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Best and Worst of Entertainment 2021: The Rise of Skywalker (10th Anniversary Edition)


Clappy
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Yep.  You're reading this right.  I'm bringing this back from the dead.  For one last hurrah.  I mean after all its been ten years of these....except for last year...which you can find on my blog. cheap plug is supremely cheap...follow me

But ever since I've distanced myself from SBC as far as I have, I always couldn't help but feel like my departure from sharing these was as abrupt as it was.  I mean I just decided to drop everything like a fly and just moved on to do my own thing.  Which has gone fairly okay-ish.  My blog may not be as active as it use to be, but I've taken on a few minor writing gigs on sites like Fiverr and have had a few interviews.  Still keeping at it despite not being as active as it was last year.  That being said, I know where I got my start and found my passion for writing through this tight knit group of friends and I would like to thank you all by finishing up what I started with the "tenth" and final anniversary of doing these lists on here for one last time.

After all, it is the holidays and we need to spread Christmas cheer and give back to our friends and loved ones.  And I will be sticking to sharing this post on my blog like I did last year, but sharing it on here as well at the exact same time.  So whether you chose to read my blog or SBC, the decision is up to you.  But I will be sharing my 2020 lists in this thread as well to make up for some lost time on here before I get around to sharing my lists on here for 2021.

So happy ten years and looking forward to sharing my year-end lists next month.  And looking forward to reading yours as well if you chose to do a couple yourself. :)

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Straight from the Blogspot Vault, here's my 2020 Worst List:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2020.  Do I need to go any further?

 

 

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When my children ask me what year was the worst to live through, I’ll tell them 2020.  While I had two personal highs this year in terms of buying my first house and meeting my nephew, the cultural zeitgeist was just too hard to ignore.  The entire world hitting a screeching halt with a pandemic that killed millions, massive protests over social injustice that led to civil unrest, the ever-looming threats of another world war, the political divide becoming all the more toxic.  And that was only the first five months of the year.  I didn't even get to an overactive hurricane season, the election, and murder hornets.

I’ve already let my thoughts slip through about my many MANY insights as to the events this year brought onto us and I really don’t want to sound like a broken record at this point.  Because there is far too much negativity in this world.  One of my friends once told me that reading this blog is like handing out a dose of serotonin to her life.  And that’s what my intentions are with this blog.  To bring some positivity and entertainment towards this dark timeline we are in.  And that’s what I constantly aimed to do throughout this year.  Give people reading a much needed break from the reality we are currently sitting through. 

And honestly?  I have a lot of things to say about music this year.

 

So much so that I’m considering expanding a top ten best hit songs list for the year that was 2020.  2020 may have been one of the worst years of all-time, but the one thing it had going right was the hit music of the year was some of the best we’ve gotten this century.  I’m not sure if this was the direction that music was heading towards before the pandemic threw a wrench in everybody’s plans but I enjoyed so many of the minor trends that were coming whether it be the sub-trends of 80s inspired synthpop, a 2000’s nostalgia boom, emo rappers bringing rock music back, trap music starting to sound more introspective…I could go on about how many sub-genres worked this year for me that were becoming mainstream.

But for as much as I loved the trends that were, and still are to an extent, emerging; reality set in.  The pandemic threw a lot out the window for this year.  To the point that music became one of the last topics that mattered to people in the general public.  If you are reading this and are as big of a music nerd like me, you’ll know that when it came to the metrics, this was one of the weaker point differential years in popular music this year.  You all want to know why this year set a new record for most number one hits in a single year?  Because it was very easy to obtain.  A few weeks ago in early November during one of the weeks where “Mood” by 24KGoldn & iann dior was at number one, it had the same number of points as “Heartless” by The Weeknd the year prior when that was number seventeen that charting year of 2019.  You guys see my point?

And quite honestly, there is a lot to explain for the three main metrics.  Streaming as a whole is down by twenty percent this year over last.  The radio, an already declining format of telling what’s popular in the music industry, are even further behind at understanding what’s popular due to most of their chart analysts being out of work due to the pandemic.  And sales, another declining format, had to get creative with how to adapt due to the economy also being down thanks to the climate we are living in.  So yeah, in a year where the music that we did get was still pretty great in a sense, music was one of the last things that mattered because there were more important topics at hand to focus on.

Look I can sit here and ramble on about the music trends of this year because I didn’t even get to some of the important ones like viral trends and stan armies getting more control of these number one races, but alas, I know why you are all here and I don’t want to delay this any further.  I know which content gets more views, so like tradition states, let’s start it off by talking about some of the worst music this year had to offer.  And while we may have gotten some damn great music this year, we got our fair share of bad music as well.  Other music critics may compare the great stuff with some of the best pop music decades like the 80s and the late 90s.  However, when it comes to the bad music, I think a good comparison is 2018 where we either got a fair share of hits from problematic people, a lot of pop music on autopilot, or finding myself questioning who some of these hits are even for.

But enough preamble, let's get those dishonorable mentions out of the way before tackling on that main course:

Spoiler

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS:

 

“Trampoline” – SHAED

I get that this was an easier year to make the year end list than previous years due to a bigger lack of actual singles this year.  But come on now.  Nobody actually cared about this song this year.  Or any year really.

 

“Sum 2 Prove” – Lil Baby & “We Paid” – Lil Baby & 42 Dugg

So I guess we are going to keep Lil Baby around, aren’t we?  This was a monstrous year for him.  And while he finally won me over this year, I still don’t get the appeal for the most part.  I’m making progress there.  Especially when he gets huge with monotonous bores like these here.  Which I forget how they go every time I hear them.  And no I’m not going to go in depth about either of them.  They both suck in utterly boring ways.

 

“Suicidal” – YNW Melly (featuring Juice WRLD)

Isn’t this guy on death row or something?  How is his label still pushing out new music?  Pushing aside Melly’s controversial personal life, this is just a less catchy version of XXXTentacion’s “SAD!”  And isn’t that what we all needed?  Another smash hit guilt tripping women into thinking you’re going to kill yourself if you don’t get with them?  Fuck this guy.  This was going to make the list proper but the Juice WRLD remix that ended up being the one that was credited saved it.  At least Juice WRLD had the sort of personality to make this sort of song work by leaning into the full emo aspect of the situation.

 

“hot girl bummer” – blackbear

The position of this song may surprise some of you.  It kind of surprised me too.  But in this day and age where I struggle to figure out who certain songs are aimed for, I’ll give this song this.  At the very least, I understand what this is going for.  It’s bold.  It’s brash.  It belongs in the trash.  But I absolutely get its target audience.  Douchebags.  The same douchebag white boys that blasted nu-metal in the 2000s.  This is basically a modern day nu-metal song.  Except with toxically masculine. 

Make no mistake though.  Even without this being on the list proper, blackbear is fucking awful.

 

“Nobody But You” – Blake Shelton (featuring Gwen Stefani)

You know for a couple who started off as a showmance, Blake and Gwen are one of the most insufferably dull entertainment industry couples right now.  They just do not go well together.  Even when I was watching The Voice, these two just felt more like brother and sister than a believable couple.  Just no believable chemistry whatsoever.  Pretty much applies all my thoughts to this dull uninteresting song.  For a song called “Nobody But You”, I barely hear Gwen on this.  Blake’s voice just overpowers Gwen’s that she is basically of no presence.

 

“Savage Love (Laxed-Siren Beat)” – Jawsh 685 & Jason DeRulo

Wonder what Jason DeRulo will cash-in on next to stay relevant after the TikTok clout eventually wears out?

 

“One Margarita” – Luke Bryan

Now that Luke Bryan has finally ran the bro-country well completely dry, time to move on to the next stage of his career.  Ripping off Kenny Chesney.  And isn’t that just what we need?  Another person ripping off Jimmy Buffet?  Although this song goes above and beyond that by also catering to the anti-quarantine crowds in the middle of a pandemic.  And because Luke Bryan is willing to do anything to rack up hits at this stage of his career, he actively promoted it as such.  Honestly wanted to put this on the list proper solely for that reason, but last thing I want to do is let politics heavily influence a song list.  Still, fuck this guy and anti-quarantine crowds as a whole.

 

“Someone You Loved” – Lewis Capaldi

I still hate this a lot.  But god bless did Lewis Capaldi put himself out there.  He at least tried to sound distinct in a music climate where so much sounds the same.

 

“THE SCOTTS” – Travis Scott & Kid Cudi

Honestly would be on the worst list proper if it wasn’t for that outro.  Producer Mike Dean deserves a lot of credit for making even the most worthless of Travis Scott singles salvageable with his outros as of late.  That still doesn’t make Travis Scott’s output this year all the more worthless.  Every single Travis forced out in 2020 all sounded like AstroWorld rejects.  But none pissed me off more with their worthlessness as much as The Scotts.  I couldn’t tell you a single memorable second of this song except for that outro.  It goes in one ear out the other every time.  Wasn’t this supposed to lead to some sort of collaboration album between these two?  Has it already been pushed to the backburner for some more commercial tie-ins disguised as number one singles?  I really hope that next album does Travis some good because he is getting dangerously close to being labelled a sellout very soon.

 

Okay now that that's out of the way, let's do a proper goodbye to these last 10,000 hours and hope for a better 10,000 more.  We're counting down!

 

 

THE TOP TEN WORST HIT SONGS OF 2020

 

 

Spoiler

Well let’s start this list off proper by talking about the platform for music in 2020.

 


 

I don’t know if TikTok is going to stick around for the long haul or if it will get replaced by another app in the coming years.  Or if the Trump administration will prevent this app from ever getting another buyer because of their stupid beliefs that China is using it to overpower our government. 

2020 was the year of many negatives, but TikTok was absolutely a positive in 2020.  It helped take our mind off of everything going on in the world.  And a good majority of the hits on this year’s year-end list had some sort of challenge tied in via social media influencers from TikTok.  These influencers would pick a new song or two every couple weeks, make some sort of dance to go along with it, then the dance would go viral.  And I do have to admit.  A lot of these dances were actually pretty creative.

Others were not….

...and then there was this.

 

10. “Party Girl” – StaySolidRocky

 

Look I get that we are in a new era of music where songs don’t really go over the three minute mark anymore just to keep people’s short attention spans occupied.  But I don’t understand how anyone can stay interested in this slog.  It’s barely over two minutes long and a lot of that feels like overlong silence.

Not only that but this guy just flat out sucks.  He has no charisma, no flow, no personality.  He’s just a dull guy who sounds like he is concern trolling this girl who is addicted to meth and guns.  Or maybe he’s seriously worried about this girl.  I can’t tell.  He puts forth the same monotonous bored tone throughout the entire song that it is hard to tell if he really gives two shits.

This is the first time in a long time that a song feels so low quality in effort and talent that it doesn’t even feel like it should be allowed to chart.  So clearly it got popular off the Tik Tok dance:

 

 

 

I stand corrected there too.  That is just moving your arms and back forth and doing the handphone gesture.  Aside from the latter, howis that any different than any other Tik Tok dance?  Whoever influenced this dance clearly didn’t get paid nearly enough.  This song is so low effort that it deserves this low effort of a dance.

 

 

People are going to look back at this TikTok era chalk full of one hit wonders years from now and StaySolidRocky is a good Exhibit A as to how this app basically handed out a career to anybody.  Next.

 

Spoiler

You know I’ve always wondered how likely it was that millennials have taken to classic songs from being used in films they’ve watched growing up.  I’m definitely including myself in that category, no question.

 

I for one, discovered Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” from Heath Ledger’s rendition of it from 90’s teenage film classic “10 Things I Hate About You”.  And that song has been used time and time again in many movies like “Son of the Mask”, “Sharp Objects”, and “Bad Times at the El Royale”.  Ironically, the latter two came out two years ago and now one of the biggest hits in America right now is a dream pop remix of it.  What a coincidence.

 

 

9. “ily (I love you baby)” – Surf Mesa (featuring Emilee)

 

This song becoming a hit at all just baffles me.  I thought we left the dance music remixes of classic songs back in the 1990’s?  Where they belonged.

Not only does this song remind me about how lazy that trend was nearly thirty years ago, it also reminds me of 2013 when some already forgotten about EDM artist remixed Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness”.  And while that one eventually grew on me, it just made me appreciate the original Lana song all the more.  And my god does Frankie Valli belting the chorus to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” just hit every single time.  No wonder these no names only focus on the chorus of that song.

Look I get that EDM was one of the many trends that took back off again this year, but say what you will about the Roses remix or the many songs Regard charted this year.  At least they have some sort of bop towards it.  I could be listening thirty seconds into the song or two minutes in and I wouldn’t be able to tell how far into the song they are. 

This is just limp and lifeless and no thanks, I’ll vibe with the original.  Next.

 

Spoiler

This is a worst list.  Make no mistake.  I genuinely hate all these songs.  But at least this next one I can find some sort of nostalgic entertaining levels of terrible with.

 

8. “My Oh My” – Camila Cabello (featuring DaBaby)

 

This has been a bad album cycle for Camila Cabello.  From the backlash of being one of the most insufferably fake celebrity couples in recent memory to her second solo album performing terribly and most notably, her racist past coming back to cancel her; it’s amazing that any one of her songs made the year end Hot 100 for this year.  Fairly high.  Just goes to show that anyone can still get a hit as long as they suck up to either radio’s increasingly narrow definition of pop music or shelving out playlist payola to force this one to hit status.

But good lord is this song so hilariously bad.  This is basically a rip-off of “Havana” except unintentionally hilarious.  And in a year where this worst list is basically full of songs that I don’t understand how anyone can find them any good, this at least made me nostalgic for when bad music used to be entertaining levels of terrible.  I don’t buy for a single second that Camila Cabello wants to be “the bad girl”.  If anything, she sounds like a little kid playing grown up with her mother’s clothing.  And why does this bad boy sound like he came out of the 1950’s?  An older guy?  How scandalous.  With a “bad reputation”? Sure Karen, they all do.  A black leather jacket?  What sort of bad boy still wears a black leather jacket in 2020?

Senorita Song Shawn Mendes Leather Jacket - Films Jackets

 

Is the bad boy supposed to be Shawn Mendes?  Goodie two-shoes incredibly unthreatening nice guy Shawn Mendes?  ….I’m laughing in real life while I’m typing this.  Holy shit…

Oh and DaBaby is here because he’s shelving out Ludacris style guest verses for popstars like it is still the early 2010’s.  I don’t think his verse is bad, but it’s just there.  Like sprinkles are on desserts.  Do they necessarily add anything to them?  No.  It’s just a brief distraction from the rest of the ice cream or cake.  And DaBaby is just a brief distraction from how horrible everything else is on this song.

This song just feels crowbarred into existence because Camila needed a hit off this album to keep her around.  I sure hope that payola was worth it because with how easily this faded out of existence after its brief moment, it shows nobody is interested in what Camila is selling.  Next.

 

Spoiler

 

I know it’s easy to forget that this came out over a year ago, but since 2020 has felt like twelve years in itself, yes it’s been over a year since “Old Town Road”.  A song so genuinely great that it left me hoping that we get more songs like this.  Songs that blend genres and defy what we expect from popular music.  What I’m saying is we need more “Old Town Road’s” and less….well, whatever the hell this is.

 

7. “Be Like That” – Kane Brown, Swae Lee, & Khalid

 

I don’t like Kane Brown.  I’ve tried and tried to get the appeal of this guy, but all those early comparisons to a country Justin Bieber keeps getting more and more accurate with each passing single.  He’s had one song I genuinely liked a few years ago called “What Ifs” that was charming enough to give him some goodwill, but every song since then has been blander and less interesting than the next.  I genuinely don’t like this guy as a performer.  He brings nothing to the table and whatever decent vocals he does have are wasted on watered down shlock.

It is only fitting that his first actual pop song is with two of the biggest wastes of potential in popular music right now.  For someone who has had some of the biggest pop song hooks of the last three years, I’ve wondered why Swae Lee is not as big as he should be.  But he keeps releasing middle of the road crap that is not interesting in the slightest bit.  And then you have Khalid, who is the polar opposite and just keeps releasing the same song twenty times and refuses to take a break.  It’s fitting that his biggest hit has stalled out his momentum because “Talk” keeps proving to be a sellout of his artistic integrity every time I hear it and only gets worse and worse.  And I hear it almost every day at work.

In case you’ve noticed, I’ve barely talked about this song.  It’s not worth mentioning.  It is yet another song about having mixed feelings in a relationship.  About being in your head and not overthinking things.  One of the most overused topics in pop music.  You know what, it’s fitting that these guys together making a dull uninteresting country/rap/pop song about relationships and overthinking things in your head.  Because they basically made the 2020’s version of “Over and Over Again”:

 

Isn’t that what we needed?  A reminder that this slog of a song existed?  Lil Nas X, please come save combining genres before these three ruin it some more.

 

Spoiler

Amongst my Discord friends, I mentioned at the beginning of this year that this song is okay.  But after relistening to this song with a fresh set of ears for the first time in like nine months, I was wrong.  This is flat out awful.

 

6. “RITMO” – Black Eyed Peas & J. Balvin

 

Let’s be honest, how many of you still remember this sleeper hit from the left in the past once again Black Eyed Peas from the already forgotten biggest domestic box office earner of 2020, Bad Boys For Life.  Can’t wait to share that little trivia tidbit years from now that the most financially successful film of 2020 was this corny cashgrab reminding us that Will Smith is getting old, man.

Honestly the one thing I defended earlier this year and sort of still defend now is the sample of “Rhythm of the Night” by….Corona (god maybe the Black Eyed Peas return to relevance was a sign of things to come).  The one thing that will.i.am still has after all these years away from success is the knack for an insanely catchy earworm that won’t leave your fucking head.  And my god, even in 2020, he still has that going for him.  But everything else is so fucking bad.

“Rhythm of the Night” isn’t the only song being sampled.  It also samples 2015 hit “You Know You Like It” by DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge.  I honestly don’t really have any thoughts on that song except DJ Snake used to be such a good producer.  Whatever happened to him?  Anyway, will.i.am beats the melody from that song into the fucking ground and it becomes one of the most annoying sounds from any song this year.  That thumping gets old with each passing listen.

But of course, that’s only the cherry on top of this trainwreck.  Clearly the time away from the spotlight has not improved any of the Black Eyed Peas skills.  Because they ruined club pop music, they are now trying to ruin reggaeton with their incredibly poor Spanglish.  I’m so sorry to Pitbull’s messy translations from the early 2010’s.  Nothing will ever be as insulting as listening to will.i.am saying:

PUTA!  I learned that shit down in Mexico!

Congratulations.  You know basic Spanish you culture vulture.  And that’s just the beginning of the insulting amounts of using reggaeton as a clutch for success.  A lot of these lyrics are just using Spanish as a clutch to cover up the fact that this could have been mistaken for a 2010’s Black Eyed Peas song.  This isn’t progressing their career.  It’s just furthering regression.

Oh and J. Balvin is on this too.  It’s funny that I brought up Pitbull earlier because J. Balvin has basically taken a similar career path.  Whoring out features just for an easy couple bucks.  A J. Balvin feature means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.  It means you are whoring out your genre just to get your name added as a featuring credit.  Was it worth whatever The Black Eyed Peas paid you to rap a line about Hakuna Matata with Timon and Pumba?  What the hell does ANY of this have to do with Bad Boys 3?!

Are The Black Eyed Peas an overhated group?  Possibly.  But with all of these 2000’s nostalgia acts becoming things again, the last thing we needed was The Black Eyed Peas coming back with easy cash-ins when their careers died because of it in the first place.

 

Spoiler

5. “If The World Was Ending” – JP Saxe (featuring Julia Michaels)

 

Talk about a song title capitalizing off the cultural zeitgeist.

I’ll be honest.  I was actively avoiding this song for the longest time.  Mostly due to my track record with Julia Michaels and how I think she is one of the most hollow and vapid singer-songwriters working today.  Some people are not meant to make the transition to pop singers and Julia Michaels is one of them.  She is just an empty vessel where music is supposed to come from.  At least the pop singer she is most tied to Selena Gomez can manage a good song every now and then.  I don’t know of a single Julia Michaels song I would even come close to finding tolerable.  She just makes singing sound like a violent procedure.

And yet this song is somehow even more dull and limp than I initially feared.  These two go together like hot sauce and whipped cream.  JP Saxe is just as much of a non-presence as his featured guest.  At least I could tell you that stars wanted Julia Michaels to write for them.  When five of your top eight songs on your Spotify/Apple Music are different versions of this one song….well let’s just say good luck getting that second hit.

But the biggest disappointment of all is the producer, Finneas.  I refuse to believe Billie Eilish’s older brother produced this shit.  It sounds like coffee house piano music.  It makes his production for Selena Gomez’s “Lose You To Love Me” sound like a five star Broadway show tune.  At least that song sounds like it’s supposed to be theatrical.  For a song called “If The World Was Ending”, this sounds like a lounge act on a cruise ship.  WHERE’S THE TENSION?!  WHERE’S THE PASSION!? 

Can the meteor come and make songs like this extinct?  Absolutely worthless song.

 

Spoiler

 

2020.  Once again, another huge year for Post Malone even though he didn’t even drop anything this year.  But as seasons changed, “Circles” never truly left the Top 20 due to high amounts of radio volume as Nielsen’s charting system was basically broken the entire year.  And due to such, “Circles” is one of the top ten biggest hits of all-time.  So yeah, this was technically another huge year for Post Malone. 

As Posty’s reign of success continues into the 2020’s, it was only a matter of time until the copycats started to come out in full force.  And while not all of them were necessarily bad, it has become increasingly obvious that there is more to the Post Malone formula than I have ever given him credit for in the past.  Isn’t it funny how that works sometimes?  All it takes is one truly awful carbon copy to make you realize how much more talented the original really is.

 

4. “Falling” – Trevor Daniel

 

How the fuck did we let this guy chart with this song for nearly a whole year?  This guy with his warbling bitchfit about the same topic all these new guys ever manage to write about anymore?  He’s not even good at warbling.  He doesn’t even sound like he gives a shit about his heartbreak.  It just sounds like a mild inconvenience instead of absolutely devastating.  God damn.  At least Post Malone wails like it is killing him inside.  At least Juice WRLD, may he rest in peace, was expressive with his emotions and sounded like he meant every word he was saying.  Trevor Daniel just sounds bored as fuck.

I don’t really have too much to say because Trevor Daniel doesn’t say anything new that I haven’t heard five hundred times before.  All I know is that only in this empty void of a year for actual hit singles was the only reason that this almost cracked the Top 20 of the actual year end list.  That’s the only explanation I have as to why anyone would remotely care about this nothing of a song.  Let’s move on.  I’m falling asleep.

 

Spoiler

 

Say what you want to about this trainwreck, but at least it manages to hold my attention.

 

 

3. “Intentions” – Justin Bieber (featuring Quavo)

 

It’s safe to say Justin Bieber is not worth keeping around anymore.  He adds nothing to the table except his name which still somehow means something in the year 2020, where the quality of his output is easily the worst he’s ever put out.  Yes even worse than in 2009 where Justin Bieber sucks jokes were the easiest way to get you credibility amongst your peers.

I’d rather listen to 2009 Justin Bieber than the Justin Bieber we have now.  I’m not taking back what I said.  The Justin Bieber of 2009 at least was fun to hate.  The Justin Bieber we have now is insufferably dull.  All of his output this year was just some of most nondescript uninteresting white noise I’ve heard from a popstar in quite some time.  Justin Bieber has the personality of a wet piece of toast.

And “Intentions” is one of the best examples in recent memory of how dull and uninteresting Justin Bieber is as a performer.  I mean my god, didn’t this guy use to be “cool”?  Or at least that’s what the vibe most people got from him?  When did he turn himself into the lead singer of Train with all of these bizarre romance metaphors?  I mean I sure as hell wouldn’t swoon at being called an asset with a heart full of equity. 

Oh and Quavo’s here too.  Someone should have told Justin Bieber that this is 2020 and he’s three years late on the overabundance of Quavo guest features.  That being said, Quavo’s adlibs are the highlight of this song.  As in they get an unintentional laugh out of me, when I’m otherwise bored out of my fucking mind.  That’s the only thing preventing this from being number one on this worst list.  Seriously.  Next.

 

Spoiler

I’m done.  Enough is enough.

 

2. “Memories” – Maroon 5

 

I’m as sick of talking about this nothing of a band, just as sick as everyone is of seeing them appear on numerous worst of the year lists year end and year out.  They bring nothing to the table.  They coast by on whatever qualifications are left on I Heart Radio’s increasingly limited standards of what classifies as hit pop music.  I’m just done talking about Maroon 5.  Just like Adam Levine is done with trying out any new ideas and has been done for nearly ten years now.

What makes “Memories” the new worst Maroon 5 song ever?  I forget how it goes every time I hear it.  And you would think a song that uses one of the most recognizable chord structures in all of music would be more memorable?  Nope.  I couldn’t even tell you how the chorus goes without listening to it.  Something about memories bringing back you….whoever you are.  The world’s only Maroon 5 fan left I assume.

Look this song sucks ass.  You know it sucks ass.  I know it sucks ass.  Any good memories left of Maroon 5 are long gone.  Let’s just move on, just like Adam Levine should be moving on from making music.

 

Spoiler

And my number one this year wraps all the way back around to the story of this god awful year.

https://time.com/5791661/who-coronavirus-pandemic-declaration/

As I was saying at the beginning, when I tell my children about the Coronavirus pandemic, I’ll tell them that March 11, 2020 was the day the world came to a standstill.  After all, that was the day both Tom Hanks and Rudy Gobert tested positive and most of the world realized that COVID-19 should be taken seriously.  Sport seasons suspended.  Entertainment venues shut down.  New movies and television shows all delayed.  The one form of media that didn’t shut down?  Music. 

While some artists like Gaga delayed their albums for months, hell in Kendrick's case indefinitely, others took advantage of us being locked in our homes by pushing forward with new music.  Album bombs became more of a common occurrence.  More challenges started taking off on TikTok.  And of course, since we are still living through a deadly pandemic that has killed millions, we got charity singles.

 

 

1. “Stuck With U” – Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber

 

 

When it comes to all time bad charity singles, I wouldn’t even place “Stuck With U” in my top ten.  Hell, this isn’t even the worst one from this year:

 

You’re damn right I’m sharing this one with my kids too.  Yeah Ari and Biebs aren’t nowhere near as bad as Gal Gadot and friends.  But when it comes to the most worthless songs of the year, this is absolutely at the top.  This is the safest song I’ve ever heard either of these artists have ever recorded.   A slowed down ballad from Ariana Grande?  Gasp, what a novel concept.  She sure hasn’t done that before.  Justin Bieber singing about how there is nowhere else he’d rather be than with his girl?  Gasp, two for two on original song material.

This is exactly the type of song that you would expect from either of these artists.  You don’t even have to listen to it to immediately figure out exactly what you’re getting.  Where’s the excitement?  The impact?  This is just a quick cash grab by Scooter Braun, who knows that charity specials were going to be a big thing this year.  Just the correct amounts of evil I expected from this awful man.  And to add to your forced legacy why not get a quick and easy number one?

Hehe, about that.  We can’t talk about this song without the controversy that came with it.

https://www.billboard.com/articles/business/chart-beat/9380654/billboard-hot-100-number-one-calculations-6ix9ine

Yeah, longtime enemy to the music critic community Tekashi 6ix9ine shared his disgust with Billboard’s constantly broken charting system that his comeback single “GOOBA” didn’t debut at number one but this duet did.  Despite the fact that “GOOBA” ruled streaming that charting week as well as dominating YouTube, it only debuted at number three because “Stuck With U” got a last minute sales increase on bundle deals that pushed it to number one.  Probably from Scooter himself.

What do I think about the “controversy”?  I don’t.  Like I said, Billboard’s charts will forever be broken.  Studio executives and fan armies will always find ways to expose the flaws in Billboard’s charting systems.  Whether it be mass purchasing singles, industry payola, strategic discounts, constant remixes…and so much more.  You name it, people will find ways to get their artist(s) hits.  

So yeah, congratulations “Stuck With U” from chart-blocking the comeback of a terrible human being who ended up using all the same tricks in the book to get his own duet with a pedophile defender to number one.  But let’s not act like this is not an awful song on its own merits:

I’ma get to know you better
Kinda hope we’re here forever

….FUCK YOU BIEBER YOU PRIVILEGED SHIT.  I WOULDN’T WISH THIS PANDEMIC ONTO EVEN MY WORST OF ENEMIES.  Worst two seconds in popular music 2020 for sure.

People are dying and Scooter is out here profiting off of a global pandemic with a half-assed song from two of the biggest popstars on the planet.  Yeah sure the proceeds went to “charity” but the only charity that truly mattered all along was that number one spot knowing Scooter.

This is the saddest timeline.

 

Thoughts One Year Later: Yeah wouldn't change a thing about any of these.  At the time it was really hard to work around a glitch my blog was having where media links were not embedding, so some of the videos or photos that are in this post are different from the ones from the original, but yeah otherwise all the content is accurate.  Would I make any additional changes to rankings?  Honestly, outside of "Yummy" by Justin Bieber being another dishonorable mention because it truly is a spectacular trainwreck, I wouldn't change a single post from my top ten.  Hate all these songs.

 

Next up, my (yikes) Top Twenty Best Hit Songs of 2020.  That one is going to be all sorts of challenging to import onto here.  But looking forward to seeing what sorts of reactions that will get for those who didn't already read it.

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I'll just provide a quick link to both my bottom 10/top 10 hit songs lists for the past year from my own blog, since I don't feel the need to reformat everything for SBC, and it's more convenient that way:
 

http://spongeofsteel.home.blog/2020/12/10/steels-top-10-worst-hit-songs-of-2020/

http://spongeofsteel.home.blog/2021/01/30/steels-top-10-best-hit-songs-of-2020/

 

I've sworn off annual YE Hot 100 reviews after 2020, but I will at least contribute to this topic with something.

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Will pull the others from the blogspot vault at some point (the 2020 best list is being a real pain in the butt that I'm just considering linking it instead), but for now, time to ring out 2021 with the first of the lists.  The worst hit music of 2021.

This was not a particularly good year to write the worst list.  Not because of the content as a whole this year because to be honest, this was a perfectly fine year.  I mean it wasn’t 2020, but it was a perfectly decent transition year.  But my reasons are quite simple…does music still even matter anymore?

 

 

I mean with the way the world has been for the last two years, I ask this question with all serious intent.  Because the news of the world just keeps dominating the cultural zeitgeist and topic points to the point that the entertainment that use to distract us from even the worst of yesteryear feels like it is not as existent as it used to be.  Even to me, an entertainment buff like myself, I feel less and less wanting to talk about movies and music as much as I use to.  They feel more like a chore to me more than a great distraction.  And don’t take this as me wanting to stop doing this sort of thing.  Not at all.  I will always be glad to discuss.  But I feel with the way the world is slowly spiraling, that I more or less want to talk about what we can do as a society to turn things around or at least watch in real time every bad mistake that is being made or how incompetent our political system is.  Or how even a life-saving vaccine and wanting to be a decent human being and caring for others has turned into becoming a political statement...yeah its quite easy to get pissed off at the world that we are living in.

But alas, the more I focus on how fucked up the world is at the moment, the more cynical I’ve become.  And I don’t want to be a cynical old man (I’m not that old I swear).  I want to talk about things that make me happy.  And despite music being one of the last topics on a lot of people’s minds, I’ve got to admit.  This whole niche ecosystem that streaming has made music listening has in fact given us some pretty quality hit music.

As the world starts to open back up again as we are learning to live with the pandemic that has turned our world upside down, we are slowly starting to see more and more of the big names come out of quarantine with new album releases and new music to bring onto us.  I’m excited for the future of the music industry, even if it is not as big as it once was. 

I mean for god’s sake we have TWO Christmas songs as some of the 100 biggest hits of 2021.  That’s a sign that for most of this year, nobody cared to release anything truly worth discussing.  I mean the biggest topics of this year were about Olivia Rodrigo’s relationship drama, Morgan Wallen canceling himself right when he was about to be the biggest country music crossover star since Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X trolling conservatives with his clickbait, the power of BTS stans manipulating the charts, and a douche (Kanye) vs a turd sandwich (Drake).  Compare that to 2019 where nearly every number one of that year had some sort of thought provoking controversy attached to it.  I find it fitting that a good portion of this year was a lot of music that charted in 2020 over 2021 because there were barely any album bombs for a decent while.  Don’t look at me.  Blame Billboard’s stupid year end tracking system.

But of course, we have to start this list season off with the entry that gets me my most annual hits.  The worst list.  And despite what I’ve said about 2021 being overall a decent 6/10 year, this is the first time in three years where I had a lot of solid contenders for the worst list.  So let's not waste any more time and start things off with the dishonorable mentions.

 

DISHONORABLE MENTIONS:

Spoiler

“Without You” – The Kid LAROI

My apologies to the late Juice WRLD, but his protégé is absolutely awful.  I haven’t had such an immediate detestable reaction to someone’s voice this quick since Simple Plan’s Pierre Bouvier.  And my god what an absolutely punchable first impression this song was.  As the year came to a close, I can’t help but laugh at this more than I do outright hate it.  And at least it spawned some pretty funny TikToks over this song’s most quotable line:

“So there you go oh, can’t make a wife out of a hoe.”

You’re right Kid.  Go ahead and preach this truth in the most whiny nasally irritable way possible.  Oh wait.  That’s just because she’s not boning you anymore.  Thank god "Stay" is catchy as hell because he would be so high up on my shit list if it wasn't for that.

 

“Heat Waves” – Glass Animals

I still can’t believe this song lasted around like the fucking plague all year and is just now peaking inside the top ten.  I guess there’s a lot more Dream stans out there than I realized.  My bad because I honestly just can't understand who would find this song be worthy of anyone's time.  Thank god pop-rock came back in a huge swing this year because this is the sort of shit that made tired of the current "alternative rock" scene.

 

“Whoopty” – CJ

Still as forgettable as the first time I heard it.  I would call it Baby’s First Drill Song, but I don’t even think that is fair to babies.

 

“Beatbox” – SpotemGottem (featuring Pooh Shiesty…or DaBaby…or NLE Choppa…or Polo G…there are one too many remixes)

I don’t get what’s so impressive about this beat that required like one million remixes this year.  Some were good, but more often than not, they were just unimpressive.  And that’s even before we get to the original song by the original rapper who is so uncharismatic, so unimpressive, and so forgettable that he still doesn’t have a Wikipedia page as of the time I wrote this.  Most baffling hit of the year.

 

“Holy” – Justin Bieber (featuring Chance the Rapper)

We go from most baffling hit of the year to the most boring man of the year featuring the most baffling guest verse of the year.  Some indie darlings just aren’t meant to make the jump to the mainstream and I can’t think of a more drastic drop-off in quality than Chance over the last few years.  Those Acid Rap and Coloring Book days are long gone as now he’s comparing his girl to…Oscar Proud?

 

“Better Together” – Luke Combs

Yeah I’m still not completely sold on Luke Combs yet.  To be honest, all these dull and sappy as hell love ballads he released this year really aren’t doing him no favors in my book.  Especially with this piece of shit that sounds like it would have been performed by Lewis Capaldi if given the chance.  Hell I think I would have preferred Lewis Capaldi because at least I would have distinctly remembered it.

 

“Time Today” – Moneybagg Yo

It is just “Said Sum” again.  Which hey, I liked “Said Sum” the first time around.  But “Said Sum” is not a song that seriously needed its own cheap knockoff.  Seriously it has the same production more or less, the same beat, the same flow, hell even the same alliteration of a song title.  He even refers to himself as the “Said Sum” rapper.  If you’re not going to give yourself more credit than that, why should I as a listener?  Next.

 

“If I Didn’t Love You” – Jason Aldean & Carrie Underwood

Clearly name recognition powered this song into becoming a hit because these two don’t have a believable ounce of chemistry with each other.  Kind of reminds of me Jason Aldean’s duet with another former American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, from ten years ago.  And just like with that song, this song is so basic that I would not be surprised to see reality singing show contestants perform this song together for years to follow since it is that lacking in personality and plausibility.

 

“On Me” – Lil Baby

I still haven’t come around on Lil Baby yet, although I’m getting closer and closer with each passing year.  But even when I do, I can still tell when one of his songs isn’t even trying.  Lil Baby has been on the record saying he made this song because he was bored while in lockdown and I can tell.  This definitely sounds like someone who is bored and has nothing better to do.  And while I wish I could like it for representing the exact sentiments I’ve felt for most of this year, I still wouldn’t like it because Lil Baby sounds like such an unlikeable little shit on this.

 

“Fancy Like” – Walker Hayes

This was honestly close to making my list at first, but then I decided I couldn’t give this song any sort of grief.  Because that’s exactly what it wants.  It wants you to look at it in disgust and horror.  Bask in its painful tackiness.  Hell you could say that it celebrates making everyone cringe at its product placement and cornball lines.  Then it hit me.  I don’t hate this.  I’m just fascinated something this terrible actually exists.  I expect this to make many and I mean MANY worst lists so everyone can go ahead and jump at this easy target.  I don’t blame you for doing so, it’s pretty fucking bad.  Meanwhile, I’ll just continue to sit here and marvel at this lame, yet fascinating bad song.

 

Now that we got that out of the way, there is one more thing I would like to make clear before I start this list season off.  Both my best and worst lists this year are going to be Top Elevens.  Why eleven?  Because I like to go one step further.  Let's just say I have some 2020 backwash that I've already talked about a plenty that I want to make these lists as authentic as possible.  I do actually have some more to say about these songs that are two years old now each so trust me when I say that it won't be tired material.  Got it?  Good.  Now let's go crazy.  We're counting down.

 

 

 THE TOP ELEVEN WORST HIT SONGS OF 2021

 

Spoiler

I really didn’t want to start this worst list off by talking about a song that I actually liked at one point.  I mean I still do think it’s a good song after it being around for a good two years or so, but I never want to hear it ever again.  Overplay has practically killed a lot of interest I once had in it.  The fact that this is now one of the biggest country crossover hits of all-time is also astonishing.  Blame the pandemic for making the music industry move at a snail’s pace for a while too.

I am of course, talking about “I Hope” if you haven’t figured it out by now.  A revenge fantasy song from Gabby (Coney) Barrett that I’ve called good, hell excellent even.  So why am I talking about this song on the worst list?  Well…

 

11. “I Hope” – Gabby Barrett (featuring Charlie Puth)

 

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years (which if so, I wish I would have joined you), we are living in the era of remix chart manipulation.  Lil Nas X opened the floodgates of this new era of remixing with “Old Town Road” and its five or six remixes over two years prior becoming the longest reigning number one song of all-time.  And now the rest of the music industry has caught on and we are getting more and more unnecessary remixes.  Granted not all of them have been bad.  Hell some have been very good.  But more often than not, we get these forced out collaborations solely with the purpose to get a quick and easy number one hit or to prolong a charting song’s lifespan.  It’s inorganic and honestly further proving how broken Billboard’s system really is when an artists’ stan following will mass purchase every remix.

With all the remixes floating out there, I told myself that I would only count a remix on my worst list if Billboard credits the remix over the original.  And last year, this was one of the few remixes that made Billboard’s year end list.  I hated this remix from the very first moment I heard it, but out of the respect that I had for the original being a good song, I just couldn’t find it in me to place it anywhere near the worst list.  And even talking in hindsight, I still don’t think this would have made the actual list; probably would have been in my dishonorable mentions.

So why am I talking about it this year?  Because that remix has given it such a longer lifespan to the point that the radio absolutely adores this remix.  Yes I still listen to the radio in 2021 against my better judgment.  I don’t want to pay any more in roaming charges to listen to Apple Music in my car.  And the more I hear it, the more everything bad about this remix stands out.  This is by far the worst I’ve ever heard Charlie Puth; and that goes back to his 2015/2016 dentist office music that he used to make.  He sounds absolutely insufferable singing this.  And he completely misses the point of the original by a country mile.

What made Charlie Puth good in 2017/2018 was taking a heel turn and becoming a bit of a dick instead of trying to play Mr. Nice Guy like he was the years prior.  Which would have made him the perfect fit for this song and given it some needed depth.  But instead, he sings alongside Gabby Barrett and keeps adding more spite that’s not needed and it just doesn’t work.  It’s just such a completely baffling creative decision and I don’t know who thought that was a good idea even the slightest.

This is one of the worst remixes I’ve heard in my years of talking music and the fact that this was still one of the biggest songs of any year for a second year in a row just goes to show how little new content we actually got.  That and Billboard should not be tracking from early November to early November.

 

Spoiler

I can’t believe I had that much to say about the fucking remix to “I Hope”.  I told myself that I was going to try and cut back on some of my long winded rants.  So I hope you don’t mind me taking a bit of a breather and just go for an easy target from some schmuck who I doubt will have a second hit.

 

10. “Good Time” – Niko Moon

 

This is your friendly reminder that “bro-country” is far from dead.  It just evolved from being laughably dated to uninterestingly dull and lifeless.  So this guy’s name is Niko and Vinz…I mean Niko Moon….this is not a real name.  He’s the poor man’s Sam Hunt.  And apparently he has ties to some short-lived EDM country group formed by Zack Brown.  Country and EDM…those two don’t go together.  And honestly that’s everything I know that is even remotely interesting about Niko Moon.

Do I even need to point out the obvious if you listen to this song?  For a song called “Good Time” this isn’t even remotely fun…or entertaining…or catchy…or interesting.  It just fucking sucks the air out of the room mixed in with some incredibly dated trap snares and hi-hats.  But you know what I hate most about this?  This layer of smugness and self-righteous attitude.  Bro, are you even listening to your own song?  You sound as bored of these outdated clichés as your listening audience does. 

Like I mentioned in my dishonorable mentions, I wanted to place “Fancy Like” on this list.  But at the end of the day, at least that other schmuck who I also doubt will have another hit (or at least as big as “Fancy Like”) put forth some effort into it.  Even with all the cringe cross-marketing and lame virality, I’ll remember it.  I forget how this half-baked bargain bin reject of a country song goes every time I hear it.  Next.

 

Spoiler

Let’s dive back into the world of TikTok as we talk about yet another schmuck who I doubt will get a second hit.

 

9. “Track Star” – Mooski

 

Wow.  What an absolutely stupid metaphor.  Any further insight on how this girl makes you feel or any more amazingly lame track and field puns or are you just going to paint this girl out to be a flake and that you’re doing absolutely nothing wrong because you’re awesome and….yep definitely the latter.

That’s the thing about these TikTok one-offs.  For your song to really crossover and gain success, you really need to have one hell of a ten to thirty seconds to keep you invested.  Yet somehow, this song was able to get its biggest gains from not streaming or sales, but the radio.  Here’s the thing about the radio though.  With so many people still out of work due to the pandemic from iHeartRadio and its subsidiaries, stations are willing to grasp at any sort of TikTok clout that they can get to find out what songs to make famous.  And low and behold, this song got a remix from Chris Brown of all fucking people at just the right time to capitalize and make this a legitimate hit.

And I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there who are impressed by Mooski (absolutely stupid rap name ftr) wailing about how this girl leaves when things get bad.  There is always an audience for that.  Probably part of the reason that this was the biggest year for R&B in close to twenty years.

But for the love of god, this guy is such a dick.  I mean all you have to do is listen to the rest of the song outside of those five to ten seconds and you can start to see the signs as to what all the melodrama is about.  Gasp, how dare she blast him on social media.  She’s only…just as reasonable as everyone else.  And for the record, if you’re going to spend the entire song bragging mostly about how much better you are, you’re really not that much better than airing your drama out on social media you egotistical fuck. 

Honestly, I’m starting to question if we are supposed to relate to the girl that’s running away from this douchebag.  The fact that he associated himself with Chris Brown makes too much sense. 

 

Spoiler

8. “Put Your Records On” – Ritt Momney

 

This guy put as much effort into this cover song as he put into his stage name.  I'm not wasting any more time on this trash.  Go listen to the original.  Next.

 

 

Spoiler

 

It is surreal to me that EuroVision is now popular enough to gain major traction stateside.  Which I’m all for.  I’ve been a casual viewer for the last six years now.  But even then, I was surprised to see the series has gotten big enough to have a full length Will Ferrell comedy film last year.  And I was even more surprised to see that MANY European crossover acts get actual hits stateside.  Not all of them are good though.

 

7. “Arcade” – Duncan Laurence

 

Basic.  Painfully basic.

You guys remember that indie rock car commercial boom of the last few years?  I’m genuinely surprised this song isn’t attached to some sort of product yet, unless it is and I’m just that out of touch with modern day commercialism.  I mean they got FLETCHER for the remix so there's a good chance this is attached to some sort of product out there.  

I also hate how it is yet another vaguely generic ballad about some girl breaking this guy’s heart.  But most of all, I just hate this guy’s voice.  What is with America’s fascination with bringing in European pop exports singing in the most nauseating grating tone about heartbreak like they are the first ones to experience it?  Why are we still doing this?  And before we go any further, no.  You’re not going to see Maneskin’s cover of Beggin’ make the list.  I actually love the lead singer’s voice.  It’s unique.  And it’s a perfectly good cover, despite Maneskin’s deep cuts being so much better.

Let’s leave Duncan Laurence back at the arcade…that takes pennies?  Has this guy even ever been to an arcade?  The fuck is this?

 

Spoiler

These worst lists take so much effort out of me to write, so let's just sit back and pick on an easy target for a bit.  Low hanging fruit is low hanging.  Thanks Justin Bieber.

 

6. “Lonely” – Justin Bieber & benny blanco

 

Look I started off this year by saying that he is the worst popstar and that second place is not even close.  Then he dropped that multi-week number one smash this year, Justice, as damage control from his previous album, Changes; which I’ve been on the record for saying that is by far one of the worst albums I’ve ever listened to.  While Justice is still bad, Justin still got five smash hits off that album so it looks like he’s still sticking around for a while longer.  The fact that he appears on the year end six times on this list proves that he is still a superstar in the music industry.  And by those accords, I agree….to an extent.

He’s still a superstar because the radio refuses to rotate his songs out.  Bieber is still racking up hits because he has evolved into the next phase of his career; making radio friendly safe music.  Bieber is starting to take the Adam Levine route of making soulless hollow garbage that will not provoke a reaction out of anyone.  The only difference being that Justin Bieber still has a crap ton of young female fans.  Adam Levine still has fans too…soccer moms.  And the older Justin Bieber gets, the more those young female fans will either realize that he sucks and move on or become soccer moms themselves.  So you know what, I concede.  Justin Bieber is just going to stick around whether we like him or not since he now has a new formula for continued success.

But lord do I wish that said new formula was a little less…whatever this is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQOO2xGQ1Pc&t=58s

Someone please put that dying mountain goat out of its misery.  I’ll give Bieber this.  That awkward yelping at least makes me remember this song in comparison to the rest of the generic garbage he’s put out.  But that’s not what put this song on the list.  It’s yet his consistent effort to constantly remind everyone of his douchebag years nearly ten years ago.  We get it.  You regret being an unlikeable piece of shit.  But it’s 2021.  You’ve made three albums now about how you regret your past.  FIND A DIFFERENT SUBJECT ALREADY FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.

 

Spoiler

 

Remember this song?  Who am I kidding of course you do.  The song that put One Direction on the map and made them one of the biggest pop acts of the 2010s.  Jesus who thought I would ever be nostalgic for an era that isn’t even ten years old yet.

Look I’m not going to mince words, I do not like this song even the slightest bit.  It is unflattering garbage that makes my skin crawl.  But in the end, you can only get so mad at teenage boys trying to make girls swoon.  Now if this was sung by a bunch of 40 something year old men…

 

 

5. “Just The Way” – Parmalee & Blanco Brown

 

The moment I first heard this I immediately made that correlation to “What Makes You Beautiful”.  I mean it’s all there.  The backhanded compliments.  Pointing out all of said imperfections so non-discretely that I couldn’t picture any girl swooning.  Except that this isn’t Teen Magazine heartthrobs like Harry Styles or Zayn.  It’s sung by a bunch of boomers who claim that they love the way GOD made you.  Where’s Steve Buscemi with the “how do you do fellow kids” when you need it.

I mean is it fair of me to ask why the hell either of these acts needed a second hit?  Parmalee has been around when even I listened to only country music in the early 2000’s.  They only got lucky with their first legitimate hit ten years ago by catching onto the bro-country trend when it was just picking up steam and here they are doing the same trend-hopping trick once again by cashing in on the boyfriend country boom.  Meanwhile, Blanco Brown got his only hit by trying to reverse engineer the massive success of “Old Town Road” two years ago and only rode that success so far because Nashville wasn’t remotely threatened by his stupid TikTok lite dance.  That should have made my worst list in hindsight but I left it off there because you couldn’t help but feel sorry for the guy knowing that’s how he was going to be remembered by.  Nashville’s bottom bitch because they don’t want to support Lil Nas X.

And once again, I was wrong.  I don’t feel sorry for either of these two acts if they are just going to coast off trends for the rest of their careers.  Get this Chase Rice levels of wannabe country music trash out of my ears and into the gutter of irrelevance where they both came from.  Next.

 

Spoiler

4. “You’re Mines Still” – Yung Bleu (featuring Drake)

 

Really?  We’re doing this again?  We’re going to make yet another emo rap song that samples “Shape of My Heart” by Sting?  It hasn’t even been two years yet since the passing of Juice WRLD that a lot of the industry is still in mourning.  You’re going to have the audacity to sample a song that Juice WRLD sampled and made it his most recognized song?  And even worse, you’re going to make it about the same subject matter?  This reeks of hack marketing for this song to lead to increased streaming and more radio spins.  And if that wasn’t obvious enough, it also has the coveted Drake feature to prove that.

Which lets talk about that Drake feature.  Drake has done a ton of features for a bunch of no names; rest in peace to BlocBoy JB’s career.  Sure there are a few exceptions to this, like I was absolutely wrong about Lil Baby’s career trajectory.  But more often than not, I feel like Drake spreads the cosign wealth around to remind people how much worse off we can be without him.  That’s not the case here.  Drake is absolutely god awful here.  Drake does his usual jealous possessive boyfriend bullshit, but he sounds so passive aggressive to the point that he just comes off as a massive dick.

And despite that, I’m still unsure as to if he’s better or worse than Yung Blah.  I know that’s not how his name is spelled, but it might as well be because his warble mouth singing makes Post Malone sound like a choir of angels when he does it.  And when you can make out what he’s saying, he also sounds like a fucking asshole.  The delusional entitlement of this guy is infuriating.  She can’t live her life without me because she’s so blind, as Yung Blech so eloquently states is pretentiousness straight out of his ass.  Like he makes himself out to be this wise sage that she is clearly missing out on, even though he straight up says in the song that he played her multiple times and he often ignored her.  If she actually does leave her new man for this asshat, it’s clearly due to Stockholm Syndrome because I can’t even begin to contemplate what draws this girl back to him.

This is just an UGLY song all caps.  And so be it, I don’t hate this song for being ugly.  But when you can’t write either of these guys out to be redeeming in the slightest bit, then I’m sorry, I would just tell both of these guys to go fuck themselves.  They clearly would.

 

Spoiler

 

Sigh…I don’t hate this act.  I actually have A LOT of respect for them.  They hold a unique place in the music landscape of being one of the few country acts who can genuinely pull off country-pop hybrid music.  Hell my first wedding dance was to their big hit, “Speechless”.  And I still love it despite all of its corny clichés.  That’s what true love is.  Corny cliches and still tolerating them fifty years later *wink*.  Facts for a successful 

But something in me just snapped this year and all the venom and vitriol that many others gave these two over the last couple years was completely warranted.

 

3. “Glad You Exist” – Dan + Shay

 

I mean doesn’t that title just say it all?  I’m glad that you exist girl.  Who the fuck even says that?  What happened to telling a girl you left them speechless?  Or hell even I want you all to myself or I’d spend 10,000 hours?  At least those were compliments.  I’m just glad that you exist is such a fucking backhanded compliment to the point that it makes me quiver with genuine rage.

But honestly, it isn’t just that…phrase…that makes me hate this.  The WHOLE song is adolescent as hell.  Like I’m pretty sure the only group of girls who would find this flattering are the preteens that Dan + Shay seems perfectly complacent targeting because they are more or less, the boy bandification of country music.

Hell that might be an insult to preteens.  This is inoffensive dentist office music.  You know the type of music that is so perfectly complacent being targeted to waiting room lobbies while you’re waiting for them to call your name to get your bi-yearly teeth cleaning.  And then this song comes on and you sit there thinking, “oh yeah, that was a hit awhile ago” because what else do you have better to do or think about?  I mean you’ve got nothing to do except sit there awkwardly staring at your phone or reading five month old magazines that desperately need to be changed out because the Milwaukee Bucks won the NBA championship six months ago.  It’s the start of a new NBA season.  Why are we still talking about the last?  And who the fuck cares about which out of his league celebrity Pete Davidson is dating then when he’s dating Kim Kardashian now.  Unless he’s not.  Let me Google search my phone…

….oh wait, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah.  This song blows.  Next.

 

Spoiler

You know it is time to hit the pop music retirement home when acts that are close to half your age start getting chart success.  And no artist further proved that to me this year than the biggest one of this year, Olivia Rodrigo.  But at the very least, I definitely understand why she became such a superstar this year.  She conveys her emotions very well and while all her songs are not aimed to resonate with me, an over the age of 30 year old male; I admire her enough to give her the good ole two thumbs up.  She’s going to rule this decade, mark my words.

See?  Even older males like me can give teenagers their due that they can write good music.  They are also capable of writing bad music too.  And then there’s this.

 

2. “You Broke Me First” – Tate McRae

 

A song so limp and lifeless that doesn’t get a reaction out of me, you, or damn near anyone.  But the more I hear this, the more its failure to elicit any sort of strong feelings straight up pisses me off.  I think the only thing this song has going for it is that it displays less emotion than it does music.  Because my god, this song barely exists.  It’s a rough draft entry pulled out of some teenage girl’s diary with barely any sort of musical accompaniment.  It’s actively sucking in ways that aren’t humanely possible.

Then of course, let’s talk about the artist she is clearly emulating.  Fun fact, but Tate McRae actually has written music with Billie Eilish before her huge breakout hit.  What’s missing though is the actual commitment to making good music.  Billie actually writes lyrics that fit in with the choices she makes with her musical accompaniment and production.  She commits to her craft.

What I get from listening to Tate McRae is that I want to be taken seriously as a popstar but I can’t convey any sort of emotions through my vocal reflections.  Listening to Tate McRae’s soulless drone pop is the exact sort of failed transition to pop stardom I felt from Julia Michaels and Rachel Platten before her.  Granted Tate is much younger than both of them so maybe just maybe she might be able to win me over after this terrible first impression, but my god do I absolutely hate how immature this song is.

Especially that chorus.  I think Tate McRae has the impression that “you broke me first” is a much more cutting line than it actually is.  Maybe if that was a line in a verse, I would think that’s fairly clever.  But the entire hook of your song?  Why would you do that?!?!?! 

“You Broke Me First” is if someone made the “No U” meme into a pop song.  And really isn’t that all the attention this song actually deserves?

 

Spoiler

 

Any of you still hate this song?  I mean I don’t blame you.  Absolutely one of the pinnacle pieces when it comes to pointing out how absolutely dumb and dated “bro-country” was at its worst.  I didn’t hate it.  I actually sort of respected how well this remix worked, even if the song itself was unbearably meat-headed.

With that said, I’ll take 100 “Cruise (Remixes)” if that means we never get a song like this ever again.

 

1. “Lil Bit” – Nelly & Florida Georgia Line

 

 

Like I said, at least “Cruise” worked.  What this…what EVEN is this!?  Is it country?  Is it rap?  Is it a hybrid of the two ala “Old Town Road”?  It’s none of these.  It’s audio white noise.  The worst type of music.

Years ago I mentioned how country music has such a one-sided relationship with rap music and while that obviously still rings true today, there has always been one huge exception to this rule and that is Nelly.  For some reason, Nelly is one of the few rappers who is happy to reciprocate right back on a consistent basis.  Yeah sure you’ve got your one-off flukes like that awful Kane Brown song with Swae Lee and Khalid or that awful Kane Brown song with Blackbear or that awful Kane Brown song with H.E.R.  But let’s be clear, none of these artists have consistently collaborated with Nashville outside of pop music trying to make Kane Brown crossover.

Nelly has shamelessly sold himself out to Nashville more times than I can count.  I mean his last album was ALL country music.  I get wanting to pay homage to your roots, which is his explanation for his “love” of country music, but these song titles…”Grits & Glamour”?  “Ms. Drive Me Crazy”?  And he even has a SECOND collaboration with the liberal side of Florida Georgia Line called “Country Boy Do”.  Nelly can say that he wants to pay tribute to his love of country music, but his love for it comes off as hollow at best.

I was tempted to just make this whole entry about how much Nelly does not work in the genre of country music but then there is Florida Georgia Line.  Who despite all the personal turmoil they have been going through in the past year with their conflicting political differences almost ending the duo for good, still managed to survive and continue to suck at making music.  It doesn't matter what genres these asshats hop themselves into.  Whether its country, pop, rap, hell you should listen to their adult contemporary singles if you want a real good laugh; let's just face the facts.  They suck.  They continue to suck.  And I'm getting as sick of seeing these two continue to still be around as much as I am Maroon 5.  Yes we've gotten to that point ladies and gentlemen.

I guess I should probably talk about the song itself.  I mean what exactly is there to talk about it?  Except for that absolutely shameless plug for Ciroc, nearly every lyric from this was taken from some other song.  There is absolutely nothing original here that I haven’t heard 500 times before. Hell part of me wonders if 50 Cent, being the petty man that he is, should sue since nearly half the chorus is just these jackasses saying “just a lil bit”.  If I were Nelly, Florida, and Georgia, I’d lawyer up.

This is seriously one of the most unoriginal, laziest excuses for a song that I’ve ever heard.  This is the Direct to DVD sequel no one asked for of popular music and just like with the Mulan 2's and The Lion King 1 1/2's of the world, it should stay forgotten in the Wal-Mart 99 cent bargain bin where it belongs.

 

Best List coming soon.  Thanks for reading SBC fam.  Love you guys!

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Woohoo, it's good to be back to best and worst entertainment. I'm so excited to post my own list today which is 

WHOBOB'S TOP 10 BEST TV/WEB SERIES OF 2021

I'm so happy how my list came all together and I'm gonna delve into why I fucking loved these shows this year but first, here's some

Honorable Mentions:

Infinity Train (HBO Max): I'm so disappointed by HBO Max's decision to end the show because it had so much promise and I'm a lil sad we won't get to have the complete story of this show, despite it being mostly an anthology series. Book 4 was unfortunately my least favorite out of bunch. Mainly because it was pretty slow at times and I wish the subtext romance between two protagonists were a thing but regardless I get why they told this story. It really was special and despite the show's cancellation, it ended on a pretty positive note.

Wandavision (Disney+): I gotta admit, I came with huge expectations for this series and not all of the promises were delivered. It went from an interesting story about trauma and grief to yet another MCU show but regardless I liked the effort here and it was fun theorizing the show. This show really made me love Wanda as a character and how it developed the bond between her and Vision. New additions like Monica Rambeau, Billy and Tommy were welcome and I enjoyed how the story came together, despite it leading to another hero vs villain climax. While it's not the best superhero show of 2021, I still like it very much.

The Patrick Star Show (Nickelodeon): I KNOW, IT'S SHOCKING. I didn't expect this either. Turning SpongeBob into a huge IP show with an extended universe of spin-offs and all was such a scummy move from Nick. Regardless of it being unclear whether Hillenburg was ok with this or not, it's sad that Nick turned a beloved franchise into an even bigger cash cow. That said, ughhhhhhhhhhhh, I actually like this show. 2021 was a dry year for the main show, it didn't have as much air due to spin-offs delaying the production and Nick not hiring enough staff member for their spin-offs but I'm actually amazed how well the show came together. While I'm not as into the main show as I once was, The Patrick Star Show surprised me with how much creativity and enjoyment it gave me. Patrick is my least favorite character in the main show but this show actually made him work. He is likeable with enough dosage of stupidity and his show's cast are pretty likeable and fun characters. This was the best Patrick has ever been in years. The show is pretty wacky, energetic and crazy like the main show is now but unlike the main show, the weirdness, trippiness and zany aspect of the show is actually its own thing and the show always finds a way to make it stood out compared to the main show. So yeah, don't be surprised if it makes it to honorable mentions this year, perhaps even cracking the top 10 but we'll see.

South Park (Comedy Central/Paramount+): Season 23 was such a shitty season of South Park that i was ready to give up hope in it but the show actually pulled something that made me appareciate it. While i liked the show trying to be serialized, it was clear it didn't work most of the time and with season 23 being more about Randy about the kids killed the momentum for me but 2021's specials were actually pretty damn good. I liked that it pretty much challenged the boys to question their friendship and how they pretty much split apart later on. Vaccination special was a good damn commentary on how insane and delusional qanon was but Paramount+ specials were even better. Focusing on the future of the show, turning kids into adults and them struggling with pandemic rising again and dealing with current dillemma the world is facing today while mixing it with its sci-fi take was such a fresh idea the show needed for a long time and it paid off so well. While it makes me a lil sad the show reverted back to its status quo for season 25 (yeah specials are season 24), i'll remember how well done this experiment was.

Love, Death & Robots (Netflix): The weirdass anthology show is back with shocking less tales to tell than its first season. I gotta admit that while season 2 was more consistent than season 1, I felt that it didn't take enough risks for this season compared to the first and the first season has lots of standout episodes whereas I can only think of one episode this season that actually impacted me. It's not a total bad thing, I still enjoyed this season very much but it did miss the ambition and creativity of the first season. Hopefully season 3 will be better.

Rick and Morty (Adult Swim): I gotta admit that i was a lil worried for how the quality of the show was gonna be after being ordered for 70 episodes couple of years ago. Season 5 is sadly the weakest season out of five and while it's still pretty damn good, I kept thinking about how the future of the show was gonna be. The show wasn't as creative and ambitious as it once as. Then the last episode dropped and it pretty much changed everything we knew about the show. I was so fucking awed at how they pulled off twists and turns here. It challenged Rick and Morty's dynamic even further and with the new status quo, I'm actually excited for how unpredictable and exciting the show is gonna be in the future.

Now without delaying the ineviatable, THE TOP 10!!!

#10: Loki (Disney+):

It's a lil sad that I'm starting to feel burned out on MCU as a whole lately. Not that it doesn't entertain me. It's that i started to look at its stories in a more critical eye and these Marvel movies and shows' problems started to be more and more noticable. Kevin Feige is working on a shit ton of projects and the whole shared universe (or multiverse) is starting to get all over the place and it has no idea what it wants to do anymore. Regardless, I'm happy to say that this show was actually fucking great. It's no surprising since Loki is one of the best MCU characters ever and the show develops him even further than ever before. Focusing on new timelines and such made me so hyped for the future of the franchise. And it's good to know the story isn't over yet with the show getting a second season. Hopefully it'll be even more batshit insane than the first season.

#9: The Expanse (Amazon Prime):

Perhaps I'm asking too much since the show had 3 more seasons after it was canned by SyFy but it makes me sad that we'll probably never get to see the final three books of the series being adapted to the screen. Such a shame cuz the show is one of the best adaptations I have ever seen and it continues to kill it. Season 5, while it was slow, was a great season of character building and expanding (lol) the scope of the show even further. Marco Inaros is such a compelling villain with his own sinister agenda but you still care for his cause due to what Belters have faced over generations. This season was a huge thing for Naomi who shined so much as well as some other characters like Amos with getting a full backstory for him and Drummer. Rest of the characters are still good but these three along with Marco made the season for me. And season 6 is damn fucking great that it finally delivers on the war we were promised from the beginning. It was such an action packed season and while I cannot talk about the show's beautiful last two episodes since they were premiered in 2022, the show impacted me so much last year and expect the show to be on this year's list as well.

#8: Adventure Time: Distant Lands (HBO Max): 

I'll be real, this show is only on this list due to its special Forever Again. Don't get me wrong, Wizard City was good too but it was a lil bummer it came after Together Again (i'll explain why) and it wasn't exactly as good as previous specials but it was still a good closure to Peppermint Butler's arc, though the weird cliffhanger they set up for possibly Fionna and Cake mini made me feel iffy about continuing the franchise after they shamelessly cancelled and its finale was rushed. Luckily Together Again was spectacular. It was the finale of the show i wanted for so long. While Come Along with Me was a good closure to Ooo and beyond, Together Again was an amazing conclsuion to Finn and Jake's friendship and brotherhood for so long. It was so fucking emotional to see those two back on a last adventure and how they ended their arcs here made me so tearful and it was what they deserved after having a rushed finale. I won't spoil what's in the story, so you gotta see for yourselves on how Finn and Jake's journey ends. It's such an incredible special that I'm glad HBO Max picked up.

#7: Inside Job (Netflix):

It's clear that Rick and Morty influenced a lot of adult animation creators out there and this show is a product of it but in the end, it still feels like its own thing that makes me appreciate so much. The premise is pretty much that there is a secret organization that runs the world but ones in charge are pretty much messy individuals who need to get their shit together. The show is such a good comedy show, mixing workplace humor with parodying bunch of conspiracy theories. It's just so fun to watch the show being a comedic taken on illuminati stuff and such. And it doesn't forget to develop its characters and while mostly the show is episodic, there is a large narrative that plays out near the end of first half of season 1 and its mid finale is just excellent work that made me hyped for rest of the show. Go check it out.

#6: The Owl House (Disney Channel):

I was very uninterested in the show due to it looking similar to Gravity Falls and that kinda ticked me off but man, I wish I gave it a chance a long time ago because It actually rules af. The show is a kickass fantasy show that has interesting storylines it juggles, tons of loveable characters, exciting animation and action and an actual good LGBTQ+ rep Disney needed for so long. I was amazed with how much the show has accomplished. Second season gets even more interesting and wild than the first. Not letting any episode go to waste, always moving characters forward and I loved that the first half of season 2 ends on an emotional journey Luz has done and what she is gonna do next. I'm so happy this show exists. It's just an amazing cartoon that I wish Disney didn't cut season 3 into only 3 specials but I hope Terrance and crew will do their best to give us an amazing conclusion. I can't wait for second half of season 2 and season 3 specials.

#5: Invincible (Amazon Prime):

While Marvel started to get less and less interesting, Amazon Prime gives us yet another excellent superhero show. This time it's full 2D. I was a little worried on how the show was gonna do well with the audience and luckily, it became a popular show that touched so many. I love how just like the comic, the show isn't afraid to go violent and gorey while still telling an amazing tale of superhero legacy and the bond between a superpowered son and a superpowered dad. Animation can get choppy at times but when it comes to action, it just goes nuts. The show is filled with energy and excitement I needed in animation for so long. It's a full rush. And the show's worldbuilding is impressive with how many superheroes and supervillains it introduces but it never goes out of focus like My Hero Academia or Young Justice. The core is still Invincible and Omni-Man's relationship. I'm so happy Amazon Prime picked this up and i'm so happy that we'll get two more seasons of it. Hopefully unlike The Expanse, it'll be able to finish its tale of the comics.

#4: Star Wars Visions (Disney+):

I'm gonna just say this quickly. This is the best Star Wars content we have gotten from Disney+ ever (excluding the final arc of Clone Wars). I love it, I love it so much. 7 anime studios, 9 tales from them. And each and every one of them is something special. Even my least favorite ones have something to say. They really feel unique and special. Star Wars is a huge interconnected universe that sometimes it can be hard to be creative with it due to its rules and such but here, it's non-canon, so you don't have to follow any rules and yet this miniseries captures what I love about Star Wars so much. With the exception of two characters from canon, the miniseries is pretty much new characters and their journeys we have never seen in Star Wars before. If you ask me which episodes are my favorites, they are Akakiri, The Ninth Jedi, T0-B1 and Lop and Ocho. But rest are still great and If you are a Star Wars fan, you should absolutely check it out. It's just damn worth it.

#3: Doom Patrol (HBO Max):

2021's best superhero show goes to none other than Doom Patrol. Jeremy Carver has done yet again with how much they keep building on previous threads of the show while introducing new ones. This season started off with wrapping up season 2 while opening a new chapter for the characters. I love seeing that all characters here doesn't get wasted and each of them have their own shit to deal with. Introducing new characters such as Madame Rouge and Sisterhood of Dada, the show continues to be weird, wacky and fun while still giving us plenty of serious moments that makes us love these characters. This season's biggest highlights were definitely Rita and Victor here, they shined so much this season compared to previous seasons and I can't wait to see what shit these characters are gonna get into next. 

#2: Helluva Boss (Youtube):

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. A youtube webseries that actually caught my interest? It's animated AND it has a high budget and an amazing cast?  Couldn't have asked for more. Seriously, I'm so happy i discovered this show. It is off the charts. A series focusing on imps in hell that kills people for money? It's an amazing premise and I love that despite all the violence, raunchiness and gore in the show, these characters feel real and relatable, despite being from Hell. They are fucked up individuals who try to be better and wants to be something they never had to be before. I love seeing that the show is very LGBTQ+ friendly, chracters are shitbags of course but they are still sympathetic individuals. And you know what else is great about this show? IT HAS MUSICAL NUMBERS. and all the songs are catchy and fun to listen over and over. I was surprised how much of this show is packed with incredible drama, actual good raunchy humor, beautiful animation and catchy songs. Whatever you do, watch this show on Youtube. It's all free and it doesn't take up much time. It's finished its first season and it is gonna have a second season this year. Get excited.

And now here's the #1 show of 2021, this show is just so fucking amazing that I cannot hide my love for it anymore. 

#1: Arcane: League of Legends (Netflix):

This is an adaptation of a computer stream game that is shockingly still relevant to this day and my god, I love the fucking shit out of it. This is what I want for the future of animation, especially adult animation. Variety of animated shows that will make me get invested over and over. The show is really impactful with lots of worldbuilding, incredible character drama, sick action, wonderful CGI animation style I have never seen it like any other, kickass soundtrack (yeah its intro is literally from Imagine Dragons but idc it rules) and so much more. What made the show for me was the complicated relationship between two sisters, Vi and Powder Jinx and how they struggle with trying to be loved while fighting for the future of where they live and they are incredible messy, fucked up characters you cannot help but love them or love to hate them. Every character here has their own tales to share and I really enjoy how the show is structured in three acts per season. It makes each installment more compelling than other. Netflix has been blowing me away with its animated content and while there is still shows I wanna see from it more (Kid Cosmic, season 3-4 of Castlevania, F is for Family and perhaps more if they have more), this show is gonna be hard to top in the current state of animation.

Thanks for reading my commentaries on shows on the list. I really enjoyed writing about them. Hopefully i'll finish the film list eventually. Until then, see ya.

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Last year, I was inspired to host a handful of personal album track rankings for any respective music artist I chose or was chosen to cover on Discord. That was due to me feeling the need to take part in who was the biggest conversation at the time: Taylor Swift. Folklore was being considered by many to be AOTY for 2020, which prompted for me to start exploring the rest of Taylor’s albums, and come the release of her sister album, Evermore, not too long after. It was at this moment that I went ahead and came of age as part of the Swiftie crowd. So the story goes, I hop on trends when I see more folks engaging in them, but this is what got me into making these music artists album run-throughs, and it was what got me more involved in the music discussion than I ever was. When music discussion on Discord dwindled by 2022, I had to cut my extended plans short for this side-project short, and in the span of one year and three months, I had gone in-depth listening to albums by 22 different music artists (well, three of which were movie soundtrack-based). Even though I may be late to join in on this milestone celebration of annual year-end lists that Claps had arranged since all these years (like I always am), I decided to go forward with the idea of compiling my last two yearly lists to be based on my experience listening and ranking these albums and tracks from these particular 22 music artists, and these particular acts only:

Spoiler

Taylor Swift
Gorillaz
Britney Spears
Fall Out Boy
Radiohead
Ariana Grande
Weezer
HAIM
Miley Cyrus
The Beatles
Avril Lavigne
Paramore
BTS
Hall & Oates
Bjork
The Twilight Saga
Kendrick Lamar
Tove Lo
Fiona Apple
High School Musical
Kanye West
The Hunger Games

So, where do I begin by retroactively discussing these marathons that I’ve done over the course of 2021? For sure, I’ve had some folks agreeing with my takes, but there were a lot of times that they didn’t too. So the first list will be concerning those hot takes of mine. To make things fair, I will be doing a one song per artist rule, and my choices are factored on the reactions themselves that I’ve garnered and on my own viewpoint on the song’s general consensus versus my opinion. With all that said, this is…

 

Steel’s Top 10 Controversial Music Takes of 2021

 

Spoiler

10. “Atlas” / Coldplay

Album: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
My Ranking: #12 out of 12

For the ‘Music Inspired by” soundtrack to the Hunger Games sequel, Catching Fire, Coldplay made what would be the lead single to promote the soundtrack, on top of the film…and I’m not a fan of it. One thing’s for sure, it is no “Safe & Sound” in terms of its narrative focus to the Hunger Games and in terms of having any real punch with it. “But Steel,” you would all say, “this song isn’t supposed to have a huge payoff. It’s always meant to be this mellow and somber song about Katniss having to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders like Atlas, as the title suggests.” Of course, since this is a list compiling my unpopular music opinions from my marathons, there’s always a place for arguments. Here’s the thing: Coldplay has been stigmatized for being this dull and boring alternative rock band for years and most people who enjoy the band’s music, myself included, have the patience to understand why it’s so great. A lot of the songs I’ve liked from Coldplay have a certain payoff to make each one of their songs have this larger than life image attached to them.

“Atlas” feels like the type of song that should have that typical Coldplay charm. To me, I don’t have the patience for this, and so somehow when it comes to the argument of the band’s music sounding too boring, this is one of the few songs where I have to come to some sort of agreement. No matter how much I try to get into “Atlas,” I almost completely forget how it sounds. If there’s one thing I don’t forget, however, that’s Chris Martin’s weird and also grating enunciation in the chorus with his repeated drones of “Carry your world. I’ll carry your world.” Chris Martin’s vocals are nothing to write home about here and neither is the production work, which sounds like it’s leading up to something greater, and it never does. Despite my feelings towards this song, most of my peers have come around to say that this is one of the band’s greatest tracks, so I knew the risk I was taking when I ranked this dead last. Even Rateyourmusic, which has their fair share of snobs who dislike the band, have warmly received this song. This all contributes to why I feel alone in thinking this song is disappointing filler from a band that I genuinely like.

Spoiler

9. “See You Again” / Miley Cyrus

Album: Meet Miley Cyrus & Breakout (remix version)
My Ranking: #9 out of 10 (MMC) and #11 out of 12 (Breakout)

“See You Again” isn’t just a song by Miley Cyrus that I disliked. This particular song had the misfortune of being ranked low on my Miley album rankings, not once, but TWICE. The first being made for the Meet Miley Cyrus companion album to the Hannah Montana soundtrack, and the other being a remix by RockMafia as a little something extra for her truer debut as a teen pop star separate from the Hannah Montana persona with Breakout. Naturally so, the song has its defenders and that I was going to breaking some hearts for doing it dirty twice (and I put both of them second-to-last in my respective rankings)

So that’s enough of the little backstory for this song. The main question here is why don’t I like it? I mean, it accomplishes quite a lot as a pop song. It has that melody that sticks with you, but there’s a feeling of dissonance that I have with the musical tone of the chorus versus…the verses that I just can’t ignore. The verses are structured like this engaging rock tune, but the chorus has this irritating bubblegum pop feel to it the moment that it transitions into “THE LAST TIME I FREAKED OUT...” And look, I have nothing against Miley for having a rock edge to her sound. For that reason among other aspects, “Midnight Sky” is my favorite Miley song. FFS, she has a song that’s literally called “Rock Star” as her Hannah Montana persona. Once again, the main issue I have with “See You Again” is fixed on the tone in general. As the songwriting suggests, it’s innocent coming from a teen starlet, but the rock edge makes it vibe less like it’s saying “I can’t wait to see you again,” and more like “Oh, I’ll see you again all right…” in an unsettling kind of way.

Also, while the whole “My best friend Lesley said, “Oh she’s just being Miley”” line may come off as charming to some, it’s so corny to me, sorry.

Spoiler

8. “If U Seek Amy” / Britney Spears

Album: Circus
My Ranking: #12 out of 12

With all fairness, “If U Seek Amy” always seemed to be this very polarizing Britney Spears song. In the eyes of her fans, it’s one of the best songs she’s ever made. According to the outliers, it’s actually one of the worst songs she’s made. I’ve put this song my list of the most controversial picks I’ve made on the grounds of how the fanbase in general perceive it, and I knew I was going to upset some folks when I ranked “If U Seek Amy” low on my rankings for Circus, let alone at dead last. “If U Seek Amy” isn’t certainly a terrible Britney Spears songs. Regardless, it is the weakest song on Circus.

Like the majority of Britney’s songs since her Blackout days (or when exactly you think she started to capitalize on this specific image), “If U Seek Amy” is a sultry sex song. Comparing this to, say, “Break the Ice,” “Radar,” “Gimme More,” and as well as the title track “Circus,” I feel like “If U Seek Amy” falters in terms of the sex appeal that it’s trying to achieve. For starters, the song itself sounds…dare I say it…template-y for a Britney song. Britney has been noted for the maturation of her sound going forward since In the Zone, and “If U Seek Amy” just doesn’t capture that angle in terms of its production and songwriting. Depending on my mood, the production and Britney’s vocal delivery make the song sound pretty obnoxious to me and while I know I can’t expect too much out of a song that’s meant to be a simple dance-ready sex anthem, the way the songwriting presents itself feels like it’s trying to push some sort of narrative, but it’s so vague. Like, who is this Amy person she’s referring to anyway? Amy Poehler? Amy Schumer? Amy Adams? ...Amy Rose?

Okay, with all seriousness, “If U Seek Amy” may clearly work for the biggest Britney fans, but it doesn’t do much to appeal to me. It’s still better than “3,” though. I can at least say that, right?

Spoiler

7. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” / The Beatles

Album: Abbey Road
My Ranking: #17 out of 17

Yes, even the quote-unquote greatest band of all time isn’t safe from controversy on my part and like a lot of the others I’ve discussed previously, I’ve ranked this particular song dead last. Now, don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t actually hate this song at all. Abbey Road is one of the Beatles’ greatest albums. Out of all 17 tracks from this thing, “I Want You” is the song that I’ve gotten the least amount of thrills from. Sure, it’s one of their more ambitious and experimental songs, and it’s been cited for apparently being the gateway to heavy metal music as a whole (let alone Black Sabbath), clocking in at nearly eight minutes and I so happen to have a soft spot for progressive rock, but longer isn’t always better. While I can still appreciate it for what it is, I still wish I enjoy this more than I don’t, because man does this song draaaaaaaaag. Those three minutes of pure white noise is the main takeaway for me and like I’ll always tend to say, while I understand why anyone be attached to it, I’d rather just stick to the true heavy metal-pioneered Beatles song, “Helter Skelter.”

Spoiler

6. “Beverly Hills” / Weezer

Album: Make Believe
My Ranking: #4 out 12

Even though I actually didn’t get so much dirt on the server for ranking this song as high as I did, I still have to admit that after ranking some select beloved pop singles at the very bottom for certain albums, my apologetic ranking for “Beverly Hills” feels so awkward, especially since this song in particular is what the Weezer fanbase mostly considers to be one of the worst songs that they’ve ever made (and I use the term ‘mostly’ loosely, because let’s be real, when has the Weezer fandom ever agreed on anything?). Heck, I’d really be stirring the blood by saying that I don’t think Make Believe is that bad of an album that anyone makes it out to be. For sure, it wasn’t a successful attempt to recapture what made Blue so great, but that old charm is still present on it. Sure, there are also a few genuine bad apples like “We Are All on Drugs” and “Haunt You Every Day” that cement the band as a shadow of their former selves. …So what makes “Beverly Hills” any different for me?

Well…you know how “Creep” by Radiohead has its polarizing reception? It gets flak from being from the band’s weakest album (unless you’re part of the camp that dislikes King of Limbs more) and as well as being the one Radiohead song that serves as almost everyone’s introduction to the band. It’s for that latter reason, however, that “Creep” does have its fans though and this is the same sentiment that I have towards “Beverly Hills.” Regardless of how you feel about it, it is the one song that introduced most people to Weezer, and I just so happen to be part of that group. I’m not saying that I hold “Beverly Hills” in such high regard as I didn’t start getting interested in Weezer until stumbling across some of their songs from the Blue Album, although it’s hard for me to drag this down for the very reason I’ve already explained and for a variety of reasons, I SHOULD hate this. It’s a tongue-and-creek song about the lifestyle of the rich and famous from the otherwise rich and successful Rivers Cuomo…except it’s not. And how about that chorus? Depending on anyone’s mood, the anthemic, sing-a-long tone of it is either catchy enough to do its job or it just sounds really forced. Then there are the lyrics, because you can’t have a brainless luxury rock song without some brainless lyrics about being famous and wealthy. That alone should draw enough parallels to Nickelback’s “Rockstar,” which unlike “Beverly Hills,” is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek. All those points should now make for a rather embarrassing take.

As stupid of a song that “Beverly Hills” may truly be however, the main gist that separates the stupidity for me is that it’s a FUN self-serving song about living the life of the wealthy. Besides, as bad as the message or lyrics may come off, you still can’t take this song so seriously, regardless of Rivers attesting that he is being serious here. “Beverly Hills” at its core is all about having fun, I think Weezer did a decent enough job at capturing that mood, and that’s what matters to me and I hope that Weezer themselves are out there enjoying their life out in Beverly Hills if that’s what they’re doing right now.

Spoiler

5. “American Beauty/American Psycho” / Fall Out Boy

Album: American Beauty/American Psycho
My Ranking: #6 out of 11

“American Beauty/American Psycho” from the album also titled American Beauty/American Psycho is surely a controversial ranking that I didn’t expect. I ranked it somewhere in the middle (hence why I’ve decided to put this right in the middle of the list) and yet I’ve garnered reactions like as if this was actually the worst track from the album and I gave it a little too much credit than it doesn’t deserve and you know what…in retrospect, I do feel like I’ve over-ranked this song a bit. As an odd choice as it may be for me to put this song on the list when putting “Centuries” at the very bottom of the track ranks would make more sense to discuss, but of course, “AB/AP” is apparently the track that garnered the most conversation, so let’s talk about it…

I may have a soft spot for the album, but almost every track on it suffers from the exact same problem: overproduction. This was the main problem that I’ve had with “Centuries” and likewise, it’s the main problem that I would have with the title track. However, I’ve ranked “AB/AP” above “Centuries” and others on the basis that I felt that the song does a decent job in maintaining that signature Fall Out Boy energy and the signature nonsensical lyrics despite its subpar production work and the obnoxious near 30H!3-leaning bridge. Yeah, it’s not a masterpiece of a track, but it doesn’t fall apart completely for me either, perfectly balanced given the song’s dual title.

Spoiler

4. “Dangerous Woman” / Ariana Grande

Album: Dangerous Woman
My Ranking: #4 out of 11

My ranking of “Dangerous Woman” is without a doubt my hottest take for any song that I’ve ranked during these marathons as a whole…for a song that I liked. I’ve always thought it was a competent introductory single to the aptly named album, but a lot of my peers think otherwise, so I could come to the conclusion that this is actually the lowest-rated song on the album, and again, it’s the title track I’m dealing with. Even though I didn’t rank it at the very top, I still got a few reactions that suggested that I put it higher than I needed to, and I can see why. Despite my feelings on “Atlas,” and “I Want You,” both of which I thought were dull and draggy respectively, “Dangerous Woman” is cited for being both, and it’s also rife with Ariana’s weird enunciations that she’s infamous for. “Focus,” which was originally billed as a lead-off single and one that I viewed as the flop that it was, on the other hand, has been vindicated, which may be mostly due to not committing the crime of having Iggy Azalea on the song despite it being structurally similar to “Problem.” I’ve always thought “Dangerous Woman” was a stronger lead-off single, and it’s the main factor as to why I’ve placed it as high.

The most important question, of course, is what are my reasons for holding the so-called weakest song on the aptly-titled album with such high regard, even when there a ton of other Ariana songs that I’ve put above this? “Dangerous Woman” may be slow and oddly-structured, but it showcases a strong vocal presence from Ariana that eclipses the flaws that I have with it. Ariana’s singing capabilities one here may be seen as effortless, but it should also be considered that the song is an example of the singer expanding her musical palette. “Dangerous Woman” is a bluesy rock song that blends with Ariana’s strong pop sensibility, and I feel they create something close to the best of both worlds. Sure, the guitar solo that serves as the main payoff to this sultry ballad may sound forced to some, but come on…when was the last time we’ve seen a pop singer with such a big name embrace a rock edge, let alone in a decade where that sound was disappearing from the mainstream? It’s not the best-sounding guitar solo, but it still sounds satisfying to me regardless.

While the song is not without its flawed moments, Ariana has the extraordinary presence to make me buy into what she’s selling. In other words, you could say that something about this song made me feel like Ariana is a dangerous woman…yeah, that was bad.

Spoiler

3. “Bop to the Top” / Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel

Album: High School Musical
My Ranking: #13 out of 13

It’s very clear that there is an acquired taste to High School Musical. It has been appreciated for its relentless charm despite its super quirky presentation. Otherwise, people with an allergic reaction to schmaltzy teen films that either lacks nuance or doesn’t suit their personal teenage interests, they will obviously put this down any chance they get. Having grown up with this series a pre-teen, I do have some sense of nostalgia towards HSM. While I never cared for the stories these films told, I often found myself listening to a select few songs whenever I felt like it until I decidedly grew out of HSM. Looking back, I still have some appreciation towards the songs from the first film…except one: “Bop to the Top.” In fact, I never did like “Bop to the Top” even when I was my younger self. This song, to me, always stuck out like a sore thumb and the thing is…the way to appreciate this song is all the same for the rest of the music from this series. There’s a certain charm that most people see in this that is just lost on me.

So, what’s my beef with “Bop to the Top?” This song already loses me from the very start with Sharpay and Ryan saying Spanish phrases like a couple of squares, albeit over a cookie-cutter Latin instrumental. Regardless of the song’s intent to paint the two characters as these egotistical theater kid siblings, that doesn’t prevent me from genuinely finding the song so obnoxious-sounding with its whole in-your-face tone and swagger. Even suppose the songwriting is meant to be nonsensical on purpose or cringe-inducing on purpose, or that I can’t take them seriously, I genuinely think they’re cringe (i.e. “Zip, zap, zop, pop like a mop,” “Gimme-gimme shimmy-shimmy, Shake some booty and turn around,” “Stump, stump, stump, do the rump and strut your stuff.”).

And here’s the thing though, I can buy Sharpay and Ryan being this dynamic duo because I did like their songs before (“What I’ve Been Looking For”) and after (“Fabulous,” “I Want It All”) “Bop to the Top,” but there’s just something about this song in particular where this the theater kid villain flair doesn’t work for me at all.

Spoiler

2. “My Song 5” / HAIM

Album: Days Are Gone
My Ranking: #11 out of 11

The HAIM album marathon I’ve done was the one music artist rundown of the bunch where I didn’t have a firm grasp on what were commonly agreed to be the best and least best from the band. So, my track rankings for this group’s music were based on my own personal judgments a lot of a time, and therefore, it was prone to some disagreements. What I am aware of though is that my ranking for “My Song 5” is what got the folks most vexed about, and that would be naturally because of the song’s presence as a commercial single, albeit late into the album’s cycle AND as a remix with A$AP Ferg, which, if memory serves, I presume this was the version that I was first introduced to and because of that, it didn’t leave a very good taste in my mouth.

However, I ranked the original album version, so that’s what I have to address, and of course, my opinion on the song stems from my feelings of this being the album’s weakest single. For starters, the production kills most of the enjoyment out of me. With those limp hip-hop-tinged drum beats (and I’m usually impressed by Danielle’s drumming) and those warbling synths in-between a couple punchy guitar solos, the production sounds rather sloppy to me, and regardless of how good the Haim sisters’ vocals are on the track, still, it’s hard for me to get behind the weird production choices.

This song is a defining example of a track that’s hard for me to swallow. I can at least credit “My Song 5” for its experimentation, but like with “I Want You,” that doesn’t say a lot for me to boost the spot I had given it.

Spoiler

1. “I Knew You Were Trouble” / Taylor Swift

Album: Red
My Ranking: #16 out of 16

My controversial take on “I Knew You Were Trouble” has gone unrivaled ever since I admitted to disliking it when I ranked the 2013 Year-End Hot 100 list. I could just copy-paste what I said from my original commentary on the track, but it was relatively weak commentary compared to the hurdles that I now have to pass to defend my position on this song. Just about all of my peers are on-board with viewing this song as an album highlight. Back then, it wasn’t viewed as highly and it has since been vindicated, and that’s factored into Red, the album it’s from, becoming Taylor’s most highly-praised album, let alone being cited as one of the best albums of the 2010s by several. I can’t argue against that when that same album has “All Too Well.” That, however, doesn’t mean that I have to view Red as this masterpiece of an album, and you know why? This song – this song is a big, contributing factor that hinders me from considering Red as Taylor’s absolute best. For an album where Taylor is recognized for her songwriting strengths, “I Knew You Were Trouble” sticks out to me like a very sore thumb.

And I know what you’re thinking, “What about these other songs from the album? This is actually the weakest song from Red…” and so forth. “Everything Has Changed” is a slow burner with that Ed Sheeran fellow that nobody likes, as is “The Last Time,” with the supposedly otherwise dull Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol (snow patrol more like SNORE patrol amirite? Seriously though, Snow Patrol slander won’t be accepted here). Then there’s also “22,” which was also not well-liked upon first impression, but I’ve come to enjoy that one because it has that tongue-in-cheek sort of tone to convince that not every part of it is meant to be taken for serious and it’s mainly about Taylor enjoying herself. “I Knew You Were Trouble,” on the other hand, has more shred of sincerity to it, but it’s all downhill from there.

I should say first thing that the main problem that I have with “I Knew You Were Trouble” has nothing to do with it simply being a breakup song. Having skimmed through almost every Taylor song in existence when I started this marathon, it should be noted that breakup songs are the bread and butter of Taylor’s career. While Red cements Taylor as an accomplished singer-songwriter, one issue I have with IKYWT is the songwriting. Going over the main topic of this song leaves me with one question: if she knew he was trouble when he walked in, then why did she hook up with him? (Yeah, I had to copy what Mark, in affiliation with Spectrum Pulse, had to say of the song beforehand, so I don’t take credit for making that point) Judging this as a callout to the ex being addressed, it doesn’t do a terrible job, but it doesn’t hold a candle towards other songs of its type that I feel done this better, which include “Picture to Burn,” “Haunted,” Dear John,” and “You’re Not Sorry” to name some.

That isn’t even the main problem I have with the song though. Like I said before towards the previous song, it’s the production that kills it for me, and here’s the thing: no other song on the Red album has this unconventional pop/country/dubstep fusion sound going for it. On one hand, it can be viewed as Taylor extending her musical palette. On the other hand, it’s telling to me of Taylor struggling with her music identity – whether she wants to keep making country music or to fully embrace the pop side that she’s since expressed from the start of her career. In a sense, it foreshadows her complete pivot towards pop come the release of 1989. And as bold as it may be for Taylor to combine her brand of country pop with electronic, it’s not something that I would consider the best of both worlds. Depending on how you view it, the EDM/dubstep trends over the course of 2012-2013 was either one of the best or one of the most embarrassing pop music trends of the past decade, and to me, “I Knew You Were Trouble” lingers towards being an embarrassing display of that trend.

No matter how much I try to look into “I Knew You Were Trouble,” my opinion on it being this mess of a genre mashup has gone mostly unchanged for years and if you weren’t sure why I’ve detested it, now you know. Don’t get the wrong idea, because as it should already be made evident from my commentary, Taylor Swift has done SO MUCH better than this. As I should always say though, I don’t have a problem with anyone liking this song. It’s my personal hot take at the end of the day, and I can sum it up as just not being my cup of tea.

 

That’s one-half of these lists out of the way. Expect the last one to come around later next month, and it’ll surely be the one that I’ll be more proud of doing.

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I promised I'd do it and now that there is enough 2021 movies I have seen it. it's here. at last 

WHOBOB'S TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2021

but first, honorable mentions. Compared to previous years (well, i only did 2015 to 2017 for movies but still), my honorable mentions are short, so let's get them out of the way

Honorable Mentions:

Spoiler

 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings:

While I had a blast watching this movie, looking back at it, I don't think it's as strong as I remembered. It is rather a simple superhero tale that doesn't take much risks like a lot of Marvel movies but for what it is worth, it's a good popcorn fun. Action here is just jaw dropping, I loved every second of it. Tony Yeung was so charismatic as the villain of the movie. Simu Lui was decent here as well as rest of the cast. Visuals were stunning. Comedy was good. That's all about it really. I wish Marvel movies would take more risks with their properties because I'm feeling burned out recently but we'll see how the future will unfold.

Eternals: 

I'm aware of the gamble I made with this. Sue me. This is not a good movie by any means. Characters feel barely developed, most of poc characters are treated poorly and it has some pacing issues. While I'm aware of the cast being so huge, I don't think it's the issue here. There are movies with ensemble cast (two of which you'll see in this list) that use the characters to the fullest. I don't think every main character should be developed when it comes to ensemble cast, you can still make them likeable and fun with enough screentime and I wish this movie took that approach. Still why is it on this list? I like this movie. I enjoyed watching it. Action was good, cinematography was beautiful, slice of life aspect of the movie made me feel relaxed, I really like the twists in the story, there are some geniune character moments I dug, post-credit scenes were amazing and most importantly, I got to see a mainstream gay superhero kissing his husband in theaters. That experience alone was worth my ticket idc. So yeah. My opinions on this movie may change over time but I still hold it regardly for being ambitious even if it failed on a lot of aspects.

Zack Snyder's Justice League:

Snyder cult being dipshits aside, I really really wish this movie would crack my list because I loved the heck out of it but what really prevented me from doing it were

1) It is so unnecessarily long. Cut it to 2.5 hours or at least 3 hours, it would be a neat perfect movie for me.

2) I hate the fact that Snyder hired Jared Leto to do some extra scenes at the end of the movie. He already managed to replace the sexual assaulter of another movie he made with another actor and he used shit ton of money for it but for Jared Leto, no. He should at least be aware of some accusations against him. It's not just that, his scenes with Batman were geniunely awful. Even with deleted "we live in a society" line which is the ironic meme Jared Leto ruined before he ruined Morbius meme. 

But really, I love this movie and we were robbed off with greatness. The story is just amazing. Action is once again hardcore. It had a lot of moments I cheered up like Flash going into speed force. And what's most importantly, this is the best iteration of Cyborg that isn't Doom Patrol and that's a high praise. I really hated what Whedon did with the character and how he treated Ray Fisher like shit. He is so bland in Whedon cut but here, he fucking shines. Him hacking ATM to help a poor woman was one of the most superheroic acts in any superhero movie. It was just geniune and heartfelt, something MCU will never achieve. Other characters here are good too. I love Flash here, they were the second best character of the movie. Sad Ezra Miller dug themselves to the ground because with right material, they really can be great. Wonder Woman has kickass scenes. Steppenwolf was somewhat interesting and cool here. Batman was cool. Superman gets awesome scenes. Aquaman didn't do much here but still his conversation with Wonder Woman here was good unlike Whedon cut. Steppenwolf is still not that great but he did have interesting scenes with Darkseid and he wasn't much of a mommy craving weirdo this time. What else there to say? I loved this movie.

Dune:

I read the first book in preparation of this movie and I really loved the book, despite act 1 taking forever to get to the plot.  So how does the movie do in comparison? Well, I really liked this movie but I really wish there were some aspects that could have been a lot different. I was sad they didn't reveal the twist of the act 1 which was a really strong moment in the book (won't spoil what but I felt it worked because it had the right time in act 1). Characters like Garney and Stillgar felt flat compared to the book's charming versions. I wish they didn't use Dr. Yueh's betrayal as a twist and instead focus on his character to build tension on his struggles of helping the enemy. Oh and fremens should have been played by middle eastern actors because the book makes it clear Arrakis planet is a middle east allegory as well as natives living there. No offense to Zendaya here, I love her but she shouldn't have been the pick for Chani who is a fremen. With all that aside, It's a mostly faithful adaptation. I love Timothee as Paul and rest of the cast is strong. Oscar Isaac is wonderful as Leto. Rebecca Ferguson is just great Jessica. Action was pumping. Cinematography was strong which made the movie look so awesome in IMAX. I liked that it combined act 1 and act 2 of the book because act 1 really had some pages that aren't necessary to adapt to the full screen. Now that we have part 2 confirmed, I can't wait for the epic climax of the first book adaptation. 

A Quiet Place Part II:

I had some worries on making a sequel to first quiet place because I felt the story was complete and leaving things open ended worked so well I didn't need a continuation but regardless, I won't complain much here. This sequel was great. Once again Krasinski shows how he is a damn good horror director. Every scene is intense and suspenseful it keeps you uneased and disturbed. Character work is once again strong. Adding Cillian Murphy into the main cast worked like a charm. My only problem with this movie is that i felt the ending was incomplete. I get that this isn't the end of the movie series but I don't know. It just sort of ended with nothing else to say. I felt empty about it. My only hope is that the third movie will be just as strong as first two because this is a horror series that keeps being good.

 

Alright, time to get into top 10!!!

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#10: Army of the Dead

A Snyder movie at top 10? What a shocker! Well, I'm aware there are better movies this year than a Snyder movie but I have no time to check them out right now and I don't wanna watch them just to add them to the list here. I get why this wasn't everyone's cup of tea but I had a blast. This is exactly how you do justice to an ensamble cast. Every character here brought something to the table. From quirkiness and innocence of Dieter to cold, brutal and heroic Lilly. Dave Bausta did the right choice picking this movie as opposed to another flick on the list. He was fucking fantastic here. His character's development and relationship with his daughter made the movie for me. What's most importantly this that this movie at the core is a very anti-nationalism and anti-militarism which earns a lot of points. It isn't just a fun and stylish zombie heist flick, the story really was strong. But still don't get me wrong, the movie was fun and stylish. Snyder's vision and style is clear here. I can see why people would find this movie boring because like his Justice League, it is a lot longer than necessary but I think its length wasn't much of a problem for me. I highly recommend this one. Snyder has been improving with his movies lately and I can't wait to see what he provides with his space opera duology Rebel Moon.

 

Spoiler

 

#9: Spider-Man: No Way Home

I'm really damn tired of franchises using way too much fanservice lately. Many of them desperately try to bring back glory days and It just doesn't work. I don't want nostalgia, I just want a good storytelling. With that being said, why is this movie on the list? I'm aware of the problems this movie will bring in the future especially with fan demands of Amazing Spider-Man 3 and Raimi Spider-Man 4 and asking more cameos of pre-MCU actors of Marvel movies into the movies because multiverse??? But fuck it, fan service here did to me. As someone who saw first two raimi movies and first webb movie, seeing Tobey and Andrew here made me really happy and they didn't exist just to do some jokes or look cool. Their arcs in the movie were a great continuation of their movies, especially Andrew here but this is where I stop talking about them and start talking about Tom Holland. This movie had a lot of characters from previous Spider-Man movie franchises, a fucking Daredevil cameo and Dr. Strange on top of that but unlike first two Watts movies, this movie made it 100% clear this is about Tom Holland Spider-Man. He finally stops being Iron Man's boy and becomes Spider-Man we all know and love. Struggling with society shunning him, making a reckless decision that caused him suffering, trying to make up what he did in the first place, healing and helping people that are damaged. This is Spider-Man to me and Tom Holland did a great job selling it. I loved seeing MJ, Aunt May and Neds do a lot more here. Villains from other Spidey movies returning here was a blast especially Green Goblin who is just as fucked up as he was in first Raimi movie. The movie made me cry, made me laugh, made me cheer, made me entertaining. I was satisfied so much no MCU movie can ever do that again. This movie is not without flaws like some jokes fall flat like some tobey and andrew dialogue here feel too mcu but the chemistry between tom, tobet and andrew were on point, I loved their interaction and making each other grow and learn. I prob talked a lot more than I should have but fuck it, I love this movie and nothing can ever change it.

 

Spoiler

 

#8: The Matrix Resurrections

Here's a controversial movie added here. Honestly I just don't care what people think of this one if it's all going to be for bigoted reasons. The movie obviously won't work for every Matrix fan and that's fine. I still had heck of a time with this one. I took my mom to see it and as an old matrix fan, she liked it too. Now I won't say the movie is perfection and all. Action of the movie was so fucking bad. Like this isn't the Wachowski I know in terms of action because Matrix was so revolutionary with its action. But I can let it slide because everything else was solid. The movie is made with absolute rage and frustration because Wachowskis didn't want their movies to become a soulless IP and the movie makes it clear this story will always belong to Wachowskis. I'm sad Lilly didn't return for this but her blessing to Lana was still appreciated and Lana as a solo director here did pretty well. It isn't just about criticizing Warner Bros and other studios for demanding more factor made blockbuster movies, the movie is about trauma and how people deal with it. Neo's arc here spoke to me so well because the movie reminds us all the suffering he dealt with and how his memories were made supressed and he was gaslighted a lot. Trinity as well even if she didn't have a lot of screentime compared to Neo but she was still great with what she got. Moss and Reeves' chemistry is once again adorable. New characters Bunny and The Analyist were really amazing here. Return of Niobe and the canonization of her queerness was so beautiful. New versions of Morpheus and Smith played by Abdul-Mateen II and Groff honored those characters. The movie was visually stunning, music was thrilling and how this movie ends is miles better than how Revolutions ended, I'm not joking. I'm so glad this movie existed and It brought back wonderful memories of my love of the franchise.

 

 

Spoiler

 

#7: Candyman

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II man.  He is going into places. Us, Aquaman, Watchmen, The Matrix Resurrections, The Trial of Chicago 7? He already became one of my favorite actors ever and this is no exception. Candyman will come and get you if you say his name 5 times on the mirror. Be aware. This is a amazing sequel to the classic Candyman which you don't even need to see first to understand the movie. I didn't see first Candyman and the movie catches you up to speed on what happened in it. If anything, this is a bit soft reboot with modern setting and how the movie integrates the first Candyman was just amazing. Nia DaCosta is a director I'm gonna look forward to see her next projects because she really did a wonderful job with modernizing a classic tale. Horror elements of the movie were so good. I was so disturbed and frightened by what the movie accomplished along with telling a story of an innocent black man being a victim of police violence and becoming a full horror villain that haunts you whenever you say his name. Between this and Jordan Peele's movies, I'm really looking forward to the age of black horror movies.

 

Spoiler

 

#6: The Suicide Squad

James freaking Gunn. What happens when you get fired by a studio over something so dumb? Another studio hires you and you make an even better movie than what you made in the previous studio. I'm so glad we actually got a good Suicide Squad movie and this is not just good, it's fan-fucking-tastic. Gunn knows how to make things over the top entertaining and funny. This movie was full of them amped up to 11. I just love how awesome this movie was and how it made me love all these nobody villains. And Starro the Conqueror man. What a villain. I love him so much. I pity him and I'm scared of him. Absolutely stylish with kickass music, hardcore action and raunchy comedy, this is my favorite dc movie that isn't something Batman. Please make more movies with creative freedom like this DC instead of trying to build another cinematic universe. With this, Birds of Prey, Aquaman and The Batman (hello 2022 list wink wink), the future of DC movies is hopeful.

 

Spoiler

 

#5: The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Who wants a funny ass action movie about a dysfunctional family fighting against technology? Say whaaaa. Look no further than this movie. Sony is building something great with its animation department. With the boom of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, studios has been looking for more variety in CGI animation and Sony is certainly not letting the success of Spider-Verse go away. The movie is hella entertaining. I love a good family drama that can make me laugh hard and make me feel. The movie was full of emotions I was not ready to handle. I really relate to Katie Mitchell here. A weird ass queer kid with a really weird ass family and a father that you have a hard time connecting to. It's all there. I love that the movie isn't going "grrr technology is bad", instead it's going with a nuanced take on how we use technology and how it can be consuming but also how helpful it can be. It's a kids movie anyone should see regardless of age because there is something for everyone, even parents.

 

 

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#4: Encanto

Man, I hate that I'm putting this above Mitchells because I really think Mitchells deserve shit ton of recognition Disney animation already gets even when it's mid but I couldn't help it, I adore this movie so much. A really magical musical tale about another kid with a dysfunctional family. Well okay, this movie has more than that. Oh boy. The movie knows how to make you entertaining and sing songs about how we don't wanna acknowledge a relative of ours but underneath, it's a tale about generational trauma and how it affects Mirabel to the core. Just like Army of the Dead, this is a movie with an ensemble cast (well it's a big family, shut up) and it knows how to use every single main character even if not all of them have arcs here. What can I say? Welcome to family Madrigal. This is like the first Walt Disney Animation movie I was interested since uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Zootopia??? So they really cooked up something special here. Make sure to watch this classic, it's so worth the time.

 

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#3: The Green Knight

Who's up for an Arthurian tale? A story about a jackass, a loser and a coward who wants to be something. Already a classic in my eyes. The journey Gawain faces to become a respectful king and obstacles he stumbles upon along the way makes it a really timeless tale. It's sad to me many have slept on this because it really is something special. Dev Patel acted the hell out of here and I was sad he wasn't nomimated in oscar for best actor. It's just not that, the movie is a beautiful fantasy with a bisexual lead, yes Gawain is bi as fuck here and that wasn't on my bingo card. So color me surprised. It's a slow movie, so I can understand if it isn't for you but those who want a really good Arthurian movie and a fantasy movie with a queer lead, I strongly suggest this one.

 

Spoiler

 

#2: Drive My Car

Fuck me, this was some real tearjerking drama movie. It's an engaging story about grief, guilt and betrayal and it moved me so much. It's three hours long and it doesn't bore you in the slightest. I'm not normally a drama movie guy but this one kept my attention throughout. It has a lot of impactful moments with happiness and sadness. Acting here was top the notch. Hidetoshi Nishijima and Tōko Miura have an incredible dynamic that make the movie worthwhile. With a story so powerful and acting that is top notch, this is a movie you cannot miss.

Now for my #1 which is gonna shock all of you because even I am shocked.

Spoiler

 

#1: Evangelion: 3.0 + 1.0 Thrice Upon a Time

The ultimate ending to the Evangelion franchise is here and it was perfect. I started watching Neon Genesis Evangelion couple of months ago and It resonated with me like rarely any show could. A kickass but also dark mecha anime with deeply fucked up characters that struggle with trauma, loneliness, anxiety and depression. These characters are hurt so badly that they don't wanna get hurt ever again but as a result, they hurt each other. It's very complex and intruiging character study, especially Shinji who is just a complete loser clown that brings down everyone's mood. Man, I sure as hell can be that sometimes. The beauty of the anime was to see how Shinji deals with his trauma and loneliness and whether he learns from it or not. Original run of the anime got an ending that polarized people but I loved it myself. Then it got an alternate look at the anime with a movie that answered all questions and it was just more fucked up than anything the show did and i hated whenever the movie did that but it was still an intriguing piece and a real drug trip. Lastly, we have 4 movies that retell the original story and when each movie passes, the story gets more and more exciting, animation gets more wild, action gets more energetic and thrilling and I can proudly say this is the best Evangelion has ever gotten. Problematic aspects aside, cuz oh boy this franchise needs to be called out for what it does to underage characters, it's an anime franchise that was personal and deep to me and this movie was the best way to wrap it all up. So much so that I even call this one of my all-time favorite movies. I loved it, I loved it. I'm looking forward to whatever Anno does with Shin Heroes franchise (gotta watch Shin Godzilla and then wait for Ultraman) especially considering a live-action evangelion is gonna be a part of it, so we are not done yet but the animation side of evangelion is over and it ends on a high note.

Thanks for reading my list. I'm still gonna do annual best tv shows and movies list after this but I'm gonna miss these annual best and worst entertainment threads for coming together and talking about what impacted us in each passing year. Thank you Clappy for creating this wonderful collab and thank you everyone for contributing to this wonderful annual event. See you in another collab. 🙏

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