Image courtesy of Official Charts
I’m going to put it out there: 2019 was a dreadful year for music. With access to technology at an all-time high, music was democratised to an unprecedented extent. In other words anyone, literally anyone – providing they possessed a basic digital device – could make music in 2019, and thus naturally it played host to a lot of truly terrible music. Like jaw-on-the-floor terrible. Partner this with old culprits learning new tricks and it resulted in a year of unique musical drudgery. So without further ado, let the dreadfulness ensue…
Ayy Macarena - Tyga
Tyga is the new Pitbull. Whenever his name appears next to a song, whether it be as a feature or as the leading man, it’s guaranteed to be hideous. Ayy Macarena updates the continental classic (or catastrophe) and somehow exacerbates it with Tyga’s trademarked triumvirate of vacuity, vulgarity and, for reasons unknown, utter ubiquity. The lyrics are disgusting, the hook utterly repetitious and the accompaniment beyond bland. This is it. The worst song of 2019.
Memories - Maroon 5
Maroon 5 add legitimacy to their status as the World’s Worst Band with this emotionally manipulative cash grab. The whole world knows that Adam Levine can sing, which makes his utter lack of emotional investment all the more baffling. He craves your “feelz” yet can’t even be bothered to inject his performance with any degree of discernible humanity. We all deserve better than this.
10,000 Hours - Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber
The history of popular music is rife with genres and time periods begging to be mutated into something new and exciting. So Dan, Shay and Biebs have the ingenious idea of recontextualising the Backstreet Boys as faux-country cutesies. ‘I’d spend ten thousand hours to know that sweet heart of yours’ is so unabashedly cheesy it’s a surprise the artwork wasn’t encased by a big dollop of gorgonzola. Westlife cover pending.
South of the Border - Ed Sheeran featuring Camilla Cabello
Many things have unnerved me in my time as a music listener, but I don’t think any single moment has had me darting for the sick-bowl as briskly as when I heard Ed Sheeran say ‘Ti amo mami’. A stark reminder of just how nondescript a storyteller Sheeran can be, his characterisation of the woman he describes makes Quentin Tarantino’s perpetually dancing Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time In Hollywood seem well-drawn.
Money - Cardi B
You know when the back-in-my-day brigade talk about music not meaning anything anymore—this is what they’re talking about. Popular music boasts an array of magnificently swaggalicious odes to self-love, but Money, where the rampantly materialistic masquerades as the empowering over three minutes of the same two piano notes repeating over and over, certainly isn’t one of them. Madonna didn’t write Express Yourself for this.