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>> IT WAS A GREAT YEAR FOR POPULAR MUSIC, BUT IT DIDN'T HAVE TO BE
The worst of 2012

 Damn you, Taylor Swift! You know I can't resist you in your sequined nutcracker outfit.
MICHAEL PROBST/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Date published: 12/6/2012

By Jonas Beals

AS SOMEONE WHO spends a great deal of time listening to music, I feel that I am in a good position to tell you what to listen to. I'm in an even better position to tell you what not to listen to.

As 2012's year in music reaches its coda, I feel comfortable naming the people who did their best to destroy the semblance of overall quality that so many other artists worked hard to create. For all the effort that genuine talents like Japandroids, Macklemore and Frank Ocean put in, there were insufferable hacks dicing up the airwaves with their claptrap.

I feel that annual best-of lists are often knee-jerk affairs that overlook the true masterpieces of the time. Great songs need months or years to mature into important works of art, but a bad song is just a bad song. You don't need too much time to figure that out, and you don't need to wait to call out the people responsible for them.

TAYLOR SWIFT

It would be very clever of me to embrace miss tween USA in a show of manly irony, but, like, that is exhausting. It's time the world recognized that we're in an abusive relationship with Swift. Every time we realize her insipid teen-angst lyrics are devoid of any real value, we're sucked back in by her damn catchy tunes. It's maddening, and it's time we stopped making excuses for her behavior.

FLO RIDA

Despite the worst emcee name in rap history, this guy gets himself on every pop guest list in the universe. Think of his name on a song as a service--a musical "Mr. Yuck" sticker. It's particularly useful when his is the only name on the track. "Whistle" might seem offensive because of its juvenile sexual single-entendres, but it's lyrics like: "Show me your perfect pitch / you got it my banjo," that make Mr. Rida a paragon of ineptitude.

KANYE WEST


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JONAS' IN-TOWN PICK: The Fredericksburg Jazz Collective's Live Jazz Jam at La Petite Auberge. Class up your life a little bit. Thursday at 9 p.m. OUT-OF-TOWN PICK: Japandroids at the Black Cat in Washington. You're probably getting sick of hearing me say it, but they are about as pure as rock gets right now. Friday at 9 p.m. LISTENING TO: "Death to My Hometown" by Bruce Springsteen. This one from "Wrecking Ball" has grown on me, becoming more defiant and determined with repeated listening.