Here is my rundown of the top five worst pop songs that came out in 2013. The following list is based on two criteria: the message or influence of the song, and the overall musicality.
5. “Harlem Shake” by Baauer and “The Fox” by Ylvis.
These two songs tied for fifth because they both started off as videos on the Internet that quickly became viral. “Harlem Shake” originally came out in 2012 but it was early in 2013 when an explosion of parodies emerged that will forever stain the Internet. After both videos achieved viral status, pop radio stations started playing these songs almost daily. It doesn’t make sense to me at all. “Harlem Shake” has barely any words in it at all; most of it consists of electronic sounds and effects. “The Fox” is just a ridiculous song made by a Norwegian comedic duo. Neither song was deserves to be played on the radio. “Harlem Shake” is hardly a song being made up of 95% instrumental and 5% actual lyrics. “The Fox” was originally made to promote a Norwegian talk show. They would have been much more enjoyable if they stayed on the internet where they originated. Radio stations, please stop playing music from viral internet music videos simply because they are viral.
4. “Royals” by Lorde
Lorde is the stage name of 16-year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor from New Zealand. “Royals” became extremely popular in the United States in the fall when the song was re-released with her new album Pure Heroine. While the song has an interesting message, criticizing he ideas and images of royalty and celebrity status, the music itself is somewhat lack luster and monotonous. If I was driving and “Royals” came up on the radio, I would probably have to battle the urge to fall asleep at the wheel. The music video also does not do well at conveying the message of the song. However, not all of the blame goes to Lorde; part of the reason why the song is on this list is that radio stations have totally overplayed it. But regardless, the song is pretty unexciting.
3. “Gentlemen” by PSY
We all remember PSY for his amazingly popular song “Gangnam Style,” which came out in 2012. In 2013, the Korean pop sensation came out with a new song called “Gentlemen,” which in comparison to “Gangnam Style” was a total flop. It is a little bit tacky, and simply lacks originality and creativity; one cannot help but be reminded of “Gangnam Style” when you listen to “Gentleman”. Both have random dancers and dancing, the chorus constantly repeats itself, and half of them are just silly and make no sense. It’s going to be very difficult for PSY to keep his fans satisfied because his future material may always live in the shadow of “Gangnam Style.”
2. “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus
2013 was the year of Miley Cyrus. Whether that is unfortunate or fairly entertaining, I do not know. Personally, “We Can’t Stop” got tiring after I heard it the first time, but of course, there are those who support the song and Miley’s new image. She’s breaking away from the image Disney set up for her with “Hannah Montana.” It makes sense that Miley wants to break away from her Disney image and reinvent her public persona. However, I can think of better ways for her to do that than by licking dolls and grabbing butts. Her song’s message is to be free of what others say, to be crazy, and to just be one’s true self. But the song and the music video portray that message through an adult party scene, which I think has negative repercussions. Her song illustrates that sex, drugs, and the whole party scene sell in this society because that’s pretty much what the song and music video are about. That is definitely not the right message to be sending to the younger generation.
1. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell
The moment the song finished, I knew I strongly disliked it. One can try to explain it away, but the song alludes to date rape whether the writers originally intended it or not. The chorus literally says, “I hate these blurred lines. I know you want it…But the way you grab me, must wanna get nasty.” After the song became popular, rape victims posted pictures of the lyrics from the song and underneath, the text of what their rapists had said to them. The two were were alarmingly similar. When I saw these pictures, I strongly opposed the song being played on the radio. It doesn’t matter if the song has a nice beat and sounds good because it’s promoting a terrible act of violence. I wonder if people actually understand what the song is actually saying. Maybe I am being a too oppositional toward the song because it doesn’t necessarily cause people to become rapists. But the fact that the song was so accepted as nothing less than normal troubles me. One thing music artists and celebrities have to keep in mind is their influence on people. Songs like this one desensitize people from treating real issues with the seriousness they deserve. The lyric “It doesn’t matter what a person says; the person really wants it,” is not something that should be planted into people’s brains. I don’t think that all songs should be serious and somber, but songs like “Blurred Lines” should not be popularized no matter how fun or enjoyable they are. If we glorify and promote something as terrible as rape, there will be no comfort for the victims.