “Girls Like You” is a masterstroke. It capitalizes on mainstream music’s current trend of passive listening and shallow production, and, if Ed Sheeran’s massive success is any gauge, boring, acoustic guitar hooks. I can make fun of Adam Levine’s nonhuman wail all day, but he’s a brilliant opportunist.

“Broken” by Lovelytheband

Alternative radio stations are dominated by acts vying to be the next Foster the People, Walk the Moon or the Killers. Their songs are distinguishable by their indistinguishable laboratory-crafted sound, stretching the definition of “alternative” to its very limits. This year’s attempt at “Pumped Up Kicks” is Lovelytheband’s breakout single “Broken,” scoring the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on Billboard’s alternative and rock charts, respectively. And how sad that is.

“Broken” jacks the riff of “Kids” by MGMT, playing over lyrics espousing one of the biggest pop music trends of 2018: casual misogyny. “Broken” is about the narrator meeting a girl at a party in a “trust fund baby’s Brooklyn loft,” and becoming drawn to her because she is, as the title states, broken. Lovelytheband propagates the tired and borderline toxic reverence for the “poor little rich girl” trope, practically fetishizing mental illness and trauma. “There’s something tragic, but almost pure,” frontman Mitchy Collins sings in a monotone. “Think I could love you, but I’m not sure/There’s something wholesome, there’s something sweet/Tucked in your eyes that I’d love to meet.”

There isn’t anything “wholesome” about using a woman and her problems to satisfy your pitiful, sad boy desires. If the unoriginal electronic beat wasn’t enough to propel “Broken” into loathsome territory, then its lyrical content certainly is.

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