I will cop to being a music snob right here and right now, despite my best efforts not to become one of those dudes who died in that Yo La Tengo accident years ago.
It’s true that, nine times out of 10, I’d rather listen to some Midwestern punk band from the 90s or some jangly college-rock band that no one really likes over most everything on pop radio. That said, I think the most important part of not becoming a nightmare snob is at least trying to stay up on what people are listening to and giving it as fair a shake as possible.
So, with that in mind, let’s spend a little time with the top-10 “Most Listened To” songs on Spotify for the week of Feb 18, shall we?
I broke these songs down on two categories: “will I ever hear this song again” and “will I be mad if I hear this song again.” If you think I’m already off to a pandering, backhanded start, well, you might be on to something there.
Anyway, let’s see what the people are listening to.
1) Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Thrift Shop
Thoughts: I understand why this song is a hit. The beat is fun. It’s catchy. It’s about thrift shopping, which I find interesting given rap’s recent insistence that its still 1997 and opulence is the name of the game. Macklemore is white, which has more to do with his success than people might be willing to admit. That said, this song has a very lazy R. Kelly joke about 40 seconds in, and I can’t abide that.
Will I Ever Listen to This Song Again? Not on purpose.
Will I Get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? Silently, but I won’t make a big deal about it.
2) The Lumineers – Ho Hey
Thoughts: I really need this song, and all the stadium-grabbing pop-folk songs that cropped up in the last three years, to get the fuck out of my face, now and forever. I like the chorus, but it’s an afterthought for a song very clearly built on saying “Ho Hey.” I get that every pop song follows the same formula, and I understand from an academic standpoint that every pop song will follow the pattern that allowed the ones before it to succeed, but this pop-folk genre has turned repetitive and sour to my ears like nothing since reggeton.
Will I Ever Listen to This Song Again? Of course I will, this song is everyone’s favorite.
Will I Get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? Yes. Do not ask me about this song or I will go off.
3) Will.I.Am and Britney Spears – Scream & Shout
Thoughts: It’s interesting to hear Brittney Spears doing her best Kylie Minogue impression, but I think she’s gotten as much mileage out of the phrase “Britney, bitch” as she’s going to. This is a pretty stupid song, as all songs by Will.I.Am must be, but I’ve certainly heard worse Will.I.Am songs. The production is just about as club-generic as it gets, but as far as personality-devoid dance-pop goes, this isn’t the worst.
Will I Ever Listen to This Song Again? I can’t imagine a situation in which I will, since I don’t really go to dance clubs much.
Will I get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? Nah. I accept this song’s right to exist.
4) Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child
Thoughts: This song has all the personality that Will.I.Am’s song lacks. Great voice on the verse and the hook, an interesting modification on that “Sandstorm” hook that people have been using since the 90s, and a few interesting drop placements that go beyond the traditional attack-and-release style that has been a downside of Skrillex’s proliferation. This is a legitimately good song. Added bonus: I’m not going to look up the lyrics, but I’m pretty sure one of them is “Don’t you worry child / Ciara’s got a plan for you,” which is all I ever really wanted to hear.
Will I Ever Listen to This Song Again? Yeah, I might actually seek this one out.
Will I Get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? Nope.
5) Calvin Harris – Sweet Nothing
Thoughts: This is the exact middle of the EDM sandwich for me; not as bad as the Will.I.Am pander, not as good as the Swedish House Mafia song. That said, the laser noises that make up the chorus are a lot of fun, and the song leans harder on pop than it does on dance. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if this song came on at a wedding.
Will I Ever Listen to This Song Again? Yes, I think I would.
Will I get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? No, I don’t think so, mostly for the laser noises in the middle of the song.
6) Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
I’m not linking to the video on this one. Find it on your own time.
Thoughts: Oh man, I did not see this coming. See, I like that one Imagine Dragons song, the one that sounds like “Daylight” by Matt and Kim. I don’t know that song’s name, but since the next song on this list is also by Imagine Dragons, I think it might be called “It’s Time.” This song, though, “Radioactive,” sounds like the worst of rock music’s trends from the last five years melted into one song. If you take the schmaltz of Blue October, the stadium-sized limpness of Coldplay and that horrible dubstep song from the computer commercials that somehow isn’t by the Black Keys, and you’ll get this.
Will I ever Listen to This Song Again? If there is a God in heaven I surely won’t. This is a real pile.
Will I Get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? Yes. Vocally and visibly.
7) Imagine Dragons – It’s Time
Thoughts: See, this is the one that I like, but that last song has totally thrown my understanding of this band all the way off. Are you a fun pop band? Are you an amalgamation monster sent to destroy me? Fuck you, Imagine Dragons, for playing with my emotions this way.
Will I ever Listen to This Song Again? I mean, yes, there’s no going back once you’ve eaten from the tree of knowledge.
Will I get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? No, but again, there’s going to be a bad taste in my mouth now.
8) A$AP Rocky – Fucking Problems
Thoughts: Here are the best parts of this song, in order: 2Chainz’s singing the chorus (who would have thought Chainz could carry a hook so well?), the second-half of Kendrick Lamar’s verse (everything after “girl, I’m Kendric Lamar”), the fact that this version is unedited, the first half of Drake’s verse, the first half of Kendrick Lamar’s verse, the beat. I like this song, but I really don’t think its the event it was likely intended to be. Now, 1 Train, on the other hand…
Will I Ever Listen to This Song Again? Yes.
Will I Get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? Girl, you know you want this dick.
9) Bruno Mars – Locked Out of Heaven
Thoughts: This song makes me impotent. Somewhere, the Police are rolling in their graves. No thanks.
Will I Ever Listen to This Song Again: Sweet Jesus, no.
Will I Get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? I won’t even notice it. This is barely a song.
10) fun. – Some Nights
Thoughts: I really, really hate this band. Sorry, the Format, I’ll always love (tolerate) you. Get out of my face, “Some Nights,” with your tribal drums and needless auto-tune and ubiquitous popularity. There has never been a more ironic band name, and I don’t care if it was intended, because I guarantee it’s taken on a new meaning.
Will I Ever Listen to This Song Again? There’s no way to escape it.
Will I Get Upset if it Comes on Around Me? That’d be like getting upset at the sun for rising. The shitty, shitty sun.
Quick note: I had to scroll into the 70s to find a “rock” song that I liked, and it was by The Naked and Famous, which only just barely qualifies as a rock band, if they do at all. If you take Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and Jay-Z off the list, you have to get to 98 before you find someone I like without hesitation, and it’s “Adorn” by Miguel. So if you like pop music, you probably should never listen to me.