The best of the worst Billboard hits of 2023 | The Triangle
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The best of the worst Billboard hits of 2023

Photo by Colston Raroha | The Triangle

Billboard’s Year End charts were shared following their Billboard Music Awards show on Nov. 19, which includes their list of the 100 most successful hits of the past year. Pop music fans can now look back at the biggest songs on the Hot 100 singles chart throughout 2023 and decide which ones to save, and which to block out for the rest of time. 

While the tracking year for the charts usually runs into November, this year’s tracking was cut short on the week of Oct. 21, making it only a 49-week tracking year (this notably bumps the “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” chart impact to next year). It could be assumed that this was for the sake of the Billboard Music Awards, since the announcement of this change was made in an article by Billboard detailing the award show nominees. 

In my opinion, the 2023 year-end Hot 100 is pretty unexciting. It lacks many standouts in both the great and the horrible songs, which made determining this list a bit harder. Overall, it leans more towards the bad than the good for me, possibly due to the heavy saturation of pop country, a genre I find very repetitive and ignorable. 

Top 5 best hits of 2023:

5. “Fast Car” – Luke Combs (#8 on the list) We can only hope that the younger generations become aware of the legacy that this song had before Combs covered it. In a year where country’s dominance was tainted by backwards politics (see Morgan Wallen and Jason Aldean’s success), it was great to see such a classic, relatable song about the working class struggle from a genuine woman like Tracy Chapman get revived, even if it was through the voice of another artist. 

4. “Nobody Gets Me” – SZA (#77 on the list) 

With “Kill Bill,” “Snooze” and “Shirt” all qualifying for this list, the ballad “Nobody Gets Me” stands out for its potent chorus melodies and harmonies. The song’s overall sound is reminiscent of something Kelly Clarkson or Leona Lewis would have sung in the 2000s (inevitably written by Ryan Tedder), except none of them would have said anything from SZA’s first verse on record. This spot goes more to SZA’s breakthrough year than any of her songs specifically; it is shocking how quickly a 23-track album became overplayed. 

3. “Sure Thing” – Miguel (#24 on the list) 

I remember seeing this song on the iTunes Store charts when I was a child… despite including two songs that were originally released more than a decade ago on this list, I do in fact like new music a lot. This 2010 single admittedly lacks in the verse lyrics, where Miguel reuses the same metaphor setup over and over. However, the irresistibly smooth instrumental and chorus are why this song is back in the first place. Also, it has now been six years since his last album “War and Leisure,” hopefully the next project is in the works.

2. “Just Wanna Rock” – Lil Uzi Vert (#28 on the list) 

Admittedly, this song is very overplayed at this point. It does not help that it is barely two minutes long either. However the raw energy and spacey atmosphere of this song are pure Uzi, who has always claimed to be from another planet. The “Jersey club” drumbeat this song uses has existed long before this song, but since when has it appeared within the top 30 on a Billboard Hot 100 year-end list? “Just Wanna Rock” is now up there with Uzi’s defining songs, and it sounds like nothing they have made before. 

1. “Boy’s A Liar, Pt. 2” – PinkPantheress and Ice Spice (#20 on the list) 

If there is a hit song that should define 2023, it is this. Similar to “Just Wanna Rock,” “Boy’s A Liar, Pt. 2” fuses electronic music, hip-hop and pop while also managing to sustain an underlying melancholy feeling that is exposed perfectly at the end of Ice Spice’s verse as the instrumental breaks down. With the help of producer Mura Masa, this song feels futuristic yet a bit nostalgic at the same time, a trait that PinkPantheress has been effortlessly good at achieving (while Dua Lipa attempted and only landed one side of it). Hopefully these artists will continue evolving their sounds and spawning more girly hits in the coming years.

Top 3 worst hits of 2023:

3. “Thank God” – Kane and Katelyn Brown (#23 on the list) 

Why does this give me “JERIKA” flashbacks? “Thank God” is the most offensively inoffensive, conveyor-belt, factory made song of the year. It is an instant skip. 

2. “Try That in a Small Town” – Jason Aldean (#66 on the list) 

On the other hand, “Try That in a Small Town” may be the biggest reason why pop country was tainted with underlying racism this year, while artists like Zach Bryan and Noah Kahan are being pushed, frantically trying to save face for their genre. Threatening violence with violence does not make one side correct, and filming a music video in front of a courthouse with well-known racist history will obviously strengthen a message. 

1. “Made You Look” – Meghan Trainor (#53 on the list) There was a brief moment in late 2022 when humanity was faced with the reality of a Meghan Trainor mainstream comeback. Luckily, the crisis was swiftly averted before the even worse “Mother” could touch the Hot 100, and the public snapped back to their senses. This song tapped into the icky, horn-embellished retro pop that plagued Trainor’s breakthrough hits in 2015, recreating that horrible style that was apparently not missed at all, given no one has tried to recreate it since. Also, the brand name-drops on the chorus are the worst hook of the year.