2018. The year the world teetered on the edge of an uncertain future. It was a year of change for many things, including this music website itself. We started the year strong with articles on Slayer’s retirement, Smashing Pumpkins’ three-quarter-assed reunion, an April Fool’s Day special and even got a plug on Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal channel when I appeared on Into the Trivia Pit back in March. The rest of the year has gone in complete silence from this outlet, and that is because big new changes are on the horizon for 2019. So to tone down the website’s signature offensive writing style, this year we are not naming an award after a murderer, pedophile, terrorist or politician. No, this year’s award is in honor of Cannibal Corpse and former Nevermore guitarist Pat O’Brien. Just a short few weeks ago, the Florida Man and Cannibal Corpse guitarist was arrested for an armed burglary of a house which ended in him charging an officer with a knife. But because this Florida man is white, he lived and was jailed. Meanwhile, at Mr. O’Brien’s residence, a fire raged. Inside the house fire was a Grand Theft Auto character’s worth of flamethrowers, assault rifles, shotguns and ammunition. This happened two days after Cannibal Corpse were announced as the opening band on Slayer’s 2019 leg of it’s retirement tour. The whole thing was so insane, you couldn’t even make it up, and it occurred to a damn fine guitarist who seemingly had his shit together based on prior accounts. So this countdown of the three worst songs of the year is for you Pat, you earned this title.
Like all previous installments of this, I will not sit here and list off the songs on the new Panic at the Disco or Imagine Dragons albums. It has to be something I actually heard the entirety of.
3. Weezer – Can’t Knock the Hustle
I believe this is three in a row for Weezer. For three straight years, Weezer has made it onto our offensive year’s end lists. In 2016, Weezer’s “Thank God for Girls” took home the Jared Fogel Award for Song Most Likely to Offer an Underage Teenager Unprotected Sex in Exchange for a Shitty Subpar Sandwich. In 2017, Weezer earned themselves a James Alex Fields Jr. Award for Song Most Likely to Drive a Car into a Crowd of Innocent Bystanders with their song “Feels Like Summer”. Just like doomed history, failing ever more repetitive in 2018, Weezer is back with “Can’t Knock the Hustle”, a song that is disappointingly not a cover of Jay-Z’s 1996 classic from back when Jay-Z didn’t completely suck. Weezer is not even making rock music, they are making plasticine trend-hopping forced together pop fodder with no discernible audience imaginable. The soul singers in the chorus, “so wacky and random!” but just horrifyingly out of place and useless. It adds nothing. Rivers’ monotonous, dry, dumb delivery against some sort of 2010’s indie funk-soul style track is awful. A pointless section in Spanish. Yet another dumb meme music video with Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy as an Uber driver. Now there’s someone else whose music currently sucks and has had the exact same career trajectory as Weezer, only Fall Out Boy was always bad and only got worse over time. The worst part of this song though is when Rivers says “don’t step to me bitch” in a stock 2000’s radio rap style delivery. Why? Why continue trying to make music even worse than before Weezer?
2. Weezer – Zombie Bastards
In a horrifying vision of the future, Weezer gives us a glimpse of their upcoming 2019 album with the first single “Zombie Bastards”. Right from the beginning, it’s already fucking horrifying with “Die die die you zombie bastards”, only instead of say, Misfits-era Glenn Danzig belting that out and sounding like hell, this sounds like an indie song in a credit card commercial or the Arrested Development theme song. Then a hip hop beat comes in. Let’s see, we’ve got Rivers Cuomo singing those lyrics over a ukulele set to a hip hop beat, and I’ve made it 20 seconds into this thing. Can I stop now? When the chorus comes, it becomes Imagine Dragons-lite electronic pop “rock”. Of fucking course, everybody’s doing it, so of course Weezer is also doing it. Remember how I said Weezer wasn’t even making rock music with “Can’t Stop the Hustle”? Well, this is continuing in that path and both of these songs will be included on Weezer’s upcoming 12th album, titled Weezer (The Black Album). One can only imagine how unspeakably bad Weezer’s music will be once they reach their Load/RELoad cycle, hopefully Weezer will go as long as Metallica do between new albums from now on. For the record, I made it 56 seconds into “Zombie Bastards” before I turned it off, and I will never finish the other three and a half minutes on purpose.
1. Weezer – Africa
And let’s congratulate 2018’s first place winner for the Pat O’Brien Award for Song of 2018 Most Likely to Attack You in Your Home Whilst His Burns Down, Weezer, for their cover of the song “Africa” by Toto. In what is a baffling unpopular opinion these days, I actually do not like “Africa” by Toto. This song is cheesy 80’s soft rock to the core, and why it’s suddenly getting a positive reevaluation in recent times is beyond me. “Experts” even claim it’s on trajectory to overthrow “Don’t Stop Believing” for the king of 80’s cornball rock meme status. So the appeal of Weezer doing a near carbon-copy cover of this song is far below zero for me, it’s past the point of -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit which is theoretically impossible. Weezer have their own meme video here too with Weird Al as Rivers and someone who isn’t Matt Sharp on the bass guitar in a recreation of the music video for “Undone (The Sweater Song)”, which was of course a song better than anything Weezer has put out since the year 2001, let alone this year. Weird Al is appropriate for two reasons, one being that Weezer’s current output is beyond parody, and the other because Weird Al’s parody is what he brings to the table when he covers a song. Weezer brings nothing. They’re a parody of themselves at this point. Weezer originally covered Toto’s other hit that isn’t “Hold the Line”, “Rosanna”, but then according to the band, “the internet demanded Africa”, more specifically a Twitter user in Cleveland. I fucking hate this person, you have brought more shame upon Cleveland than Lebron James, Art Modell, Hue Jackson and Ariel Castro combined. If we can blame the internet for birthing this song, then we can blame the internet for burying this song. What if we could convince the internet that “Africa” is a song mocking Africa? Why would Weezer decide to sing a song mocking Africa, a place known for vast deserts and widespread famine? “Bless the rains down in Africa”? Is that supposed to be a fucking joke? Get outraged and offended, and sign my petition to ban Weezer’s cover of “Africa” from radio rotation, and while you’re there, also sign my petition to replace “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with “Cold Outside” by Raekwon the Chef and Ghostface Killah.
Also, of course “Africa” ended up being Weezer’s biggest success since “Beverly Hills”, hitting #1 on the Alternative Songs chart in the US and #51 on The Billboard Hot 100 pop songs chart, tying “Perfect Situation” and outpeaking the #57 “Undone (The Sweater Song)”. This joke has gone on long enough. Weezer, please retire and give it up. You haven’t made a great album since your second album, and you haven’t made a good album in nearly 20 years. The backlash against you has grown so great, it has become immortalized in pop culture in an SNL skit featuring Matt Damon.
The time has come to take Rivers Cuomo out back behind the shed with the shotgun. Weezer has completely shut out this year’s award ceremony and has walked away winning all three awards this year. To compensate for the lack of variety, tomorrow we will publish a separate category, the Rivers Cuomo Award for Worst Song of 2018: Non-Weezer division. Whatever you do, do not support Weezer or the works of Rivers Cuomo released after 2002.