In the latest installment of 100 Songs I Love, I casually mentioned that my brief love affair with Top 40 radio was over. In today's installment of 100 Songs I Hate, I name names, and reveal the songs and artists responsible for my newly-re-minted hatred for the dark cloud of suck that is modern pop radio. Join me in my public shaming of these terrible, terrible songs, won't you?
37. "Don't You Worry Child" (Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin)
First of all, their name is Swedish House Mafia. That used to be enough to incur my unending hatred, but I'm older now, more mature, and I can look beyond stupid names and simply judge a band, or whatever Swedish House Mafia is, by its shitty music. I like bands with names like Neutral Milk Hotel and Death Cab For Cutie, so I'm not going to be a dick and hate something because it's titled ridiculously. But, c'mon, Swedish House Mafia? The mafia kills people, guys. How about a little respect for the millions (trillions?) murdered by the Italian mafia every year.
Secondly, the song itself is lame (the toothless lyrics, the hackneyed techno beats, etc), but fairly inoffensive. Every other song on the radio sounds like this now. It's the current trend apparently, so I'm not going to fault SHM for that. They're making a cash grab. And, hey, I enjoyed every other every-other song on the radio, with the similar bass drops and equally empty lyrics.
Wait. Why do I hate this song again? Oh, yeah. I remember. Every Top 40 station in my town thinks "Don't You Worry Child" is the only song in existence. Try this experiment next time you're driving through the Triangle (The name given to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area in North Carolina, for my out-of-state readers): turn your radio dial to any Top 40 station at any time during the day or year. Is "Don't You Worry Child" playing? It is? I told you.
A note on the video: What a fun concert. Did you see how Swedish House Mafia stood there and played records? Neat. (I say this as someone who has seen Moby live twice.)
38. "Scream & Shout (will.i.am featuring Britney Spears)
THIS ISN'T A SONG! REALLY, GUYS, WHAT IS THIS???
Short answer: it's terrible. I guess it's folly to expect more from these two luminaries of mediocrity, but you can't fault me for trying. I mean, will.i.am and Britney Spears are, for better or worse, permanent fixtures in the music industry. Certain people respect will.i.am for his producing abilities, and I don't know anything about anything when it comes to writing, recording and producing music, so I can't comment on whether or not this respect is justifiable or not, so I won't, but this song isn't a song. It's nothing. It's two moderately talented pop artists farting over boring beats downloaded from a free sound effects Web site. "Scream & Shout" is dumb and bad, but it's biggest crime is being completely boring.
A note on the video: Britney Spears has never looked better. Or sounded worse.
39. "Thrift Shop" (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz)
Remember that experiment I had you do earlier? Do it again. If "Don't You Worry Child" isn't playing, it'll be "Thrift Shop." Was I right? OF COURSE I WAS!
Look, something happened when I was re-listening to "Thrift Shop" for this post. I realized I didn't hate it for the original reasons I thought I did. I get what Macklemore is talking about and I like it. The song is funny, its got an interesting message about crass consumerism and bling-centric rap culture, and its not at all difficult to dance to. I still don't like the song, but I get why people do. It's really the radio's fault on this one. This song is severely overplayed, but I can't stay mad at Macklemore. Keep doing what you're doing, sir.
Honest admission: A big reason I didn't like this song at first was because everybody (people I like and respect, dummies I neither like nor respect, etc.) liked it, but then I realized that was hipster shit and I don't do that anymore. See, I really grew up while writing this post. You should all be very proud of me.
40. "Sweet Nothing" (Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch)
Listen, we've had a lot of fun bashing the popular hits responsible for twisting my love of Top 40 radio into a nightmarish hatred, but now it's time to get serious. If I had to pick one song to label as the song that toppled my hastily constructed pop music love shrine (what?) and, basically, ruined the radio for me forever and ever until the end of time, it's Calvin Harris's "Sweet Nothing." The combination of familiar beats, nonsensical lyrics, and its monopolization of the radio airwaves, puts "Sweet Nothing" on my short list of Worst Songs Ever. I hate this song so much, and I'm genuinely sorry that Florence Welch had to get pulled into it. I've never heard a Florence + the Machine song all the way through (They were on an episode of Gossip Girl that I barely remember and I think the William McKinley High School glee club performed one of their songs), but my sister likes them and they probably aren't all that bad. I actually asked my sister, a radio listener who has not yet soured on the medium, if "Sweet Nothing" sounded anything like Florence + the Machine's output and she responded with a hearty, "Not at all." So, that's good to know.
This song is the worst.
Things I've said when "Sweet Nothing" has come on the radio: These are direct quotes from a recent road trip I took with my wife and daughter. We were on our way home from New Jersey, we had just driven through a freak snowstorm, and me and my wife were scanning the radio dial for anything that would keep us awake. One station seemed promising and then "Sweet Nothing" came on:
--"If I have to hear ["Sweet Nothing"] one more time, I'll puke my face off."
--"I would rather sit through an entire Maroon 5 concert than listen to ["Sweet Nothing"] ever again."