Musical McCool Season 3, Week 14 (Part Of Me, DOGTOOTH / SORRY NOT SORRY, boygenius, and more)
Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool!
So at first glance, this week might seem weirdly quiet compared to the last few. At the very least, there were no new Top 10 smash debuts or many new arrivals across the Top 50 at all. But the devil's in the details, because not only did we still get a ton of new arrivals down the latter half of the Hot 100, but the movers and shakers and powers that be were BUSY!
The Top 10
For more proof of that, just look at our Top 10!
1. Miracle - Calvin Harris (Ft. Ellie Goulding) [LW: #1 / WOC: 4]
2. Flowers - Miley Cyrus [LW: #2 / WOC: 12]
3. People (Check On Me) - Libianca [LW: #6 / WOC: 13]
4. ceilings - Lizzy McAlpine [LW: #3 / WOC: 14]
5. Eyes Closed - Ed Sheeran [LW: #4 / WOC: 2]
6. Heaven - Niall Horan [LW: #5 / WOC: 7]
7. Boy's A Liar Pt. 2 - PinkPantheress (Ft. Ice Spice) [LW: #8 / WOC: 15]
8. If We Ever Broke Up - Mae Stephens) [LW: #11 / WOC: 8]
9. Giving Me - Jazzy [LW: #44 / WOC: 3]
10. Escapism. - RAYE & 070 Shake [LW: #12 / WOC: 20]
So yeah, fair few things to cover! Despite no debuts, we got 3 new Top 10 entries, and 2 of them SUCK: If We Ever Broke Up by Mae Stephens has been a slow threat since the beginning, a constant little migraine that has only got worse since it dropped, and Giving Me by Jazzy featuring frequent collaborators Belters Only (credited, though not featured) has absolutely raced up from #100 to #9 in 2 short weeks... Ireland, why do you insist on platforming these sticky-fingered hacks?! Thank GOD Escapism. came back too in order to balance out the scales, it's THAT powerful all on its own!
I also think I called Boy's A Liar Pt. 2's move to ACR a bit early, as it actually rose back up to number 7 this week, my bad! Most shocking of all though is People (Check On Me) rising into the Top 3! I knew it deserved to be a hit, but I never thought it would get THIS big!
The Punished and the New
Now, despite the Hot 100 being very busy, we only had the 1 ACR victim this week:
Die For You (Remix) by The Weeknd (Ft. Ariana Grande) - #7 -> #23
A bit surprised about this one, but Ireland doesn't always take remixes into account for ACR rules, otherwise they'd be a lot easier to circumvent, and it's had a decent enough run... yes, I did just copy my assessment of Pinkpatheress last week, well spotted. But jokes aside, this kind of sucks, I genuinely love the remix, it deserves the run that Save Your Tears had.
Otherwise, quite a bit's been happening. Sadly, Hozier dropped out of the Top 10, as Eat Your Young quickly lost momentum to number 17 (here's hoping his impromptu concert boosts it back up next week!), and Miley's other songs continue to stall out, as Jaded fell to 52 and River to 55. Sidenote: NONE of Lana Del Rey's songs stuck around past the first week... for once, that's a real shame.
The growers are what truly shocked me though! Quite apart from Giving Me, why did Kimmic's Never Miss A Beat shoot up from number 80 to 40?! And while I love both songs, why are Can't Hold Us by Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Ray Dalton suddenly back at 47 and This Is The Life by Amy McDonald at 49? Keep in mind, this is ALL off streaming and sales! Oh, and Here by Tom Grennan only rose to 70 this week... that's far enough, thanks, you can stop now. Please.
But we also have 13 new arrivals, all told. So without further ado:
Title: Part Of Me by Cian Ducrot
I've famously been a little harsh on Cian Ducrot; the majority of his singles really haven't impressed me and the most I've praised him in the last year was when he covered Hallelujah, and even THAT came with its fair share of caveats! So colour me surprised when I say this song is genuinely pretty good!
Now, a lot of that has to do with the content. It's a song directed at his deceased friend Phil, who took his own life back in 2019. And he's described this as the hardest song that he's ever had to write, a formal goodbye to his old friend, where he expresses his struggle at trying to honour his memory and grapple with the fact that he wasn't able to help him. And yet those memories, the time they spent together, will live on forever, as part of him. Sure, CIan isn't as good of a songwriter or as emotively nuanced of a singer as Ed Sheeran, so it doesn't quite have the same poetry as Eyes Closed, but Cian's more unrefined delivery arguably works more effectively for this type of song.
Really, my only issue is the piano melody, which reminds me way too much of Someone You Loved by Lewis Capaldi. But apart from that, yeah, this is one of the best songs he's done in a very long time. Nice job, Cian, thank you for finally somewhat justifying your success.
Title: DOGTOOTH by Tyler, The Creator
So one of the cool things about this week is that there are several songs I've already highlighted on my YouTube channel for Monthly Musical Marvels, the series where I highlight my favourite tracks and albums of every single month!
And this is the first of those tracks to appear on the charts this week: a wonderful cut from the extended edition of my favourite Tyler album CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, which yes, is about Tyler being a munch, enjoying the pleasure it gives his girl when he eats her out! And look, in spite of all my criticisms of Ice Spice as an MC, this is apparently slang that she popularised, so props for that, I love it!
And I think it led to a great song here, with phenomenal production, Tyler's great, rough-and-tumble-but-melodic delivery, and some really fun imagery and witty insight that I did find myself laughing along to! Genuinely an enjoyable song, please check it out!
Title: VOID by Melanie Martinez
So is this just going to be a thing? Melanie Martinez apparently has enough fans in Ireland that her album debuted well within the top 5... though thankfully not the biggest album of the week, but more on that later.
But yeah, I listened to Portals, I didn't care for it, even if I might still be one of the few critics to call DEATH one of her best songs in years. I don't know what to tell you, I think the melody is really damn catchy and that chorus has been stuck in my head for the last couple of weeks. But this... this just sucks.
The production is way less interesting, the lyrics are basic, the chorus is bland, and Melanie sounds fucking terrible on this, sounding like a poor Lana Del Rey impersonator on the verses, when she isn't slurring on the chorus in a cracking voice that sounds like Halsey at her absolute worst! So yeah, genuinely awful, reminded me of all the reasons why I hated Cry Baby back in 2015, I have nothing nice to say about it. Moving on.
Title: SORRY NOT SORRY by Tyler, The Creator
The second Tyler, The Creator song to debut this week, and it's honestly one that I hadn't heard as much in comparison to DOGTOOTH. But having now listened to it many, many times, I have to admit, I think it might actually be the better song.
A brutal deconstruction of his own image, career, and fanbase, where Tyler rants about all the expectations that people have piled onto him, all the accusations that he's posing and that he's changed, even when all he's doing is grow up and mature, like we all do. Newsflash, Tyler was 20 years old when he made Goblin! And you still believe everything you did at 20, you're a fucking idiot. The fact that you have a problem with it says more about you than it does about him. But there are also genuine apologies in there, to friends and family he left behind, the women he lied to about his sexuality, and even for not taking more of a political or meaningful stance considering his current platform.
Anyway, yeah, I think this is an excellent song that's incredibly self-aware, well-written and fantastically delivered, especially toward the frenetic ending where he's basically screaming at you over some DAMN beautiful production and choral backing vocals. This song might not have the same weight for people who haven't been listening to Tyler's music for the last few years, at least since Flower Boy, but if you've been paying attention and continued to enjoy what he's put out, this is likely going to become a seminal track for you. Trust me.
Title: 꽃(FLOWER) by JISOO
So JISOO is a member of BLACKPINK, who much like BTS, appear to be taking an extended hiatus, as each of them focuses more on their solo careers. Well, this song has been doing absolutely ridiculous numbers, hence it debuting here this week.
I will preface this by saying that this is absolutely not for me, especially with that slinky drop on the chorus that does NOTHING for me. But look, I do at least appreciate that it sounds somewhat unique, with an absolutely gorgeous pre-chorus and an undeniably catchy melody. Sure, you might accuse it of pulling from some 2014 DJ Snake-isms, but it's certainly more interesting than the 80s synth revival that Jimin was trying to go for last week.
In short, it's a decent-sounding song, but with a drop that might get really grating for me with time. For now though, if you like this, I don't think I can blame you, it's good.
Title: Not Strong Enough by boygenius
Yep, the record was the biggest album to debut this week, the official studio debut of boygenius, made up of sad girl icons Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. As much as I enjoy it, the album is a surprisingly hard sell; it leans very heavily on Phoebe Bridgers - if her music is not your thing, you're probably not going to enjoy it - and all 3 of them have stronger solo albums in their discographies. But once you get past that, I think the album has a lot to offer, with some excellent hooks, plenty of gutpunch moments, and a ton of talent on display!
And this is actually another song that I highlighted in my video going over the best tracks of March, a song highlighting the struggle of feeling inadequate in a relationship, especially as a woman trying to be a provider in a man's world. Where you're never seen as the God but always as the angel, the one on your shoulder who guides you, but not the one who's actually getting the credit. That feeling of inadequacy and insecurity is something that I think everyone feels in relationships at one point or another, and I think these 3 paint the picture absolutely beautifully.
I do wish Lucy Dacus had a bit more to say on this track, but Phoebe leads it beautifully and it has one of the best choruses on the album. One of my favourites on the album, and we're not done with boygenius yet, stay tuned!
Title: Make Me by Borai & Denham Audio
We talk about one of these songs every couple of weeks, and this time it's a collaboration between UK electronica group Denham Audio and Bristol-based DJ Borai. Both acts have been working in the scene for a very long time and this latest offering is their first collaboration, a club song that samples Donna Allen's Serious, which can occasionally feel a little heavy on the bass - it kind of slathers the vocals at times and doesn't make them sound great - but the beat is overall pretty catchy, danceable and fairly standard in its progression.
The song clocks in about 2 and a half minutes and isn't anything particularly special or memorable, but I will say the instrumental passage that comes in around the halfway point was pretty nice. Paired with the glittering synths and some really solid percussion and you have a song with some interesting moments, but ultimately just not great as a whole.
I don't know how much this is gonna stick with me, but for what it is, I don't mind this, I've certainly heard worse.
Title: Cupid by FIFTY FIFTY (피프티피프티)
Another offering from South Korea, this one from the K-pop group FIFTY FIFTY. A cute little song written entirely in English, where they talk about giving love a chance, time and time again, because at their core they're hopeless romantics, even when Cu-pid constantly makes them feel stu-pid. ...
Okay yes, it's dumb, it's childish, it's trying way too hard to be Say So by Doja Cat, but it's supposed to be cute and innocent, whatever, it's fine. As is the production, once again pulling more from the 80s pastiche than the JISOO track did. I just wish it gave me a bit more to say, it's a fairly bland listen in spite of some decent harmonies and smooth production.
Overall, I think this song is probably more pleasant to listen to than FLOWER, but I'm also less likely to remember it in the long run. So pick your poison, I guess.
Title: Slut Me Out by NLE Choppa
NLE Choppa is one of those rappers who's been around for a long, long time and yet I can't think of a single song that he has made off the top of my head. And that's crazy, because he's charted for years, he should have left SOME kind of impression on me! But the only thing I remember is that he was very anti-vax at one point and if that's still true, fuck him.
Anyway, this particular song is somewhat interesting... oh, don't get me wrong, it's not good, at all! The production sounds fucking awful, with the turgid synths and the stiff rapping that somehow sounds like he's speaking off-key, where the vocals are also placed way too low in the mix. But what really annoys me was how he delivers the content. It's a song where he - in no small terms - talks about all the sexual fantasies that he has, all the nasty things that he wants you to do to him. And look, I'm no prude, if you want a girl to lick your gooch while you get spitroasted (paraphrasing), go for it! But because of his flat delivery, where he barely sounds invested in what he's saying, it doesn't sound fun. Imagine if Cardi and Megan made WAP, but took out all the punchlines and good humor! Well, then you'd get a 2005 David Banner track, and I thought we'd all learned what a terrible idea THAT was (shameless plug: Top 10 Worst Hit Songs of 2005)!
To sum up, when your sex song contains references to Pinkeye and when the only word you can sell convincingly is "slut", you have failed. So yeah, one of the worst tracks I've reviewed so far this year. And speaking of which:
Title: I Know by Kanii
This, on the other hand, feels like a more recent brand of depressingly familiar. A young guy with very little presence makes a song on SoundCloud about how he fucked up and begs his ex to take him back, and yet he sounds so fucking uninterested in everything he's saying that there is NO part of me that buys that he feels remotely sorry for anything he's done.!
It makes the refrain of "I fucked up, I know I know I know" sound more exhausted than anything else, like he's so sick of all the fuss that she's making. And yeah, the song really sucks ass. It's full of repetition, that fucking chorus hammers itself into your head until you're forced to remember it in your waking nightmares, and the only reason it exists is in order to go viral on TikTok, which it did.
In other words, it's a joke of a song, a snippet that really feels half-assed, and one that genuinely annoys me a lot, right down to the fucking bedsprings sound effect! Honestly, if it wasn't for the fact that I just listened to one of the worst songs I've heard this year from NLE Choppa, I would probably be raging at this a lot more. But as is, it's the lesser of 2 great evils, and the one that matters a lot less, if we're being honest.
Title: Relax My Eyes by ANOTR & Abel Balder
So ANOTR are a Dutch house duo with some critical acclaim behind them, who are apparently on the hunt to create a more respectable, refined style of soul house music, something you can listen to critically as well as in the club.
And I'll admit that the funky groove, the steady piano and especially the strings and horns make for a really nice musical backdrop. The melody is great, I just wish Abel Balder's falsetto had a bit more presence to it. As it stands, it kind of gets lost in the mix, I much prefer it when he drops into his middle register. Also, while I will admit that this is extremely well-produced, it's a bit too long at 6 and a half minutes! Granted, it's good enough that it feels shorter, but still, it could have easily been trimmed a bit.
I could see some people defending this as "real" or "proper" house music, but personally, it's just a bit too up itself to fully sell me on it. Absolutely good, but not great, unlike:
Title: Cool About It by boygenius
As much as I love Not Strong Enough, I do think this might be even better. If for no other reason than because it's one of the songs on the record that's shared evenly between all 3 performers.
It's a song about an overthinker in a relationship, one person that I think all 3 singers represent at different stages in said relationship. Whenever they have conversations with their significant other, they're constantly in their own heads, overanalyzing and unable to communicate their feelings for fear of being left alone, to the point where even when the relationship doesn't work out, they just pretend like it doesn't matter, that they're cool with it, until it reaches a breaking point with Phoebe's final verse.
I think all 3 singers do an incredible job on this, over a beautiful, simple little melody, and a great, cyclical refrain between each verse and chorus; it's a beautiful little song, easily another favourite on the album.
Title: Hell N Back by Bakar
All right, so you might have to follow me closely on this one: Bakar is a UK singer who released his first mixtape back in 2018. He's seen some success over the years and amassed a small following, but when this song, Hell N Back, was released back in 2019, it saw only minor success. Until this year, when it was featured in the trailer for Pixar's Elementals, which is set to release later this year. And godDAMN, I am kind of obsessed with this!
It reminds me a LOT of Steve Lacey's Bad Habit, in that it's soulful, very expressive, and dabbles across multiple genres of pop, soul and R&B, with absolutely beautiful horns, jazzy piano, breezy backing vocals, and even whistling that DOESN'T suck! Everything about this is just so gorgeous and charming, in a cluttered, ramshackle kind of way. Bakar's voice isn't necessarily perfect, and yet it fits SO well over this production, and the loose style of songwriting is so much fun. Oh, and it's a love song where she found him at his very worst, and while she's gone now and they're no longer together, he's still so grateful that she made his life so much better while it lasted, how can you not smile at this?!
It's a gorgeous little song, and honestly, one of the best charting songs that I've heard in a while. I genuinely hope this becomes a hit!
And you know what, I think the Best of the week is actually going to be a tie between Hell N Back by Bakar and SORRY NOT SORRY by Tyler, The Creator. Kind of shocked boygenius didn't get it, but this week had some real gems! That being said, there was quite a bit of competition for the Worst as well, even if it's not nearly as close, because Slut Me Out by NLE Choppa stands out as a clear least favorite for me, absolutely terrible track!
In keeping with a running theme I've noticed, a busy mainstream chart means a calm Homegrown one:
1. Heaven - Niall Horan [LW: #1 / WOC: 7]
2. Giving Me - Jazzy [LW: #3 / WOC: 4]
3. Eat Your Young - Hozier [LW: #2 / WOC: 3]
4. Part Of Me - Cian Ducrot [LW: - / WOC: 1]
5. Song To Myself - Picture This [LW: #4 / WOC: 3]
6. Innocence And Sadness - Dermot Kennedy [LW: #6 / WOC: 5]
7. My Mind - Belters Only [LW: #5 / WOC: 5]
8. Full of The Blade - Marty Mone [LW: #9 / WOC: 5]
9. YOU - LYRA [LW: #10 / WOC: 4]
10. I Left My Heart - Lucy Blue [LW: #8 / WOC: 4]
Yeah, the only new entry was Part Of Me, which we already covered. I swear this chart is usually more active, but I suppose that give me more time to catch up on, National Treasures, my ongoing series on Instagram, go follow me there @thesocialtune, where I will be reviewing EVERY SONG that hits the Homegrown Top 20 over the course of 2023!
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!