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Musical McCool Season 3, Week 21 (Say Yes To Heaven, Mourning, The Pretender, and more)

Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool!

Sorry for the delay; for whatever reason, the Irish Recorded Music Association didn't update their weekly chart until a couple of days ago... maybe they saw my last video and felt attacked. Hopefully!

Either way, that means I had to play catch-up.

The Top 10

So first off, despite my best efforts, the Top 3 hasn't shifted.

1. Giving Me - Jazzy [LW: #1 / WOC: 10]

2. Miracle - Calvin Harris (Ft. Ellie Goulding) [LW: #2 / WOC: 11]

3. Tattoo - Loreen [LW: #3 / WOC: 5]

4. Daylight - David Kushner [LW: #4 / WOC: 6]

5. Wish You The Best - Lewis Capaldi [LW: #6 / WOC: 6]

6. People (Check On Me) - Libianca [LW: #5 / WOC: 20]

7. REACT - Switch Disco & Ella Henderson [LW: #9 / WOC: 9]

8. Say Yes To Heaven - Lana Del Rey [LW: - / WOC: 1]

9. Last Night - Morgan Wallen [LW: #11 / WOC: 15]

10. Kill Bill (Remix) - SZA (Ft. Doja Cat) [LW: #10 / WOC: 24]

Look, I'm not surprised by this; Giving Me is just following the same pattern as Make Me Feel Good; I just hope and pray that this one doesn't become the biggest song of the year, because that's about all I've got now!

I'm a lot more surprised to see Tattoo by Loreen still here, but I suppose we do enjoy Eurovision... although that's no excuse for replacing Cha Cha Cha with fucking Last Night! Oh, and we have a new Top 10 entry: Say Yes To Heaven by Lana Del Rey. Kinda weird to see this here, considering we had a whole ALBUM earlier this year without a single Top 10 hit (REALLY, you couldn't give Paris, Texas a chance?!), but with incredibly strong streaming numbers, I'm not exactly surprised; more on that song a bit later.

The Punished and the New

No ACR victims this week, though there were a few noticeable shifts though; AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM by Beyonce smashed back in at number 18, thanks to the Kendrick Lamar remix clearly doing well. Look, it's no Freedom, but I'll certainly take it, please can we keep this around?! And on the other side of the spectrum, Lil Mabu's MATHEMATICAL DISRESPECT THANKFULLY dropped down to 34, yay, burn in Hell! (I'm talking about the song, to be clear.)

And in terms of gains from last week, they were very predicatle: Side Effects by Becky Hill & Lewis Thompson rose up to number 44 because she's famous, for some reason, and Dancing Is Healing by Rudimental & Co. is at number 50 because name recognition and not much else, the song ain't great.

And now, our new arrivals, starting with:

Title: Say Yes To Heaven by Lana Del Rey

Position: #8

So this song is one that’s been floating around the aether in one form or another since Lana’s 2013 album Ultraviolence, but it was never officially pushed as a single until now. The history behind that is messy and contentious, and frankly too long to cover today. Because in all honesty, I don’t think this song is worth all the bother.

I’m not an Ultraviolence fan, for its rather tasteless writing and high-and-mighty framing that thinks it's SO clever, but this isn't even that ambitious. Here the issue is more the very sleepy production and Lana’s very minimalist writing, where what’s implied and what’s said doesn’t particularly line up in a way that grips me. Especially with the washed-out synths, the ever-present reverb and multi-tracking, and despite it not sounding bad at all, it’s just very odd to see it this high on the charts.

I mean the radio’s going to ignore this, and while TikTok streams and the rabid fanbase will likely mean it sticks around a little… again, I don’t really see this becoming a real hit beyond the initial hype. And when Lana Del Rey, of all fucking people, has currently got far better songs in my rotation at the moment, I can't say it deserves the attention either.

Title: Haven't You Ever Been In Love Before by Lewis Capaldi

Position: #28

So Lewis Capaldi's new album wasn't quite the smash success I was expecting. I think it's a timing issue - if he'd dropped it in conjunction with his documentary, this could have been the biggest album of the year - but with the roll-out taking so long, with the early singles dropping over 6 months ago, I think he just missed his window. Still, the album is doing decent numbers, and we did get 2 new songs to chart, with this likely being the next single.

And once again, the framing is surprisingly compelling. He wants to take the next step in a fairly new relationship, but she’s getting cold feet. Because she’s been in love before and found that it brings more suffering with it than anything else. And again, Lewis Capaldi’s very good at playing the hopeless romantic who tells her she’s thinking too far ahead and that he’d rather take this chance than live with regret. Unfortunately, this suffers from the same issues as Wish You The Best, only to an admittedly smaller degree.

The melody and production feel basic and recycled, and Capaldi’s upper range isn’t amazi- Actually, never mind, he doesn’t really slip into that much at all. In fact, the album as a whole has very few of those painful vocal moments! Still, I’d just be lying if I said this song didn’t blend into the ones around it or didn't feel kind of anonymous. It’s not bad at all, but not exactly memorable either.

Title: Mourning by Post Malone

Position: #31

So can we officially say that Post Malone is on a new streak? After his last album was almost entirely worthless, I genuinely thought his career might be over. But with the release of Chemical, many of his fans AND haters were forced to admit he’d struck gold again, even those of us who initially hated it! And while this also took 1 or 2 listens to click, I think it’s another winner!

Imagine if Intentions by Justin Bieber and Quavo had any ambition or fun to it! Well, that’s what the production on this song reminds me of, only where Justin sounded like he was trying to force a VERY strained smile, Post sounds genuinely miserable, lost in a drunken haze that has him bleary-eyed and hiccupping, a sound effect I didn’t EVER think could work on a song, but somehow it acts as a great kick-off for the chorus! And with the blur of backing vocals, the STUPIDLY catchy hook, and the honestly devastating lyrics, where he likens sobering up in the morning to mourning an actual death, in a song where he’s brutally honest about his poor decisions and bad relationship management, the writing here might honestly match his last single.

Add onto that the way each chorus progressively gets more layered, the second verse that practically doubles as a bridge, in which he narrates his own thought process right before he throws up all over your nice tile floor, and yeah, this is vivid and catchy in ALL the best ways. I don’t think it’s QUITE as good as Chemical right now, but honestly, time will tell. Because it’s honestly pretty close, good song!

Title: Padam Padam by Kylie Minogue

Position: #36

It feels kind of weird to be speaking so casually on an artist who practically raised me for a couple of years as a kid. But yeah, there was a time where Kylie was in-es-capable in my house, where songs like Locomotion, Kids with Robbie Williams, and I Should Be So Lucky played non-stop. And yet the latter half of her career, post-early 2000s has been a mixed bag. I think it doesn’t help that her music has felt increasingly backwards-looking, or that Carly Rae Jepsen has essentially filled the role she used to play, but a lot of her modern material feels more disposable.

And on that note, this new song! For anyone who cares: no, this is NOT a cover of the Édith Piaf song. No, THIS Padam Padam is less about the sound of running footsteps, and more the beating of your heart, as Kylie realises that you’re seriously into her. And look, Kylie sounds pretty decent, and the song has their eerie minor tone to a lot of it that’s weird and off-kilter in a good way, not to mention that hook is genuinely quite catchy. I just don’t know if I could ever see something like this catching on. It feels less like the disco funk that she’s famous for, and more like a brand of 90s house that’s just a little too weird for the radio. Look, the more I hear it, the more I’m inclined to praise this, it’s just SO not what I was expecting, but I’d be shocked to see this stick around. Certainly one of the stranger pop hits I’ve heard this year, and a pivot I can’t see a lot of her older fans getting behind, but personally, I do like this.

Title: The Pretender by Lewis Capaldi

Position: #42

Much like the last one, no, not a Foo Fighters cover! And I have to say, if I had to pick a Top 3 from this album, Forget Me and How I’m Feeling Now would be CLEAR frontrunners… but this is probably my third pick.

It’s not phenomenal, but the vocal production and multitracking is subtly pretty great, and the lyrics are devastating, as he details just how good he is at putting on a brave face, and will do anything not to be a burden to others, he’ll wear any mask you tell him, because he’s not just good at pretending, he needs to! It’s probably one of the most believable songs I’ve ever heard from Lewis Capaldi, especially considering everything he’s gone through this past year. Plus, that chorus just slaps, fight me.

Title: UNHEALTHY by Anne-Marie (Ft. Shania Twain)

Position: #60

The roll-out for this new Anne-Marie project has been a bit of a trainwreck. After PSYCHO became a surprisingly big hit, the follow-up singles have failed to cross over beyond some minor UK success, and the answer as to "why" is less interesting to me than "why now". And likely followed by the question "why this" because this is kinda trash.

Yeah, pop stars making country crossovers certainly isn't unheard of in the grand scheme of things, but it's a little weird coming out of the UK, where country hasn't had nearly the same level of traction in recent years. But with the stars aligning for this genre in Ireland, I guess the same's happening over there? Either way, the Shania Twain co-sign means a lot less in 2023, especially when she's utterly WASTED! The production makes it so she sounds identical to Anne-Marie, even more so than Coi Leray did on Baby Don't Hurt Me, the closest thing Anne-Marie has had to a hit this year.

But weirdly, I could see this catching on... I'm not happy about it! The lyrics about an unhealthy relationship are basic as Hell, the melody and production sound like a weird blend of Formula by Labrinth and Run by One Republic, and the chorus has zero punch to it, but despite ALL of that, it has just enough bounce that I could see the radio choosing to push this... please prove me wrong on that!

Title: Francesca by Hozier

Position: #62

So I'm actually quite excited about this new Hozier album. I absolutely adore Eat Your Young, and All Things End was terrific as well... but this doesn't do much for me.

Look, the writing is good, as always, with some really evocative imagery about a love so destructive that he likens it to a hurricane destroying everything in its path - including him - and yet if he had the chance to do it all again, he knows he would. But I just don't like the production: the vocals are compressed, the drums are muffled, and around the 3-minute mark, the mix is swamped with reverb and bass in a climax that's supposed to feel epic, but it just makes the vocals more unintelligible.

I wouldn't call it bad - the organ in the first minute and Hozier's delivery and writing are all too good to fully dismiss it - but as the song continues, I just grow less and less engaged with where it's going. And on a Hozier song, that simply shouldn't happen.

Title: WHERE SHE GOES by Bad Bunny

Position: #65

Mode made a suggestion to me a couple of months ago that Spanish-language music tends to cross over here in Ireland more so than it does over in the UK. And while I still don't fully understand why, it's been proven again this week, as we got the Bad Bunny track and they did not.

And the song's actually pretty good, albeit not super duper interesting if you're familiar with the genres it's pulling from, primarily a lot of house and hip hop subgenres. The melody is fine enough, the production is generally quite straightforward but has a lot of forward momentum, especially when the drums and organ come in. But what really makes it - as usual - is Bad Bunny himself. He's injects a lot of personality in a lot of his flows - even if it's clear he's pulling a lot from Lil Uzi Vert in spots - his singing is quite solid, and the way he can switch so effortlessly from one to the next alongside the beat is damn fun. Okay, he's not Shakira, but it's still impressive. The lyrics don't particularly grip me though, and along with a sub-par hook from him, I wouldn't be surprise if this faded once the TikTok trend does... that is, again, unless the Just Wanna Rock crowd gets ahold of this. Then I could see it sticking around for a looooonnnnnggg time.

Title: Maria Maria by TECH IT DEEP

Position: #98

Back when Maria Maria by Santana returned to the Irish charts, I foolishly didn't consider why that was. Well, weeks later, the reason rears its head, and it's the modern club remix of the classic... because of course it is. Now in fairness, this is actually quite good. The beat is absolutely lifted from half-a-million other songs, but it blends surprisingly well with the soulful vocals and the drop is actually pretty great, especially when the singing then continues with those evocative verses. And with the cheeky Spanish guitar continuing throughout the mix, and making the bold choice NOT to simply lift the iconic riff the same way DJ Khaled did on Wild Thoughts... I have to admit that's surprisingly refreshing.

I dunno, it's still nostalgia-baiting, but not in the obvious way it could have... does that make it better or just dumber? Who knows, but either way, I liked this way more than I thought I would. Well played.

Title: Angel Pt.1 by Jimin, Kodak Black, NLE Choppa, JVKE & Muni long

Position: #99

Whereas this is bad in ways I wasn't expecting! I'm used to tuning out the moment I see Kodak Black's name, and it's not like the Fast & Furious films are known for having incredible soundtracks... seriously, name a song other than See You Again, do it! But his verse isn't actually bad, even if I still can't stand his fucking voice. Neither is NLE Choppa's verse, that's 2 big surprises.

The issue is that this song's chorus is ABYSMAL! Seriously, whether it's JVKE opening it up with his best Adam Levine impression, to Jimin sounding entirely checked out (and who can blame him?), to Muni Long sounding... well, better than the other 2, but the writing is so bland and weak that it doesn't matter, it's not remotely salvageable!

So yeah, Anne-Marie got close, but Angel Pt.1 HANDILY wins Worst of the week, what an UTTER waste of space, even for the F&F series... and I LOVE those movies, for the record! As for Best of the week though, I'm giving it to the only song that I genuinely came close to loving: and that's Mourning by Post Malone, comfortably the only song from this week I can see myself returning to.

National Treasures

So the Homegrown charts got tired of waiting and decided to smack me across my head... as they should, I've been AWFUL at keeping up:

1. Giving Me - Jazzy [LW: #1 / WOC: 11]

2. Eat Your Young - Hozier [LW: #3 / WOC: 10]

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

4. Part Of Me - Cian Ducrot [LW: #4 / WOC: 8]

5. My Mind - Belters Only [LW: #5 / WOC: 12]

6. Innocence And Sadness - Dermot Kennedy [LW: #6 / WOC: 12]

7. Song To Myself - Picture This [LW: #7 / WOC: 10]

8. Full of The Blade - Marty Mone [LW: #8 / WOC: 12]

9. Casper - Robert Grace [LW: - / WOC: 1]

10. Anyway - Kingfishr [LW: 9 / WOC: 4]

So yeah, Niall Horan's Heaven got kicked out after 13 weeks, to be replaced by the slightly inferior Meltdown, and is joined by the latest Robert Grace song Casper in the Top 10.

And that's only the beginning...

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: Casper by Robert Grace

Position: #9

Title: The Universe by Róisín Murphy

Position: #15

Title: Patience by Aby Coulibaly

Position: #16

Title: Guided by Pa Sheehy

Position: #18

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!


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