Friday, 3 December 2010

Geoff Hamilton

2010 has been another solid year for musical output, with some really exciting and forward-thinking stuff coming from across all genres. However, in amongst these shiny gems and mouth-watering offerings, the year has produced another, almost even more remarkable phenomenon: I think I might have discovered the worst song I've ever heard.

While, for obvious reasons, a lot less attention is directed towards the stinkers than the highlights when it comes to end of year round-ups, I feel that this song represents something other than 'just a bad song' - I truly believe that 2010 has spawned the utmost worst thing ever committed to record. For me, this song stands head and shoulders above anything that has preceded it, and it'll take a Herculean effort from future generations to surpass its borderline-audacious atrocity. You may be thinking to yourself: what is this song that is seemingly even more of an abhorrent sound than eavesdropping in on Paul Henry and Rev. Terry Jones eagerly comparing recipes for how to make burgers out of babies with cleft palates whilst tossing each other off at an average speed of 23mph? Duck Sauce's 'Barbara Streisand' was certainly bad, but was so uncontrollably stupid that it became one of the year's most infectious anthems. In any other year, Alexandra Burke's 'Start Without You' would've been rubbing its hands as eagerly as Ricky Hatton in the back room of a Bogota pie shop, as it would normally be a shoe-in for the title of 'Worst Track of the Year'. However at least Burke's effort had a shred of infuriating catchiness to it, no matter how much you may want to slice out your eardrums with some unreasonably salty Kettle Chips whenever you heard it. No, this is a song that had literally nothing - NOTHING - going for it. It is, of course, The Saturdays - 'Missing You'

Here was a song that seemed to almost revel in its own terribleness. Unlike many of the worst songs that have been unleashed on the world, 'Missing You' is too slow to be catchy, and the plodding nature of the track simply draws even more attention to the undeniably dreadful lyrics, singing, production, whatever - name any aspect of a song, and here was the perfect example of how not to do it. The initial vocal refrain - the video suggests it comes courtesy of Frankie, who is the worst singer of the bunch anyway but in truth it's auto-tuned beyond any kind of personal identification - is laughably appalling, and I seem to remember that when I first heard it wafting out of the radio I snorted in such strong contempt that I almost lost several weeks' worth of snot as a result. Rarely does a song exist to serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever, but this one is a categorical exception to that rule. If it's lyrical theme could be described as anything other than diabolical, it would probably be 'sombre', which, combined with its slow tempo, would make it somewhat of a buzz-kill if dropped in a club. Not even a bona fide moron would listen to this song reflectively during a quiet moment of their own time and feel that their own emotions were mirrored in the song, rendering it both publicly and intimately pointless. Every night before I go to sleep I take five minutes to kneel at the foot of my bed, shut my eyes and clasp my hands together, and transmit unbridled gratitude to any celestial beings that may be out there for the blessing that up until now this song has never come on whilst I've had a cheese grater in my hands, as if such incidents were ever to align then I would be left with no choice but to shred my face in to a bloody, cheddar-tinged pulp.

Anyway, time to saunter down to the other end of the quality spectrum - here are numbers 40 - 31 of my Top 50 countdown:

40. Lady GaGa - Alejandro

The obligatory GaGa entry. There may be some of you who'll question whether this is in fact a move for the better along the quality spectrum, but to those people I say: Fuck you, and stop sending me pictures of your faeces.

39. DJ Zinc feat. Ms Dynamite - Wile Out

Never fear, I'll yank my waggling tongue off the Radio1 daytime playlist's clitoris soon enough, but this crossover UK Funky hit became a tune that deservedly gained appreciation from all quarters. Now, how did those lyrics go again...?

38. Illum Sphere - Titan

For me, this was the highlight from an excellent year that the Manchester producer enjoyed. For him, the highlight was probably being booked by me to play in Sheffield. I mean, I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm not.

37. DJ Rashad - Who Da Coldest

It should be common knowledge by now that adding an element of 'acid' to any type of music makes it infinitely better. Acid house, acid jazz - now here's acid juke, courtesy of one of Planet Mu's multiple signings from the genre, DJ Rashad.

36. Kavsrave - PClart

Just one of the many gems that the Glaswegian imprint Numbers - probably label of the year, along with Night Slugs - bestowed upon the world in 2010.

35. Yeasayer - Ambling Alp

Psychedelically twee indie from the New York outfit's second album.

34. Joe - Claptrap

Introducing the notion of a 'clap-along classic', courtesy of one of 2010's most interesting tracks. Or, alternatively, as an old Yorkshireman exclaimed when it burst out of my phone to indicate the arrival of a new message: "That's a stupid noise".

33. Giggs - Look What The Cat Dragged In

While I'm not a consistent fan of everything that the slow-paced Londoner does, the swaggering production and calculated lyrics on this one make it fairly hard to resist.

32. Balam Acab - Regret Making Mistakes

The first appearance in the list of the musical style that would invariably be classified as 'drag' or 'witch-house', this track is off the very first EP that the newly formed Tri Angle label released, and it's really very good, combining an oppressive, unrelenting background with hauntingly harmonic vocals. Bloody gaw-jus it is.

31. Ikonika - Idiot

A woman who rarely puts a foot wrong, Ikonika released her début LP on Hyperdub early this year, with this typically frantic and bleepy (as we say in the music reviewing world) offering paving the way as lead single.


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