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28th Dec 2021

The 10 Worst Songs of 2021

Dave Hanratty

Worst Songs 2021

Not all music is great.

Some of it, in fact, is shockingly bad.

That’s why we’re here today, guys.

Was 2021 a great year for music? Was it even a good year?

Personally, I’d say it was okay. Not amazing. Not a disaster. Somewhere in between.

The good stuff was good. The great stuff was great. But the bad? Oh boy.

Here are JOE’s 10 worst songs of 2021, as decided by scientific research…

#10. Coldplay | ‘People of the Pride’

We’ll be kind on Coldplay and just pick one cut from the horrendous, shamelessly commercial-focused Music of the Spheres album.

We say ‘album’ but it barely qualifies as one. Hey kids, remember 2019’s Everyday Life? Nope, nobody does.

That’s why Chris Martin and friends went back into label-pleasing, radio-friendly mode as quickly as possible, enlisting the likes of BTS and Selena Gomez to ensure some sweet lucrative synergy.

The result is a product. And that’s fair enough for Coldplay; they’re a huge band with a global following and you have to keep the fans interested. Doesn’t make it any less depressing, though.

In truth, you could pick almost anything from Music of the Spheres to kick this list off but we’ll go with ‘People of the Pride’ simply because it’s such a lazy attempt at a ‘cool’ contemporary big riff rock song that not even Muse would be interested.

Clip via Coldplay

#9. Adele | ‘Easy on Me’

Yet another round of exciting supermarket music from the queen of bland.

Truly, nobody does it better.

Clip via Adele

#8. Jason Derulo ft. Adam Levine | ‘Lifestyle’

Ah yes, nothing says 2021 like a weirdly accusatory opulent ode to the dead-eyed gold-digging traits of some unnamed selfish woman.

Beyond being wildly outdated and irritating as hell on the ear to begin with, ‘Lifestyle’ feels like an utterly bizarre creation to put out into the world during pandemic times.

Read the room, lads!

Clip via Jason Derulo

#7. Oliver Tree | ‘Life Goes On’

“The delivery alone makes you want to die,” says a well-regarded Irish musician friend of mine, who I shan’t name for the purposes of witness protection.

They’re not wrong, though. Good lord this is painful.

152 million YouTube views – and counting – suggests we may be in the minority, though.

Clip via Oliver Tree

#6. Crazy Frog | ‘Tricky’

Frog in a barrel stuff, admittedly.

In truth, I usually disqualify purpose-built annoying novelty songs as a rule.

I can’t stand by and ignore this, though.

This simply shouldn’t have been allowed to happen.

Life sentences have been handed down for less.

Clip via Crazy Frog

#5. Gwen Stefani ft. Saweetie | ‘Slow Clap’

For many a year, Gwen Stefani was the coolest person in the room.

But while even something like ‘Hollaback Girl’ felt relatively ahead of the pop curve in 2004, ‘Slow Clap’ lands with an audibly trend-chasing thud in 2021.

A desperate swing for relevance and TikTok-focused pride of place.

No applause for that, Gwen.

Clip via Gwen Stefani

#4. Jesy Nelson ft. Nicki Minaj – ‘Boyz’

Speaking of problematic PR moves, step on up Jesy Nelson.

Having left Little Mix in the dust, Nelson moved to establish an edgy badass persona, essentially encouraging a feud with her former bandmates and inviting accusations of ‘blackfishing‘ following the release of the ‘Boyz’ video in October.

“We don’t want to talk about the video, or be critical, but one thing we will clarify regarding the blackfishing situation is that Jesy was approached by the group in a very friendly, educational manner,” said Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall.

Addressing the situation, Nelson noted:

“I personally want to say that my intention was never, ever to offend people of colour with this video and my song because like I said, growing up as a young girl, this is the music that I listened to.

“These are the videos that I watched and thought were the best. For me personally, ’90s/2000 hip-hop, R&B music, was the best era of music.”

Definitely a great time for music.

‘Boyz’, however? Nowhere near the same league.

Clip via Jesy Nelson

#3. Måneskin | ‘Beggin’

Yeah, yeah, everyone loves the photogenic and memeable Italian Eurovision winners but their cover of The Four Seasons’ classic ‘Beggin’ is nothing short of a war crime.

They’ve had their 15 minutes.

Let’s move on.

Clip via The Vibe Guide

#2. Kid Rock ft. Monster Truck | ‘Don’t Tell Me How To Live’

Expecting even a hint of sophistication from Kid Rock is about as wise as hoping certain politicians won’t invoke apartheid or the Holocaust when discussing Covid-related restrictions.

On the subject of decent, God-fearing people being HELD DOWN BY SOCIETY, Kid Rock just won’t stand for it anymore, I’m afraid.

Backed by a guitar line so generic it wouldn’t make the opening menu screen of a Guitar Hero knock-off mobile game, ‘Don’t Tell Me How To Live’ takes scattergun aim at – wait for it – woke leftist types. Call the cops!

No sensitive soul is spared as the man born Robert James Ritchie calls out snowflakes, millennials, participation trophies and a “nation of pussies”.

Please, no. The burns, they are too strong. Show some mercy, Kid Rock. These people have families.

It’s probably meant to be a hilarious, ironic, knowing joke. More fool us for falling for it. But hey, you’re the one who spent time and money recording this sonic nightmare, dude.

Clip via Kid Rock

#1. Drake ft. Future and Young Thug | ‘Way 2 Sexy’

Drake’s continual obsession with stockpiling content every year or two tends to lead to irrefutable evidence of the law of diminishing returns.

Clearly, the guy is capable of bangers – there are simply too many songs on his CV for the occasional gem not to occur, and you could once make the case for Drake as a compelling force over the course of an entire album.

Those days are long over, however.

The sad truth is that Drake could record himself sleeping, release it as a song and watch the streaming numbers shoot into the millions before long.

Instead, he’s dedicated to actively sleep-walking.

How else do you explain the hot garbage fire that is ‘Way 2 Sexy’, a career nadir for an artist that thinks lyrics like “Yeah, say that you’re a lesbian, girl, me too” make for cutting modern-day romantic commentary.

Those lyrics are actually from a different song on his Certified Lover Boy album. This one, somehow, is even worse.

‘Way 2 Sexy’, as the title might suggest, samples anti-lockdown protest enthusiasts Right Said Fred, raising questions such as ‘Why?’ and ‘Really?’ in the process.

Drake is clearly taking the piss here, as he is throughout much of the never-ending Certified Lover Boy, but you get the feeling that he isn’t fully in on the joke.

Sure, he’s a commercial juggernaut that slows no signs of slowing down but good lord is it all very sad, especially if you once vaguely thought he had something of value to add to the conversation.

Clip via Drake

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