Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Hi guys, Merry Christmas, and welcome back to The Social Tune! And this is the final episode of Musical McCool for 2021.
This is a series that I have absolutely had a blast doing and which I plan to continue doing in 2022. I know that some of you will be delighted by that and some of you probably don't care, but the point is, today is the last episode of the year! Week 52, the finale for 2021, and it's been QUITE a year!
In my opinion, it's also been a pretty great one, at least as far as the Irish charts go, which have very specific rules in place, meaning that we got a good healthy batch of new hit singles week to week. Not that much interchangeable trap rap, and only a few loose singles which absolutely didn't deserve to be hits in the first place. If you'd like to see the final results for the biggest hits of the year, including Spotify and YouTube playlists, you can check it out here: Top 100 Biggest Irish Hits of 2021.
And as you expect from this time of year, we are bang splat in the middle of the Christmas season, and therefore practically ALL of the Top 10 is dominated by Christmas music.
The Top 10
In fact, we have a new number 1!
Yep, Merry Christmas by Ed Sheeran & Elton John went up to number 1. Not too happy with the fact that it went the distance... after all, I'm not exactly a big fan of the song. But you know what, it's more boring and tacky than anything else, I don't detest the song by any means.
What has the potential to wear out my patience a lot quicker is abcdefu by GAYLE at number 2. This song is actually just barely making the year-end list for 2021, which is probably for the best because I imagine that this time next year I'm going to be pretty sick of it.
And the rest is ALMOST what you'd expect. Number 3 is Last Christmas by Wham!, which to my shock actually passed our number 4 song...
All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey, held at bay from going to number 1 this year! Surprising, yes, but I don't really mind that it's more unpredictable this way.
Number 5 goes to Fairytale of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl, a Christmas classic that hits Ireland's top 5 regularly at this time of year.
Then Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee vaulted up to number 6...
... followed very closely by Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin' Stevens at number 7...
... and to my dismay, the quality dips as we get It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas by Michael Bublé at number 8! It's Bing Crosby or nothing, I've said it before!
Then at number 9, we get some welcome respite with Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms.
Finally, we close out the top 10 with the other non-Christmas single, Seventeen Going Under by Sam Fender, still holding strong! Delighted this has become a hit, Sam Fender deserves all the attention. Easily the best song in the top 10 at the moment.
Top 50: The Punished and the New
Now as we move on to our top 50, I'm going to attempt to keep it brief because most of it is the usual surge of Christmas music going up the charts. That being said, there was a BIG mover to ACR this week, one you probably already noticed:
Easy On Me by Adele - number 1 to 18
I mean it was gonna happen, guys. I stated last week that when a song stays at number 1 and doesn't budge, it gets shoved onto ACR to avoid the same songs clogging up the top 10 indefinitely. It's exactly what happened to drivers license on ITS 10th week, and here, with a steady drop in streaming numbers throughout the Christmas seeing season, it's unsurprising that Easy On Me dropped in this way. Still kind of a shame, but then again, it's still made the year-end list very comfortably so I'm not complaining too much.
And the rest of our losers are just being shoved down because of Christmas music, some temporarily, some more permanently. So I'm just going to highlight the biggest ones: All Too Well (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift dropped out of the top 10 to number 14, and Olivia Rodrigo lost on all of her hits as good 4 u dropped down to number 25, traitor went to 44, and drivers license fell to 46. Then Shivers by Ed Sheeran went down to 28, while Bad Habits went to 35. Also not a great week for Adele regardless, as Oh My God dropped to 36 and I Drink Wine to 45. Not to mention the expected loss for the long-running sleeper hit Ghost by Justin Bieber, as it finally takes a big hit down to 39.
Now as for our gains, it's what you'd expect, a LOAD of Christmas music from Andy Williams at number 11 to Dean Martin at 33. So rather than highlighting them all, let's just skip. to our returning entries, such as Merry Christmas Everybody by Slade at 37 (a fucking classic), White Christmas by Bing Crosby finally arriving at 42, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Darlene Love at 43, and Let It Snow x3, this time by Frank Sinatra at 50, all fairly expected. But we also have The Motto by Tiësto & Ava Max coming back at 47! I could see this being hit next year and I honestly wouldn't mind that.
But now we get to our shortlist of new arrivals, including the one that most of you are probably tuning in for:
Title: Sausage Rolls for Everyone by LadBaby (Ft. Ed Sheeran & Elton John)
For those of you who haven't been paying attention to the UK charts in the last few years, LadBaby is an online personality, vlogger, and graphic designer, who has had the Christmas number 1 for the last three years running, raising the money for charity and theming it around sausage rolls. But this year, they were up against Ed Sheeran and Elton John, so what could they possibly hope to do to get the top spot in the UK? Why, they simply had to recruit the same two artists for their own song!
To be honest, it's hard to really know what to say about this. The entire thing is just a reimagining of Merry Christmas by Ed Sheeran & Elton John, this time with lyrics about sausage rolls and clearing away wrapping paper. And honestly, I do prefer this to the original. The production and the instrumentals are the same, but the lyrics are far more interesting and Elton and Ed sound MILDLY more engaged. The old song had no character or flair to it, whereas this new version, say what you all about it, it's far more memorable and unique. This is why the 2 guests sound like they're having a lot more fun on this than the original.
Paired with the fact that... come on, it's a charity single, it's for a good cause, and yeah, there is absolutely no reason to buy the original Merry Christmas over this one, especially considering it's already number 1 in THIS country. So yeah, for the fourth year in a row, congrats LadBaby. I hope we all support you this year again, raise a lot of money, and then never listen to this song again.
Title: Santa, Can't You Hear Me by Kelly Clarkson & Ariana Grande
Oh, God... The moment that I saw Kelly Clarkson dropping a new Christmas song with Ariana Grande in mid-October, I had already tuned out! I get that she wants to recapture the magic of Underneath The Tree - and admittedly, I do love that song - but I just don't get the appeal of this new one, which sounds like an even more tone-deaf Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid, without the catchiness or the good production!
Instead, this just sounds like a cheap show tune. instead. It's on the same level of quality as an Amazon-exclusive song, where all of the edges are sanded off to leave it lifeless, smooth, and easily consumable! Or it WOULD be, if it weren't for the fact that Kelly Clarkson and Ariana Grande have less than none of their usual personalities. Plus, once again, the subject matter is just galling, as they both tell Santa to stay away and that they don't need any material gifts! Maybe that would feel better if it weren't coming from 2 of the richest and most successful women in the industry, but in their case, it REEKS of entitlement! And instead, all they want is for their gifts to go to someone else and for their dreams to come true, BITE ME!
This is just condescending, with none of the catchiness that makes Band Aid somewhat tolerable! I mean, say what you will about that band, but at the very least it's memorable, you can understand why people would want to give it their money, and it evokes some pretty stark imagery. Whereas this? No, I have absolutely no patience for it! And the fact that it's not even for charity despite all that elitism (intentional or not), that's another reason not to buy it. Song sucks, next!
Now as we turn to the homegrown side, there's somehow even less to talk about. The top 10 barely moved at all and there are only a couple of movers outside of that. So I guess we'll address them.
For one, it's kind of nice to see Lea Heart's Hey rise back up to number 11, a pretty decent song, and I am absolutely thrilled to see No More Virgos by CMAT rise up again to number 15! On the other hand, I'm less happy to see Johnny Boy by Christy Moore drop down to 18. And the only returning entry was Your Song Saved My Life by U2, which is decent, but which I still think is such a weird concept coming from Bono, even if it is just tied to the release of Sing 2. Maybe I'm overthinking it.
But either way, we only have one new entry this week... even though calling it "new" is a stretch:
Title: A Lucid Dreamer by Fontaines D.C.
Fontaine's D.C. have been on my radar for a while now, but I've never actually gotten to review a new song of theirs on the series before. They're a Dublin band that formed in 2017 and has had a major influence in the new punk and hardcore revival of the last couple years! It's kind of Ireland's answer to IDLES, albeit with more of a neo-psychedelic penchant than that band, and maybe not quite so progressive. And yet I've been rooting for them since I heard their break-out album A Hero's Death, and not just because of where they're from. It was a downright great album that might well have made my best albums of last year if I'd checked it out sooner, with fantastic standouts like the title track, and especially I Don't Belong, which I would probably call my favourite.
Now, A Lucid Dream was also a pretty big fan favourite, kind of a late single in the album cycle but still one that I enjoyed immensely as a fast-paced and frenetic piece of hardcore punk. But this reimagining... well, I'm not exactly sure if I'd say it's better or worse, it's just very different. It's an alternative, more post-punk cover of it, which is more piano and guitar-driven than the percussion-heavy original. By contrast, this moves at a much slower, more colorful pace. And like, the band agrees that it's such a different song that they even change the title to match, so I feel justified in saying all of that! And I'll say this: for an alternative, slower and live version of a beloved song, this is actually remarkably good. The instruments are mic'ed up to perfection, the hazy vibe really matches the title of lucid dreaming and the lyrics actually lend themselves to the slower tempo almost as well, if not a little better in spots.
I do miss the energy of the original here, and I will definitely say that this is not going to go over as well with some of their older or angrier fans in particular. But as it is, I think this is a great little reimagining. Nice job as always guys, hope to see more of you in 2021.
And that was our week! Bit of a shorter one because after all, it's Christmas Day as I'm drafting this up and I'm busy, but at least we have enough songs to pick the Best and Worst for the week. For the Best... yeah, sorry LadBaby, I'm giving it to Fontaine's D.C.'s A Lucid Dreamer, it's just a far more interesting song. Don't worry, you're not getting the Worst though, because that's going to the soulless, pandering, condescending, and manipulative garbage that is Santa, Can't You Hear Me by Kelly Clarkson & Ariana Grande. This first dropped back in mid-October, but there's a reason it's only crossing over now, even despite Ari being attached to it!
But that's the end of the year, I hope you've all enjoyed the journey so far. Once again, please check out the Top 100 Biggest Hits of the year and keep an eye out! Because in the next few days, the Top 10 Worst Hit Songs of 2021 will be dropping! Make sure you and your friends subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter to keep up with these releases. Take care everyone, happy holidays once again, and until... tomorrow, I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune signing off!