Saturday, December 26, 2015

the top ten best hit songs of 2015

Of all of the lists that I put together throughout the last weeks of the year, this is probably my favourite, because it's where I feel the most populist. It's the acknowledgement at listing the absolute worst hits that there is good stuff that deserves attention too, and that the mainstream public actually agreed. And 2015 really was a good year. Yeah, hip-hop and country in the mainstream struggled, but there were a lot of great pop songs pulling on rock, synthpop, funk, and even R&B. And while I wouldn't say this year's hits are quite as strong as a year like 2012 or 2011, it handily beats the last two years I've been putting together this list not just in number of great songs, but their quality. And again, the songs had to land on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 - the deep-cuts and stuff outside the mainstream, that's coming next - but this was the good stuff that got popular.

So let's start with our Honourable Mentions, shall we?

If we're looking for an artist who pulled off a pretty solid face-turn after a bad opening single, it would be Nick Jonas capitalizing on Fifty Shades Of Grey for 'Chains'. And unlike nearly every other charting song associated with that movie, it actually played up some minimalist gothic swell, brought in an acoustic guitar for the handclap on the chorus before it breaks into something hollow and bleak. It reminds me a little of 'Sexyback' - mostly because of the BDSM imagery and Nick Jonas really wanting to be Justin Timberlake - but not only does this song handle its crescendo better, it also lets Nick Jonas play off a pretty damn good hook that can alternatively be seen as not sexual at all, but instead focusing more on Jonas' issues with fame. Which is interesting, because it's rare you see a singer admit that he's getting a visceral thrill out of it even though it's not healthy. I'm not wild about the bridge - goes a little long with the pitch shifting - but really, it's a minor gripe on a damn good song.



Okay fine, it grew on me a bit. Once was able to get past the fact that, no, it's not as good as anything off of Thursday or Echoes of Silence, I actually started liking this, mostly in how it's the giant ugly middle finger to a mainstream audience that would expect The Weeknd to 'sell out' or make conventional pop music. Granted, his next single 'In The Night' is right along that line and will probably have a fair shot at making my list next year, but I like what 'The Hills' does regardless. Yes, the bass swamps out most of the song and I wish the percussion picked up more momentum, but the core of bitter nihilism on this song actually makes it work, where the fractured bits of his ego lash out at everyone judging him or trying to change him as the eerie synths play off a lo-fi guitar and the ear-piercing screams that give this song a surprisingly potent edge. It's punishingly unsexy - which is the point and fits with the arc of the album - but it's also the moment that shreds the veil of The Weeknd's moody bad boy image to the wreck beneath it. It's looking into the picture of Dorian Grey - and seeing the picture look back.



Yeah, it's not quite the return to form I expected - and it didn't really last beyond this song - but if Selena Gomez wants to play towards Lana Del Rey, this would be the way to do it. Teaming up with A$AP Rocky's production to add some misty atmosphere was the first good step, and with the muted snap and subtle crescendos in the prechorus, this song bleed modern opulence - and yet there's a subtle undercurrent of danger to the song. She references Midas and the verses combined with the dead-eyed delivery kind of makes it a little unsettling. But I'd argue what really makes this track work is A$AP Rocky - if he was just going to be some swaggering asshole that would abuse this supposedly submissive behaviour, there would be validity to the criticisms that this song has unsettling implications. But he doesn't do that - in fact, most of his verse is glorifying her, taking care of protecting her image and feeding back into that opulence. In other words, it's an ego trip, but it's for both of them, and they're both owning the image. And yeah, I can admit it: it's sexy as hell, and probably one of the best things either of them did all year.



This only barely scraped onto the bottom of the list, but I'm so happy it did. i remember being very pleasantly surprised by how much I mostly liked Ella Henderson's Chapter One, even despite Syco Records production and some occasional uneven points. And I wouldn't even say 'Ghost' is the best song on that album, but there's a ton to like here. I love Ella Henderson's lower range that anchors a great hook with a strong guitar rollick against the huge drums and firm bassline. And I really dig how the lyrics focus on not quite being over the guy even though he was absolutely toxic - it was true love, and that's going to leave a lasting scar, even as she tries to put it behind her. But really, this song is here because of that hook and that vocal line - tons of propulsive momentum, and a damn great song to boot.



This is lower than I originally thought it would, mostly because while I think Elle King is nailing that balance between grunge and retro blues in her vocal delivery and that fuzzed out guitar line is goddamn awesome especially balanced a great dirty drum line with acoustic accents - especially that brief solo - the lyrics are a little shallow. Because while Selena Gomez and A$AP Rocky played off of each other for their ego trip, Elle King's simply flips the gender binary on your standard swaggering love-em-and-leave-em song. And once the novelty fades a little, you realize this is the same sort of trashy fantasy that's mostly saved by Elle King vamping with real grit. And really, sometimes that's enough.



Arguably one of the biggest sleeper hits of the year - and one that the UK got a while before the States - 'Budapest' is the sort of track that sneaks up on you, a pretty straightforward light folk song where George Ezra lists the things he'd leave behind for this girl, and that he'd always do so. But there are a lot of little subtleties to this track I really appreciate - the gentle low guitar rollick, the subtle counter melody in the keys, that little flutter on the chorus, how well George Ezra's soulful baritone plays on the hook, and a welcome little lo-fi segment for the guitar 'solo'. Yeah, the entire song is unassuming, but I found myself coming back to it a lot because it makes those subtle and sometimes disparate elements work pretty damn well together. I don't expect to hear another George Ezra on the radio, but I wouldn't mind it if I did, because this is pretty damn solid.



It's really damn easy to get annoyed with Macklemore - he's awkward, he stumbles more than he should, and he's so damn earnest you'd think he would stick the landing better than he does. But at the end of the day, he's got a solid flow, a good sense of humor, real personality, and he's putting his money where his mouth is. Who else in 2015 bothered to round up a selection of golden age MCs and make a ridiculously fun song about mopeds? And look, you do not have to tell me that this song is stupid and kind of a mess, not helped by Macklemore flubbing more rhymes than he really should, making a lot of stupid jokes, and rapping about his scrotum. And yeah, this song is not trying to say or do anything beyond bragging on the economically efficiency of a moped - but as an homage the silly pop rap side of the golden age, this works for me. The production is broad and goofy with the cowbell and horns, the slick funk of the bassline, and when the pianos come in for the chorus and Eric Nally howls his lungs out, it clicks. Kool Mo Dee, Grandmaster Caz and Melle Mel all deliver a ton of presence on the hook, and yeah, for as many dumb jokes as Macklemore makes, there are a bunch that do stick the landing, especially in the final verse with the neighbor, where his vocal delivery is just great. To people say that Rae Sremmurd is fun, this is all the refutation I need, and it's absolutely wonderful.

So that's a good start, but now onto the real great stuff, starting with...

10. It's rare when people everywhere decide that a song is awesome and thus should be huge, and recently it seems to have come with songs that call back to the past while still having a modern touch. The best example is 'Fuck You!' by Cee Lo Green, and while I don't think this song is as good as that modern classic, it was the biggest song of 2015 for a reason.


10. 'Uptown Funk' by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #1)

Here's something you probably don't know about this song - outside of the fact that it's funky and has a great groove and Bruno Mars is just owning his Morris Day impression, a lot of the structure in this song originates from an unlikely source: 'All Gold Everything' by Trinidad James.  Seriously, go back and listen, it's pretty hard to miss... actually, don't, because this song improves on it in every conceivable way. A sweet guitar lick that plays off of an incredibly punchy beat with a killer bass line, and while I've never been wild about that synth choice to balance against the horns, it works with the over-the-top bounce of the song. Because just 'All Gold Everything', this is a song about flexing and being the coolest guy in the room. And while some of the fashion is dated and the jokes goofy - he brags about being so hot dragons should retire, smoother than Skippy peanut butter, and that he could kiss himself he's so pretty - but the attitude carries it. And wow, Bruno Mars is absolutely killing this, to the point where it might be in the running with 'The Other Side' for my favourite Bruno Mars song. I'm just amazed we didn't get a third album from him this year to capitalize on it - it's been three years, dude, the sooner the better.

9. Okay, I came down really hard on the trend towards retro pop in my list of the worst hit songs of 2015, but the last two entries should prove that when it it's done right, it can work. Now if you've been following the charts, you'd probably expect one other, very corny and very white song to have landed on that list, because it has landed on plenty of others. I'm not going to say they're entirely wrong... but let me make my case.


9. 'Honey I'm Good' by Andy Grammer (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #25)

It's easy to hate this song - it's broad, it's aggressively chipper, it's cornball to the point of basically being country music - at least the closest thing you'll find on this list - and the music video celebrating established relationships is pretty damn painful to watch. But the majority of the criticism is directed at the lyrical intention of this song, that he's trying to play off not cheating as a big accomplishment and that can read as smug or a bit insufferable - and that he would end up cheating in most cases. Hell, I made many of the same criticisms of 'Cheerleader' by OMI, so why does this work for me? Well, a big part of it is tone: I made the country comparison earlier and when you look back to that time, this is the sort of corny song celebrating monogamy that would fit in that traditional country era. I don't see implications he would cheat here so much as he's paying a stream of steady compliments in order to get himself out of this jam. There's a sincerity to this song - almost entirely carried by Andy Grammer's earnest beaming delivery, almost in a screwball comedy sort of vein, with the chintzy organ playing off the clap percussion and thicker beat only accentuating that. And I like that on the bridge Grammer does reassure this girl she's going to blow somebody's mind tonight, just not his - it's a dorky move, but it's an honest one and that's why I think the song works, at least for me. 

8. And on the flip side, here's a song that everyone liked, has gotten tons of critical acclaim, and proves that if she wants to keep doing pop, she's got her foothold. And it's on my list.


8. 'Style' by Taylor Swift (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #29)

'Style' is a prime example of what Taylor Swift can do at her absolute best: sure, it's pop music, but it's the sort of wiry, focused pop music that lets her leverage her strong writing and a good melody to her advantage. A choppy guitar rollick that holds its own against the sinuous bass with the piano accents on prechorus, you'd think that it'd fit more in the guitar-driven synthpop that ruled most of the indie scene this year, but Swift brings a certain elegance to the track that, yes, gives the track a certain sense of style and poise, mostly anchored in Taylor giving one of her better vocal performances, on the line between broken vulnerability and effortless class. But really, it's the lyrics that take this song up a notch, a picture into a fractured relationship where both might put forward a timeless image but the cracks are plainly visible - and that's okay. Things are going to break down, but that sort of humanity will always come back. I honestly like this song to the point I don't even care if it supposedly is about Harry Styles, the writing has a sense of universality to it that transcends boundaries, and I found it way more impacting that the washed-out self-love of 'Blank Space' or the vintage reflection of 'Wildest Dreams' or the sloppily produced 'Bad Blood' remix. If Taylor wants to make more music like this... hell, I'm on board.

7. Of course, then you have the flip-side, a track that is a fairly naked imitation of what came before a good decade ago and is arguably even simpler and less nuanced. Hell, I even branded them as the lightweight version of that earlier act! And yet...


7. 'Shut Up And Dance' by Walk The Moon (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #6)

I shouldn't even have to explain why this song is unfiltered awesome, even if, yes, it is Killers-lite, from the new wave-esque layered guitars, shimmering synths, huge chorus, and exuberant groove. And it's not like it's even touching into the panicked neuroses backed by broad theatricality that made songs like 'Mr. Brightside' or 'Somebody Told Me' work. This is simpler and arguably more populist for the wallflowers of the world who get stuck overthinking their feelings when you might as well just shut the hell up and dance. And a lot of this is anchored in Nicholas Petricca's delivery - it's goofy and broad and silly, but the sincerity behind it works and he proves to be a surprisingly emotive singer as he sees wedding bells and she sees an escape, pushing back against his projection because she just wants a few minutes of release. It coasts on effervescent attraction, the sort that gave the weirdness of the early-to-mid 80s so much life, and Walk The Moon nailed it. Damn fun song!

6. Of all the songs that I picked for this list - with the exception of my number, and we'll get to that - I can imagine this will the most controversial. Now I could be wrong here - critics and the mainstream public seemed to have softened on this group, given they just dropped what will probably end up being their last record, but this song isn't even from that album but easily the best track from the record last year. And hell, this song barely made the year-end Hot 100.

What I'm trying to say is that there's a One Direction song on this list - and it's excellent.


6. 'Night Changes' by One Direction (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #98)

I'm never going to say I've completely come around on One Direction - production has been haphazard, the vocals has underwhelmed me, and the lyrics have dipped into some of the most naked fangirl pandering since the Backstreet Boys made 'Larger Than Life' - hell, you can see that in this video. But where I think 'Night Changes' is in the framing and execution - it's a more mature song as the girl goes out on a date, finally ready to get serious with this guy with real passion that could change her life, although the relationship between this girl and the narrator will last. And here's the subtle thing that I think really makes this song beyond the great harmonies, gleaming guitars with muted percussion, and one of the most subtle presentations of the boy band's career: it's never specified whether the narrator is actually the person the girl is meeting with. Now it might be - that cigarette smoker might well be one of the guys - but the pronoun usage implies it might be different, which frames the song in a much more interesting light - the guy's on the sidelines and while she's found real passion, that different connection she has with the narrator continues on. Either way, it's still an extremely well-structured and heartfelt track, probably one of the best things One Direction ever did - guess they were good for something after all.

5. It breaks my heart that the States will probably only see this guy as a one-hit wonder, because his success in the UK, Canada, and worldwide guarantees he'll remain a big name for a while. And that's a good thing: singer-songwriters with the sort of insane talent and presence this guy has don't come around often... and if you watched my list last year, you already know who this guy is.


5. 'Take Me To Church' by Hozier (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #14)

I wouldn't even say 'Take Me To Church' is among my top five favourite songs from Hozier's self-titled album - which one of my favourites of 2014 - which speaks volumes for how damn great this song is. Yeah, it's dark and gothic, touched with reverb with a smoky piano line with subtle vocal accents before the stalking guitar line drags the track into even darker territory, taking the gospel touches and mutating them into something biblical and haunting, a tact that Algiers would ignite in a similar fashion with the self-titled album this year. But where they went for explosive political statements, Hozier's framing is more internal, focusing on an absolutely toxic relationships where Hozier seems to be with an outright horrendous person, yet remains bound to her under the layered metaphor of religion. No act of depravity is below him in service of her, and it is only when he can say no that he finds true happiness. And speaking as someone who has his own complicated issues with organized religion... yeah, it's a metaphor that works in spades. But really, the reason why 'Take Me To Church' hits with such tremendous impact is Hozier himself - he steps more out of his richer range for this track, but he's still a vocal powerhouse, a huge find that easily outstrips so many of his contemporaries. And yet you only gave him one hit... why?

4. On the other hand, this is the sort of track you'd expect from a potential one-hit wonder: a goofy yet immediately catchy sample, a vocal performance that flies in the face of everything else on mainstream radio, lyrics that are oblique and off-kilter enough to make you think they don't make a lot of sense. And yet they come from probably one of the last big rock bands to cross over on pop radio, and they've been around for a decade... and yeah, you all knew this was coming.


4. 'Uma Thurman' by Fall Out Boy (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #60)

Oh, I'm so happy this became one of Fall Out Boy's biggest hits, and yet it was a little controversial for it. The Munsters sample that was trying for a Pulp Fiction/Tarantino-esque surf rock vibe, the jittery piano line, the fact that the song is much more concerned with noisy percussion grooves and overexposed vocals than what many would have come to expect from Fall Out Boy - but then again, I don't know what you can expect from this band anymore. I'll be the first to admit 'Uma Thurman' really shouldn't work as well as it does. The entire song is a massive ego trip - which actually characterizes a lot of the songs on this list, which is interesting to ponder - but the attitude here is believable, mostly because it's framed by Pete Wentz as symbiotic, two badasses hooking up for a tumultuous insane fling that'll probably go twelve kinds of crazy and leave one - or both - of them dead. And yet it works - the sample might be blatant and not make a lot of sense, but it fits the deranged melodrama of the song, and it's one of those extremely rare cases where the less sense it makes the better it seems to fit with the attitude. Now I'll admit it's pushing things, and this song did drop from its position on the top of my list thanks to straining under that weight, but it's still goddamn awesome and I'm thrilled Fall Out Boy managed to make one of their best songs in years a workable single. Wish the album was better, but hey, we'll get there.

3. This is probably the latest entry onto this list, and easily the one that'll surprise nobody. So far this list has shown a liking for gothic swell, tremendous vocals, emotional nuance... so what song topping the charts as we speak feels like such an obvious pick? Gee, can't quite think of this one...


3. 'Hello' by Adele (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #35)

And again, I don't think 'Hello' is the best song off of 25 - 'When We Were Young', 'Water Under The Bridge', and 'River Lea' all connect far stronger for me. But 'Hello' is a powerhouse of a track all the same, picking up from where 21 left off as Adele tries to call the figure from her past to close the last remaining loose ends... and yet she can't, because time has down a far more powerful job closing that door than she ever could. And I love how so much of it is framed in the very simple, plain language of an phone call from across the world - the smart metaphors are still there, but sometimes stripping back the language and instrumentation to the basics works obscenely well. And on that topic, you could argue that the sparse piano and Greg Kurstin's reverb-touched production has become a bit of a cliche in recent years, but where 'Hello' transcends it is on the later choruses, as the reverb and backing choir give the impression of singing out into the emptiness, and the addition of that bell toll pushes it even further... a voice from the other side, indeed. Yeah, there's a reason why this song is still topping the charts several weeks into the new Billboard year, and when 'When We Were Young' inevitably replaces it - and if it truly does, expect to see it on my year-end list next year - it'll be even better.

2. I can imagine some long-time fans are expecting this to be my #1, mostly because I actually included it on a different list: of my favourite songs of 2014. Not just the hits, all of them. Granted, it was low on that list, but that's saying something, considering it was whittled down from hundreds of tracks I covered through the entire year to a scant fifty. Now I'll admit it's faded a bit since then - which is why it's not topping this year's list - but it's still incredible, one of the high points of both artists' careers, and that's saying something given the year one of them had. And by now, this song needs no introduction.


2. 'Love Me Harder' by Ariana Grande ft. The Weeknd(Billboard Year-End Chart Position #56)

If the release of 'Focus' proved anything for me, it's that Ariana Grande is far, far better making cooing, sexually-intense love songs than she is ripping off herself, because 'Love Me Harder' is spellbinding in how sensual and tight it is. And yes, I know that makes me sound only a bit perverted, but on a song designed to intensify sexuality, Ariana Grande is absolutely killing this, against the muted mid-range keys that ebb off of the quiet reverb-touched beat until the chorus expands into a ebbing current that washes over the track. It actually works surprisingly well in contrast for The Weeknd, who, yeah, isn't as good as Ariana on this song but his persona remains intact. Him bringing that darker, more explicitly sexual side into this song is a perfect counterbalance, mostly because she's inviting him more into her world than the other way around, and is ready to take whatever he can get. And I really love that this seems to throw The Weeknd a bit - he's not used to girls who can match him for intensity, which is why his hesitation on the bridge works until Ariana throws on her dominant side to meet him. The balance is damn near perfect, and it would have easily topped this list... but...

1. Of all of my picks for the best hit songs of a certain year, I'm almost certain will be the most controversial. For one, it's the one that's the most obviously 'flawed', at least in terms of inconsistencies that would hold me back from embracing a song in full. And yet this is one of the cases where the things that do connect work so damn well that it pushes beyond that, even beyond one of my favourite songs of last year. But more than that, this was a song that was so unbelievably strong it forced me to reevaluate my entire expectation on what this artist could deliver in the future, because if she can make hits like this...


1. 'Cool For The Summer' by Demi Lovato (Billboard Year-End Chart Position #53)

I've liked Demi Lovato in the past, but my God she brought an A-game I didn't know she had with this song. Of course she's going to belt, but like Ariana she proves she might be far better sticking with quiet restraint, at least until she can build the crescendo. And what a crescendo it is, building off an instantly memorable piano flourish that is later echoed in one of the most crushing and potent guitar riffs you'll hear in pop music this year, taking the more sensual waves of synth against the sparse percussion that picks up subtle bass flourishes as the chorus just explodes. And then we get to the lyrics, which attracted a lot of controversy for playing towards bicuriosity, if only for a summer. What gets interesting is how much the lyrics seem to emphasize and exaggerate the danger for the two of them, with the most questionable line being 'die for each other', which is a pretty hyperbolic statement for a summer fling. And yes, plenty have made the criticisms to 'I Kissed A Girl' by Katy Perry, but I'd argue 'Cool For The Summer' works by not playing coy and cute, with Demi committing to the stakes with impressive sincerity, stakes that the instrumentation can actually back up. 'I Kissed A Girl' was obnoxious novelty titillation at best, where 'Cool For The Summer' goes for something deeper and more primal. In other words, it's my top hit song of 2015, and while the album didn't quite deliver on the promise of this song outside of 'Confident', if Demi wants to bring more pop rock back to the mainstream, I'm entirely onboard.

15 comments:

  1. I'm actually pretty shocked that Demi Lovato's making some worst lists for a song that great, even with the Katy Perry comparisons.

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  2. Mark, you're awesome, but this list is horrible. All of your HMs are terrible to mediocre except Downtown and Chains, and your pick for #6 is mediocre, and your #s 5, 2, and 1 are awful. This list deserves about as much respect as a Todd in the Shadows list (mind you, Todd put Demons above Love Me on his worst of 2013 list)

    This year, the best picks were slim. Here they are:
    HM: Sorry by Justin Bieber
    HM: Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy
    HM: Downtown by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
    HM: Irresistible by Fall Out Boy ft. Demi Lovato
    HM: Hello by Adele
    10. Fight Song by Rachel Platten
    9. Elastic Heart by SIA
    8. Drag Me Down by One Direction
    7. Detroit vs. Everybody by Eminem
    6. Sugar by Maroon 5
    5. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa
    4. Shut Up and Dance by WALK THE MOON
    3. Gold by Imagine Dragons
    2. Locked Away by Rock City
    1. The Hills (remix) by The Weeknd ft. Eminem

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    1. Lol, most of your list I couldn't have picked even if I wanted to (remember, I'm sticking with just the Best Hits, which means they had to land on the Hot 100 year-end list. 'Detroit vs. Everybody', 'The Hills (Remix)', 'Gold', 'Irresistible', none of them were remotely close. And I wouldn't have picked songs as boring as 'Sugar', 'See You Again', or 'Sugar' regardless. :)

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    2. I already know how you feel about DvsE and Gold. All of these were hits except the remix for The Hills. While Uma Thurman was pretty good, I think it was FOB's worst song. And The Hills is easily the worst song of the year for me (I also commented on your worst list), if it wasn't for Eminem and Nicki Minaj it would get about as much respect from me as you had for Brantley Gilbert's "Bottoms Up".

      While I do pay attention to the music, the lyrics mean more to me. Which is why I can't stand Ex's and Oh's but appreciate Gold. Also Sugar wasn't boring as much as it was vapid. See You Again? Ehh I'm even iffy on that, it would stand no chance in previous years. But compared to the straight 4/10s this year, See You Again was great.

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    3. Fine, since you paid no attention to the first part of my post, I'll write out why I don't like your choices.

      The Hills: This is easily the worst song of the year. Droning, balloon-like vocals, no tempo, contradictory lyrics (not saying you were wrong but if I remember correctly you accused Rae Sremmurd of the same thing), and an attitude that paints him as about as respectable as Justin Bieber.
      Good For You: Do you hate Miley Cyrus? Because the same transition Miley made Selena is starting to make; believe me she isn't the only one doing it.
      Ghost: Meh.
      Ex's and Oh's: This is a tone, lyrical, and conceptual nightmare, one of this year's worst songs, no matter how good it is lyrically,
      Budapest: Meh.
      6. I don't really care for it, especially considering the superior Drag Me Down is a hit right now.
      5. This song is one I hate to the absolute bone. It's a musical funeral, has a...poor music video, and slams everything I live for as a human being.
      2. Ariana is...okay, but she still needs to grow up more (I'm going to regret saying that come 2016). The one who brings this song down is The Weeknd, the only RnB/pop singer who even makes Jason DeRulo sound tolerable. His voice makes Adam Levine's seem like Biggie Smalls', his lyrics go in a completely different and disjointed trajectory in comparison to Ariana's, and he doesn't seem to know that well what the song's about.
      1. Like Take Me To Church, Cool For The Summer slams everything I stand for. The lyrics are too shallow to drown a baby in, and Demi's new path is scary to me.

      Some other things:
      1. The fact that you like the original version of "The Hills" better than the Eminem remix is...appalling, to say the least.
      2. "Gold" is nowhere REMOTELY near as bad as you made it seem in your Smoke+Mirrors review. It may not be very well produced, but I've seen worse, and the lyrics are extremely strong.

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    5. Ignorant, much? Mark can only select songs that landed on Billboard's year-end Hot 100 for 2015. "Gold", "Sorry", "Irresistible", "Detroit vs. Everybody", and "The Hills"' remix with Eminem did not. Just because "Gold" was on a commercial or "Irresistible" had a Demi Lovato remix released for it does not mean they immediately qualify as eligible hit songs for his list. He explains everything at the beginning of the fucking video, it'd be nice if you had actually paid the slightest ounce of attention before making bullshit claims such as this one. He never explicitly stated that Eminem's rendition of "The Hills" was worse than the original, by the way.

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    6. Anonymous guy, you made it seem like opinion matters so much, but honestly, i can hardly agree with your list, and explanations like 'Oh Selena is being like Miley' or 'This and that slams whatever I stand for' just makes your case smaller.

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    7. When your list has Rachel Platten and Maroon 5 on it, I'm not sure you get to complain about shallow songwriting.

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    8. @Bryan: Remember how Miley transitioned into adulthood and it turned out terribly? And now she's a try-too-hard-at-controversy excuse for an artist? Yeah I sense Selena going down the same road. As for TMTC and CFTS, it should be obvious what I'm trying to say.

      @Teddy: Alright lemme rephrase it: repulsive songwriting. Elle King is basically going near a fire thinking she isn't going to sweat when she has this love-and-leave personality. The Weeknd can't even bother to be witty or at least be creative about not selling out.

      That reminds me: you can't say that Fight Song and Sugar are bad because they are boring, then have The Hills, Good For You, and Take Me To Church on your list.

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    9. The difference with The Hills and Rae Sremmurd is that the hills has actual dark production which match the honest tone and lyrics of the song, has a good melody, and The Weeknd isn't a squeaker who pretends to get all the pussy's in the world, and doesn't have obnoxious lyrics, but rather brutally honest ones. Btw, your taste sucks

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    10. Even though The Hills is still in my bottom 3, it's no longer my worst. That would be My X by Rae Sremmurd (technically No Type, but that's one of my two favorites from SremmLife). My issue with The Hills is that it's dark just to be dark. And only the music tries to complement that' the lyrics are inconsistently whiny and Abel's voice is reedy and processed. Also, listen to the second verse and tell me that he doesn't try to pretend to do that. The melody is atrocious' one tone is too dull, and the other is too shrill.

      Also, I've changed my list to be only hits (Overplay has not done Sugar favors, and I hate Fight Song now):

      10. Lay Me Down by Sam Smith
      9. Like I'm Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor
      8. 679 by Fetty Wap
      7. See You Again by Wiz Khalifa (this is only this low because of the overplay)
      6. Locked Away by R. City
      5. Honey I'm Good by Andy Grammer
      4. Uma Thurman by FallOutBoy
      3. Downtown by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis ft. literally everyone in the world
      2. Hello by Adele
      1. Here by Alessia Cara

      Probably the reason my picks were/are terrible is because of how much I hated the charts in 2015. The popular good stuff hasn't been this average since....2009. If I wanted to, I could make a top 40 worst hits of this year, and almost a top 70 overall. I think that 2015 is the worst year for popular music of all time.

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    11. Slightly better, but you're still a pussy

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  4. @PANDORA CLAWS: The issue with Mark's reply was phrasing. He said that the majority of my list wasn't eligible, but then ended the sentence and said that those songs weren't even remotely close. If he had said ANYTHING near this:

    "Most of your list I couldn't pick even if I wanted to, since they had to land on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100, and as a result 'Detroit vs Everybody', 'The Hills (Remix)', 'Gold', and 'Irresistible' had no chance if making it on."

    I wouldn't have gotten confused, since he was even remotely explicit about it. Given previous sentiments he spoke about "Gold", and the fact that "The Hills" made it on the list (predictably...sigh), led me to think he prefered the original. Also, was it necessary for my comments to be met with malice like that? Just because of a misread?

    @Mark: Yeah my feelings of the list haven't changed even with deeper thought. This year was quite terrible, only the Eminem remix of "The Hills" was even close to being considered a masterpiece for me.

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