Yes yes it’s all well and good doing the Top 392 Whatevers of 2011, but it’s important to remember that in order to appreciate the good, we must also recognise the bad.
2011 has seen a healthy intake of absolute crap hit the airwaves and, most worryingly of all, the charts. YES, PEOPLE ARE REALLY BUYING THESE SONGS.
Remember, before anyone gets their knickers in a good ol’ twist, that this list is all good fun and just one person’s opinion. What’d be on your shitlist? Leave comments below.
10. Matt Cardle – ‘Run For Your Life’
October, chart peak #6
I’ve never made it a secret that I didn’t want Matt to win last year’s X Factor, but he did, and good on him for doing so. Good on him also for writing a debut album, Letters, that despite its flaws showed the potential of a songwriter who’s really ‘going somewhere’. So why then did SyCo decide to lead the album campaign with one of the weakest songs on the set, just because Gary Barlow wrote it? In trying to be something its not whilst still being fundamentally a pop song, ‘RFYL’ doesn’t actually end up being anything at all apart from weak and lifeless.
9. The Collective – ‘Teardrop’
November, chart peak #24
Another one we can thank Gazza B for, this cover of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’ did of course set out with all the right intentions – uniting a cluster of urban artists that ‘the kids’ will respond to, putting their own spin on a timeless classic. For charity! But in terms of putting across a message, the end product was as subtle as an earthquake, with “raps” involving its stars just saying shit like “Be this, be that”. Tulisa and Labrinth do a good job in the last few seconds, but that’s about it. The least successful Children In Need single in well over a decade.
8. Little Mix – ‘Cannonball’
December, chart peak #1
Little Mix are fantastic. I love them – they’re one of very few acts in X Factor history who were actually the logical winners and not just the “ahhh, what a nice voice, I’ll vote for him” winners. Expectation is high for them to deliver an incredible debut album in 2012, but I wouldn’t blame them for completely omitting ‘Cannonball’ from the tracklisting. The girls do their best with the cheap pop-R’n'B production they’ve been given, but compared to Damien Rice’s original this barely packs any emotional punch whatsoever.
7. N-Dubz – ‘Morning Star’
March, chart peak #52
Tulisa, despite the occasional mis-step, was a lot better as an X Factor judge than many people thought she’d be. But it was hard to go into the 2011 series with high expectations of her considering she had songs like ‘Morning Star’ to her name. Featuring an irritating chorus (actually, an irritating vocal part full stop) that sticks in your head for all the wrong reasons, it wasn’t so much a union of urban and pop, but rather an ugly collision in which neither genre comes out the other side any better for it. Love ya Tulisa, but this track really isn’t up to much.
6. Jason Derulo – ‘It Girl’
September, chart peak #4
“You’re my it girl, baby you’re the shit, girl”. WOW, JASON. THANKS! ‘Jasooooon Deruuuuulo’ attempts the lovely ballad on ‘It Girl’, from his second album Future History (CLEVER TITLE), but doesn’t quite make it. It’s odd that it doesn’t work, because it should – it’s got a gentle midtempo beat, a video with bits in black and white, and even a “oh o-o-o-oh” bit tagged on to the end of the chorus. So maybe it’s the lines like “much more than a Grammy award, that’s how much you mean to me”, maybe it’s the nagging suspicion Jase might actually be gay… who knows. But whatever the reason, it’s not a classic.
5. LMFAO – ‘Sexy And I Know It’
October, chart peak #5
Yes, we all had a laugh with ‘Party Rock Anthem’, we all tried to emulate the dance when under the influence, we all found Lauren Bennett’s cameo endearingly useless… but that was where it all should have stopped. The duo’s album Sorry For Party Rocking was a weak listen, stretching out their limited bag of tricks across far too many tedious dance-pop efforts, and ‘Sexy And I Know It’ was satisfying in precisely no circumstances. It’s filler in a club, pants on the radio… no points for this one, chaps.
4. Cher Lloyd – ‘Swagger Jagger’
August, chart peak #1
It’s one thing going on about how you get a hard time from “the haterz” and how really, underneath it all, you’re quite vulnerable; but it’s quite another thing taking your bratty reputation, throwing it in people’s faces to the tune of ‘Oh My Darlin’ Clementine’, and not expecting some kind of backlash from “the haterz” you know you have. EH? The good news is that ‘Swagger Jagger’ is outdone by every other song on Cher’s actually-quite-good album, and the other good news is that the last thirty-or-so seconds of this track are when it gets quite good. The bad news is it’s generally shit.
3. T-Pain featuring Lily Allen – ’5 O’Clock’
December, chart peak #6
Perhaps without all the excessive auto-tune this record might have been OK. Perhaps if, instead of T-Pain, an able singer who didn’t require ladles upon ladles of post-production vocal editing had recorded the lead part, it might have been quite listenable. Or perhaps if T-Pain had rapped instead of “sung”, there might have been a little more emotional resonance to the track. Or maybe – and this is the most likely theory – even if any or all of the above had been done, the song would still be shit. Because, despite the reminder that Lily Allen’s “retirement” is a very bad thing, ’5 O’Clock’ is fundamentally dire.
2. Sak Noel – ‘Loca People’
September, chart peak #1
“When I turned on the radio, and I heard ‘Loca People’, I though to myself… ‘What the fuck?’
All day, all night, all day, all night.
Viva la fiesta, viva la noche, viva los DJs…
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I called my friend Johnny and I said to him: ‘Johnny, this record is a steaming heap of shit!’
What the fuck?!”
1. Rebecca Black – ‘Friday’
March, chart peak #60
The more you look back on ‘Friday’, the more you get the sneaking suspicion that maybe the money-grabbing rat-bags at ARK Music Factory knew what they were doing all along. They knew that subjecting a poor 13-year-old girl to one of the worst songs ever written by man would garner them overnight media attention and more publicity than they could ever have dreamed of. How else do you logically explain lyrics like “Gotta have my bowl, gotta have cereal”, or the globally relevant dilemma of choosing which seat to take making its way into a pop song? Whatever the back-story, and whatever the motives were at ARK for allowing this atrocity to be released, the track became an overnight anti-sensation, Black became one of the world’s most bullied teenagers and ‘Friday’ did for pop what Busted did for rock. WELL DONE, EVERYBODY!