The top 10 worst songs of 2016, according to Time magazine

The top 10 worst songs of 2016, according to Time magazine - image
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File

The Grammy’s may celebrate the best in music, but Time annually recognizes the not-so-best in tunes from the music industry and this year’s roundup is full of surprises.

Everyone from well-known artists like Britney Spears to Meghan Trainor make an appearance. Even the “Song of the Summer” has been dubbed demonstrable.

And while Time’s picks seem solid, Fresh Radio’s Toni Ross is surprised by some of the magazine’s selections.

“When I think ‘worst song,’ I would think [it’s] a song that wasn’t commercially successful and that has that ‘ugh, not again’ response by listeners,” says Ross. “A song I will say I could do without hearing again was the Pen Apple Pineapple Pen song. I realize it wasn’t a real song, but there was a solid three weeks where people continued to talk about it and how bad it was, so that should be on the top of the list of Worst Songs from 2016.”
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So who snags the top spot as the artist to deliver the worst song of the year according to Time?

Take a look.

10. 7 Years by Lukas Graham

It’s been a long 20 weeks for radio listeners as this song continues to dominate the airwaves.

According to Billboard, Graham’s only hit peaked at number two and currently sits at number six.

“Good luck explaining the meteoric popularity of this (yes catchy) chewy contemporary pop-rock ballad, which makes a listener yearn for the artistic integrity of a band like Maroon 5,” Time writes. 

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This song was among some of the shockers for Ross.

“Lukas Graham’s 7 Years made the list which I found shocking,” says Ross. “The song was an emotional yet catchy ballad that many of us can relate to.”

9. Private Show by Britney Spears

Calling the song a “caricature” of the songstress, Time calls Private Show a minimalist pop track.

“But the superstar’s girly-girl voice gets distorted in overproduction, while uncomfortable allusions to work a stripper pole feel more forced than enticing,” Time says.

The song made it onto the scene in August and opened on Billboard’s top 10.

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8. No by Meghan Trainor

Listeners first heard the song in the spring, which is featured as a bonus track single. The song peaked at number three on Billboard and remains at number 78 as of Nov. 29.

“Its message of empowerment is a flimsy as the melody is uninspired and repetitive,” Time says. “More troubling still, the song showcases what some have called her ‘blaccent,’ a noteworthy example of the kind of cultural appropriation that has plagued popular music throughout its history.”

But while Ross can understand why Trainor’s song was on the list, she does admit to warming up to it in the end.

“It was a song that was annoyingly catchy that I – will admit – would have put on this list,” she says. “But I warmed up to it.”

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The song’s music video on YouTube has over 388.8 million views since its release in March.

7. I Hate U, I Love U by Gnash featuring Olivia O’Brien

Time describes the song as depressing and obnoxious, and admits to not understanding the song’s appeal.

“The singsongy melody is as obnoxious as an ice cream truck jingle, while the lifeless production drains it of any energy,” the magazine says.

The song was never able to get past the number 10 spot on the Billboard charts, but it did last 32 weeks (and counting).

6. I Took a Pill in Ibiza by Mike Posner

The song is Posner’s first number one on Billboard’s Pop Songs radio and debuted in May.

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His album, in which the song is featured on, peaked at number 32 on the Billboard 200 even though it was released almost a year before. The song resurfaced thanks to a remix by Seeb, according to Billboard.

Admitting the original folk-pop song was “clever,” Time made it clear the remix was not its favourite.

“…The much more popular Seeb remix sapped it of its wit, turning it into the exact thing it was satirizing. What a comedown,” the magazine wrote.

5. Bad Things by Machine Gun Kelly featuring Camila Cabello

Produced by Bruno Mars and Three 6 Mafia, the rap/pop song featuring Fifth Harmony’s Camila Cabello samples the 1999 song Out of My Head  by Fastball.

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It hit the airwaves in mid-October but the song didn’t exactly take off.

“Bless anyone who has the audacity to sample Fastball, and Fifth Harmony songbird Camila Cabello’s vocal hook is just fine,” Time writes. “But if Cabello wants to make it big as a solo star, she’ll need more wattage than she finds with Machine Gun Kelly.”

The song’s YouTube video has over 11.6 million views as of Nov. 29.

4. Ghostbuster (I’m Not Afraid) by Fall Out Boy and Missy Elliott

The move to make the original Ghostbusters theme into an edgy mix of rock and rap didn’t fare too well with fans.

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The song made it onto the scene in June, just in time for the movie reboot. The official YouTube video has over 11.5 million views as of Nov. 29.

According to Time, the reboot deserved better.

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“Sure, we were all rooting for the Ghostbusters movie, but this Hot Topic-friendly track… is not the look,” says Time.

The New York Times agrees.

“Here is a song manufactured by committee, designed not for the radio or for career-enhancing posterity but to be slapped atop the scrolling credits of the Ghostbusters remake,”  Ben Ratliff, Jon Caramanica and Jon Pareles write. “Everyone is a victim here. Fall Out Boy is reduced to trademark Patrick Sump yelps over some hard guitar jabs and robbed of all its funk.”

3. Team by Iggy Azalea

Azalea’s Team had its debut at number eight on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart in March, making it her ninth song on the charts and her highest debut as a lead act, according to Billboard.

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The track was downloaded 37,000 times in its first week. It was her first song to hit the charts in almost a year (the last was Trouble featuring Jennifer Hudson).

“Iggy Azalea’s slow-moving wannabe rap never picks up momentum,” Time says, “instead settling into a yawn-worthy rhythm that relies on heavy use of synth to provide needed texture.”

The song’s YouTube video has over 77 million views as of Nov. 29.

2. Mom by Meghan Trainor

Hitting the airwaves in May, the song appeared at number 45 on the Pop digital Songs sales chart. It only scored 8,000 downloads in its first week, Billboard reports.

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The track features Trainor’s mother, Kelli Trainor. She’s even listed as a featured artist.

“…A bizarre humblebrag that frequently rhymes the word ‘mom’ with ‘the bomb,’ the pop star uses a phone call with her mother to remind listeners – in case you didn’t know – that she loves her mom,” Time writes.

The song is off Trainor’s second album called Thank You.

1. Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake

There wasn’t a radio station you could turn on this spring/summer without hearing Timberlake’s voice telling you he couldn’t stop the feeling – and you still can’t.

As Time puts it, “This insipid earworm – which was ostensibly recorded for an animated movie about trolls – became essentially unavoidable at any social gathering where someone in attendance was likely to use the phrase ‘cut loose.’”

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Ross, however, disagrees.

“What! That is absolutely ridiculous” Ross says. “It was an instant hit the second it was released and keep in mind, it was from an animated movie. It actually broke the record for most weeks at number one on the Fresh Top 20 [for] 12 weeks.”

The song made its debut on the Billboard charts at number one  in May. It was his fifth solo number one and his best sales week for any of his songs with 379,000 downloads, Billboard reports. In fact, it was the 26th song to ever debut at number one on the Hot 100.


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