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Musical McCool Season 3, Week 10 (Mike, Red Ruby Da Sleeze, on the street, and more)

Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool!

I was kind of dreading this week... I knew the albums that dropped last Friday, and wasn't sure what their impact in Ireland was going to look like. Sure, there was a chance Slowthai would get some love, but the alternatives were Morgan Wallen and Mimi Webb...

And yet none of my predictions came true or mattered! Slowthai got the highest debut of the 3, but zero charting songs off it. Morgan Wallen didn't even get a second single on the Hot 100, with his album debuting well out of the Top 10. And Mimi Webb's album was actually surprisingly decent and I'm not too upset with the minor splash she had on the charts!

The Top 10

Besides, none of it came close to impacting the Top 10.

1. Flowers - Miley Cyrus [LW: #1 / WOC: 8]

2. Boy's A Liar Pt. 2 - PinkPantheress (Ft. Ice Spice) [LW: #2 / WOC: 11]

3. Die For You (Remix) - The Weeknd (Ft. Ariana Grande) [LW: #6 / WOC: 17]

4. Kill Bill - SZA [LW: #3 / WOC: 13]

5. ceilings - Lizzy McAlpine [LW: #5 / WOC: 10]

6. Calm Down (Remix) - Rema (Ft. Selena Gomez) [LW: #9 / WOC: 28]

7. Players - Coi Leray [LW: #7 / WOC: 11]

8. Heaven - Niall Horan [LW: #4 / WOC: 3]

9. Sure Thing - Miguel [LW: #8 / WOC: 10]

10. 10:35 - Tiësto (Ft. Tate McRae) [LW: #10 / WOC: 18]

Yep, Flowers is as immovable as ever, and with that new album that just dropped, I don't see that changing anytime soon. That being said, the Die For You remix with Ariana Grande has some serious momentum behind it, so maybe it could be a challenger later down the line... I hope so, it's a much better song. Stands more of a chance than Heaven, which fell down to number 8 this week (kinda sad, but more for Niall than for the song itself), while Calm Down leaped back up to number 6. I know a lot of people love this song, but I still can't fucking stand it. ACR gods, get this the fuck out of here!

The Punished and the New

As for this week though, said ACR gods only claimed 1 victim:

golden hour by JVKE - #25 -> #85

Not surprised by this, it had a really decent run, I'm honestly shocked it took this long to get onto this ratio.

Otherwise, it's a lot of what you'd expect: Last Night by Morgan Wallen rose back up to 26 thanks to the new album, but as far as I can tell, that's the biggest impact he can expect to have, it shouldn't stick around. I can't say the same for Rhyme Dust by MK & Dom Dolla, which rocketed up 40 spaces to 31! And while not AS dramatic, Caity Baser's song from last week Pretty Boys reached number 55. Only other big shift of note was that, after a huge leap last week, Superstar Pride's Painting PIctures fell off HARD to 41! No hit for you, you mildly anonymous dullard.

What's not so dull are our 10 new arrivals! So without further ado:

Title: Mike (desert island duvet) by The Streets, Fred again.. & Dermot Kennedy

Position: #44

I've only been passingly familiar with The Streets before now, the musical project led by Mike Skinner that's been active since the early 2000s. And having listened to a few songs, I can see why he has a fanbase, as he raps over a multitude of production styles that shows a good bit of variety and fiery passion... barring the moments where he sings, which just flat-out don't work for me. So yeah, probably a good move to recruit Dermot Kennedy to do the vocals, and as for Fred again.., that almost makes too much sense, as the poster boy for quality production these days.

That being said, this certainly is an odd beast. If it weren't for the feature credit, I wouldn't have recognised Dermot's heavily-filtered vocals, and the beat is extremely melancholic with a chopped and screwed soul sample and a melancholic piano underscoring Mike Skinner's spoken-word musings. His pensive vocals describe a late-night hook--up where he's mesmerised by this girl, an oasis in the desert where he's lost all feeling and motivation. There are multiple references to Arabian Nights, where the 2 of them are flying, drifting on a magic carpet through life, confessing their innermost thoughts to a stranger, that moment where the pillow talk gets a bit existential. It's heavily implied that they're both depressed, and that this is the most honesty and comfort either of them has felt in a while... even if it's likely never going to last. So yeah, it's got a ton of atmosphere, primarily thanks to Fred again..'s magic, but also at least partly thanks to The Streets himself. That being said, I can't help feeling that his delivery is a bit too emphatic. Maybe it's because I've been listening to that slowthai album, but I imagine he could make these lines sound far more devastating, and probably write better ones at that. As of now, I do like this - it's certainly the most creative thing I've seen Dermot associated with in ages - but I can't escape the feeling it should be better.

Title: Red Ruby Da Sleeze by Nicki Minaj

Position: #46

Oh FUCK YOU! ... Can't I just leave it at that?!

Never mind the fact that I was really rooting for Nicki after one of the major defenders of Super Freaky Girl, or the fact that I heard this sample on an Anne-Marie song less than 2 years ago! Because this seems to be a call-out of Megan Thee Stallion, a former collaborator now turned nemesis, apparently! Is this because of WAP, Nicki? Is it because that song is arguably better and more classic than anything you've ever put out?!

And look, beefs are expected in hip hop! But when your song contains the line "That .40 cal a make ’em dance like a go-go", seemingly directly referencing when Megan's ex, Tory Lanez SHOT HER IN THE FOOT... again, go fuck yourself!

The sad thing is that most of the rest of this is pretty good. The sample isn't as ridiculous as when Anne-Marie used it, the beat has some good momentum to it, and despite some odd moments in her delivery here and there (WHY is there a moment of silence held after the Christopher Reeves line, it's not that good), Nicki has a few solid punchlines and she's certainly turned in worse performances in recent years. But the bad taste, the needless cattiness (for lack of a MUCH stronger word), and the disappointment that this left me with after having some hope for her, all left a really bad taste in my mouth! Fuck this noise!

Title: on the street by j-hope (Ft. J. Cole)

Position: #57

A member of BTS teams up with one of the biggest rappers alive... sure, why not? It's no weirder than when RM teamed up with Anderson .Paak and Still Life fucking SLAPS! Plus, like Nicki, I've been rooting for J. Cole lately! Not only was his last album genuinely fantastic to me, but my favourite album of last year was heavily dedicated to him (shout-out to JID!). And while I'm not AS familiar with j-hope's solo work outside of Arson, that's a profoundly weird song that is also hugely entertaining, so the 2 of them on a song together should be interesting, at the very least, right?

Well, sadly not. Instead, we get yet another 2023 song with goddamn whistling on it, and while it's better produced than that Jax Jones atrocity from a couple of weeks back, it doesn't save the English-language chorus from feeling incredibly generic and boring. In fact, the plodding beat and repetitive nature of j-hope's delivery made me completely miss his verse the first time I heard it, not helped by him seemingly trying to copy Cole's flow and the verse itself being incredibly short. As for J. Cole, his bars are mostly fine at first, mainly about what a gift from God he is... although the line "you never see it like a n**** hula-hoopin in jail" is laughably terrible! But then he goes into this really weird tangent about all the reasons God is definitely real, in a way that reminds me a bit too much of Jadakiss' Why, containing such gems as rhyming "creator" with "the-ay-ter" and being off by about 6 trillion nerves in the human body. And while it does pick up after that, his verse is also WAY too long, he basically takes over the entire song.

Overall, I actually don't think this is terrible, but j-hope's contributions are way less entertaining than I know he's capable of, and J. Cole's too much of a mixed bag. Some laughably bad moments, but otherwise, I'm not going to remember this.

Title: Die 4 Me by Halsey

Position: #68

... Okay, I don't know how long this has been in production, but it sure does seem convenient that Halsey dropped right as The Weeknd's Die For You is cracking the Top 10 internationally (not to mention the fact it's been huge in the US for weeks now). More to the point, is anyone else weirded out by the fact that Halsey ripped this chorus straight from a Post Malone song she featured on over 3 years ago?

Make no mistake, this is far from just an homage or a loosely inspired solo version! The choruses are identical, Halsey's second verse is only slightly adjusted from the original one she performed on Post's song, and the added details are perfunctory at best. It's got some lines in here about thinking about her when you're with your new girl, and I suppose you could call the production an upgrade, but not by enough to matter.

To me, this just feels unnecessary. I know some people love the original song and see it as an album highlight, especially Halsey's part, but to me, Hollywood's Bleeding has FAR more interesting and better songs on it. Pair that with the convenient timing of this solo version, and this does nothing for me. Sorry Halsey fans, it's yet another nope from me.

Title: My Mind by Belters Only

Position: #75

And speaking of artists who make a habit of "making a song their own", the thieves are back! No, I'm still not over that, give Lynn Lockamy justice, you burgling assholes!

In this case though, the influence is a fair bit clearer; this is a reinterpretation of Yebba's My Mind, a song too melodramatic even for me! And as much as I hate to admit it, it's a massive improvement from the original. The build-up to the drop is their standard formula of piling on the fake drums and whirring synthesisers in the most generic way possible, but the restrained drop is actually really melodically pleasing, especially when the xylophone comes in! It's actually good enough that I wanted to praise it genuinely... but sadly there is still nothing indicating that they've paid royalties to the originators of Make Me Feel Good, and until that slate is wiped clean, I refuse to endorse them.

A marked improvement in both production and sample choice here, it's a good song, but I still don't encourage any of you to support this.

Title: Private Landing by Don Toliver (ft. Justin Bieber & Future)

Position: #78

I still don't get the appeal of Don Toliver. To me, he's always been Young Thug without the personality, and while his voice works fine in a background capacity like most Future clones, I don't know what he brings to the table that hundreds of other performers couldn't match or excel. Speaking of whom, Future actually appears on this, alongside rap icon... Justin Bieber... Huh?

This almost feels like a dare, where all 3 performers mumble over a murky beat with a weirdly atonal piano, a ton of bass, and where only Don Toliver seems remotely invested. Future sounds checked-out but at least he fits here, whereas Justin sounds like he just woke up AND sounds incredibly awkward! His odd whispering of "keep going" is downright creepy, and most of his verse sounds improvised on the spot ("heat it up, microwave" springs to mind, which he repeats at least 4 times over the course of the song) and his falsetto is AWFUL... though it's still better than Don Toliver's.

That being said, if it wasn't for Toliver's first verse, this song would be completely unsalvageable. The production is awful, the guests are terrible and useless, and the chorus gives me a headache! Awful song, almost designed to bait critics like me... and it worked, this sucks.

Title: 22 by JayO

Position: #79

London singer JayO bursts onto my radar with a smooth piano-backed love song dedicated to his 22-year-old lover. And it is kind of a mess!

I always find it weird when a singer fixates on someone's age, and 22 just seems like a weird one to me, especially when he highlights that she's "22 going on 23", and says he wants to "handle" her... with his hands, as he then clarifies. It's just so awkward and in direct opposition to the pretty slick production. Still better than saying you want a relationship as romantic as Kim and Kanye's though... have you not been paying attention to ANYTHING news-wise for the past 2 years, let alone the past few months?!

A song with good-if-sleazy intentions, that fumbles hard and falls flat pretty quickly out the gate. Catchy hook though, and at least it sounds pretty good, I'll give him that.

Title: Freezing by Mimi Webb

Position: #81

So I'll say it again: the new Mimi Webb album Amelia was actually pretty decent. It's not exactly good, with too many generic or downright terrible songs to fully redeem her in my eyes, but there are only a couple of the latter, and 3 tracks that I think are genuinely really good. And thankfully, this is one of them!

It's funny because the production and structure of this are very reminiscent of House On Fire, the worst song on the album, but the difference is night and day! Mimi sounds invested, there are subtle guitar touches to the production, the chorus burst forth with SO much energy, and the writing is genuinely pretty good! She thought this guy was going to be the one, but he let her down time and time again, leaving her cold and distant. Now that they're broken up though, he seems like he wants her back, and she makes it very clear that she's not just cold on him, now she's freezing, SO not interested! It even avoids the Red Flags trap by actually going all-out for the final chorus, it's an explosive climax that ends the song on a gleaming high note! It's really full marks all around here. I love the synths, the guitars and the percussion, the writing is solid, and Mimi herself sells it better than she's sold almost anything to date! I still think Roles Reversed might have better writing, and Last Train To London is arguably the best thing she'll ever do, but as the big crossover hit from Amelia, Freezing is the best possible choice! Please let this get big, it's SO much better than Red Fucking Flags!

Title: Heading South by Zach Bryan

Position: #88

Zach Bryan's success fascinates me. He released 2 massive albums last year which got a lot of praise, but very little crossover, at least over here. But with the rise of American country thanks to acts like Luke Combs, he finally has a real platform to be heard... and yet it's THIS song that gets big, a song he originally released back in 2019 within the barracks of the United States Navy. And as far as I can tell, this got here organically, pretty much on sales alone!

And yeah, it's pretty fucking terrific. A song about a misunderstood kid who used to get roughed up and made fun of back in his hometown, so he left and headed South to make his fame and fortune as a musician. There's a real grit to the guitars here, as well as Zach's rougher vocal tones, as he shows the boy calling up his father to show him how far he's come, as the crowd sings his own lyrics back at him, swearing that he's never going to come back home.

And yet, pride comes before the fall. Eventually, he learns that his dream is easily exploited by people trying to make a quick buck off him, and his so-called fans can't wait to see him fall. It's a bleak, tough lesson that may seem cynical, but that we've seen time and time again, especially in country music... I mean just look at a good half of Jason Isbell's old fanbase. And yet, while it would be so easy to end on that sour note, he instead shows the boy continuing to head South, in search of new people to fuel his dream and lift him up, even if it's just to spite them all in the long run. He's doing it for himself, it's HIS dream to live out! And unsurprisingly, that message really struck me and makes for a great little song. A hidden gem I wasn't aware of, but I'm so glad got uncovered!

Title: Never Miss A Beat by KIMMIC

Position: #90

Lastly, we end things with Dundee duo KIMMIC, a group that recently got signed to Polydor, which means they got the boost they needed to release this new song Never Miss A Beat. The song got an early release on SoundCloud and got a hugely positive reaction that vaulted it all the way into the Irish mainstream charts. And I can see why. Let me clarify, this is obviously not for me. The vocals are pitched up to sound practically identical to Oliver Tree on Miss You, the beat is tinny, the drum-and-bass elements almost feel like an afterthought they're so basic, and the lyrics are clearly directed as rebellious kids, all about learning nothing, skipping school and eating crisps for tea. It's almost laughably transparent in its demographic targeting, but I don't think there's anything harmful here. And as crazy as it may sound... I don't find this nearly as annoying as I should. Maybe the past year has softened me on drum-and-bass, maybe I've just heard so much worse than this, or maybe I have unresolved issues with my old school, but I can see why this is catching on. I wouldn't choose to listen to it myself, but I don't have a problem with anyone that does.

So yeah, that was probably our most diverse and interesting week in a while, where even the bad song were interestingly so. That being said, the Worst of the week is easily Red Ruby Da Sleeze by Nicki Minaj, because at least Private Landing isn't offensive by any means, I can ignore it easily enough. Best of the week is tough though... so fuck it, it's my blog, I'm giving a tie to Freezing by Mimi Webb, as I'll always praise an artist I hate making music I love, and Heading South by Zach Bryan, for some of the best songwriting I've heard on a charting song in ages, GOD I love some great country music!

National Treasures

Dear gods, what a busy week!

1. Heaven - Niall Horan [LW: #1 / WOC: 3]

2. My Mind - Belters Only [LW: - / WOC: 1]

3. Innocence And Sadness - Dermot Kennedy [LW: - / WOC: 1]

4. Full of The Blade - Marty Mone [LW: - / WOC: 1]

5. ' Cello Song - Fontaines D.C. [LW: - / WOC: 1]

6. Perfect - Moncrieff [LW: #4 / WOC: 8]

7. Just To Keep You Satisfied - Inhaler [LW: - / WOC: 2]

8. Time To Leave - Darren Kiely [LW: #6 / WOC: 8]

9. We Are One - Wild Youth [LW: #9 / WOC: 6]

10. Northside Arse - Versatile [LW: #8 / WOC: 5]

Yeah, with multiple Top 10 entries hitting their 13-week limit last week, we got a whole host of new songs charting... FUCK, I really am falling behind on National Treasures now! Sidenote: genuinely weird to see this is the first time Innocence And Sadness has touched the Homegrown charts, considering how long it was on the mainstream chart!

Well, for my thoughts on all of these and much more, check out my video series National Treasures over on Instagram, go follow me there @thesocialtune to hear my full thoughts. And if you want a sneak peek at what hit the chart this week:

Title: Innocence And Sadness by Dermot Kennedy

Position: #3

Title: Full of The Blade by Marty Mone

Position: #4

Title: ' Cello Song by Fontaines D.C.

Position: #5

Title: Don't Tell Me by Lea Heart

Position: #12

Title: The New York Trader by Lankum

Position: #15

Again, for my thoughts on these songs and more, simply head over to my Instagram @thesocialtune, where I will be reviewing EVERY SONG that hits the Homegrown Top 20 over the course of 2023! Plenty ready to go with a lot more on the way!

As always, 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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