If 2011 had one takeaway, it was this: It’s really, really easy to write a song that’s by-the-numbers lousy. Rebecca Black’s “Friday,” the mushmouthed ode to getting down on the weekends, is a prime example; made on a budget, it nonetheless had enough brain-sticking properties to get inside the heads of thousands of Americans, making people wonder just what, exactly, was happening as their mouths formed the words Black was singing. But there are tons of other garden-variety bad tracks out there, from the lead single off that last Red Hot Chili Peppers album to Rihanna’s loop-de-loop “We Found Love” to Karmin’s whiteface raps.
And since flipping the proverbial dial to something, anything, else is easier than ever these days, it’s even less of an achievement for a song to be bad. To succeed—to scale the heights and be the best of the worst in 2011—a song had to infuriate, to cause a reaction so visceral that listening to the offending piece of music in its entirety was the only way to properly “appreciate” its awfulness. To that end, Sound of the City presents the 11 most infuriating songs of 2011. Our first, least-worst entry is below.
The Song: Kreayshawn, “Gucci Gucci.”
The Crimes: Etsy classism, meta-enabling chorus, the complete charisma void at its center.
Ah, May. What an innocent time that was, when Kreayshawn was just an Odd Future/Lil B supporting cast member who was indistinguishable from her partner in video crime Lil Debbie. Then, somehow, “Gucci Gucci” exploded all over the Internet, with listeners either cottoning on to the Oakland rapper’s Etsy snobbery (because, of course, people who can pay for the really nice stuff from Gucci Gucci Louie Louie Fendi Fendi Prada, or who at least have time to dig through the thrifts for vintage pieces, don’t let you know about their achievements via visible logos) or completely misunderstanding the ironic intent of the chorus’s flossing and proudly displaying their brand allegiances.
No matter what the initial intent, the Summer Of Kreay slogged on through the year’s hottest months, with the Internet arguing over the meaning of her affectless rapping and her associates’ racial slurs, her getting whiny and defensive on Twitter at those people who dared call her out, and—finally, depressingly—her talking smack about Rick Ross, then backing down once she was within his sights, only to taunt him once more while safely behind her own computer screen. That whole series of events was a sort of tabloid-blog Xerox of what makes “Gucci Gucci” so awful awful: It’s a series of weakly flung taunts from a scared young woman who has absolutely nothing to back up her boasts, save a puffed-up sense of self-worth that evaporates as soon as she’s out of her element, or even in the same room as the person who she’s positioning herself against. Which is not to knock people in need of a self-confidence boost—just to say that maybe the best way to go about getting it isn’t to make fun of others’ fashion sense and purchasing power, since those are the sorts of virtues that can evaporate into a puff of smoke faster than you can tweet “that shit kreay.” Especially if you can’t rap worth a lick. (That line about swag and ovaries might be the most overrated boast of the year, a worse biological metaphor even than Janet Jackson calling herself “heavy like a first-day period” five years back.)
When Kreayshawn came back for a second go at performing in New York earlier this year, Jeff Rosenthal noted that she played “Gucci Gucci” twice in a row to close out her show. It’s probably not a coincidence that Jay-Z and Kanye West, shortly thereafter, took to ending their Watch The Throne sets with multiple plays of “Dudes In Paris”—11 on the tour’s final night. You think they were trying to clear the room of self-proclaimed “bad bitches”?
The 11 Most Infuriating Songs Of 2011
11. Kreayshawn, “Gucci Gucci”
10. will.i.am feat. Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez, “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)”
9. Katy Perry feat. Missy Elliott, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) (Remix)”
8. Tyler, The Creator, “Bitch Suck Dick”
7. Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera, “Moves Like Jagger”
6. Bon Iver, “Holocene”
5. Rihanna, “S&M”
4. Brian McFadden, “Just The Way You Are (Drunk At The Bar)”
3. [White Person], [White Person Cutely/”Seriously” Performing Urban-Radio Hit]
2. Lana Del Rey, “Video Games”
1. Jessie J, “Price Tag”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 19, 2011