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Musical Maelstrom (October '23) - Season 3, Week 40-43 (3D, First Person Shooter 🔫, ten)

Hey guys, welcome back to Monthly Musical Maelstrom!

Okay, we're only a month or so behind, piece of cake! If you've read the last few of these, you know what to expect, and if you haven't:

On to October!!!

Week 40 (Oct 6th - 13th)

Title: 3D by Jung Kook (Ft. Jack Harlow)

Position: #15

Jung Kook's continued success has been a marvel to behold this year! Previous artists in his genre (including other BTS members) have had similar huge debuts, but have tended to drop off fairly quickly on most anglophone charts. But Seven gained a much stronger foothold in Irish pop than a lot of his contemporaries, so I was curious how he would follow it up. And as a pleasant surprise, it's actually a marked improvement across the board!

I think the hook's stronger, Jung Cook is noticeably suaver, the groove on this blends really well with the vocal production, sounding much closer to the artist he's trying to emulate - Bruno mars - and honestly, I do think that Jack Harlow's verse is mostly really damn good. Sure, I do question why he would liken a girl to a dead body he found in the woods, purely because it gets him to call his friends to "come look"(?), but it's still funny, and I also enjoyed the little scheme where he calls himself a whore, flipping the genders where he would normally be referred to as a player.

It's just fun, catchy as Hell, and overall really solid. It kind of makes me wish that it would stick around or gain traction the way that Seven did. Seeing when it was released, it's unlikely, but I can hope and dream for a second wind! Maybe I'll get lucky.

Title: American Town by Ed Sheeran

Position: #46

So I haven't really touched on Ed Sheeran's new album Autumn Variations before now. And there's a good reason for that, because especially as someone who really loved - (Subtract), I did find it to be a step down. It's not as catchy, nor as genuinely emotional, where the "sad" songs have lower stakes and the love songs are missing the unique flair that Ed usually brings to them.

That being said, I do get the impression online that some people didn't listen to the full project, and Ed Sheeran is still a likable presence who can sell even the more basic love songs with an inexplicable charm. Good thing too, because there's not much else to this first song. Don't get me wrong, it's sweet and the hook is undeniably quite strong, but while I like the rhythmic tapping and Ed Sheeran's multitracked vocals, it's nowhere near as ambitious as a similar love songs like Afterglow. The imagery feels much more perfunctory - with the exception of the dungarees line - and I feel like he could have done a lot more with the concept of an English girl in an American town, there are so many more references he could have pulled on!

Still, for what it is, it's not bad. I just think it feels like too much of an early draft rather than a finished song. Pretty good, but there's better on the album.

Title: Baby Doll by Dominic Fike

Position: #60

So this particular Dominic Fike song got big a long time after its initial release of 2018, primarily due to getting some TikTok traction. And look, I'm someone who does get the appeal of Dominic Fike, but also finds themself recoiling reflexively whenever I hear his smarmy voice, so no, I wasn't exactly looking forward to this. And yeah, it's kind of more of the same.

He's got this smug, slightly reedy quality in his voice, similar to The Kid LAROI, with the same attitudes towards a lot of his relationships with women. But he's also got this faux swagger that almost convinces you that he's not crippled under his own insecurities... ALMOST! And that's really how I feel about this. Any song where you call a girl "baby-doll" is automatically going to be fighting an uphill battle as is, and this song just does NOT do enough to justify its own existence.

The chorus meanders lecherously, the chord progression sounds progressively more artificial with all the extra filters and effects slathered throughout the mix, and Dominic Fike himself is not exactly a presence that can sell any of it convincingly. Whenever the hook hits, it sounds like whatever the OPPOSITE of "Hey there fellow kids" might be! It automatically exudes serious boomer energy, despite being MY age! And I'm NOT old! ... Bad song, next!

Title: Atomic City by U2

Position: #64

Some of my newer readers might be a little shocked to see a U2 song debuting on the mainstream charts in 2023, but they've always been working away in the background, despite the fact that they haven't had a proper hit in years. And to be honest, I haven't had the most fun covering them on this series. They are a band that I absolutely LOVED growing up, one of the first bands I ever really got into, and yet their more modern, 2010s-and-beyond material has felt increasingly disposable, usually tied into some soundtrack or sports event. So colour me surprised when the promotional single for their ongoing Las Vegas concert turns out to be kind of great?

Now let's be clear, I don't think this stands among their very best. Bano's vocals are a little too quiet in the mix at points compared to the thundering instrumentation, the influences are VERY obvious - think Call Me by Blondie meets London Calling by The Clash - even if they've stated it's supposed to be a tribute to those bands. But while the lyrics don't reach their political highs or even their catchiest rock hits, they're still well-written ("If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough."), and that chorus goes OFF! Plus the instrumentation is phenomenal, with great drums anchoring the mix, strong guitar licks that support a multitude of melodies, including a fantastic little solo in the middle - I said before that it sounds like Blondie, but that's only a compliment!

Again, I don't think I'll call this a classic anytime soon, and considering when it was released, I don't know if it'll grown on me enough by the end of the year to make any sort of year-end list, but I will say it's the best song they've released in a very long time. Great work guys!

Title: You Should Probably Leave by Chris Stapleton

Position: #81

Awww I've missed you, Chris Stapleton! In the year where country seems to be bigger than ever on the international level, his talent has been sorely missing, a singer who is so consistently solid that I sometimes forget just how fantastic he is until he drops something that absolutely knocks me off my feet. And spoilers, while THIS wasn't the Chris Stapleton song that did that for me this year - see my most recent MMM video - it's still a terrific one!

A song from his... Jesus, 2020 album! - this track is a perfect representation of why Starting Over has held up so well over the past couple of years, it's honestly aged even better than I expected! A burnished, very earnest song, where Chris Stapleton spends a lovely night with this woman who seems all too intent on sleeping with him, even though they both know it's a bad idea, as they've been down this road many times before. It's basically Last Night if it sounded good and wasn't written by a man-child, which is why he tells her the last thing either of them want to hear, hence the title. Even though it's made clear that this show of sensible maturity is only putting off the inevitable.

It's genuinely great, with very deft and simple songwriting., the simmering guitar and organ are fantastic, Chris Stapleton sounds just as amazing as always - still one of the best singers working today - and while no, I don't think it's quite up there with the best songs in this album - Watch You Burn is still one of the best songs of this decade so far, and Maggie's Song still brings a tear to my eye - still so great to see this here!

Title: Magical by Ed Sheeran

Position: #95

See, I think this perfectly encapsulates my issues with Autumn Variations. It's VERY pretty, with the multitracked guitars and vocals, and the very heartfelt, sweet tone to the songwriting is endearing. But where it loses me is in the simplistic chord progression and rather basic songwriting, missing Ed's usual quirkiness that characterises his best-known love songs. Say what you will about Shape Of You, it's more memorable than Perfect (I still love both songs by the way).

And that's just it: Magical feels it's the low-effort template that a lot of Ed's haters associate with his music, generalising him as "basic" to fit their narrative. And I also think that the whimsical air doesn't work for what the song is trying to do; Ed Sheeran can sell awe, but he has to rise up to meet it full-force, not just wallow behind so many vocal filters.

In other words, it feels too anonymous to be an Ed Sheeran song, and while again, it's NOT representative of the full album, I do see why hearing this would turn you off of checking the project out. And especially for his indie debut, I think it deserves and needs better representation - thoughts on pushing Plastic Bag as a single?

Title: Mosquito by PinkPantheress

Position: #98

As of writing this, I've actually heard the full PinkPantheress album this is from, so I'd heard Mosquito plenty of times outside of the context of the weekly charts before today. And honestly, I think that's both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, I think that the added context and themes of the album give the song a lot of pathos. This apologetic tone to everything PinkPantheress says in her sweet voice, desperately hoping not to be a nuisance to her partner, dreaming of all the ways that she can please him, and even having a dream that she DIED, and only feeling bad about it because she left him alone! It's clearly a very toxic relationship with an imbalance of power dynamics, where she's likely going to scare him off, or he's into it, which is worse, all of which ties into the themes of the album. On the other hand, compared to some of the more luscious or intricate instrumentals on Heaven knows, I do think that this one feels a little bit surface-level at times, and I don't think the hook hits quite as hard as some of the catchier songs on the album, including boy's a liar.

But you know what, as a single, it sets the tone for the album much better than that one did, giving you a clear idea of the concept to expect before you listen to the whole thing. I would recommend listening to this, for the record, it's a good listen. I just think that there are better songs off of the album, that's all.

And with that, we're at the end of our first week, and a pretty chill one at that. Worst of this week was easy: Baby Doll by Dominic Fike makes my skin crawl, quite possibly more than anything he put out in 2023. And while Best is certainly tougher, I'm going to give it to You Should Probably Leave by Chris Stapleton, for being so charmingly mature and sounding so immaculate; there are better songs on the album, and U2 and Jung Kook both came quite close, but I'm such a sucker for that man's.gorgeous voice.

Week 41 (Oct 13th - 20th)

Title: First Person Shooter by Drake (Ft. J. Cole)

Position: #7

So this is what we're doing today? I still think The Off-Season is J. Cole's best album, with his best hooks, best production, best bars, the lot! So my expectations for him are higher than they used to be. And if he's going to be hopping on a track with Drake, netting his first EVER number 1 hit in the process, I'm just praying that he brings Aubrey up to HIS level, rather than the other way around.

And... well, we didn't get either scenario. instead, while I do think Drake does an okay job here, with only a couple of corny lines - bragging about having girls' numbers "packed in your phone like sardines" genuinely made me laugh and NOT with you, Drake - J. Cole just eats him alive here! The multiple flows across one verse, only stopping when the beat switches on him, the braggadocious lines about being on top of the game - "Muhammad Ali, the one that they call when they shit ain't connectin' no more, feel like I got a job in IT" KILLED me! - generously placing Drake up there next to him on his pedestal at the tip-top of rap (and Kendrick, but he has yet to quite earn those lofty heights for me), and even teases The Fall-Off AGAIN, can you please just drop it while you still have my interest?!

To be clear though, I think these 2 both sound very comfortable on here, with good chemistry and mostly decent bars. Honestly, even though I preferred the first instrumental, and the beat switch reminds me a fair bit of Lil Uzi's Just Wanna Rock, that's not a bad thing.

So yeah, with some cool production, some good lines, quite a lot of repetition, but also a lot of genuine charisma, this turns out to be a pretty good song. I wouldn't call it amazing - Drake holds it back for me - but it's close to the best outcome I could have expected from these 2 collaborating.

Title: IDGAF by Drake (Ft. YEAT)

Position: #34

So this is the thing about the new Drake album: if you can ignore the misogyny - and I mean a LOT of it - most of the songs are actually not bad. That being said, it's hard for me to escape the many bars of Drake shaming the women that he's sleeping with, a formula that's always been lingering in the background of his discography, but which REALLY came in to sharp focus on his 21 Svage collab last year Her Loss. But yeah, all of this to say that msot of the album SOUNDS fine... with a couple of noteable exceptions: Drake's awful falsetto on Slime You Out and ALL of IDGAF!!!

Because yeah, this is easily the worst song on the album, it's TRASH! The pretty vocals and soulful production that opened it up had potential, but then in one of the most jarring transitions I've heard in ages, the beat switches to these ugly, buzzing synths, all leading this dull, monotone hook. Then there's Drake's haphazard flow, where he tries to brag that he always raps about real life, while evryone else is always spitting fiction. Well, your life sounds really fucking boring.

And don't even get me started on YEAT, who sounds so fucking anonymous with the waves and waves of vocal production that I just checked out immediately. I hear this guy's actually built a bit of a name for himself in 2023, and good for him, but based on this, I can't imagine why! So yeah, one of the worst songs Drake's dropped in a while. This just sucks

Title: Virginia Beach by Drake

Position: #10

And then you have this, one of the most praised songs from For All The Dogs, and which for me, falls somewhere in the middle of the 2 tracks. In some ways I like it a lot, a pretty harrowing portrayal of a relationship where there was once love, but now it's just turned to compromise and staying together more for the functional aspect, reminiscing wistfully about the times when there was an actual spark there.

It's one of the few moments where Drake accusing women of staying with him for the money actually has some pathos, because it's clear that it wasn't always the case. Where the song loses me a bit is the production; the Franbk Ocean sample is kind of sloppily incorporated, the buzzing throughout the mix lends the song this fuzzy, hazey feeling that MIGHT be intentional, but just doesn't sound all that good.

But still, as a lyrics guy, that is pretty decent. I don't know if I'd call it "good", but it's certainly one of the better songs on the album.

Title: NRG by Jazzy

Position: #28

You know something? The first time I heard this, my first thought was "wow, this sounds like a Belters Only song", before I even realised it was by Jazzy! Because why would I?! She's a completely anonymous presence on everything she sings! It also apparently wasn't produced by the Irish duo at all, but by Jacob Manson, who I mainly know for his work with a lot of UK rappers like KSI, Digga D and ArrDee.

And credit where it's due, I don't think this is bad. In fact, there are moments where I honestly think Jazzy might show some potential as a performer, because she's clearly trying to put a little bit more feeling into this song, wanting to find someone who can give her that energy, feel that love pumping through her body. It's just a shame that she sounds so naturally flat and emotionless, which means that the energy that this hook is chasing really isn't there.

Now again, outside of that, the song's okay. The beat's very basic, but once the hook hits, it's pretty head-bopping. And that's honestly my best recommendations for this: if this came on at a club, I'd probably sway along with a couple of drinks in my hands on the way to or from the bar. But it wouldn't be the kind of song that would make me put those drinks down and go ham on the dance floor. You get what I'm saying?

Title: She Calls Me Back by Noah Kahan (Ft. Kacey Musgraves)

Position: #38

So I've been nicer to Noah Kahan that a lot of other critics, praising him on multiple occasions for his very confessional songwriting, knack for good melodies, and despite some inconsistent or bland production, generally his very pleasant and acoustic sound. But She Calls Me Back has always been a tricky one for me, a song that I personally think is just a little TOO needy in the wrong way, even if it is all clearly intentional.

On the track, he's so insecure that he constantly needs the validation of this girl calling him back, leaving her long messages and waiting with baited breath for her to return his call. Coming from a culture that basically NEVER calls anyone whenever we can help it, that is not something I remotely want to relate to, even at my worst moments! But you know what, bringing in Kacey Musgraves here, providing the girlfriend's perspective as she exasperatedly finds herself calling him back again and again, trying to give him some sense of security but slowly realizing that this isn't going to work, that's both cathartic and self-aware enough to justify this remix's existence a lot more than the original, tragically comical in a way that does make me smile.

Even still though, I don't think it quite elevates the song to being good just yet. The production really doesn't flatter either of their voices, especially not Noah Kahan's, and if there's 1 thing that needed upgrading more than the wonky framing, it was that. Plus, as much as I enjoy Kacey's addition here, part of me would rather the song was just originally better enough to make you sympathise with his toxicity alone, Dial Drunk knew how to do that. So yeah,good remix, but I wouldn't exactly call it a good song just yet.

Title: Normal People Things by Lovejoy

Position: #55

So some of my more eagle-eyed viewers might be wondering why I didn't include this song in my monthly wrap up of the best tracks of October. Honestly speaking, I don't actually think this song is all that great? At least not when compared to a lot of Lovejoy's other material this year.

Don't get me wrong, I still think it's pretty fun. It's really refreshing to hear a song like this on the charts, a guitar- and drum-heavy song that just goes OFF into these careening patterns, with subject matter about 2 incredibly sad and toxic people finding each other and enabling each other's weird-ass tendencies. And to be clear, it's not played for sadness or even love - though it is weirdly sweet - if anything it's played for comedy, seeing what these 2 consider to be "normal people things" to do. I genuinely think the few lines where he talks about giving himself a rash while shaving, but not wanting to let the "weak skin win", it's all genuinely funny.

But my issue with the song is that it's a lot of bombast with very little payoff. The melody and hook just aren't as sticky as they were on all of their last EP. And while again, the songwriting is good, the song also isn't long enough to allow the writing to flesh itself out, there's barely any of those funny joke lines in here. It's mostly just repetition of the same few bars, which they can make work, but just not enough to be considered among their best. I still appreciate their creativity, but I think this could have used another coat of paint, that's all

Title: Si No Estás by iñigo quintero

Position: #84

Okay, this is kind of weird. A piano ballad by Spanish artist Iñigo Quintero, who as far as I can tell was a complete unknown from Galicia before this. It first started gaining some attention on TikTok over in Spain, then crossed over to some other Spanish-speaking countries... and then suddenly it's peaking a number 1 in multiple countries, including Spain, but also Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Jesus Christ what the fuck is going on?!

Well, honestly... nothing? If anything, I'd say its success is incredibly organic, as its TikTok presence remained solid for just long enough for the radio to pick it up and run with it. After all, it's a piano ballad where the lyrics aren't all that deep, where he got his heart broken and eventually had to find himself again, including through religion and spirituality. Hope he stays on the safe side of those! The public loves this type of stuff, just look at Tom Odell's success!

But ultimately, that's really about it. And don't get me wrong, Iñigo is a pretty decent singer, and it's refreshing to hear one of these songs get big without relying on the anglophone crossover, I always appreciate that! But considering where Tom Odell's material seems to be heading these days... yeah, I don't want his younger Spanish counterpart to go through that.

So quite an ionteresting bunch of songs to choose from, and I have to say I'm a little shocked. Because while Drake easily wins Worst of the week for IDGAF with YEAT, I'm also giving him Best of the week for First Person Shooter with J.Cole. Even if you very easily argue that it got there more for J. Cole than for him, I think that's the first time an artist has won Best and Worst in the same week. The proudest among all of your many achievements, I'm sure, Drake.

Week 42 (Oct 20th - 27th)

Title: One of Your Girls by Troye Sivan

Position: #11

So Troye Sivan's latest album Something to Give Each Other dropped, and as I've said before, I think it's really good. Sure, Got Me Started wasn't great, but Rush was a great single and honestly, If anything, I might like THIS even better!

Now it's a very different beast to Rush, much more inspired by the likes of Harry Styles and - dare I say it - maybe even Dorian Electra, as he begs this guy who's just perfect in so many ways, and how everyone wants to be added to his contacts list on his phone! And so Troye begs to be one of his girls, someone he could call up at any time. It's VERY much a sex thing, where even IF he might have some strong emotions for this guy, he's willing to also settle for just having part of him, alongside all the other girls that are throwing themselves at him. It's sexy, it's sensual, yet somehow also kind of cute, and it's all balanced perfectly with some of the most gorgeous, filmy production on any song I've heard this year.

Ultimately, I'm saying that I think the song works really well, especially due to the vocal production, which warps and switches every which away, with this really lovely slow build of gorgeous glossy synths! Again, I can't emphasise enough how terrific the instrumental is, highest of props to producer Oscar Görres. And you too Troye, this might be one of my favourite songs you've ever made. I really hope that this sticks around in some capacity.

Title: ten by Fred again.. & Jozzy

Position: #13

So based off initial buzz, I had a feeling this might be the first Fred again.. song from this new project that I may not like. Hell, I'm pretty sure it samples a passage from Lil Wayne's Every Girl, one of the forgotten terrible hits of 2009, despite nobody online agreeing with me! And yet, despite all odds, this still worked way better than I was expecting.

Don't get me wrong, it's more of a grower compared to the last couple of singles, and I will admit that when I saw the name "Jazzy", I got very worried for a second! But not, it's actually JOzzy, an American artist probably best known for co-writing Lil Nas' Old Town Road, but has also worked a lot with the likes of Timbaland, Missy Elliott and Diddy.

And together with Fred again.., they created this lo-fi, mournful song, very much the antithesis to the bright, happy little adore u. It's like transitioning from an excitable puppy to Eeyore the donkey. The lyrics describe this guy who is incredibly attached to his partner, but has also been left alone now for a full tenday and it's really starting to get to him. It gives me this image of somebody on a business trip who misses their family and is just gazing out the plane window on the way to their next meeting in Tokyo or something, and just thinking about all their loved ones at home whom they'd much rather be with. No idea how correct I am, but it makes for a surprisingly sombre listen. No, I wouldn't say I like it nearly as much as adore u or Delilah, but I do think it's still a very sweet little song.

Title: Rich Baby Daddy by Drake (Ft. Sexyy Red & SZA)

Position: #36

So Slime You Out has only gotten worse, but what about the OTHER Drake song from that album I had the most mixed feelings on? Well, on the one hand I think Drake's flow is quite good, calling more back to his 2010's material like Headlines, and I thought the production on this was pretty good too, especially when the the "bend that ass over" lines come in. But I do think the content is a bit vapid.

Drake is constantly thirsting after women who are already in relationships, begging them to join his "rich daddy gang" - yes, really - because hey, he's got money, he can buy stuff for them... which sounds really sad to me? Why is it such a brag that money is the first and main thing he knows he can provide that her current partner can't? And when it comes to the woman's perspective from Sexyy Red, she makes it clear she's someone with multiple needs, good dick AND good conversation are required! Plus, she never actually says yes to him, focusing more on how all these boys are thirsting after her, rolling her eyes and chuckling at just how fine she is. Good on her, she knows she doesn't need Drake's validation!

And then the final lines... I don't know, Drake seems like he's getting super defensive. I REALLY hate the fact that he criticises her head game, and then I'm pretty sure he references Florence + The Machine, which is just fucking weird and somehow wrong! It's a supremely odd song, but is also weirdly WAY more interesting than the title would have you believe. I genuinely recommend listening to it, if only for the surrealism.

Title: Just How You Like It by K.A.D. (Ft. KAK HATT)

Position: #59

Okay, this is bizarre. And from what I can tell, this was unexpected for a lot of people. It only charted in Ireland the week after charting in the UK, and at first I was genuinely confused why the fuck something like this, a song from a couple of years ago with absolutely NOTHING appealing about it, is only now going voral on TikTok. Well, turns out it became a TikTok trend because people were changing the rhymes to fit football pub themes and club anthems and things like that. The "joke" being that the original lyrics are kind of fucking terrible. In other words, this is an Astronaut in the Ocean type of situation, a song that everyone knows is bad, but so memorably bad that it couldn't help but see some success, albeit a bit later than predicted. Except unlike Masked Wold's gift to humanity, which had decent production, this sounds like complete fucking ass.

I don't know who this K.A.D. producer is, but his work on this is absolutely shameful; a complete nothing of a beat that just serves as generic filler, which doesn't even suit the vocalist all that well! Because as much as I do think some of the lines here are really fucking weird from this Kak Hatt guy, he's at least giving it some... unique flair. I don't know if I'd call it "charisma", as most of what he says just goes in one ear and out the other, and I don't LIKE him, but he's giving it energy, certainly trying harder than his producer. The problem is that he sounds like a YouTube rapper, where the flow is impressive, but the accent is so exaggerated and specific that every single time he uses any kind of slang, like "come see me" or "puffin that whirly", it's just ungodly cringe, ESPECIALLY when he's flirting! "I don't use my brain girl, I use me knob so drop down, get low, gotta loosen off" EW, shut up, this is corny and gross, it sounds like your dad rapping and I mean that in the WORST way possible!!!

And furthermore... yeah, I'm sorry, I'm still not over some of these lines! "I treat the pussy like a speedball, pummel the clit"?! "Done a bad, now they tell me, I Am Legend, Will Smith"???

Yeah, the more I listen to this, the more I change my mind this Kak Hatt guy, his energy is wildly misplaced and I kinda wish he'd delivered something as low effort as K.A.D.! Supremely weird song, which at least caught my attention, but I don't think any of this is actually going to stick with me in the long term. (Note from Fionn a week later: it did not.)


Position: #66

All right, so Aliyah Bah is a Tiktok personality from Atlanta, Georgia, who has built up quite a following thanks to her quirky personality and unique fashion sense, which some of her fans have decided to dub "AliyahCore". So, like some other fashionistas in 2023 (weird trend), she decided to use her success as a fashion designer to launch her musical career, because why not?

And look, the song might as well be just that chorus. "Bitch, you know I'm sexy. Don't call, just text me." Because even if she didn't have an existing fan base before, that type of sound snippet is BOUND to go viral on Tiktok! Which it did, as well as on Instagram, and honestly, God bless it for that! The song just serves its purpose really well, it knows what it is, and it's one of the best of its kind that I've seen chart in a while. It's genuinely not annoying, and it's certainly better than say Sexy And I Know It, a similar song that was incredibly self-involved, but couldn't HOPE to back it up! This candidate has some genuine swagger and confidence, I quite like the buzzing, punchy synth line and Aliyah's got a lot of personality.

Short, sweet, to the point, and it does what it needs to do. Good job. Although you also made me think of a Jason Derulo song I haven't thought about in almost a decade. Just a weird moment for me personally there.

Title: Can't Play Myself (A Tribute To Amy) by Skepta

Position: #96

I'll admit that when I first heard this, I was genuinely confused. I went in thinking it was going to be a Skepta song... and there's no Skepta on it, he doesn't rap or sing or speak at all. In fact, he essentially takes up the mantle of a DJ, taking an Amy Winehouse sample and flipping it into a dance song, which he supposedly made in tribute to her. It's very random, I don't really know why Skepta, of all people, wanted to make an Amy Winehouse tribute, let alone one where he's purely there as a producer. But hey, how did it turn out?

I mean, it's not bad, but it's not good either, it's just kind of bland. Every time it comes on, I actively have to remind myself that this isn't just generic radio fodder by some no-name producer you've never heard of. Because while it was certainly done professionally - you can tell that there's budget behind this production and the mix is very clean - I do also think that it's lacking ANY sort of personality, and I don't think it's that catchy either.

If you didn't know that Skepta produced this, chances are this would have been dead on arrival, I don't really see a reason why you would keep it around. An interesting experiment, but if you're looking for rappers doing experimental ventures into other genres, go check out the new Andre 3000 album. It's certainly more interesting than this.

So for this week, I could see the amount of new songs starting to dip, as Christmas approaches and new songs matter less and less. So colour me surprised that Worst of the week is something as colourful as Just How You Like It by K.A.D. & Kak Hatt. The last few weeks ranged from boringly bad to lazily bad, whereas this one really tried its best to suck as much as possible! Shame it's not catchier. As for the Best, it's easily One Of your Girls by Troye Sivan, a strong contender for my favourite songs of the year, regardless of hits!

Week 43 (Oct 27th - Nov 3rd)

Title: Sunday by Dermot Kennedy

Position: #13

So at first I wondered what this song was about, where Dermot Kennedy, after... well, NO time had passed, released yet another song for Irish radio to grab onto and then play to absolute death! But then I realised I don't care enough. Because immediately, this is showing signs of regression.

Unlike most of Sonder, Sunday is going to be going back to his more acoustic roots, which - for me at least - is a HUGE mistake! Because what saved Sonder was the more pop approach, whereas releasing another one of THESE after this level of overplay is likely going to make the album feel incredibly bland and forgettable, and alienate a lot of his remaining fanbase. Or maybe I'm just projecting. Either way, this single isn't a good sign!

The song is mediocrely played and incredibly blandly written, feeling more like a low-effort first draft... which is funny, because that's exactly what it is! Yeah, Dermot said this song just came to him as he played it, it's one of the quickest songs he ever made because it poured out so naturally! Which to me, is code for really low effort! Because I'm sorry, Dermot Kennedy is way too boring to sell any of the emotions on this, and his overdramatic vocals just make everything sound kind of miserable. I won't call it bad (YET), but I will certainly does not deserve to stick around!

Title: TOO MUCH by The Kid LAROI, Jung Kook & Central Cee

Position: #19

I never thought I would see these 3 on a track together... Hell, the combination of any 2 of them would seem weird to me! So that's one surprise. The second surprise is that... it's not bad.

I think Jung Kook does a lot of the heavy lifting, bringing a pretty good hook to the table, and he gives me the feeling that he's genuinely interested in what I have to say! If he were to come back again, if he was too much to handle the first time, would I give him another chance? Yes! ... That being said, based on the rest of the lyrics, maybe he's being a manipulative fuckboy.

After all, you might call this a guilt trip. A guy who broke this girl's heart, but wanted to keep her on the hook JUST in case of a potential booty call. Thankfully, I didn't have time to think about those implications, because Central Cee comes in with the absolutely bizarre lines:

-"she called me daddy, she got issues, I am not her father"... That's a weirdly tone-deaf response for the guy who once said he'd fuck his own cousin.

-"She injectin' with Ozempic, tryna stop her hunger" WOW, that's a dark detail to include there!

-"Huh, I wanked before you came so I can fuck you longer" ... Central Cee, what the fuck were you thinking?

Not his worst lines, but definitely still a weird fit for this type of song! Then The Kid LAROI comes wailing in, with his most Post Malone-esque delivery to date, to the point I genuinely would have believed it was Post if I hadn't already been acutely aware of who this collaboration was happening between in the first place!

Because look, for a collaboration between these 3, it could have been a lot worse. Instead it's just okay, yet also too fascinating to call a complete write-off or boring. Although I do wonder if the song itself will end up being more forgettable than the collaboration in the long run.

Title: In The City by Charli XCX & Sam Smith

Position: #47

Is it just me or does this sound weirdly dated? It sounds like a demo that was made 10 years ago, when neither of them were singing the way they're generally known for nowadays. Whatever the reason, it doesn't work all too well. The song feels very disposable, with forgettable lyrics and kind of a nothing hook.

But before the Charli stans come after me (got a death threat after the last post I amde about her, FUN!), I will admit the production is decent enough, with a fairly bouncy beat. Once again, feels very much like the product of a bygone era of music, but it's not bad. Just very basic and somewhat confusing.

That's all I really haver to say on it... wow, never thought I;d have more to say on a Dermot Kennedy song than one by Sam Smith and Charli!

And that's October! Somewhat later than I wanted to get this done, but life was life-ing hard by December-time. Worst and Best of the week feel a bit perfunctory, but let's give Worst to Sunday by Dermot Kennedy, for being a big step in the WRONG direction, and Best... wow, i guess it's Too Much by Jung Kook, The Kid LAROI & Central Cee?! Purely by default though.

And with that, we've wrapped up the October edition! And this is where I break the news that I've decided NOT to cover November or December for 2023 I've just fallen too far behind and with it already being 2024 at the time of me writing this, I honestly see no shame in calling a lost cause when I see it (especially when I have a lot of more relevant content I want to produce instead). In all honesty, considering how crazy the second half of 2023 was, I think I did pretty well! :)

As always though, let me know in the Comments what you thought of the songs covered this week, and leave a Like if you enjoyed! Please make sure to follow me everywhere so you don't miss a thing, and Subscribe to the blog to keep up with my weekly chart reflections. Stay safe and happy everyone and until the next time, I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune signing off!


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