The 20 Worst Songs of 2010, #20: Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder, “Rocketeer”


F2K10 is a countdown of the 20 worst songs of 2010. Track our progress here.

The sensitive-guy song from this Los Angeles group, which reached the summit of the Billboard Hot 100 with its ode to its members’ intoxicating qualities “Like A G6,” is a wan bit of treacle that doesn’t really go anywhere–the verses trade off with hook-man Ryan Tedder’s control-c-control-v’d chorus until the piano loop runs out of tape and everything stops. But the song is impressive for the way it gathers five of the more execrable pop trends of 2010 into one four-minute package.

One of those big swoopy choruses that is pretty much impossible to pull off live. The American Music Awards were marked by singers embarking on octave-leaping hooks that sound empowering when coming out of a radio–Rihanna on “Love The Way You Lie,” Katy Perry on “Firework”–only to publicly demonstrate that live pitch-correction software has a long way to go. (You’d think watching even one episode of American Idol this season would teach people this lesson!) After seeing multiple examples of this cheap tactic utterly fail in a non-studio setting, it’s time to make a rule: Unless you’re Beyoncé or Kelly Clarkson or Joe Elliott, just don’t.

Ryan Tedder. The chorus’ wobble-inducing shot of HFCS is provided by the OneRepublic frontman, a.k.a. the guy who wrote “Halo” for Beyonceé, then rewrote and retitled it for Clarkson. He also bears at least partial responsibility for a good chunk of the Chris Cornell solo album, Ashley Tisdale’s F2K also-ran “He Said, She Said,” and James Blunt’s latest comeback single, which was just derivative enough to warrant a Bob Marley co-writing credit. (Tedder’s band also, gulp, released a blandly decent pop single this year, but I’m going to take that as the exception that proves his non-rule.)

Lazy retro. From the opening line, which references Back to the Future‘s final utterance, to the title, which maybe is supposed to make listeners think fondly of Jennifer Connelly, this song sure is steeped in my cohort’s adolescence. Aren’t all the dudes in this band supposed to be young enough that they hadn’t even reached zygote stage when these artifacts first hit the scene?

Hashtag rap. Kanye West coined this term during his epic Election Day interview with Funkmaster Flex:

We develop and change rap styles altogether. Look at the hashtag rap. That’s what we call it when we take the “like” or “as” out of a metaphor. “Flex sweater red. Fire truck.” Everybody raps like that … I still like that style, but this album we not even doing similes with ‘like’ or ‘as.’ It’s just a series of statements. We on some real, push the culture forward.

Kanye needs a bit of a refresher on the differences between “simile” and “metaphor,” but either way, this song sure does have bad examples of the form. And look, one of them is totally ’80s!

Go on the next level / Super Mario
I hope this works out / cardio
‘Til then let’s fly / Geronimo

Self-referentiality run amok. This song is full of bad lyrics, but the reminder of the band’s signature song is probably one of the most eyeroll-inducing bits. “Baby, we can stay fly like a G6 / Shop the streets of Tokyo, get you fly kicks,” one of the Movement members tells his intended. Let’s go over the lyrics to the referenced chart-topper for a second:

Sippin’ on, sippin’ on sizz, I’ma ma-make it fizz
Girl I keep it gangsta, poppin’ bottles at the crib
This is how we live, every single night
Take that bottle to the head, and let me see you fly

Hell yeah
Drink it up, drink, drink it up,
When sober girls around me, they be actin’ like they drunk
They be actin’ like they drunk, actin’-actin’ like they drunk
When sober girls around me actin’-actin’ like they drunk

I guess this reference to a single that is still essentially brand new is supposed to soothe a younger listener’s potential annoyance at not getting the “where we’re going we don’t need roads” callback at the beginning of the song?