There is perhaps no more complete representation of modern America than the pop charts. Hip hop and country music, dance and EDM, guitars, Auto-Tune, and the prepubescent stars of Vine make up our collective soundtrack. While voters of Trump, Clinton, Johnson, Stein, Harambe, and Vermin Supreme may live in totally different worlds, they stand shoulder to shoulder on the Billboard Hot 100. We may not agree on much, but we can all agree on one thing: A lot of that music is gloriously godawful.
Welcome to our annual attempt to find majesty in travesty, our celebration of the best of the worst. While the 2015 list had more whoppers than a Burger King, we as a culture managed to outdo ourselves in 2016. Let’s review the rules: In order to qualify for inclusion, a song needed to chart on Billboard. I don’t have time to review your cousin’s mixtape or SoundCloud single (or even more well-known dreck like Soulja Boy’s “Snapchat”). Lots of songs are bad; the whole point is that these songs were also popular.
To that end, this year’s entrants fit into three broad categories. There are aging artists desperately trying to stay relevant, but mostly demonstrating why they aren’t. There are superstars who have topped the charts so many times that they’re not even trying any more. And as always, there are sex lyrics so uproariously unsexy that they are clinically proven to be more effective than condoms at preventing pregnancy.
One last thing: The difference between good and bad is often a matter of taste. Your taste is probably different than mine, and it deserves to be shared. Please do us all a favor and post your own favorite lyrical flops in the comments below.
Now then, let’s get to it: The absolute worst pop lyrics of 2016.