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The Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 2021

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Date Aired
December 22, 2021
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Todd (VO): This video is brought to you by Curiosity Stream.


Todd plays Pop Smoke - "What You Know Bout Love"[1] on piano


A year-end retrospective

Todd: It's fair to call 2021 a giant disappointment, right?

Montage clips of Olivia Rodrigo - "good 4 u"[2]; Silk Sonic - "Leave the Door Open"[3]; BTS - "Butter"[4]; Dua Lipa ft. DaBaby - "Levitating"[5]; Cardi B - "Up"[6]; Lil Nas X - "MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)"[7]; Ariana Grande - "Positions"[8]

Todd (VO): [sarcastically] Whoo, 2020 is over! Worst year in history behind us, let the good times roll! 2021's gonna be the best year of our lives. It's gonna be nothing but sunshine and roses, we're gonna party like it's... some other goddamn year than the one we just had.

Todd: And... I dunno, that's just not what happened.

Footage of a Stop Asian Hate rally, people getting vaccinated, and people holding signs saying "Stop the Mandate" and "#NaturalImmunity"

Todd (VO): I mean, yeah, it was better than 2020 but we're still dealing with a lot of the same garbage. It's hard for me not to look at it as a letdown [clips of Doja Cat ft. SZA - "Kiss Me More"[9], Polo G - "Rapstar"[10], The Kid LAROI ft. Justin Bieber - "Stay"[11], Ed Sheeran - "Bad Habits"[12]] And unlike 2020, where music felt to me like a life raft in a truly dismal time to be alive, I found it a little hard to get into much this year.

Todd: And on some level, these recaps of the year are redundant.

Todd (VO): Every year, it's like 'Oh, there were some good things that happened this year, some bad things that happened this year! What a year, huh?' Trying to impose a label on an entire year of music is dumb.

Todd: But to me, this is not a great year in pop music. As judged by the only standard I use, which is... that I was more interested in writing the Worst List this year than the Best List. [shrugs] Boy, there was some shit this year, and I'm blaming it for every disappointment I had. And now that I've hyped it up, I'm sure this list will be a disappointment too. So let's do this. We're counting down-

Clip of The Weeknd - "Save Your Tears"[13], which is used through the video as the interlude music

The Weeknd: Save your tears for another day

Todd (VO): The Top Ten Worst Hit Songs of 2021!


Todd (VO): Number 10

Todd: Alright, we got a lot of bad songs to get through, so why don't we just get this one out of the way right now?

#10. Maroon 5 ft. Megan Thee Stallion - "Beautiful Mistakes"[14]

Adam Levine: Beautiful mistakes I make inside my head

She's naked in my bed

Todd (VO): Yeah, you knew this one was a lock. This year, Adam Levine's sellout period reached a full decade. And during that entire time, I have asked and asked: why does Maroon 5 still exist? And I think I finally have the answer.

Todd: It's to help me fill out the Worst List. Truly, the most noble reason to create art. [air quotes] So really, I owe Adam Levine a debt of gratitude.

Adam: Pitiful, I can't believe

How every day gets worse for me

Todd (VO): Now, in one sense, this is just a Lifetime Achievement Award. For almost the entire decade I've been doing this, Maroon 5 has been filling up my Worst Lists. [clip of Maroon 5 - "Nobody's Love"] Last year, I put one of their songs as an Honorable Mention even though I didn't really think that one was actually that bad. I just simply don't know how not to at this point.

Todd: If Adam Levine ever actually made a good song again, it'd probably make me so angry at this point that I'd probably just put it right at the top of the Worst List anyway.

Todd (VO): That said, I do actually hate this one in particular.

Adam: And now we lie awake

Makin' beautiful mistakes

Todd (VO): [sarcastically] Oh boy, a Maroon 5 song about having a relationship with a hot woman. And it's terrible and they fight all the time, but they just can't stop themselves from having hot, sexy sex with each other.

Adam: It's beautiful, it's bittersweet

You're like a broken home to me

Todd: Boy, that's a new one, Adam!

Clip of Maroon 5 - "One More Night"

Adam: You and I go rough

We keep throwin' things and slammin' the doors

Todd (VO): Sure needed another one of those from you.

Todd: Maybe P!nk will write a song about the struggles of marriage next.

Clip of "Beautiful Mistakes"

Todd (VO): If he was gonna repeat one of his songs, I wish it wouldn't have been his most irritating.

Adam: And now we lie awake

Makin' beautiful mistakes

Todd (VO): Oh, it's such a mistake that I keep having sex with her. It's so bad, it makes me weep all over my million dollar car.

Todd: Bite me!

Todd (VO): You can probably credit this song's success to Megan Thee Stallion, who is also on here. And congratulations to Maroon 5 for a major achievement!

Todd: Getting Megan to turn in the first verse from her that I didn't like!

Megan: You did me wrong 'cause I let you

Usually, I like my situations beneficial

Buzzer sounds with white text reading "NOT A RHYME"

Megan: Got me lookin' stupid

The only way I'm coming back to you is if you're dreaming, lucid

Todd (VO): Good God, a hastag rap.

Todd: What year is it? Are we all going to do the Ice Bucket Challenge?

Todd (VO): These Maroon 5 guest verses generally come from good rappers, but I've never enjoyed a single one. [clips of Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa - "Payphone" and Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B - "Girls Like You"] I don't even know if the verses are bad, or if they just turn unappealing when they come served with [picture of a plate of disgusting meatloaf] Maroon 5 brand processed music loaf.

Clip of "Beautiful Mistakes"

Adam: Beautiful mistakes

Todd (VO): Really early in 2021, Adam Levine lamented [article titled "Maroon 5 Singer Adam Levine Declares 'There's No Bands Anymore'"] that there are no big, famous bands anymore. And for the first time in a while, Levine actually sounded sincere to me.

Todd: Because some abstract love of bands as a concept must be the only reason he still pretends Maroon 5 still exists.

Todd (VO): As we near the 20-year mark of Maroon 5, I despair of getting rid of Levine ever. Much like in the song, this is a mistake we are doomed to keep making.

Todd: I wouldn't call it "beautiful" though. Next!

Video for "Beautiful Mistakes" ends



Todd (VO): Number 9

Todd: Maybe I'm the only one who does this, but does anyone else ever get so uninterested in something that they become fascinated by it?

#9. Tate McRae - "You Broke Me First"[15]

Tate McRae: Maybe you don't like talking too much about yourself

But you should have told me that you were thinking 'bout someone else

Todd (VO): Tate McRae was [clips of Tate McRae on a dance competition show...] a mildly famous child dancer on various reality shows. [...and performing a song on piano] As she neared adulthood, she got into music. I can only guess what attracted her to songwriting [clips of "You Broke Me First"...] or what kind of music she wants to be making. But it's very clear what the label wants from her. [...and Billie Eilish - "Ocean Eyes"] They want Billie Eilish.

Todd: And by God, they're gonna take their hammers to this girl until she fits into a Billie Eilish shaped hole.

Clip of Tate McRae - "Tear Myself Apart"

Todd (VO): Literally, the first single she released was co-written [picture of Tate with...] by Billie Eilish, which would make me feel very weird if I were her.

Todd: That one didn't take off, but one of her originals did.

Clip of "You Broke Me First"

Tate: I know you, you're like this

Todd (VO): I kinda became fixated on this song this year. Not so much because I didn't like it, so much as I couldn't imagine why anyone would. Like why was I hearing this so often on the radio? It's not catchy, it's not compelling.

Todd: Like it's a breakup song about some ex who wants her back

Tate: Now suddenly, you're askin' for it back

Could you tell me where'd you get the nerve?

Todd (VO): It's all this big drama, big rolling thunder clouds

Todd: And it all builds up to...

Tate: When you broke me first

You broke me first

Todd: [sitting at his piano in silence, then shrugs]

Todd (VO): Uh... I dunno how to tell you this, but this really needed to end on a more cutting line than...

Todd: [in a goofy voice] "Well, you started it!"

Todd (VO): Did she think whoever this was about was gonna be hurt by that?

Todd: The answer is no! She didn't.

Screenshot of an article detailing...

Todd (VO): Because that person doesn't exist. This isn't based on anything that actually happened. [clip of "You Broke Me First"] I read a bunch of articles that were like [screenshot of article talking bout...] "How did you write a breakup song without ever having your heart broken?" Well, by being not good at it, obviously!

Todd: There's nothing wrong with writing fiction, of course.

Montage clips of Olivia Rodrigo - "drivers license"[16]; Taylor Swift - "All Too Well: The Short Film"; Billie Eilish - "Happier Than Ever"[17]; "You Broke Me First"

Todd (VO): But in a year dominated by girls writing about their real heartbreak, the lack of any authentic pain in the song is painfully noticable.

Tate: What did you think would happen?

Todd (VO): I feel like maybe this song could've worked if it had more energy? But it was jammed into a Billie Eilish mold of sulky whispering girls. It doesn't seem like this was what this song was supposed to be.

Todd: After listening to it a dozen times, I realized that if anyone besides Billie Eilish was making Billie Eilish music, I probably wouldn't like it.

Todd (VO): Like 10 years ago, at least your mediocre pop would have an okay beat and you could dance to it.

Todd: This just feels like the movie trailer cover version of itself.

"You Broke Me First" plays over the trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Tate: When you broke me first

You broke me first

Clip of "You Broke Me First"

Todd (VO): Now I'm not gonna say this girl is talentless or has no future. But if she does have a future, it's probably by putting as much distance between herself and Billie as possible. [clip of Regard feat. Tate McRae & Troye Sivan- "You"] None of the couple other minor hits she's had sounded anything like this. It seems like her strengths are elsewhere.

Todd: That's my advice for her, at least. Tate, if the label wants you to write something called [image of "Happier Than Ever" promotioal image with Tate's face and the title badly photoshopped over it] "Even More Happier Than That"... turn it down.

Video for "You Broke Me First" ends



Todd (VO): Number 8

Todd: I should say that overplay does count against you on these lists. I don't remember hating this the first time I heard it, but it's been a whole year now and I would honestly rather eat glass than listen to that Glass Animals song ever again

#8. Glass Animals - "Heat Waves"[18]

Dave Bayley: Sometimes, all I think about is you

Late nights in the middle of June

Todd (VO): Glass Animals is a pretty okay Indie band. This year, they had their breakout hit "Heat Waves." It went viral on the internet through a convoluted process [screenshot of Heatwaves Stories on Wattpad] I don't really understand [clip from Dream SMP livestream] involving real person slash fic about internet celebrities.

Todd: And boy, as an internet content creator myself, I got weird feelings about that. But that's neither here nor there. The point is, I also really do not like this song.

Dave: Usually, I'll put something on TV

Todd (VO): "Heat Waves" was the little indie hit that could. It charted at #100 in the first week of the year and just slowly kept rising all through 2021 until, by December, it was a Top 10 Hit. For a band that might not see this level of success ever again!

Todd: In the MP3 era, these guys would [picture of old music files, one labeled "tame impala - heat waves"] probably be mislabeled 80% of the time. But they're getting a big bump off this and boy, aren't I a massive dick for putting these unassuming little underdogs on the list?

Todd (VO): I don't know. After 12 months of this song, I just find it so grating that I never want to hear it again.

Todd: And I've had difficulty explaining why. It might just be that I miss guitars.

Montage clips of Foo Fighters - "Monkey Wrench"; WILLOW ft. Travis Barker - "transparent soul"

Todd (VO): Remember when rock music had guitars? Guitars made a big comeback in 2021, it's been great! We have grit and energy again.

Todd: Oh, right. Rock can rock. I forgot.

Clip of Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks"

Todd (VO): But even this, this kind of crossover alt rock hasn't had guitars in, like, a decade, and I like plenty of those. [clip of "Heat Waves"] But this? There's just nothing to it. No emotions, no bounce, no beat, just...

Todd: Vibes.

Brief snippet of "Heat Waves" instrumental

Todd (VO): Just vibes. Vibes, vibes, vibes...

Todd: I'm so sick of vibes.

Todd (VO): Give me a riff, a hook, something other than this grim, colorless trudge.

Dave: You'll be better off with someone new

Todd (VO): Like, it's about breaking up with someone because you want them to be happy. [live footage of Marshmello and Bastile performing "Happier"] Just like that Bastille song, but when they did it, they had emotion. [back to "Heat Waves"] The guy from Glass Animals just kind of mewls and hisses like a smarmy radiator.

Dave: Now I gotta let you go

Todd (VO): Like I can point to the things I don't like.

Todd: That funny trap voice sounds like ass.

Distorted Voice: Heat-heat waves, I'm swimming in a

Todd: Lyrics aren't great.

Dave: That look that's perfectly un-sad

Todd (VO): Yeah, that's a perfectly un-good lyric. But mostly, I just don't like the sound of it. You know, it's a tiny bit pop and a tiny bit trap and a tiny bit rock and a tiny bit of electronic.

Todd: This shit just sounds like fucking nothing!

Todd (VO): It just has this bland, artificial aftertaste to it, like... Like [image of...] freeze-dried microwave mashed potatoes.

Todd: You know, it is food, but it still kind of sort of tastes like plastic. That's what this is.

Distorted Voice: Shimmer, wiggling the vision

Todd: Sometimes, all I think about is how much I don't like this song. Next!

Video for "Heat Waves" ends



Todd (VO): Number 7

Todd: I've already close to forgotten this happened, but...

Video of news story about "Donda" rollout...

Todd (VO): ...2021 was the year that Kanye and Drake [...and clip of Drake - "What's Next"[19]] went head-to-head and [image showing "Donda vs. CLB"] put their albums right against each other. Now, in my opinion, this was a real [clip from South Park showing...] Douche vs. Turd matchup.

Todd: But by this point, you know what I feel about the two men.

Monatge clips of Drake - "God's Plan"; Drake - "Nice for What"; Lil Pump & Kanye West ft. Adele Givens - "I Love It"]

Todd (VO): Drake dumps out another monstrously-long album every couple years, and most of it goes in the garbage but you can always count on at least a couple gems. Whereas Kanye... the last time he made anything I really liked, they were still making Harry Potter movies. So I already knew where I was going to stand on this.

Todd: And then, I actually listened to them.

#7. Drake feat. Future & Young Thug - "Way 2 Sexy"[20]

Future: I'm too sexy for this syrup, too sexy for your girl

Too sexy for this world, too sexy for this ice

Todd (VO): Don't get me wrong, the Kanye album was also pretty bad, but there were songs on it I enjoyed. I just couldn't find anything in Drake's to like, especially this.

Drake: Hey, alright, that's fine, okay

Todd (VO): Hahaha, wow, Drake is ridiculous! Look at him dressed like an old fat guy. Isn't this funny? Huh?

Todd: I spent a lot of my career making fun of Drake, and it took me way too long to realize that's what he wants you to do.

Album art for Certified Lover Boy

Todd (VO): Like this album cover. What the hell is that?

Todd: It's a thing that makes you go "What the hell is that?" Which is what he intended.

Montage clips of Drake - "Hotline Bling"; "Way 2 Sexy"; Right Said Fred - "I'm Too Sexy"

Todd (VO): Every meme just makes him more powerful. Everything he does is designed to go viral. So when Drake has his lead single sample one of the biggest meme hits in history, he knows exactly what he's doing.

Todd: But personally, I think this was a pretty grave miscalculation.

Clip of Drake ft. 21 Savage and Project Pat - "Knife Talk"[21]

Todd (VO): Like I thought that entire Drake album was dull, but Drake has been putting moody raps over super spare beats his entire career. It's what he does. [clip of "Way 2 Sexy"] But this for the lead single, I think it actually is the worst song on the album because it's supposed to be fun. [clip of "I'm Too Sexy"] It's something different when he takes a song that was already funny [back to "Way 2 Sexy"] and he puts it in Future's drugged-out mumble. It's like the exact opposite of what he's trying to do.

Todd: And I don't like putting Drake on here because I do like him, or at least I did.

Drake: Oh, you like the boy?

Well, tell me what you like about him

Todd: I... well, shit, you got me. I honestly can't remember at this point.

Todd (VO): Like it's just annoying to see him flop around like LMFAO in this video, as if there was anything comedic going on. [clip of...] The original "I'm Too Sexy" was one of the most mind-meltingly catchy and stupid earworms of all time, and it went some hilarious places.

Richard Fairbrass: Shake my little tush on the catwalk

Todd: There's just nothing fun, or even surprising, about this.

Future: I get cash wherever I fly

Got bitches sexin' on me

Todd (VO): None of the flexes are interesting. It's not sexy at all.

Todd: And for what it's worth, I watched my entire social media feed erupt over "Girls Like Girls" because Drake called himself a lesbian.

Clip from Drake and Kanye's Free Larry Hoover concert

Drake: Say that you a lesbian, girl, me too

Todd (VO): Again, I have no idea why this shocked and amused everyone so much. [image of t-shirt that says "Lesbian trapped in a man's body"] Like, have you not heard frat boys making that joke for decades?

Todd: How are you not tired of this?

Clip of "Way 2 Sexy"

Todd (VO): But at least people are talking about "Girls Like Girls." I haven't heard anyone say shit about "Way 2 Sexy." It's that dull. This song is so boring that even Young Thug, who I tend to like, is completely ignorable, which. That's gotta be a first for him.

Todd: And if I had any doubts who won the Kanye vs. Drake rivarly, I think...

Clip of Drake and Kanye performing together at the Free Larry Hoover concert

Todd (VO): was settled when, right as I was writing this, Kanye and Drake buried the hatchet and did a big concert together. And Kanye pulled out classic after classic, and Drake, to the delight of no one, played nothing but his boring new shit.

Todd: Guess I'm a Kanye Stan again. Just got to try and forget everything he's done in the last 5 years, up to and including this week!

Clip of "Way 2 Sexy"

Todd (VO): Not to worry, though. Drake will be back with another 100 more new songs next year, and maybe this time, one of them will be interesting.

Todd: [sighs]

Video for "Way 2 Sexy" ends



Todd (VO): Number 6

Todd: When I complain about modern indie rock mixing everything together so that it all sounds like nothing, I guess, uh... you know, I guess that's better than mixing the worst of every genre together so that it sounds like shit.

#6. Walker Hayes - "Fancy Like"[22]

Walker Hayes: Yeah, we fancy like Applebee's on date night

Got some Bourbon Street steak with the Oreo shake

Todd (VO): Walker Hayes scored country music's biggest crossover of the year with "Fancy Like", a TikTok viral smash about how when he and his girl are feeling fancy, they go to Applebee's and drink Natty Lite. She even bothers to put on makeup and he put on a clean pair of pants.

Todd: Hell, he puts on pants. That's how you know it's a special occasion. [sarcastically] ha-ha-ha-ha ha.

Walker: My girl is bangin', she's so low-maintenance

Todd (VO): To be clear, this is not a song about being poor. It's about being boring and lazy. [clip of interview with Walker Hayes] Like, literally. What he said is that this song is about how it's okay if today is the same as yesterday.

Todd: An you know what? Yeah, I get that.

Clip of Walker Hayes ft. Kesha - "Fancy Like (Remix)"

Todd (VO): Not everyone gets to go out and try new trendy cuisines every day. Some of us only have the same strip mall to go to on date nights, and there are worse things in the world than that.

Todd: I get that, there's something to that. I'm not embarassed about eating at Applebee's.

Clip of "Fancy Like"

Todd (VO): But I think Walker Hayes very much is. Because he sings about it in the most obnoxious and cartoony way possible.

Todd: [in a country accent] We go to Applebee's, arent we fuckin' Rednecks? [back to normal] No? It's a normal thing to do!

Walker: My new, clean blue jeans without the holes in 'em

Todd (VO): What is your deal, Hayes? Walker Hayes lowers himself in dignity so much, you would think [clip of SNL Weekend Update sketch with...] he was an Adam Sandler character. [clip from Happy Gilmore] I mean, he certainly has enough shameless product placement. [clip of "Fancy Like"] I did a whole video about how much I hated this one, and I did a whole lot of worrying that it made me look like a snob.

Todd: I mean, I am a snob. I just try to hide it.

Todd (VO): But why do I have to worry? Walker Hayes is the one doing the poverty cosplay here.

Todd: He may or may not have been broke in his life. But by this point, he can probably afford a real cooler.

Walker: Natty in the styrofoam

Squeak-squeakin' in the truck bed all the way home

Todd: Ugh! I don't care how proud you are of your place in the world. [video of someone rubbing styrofoam trays together] The sound of squeaking styrofoam can't be high up on your list of pleasures in life. Also, did you take your own beer to Applebee's!?

Walker: Double wide, slow dancin'

Todd (VO): You know, I keep saying that this song is intentionally cringey as a defence mechanism, but maybe not. Maybe Walker Hayes is just actually that embarassing.

Todd: I just assume otherwise, cause I can't imagine someone writing a song like this sincerely. It's literally to the tune of "The Hokey Pokey"!

Walker: Alabama-jamma, she my Dixieland delight

Video of "The Hokey Pokey" in Just Dance Kids 2

Singer: You do the hokey pokey, and you turn yourself around

Clip of "Fancy Like (Remix)"

Todd (VO): Look, there's nothing wrong with celebrating on a budget or living in Nowheresville.

Todd: I love cheap thrills.

Todd (VO): But when you make it sound as unpleasant as this... no, like this is a 40 year old man rapping. No one wants that.

Todd: And by the way, bro. I'm not sure your wife is as happy with your lifestyle as you think she is.

Clip of "Fancy Like"

Walker: She's so low-maintenance

Todd (VO): Like, if you see her looking at Facebook pictures of an old boyfriend who moved to the city, I'd start worrying. Or hell, even a more broke Redneck would look like an upgrade next to you.

Todd: As long as he isn't a walking, living commercial!

Walker: Whoo, that's how we do

How we do, fancy like

Video for "Fancy Like" ends and the Applebee's logo is shown


Todd: Ugh, product placement. Anyway, before we continue, this video was brought to you by Curiosity Stream.

Various clips from "The Other F Word"

Todd (VO): Have you ever wondered what your favorite punk bands are like when they're forced to grow up? Well, you can watch your favorite bands like Blink-182, Black Flag, Rise Against, and Bad Religion as they tackle the most hardcore, dangerous shit they've ever pulled: parenthood. That's in the documentary The Other F Word, and you can see it all on Curiosity Stream.

Todd: Go to and you will get an entire year [URL shows up on screen] for just 14 dollars and 79 cents. That's nothing. Not only is that [yellow text reading "$14.79/yr! (26% off!)" appears on screen] a 26% discount on the regular price, you will also get free access to...

Clip of ad for Curiosity Stream and...

Todd (VO): ...Nebula. A streaming video platform built by and for independent creators like Lindsay Ellis, Minute Physics, and myself. So you will get all the high budget, premium content you get on Curiosity Stream plus all the independent video creators on Nebula.

Todd: Once you use the code and get Curiosity Stream, you'll get a welcome email from Nebula giving you access, and you'll have access to both services.

Todd (VO): So sign up now, click the link in the description, and enjoy.

Todd: Well anyway, moving on.



Todd (VO): Number 5

Todd: We were this close.

Clip of Justin Bieber - "Yummy"

Justin Bieber: Yeah, you got that yummy yum, that yummy yum

Todd (VO): This close to never seeing Bieber forever. His disastrous album Changes with its shockingly terrible lead single and video had "Career Killer" written all over it. [picture of Bieber with...] But manager Scooter Braun was not gonna let his biggest cash cow run dry that easily. [clips of DJ Khaled ft. Drake - "POPSTAR"...] And so he spent the last 18 months [...and Ariana Grande & Justin Bieber - "Stuck With U"] cahsing in every favor he had.

Todd: Now Bieber is back on top. Yay.

#5. Justin Bieber feat. Daniel Caeser & Giveon - "Peaches"[23]

Justin Bieber: I got my peaches out in Georgia (oh, yeah, shit)

I get my weed from California (that's that shit)

I took my chick up to the North, yeah

Todd (VO): I've had a couple of friends who are only casual pop listeners be really surprised to find out that Bieber's actually had a very good year. [clip of Justin Bieber - "Anyone"[24]] It doesn't seem that way, since a lot of his more recent songs have been extemely forgettable. [clip of Shawn Mendes ft. Justin Bieber - "Monster"] And they've also been collaborations, and since Bieber [clip of "Stay"] has always had no personality, they all kinda seem more like someone else's songs. [clip of...] Including his biggest hit this year, "Peaches", which got most of its energy from its two co-stars.

Daniel Caesar: I left my girl, I'm in Mallorca

I truly mean no disrespect to Daniel Caesar or Giveon, two up and coming R&B stars who do quite a lot to make me not hate this song the first few times I heard it.

Todd: But despite their best efforts, this unfortunately remains the song of Justin Bieber.

Todd (VO): Partly because he's way more famous than those other guys. But also because, despite their smoothness, there's only one real memorable part of the song.

Todd: It kinda reminds me of, like, a Black Eyed Peas song. Where the groove is fine at first, and then by the hundredth time, the emptiness really gets at you. Cause there's nothing to it except the one, maddeningly catchy line that gets in your head.

Justin: I got my peaches out in Georgia (oh, yeah, shit)

Todd (VO): I get what it's supposed to mean. Like, he only gets the primo shit from the best places.

Todd: But it just got more and more inane the more times I heard it.

Justin: I got my peaches out in Georgia

Todd (VO): Like, what are you talking about? Do-do you travel to Georgia for peaches? Do you import them?

Todd: Also, who fucking cares?

Justin: I got my peaches out in Georgia

Todd (VO): Do you eat more than two peaches in a year? And if you do, are you like "These better be genuine Georgia peaches or I'm not touching them." What does it matter?

Todd: It's like singing [image of...] "I get my potatoes outta Idaho." Who cares? Locally grown is probably fine.

Todd (VO): I know this sounds like nitpicking, but there's just nothing else to the song. The only other lyrics that stand out are the cringey adlibs where he calls his wife a badass bitch.

Justin: I took my chick out to the north, yeah (badass bitch)

Todd: This girl is bangin', she's so low-maintenance. Humiliating.

Todd (VO): Now it'd be easy for me to say that, you know, I prefer [clip of The Presidents of the United States of America - "Peaches"] the 90s "Pecahes".

Chris Ballew: Peaches come from a can

They were put there by a man

But honestly, these two songs are more alike than you'd think. [back to Bieber's "Peaches"] They're both pointless, inane novelty songs, [clip of The Presidents' "Peaches"] except one of them gets the joke. [back to Bieber's "Peaches"]

Justin: I got my peaches out in Georgia (oh, yeah, shit)

Todd (VO): It's not even, like, a full chorus. It's like half a chorus repeated twice. In fact, it may be the same one take played over and over again, cause Bieber sure doesn't build on it at all.

Justin: I got my peaches out in Georgia

Yeah, it's catchy, I'm not surprised it's a hit. But all I hear when I hear this is, you know, "Dance Monkey" or "Blue (Da Ba Dee)", or one of those other maddening ear-worms.

Todd: The result is just a smooth "Mambo No. 5". And who needs that?

Video for "Peaches" ends



Todd (VO): Number 4

Clip of Juice WRLD - "Robbery"

Juice WRLD: She told me put my heart in the bag

Todd: [sighs, rubbing his face] Okay.

Todd (VO): I didn't get Juice WRLD. I didn't like him. Then he died tragically, and I felt bad. I'm not going to tell you I was wrong or that I like all his songs now, but I feel like I appreciate things about him now that I missed the first time.

Todd: So when I put this song on here, I worry that I'm just making the same mistakes all over again. But, [sighs] you know what? I will take that chance.

#4. The Kid LAROI - "Without You"[25]

The Kid LAROI: You cut out a piece of me

And now I bleed internally

Left here without you, without you

Todd (VO): 2021 was the breakout year of Kid LAROI, [clip of The Kid LAROI ft. Juice WRLD - "GO"] a teenage Australian that was allegedly Juice WRLD's protegee.

Todd: And I'm trying to be nice here. Like, as a singer, he certainly has an extremely expressive voice

The Kid LAROI: But I'm scared to be alone

Todd (VO): Communicates a lot about his character immediately. The same way that [clip from The Simpsons] the squeaky-voiced teen on The Simpsons really embodies a chacter.

Steve Friedman: Whoops, fell in the fire. I'll get it out. Ow! Oww!

Todd: And that's as close as I got. Obviously, I did not succeed in finding a way to like this.

Clip of "Without You"

The Kid LAROI: And it hurts for me to think

About what life could possibly be like without you

Todd (VO): Like, it's an acoustic guitar song about how sensitive and sad he is [clip scrolling down list of songs titled "Without You"] with one of the most overused titles in music [screenshot of a single bar of Nick Long's "Four Chord Song"] played with four very familiar chords in a very familiar order.

The Kid LAROI: Without you, without you

As long time viewers know, it's like it was designed to piss me off personally.

Todd: This song alone could win you Todd in the Shadows bingo.

Todd (VO): Like, I know we're all sad now and sad boys are the thing. But Kid LAROI doesn't sound sad or depressed like Juice WRLD, he just sounds like a sulking asshole.

Todd: Especially in the song's most infamous line.

The Kid LAROI: So there you go, oh

Can't make a wife out of a ho, oh

Todd: [beat] What the fuck are you talking about, kid?

The Kid LAROI: Can't make a wife out of a ho, oh

Todd (VO): An Australian teenager has no right to be singing a line like that.

Todd: Not just because it's misogynistic, but because it has nothing to do with the song!

Todd (VO): The girl he's so upset at seems to have done no hoeing. And also... you weren't gonna marry her. What are you, like, fourteen?

Todd: Like, did you buy a ring? Were you talking about having kids? Come on!

Todd (VO): I guess that's a particularly authentic teenage thing. You're upset at a girl, so you try to be sexist but you don't even know how yet, so you just repeat things you heard from other songs.

Todd: Okay, just so I can hedge my bets in case Kid LAROI becomes another voice of a generation.

Clip of "Stay"

Todd (VO): Uh, his big hit this year, "Stay", the Justin Bieber duet. I will admit that it was a lot better than this.

The Kid LAROI: I need you to stay, need you to stay-ay

It will not be making the best list for the purely peddy reason that I react negatively to both their voices. But, uh... yeah, there was a lot to like about it. The beat is smooth enough to sand off LAROI's rough edges and energetic enough to give Bieber some personality. But... [sighs] I don't know, instead of splitting the difference between the two, I kinda wish they'd just given it to one good singer.

Todd: Or maybe I'm just penalizing it because of "Without You".

The Kid LAROI: And now I bleed internally

Left here without you

Todd (VO): The worst thing about this song isn't LAROI's douchebag demeanor or random sexism. Those are arguably the best things about it.

Todd: The worst thing about it is that except for those things, this song could've been written by anybody.

Todd (VO): It's irredeemably basic. And LAROI has to wail like a poltergeist just to make this song interesting at all.

Todd: What I'm saying is, Kid LAROI is a less charming [clip of "Someone You Loved" by...] Lewis Capaldi.

Lewis Capaldi: I let my guard down

And then you pulled the rug

Todd: I don't think I need to say more than that.

The Kid LAROI: Without you



Todd (VO): Number 3

Clip of Dan + Shay - "Speechless"

Dan + Shay: I'm speechless

Starin' at you, standin' there in that dress

Todd: Okay, I don't have a problem with Dan + Shay.

Live footage of Dan + Shay performing "Tequila"

Todd (VO): There are a lot of people who do, because, you know. They're the squishy, sensitive wuss boys of country music. I never really liked their schtick, but I respect it.

Todd: They've carved a pretty unique spot for themselves in a genre of indistinguishable white guys.

Clip of Dan + Shay ft. Justin Bieber - "10,000 Hours"

Todd (VO): I can pick them out, and I know what they're about. That's something. I'm not gonna be like "They're not real country!"

Todd: I'm not one of those assholes. [pause] Or at least, I wasn't. But this year, something in me snapped. Get these snivelling simps out of here, for the love of Christ!

#3. Dan + Shay - "Glad You Exist"[26]

Dan Smyers: Here's to all the late night drunk phone calls that you picked up

Here's to all the bad decisions that you didn't judge

Todd (VO): For the last few years, the major trend in country music has been something called "Boyfriend Country".

Todd: You know, singing to the ladies, gooey songs you could play at a wedding.

Todd (VO): Dan + Shay are probably the act most identified with it, but I think they might be losing their purpose. The country music audience is mostly women these days, so it's been a fascinating look into the fantasies of your average basic white woman.

Clip of Sam Hunt performing "Kinfolks"

Sam Hunt: I wanna introduce you to my kinfolks

A few of the new singers would've been making bro country 8 years ago. And they approach this whole new vibe like...

Todd: "Yeah, I want a full commitment, and I'm gonna give you a ring and a house and a bunch of kids someday."

Todd (VO): "But also, for the time being, I'm a horny, good looking young guy who wants to give you a lot of bomb-ass sex."

Sam: I wanna see the way you look up under all those stars

Todd: I mean, it's hard to argue with that. Not my thing, but ladies, I get it.

Clip of "Glad You Exist"

Dan + Shay: There's a couple billion people in the world

Todd (VO): Dan + Shay can't promise to rock your world obviously, because they're chaste as nuns.

Todd: But for the first time, they don't seem to be able to provide you with the passionate love either.

Dan + Shay: Cause every high and every low led to this

I'm just so glad you exist, ooh ooh

Todd (VO): Glad you exist, wow Dan + Shay, don't lay it on too thick.

Todd: I'm glad you exist. I'm glad toothpicks exist. [image of toothpicks] They're a useful implement.

Todd (VO): Dan + Shay may as well name the song "Better Than Nothing".

Todd: Every year I ask what the worst 2 seconds of the year is.

Clip of Masked Wolf - "Astronaut in the Ocean"

Todd (VO): And there were some obvious picks, like:

Masked Wolf: I belive in G-O-D, don't believe in T-H-O-T

Todd: And of course, just from the last song.

Clip of "Without You"

The Kid LAROI: Can't make a wife out of a ho, oh

Todd: But my worst 2 second? Those "ooh, yeah yeah yeah"s.

Clip of "Glad You Exist"

Dan + Shay: There's a couple billion people in the world (ooh, yeah-yeah)

Todd: [mockingly] Ooh, yeah yeah yeah. Hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it!

Dan: In the world (in the world)

Todd (VO): This song is already limp enough, but those soft little "yeah yeah yeah"s make everything sound so dinky and insencere. I think people will be shocked that this song is above "Fancy Like" as the worst country song. [clip of "Fancy Like"] But they do have one major thing in common. They're both obnoxiously self-satisfied. Walker Hayes expresses it by burping and farting everywhere, [clip of "Glad You Exist"] Dan + Shay do it by putting big vacant smiles on their big stupid faces, swaying back and forth like bobbleheads.

Dan + Shay: I'm just so glad you exist

There's nothing about this that sounds sincere or sweet to me.

Todd: It sounds like a Hallmark card they bought for your anniversary at the last second. And I'd be glad if it did not in fact exist.

Dan + Shay: Oh, I'm just so glad you exist



Todd (VO): Number 2

Clip of Måneskin - "Beggin'"[27]

Damiano David: Put your loving hand out

Todd: Hoo, I can hear the controversy coming off of this one.

Todd (VO): After trying for decades to make Eurovision a thing in America, they finally seem to have pulled it off. [clip of Måneskin - "Zitti E Buoni"] This year's winner, Italian trash rockers Måneskin, suddenly got big stateside when one of their earliest tracks caught on.

Clip of "Beggin'"

Damiano: I'm beggin', beggin' you

This is probably the most polarizing song of the year. I've rarely seen a song split people like this. I can totally see why, it's one of those songs where what people like about it is the same thing other people hate about it.

Todd: Ultimately, I think um... I think I like it.

Todd (VO): The song's fine, I've heard worse. Honestly, I think people should calm down.

Todd: Because let's be real, this is not the worst thing Eurovision did to us this year.

#2. Duncan Laurence - "Arcade"[28]

Todd (VO): Americans don't know that much about Eurovision, so they tend to think of it as a lot of fun. Just nonstop [clips of Eurovision performances from...] ABBA, and Lordi, and Epic Sax Guy, and Ya Ya Ding Dong.

Todd: But as someone who has watched quite a bit of Eurovision, yes [clip of Can Bonomo Eurovision performance] you will get your Vampire Man Boat every year. But [clips of "Bigger Than Us" by Michael Rice (2019 UK's entry) and 1980's winning song "What's Another Year?" by Ireland's Johnny Logan] also, there's just a whole lotta stuff that's bad in not any of the fun ways. Historically, a lot of the winners have been sickly balladiers.

Clip of "Arcade"

Duncan Lawrence: I'm afraid of all I am

Todd (VO): For example, this is the Netherlands' Duncan Lawrence, who won in 2019.

Todd: There was no Eurovision in 2020, obviously.

Todd (VO): And then, in 2021, it became a big hit because we don't live in a world with linear time anymore.

Todd: You can blame that on, again, [clip of Duncan Lawrence on...] TikTok. Which resurected the song 2 years late [clip of "Arcade"] so that Americans could experience one of the worst sounding, worst written songs in recent history.

Duncan: All I know, all I know

Loving you is a losing game

Todd (VO): Dutchman Lawrence's big winning song was called "Arcade", a song that combines the big, epic sweep of this moment in pop with a...

Todd: ...deeply tortured metaphor.

Duncan: We were always a losing game

Small-town boy in a big arcade

I got addicted to a losing game

Todd: Has anyone ever whiffed on their metaphor as hard as this?

Duncan: I got addicted to a losing game

Todd (VO): I worry that something got lost in his translation here, cause it sounds like what he was actually thinking of was a casino.

Todd: Which would be the logical venue, because gambling is actually where [image of man with his head in his hands at a poker table] you can lose something of importance and get your heart broken. And get your legs broken.

Todd (VO): But there are no stakes at an arcade. There's no real sense of loss when you lose at pinball, there's no kids crying at [image showing "Game Over" screen on...] the Pac-Man machines.

Todd: Like, this whole idea does not work. It's like a video arcade, but... sad. [shrugs]

Duncan: Haw many pennies in the slot?

Todd (VO): Oh, it's a [image showing...] penny arcade at that too, wow. It seems like you're trying to make the whole thing sound trivial and childish.

Todd: Which is kind of at odds with the screaming agony of the song.

Todd (VO): [to the tune of "Arcade"] All I know, all I know

Todd: I didn't get the high score in ski ball

Duncan: Get me off this rollercoaster

Todd (VO): Okay, it's a rollercoaster now? I thought it was an arcade. Come on.

Todd: I mean, I guess it's kinda funny that he [clip of Duncan winning Eurovision 2019] won Eurovision with a song about a losing game. Well, he may have won Eurovision. But he loses on the only competition that counts, this list. Netherlands, [image of people holding up "0 points" cards] null points. [gives a thumbs down and makes a farting noise]

Video for "Arcade" ends

Honorable mentions[]

Todd: And now, before the finale, some honorable mentions.

Ed Sheeran - "Bad Habits"

Ed Sheeran: My bad habits lead to late nights, ending alone

Todd (VO): This song is more boring than bad, but I'm just including it anyway because it has the worst goddamn video I've ever seen. Did you think that outfit looks good, Ed? [video shows non-vampire Ed melting] What does this part mean, Ed?

Todd: Why could you not just be happy being the plain-faced folk singer that you are?

BRS Kash - "Throat Baby (Go Baby)"[29]

BRS Kash: Let a young ni**a come play in your throat

Deep stroke that throat 'til I make you choke

Throat baby

Todd (VO): Oh, I'm gonna choke alright. On my own vomit.

Todd: Man, dirty talk isn't as easy as "WAP" made it seem, huh?

Imagine Dragons - "Follow You"[30]

Dan Reynolds: I will follow you way down, wherever you may go

Todd (VO): I decided this year, I was gonna be way nicer to Imagine Dragons. I mean, they seem like such nice guys and they mean real well.

Todd: And unfortunately, this is me being nicer when I say this is their worst song yet. Jesus.

Brief clip of the end of the song

Todd: What the fuck are you doing?

Shawn Mendes & Tainy - "Summer of Love"[31]

Shawn Mendes: It was the summer of love

Todd (VO): This has gotta be the end of Shawn Mendes, right? Even by his standards, this is dismal. Has he ever sounded more like he's dying?

Shawn Mendes: It was the summer of-

Brett Young - "Lady"[32]

Brett Young: I hope you look just like your mama

And love her like I do

Todd (VO): Puke. God, country music has gotten so fucking sappy.

Sabrina Carpenter - "Skin"[33]

Sabrina Carpenter: You can try

To get under my, under my, under my skin

Todd (VO): This is probably the saddest response song since "It's Every Night, Sis." Woof.

Todd: Very little wonder that Olivia Rodrigo won out on this one.

GAYLE - "abcdefu"[34]

Gayle: A-B-C-D-E-FU, and your mom

Todd (VO): Well, this was just in time to make the Worst List. "abcdefu" is... I-I'm sorry, that's a stupid line.

Todd: This song sticks around, maybe by next year I'll hate it enough to put it on the list properly.

Gayle: Everybody but your dog, you can all fuck off

Todd: [sighs] Okay, here we go. Let's finish this.



Todd (VO): Number 1

Todd: [beat] Aaron Lewis keeps it real.

#1. Aaron Lewis - "Am I the Only One?"[35]

Todd (VO): The guy from Staind's decade long attempt to go country keeps hitting odd notes, for a lot of reasons.

Todd: But a big one is that country music is mostly fiction.

Clips of live performances (and music video, in the case of the Carrie Underwood song) of the songs Todd mentions

Todd (VO): Johnny Cash never really shot a man in Reno, Merle Haggard isn't an Okie from Muskogee, Garth never showed up in boots to a black tie affair, and Carrie Underwood never smashed her boyfriend's car. [clip of Aaron Lewis - "Country Boy"] Only a select few, like Aaron's idol Hank Jr. will ever write their own real life story.

Todd: But that is what you get from Aaron Lewis.

Todd (VO): He can only give you his actual thoughts feelings, opinions and experiences.

Todd: That might well be a positive thing if Aaron Lewis' thoughts and opinions were worth anything

Video for "Am I the Only One"

Aaron Lewis: Am I the only one willing to bleed?

Todd (VO): In many ways, 2021 was a year like no other. Especially for Aaron Lewis, who had his biggest solo hit in two decades.

Aaron: Am I the only one not brainwashed?

It was a massive chode anthem about how everyone who doesn't think like Aaron Lewis is brainwashed, even Bruce Springsteen.

Aaron: Am I the only one who quits singing along

Every time they play a Springsteen song

Todd (VO): This despite the fact that Aaron Lewis cannot help but keep it real and admits that he sits around all day screaming at his television.

Aaron: Screaming "What the fuck!" at my TV

Clip of Aaron Lewis live performance

In many other ways though, it was the exact same year for Aaron Lewis, because he spent it the same way he spent every other year. [video of Aaron Lewis storming off stage] Being a loud idiot who embarasses himself in public, pissing off everyone around him and complaining about the state of country music. Even though he's a Johnny Come Lately who's country songs sound uniformly like shit.

Video for "Am I the Only One"

Todd (VO): Since I reviewed that song, Lewis has also put out a video for it which helps clarify a few things.

Todd: The thing that pissed me off the most about it was him crying over confederate statues. The people who tried to destroy America.

Aaron: Another statue coming down in a town near you

Todd (VO): Now, I got some comments trying to tell me that he must have meant the couple of non-confederate statues that came down for various reasons. But Lewis helpfully shows us an actual confederate statue in the video. Which, again, he's not even southern.

Todd: I'm alowed to have opinions on this, not you, you clam chowder eating Mass-hole. You don't even go here!

Todd (VO): I also had some people disagree with my interpretation of this line:

Aaron: And worries 'bout his kids

As they try to undo all the things he did

Todd: I thought he was talking about himself, some people think he was talking about President Trump.

Todd (VO): The video is not conclusive on that, but I don't think even Aaron Lewis thinks Trump is so great that he gets an unreferenced pronoun like he's Jesus.

Todd: But, I have consistently gone broke overestimating people, so who knows.

Aaron: The only one willing to fight

Todd (VO): Now, this is a list of hit songs and this was not really a hit. It only placed as high as it did because of a fluke in chart tabulation that over-weights physical sales. But even if the hit part is questionable, boy does it deserve to be at the top of this list of worst hits.

Todd: Are its politics shit? Yes. Does it sound like shit? God yes, Aaron Lewis sings like a cow giving birth.

Aaron: If you don't like it, there's the frickin' door

Todd: But also, I think this, more than anything, sums up why 2021 was so disapointing.

Todd (VO): After 2020, I was hoping to live in less miserable times. Like, maybe after the election and once we all had vaccines, all the insanity was going to turn down. And Aaron Lewis wants you to know that no, the insanity will continue

Todd: Like, this is a year where I had to hear multiple songs called [clip of Loza Alexander's...] "Let's Go Brandon". And a whole bunch of other miserable conservative songs. But the important thing to note is that they were all better than Aaron Lewis.

Clip of Bryson Gray ft. Tyson Jame and Chandler Crump - "Let's Go Brandon"

Todd (VO): Like yes, those "Let's Go Brandon" songs pissed me off, but that's what they were trying to do, so I can only get so angry about that. [clip of Slowhand & Van - "This Has Gotta Stop"] I also had to hear Eric Clapton and Van Morrison's anti-lockdown shit. But that one was so laid back, it was almost cute.

Clip of Kid Rock ft. Monster Truck - "Don't Tell Me How To Live"

Kid Rock: Snowflakes, here's a newsflash

Even Kid Rock in his anti-millenial record this year.

Kid Rock: Like Springsteen, I'm the motherfuckin' boss

Todd: Even he knew to put some respect on Bruce Springsteen's name.

Video for "Am I the Only One"

Aaron: I'm not the only one

Todd (VO): Like, let's be clear. If Aaron Lewis expressed the exact oposite sentiments he does on this song...

Todd: ...this would still probably be the worst song I heard all year.

Todd (VO): But I do have one sympathetic ear I can extend. If being Aaron Lewis means you can't enjoy Springsteen anymore.

Todd: Boy, that sure explains why he's such a miserable asshole.

Clip of Bruce Springsteen live performance

Todd (VO): Imagine a world where you couldn't listen to "Born to Run", and all you had [back to "Am I the Only One"] was this. Good God.

Todd: Well, that was 2021 everybody. [salutes] See you in 2022.

Video for "Am I the Only One" ends

Closing Tag Song: SPOTEMGOTTEM - "Beat Box"[36]


This video is owned by me

If you don't like it there's the frickin' door!



  1. #22 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  2. #5 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  3. #7 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  4. #11 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  5. #1 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100; solo version is the one credited
  6. #26 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  7. #9 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  8. #14 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  9. #6 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  10. #30 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  11. #12 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  12. #15 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  13. #2 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  14. #34 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  15. #37 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  16. #8 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  17. #94 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  18. #16 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  19. #68 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  20. #48 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  21. #86 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  22. #27 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  23. #10 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  24. #78 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  25. #17 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  26. #64 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  27. #66 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  28. #82 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  29. #97 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100
  30. Not on the Year-End Hot 100, peaked at #68 in 2021
  31. Not on the Year-End Hot 100, peaked at #48 in 2021
  32. Not on the Year-End Hot 100, peaked at #52 in 2021
  33. Not on the Year-End Hot 100, peaked at #48 in 2021
  34. Not on the Year-End Hot 100, peaked at #15 in 2021
  35. Not on the Year-End Hot 100, peaked at #14 in 2021
  36. #44 on Billboard Year-End Hot 100