Musical McCool Season 3, Week 20 (EUROVISION, Cha Cha Cha, All My Life, hotline, and more)
Updated: May 29
Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool!
Whew, this is a BUSY week! Quite far removed from the Top 20 a couple of weeks ago, which I MADE A VIDEO ON, CHECK IT OUT:
But seriously, SO much happened this week, to the point where even Eurovision has to somewhat share the spotlight!
The Top 10
First off... FUCK, it's at number 1 now!
1. Giving Me - Jazzy [LW: #2 / WOC: 9]
2. Miracle - Calvin Harris (Ft. Ellie Goulding) [LW: #1 / WOC: 10]
3. Tattoo - Loreen [LW: #45 / WOC: 4]
4. Daylight - David Kushner [LW: #3 / WOC: 5]
5. People (Check On Me) - Libianca [LW: #5 / WOC: 19]
6. Wish You The Best - Lewis Capaldi [LW: #6 / WOC: 5]
7. Cha Cha Cha - Käärijä [LW: - / WOC: 1]
8. Eyes Closed - Ed Sheeran [LW: #4 / WOC: 8]
9. REACT - Switch Disco & Ella Henderson [LW: #11 / WOC: 8]
10. Kill Bill (Remix) - SZA (Ft. Doja Cat) [LW: #7 / WOC: 23]
Yep, despite all my prayers and blood sacrifices, Giving Me by Jazzy reached number 1 in Ireland; so many wasted chickens, damn it! Jokes aside, I'm genuinely pissed off by this, the song is the worst kind of disposable nothingness that only made it there due to Polydor Records making a bunch of backroom deals!
That wasn't all though, because we have 3 new Top 10 entries: Tattoo by Loreen won Sweden yet another Eurovision, and the winner in all our hearts Cha Cha Cha is also here. I've said my piece on the first before, more on the second a bit later, but I'm honestly glad they're both here, I enjoy both songs to different degrees. Also, REACT finally achieved the inevitable and landed Ella Henderson back in the Top 10... because God forbid we give too much fresh talent a chance! Then again, when that fresh talent is Jazzy... hm, maybe we were better off before.
The Punished and the New
As for our ACR victims this week, both are expected:
Forget Me by Lewis Capaldi - #16 -> #48
TRUSTFALL by P!nk - #27 - #97
Look, both of these have been around a good while, one of them even went to ACR and then came back! Plus, Forget Me is likely to get the album boost next week, so stay tuned on that.
The rest of the charts were a bit infuriating though... sure, I'm annoyed that Curtains by Ed Sheeran, one of his best songs in a while, took a nosedive to 55, but I'm fucking apoplectic with rage that MATHEMATICAL DISRESPECT by Lil Mabu somehow jumped up from number 91 to 26!!! WHAT, WHY?!
Otherwise, Waffle House by Jonas Brothers rose to 27 off the strength of the album, and Area Codes by Kali reached 28... I only expect one of these songs to realistically stick around and yep, it's the TikTok one.
But with that, we're diving into our new arrivals, and it's a whole LOAD of Eurovision!
Title: Cha Cha Cha by Käärijä (FINLAND 🇫🇮)
So yeah, Finland should have won. I watched Eurovision live, I saw all the performances and they were far and away the crowd favorite to win. But this was a year where the jury really wanted to flex their power in order to have Sweden win. And it's probably just a coincidence that next year marks the 50th anniversary of a little band called ABBA winning. Wow, what are the chances, so lucky that Sweden will get to host it, right?!
My cynicism aside though, this song is great. It's ridiculous, off-kilter, and infectiously energetic from start to finish! The personality is just dripping from every single iota of that chorus, the growled vocals and light glam metal elements aren't overdone but add SO much, it's unbelievably catchy, and it contains one of the best-executed beat switches I've heard in ages.
Everything about it just screams Eurovision cheese, and with a chorus that can bang with the best of them, it's no surprise that it's already taking over social media left and right. It's the deserving winner, really should have won over Loreen's admittedly good but ultimately inferior second entry,and deep down, you all know it.
Title: Queens of Kings by Alessandra (NORWAY 🇳🇴)
To be honest, it seems like most of my favorite Eurovision songs charted this week (GERMANY DESERVED BETTER!!!), because I really liked this one too!
Being a pirate-themed sea shanty, it's no wonder Norway won over the public in a big way, despite the fact that, once again, it didn't receive a huge amount of love from the judges. And that's a damn shame, Alessandra is a really charismatic and incredible singer. Literally my only issue is that she almost seems too good for something this silly-sounding? The lyrics and the performance are so earnest that the goofy format of the instrumentation is a little too funny to take seriously. If you checked out anything else from her, it really isn't making the best of her talents, and nowhere is that showcased more than in the very brief whistle-pitch on the bridge, godDAMN!
So yeah, it does feel like it was a little bit compromised, specifically to play the crowd. But even so, who's going to deny that hook?
Title: Life Goes On by Ed Sheeran
This is a song that I'm kind of shocked got its own official music video, considering how fucking dark it is. But yeah, of the 2 songs that primarily focus on the death of Ed Sheeran's friend and mentor Jamal, this is FAR superior to Eyes Closed. The really heartfelt melody with its flurry of gorgeous instruments may remind me of Thinking Out Loud a little too much, but Ed's heartfelt delivery and the grief-stricken lyrics hit so hard. I love how he doesn't hold back on how hard this grief has hit him, realising that even with that person's gone, he's expected to just carry on... you suffer, you cry, and then life goes on. It's a real struggle that often gets overlooked in music, and kind of allows this to stand apart from Ed's other songs about losing loved ones.
It's tangled mess of emotions that he's dealing with here - and no, by design, it's not as immediate as Visiting Hours - but this is still something truly special and one of the emotional cruxes of - (Subtract). If you haven't checked it out or even just the Luke Combs remix, fix that.
Title: All My Life by Lil Durk (Ft. J. Cole)
You know Lil Durk has slowly been growing on me. I don't know, maybe it's because he appeared on my favorite album of last year, maybe it's just because he's not really made too many songs I consider awful - with the obvious exception of Broadway Girls - but I've reached the point where I've kind of started enjoying his appearances. And teaming up with J. Cole on this - who's had... let's call it a spotty year so far - this is another decent song from him, one I wouldn't mind keeping around for a bit.
I mean it's basically I Can by Nas, from the children's choir, and the very cookie-cutter, safe lyrics about his come-up and proving his doubters wrong. It's very clearly written to appeal to a larger audience and comes across as extremely safe, right down to Lil Durk telling kids not to do drugs!
Still, apart from J. Cole referring to himself as the "young Jordan Peele" (you're 38, he's 44, it's a stretch!), the bars and content are really on-point, and the hook is effective once I get past my knee-jerk reaction to children's choirs. For a song clearly designed to convince mothers everywhere that their children are fine listening to Lil Durk, it's decent. Keep doing you, man.
Title: Unicorn by Noa Kirel (ISRAEL 🇮🇱)
This is a case where I felt the jury seemed incredibly biased! Because I think this song got way too much love during the competition.
Look, it's a fine pop song with a decent build-up if you've never heard a modern pop ballad past 2015, and I think the beat switch is decent, even if it doesn't fit anything from the first half. But the production as a whole is pretty by the book, the lyrics aren't ridiculous enough by Eurovision standards, and without that stupid horn-on-your-forhead hand sign, I doubt this would have done nearly as well.
Not bad, but it is overhyped. Still, at least it was still more deserving than:
Title: I Wrote A Song by Mae Muller (UK 🇬🇧)
Okay, like pretty much everyone else in the UK and Ireland, I grew to absolutely despise Spaceman last year. I still wake up in a cold sweat when Sam Ryder's pitchy falsetto haunts my nightmares! But you know what, even I can admit that song tried to be memorable, unlike this utter nothingness.
It's 1 part Confetti by Little Mix, 2 parts Passionfruit by Drake and just a dash of New Rules by Dua Lipa, yet somehow it ends up being the worst of all worlds, being, in my opinion, the weakest of all the Eurovision finalists. And that's really unfortunate, because I liked Better Days, I know Mae Muller has some talent. But yeah, this is poorly written and produced even worse, as the melody really does fall flat, using the worst elements of Muller's delivery. I know it's technically more mature to write a song about her rage instead of actually taking it out on him, but if you don't make the song any fun, where even you don't seem to enjoy singing it with all its murky, minor tones, how am I supposed to like it!
There's nothing good or memorable about this, it leaves little to no impression, setting up a decent premise that just does NOT deliver. The UK deserved better... still better than Ireland's entry though, thank CHRIST we didn't qualify!
Title: hotline by Billie Eilish
You know, I saw on Twitter that Billie Eilish fans were rejoicing that she finally released this cover, which she apparently made way back in 2018. Having heard the song though,I feel like that's a bit misleading.
Because this is a one-minute blip of atmospheric moaning where Billie quietly hums out the chorus to Drake's Hotline Bling, and literally nothing else. It's a snippet that somehow got so much attention that it went viral... which is kind of hilarious! I mean if you wanted to make a point of how ubiquitous an artist is, this is a prime example.
I'm not complaining about her level of fame - Hell, based on some of the news stories about her recently, I honestly pity her and despise a lot of her fans - but this has absolutely no right being on the charts, come on.
Title: Side Effects by Becky Hill & Lewis Thompson
At first, I was kind of intrigued to see Becky Hill on a song that seemingly didn't involve some big-name producer. Then I realised that this Lewis Thompson guy has been working behind the scenes on big hits for years, including Joel Corry hits like BED and OUT OUT. So yeah, that interest faded pretty quickly, especially after I heard the song.
I will say, as somebody who has proclaimed Becky Hill is one of the worst performers working today, I don't think this is bad. Sure, the beat is a bit basic, but I do like the metaphor of treating an old relationship as having left her with lingering symptoms that she can't quite shake. If love was the sickness, these are the side-effects, it's a good development of an existing cliché.
But I still don't think Becky Hill is a particularly good singer, the melody isn't that catchy, and the production has about as much personality as you'd expect based on Lewis Thompson's track record. So it might sound a bit harsh, but I really hope this doesn't stick around, I could see it souring on me quickly.
Title: Who The Hell Is Edgar? by Teya & Selena (AUSTRIA 🇦🇹)
Teya & Selena are the duo who represented Austria in the competition, one of the acts that I missed the first time due to streaming issu- I mean perfectly legally televised issues! ... and only heard afterward. But having heard the song and rewatched the performance, this is another one that deserved way better!
This is Eurovision weirdness at its finest! Sure, Croatia got most of the attention as the standout oddballs this year, but this song has a MUCH better hook, the music video is absolutely great, and the lyrics make it one of the strangest yet most entertaining pop songs in the entire competition! I still personally think Cha Cha Cha should have won, but these guys were definitely robbed to some degree.
Title: Solo by Blanka (POLAND 🇵🇱)
When my friends and I were watching this entry, one of them mentioned Lizzie McGuire. And now that's all I can think of whenever I look at Poland's performance or hear this song.
Because otherwise, it's fairly interchangeable pop music. Again, much like Unicorn, it's got a solid melody and is catchy enough, but it's so basic that I'm really surprised it did so well in the competition.
Blanka's clearly talented and has some presence, maybe her career could take off and she could have some radio success, but as for this post-break-up song about riding solo... Jason Derulo did it better.
Title: A Year Ago by James Arthur
Oh, thank Christ! I was so worried that I was going to have to give Worst of the week to a Eurovision song, that would have been messy and probably got me in a lot of hot water. Thankfully, here's James Arthur, who never fails to deliver some of the worst trash that I've heard every single time he shows up!
And thankfully, today is no exception, because this is by far one of the worst songs I've heard all year! On vocals alone, this fails; he sounds AWFUL on this, with that weird, willowy thing he does where he seems to swallow every third word! Who talks or sings like this?! Oh, and it's basically All for You by Cian Ducrot, except somehow worse in some ways. He establishes that it's been an entire year since they broke up, he misses her (which he says about 50 times over the course of this entire song by the way), and he wishes he could go back a year or so he could hold her close, let her pick what movies they see, print each other's names on coffee cups, all that jazz! It's clingy, it's icky, seriously, why are you STILL driving by her house and spying on her with her new partner, you creep?!
And yet despite all that behaviour, he still has the utter gall to question if this guy loves her the same way he did. When you're contemplating bursting back into her life a YEAR after she's clearly moved on from you?! All because you couldn't be bothered to tell her you love her while the 2 of you were together.
Yeah, this sucks. It's the bottom of the barrel of immaturity, it's a guide on how not to deal with emotions or breakups, with one of the worst vocalists working today delivering one of the worst hooks that I've heard all year. Normally I listen to each of these songs on repeat while I write about them; I've heard this one time and that's all I needed. PLEASE don't let this become a hit!
Title: Dancing Is Healing by Rudimental, Charlotte Plank & Vibe Chemistry
Well, Rudimental's back, a name that absolutely ruled a lot of my friends' lives around the mid-2010s, but which I personally never really got into. The type of music Rudimental makes, while fine for what it is, just never interested me much beyond a couple of songs.
Weirdly, the backing beat gives me 2014 DJ Mustard vibes, just slightly sped up, and the drum and bass elements feel kind of perfunctory, but there are parts that work, mostly thanks to Charlotte Plank. I can feel the urgency behind her delivery, as she breathlessly tells me dancing is healing, almost as if she's hoping to convince herself. The lyrics just don't really go anywhere, it doesn't leave much of an impression.
Look, I don't mind this, I wouldn't even mind if it stuck around for a bit, but for Rudimental's first Irish hit in years, this feels a tad underwhelming.
Title: Dance Around It by Joel Corry & Caity Baser
Caity Baser is currently enemy number 1 for most music critics aware of her existence. And when I saw that she was teaming up with Joel Corry for a song, I knew it was only a matter of time before it crossed over to the Hot 100. And if I know Ireland, I wouldn't be surprised if it vaulted into the Top 40 next week. We'll see, but either way, the song's just really bad, you guys!
And honestly, I actually wouldn't put most of the blame on Caity Baser. Sure, her delivery's obnoxious and there's clearly zero emotional maturity to dancing around an issue rather than talking about it, but she obviously knows that and is playing into it, I can't really hold that against her, and her singing isn't the worst I've heard from her. No, my real issue is the production, because I don't know what the fuck Joel Corry was thinking with this beat! The weird, high-pitched, squawking synth in the back of the mix that just never goes away throughout the entire thing?! It sounds like a chew toy getting perpetually squeezed in the recording booth.
The drop is also pretty weak, although just catchy enough that I could see it playing well in certain Irish clubs. So again, it's bad, but as for it being awful... talk to me in another month when this is probably inescapable, my thoughts on it might get a lot worse.
Title: Evidemment by La Zarra (FRANCE 🇫🇷)
You know, I think this song is really well-written, it's well produced, grandiose, in your face, and honestly, I think France also should have done a little bit better during the competition, MAN, this was a great year!
But I also think that this is clearly a rip-off of Voila from 2021. I mean, tell me I'm not the only one to hear that! Play the two songs back-to-back, translate the lyrics, and... look, as somebody who speaks French fluently, I can tell you that it is like an inferior sequel that tries to recapture the magic of the original. They're both songs about artists who are up on stage to capture your attention, talking about the good and the bad that comes with fame, except Voila had this fragile shakiness to it that felt like the entire charade was going to fall apart and implode in spectacular fashion. Whereas this just feels a bit entitled, as if it knows that no matter what, you're going to praise it.
So yeah, the song is pretty good in many ways, but I can't unsee that parallel, and to me, Viola is clearly the better song.
And with all of those out of the way, THAT is been our week, and we can finally get on to the Best and Worst that Ireland had to offer us. And it's not even close, the Worst of the week is going to James Arthur's A Year Ago, one of the worst songs that I've heard all year and one which I pray to those blood gods does NOT become a hit. As for Best of the week, that's a lot harder. So I'm going to be cheap and give it a tie: Life Goes On by Ed Sheeran, for being one of the most mature and heartbreaking songs on Subtract, and Cha Cha Cha by Käärijä, because it's way too fun to deny, that song as a fucking banger!
Thankfully, this was a fairly quiet week for the Homegrown charts:
1. Giving Me - Jazzy [LW: #1 / WOC: 10]
2. Heaven - Niall Horan [LW: #2 / WOC: 13]
3. Eat Your Young - Hozier [LW: #3 / WOC: 9]
4. Part Of Me - Cian Ducrot [LW: #4 / WOC: 7]
5. My Mind - Belters Only [LW: #5 / WOC: 11]
6. Innocence And Sadness - Dermot Kennedy [LW: #6 / WOC: 11]
7. Song To Myself - Picture This [LW: #7 / WOC: 9]
8. Full of The Blade - Marty Mone [LW: #10 / WOC: 11]
9. Anyway - Kingfishr [LW: 12 / WOC: 3]
10. YOU - LYRA [LW: #11 / WOC: 10]
The Top 7 didn't move at all, and the only new entries were in the bottom 20.
For more of my thoughts on those, 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: 23 by The Burma
Title: In My Head by NewDad
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!
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!