[Insert obligatory summation of why the Hamster has been so quiet as of late, and please make sure the reader (you) is a least 4x less interested in the explanation than the writer (me).]
On to what really matters: the worst song of all time. And I’m not just throwing this hyperbolic headline out there for click-throughs, only to have the actual story take a much less controversial and somewhat unrelated stance (cough CNN cough Huffpo) – this is, in all likelihood, the worst song of all time. Where others have come up short (your Limp Bizkits, your Smash Mouths, your Tevin Campbells) Nelly has come through in spades.
I have no idea how to categorize this thing. It’s a pop-rap cluster fuck. It feels like what One Direction would sound like if they wore blackface. And if the sixth member was a speak n’ spell. It’s got it all.
For starters, he rhymes the same word with itself throughout the entire chorus and in almost every verse. You ask a six year old what rhymes with “cat” and he would probably say “bat” or “mat.” Nelly would say “cat.” Technically, I guess he’s right. But technically he’s also a moron.
In other parts of the song it feels like Nelly didn’t have enough words to fill up the space he needed, so he just kind of stretches the ones he has. Nelly turns “Back it up, let’s roll” into “B-b-back it up, let’s roll roll roll roll.” ‘Back’ is now three syllables. And when he was still short he just added some more rolls at the end. Apparently there are no rules about anything.
The whole idea behind the song is that he singing to both a girl and a car. The girl is named Porsche; the car is a, well, yeah. This allows Nelly to deftly craft innuendos around his premise, things that could apply to both the girl and the car, things like, “I wanna take your top off.” Or, “See how you handle while I’m cruising control.” I can’t decide which context that one makes less sense in.
But it’s not hard to pair dumb lyrics with a dumb concept. And dumb instrumentation. And a dumb echo that sounds like he is skyping on the track. But those reasons alone wouldn’t nearly be enough to put this song at the top of the bottom. This song is the worst ever because it’s Nelly. And this comes in two parts:
1.) Nelly has (had?) talent. I’m not saying he was ever that insightful, but he was good, and somewhat of a pioneer in the pop-rap genre. Not great, sure, but you can’t sit there and act like you never mumbled your way through “Country Grammar.” This new song hurts twice as bad because it’s such a departure from what he’s capable of.
2.) Nelly himself described this single as, “’Ride Wit Me’ meets 2013." Maybe that’s true, but it’s taking the worst of both. [Ride Wit Me was the third single off Nelly’s first album, released in 2000.] It feels like Nelly is creating not for himself but instead for whatever he thinks will get played on the radio. It results in this insincere, pandering, shell of something that can loosely be described as a song. This kind of nonsense is fine for your Rebecca Blacks and your Ke$ha’s – but for your seventh album? After you gave us ‘shimmy shimmy cocoa puffs?’ I mean that with as much sincerity as one can.
It’s not the first time this has happened – we’ve seen it with The Simpsons in trying force-incorporate the random, cheap flashbacks made so popular by Family Guy. Or maybe even with Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. It’s hard to bridge changing tastes and consistently live up to an initial bar of success you’ve set for yourself – but the worst thing you can do is to create something only thinking about what the audience will want. We don’t know what we want. We want to hear what you want to make. And that’s the real reason this paint by numbers radio single is the worst song ever. If you listen to it loud enough you can actually hear the selling out. It comes right before he gets into the "na-na's."
If you’ve got a better candidate I’m all ears.
Without further (though there was much) ado: