Watch the most viewed YouTube music video ever and tell me you don’t want to feed your eyes through a pencil sharpener five seconds in.
If you did, you’d be missing out. On a pubescent love affair in a bowling alley, a smug Legoheaded little scrotum chasing his ex-shorty through a crowd of airbrushed teens and a rapper who’s two decades old enough to know better joining in midway through like one of those middle aged men that hangs around skate parks.
It’s hard not to feel embarrassed for Ludacris as he rap-reminisces his way through his first love affair, twenty years ago, at age 13 (“I was starstruck, she woke me up daily, don’t need no Starbucks / She made my heart pound and skip a beat when I see her on the street and at school on the playground”) during the video. It’s been viewed 600 million times and disliked by 1,709,389 people.
For some reason – clinical masochism the only one I can find after a thorough search – we decided to ascertain the worst ever pop act last week. Having whittled our own choices down to a rogues’ gallery of 20, featuring Scooch, David Sneddon and Vengaboys, we launched a poll looking for the most soul-suckingly bad pop acts in the history of recorded music, and Bieber is currently in pole position.
After a few million votes it’s a pretty close run thing, though, with Rebecca Black, Jedward and Victoria Beckham all nudging into the top ten. The full shameful line-up can be seen here.
So who or what is the worst pop act ever? And what makes them so bad? Bieber’s video above gives some clues. It’s not enough to churn out cheap, lazy, half-assed backing tracks peppered with vague teenage romanticism – anyone can do that, and they do. And enlisting the greediest producers and cheapest (ideologically) rappers doesn’t necessarily make you surface on the fetid cesspool of turgid pop for particular attention.
The truly shameful pop acts are those that churn out their insipid wares with complete contempt for their own audiences, the artists like Bieber who focus test every riff, lyric, dance move, hairstyle, wink, glance, inflection and reference point to ensure maximum views, shares, likes and crucially sales.
What we’re looking for are the most cynical, the laziest, the dollar-eyed chancers with as much respect for artistry as a looting urchin for their shopkeeper’s livelihood. Which leads me to my own choice, the one and only Pitbull. The existence alone of this guy makes me want to emigrate to Mars.
I don’t even really want to get started on this video. The more I think about the generic sentiments, the cheap appropropriation of supposedly zeitgesity rave synths, the two Kodak references in the intro alone plus the flagrant product shots throughout, the needless collaborators and the tinny drums, the more I want to headbutt a bus stop until I pass out.
For obvious reasons I’m no Pitbull expert but he claims to have been raised on the poetry of Cuban revolutionary poet José Martí and yet writes songs commissioned by Dr Pepper, which is all I need to know.
So, whos’ yours? JLS, Cher Lloyd, David Guetta, or The Wanted (to name four of the current top five for starters)? Or someone else?