Let’s be honest. 2015 was not exactly a banner year for pop music. Sure, we had the tail end of 1989 and Adele sneaking in for the holidays, but the Top 40 airwaves of 2015 can mostly be remembered for songs that didn’t appear catchy at first, but wormed their way into your consciousness without your consent (I’m looking at you “Cheerleader,” “Hotline Bling,” and anything by One Direction). There were some pop confections however, that crossed the line from merely unpleasant to damaging. Of course, the men of pop let us down many, many times this year, from 5 Seconds of Summer’s so-stupid-it’s-offensive “She’s Kinda Hot” to Usher’s problematic-to-say-the-least “I Don’t Mind.” But in fact, they let us down too many times to count. So today we’re looking at you ladies, because you can do so much better.
1. “Pretty Girls” by Iggy Azalea and Britney Spears
First and foremost, this is an amazingly terrible song. Like, I am consistently amazed by how terrible it is. And not even the good kind of terrible, like “Friday” or “Call Me Maybe.” Just. Terrible. The mere creation of it by two women gives women a bad name. And then there are the inane lyrics themselves: ”All around the world, pretty girls / Jump the line, to the front / Do what we like, get what we want / We’re just so pretty!” And then there is the music video interlude, in which four girls have this conversation:
“Hey B, who’s the new hottie?”
“Yeah, she looks, like, totally far out.”
“She is. She’s like, totally from another planet.”
2, “Dear Future Husband,” by Meghan Trainor
I was genuinely disappointed in Meghan Trainor when I heard this song, because I do think she is talented and fun and unique, and has the potential to do so much good with her music. Instead, she wrote a song that is, as Rachel Vorona Cote so brilliantly put it on Jezebel, “heteronormativity on Adderall.” The music video is even worse.
3. “Good for You,” by Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez kills me. She has granted so many Make-A-Wish requests that the organization gave her a special award. She is an active ambassador for the Ryan Seacrest Foundation and UNICEF. She understands that she is a role model and strives to be a good one. She says wonderful things like, “Now that I do have this influence, I don’t want to just be a name. I don’t want to just be somebody you follow on Instagram who can, like, post decent pictures that they have put literally 500 filters on. I want people to really be inspired, to believe they can do whatever they want.” But then she sings songs like this one, with lyrics that embrace her own objectification. This song says, OUTRIGHT, that all that matters is looking good for your man. She has talked all year about stepping up and taking control of her music, I just don’t understand why she’s okay with the message of this song.
4. “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony
I hate that this song is so damn catchy. One listen and it’s stuck in my head for the rest of the day. And just to be clear about how infuriating this song is on every level, that means I have the phrase, “Give it to me, I’m worth it,” running through my head on repeat. It can be filed alongside “Good for You” in the “Please men, have sex with me. Look how hot I am. I’m good in bed, I swear! Just do it, please,” category. Why are there so many fucking songs in this file?
5. “Player” by Tinashe feat. Chris Brown
2015 may go down in history as the year of ruining perfectly good songs with the inexplicable, indefensible addition of Chris Brown. Why? Why Tinashe? You are a talented singer and dancer and this is a solid pop song. Is it really worth it to throw in one of the worst human beings on the planet? Few things fill me with rage quite like the music industry’s disgusting reconciliation with that asswipe.
6. “Jealous” by Beyonce feat. Chris Brown
Yes, this song hasn’t officially been released. But it was recorded. It. was. recorded.
7. “I Might Go Lesbian” by Manika feat. Tyga
Another offensively terrible song, and that’s before you even hear the mind-numbingly offensive lyrics. And before you realize that it’s featuring another garbage individual whom society has excused for having sex with a minor. Basically, there is not a single thing about this song that isn’t offensive.
8. “Truffle Butter” by Nicki Minaj feat. Drake and Lil Wayne
The fact that 2015 gave us a song named “Truffle Butter” is enough to make me relieved that the year is over. If this song does not make your stomach turn, perhaps you should educate yourself on just how revolting and damaging—culturally and physically—”truffle butter” actually is. If that doesn’t bother you, try these lyrics on for size: “I bought some cocaine, you can snort it / She became a vacuum, put it on my dick like carpet / Suck the white off white chocolate.” There is nothing okay about the fact that this song played on the radio.