by Ryan Wasoba
Editor's Note: The end of 2012 is upon us, so we thought we'd put a cap on things by sharing some of our personal favorite shows, albums, events and general shenanigans. Join us as we indulge in some navel-gazing!
To wrap up the end-of-year coverage for Nitpick Six, here are the six most absurd pop songs of 2012. Here's to a Happy New Year, and to 365 days of new ridiculous radio songs pleading for your money and attention.
6. Three-way tie: The Lumineers - "Hey Ho" / Fun. (feat. Janelle Monae) "We Are Young" / Phillip Phillips - "Home"
None of these songs are absurd on their own, but none had any right to be spun between Katy Perry and Taio Cruz. The Lumineers' track is an easily-digested take on indie folk, Phillips' tune is a cover of a song that was too mediocre for the already mediocre Mumford & Sons to bother writing, and the Fun. track is decent but features the most wasted cameo ever. Each track represents the strangeness yet to come on pop radio, and each one is certainly disappointing to anybody flipping on Z107.7 to hear club jams.
5. Rihanna - "Diamonds"
Imaginary conversation during the recording of "Diamonds:" "Hey, Rihanna, that was great, but this time can you say the word 'bright' more like a robot-alien imitating a surprised Japanese school girl? Oh, you only have to do it once, we'll just loop it." You have to love songs that take longer to listen to than they took to record.
4. Nicki Minaj - "Starships" I am not enough of an authority on Nicki Minaj to dissect her entirely, but I do know the following: She is weird, "Starships" is kind of normal, and her attempt at normality therefore makes "Starships" weird. It is her most conventional song to date, and it has "motherfucker" in the chorus. Which is generally more accepted than her "dick in your face" line in "Come On A Cone," so maybe "Starships" is just a stepping stone on her way to writing "Call Me Maybe."
3. Ke$ha - "Die Young"
Ke$ha's "Die Young" suffered a huge drop in plays since the Sandy Hook tragedy in which way too many people died way too young. "Die Young" is one of those carpe diem tracks about a night at the club spent dancing inappropriately with somebody whose girlfriend is also present. This club must be enormous for Ke$ha to be able to get all up on this guy without his boo noticing. Some people have called "Die Young" inspirational, and in an interview with Ryan Seacrest, Ke$ha claimed this song was very spiritual to her. I can only imagine the religious catharsis she felt penning the line "That magic in your pants is making me blush."
2. Psy - "Gangnam Style"
I assume "Gangnam Style" is absurd. I've never heard it, never seen the video, and don't feel I need to. In fact, watching it now for the first time would feel disingenuous. There's something amazingly organic about this song's success, that it essentially made the charts based on people telling each other "You have to check this out." And now that "Gangnam Style" has topped Justin Bieber's "Baby" in the YouTube views rankings, Psy gets a second wave of support from Bieber haters. We'll call that the "Esmeralda Spalding Bump."
1. Bruno Mars - "Locked Out Of Heaven"
Bruno Mars has some good ideas here and there, but he has some serious quality control issues. He needs an editor. "Locked Out Of Heaven" is the year's most absurd song because it's so jumbled. Production from The Police's Synchronicity album, the "uhhh" from "Beat It," an uplifting chorus about finding transcendence, and the low-brow prechorus "Your sex takes me to paradise" that brings Mars down from the clouds and into the gutter. There was a plethora of unlikely cross-genre songs that snuck onto top 40 radio this year. It's a confusing time for pop musicians, and Mars is one of many who seem to just throw as much stuff against the wall as possible to see what sticks. If all the elements of "Locked Out Of Heaven" stuck, I'd hate to see what Bruno's trash can looks like.