Let's face it. The world of music is a really dumb place, and we should know. Here at Crossfade, we spend the majority of our time sifting through the deserted wasteland of pop culture, and it ain't lookin' too good out there.
This year felt like a particularly dumb year too. Maybe it was all this talk about the Mayans, but some kind of bar was definitely lowered. We watched helplessly all year long as old favorites lost it, new faces freaked us out, and some people just wouldn't fucking go away.
But these 12 things just had to be about the worst.
Contrary to popular belief, dubstep's been around a while. But this year, it became something of an epidemic in the top 40 game. Both Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift tried their hand at the genre, experimenting with its theretofore untamed wobbles as the "it" sound of the moment. Years later, we can acknowledge this as the time dubstep became just another studio trick for mainstream pop producers.
Call Me Maybe
It's not enough to have an obnoxiously radiant pop song, no. This is 2012, we can do better. We can do that shitty pop song ourselves. Carly Rae Jepson hit the scene hard with her gooey and infectious debut single, and even though it was kind of awful, everyone on YouTube decided to cover it. Famous bands have tried their hand, but most of the about 134,000 cover on the site are just the usual, awful everyday attention-starved bedroom dweller. We hope we can get this song out of our heads by the end of the month.
Of course, because the majority of our new superstars are inherently terrible, we were forced this year to dig up the remains of one of our favorite icons. Well, we didn't dig him up so much as we projected him onto a stage he had no business being on. The famed Coachella performance was exciting, but it was also bizarre and one of the most hollow attempts at a money-grab we've heard of. You know Tupac was going to go on tour? Please, let Tupac rest in peace.
Speaking of Tupac, his friend and fellow west-coast rapper Snoop Dogg got all kinds of nutty this year. Besides rapping with his deceased friend, he flipped the script a full 180 and killed off his own personal brand. He dropped the "Doggy Dogg" and upgraded to Snoop Lion, obvi because he's been a rasta-ass mother fucker all this time. Now, he's only going to do reggae, and while we're definitely stoked to hear his new album, we still think no more Snoop Dogg curner-bending style is pretty dumb.
DJ Paris Hilton
Snoop's not the only pop culture icon to get a make-over in 2012. American embarrassment and hotel heiress Paris Hilton gave us a million lols this year as she endeavored to buy her way into the world of superstar DJs. She train-wrecked her ass all over the world from Brazil to Paris and even India. She worked it so bad, even Afrojack has to stop hanging out with her.
Katy Perry Becomes Culturally Important
Katy Perry is kind of just a big whatever on the face of pop culture. She's not as weird as Lady Gaga or Ke$ha, but she's not as squeaky-clean as Carly Rae Jepsen or Taylor Swift. Although we at Crossfade feel this renders her useless, the rest of you think this makes her the new Michael Jackson. This year, Perry's Teenage Dream became the first album in history seven #1 songs; the most ever. She beat out the King for this, and it's your fault.
Corporate Buyouts of Festivals Everywhere
EDM used to be a lot of fun before we started calling it "EDM" and turned it into a shit-pile of consumerism. Trying to milk all the money out of something makes it awful, but we can't help ourselves. This year, giant companies like LiveNation nabbed every cool brand down to trade authenticity for a giant price-tag. Now these youth-oriented all-night raves can be sold to us with awesome fees and offer a bunch of soulless sameness. We're stoked.
Speaking of hollow commercialism, Nicki Minaj was really awful this year. Basically all her songs were stupid and poppier than ever. When someone called her a "pop" act in New York, she refused to take the stage. She signed up for the dummy job of American Idol judge, then had a fake feud with the legendary Mariah Carey all over television. She produced a dumb mini-series about herself, too. Basically, she's the worst.
Rihanna + Chris Brown
Scratch that, these two are the worst. There's almost nothing on the pop music scene that's easier to make fun of than these two. More useless blogs have been written and read about their on-again/off-again relationship than probably even the recent election. Sure, it's dumb that she got back with him when he beat the hell out of her, but it's also dumb that we pay attention so much in the first place. Rihanna isn't the first girl to let some asshole treat her like toilet paper, and sadly, she won't be the last.
Poor Psy. He's like, the biggest thing ever right now, but do you think he knows a lot of you are just laughing at him? This could be an awesome moment for globalism and oneness, the moment Americans wake-up from their mono-cultural plaza-garbage day-dream and embrace some new culture. But actually, they just want Korean LMFAO. Psy ended up doing his dance everywhere this year, but only time will show us what kind of pop star you really want him to be. Can he turn it into a positive in 2013? We'll see.
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Beyond on this pop drivel, something really dumb and kind of important also happened. The Russian feminist punk-rock group Pussy Riot, infamous in their hood for writing songs dissing Putin and espousing crazy shit like LGBT rights and girl power, were found guilty of "hooliganism" and put in jail without bail. Two of them are still in there, while a few other members have fled the country, fearing the same. A lot of Western musicians have taken up the cause, because really, you shouldn't go to jail for writing protest songs and singing them in churches, right?
It seems like we've been YOLOing forever, but no one had even heard the term before Drake coined it in his late 2011 hit "The Motto," featuring Lil Wayne. Of course, a few months after the release, the world's neon-wearing, drunken masses had adopted the acronym as their calling card. A lot of dumb shit went down while we all sat screaming "YOLO," like that young rapper who totally died after tweeting about how fast he was drunk driving, but acronyms aren't excuses. Let's make 2013 the year of quiet reflection and regret so 2014 can be the musical and cultural enlightenment we so desperately need.