10 Worst Songs of 2016

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

As we bid farewell to 2016, arguably the shittest year in terms of right wing racists and celebrity deaths this century, and reminisce on all the high-quality albums and singles the year has provided. Of course, there are plenty that I’ve missed out and it goes without saying that these are personal choices and that if you genuinely like any of these songs then good for you and I am glad that you see something in these that I do not: too bad you’re not writing this.

In addition to that, if there are any songs that you think are missing or don’t deserve to be here then don’t forget to drop a comment in the section below. With that being said, in no particular order, let’s get on with it…

10.Blink-182 – Rabbit Hole

Oh blink-182. One of my favourite acts (can you not tell from the URL?)  you managed to put me at ease after the departure of founding member Tom Delonge with the delightfully solid track Bored To Death off your upcoming album California only to deliver this….thing. Rabbit Hole oddly enough falls into the same pitfall that Bored To Death barely skipped over with the lyrics and sound being too stuck in the past. Every line uttered just sounds like the ramblings off some 17-year old’s Tumblr page and not that of a forty odd-year-old who has shown his songwriting ability by managing to tackle some interesting subject matter. Thankfully the rest of the album wasn’t as abysmal as Rabbit Hole though it seems like the “triumphant return” of one of pop punk’s biggest bands was more than a little underwhelming.

9. Drake – One Dance

I can tell that I’m going to get a lot of slack for featuring Drake on this list but bare with me. Firstly, I’m not huge on Views: it’s somehow more of a mess than The Life Of Pablo with lifeless tracks devoid of any emotion and sometimes effort with One Dance being the epitome of that. Managing to stay at number one for weeks on end, the track is no doubt catchy but overall unambitious despite the afrobeat influences and influencers that appear on it. That’s not to say I don’t like Drake, shown by his appearance of last year’s best album list and the fact I’m willing paying £80 to see him next year.

As the year has gone on, and more intolerable tracks have made an appearance, it seems like the biggest problem with One Dance isn’t that it is objectively bad, it’s just wasted potential. Some may see it as the perfect club track but with Drake’s vocals being almost as drab as the piano mash that kicks off the song, I’m finding it harder and harder to get down with One Dance.

8. Mike Posner – I Took A Pill In Ibiza

If I took a pill everytime I had to listen to this song while working at my summer job, I’d OD which would be far more enjoyable than enduring Posner’s pish attempt at retaining his long lost relevance. Cooler Than Me was a product of its time and while you could mistake it for any late noughties pop song, it was at least tolerable. At one point during I Took A Pill, Posner mentions that he knows a sad song and due to how close to tears you’ll probably be if you have to listen to it for a second longer, it might be the most meta thing to come out of a year that included a fucking Deadpool movie.

7. Jacob Satorious – Sweatshirt

Considering the massive like to dislike ratio on the music video for this song, it’s not an unpopular decision to have Sweatshirt on this list. The second coming of annoying prepubescent teen pop, Jacob Satorious is harmless but that doesn’t make his music any less frutratingly generic and cringey. The reason why it’s not any higher is that, thanks to multiple remixes and satirical takes on the song, Sweatshirt has potential to make you laugh though that probably wasn’t Satorious’ intention. Despite that though, listen to this at your own risk. (Sorry Teagan Ner)

6. Jake Bugg – Ain’t No Rhyme

Credit where credit is due here: Jake Bugg’s new album isn’t the worst thing I’ve heard this year. While most of his recent LP On My One is sub-par at best, nothing that appears on the album is overly offensive to the ears like some of his discography. However, as soon as I came across Ain’t No Rhyme I felt revolted by Bugg trying to seem somewhat politically involved though it all comes off as impressive as Slaves going on about how we need to “take control” for the millionth time. More on that next week though. Bugg’s attempt at rapping or some variant of it is enough to have you reaching for the nearest bin.

5. The Stone Roses – All For One

If you’re going to return from a long-spanning hiatus, during which your debut album has accumulated a large amount of critical acclaim and a cult status, it’s probably best not to hit out with this as your comeback song. Back in the 80’s The Stone Roses were constantly hailed as one of the pioneering acts of music at the time and whether you disagree with that or not, there’s no doubt that I’d rather listen to anything else they’ve made than this generic BNQ advert drivel.

4. Fall Out Boy ft. Missy Elliott – Ghostbusters

While my affiliation with the Ghostbusters franchise isn’t as strong as the MRA’s who lost their shit with this year’s reboot, I, much like everyone else, found this remix of the classic theme tune very sacrilicious. The Missy Elliott verse is so out of place, not to mention plain as vanilla, Patrick Stump’s vocals seems overdone when the instrumentals are as uninteresting as they are and only when the song finally ends will you find some degree of enjoyment. They might not be afraid of no ghost but they’re definitely feart of making decent music at their current rate.

3. Lukas Graham – 7 Years

I have reason to believe that this track is the cause for many of those working in retail to be in such a sour mood. Having peaked at Number One in February and seemingly managing to stay “relevant” since 7 Years is a song that goes out of its way to try and evoke nostalgia and tranquillity yet only manages to enrage with its bland instrumentals and mind-numbing lyrics. Message to Lukas Graham: if you’re going to sing about being seven years old, something that plenty have managed, at least tell us something interesting that isn’t about how you had no pals.

2. The Chainsmokers – Closer

Call me an over-reacting little waine but The Chainsmokers may be the worst thing to happen to the charts since Calvin Harris sold his soul to make souless, formulaic chart hits. The duo have been very prominent this year and, if I’m being honest, I wouldn’t expect to have had to ever write about them again after just how dated and forgetful their first hit Selfie was all the way back in 2014. Closer manages to be somehow worse than all of the other “hits” Chainsmokers have shown off by featuring another artist who is equally as devoid of any entertainment, that person being Halsey. Both artists come together to create a song that, while having a great deal of meme potential, is enough to send you into a generic electro induced coma.

1. Catfish And The Bottlemen – Glasgow

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And to finish things off,  here we have our old friends Catfish And The Bottlemen. The band, being the saints that they are, decided to find it in their hearts to sing a heartfelt song about Scotland’s favourite music thriving city by doing it the only way they can: putting no effort in and consuming far too much alcohol to realise what a mistake they had made. Whether it be just how dire the song is, acoustic does not give you the excuse to be boring, or the blood curling way Van pronounces Sauchiehall Street, there’s plenty to love here! Wait, scratch that, I meant hate. Hate.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Catfish And The Bottlemen – The Ride

Just under half of 2016 has passed by already and we have already witnessed the arrival of a number of much discussed albums, from the endlessly hyped The Life of Pablo to the lightning fast appearance of A Moon Shaped Pool. Whether these albums have been mainly promoted by the artists themselves in Kanye West’s case or eagerly awaited and anticipated by critics as for Radiohead, there has not been a release in recent memory that relied so heavily on the eagerness of the fans of a band’s debut album, despite little critical success, than Catfish and the Bottlemen’s The Ride.

Almost completely dismissed by critics in 2014, The Balcony defied all odds and found a large audience due to its undeniable likeability and Catfish and the Bottlemen rose in popularity at a phenomenal rate. Less than two years on, Catfish and the Bottlemen have amassed an unprecedented following and prepare for yet another busy festival season and bring with them their much anticipated second album. Of course as previously mentioned, this album as not arrived without excessive speculation, optimistic and pessimistic alike, but when listening to this album I felt it was important to put all that aside and have as much of an untainted viewpoint as possible.

Surprisingly, that was not too hard to achieve. As album opener 7 comes and goes, it becomes clear this album is exactly what it promised to be, which is another 10 or so Catfish and the Bottlemen songs. Nothing more, nothing less. There is little evidence of any progression in their sound which is strange for a band that have experienced so much growth in popularity since their debut. There is nothing to distinguish any track on this from one on their debut except a slight depreciation in quality and character. To their credit, Catfish and the Bottlemen have never professed to be anything more than they are and sometimes you have to wonder if their reputation exceeds them, but the impression gained from The Ride is that they don’t mind relying on it.

Instead of trying to earn all the praise and hype they receive, they have banked on it to carry them to more success despite playing it unforgivably safe on this album. They have no intention on winning over their critics, they are happy to keep churning out crowd pleasing sing-alongs that people can sing along to drunkenly at festivals. It is incredibly unfortunate to see such a waste of potential from what could have been a pivotal moment from Catfish and the Bottlemen.

With all that said, The Ride is hard to completely hate, it’s just not as shamelessly enjoyable as its predecessor. As mentioned beforehand, it is nothing new but if you found some enjoyment in listening to The Balcony from time to time, you’ll likely feel similarly about The Ride. Likewise, if you completely could not stand the first album you aren’t going to like this one much either and vice versa if you loved The Balcony.

To put it simply, The Ride is no new chapter for Catfish and the Bottlemen but merely a collection of new songs their fans can sing back every word as they continue to tour extensively and climb festival line-ups. It does nothing to justify their success but does nothing to jeopardise it either. It is exactly the record they intended it be.

4/10

-Ethian Woodford (@human_dis4ster)

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Catfish And The Bottlemen – Soundcheck TRACK REVIEW

Every so often, there’ll be a band that manage to come along and achieve a substantially large following out of thin air which brings along with it social media being flooded by their fans saying how much they love a certain band member and their music. This happened with Arctic Monkeys, more infamously it happened with The 1975 and most recently it has been Welsh rock band Catfish And The Bottlemen.

Coming off the back of major success with their debut album The Balcony, CATB showcased some new music this week that has been teased at their frequent live shows over the past year which can only be described as being very standard. Nothing about Soundcheck will do anything to convince anyone who isn’t already a fan of the band to start ranting and raving about them, in fact it’s more likely to do the opposite.

For a band who often try and get this image across of them being anti charts or even anti pop, you couldn’t find a more safe and dated approach than what CATB provide on here and their previous work. I’m not going out of my way to slate the band at all but it frustrates me to hear a band who have been touring extensively for the past two years to do little to no evolving which, as a result, makes Soundcheck a very bland song, even more so than the bands they try and ridicule.

Maybe this is just fan service and we’ll see a bit of experimenting when it comes to their next LP but at the time of writing this, I’d rather see them try something new and fall flat on their face than to endure another song that would have been passable back in the mid 2000’s.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments down below.

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