Musical McCool Season 3, Week 18 (Meltdown, The Alcott, They Don't Love It, and more)
Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool!
Another quiet week, thank the gods! I'm trying to juggle a lot of real-life admin this week as I desperately try to start a new job, and with the amount of new albums that I'm still trying to hear before the midyear, not to mention planning a major life event, my plate's been full! And the charts thankfully seem obliging, because I barely have anything of note to cover here.
The Top 10
Okay sure, there were some admittedly disturbing shifts in the Top 10.
1. Miracle - Calvin Harris (Ft. Ellie Goulding) [LW: #1 / WOC: 8]
2. Giving Me - Jazzy [LW: #3 / WOC: 7]
4. Daylight - David Kushner [LW: #2 / WOC: 3]
4. Wish You The Best - Lewis Capaldi [LW: #4 / WOC: 3]
5. People (Check On Me) - Libianca [LW: #5 / WOC: 17]
6. Kill Bill (Remix) - SZA (Ft. Doja Cat) [LW: #6 / WOC: 21]
7. Heaven - Niall Horan [LW: #8 / WOC: 11]
8. Last Night - Morgan Wallen [LW: #7 / WOC: 13]
9. Eyes Closed - Ed Sheeran [LW: #9 / WOC: 6]
10. If We Ever Broke Up - Mae Stephens [LW: #11 / WOC: 12]
NonoNO Giving Me isn't allowed to make a play for number 1! I will NOT have another Jazzy and Belters Only song top this chart, so you'd better PRAY that Eyes Closed goes to number 1 next week off the strength of the new album!
Otherwise, things stayed very much the same, apart from Heaven creeping up another spot to number 7 thanks to the new single dropping (more on that later). Oh, and Flowers by Miley Cyrus is officially out of the Top 10 this week, replaced by... If We Ever Broke Up... this is NOT an improvement, and I don't even LIKE Flowers!!!
The Punished and the New
As a reminder (and a shameless plug), my new Top 10 list is up on YouTube, check it out!
And with no new ACR victims this week, you'd think that would mean nothing much happened along the chart... and you'd be wrong!
The losers aren't that surprising (oh wow, Double Fantasy by The Weeknd & Future immediately crashed to number 30, shocker!), but it was the gains and returning entries that really caught my eye! The slap-house trend vaulted REACT by Switch Disco & Ella Henderson up to number 14 this week, poised to be the next big Summer hit that I will surely get incredibly sick of, but I'm a lot more shocked by Cupid by FIFTY FIFTY reaching number 16! I know it's a blatant Say-So-by-Doja-Cat rip-off, but I still didn't think it would get THIS big, even getting some serious radio play here, for whatever that's worth! What I'm much happier with is This Is The Life by Amy Macdonald making a huge jump to 25 this week; it may be a legacy hit, but it's a DAMN great one!
As for the returning entries, I couldn't give a shit about Someone You Loved clawing its way back onto the charts, and I'm honestly a bit cool on Adele's Set Fire To The Rain, but I am pleasantly surprised to see Maria Maria by Santana return to the charts at 84, it's been a while old friend! Also, for my Top 10 watchers, Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls is back at 100, told you!
That's about all of note, so without further ado, let's get to our new arrivals:
Title: Meltdown by Niall Horan
So I have to say, the rollout for Niall's new album has me a little nervous. As someone who fully expected his last album Heartbreak Weather to be his sophomore slump and then was hugely and pleasantly surprised, it looks like this third album might be it. Because while I think Meltdown is slightly more ambitious in terms of the writing than Heaven, I still have the same issues with the production.
Everything feels a bit washed out and echoey, basically strongly resembling a lot of Harry's House, as many critics have been quick to point out. And look, I get it, Harry's been on top of the world for the last couple of years, Niall likely just wants a taste of that. But they're very different songwriters and performers, and frankly, I just don't think that this style of music plays Niall's strengths all that well. It's vague, kind of anonymous, and it doesn't really let his natural charm shine through, I don't find this all that interesting.
And that's a real shame, because the lyrics are clearly meant to be engaging, promising to be there when everything melts down and clearly trying to convey this sense of urgency. But the production is just mid as Hell, featuring a generic and weak 80s bassline, pretty awful backing vocals, and synths that are pitched to sound oddly shrill. So, yeah, not a big fan of this one. I wouldn't call it bad, but it's definitely trending in that direction.
Title: The Alcott by The National (Ft. Taylor Swift)
That National's new album dropped recently to very middling reviews from critics, many people saying that it's rather dreary, kind of boring, but... I dunno, I think it sounds like their last one, except with a few of their best songs since Day I Die from Sleep Well Beast. So while many critics are still doggedly convinced they haven't made a good album since Trouble Will Find Me, I genuinely think The Alcott is pretty great.
I don't think it's the best collaboration between these 2 acts - coney island is one of the best songs either act has put out in the last 10 years - and the vocal balancing isn't quite perfect, as their vocals blur and overlap a little bit too much, but the natural chemistry is still amazing, along with the strained and desperate lyrics! Reuniting with an old flame, stewing in those nerves, hearing about the new partner who's replaced you, and eventually blurting out that you still love them, ruining your relationship all over again... because she's never going to reciprocate those feelings and you just have to move on.
It's a very mature song about a very immature protagonist, and one I'll admit does hit a little close to home for me. In fact, I think it's quite beautiful and incredibly well-written. It's not the best song from that album - Tropic Morning News is still my favorite by a LOT - but I do think that this is pretty damn good!
Title: They Don't Love It by Jack Harlow
Jackman. was a very odd album to sit through, where it felt like Jack Harlow read every single mean comment that people wrote about Come Home The Kids Miss You, and wanted to correct people's perceptions of him, going for a gruff, more aggressive tone and darker material. But I honestly just don't buy it. I'm sure the guy is genuinely a lot tougher than he seems in interviews, but it feels to me like he's seriously going against an image that he's spent the last few years cultivating as a really nice, easygoing guy in favour of an MC people will take more seriously.
In other words, it doesn't sound like he's really having fun here, wanting to prove to everyone that he's the best white rapper since Eminem, a statement that shows his real ignorance of the wider hip-hop community and just REEKS of insecurity that I honestly didn't expect from him and really don't have time for! Also, the lines about no longer wanting to buff his nails or groom his beard... as someone who's literally just entering that phase of his life and trying to be better about his day-to-day appearance, this could not be further removed from my own experience.
So yeah, despite a solid sample and flows, this isn't good. Check out Gang Gang Gang instead... MAN it would have been fucked up and cool if THAT charted instead!
Title: Calendar by Nines & Aisa
Despite my issues with Jack torpedoing his own image though, I still think that this is considerably more cringe-worthy.
Once you look past the admittedly smooth sample, this is one of the worst set of lyrics I've heard all year, where Nines runs through all the girls he's seeing in the most objectifying and dismissive way possible! He literally names each of them after the days of the week he sees them on, and has the gall to include a sample of a woman telling him off for it at the top of the song! Am I really supposed to find this cool or funny, and not just blatantly misogynistic?! If he presented that clip in a self-aware way, that would be one thing. But instead, he brushes off all her concerns and reminds her he can replace her easily, going out of his way to show how little respect he has for any of these girls to the point where it's not remotely fun!
Not to mention the awful and shallow way he describes most of these girls, with my personal favourite being "airhead but she give the best sucky sucky"... this man is in his thirties! Way to undo all that goodwill from last week Nines, fuck this track!
Title: 4runner by Brenn!
Last of all, we cover The King Of The South! ... Yes, that's what this kid apparently calls himself.
This 18-year-old, Alabama-based TikTok star has been racking up streams as a self-made artist who left town, did a bunch of odd jobs to scrape by, all to pursue his dream of going to Nashville. I appreciate a good underdog story, and the kid has some good songwriting chops and a decent enough voice, even if I do think his upper range is a bit raw and I'd recommend sticking to his mid-range instead. And 4runner is his big break-out song, with a chugging acoustic guitar, with what sounds like touches of a ukulele and some light percussion to create a nice propulsive hook.
The guy clearly has talent, and while I do think the hook is slightly held back by his howling, it still works pretty well thanks to the solid songwriting! He claims that it's a song about running away and chasing your dreams, but I dunno, the framing makes it seem to be directed at someone who is sedentary, waiting for their life to change despite not having the balls to leave their small town. The world is changing and they're staying still, while our protagonist is moving on with his life, realising that the power this man used to have no longer matters. It definitely has some subtext regarding the older generation critiquing the new one while their world views become obsolete, and I am ALL for that!
So yeah, I quite like this song. I don't know if the lyrics are intentionally that deep or if I'm just reading into it too much, but either way, the elements are all solid enough for me to recommend this.
That being said, at the risk of causing a stir in the comments, I'm still giving Best of the week to The Alcott by The Nation (Ft. Taylor Swift), I just can't resist their vocal chemistry! Worst of the week is easy too, because FUCK Calendar by Nines! Not that it matters, I don't expect either of them to stick around beyond this week.
As for the Homegrown charts, they're probably the busiest they've been in a while:
1. Giving Me - Jazzy [LW: #1 / WOC: 8]
2. Heaven - Niall Horan [LW: #2 / WOC: 11]
3. Eat Your Young - Hozier [LW: #4 / WOC: 7]
4. Part Of Me - Cian Ducrot [LW: #3 / WOC: 5]
5. My Mind - Belters Only [LW: #6 / WOC: 9]
6. Innocence And Sadness - Dermot Kennedy [LW: #5 / WOC: 9]
7. Song To Myself - Picture This [LW: #7 / WOC: 9]
8. Anyway - Kingfishr [LW: - / WOC: 1]
9. YOU - LYRA [LW: #9 / WOC: 8]
10. Full of The Blade - Marty Mone [LW: #10 / WOC: 9]
Boooo! How dare your force CMAT back out of the Top 10!
For more of my thoughts on this and the other new songs, 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:
Title: Anyway by Kingfishr
Again, 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! Oh, and again, don't forget to check out the new Top 10 list, I'll pay you in good vibes!
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!