Wondering why every music top ten 2014 features the same 10-20 songs and albums? Us too. We took an informal poll about the uniformity of these lists. Music writers, musicians, label people and other media folk had many opinions. One thing everyone agreed on was that music public relations firms push outlets to listicle these artists in (an informal) exchange for access to their client rosters–for features, interviews and song/video premiers–which in turn garner page views and ad sales. PR payola is the new radio payola. Below is a mixtape you give as a Xmas gift to your least favorite family member
“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
Although 1989 is a really damn good pop album (EDITORS’ NOTE: These reviews represent Justin Moran only, BULLETT does not approve of Taylor Swift), “Shake It Off” is the skid mark that won’t go away. Swift is well known for her lyrics, but “The haters gon’ hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, and the players gon’ play, play, play, play, play,” really doesn’t cut it. In fact, it’s absolutely terrible. I’m totally okay with being one of the “haters” in this case.
“All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor
There’s nothing worse than this campy, retro sound reworked to fit in with modern-day pop music. When I hear this song, I imagine a pack of five drunk, single women in a sports bar, holding up their Cosmopolitans and screaming the lyrics in unison. They’re wearing statement necklaces and bandage dresses, and all drive practical Volkswagons. Where would they get their confidence from if it weren’t for Trainor’s “inspiring” lyrics?
Why would anyone want to listen to a song that whines about wanting to be like “the cool kids?” At the beginning of Echosmith’s blasé music video, lead vocalist Sydney Sierota quietly says, “Cool to me is kind of being unique and being someone you want to be,” which sounds straight out of an insecure 7th grader’s diary. This is for “hip” teenagers who feel socially ostracized, shop at Urban Outfitters and take funky photos with the DSLR camera their parents bought them.
I’m not ashamed to admit how surprisingly killer Paris’ 2006 debut album was, stacked with vain pop hits like the reggae, Fernando Garibay-produced single, “Stars Are Blind.” Where this was a sexy, sugar-packed release, “Come Alive” falls flat, submitting to a generic dance-pop sound and drenched with every gay cliché in existence. The music video, which is unnervingly evocative of Rihanna’s “Only Girl (In The World)” features angel wings, cotton candy clouds and a unicorn—it’s all too much.
Iggy Azalea’s “Beg For It” is the ugly, less popular stepsister of “Fancy,” who’s desperately trying to be as cool. Even though they’re both dressed in the same clothes with matching hair and makeup, “Fancy” still won prom queen in 2014. I’d love to see Azalea make a chart topper without recruiting someone else to sing the chorus—it’s an exhausted archetype that has run its course. What’s next?
It’s hard to believe that a 27-year-old mother made a song that sounds this immature. Perhaps her team decided Duff would have the best chance at a comeback if she reverted back to her awkward, youthful Lizzie McGuire persona. With a little more work, however, this blithe, Colbie Caillat-penned track could’ve been salvaged. But considering the immense hype prior to its release, “Chasing the Sun” is an undeniable letdown.
“Hangover (feat. Snoop Dogg)” – PSY
I’d rather spend an entire day driving the porcelain bus than listening to this mess. Wrapped in a tragic web of autotune and cringe-worthy lyrics like, “Drink ‘til you drunk, smoke like a broke stove,” PSY has achieved the impossible, delivering a track far worse than 2012’s “Gangnam Style.” Worst of all, the music video is a blatant reminder that Snoop Dogg is in fact a 43-year-old dad.
“Feeling Myself (feat. Beyoncé)” – Nicki Minaj
Any collaboration between powerhouses like Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé should be untouchable, but “Feeling Myself” is anything but. The minimal, masturbatory track, which was produced by Hit-Boy, doesn’t at all sound like a hit. It could have been so much better, and really, really should have—simple as that.
Fergie has given us a number of great songs, but her 2014 comeback isn’t one of them. The DJ Mustard-produced track sounds like a b-side to her 2006 solo debut The Dutchess, which is unfortunate considering that was released over a decade ago. “London Bridge” sounded fresh and exciting, while “L.A. Love (La La)” sounds stale.
“7/11” – Beyoncé
After the success of her in your face, trap-influenced tracks, “Flawless,” and, “Yoncé/Partition,” this seemed like the leftover—a lame attempt to capitalize on the sound that everyone loved. And with all the hype surrounding the re-release of her game changing self-titled album, you’d think Beyoncé would give us something more fresh than this passé b-side.