Our Worst Singles Of 2013

by Matt Hacke, Leah Devaney, Dominic Woodcock and Jack Reid

Disclosure - F For You

In late 2012, Disclosure were without warning thrust into the 21st Century. Travelling approximately 20 years into the future from the 1990s House Scene, the duo struggled to come to grips with the musical landscape of the present day. Adrift in a time they didn’t quite understand, Disclosure wrote music in the only way they knew how to, and fortunately due to an intensely charitable public, these confused young men have been able to survive.

I have followed the act’s heart-breaking story closely, rejoicing when Guy Lawrence was first spotted coming to grips with an iPod, and weeping when the pair discovered no one in the present has even heard of Candi Stanton. So reader, I urge you to continue to donate to aid Disclosure by buying their fourth single, F For You. In many ways this track is a cultural artifact from a simpler time. A time when one could get away with monotonous and repetitive lyrics, a time prior to the discovery of any sense of polyphony, counter-melody or indeed variation in dance music. Yes, superficially this prehistoric track sounds like it belongs in Dirtybird’s waste paper-bin, but I entreat you to remember Disclosure’s plight. If we keep buying their outdated records, the duo may be able to find a way back to where they belong.

Lily Allen - Hard Out Here

Riding the crest of a wave diffused by the lecherous Mr. Thicke, Lily Allen decided it was time to ‘stick it to the man’ TM once and for all. Yet in Hard Out Here, Allen crucially neglected to write a decent track to back up her preaching. The mundane Plinky-Plonky keys that saturate the song are harsh reminders of just how good Lily Allen used to be, whilst the track in its entirety seems dependent on Family Jewels-era Marina and the Diamonds. Ironic considering the lyrical content, the musicality of Hard Out Here strongly indicates that Allen has run out of ideas.

Obviously, the overtly moralising lyrics are the selling point of the track, and herein lies the innate problem. As Allen clumsily drops grossly inaccurate comments such as “[If] you’re not good looking / Well, you better be rich / or real good at cooking”, lyrics that seemingly ignore all the pioneering work the equality movement has done over the last 150 years, one wonders if this single has any integrity? For in selling banal statements on misogyny to conceal a poorly written track, Allen’s marketing seems just as cynical as the industry she’s trying to lambast. If any of you have an interest in learning about gender inequality and the work the Feminist movement still has to do, I recommend Simone De Beauvoir or Susan Bardot. As for Hard out Here; avoid at all costs.

Kanye West - Bound 2

I know what you’re thinking. How can I pick Bound 2, the latest single from everyone’s album of the year, as my worst song of 2013? Well, let’s be serious now. Everyone enjoys Yeezus in the same way we all secretly love the Jeremy Kyle Show. We know it’s wrong and actually a bit horrific but that doesn’t mean we don’t go batshit when it comes on in a club. From an album of ear-piercing ridiculousness Bound 2 stands out, and not in a good way. It’s brassy, it’s ugly, it sounds like four different songs shoe-horned together, and because the beats are so sparse the fact that the lyrics are complete nonsense is painfully obvious. Although I can’t help thinking that Kanye’s Christmas list simply reads “1) Other bitches”.

I’m not even sure which part of Bound 2 is the worst. The terrible video where the world gets to see how North West was conceived and simultaneously wonder why Kanye insists on wearing two checked shirts; the crassness of the line “step back, can’t get spunk on the mink” or the fact that in every single live performance he insists on practically yelling “Jesus wept” before imitating the crucifixion for far too long. Yes Kanye, Jesus is weeping, thanks to your abomination of a single, and so, in the spirit of Christmas, I condemn you to Santa’s naughty list. No more plaid shirts for Mr West this year.

Justin Timberlake - Suit And Tie

After a six year musical hiatus, the man behind pop perfection such as Cry Me a River, Sexy Back and the chorus of Where Is The Love? made his comeback with Suit & Tie: a track so bad even his golden voice could not save it.

The horn section’s call-to-arms at the top of the track is promising but everything (and I mean absolutely everything) that follows is borderline insufferable; the aural product of tossing ten disparate ideas into an unforgiving blender. And that’s the fundamental issue with The 2020 Experience’s lead single. Unlike any enjoyable pop song – ever – it decides to jar the listener by shifting the song’s very foundations on at least five occasions over its runtime.

Apparently, not even one of these ideas proves strong enough to form the basis of an entire song. Considering that one sequence merely repeats the refrain “I be on my suit and tie shit / Tie shit”, their decision to stitch together several weak ideas in the desperate hope it might turn out better than the sum of its parts almost seems logical. Sadly not.

Jay-Z’s verse is probably the worst offender of all. This is a man who, like JT, we know is capable of veritable poetry on the mic: so why, in a high-profile feature spot, is he spluttering through the laziest verse of his two-decade career? Maybe Timberlake’s producers genuinely requested a vacuous set of references to designer brands. I hope so; because only in that scenario did they get their money’s worth.

Avicii - Wake Me Up

Tim Berg, the aryan club music messiah, has been known for such groundbreaking compositions as Levels, and that other one that goes DOOT DOOT DOOT. He’s been carefully infiltrating the Top 40 with insipid vocalists and uninspired chord klaxons, but there’s a new trend that he’s been exhibiting which is even more terrifying.

If there was anything that could have made the current spate of awful floorfillers even more unbearable, it was introducing terrible country music. Here’s Wake Me Up, a song so overplayed you could put your ear to the floor anywhere in the UK and hear trite, awkwardly sped-up folk vocals reverberating through the topsoil. It’s loosely cobbled together out of a derivative guitar riff (that later becomes a screeching chorus with the same note pattern) and flat electrohouse kicks; it’s a match made in Eurofizz hell.