Songs we need to retire in 2017
by Kathryn Kyte
January 5, 2017
We couldn't escape Twenty One Pilots in 2016. Here's hoping 2017 is different.
2016 year, like any year, produced songs that on first listen were strikingly addictive, but became overplayed—fast. And then there are the songs that are instantly cringeworthy; sure, it’s subjective, and there’s a reason why “popular” music can go from enjoyable to annoying, but let us rejoice together in hopes that those annoying tracks become lost to the airplay abyss.
Here are 9 songs from 2016 – some we loved, others we didn’t – that we think it’s time to retire for 2017.
Twenty One Pilots – “Heathens”
It feels fitting to start the list off with the song that no one could escape hearing this year. No one. “Heathens” is about being a reject; someone who doesn’t belong. It was also pretty much the theme song for the most hyped (but ultimately disappointing) DC franchise film Suicide Squad. The song has earned three Grammy nominations, so although it should be left in the 2016 vault, 2017 may keep it on playlists – hopefully only for a short while. “Heathens” falls in line with same the “Call Me Maybe” of years’ past; a song that we all can recite, even if we don’t want to admit it.
The Strumbellas – “Spirits”
This song was released in 2015, but the official video was released this year, and the song is still being looped on radio, so we’re including it on the list. There are songs that as soon as the first chord and first word is sung make your body go into a gut-sinking paralysis – “Spirits” is one of them. The Strumbellas sing in a similar vein to that of the Lumineers, where folk and country are blended, and you’d think this concoction help make the song more tolerable, but it doesn’t. Sure, the song is sad, and talks about ill-wanting thoughts and spirits that “won’t go,” which is relatable to some, but that doesn’t cripple the eardrums any less.
Rae Sremmurd – “Black Beatles”
It’s nearly impossible to think or hear this song without trying to be part of the latest (it’s over now, right?) craze—the Mannequin Challenge. It’s only been out officially since September, but three months of this looping track attached to every challenge video is three months too long. With lyrics like “she think she love me/I think she trollin’” and “a yellow b*tch with green hair, a real weirdo” plus live performances like this are further reasons why this song should be put to bed… in a deep, deep grave.
Coleman Hell – “2 Heads”
It seems that when a new Canadian artist comes out with a quasi-new sound, their song gets bled dry in the music rotation. Coleman Hell’s “2 Heads” is 2016’s equivalent of 2013’s “Stompa” by Serena Ryder, or Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”— you know instantly it’s going to be overplayed because of its ability to land on multiple charts and multiple streams. If you can go an entire day without hearing this song on commercial radio it would be an incredible feat. Thing is: the Thunder Bay-native is actually likeable, so it makes it hard to crassly exile the song, but a quick death wouldn’t be terrible.
Kings of Leon – “Waste a Moment”
Maybe it’s because 2016 doesn’t have room for KOL, or maybe it’s because this song sounds identical to their earlier songs, but for whatever reason, “Waste a Moment” is just that: a wasted moment. Taken from their 2016 album WALLS, the single was written by the four brothers with Caleb’s recognizable voice funnelling it out, but there’s something too polished and predictable about it. “Waste A Moment” may only be three minutes long, but it’s three minutes too long. If only it was 2008 and ANY song from Only by the Night was being played instead. Ah, nostalgia.
July Talk – “Push + Pull”
July Talk are a great band, no question, and the sentiment behind “Push + Pulls” speaks about over consumption and the excessive “more” we crave in life, which is quality subject matter no doubt. It’s a great concept, speaking the truths of our “western excess” mentality, and while hearing Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay’s crass-to-sultry vocal exchanges are fun, the song has lost its initial va-va-voom. The video, which was directed by Nadia Tan (Arkells, Bry Webb) shows various people acting out this “western excess” in their own way, which again is cool and all, but the chorus cements your brain so much that even when you’re sleeping you’re screeching “waaaait.”
Arkells –“Drake’s Dad”
Canadian radio loves the Arkells almost as much as we do. Having a song with reference to Drake’s dad was an a smart attention grabber, but was it really needed? We still haven’t retired “Leather Jacket,” and now we have “Drake’s Dad” to add to the list. Kerman’s vocals chisel through a catchy orchestra-inducing chorus, and don’t daunt the soul, so bonus points there. Plus they actually did meet Drake’s dad, so there’s a story to go with it. But surely the Arkells are as tired of talking about how they met Drake’s dad as we are hearing about it.
Lukas Graham – “7 Years”
As the year’s most downloaded song on iTunes, “7 Years” catapulted the Danish band into the spotlight. The song details various stages in life, providing proclamations stemming from a group that was pretty much unknown last year at this time. While it may have been ridiculously overplayed, at least it was a song that had some meaningful lyrics, unlike other excessively downloaded tracks (*cough* “Closer” by Chainsmokers). Still, it’s time for a new song, guys – we got the point.
The Zolas – “Swooner”
“Swooner” had some appeal upon first, listen but its hook has overdone its welcome, and Canada needs a break. The song seemingly brings you into other band’s territory instead of their own, and production value, while clean, is quite manufactured and, dare we say, boring?