It's been a pretty rough year, and 2017 probably doesn’t need anymore negativity. But if we don’t call out the bad things that are very bad, along with the good things that are very good, how’s anything supposed to get better? There’s a kind of camaraderie in criticism, a bonding experience that only comes with a collective cringe every time you hear Ed Sheeran’s voice on the radio in a cab. So let’s take a bonding trip through 2017 and the worst music from an equally shitty year.
Jake Paul - "It's Everyday Bro"
I'll admit it: I can’t stand Jake Paul because this is the first time in my adult life where I truly believe that what the kids like is scary and wrong. And kids fucking love Jake Paul. There was a “pop up shop” for his garbage “brand” in New York this year, and kids were literally camped out thousands of blocks long. The guy is just a douchebag YouTube star whose neighbors hate him, and he prides himself in this half-streetwear, half-pre-teen frat bro in the making aesthetic. Kids talk like this ass clown, too. Then there’s this song, which repeats the chorus, “It’s everyday bro / It’s everyday bro / It’s everyday bro,” and I truly believe that line represents a dystopian future where Jake Paul is president.
Ed Sheeran - "Shape of You"
Interestingly enough, 2017 was the same year that hip-hop statistically became the most popular genre of music and also the same year that Ed Sheeran statistically ruined hip-hop. You’re going to see Sheeran’s name a lot on this list, because honestly it could just be a list of things Ed Sheeran ruined this year (Game of Thrones included!). Somehow, his fake regular guy ally routine has tricked the entire universe. But even that doesn’t excuse his limp, half-rapping and pandering lyrics, and songwriting that sounds like someone in your college dorm trying to make friends by showing up to every party with a guitar.
Katy Perry (feat. Migos) - "Bon Appetit"
Katy Perry had a bad year, but her low-point also happens to coincide with a low-point in Migos' pervasive year. On "Bon Appétit," Katy Perry is horny. She’s very horny. And she wants to relay this feeling to you with subtle lyrics such as, “Got me spread like a buffet.” What’s actually quite incredible is that this is a song that will at once kill your libido and appetite in one fell swoop.
Arcade Fire - "Infinite Content"
You almost have to respect Arcade Fire's self-awareness: They must have realized how insufferable they can be, and so they absolutely doubled down on it for the PR cycle around Everything Now. Unfortunately, what would seem like a meta twist on their personal brand turned out to be extra insufferable. At least they gave it a shot, but the rollout was just about as annoying and messy as this song, which repeats the lyrics, “Infinite content, infinite content / We’re infinitely content.”
Eminem (feat Ed Sheeran) - "River"
Sure, an Eminem collaboration with Ed Sheeran is unexpected, but that doesn’t make it good. Throughout his career, Eminem’s had a number of unexpected collaborations, but often those produced some of his most memorable, thought-provoking work. This is neither of those things, but rather a sad attempt to appeal to a younger audience that’s probably never heard of Eminem. This is Eminem the machine, and everything that Eminem’s early career suggested he wasn't. Really though, at this point I believe the chorus—“I've been a liar, been a thief / Been a lover, been a cheat / All my sins need holy water, feel it washing over me”—coming more from Sheeran than from Eminem.
The Chainsmokers & Coldplay - "Something Just Like This"
It’s truly difficult to decide on one single Chainsmokers song from 2017 to put on this list. Is it the ubiquitous, slowed-down “studies abroad for one semester” ballad “Paris?” Or is it the Florida Georgia Line collab, for which some record exec certainly deserves a special place in Hell? No, it’s “Something Just Like This,” which is equal parts shameful for Coldplay andThe Chainsmokers. Rather than listen to this song, simply imagine the same verse Chris Martin has sung for the last decade, combined with a hyper macho bass drop chorus. Repeat.
Imagine Dragons - "Whatever It Takes"
Someone at Camp Imagine Dragons™ thought it would be a great idea to release the music video for "Whatever it Takes"—in which the whole band drowns in a flood—right as a few massive hurricanes devastated much of the southeastern United States. But that’s only half the problem, as the actual song is a verse of White Guy Rap-Singing combined with what I’m pretty sure is literally every other money-hungry Imagine Dragons chorus.
Charlie Puth - "Attention”
Charlie Puth heard NYSNC once and decided to become a one-man version with none of Justin Timberlake’s charisma or talent. In this song, poor Puth is the victim in a breakup, where he judges a woman’s appearance and actions through his own shitty dudeness.
Taylor Swift (feat. Ed Sheeran and Future) - "End Game"
Here it is, the literal end game that 2017 deserves.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.