I have a theory about picking your favorite albums of the year, and it goes like this: It’s never as hard as picking the worst song of the year. If you like something, you like it, and nobody can take that away from you. But to call something the worst, you need to do legwork. You must produce receipts. Your case can’t be sidetracked by bad evidence or faulty testimony. It’s imperative that you are accurate.
In 2016, there were lots of distractions from the search for the worst. There were songs that seemed like the worst because they were insanely popular, like the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” and Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling.” But while these songs are certainly hateable, they weren’t the worst.
There were songs that seemed to be trying on purpose to be the worst, like Fergie’s “M.I.L.F.$” and any number of tracks by Meghan Trainor. And there were songs so incompetent that they became sort of endearing, like Jacob Sartorius’ “Sweatshirt” and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “White Privilege II.” Again, these are all very bad. But they’re not the worst.
Mediocrity on repeat is annoying and soul-killing. But mediocre goes back to being mediocre once you change the channel. Worst is something else. Worst is intrinsic. If worst falls in the forest and nobody hears it, it is still the worst.
There were five songs released in 2016 worthy of being called the worst. Ultimately, one of these tunes was just a little bit worst-ier.