“Whip My Hair” by Willow

Roughly circa 2009-2010, there was a particularly horrible trend (launched by producer Bangledesh) to create a memorable hook without actually bothering to write catchy music by repeating a simple fragmented verbal phrase ad infinitum. This produced such mind-numbing garbage as Beyonce’s “Diva” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “Imma Be”, and it took this universally hated song, easily the worst and most annoying to ever ride the trend, to effectively kill it. I suppose I should be grateful for that, but I just feel sorry for little Willow Smith. I mean, she didn’t write this song, she presumably didn’t pick it out, but she’s currently largely associated in people’s minds with singing one of the most annoying songs in history, and she’ll probably stay that way until she manages to do something else noteworthy, which could take a while. I blame her father, Hollywood legend Will Smith—he presumably didn’t intend this pop-singer gig to wind up serving as a smear campaign for his own daughter, but with his background in the entertainment industry, he has no excuse for not knowing better when he actually heard this song. He’s released his own share of bad music back in the day, granted, but there’s stupid novelty crap like “Gettin’ Jiggy With It”, and then there’s stuff that can actually wreck someone’s career. This song wasn’t even a hit of any real magnitude…it peaked at no. 11 on the charts, but it never made a Year-End 100 for either of the years it straddled, and it gained far more attention as a focal point for widespread hatred than as any kind of actual success. And people haven’t forgotten it, either…none of the horrible songs from 2010 except “Hey Soul Sister” are on the radio much these days, but many are remembered essentially as memes and stock quotations, as legends of how bad a song can get, and this one is particularly persistent. I guess that’s what you get when you create a hook that is so purely painful as noise, yet so repetitive and simplistic that it achieves a perverse kind of catchiness that never lets anyone who’s heard it completely escape from it. This whole endeavor was just cruel…cruel for the largely innocent nine-year-old girl who had to be associated with it, but even more, cruel to every poor human being who ever had the misfortune to listen to it.

Verdict: Bad.

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