Songs that make you go hmmm took no holiday during the second year of the pandemic. Libs-owning country? Check. Gay-baiting hip-hop? Sure, we had that. Anti-vax rock? It’s practically become its own subgenre — why not? Defiantly rabble-rousing songs from Kid Rock, DaBaby, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Aaron Lewis and Brantley Gilbert weren’t exactly the height of fun or enlightenment in 2021. Fortunately, there were still songs whose questionable qualities could make us smile as we wondered how fine a line there is between naivete and the avant-garde, like newcomer Sarah Brand’s puzzling but delightful keeper. Competition was fierce for these honors, but here are some of the worst (or most virally divisive) tunes from the year we’re kicking to the curb.
(If you want to see a list of the best songs of the year, meanwhile, click here.)