What is it with the Hot 100 and butts? I was trying to be all cute with these titles and themes, but damn, are we still on that butt thing?
(Content note: male entitlement, emotional abuse, haters, stalking, murder and rape, female competition, faux-feminism, body shaming, ableist and sexist slurs. The stalking, rape and murder stuff is all contained in number eight though. The video for number three depicts the graphic physical abuse of a gay couple and is very triggering. So, you know, light-hearted pop song stuff. The ushe.)
10. Nick Jonas - Jealous
With a title like that and the meta-knowledge that every other song on the radio is about toxic love (accidentally or not) we all know what we're in for, right? Oh, my girl's so pretty, guys are checking her out, and I feel like such a douche for being jealous because she's wonderful and she would never-
I don’t like the way he’s looking at you
I’m starting to think you want him too
No, wait, what I need for you to do though is understand that it's being sung by this guy:
Look at that guy. He looks like a middle schooler raided Uncle Jesse's closet. That oversized leather jacket makes him look like a Goomba from that Super Mario movie.
And you shouldn't...
There we go.
So, you know, don't make fun of people's speech impediments and all, but I'm pretty sure he hasn't really got one and the reason he's lisping every line is that he's adopted that as a sexy, simpering sensitive boy shtick. While singing how it's totally my fault that pervs be perving.
Whatever, let's get to the part of the song where he apologizes for being such an asshole to me.
I turn my chin music up
And I’m puffing my chest
I’m getting red in the face
Oh, sorry, he wasn't done yet. My bad. Apparently.
Girls, when your boyfriend says this to you after whining about how it's totally your fault that guys flirt with you and how ever dare you have a body and wear it in public and you're probably into it aren't you, fucking run.
Okay, now with that out of the way, can we get to the part where he finally feels bad about being such a douchebag to me?
It’s my right to be hellish
Yeah, and it's my right to peace out on your possesive ass. You still look adorable though, trying to be a big boy, you precious little proto-wifebeater, you.
9. Taylor Swift - Shake It Off
Pop tip: when a pop star releases a song about "haters," that's their way of telling you that they're never going to write another relatable, human song again and they now inhabit a completely separate sphere of existence. One where people have "haters."
Pro pop tip: if you're mad that haters be hatin', the best way to tell them you don't give a fuck is to write a four minute hit stomping your foot and yelling about how you don't give a fuck.
Advanced super hot platinum tip: if you're a stupid white girl singing stupid pop songs, this is not the right political climate to create a tunnel of black butts.
8. Maroon 5 - Animals
Ugh. Maroon 5. I hate these guys. Actually I don't know those guys, but Adam Levine's voice tears through me like a melodica rendition of The Devil Went Down To Georgia as played by a pterodactyl with a dildo up its ass.
So fuck it, go on, it's another song about how love hurts, right?
Baby, I'm preying on you tonight
Hunt you down eat you alive
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals
Maybe you think that you can hide
I can smell your scent from miles
Just like animals, animals, like animals-mals
Oh shit! Oh shit! Forget what I said earlier! Run! Don't wait for him to open his mouth! He's not doing it to talk, he's going to release the black locusts from his chest cavity! Girl, run!
So what you trying to do to me
It's like we can't stop we're enemies
But we get along when I'm inside you
You're like a drug that's killing me
I cut you out entirely
But I get so high when I'm inside you
No, wait, stop running, I know what this is. This is a story song. They don't make it into the top ten ever, but clearly this is a story about a serial killer. Music is a good medium for that, creating an evocative picture of the mindscape of the depraved. Stone Temple Pilots did it in one of my favorite songs ever, where they created a song from the perspective of an actual rapist, and that was a hit. It happens. Clearly that's what this is. Maroon 5, this Maroon 5, are trying to be hard rockers again and do uncomfortable, edgy, amoral songs. That always ends well for them.
Yeah, you can start over, you can run free
You can find other fish in the sea
You can pretend it's meant to be
But you can't stay away from me
No, no, that's... That could be lifted from every break-up song ever. That could be lisped and cooed by that pouting Goomba from number 10 for all I know.
See, Scott Weiland wrote Sex Type Thing after the girl he was dating was gang-raped at a party. Dude gets it. Plus, he's fucking Scott Weiland. The Stone Temple Pilots are hard rock, they're filthy, they're supposed to write uncomfortable, ugly songs. Maroon 5 has spent the last couple of years desperate clinging to every single glossy trend that whooshes past them with the howling demon of irrelevance on their ass, begging people on their knees to please let them sell out in return for all of the money. All their songs are about how love is hard and breaking up sucks, or sometimes about how cool they are, built around the musical trend du jour (whistling, guest rappers, overdone Autotune, Jagger, et al.)
They do not get to write and perform this song, is what I'm saying.
And I'm playing like this is some big scary thing, but it's really sort of cute. Let me put it this way: if Scott Weiland started yelling at me about how...
can't deny-ny-ny-ny the beast inside-side-side-side
Hunt you down eat you alive
... I'm going to make like a Nazi and disappear in South America, because holy shit Scott Weiland is going to eat me!
When Adam Nose-Yodeler Levine does it, it's kind of adorable. D'aw, Maroon 5 think they're still doing rock. That's so cute! Who's a dark angsty rocker? You are! You are!
So here's Adam Levine humping a carcass while making scary face:
Look, I don't know much about music and all, but when a rape and abuse survivor thinks your dark, edgy song about how you're going to stalk and hurt and kill her is cute, you've gone wrong in more directions than I care to count.
7. Thinking Out Loud - Ed Sheeran
So there's two types of fuck-me-I'm-sensitive love songs.
One is the boy band ballad type stuff where they sing about You, and they understand that You are insecure and that's why they love You, and You're the best even if You don't know it yet. Songs for teenage girls, basically, designed by committee to be as open and non-specific as possible so that young people can slot themselves into the role of You. Basically it's harmonized negging.
Ed Sheeran is the master of the second type: the indirect empathy song. These dudes go for a slightly older crowd, a demographic that doesn't fall for the direct You trick anymore, so they sing songs about sad, broken girls in the third person, and about how They are imperfect but They are beautiful just the way They are, usually while playing an acoustic guitar. Same trick, extra layer.
I hate Ed Sheeran.
This may or may not have anything to do with this song. It's not being played on the radio where I live. I'm listening to it for the first time now.
Nope. Somehow I gave the dude too much credit by giving him the least possible amount of credit. It's a You song. And it's not even a fuck-me-I'm-sensitive song. It's a wedding song. It's so obviously designed to be an opening dance wedding classic it's filthy.
Ed Sheeran, you hack.
When your legs don't work like they used to before
And I can't sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Dude, ew. I like blowjobs as much as the next person, but not because of the taste. Gross.
Oh wait, Ed, you weren't aware that pop songs use "love" because they need a PG equivalent for "fucking?" Ed, I don't believe you. I don't believe that you did not know that, Ed.
And, darling, I will be loving you 'til we're 70
That's a whole lot of loving, Ed. Like forty years of straight loving right up the cooch. This blushing bride must have a vagina made of Stretch Armstrong and bubblegum.
You know what would actually score you some fuck-me points with me? If you had meant to write a song about how physical attraction and sex are lovely even in the winter our lives. But you didn't, so now I laugh. And every time I hear this song at a wedding (thank so fucking much for that, Ed) I'm going to be giggling and thinking about geriatric blowjob spunk.
Video's worth a watch though. Those dancers are really quite good.
6. Sam Smith - I'm Not The Only One
Oh hey, Sam Smith is still around! Good for him, he seems like a nice guy. Go on then, Sam. Another dirge about boring, uncomfortable middle class love, is it?
It is! Good on you for finding your niche!
I'm going to be honest here: I have never listened to this song all the way through. By the time the chorus hits for the first time it's lost me completely and I'm making grocery lists in my head, or masturbating.
Actually I might have listened to it all the way through. I don't know. It sounds like every song. Literally every song. Four pop chords. Boom-thud boom-thud beat. Okay vocals. There might be a nice build-up at the end, but fuck if I know.
It baffles me that this song is ranking as high as it is. Usually songs get in the top ten because of a hook. Any sort of hook that stands out. Nothing stands out about this song. Anyone could sing it. Anyone could play it. There's no real hook, no interesting chord changes, no stand-out lyrics. At least in his last song there was that incongruous gospel choir. It was weird, but at least it was a thing. This is nothing. It's inoffensive nothing, but then what is there to be offended about? It's a sad, flat song about a person who knows I'm cheating on them. I'm not, but there we are.
I know this is the type of song I'm always whining about wanting: not horrifically misogynistic and racist. I know that's an astoundingly high bar already, but is it too much to ask that it's also, you know, interesting? It can be done, you know.
5. Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass
I wasn't going to talk about this one. Not because I have nothing to say about it. I have plenty to say about everything, and I do, and that's why people love me. It's more that everything you can possibly say about this song has already been said. Many times. But here, I'll throw my hat into the ring, because why not.
Meghan Trainor, you fucking poser.
Here's something I wrote a couple of days ago:
"As a woman, this is the fat you need to trim away before you can get at the meaty core of true personhood and feminism underneath. And that insulating layer encapsulates all of it. Because this is the pop brand of pseudo-feminism that may look and taste like the real thing, but isn't."
I didn't mean for that to be a fat joke, and it's important to note that holy shit, I still don't! There's context, okay? The point is, I have real problems with people of any gender co-opting the language and mannerisms of progressive movements while not even remotely representing them. It's insidious stuff, because on the surface it looks okay. Body pride! Down with fat shaming! Girl power in the form of internal confidence hurray!
Because that's what the boys like! Boooo!
And skinny bitches, ammirite?
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
Unless I'm a skinny bitch, right? Just playing!
"Unless" is a very powerful word in the hands of douchebags. Oh, girl, you're perfect! Unless... Is that what you're wearing?
Body-positive song? Maybe. I do not have the necessary qualifications to talk about fat shaming. It's something I never experienced. Well, I did, because I'm a woman with a body, but I didn't give a shit somehow. But I do know a thing or two about intersectional feminism and why it's important. This is the fat equivalent of white feminism, and it's becoming distressingly popular. Fat is good! Boys like curves! Fuck you skinny bitches!
Do you see where it went wrong?
And man, do we ever not need a song sticking up for big butts. I'm so sick of big butts everywhere. Butts in my face, twerking butts, enough with the goddamn butts! Jesus. When Mix-a-Lot did it in '86 it was goofy, sure, but it also tied into the Black Is Beautiful movement in a big way. It was counter-culture back then. These days you're the odd one out of you're not singing about how awesome big butts are. Guys sing about how they like looking at big butts on women and that makes them awesome. Women sing about having big butts that guys look at and that makes them awesome. Neither is more progressive than the other, not in 2015. They're just going to the same stinky place via different routes.
So leave me and my perky ass out of your faux-empowerment, Meghan. Dear god. Why do you have to tack this mean girl bullshit to your body pride song? It's like a clean water bill being coupled with a motion to reintroduce segregation.
This is like that thing Nicki Minaj does, where every other song is about how even the worst of men are better than these fucking women who have the gall to be alive in the same world as Nicki Minaj. And I want to like Nicki Minaj, and I want to like Meghan Trainor, but holy shit is it hard to get past all this misogynist, divisive, catty chick fight bullshit.
I'm done with Meghan Trainor, I really am.
4. Meghan Trainor -
4. Meghan Trainor - Lips-
4. Meghan Trainor - Lips Are Moving
I can see that. I wish they weren't.
Oh, wait, that's what the song is about. My bad.
Boy, look at me in my face
Tell me that you’re not just about this Bass
Yeah, that's real cute there Meghan, after releasing a song where you repeatedly state that you are literally, entirely, without a doubt, all about that bass.
At least she didn't fucking rap last time. Jesus Christ. Did we learn nothing from the Fancy disaster?
Anyway, yeah, this is Meghan Trainor establishing herself firmly in the realm of the Mean Girl pop singer in the same vein as such distinguished luminaries as Cher Lloyd. That's all I can think about when I listen to this song. Cher Lloyd already did this, and she did the caricature of every despicable teenage girl way better than this.
I'm always a little hard on faux-feminist stuff, maybe harden than I am on balls-out greasy misogyny, I'm aware of that. And I have reasons for that. Creeps like Jason Derulo are irredeemable. He's never going to become a decent person, he's all out with his sexist, proto-rapist shit and people who love those songs are never going to be convinced that there's anything wrong with them. There's no point getting mad about it, that's just how it is. But this catty faux-progressive crap? That's insidious, especially when it's marketed to young people. That's what gives good, decent young people who have a chance at becoming stellar adults who live decent, defensible lives the idea that feminism is all about being mean to boys and clawing at skinny bitches. That's dangerous! At the end of the day Jason Derulo and his cronies are really only doing us the courtesy of weeding out the incorrigible assholes. Meghan Trainor is setting up an entirely new generation of people who think feminism is synonymous with anti-boy cattiness.
I gave you bass,
You gave me sweet talk
Yeah, well, if you gave him nothing but bass, which you yourself seem to hold synonymous with either butt or curves, don't be surprised if he gives you equally shallow stuff.
I mean, these songs are right next to each other in the top 10. It's sort of hard to look at them as separate entities, you know? But this song on its own, well...
You can buy me diamond earrings and deny-ny-ny, ny-ny-ny, deny-ny
But I smell her on your collar so goodbye-bye-bye, bye-bye-bye
This is why MRAs think women are the living devil.
And because nobody should care what MRA scum think, here's another way of looking at it: at the end of this relationship, after the break-up, after all is said and done, I don't think it's Meghan who dodged a bullet.
3. Hozier - Take Me To Church
Adam Levine, take note. This? This is how you do dark, evocative, uncomfortable pop music that squirms in your gut. Notice the complete lack of carcass-humping and yodeling.
What I'm saying is that I have no problem with music expressing unpleasant sentiments and attitudes if it's intentional. That's what art is for. I'm not asking for perfect enlightenment and saintly morals from my artists, just some basic awareness of the world they live in.
Other than that, yes, YES, oh boy, I think it's shifty as fuck that this is a song where a male singer talking about a "she" and the video is about the brutal persecution of a male couple. It gets a pass because the lyrics do seem to hint at the many attempts by various institutions to control how people get to have relationships, and I'd have bitched about a straight male artist singing about a male lover too, so, fine, pass, but it's still shifty. It's almost like that sort of thing sells well these days. A more cynical person with deep music-industry trust issues might frown at that for at least a good three seconds. Not me though. Oh no.
Maybe I'm being too rough on this song. But then maybe your poetic, desperate, heart-wrenching anti-establishment song in defense of the disenfranchised is diminished somewhat when you sing it on a Victoria's Secret catwalk while Adam Levine's wife struts around in lingerie, so I guess my distrust of the industry isn't entirely baseless.
Oh hey, Adam Levine again! Full circle! Nice.
2. Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk!
Don't watch that video if Bruno Mars and his posse having a good time by bothering women in the street upsets you. It will, by the way. It's very upsetting.
But oh man. I love this song so much. I really wish I hadn't seen that video. Bruno Mars, well, to me he'll always be the quivering twerp whining about how not getting to fuck me is the worst thing ever and how cruel it is that he's not allowed to swing his dick around in public, but lately he's really found his niche being a straight up jukebox performer singing songs in the style of other people, genre-hopping all proficient and shit.
What I'm saying is I never want to hang out with him, because he's probably going to touch me, but I sure do like his recent batch of songs.
Oh, quick, lightning round! What do dudes singing about how awesome they are list when they start singing about a good time! Quickly!
Drinks, clubs, cars, women? Congrats!
One of these things is not like the others.
1. Taylor Swift - Blank Space
Heh. Sue me. I love this song. It's got some pretty good lyrics. If you're going to be an over-the-top caricature of a barely-sane pop starlet who gets into fights with haters and can't handle fame and fortune even a little bit, do it properly.
This is doing it properly.