Musical McCool Season 3, Week 5 (Love Again, I'm Not Here To Make Friends, TRUSTFALL and more)
Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool!
Because of course... the one week I'm at my busiest with OTHER Social Tune projects, the Hot 100 decides to explode, with almost as many new songs as when Flowers debuted a couple of weeks ago! As such, I'm going to endeavour to be a little more concise with this post... because we all know how good I am at THAT!
The Top 10
Looking at the top 10, it still feels like we're waiting for the year to fully kick off:
1. Flowers - Miley Cyrus [LW: 1 / WOC: 3]
2. Escapism. - RAYE (Ft. 070 Shake) [LW: #2 / WOC: 11]
3. Kill Bill - SZA [LW: #3 / WOC: 8]
4. Anti-Hero - Taylor Swift [LW: #4 / WOC: 15]
5. Calm Down (Remix) - Rema (Ft. Selena Gomez) [LW: #5 / WOC: 23]
6. Made You Look - Meghan Trainor [LW: #6 / WOC: 15]
7. Pointless - Lewis Capaldi [LW: #11 / WOC: 9]
8. Miss You - Oliver Tree & Robin Schulz [LW: #7 / WOC: 17]
9. 10:35 - Tiësto (Ft. Tate McRae) [LW: #15 / WOC: 13]
10. Sure Thing - Miguel [LW: #10 / WOC: 5]
Most of the Top 10 remained the same as last week, with the only 2 new arrivals being Pointless by Lewis Capaldi & 10:35 by Tiësto & Tate McRae. The former is boring and bad, the latter is currently my hit of the year, what?
The Punished and the New
No time to dwell, we need to cover the movers to ACR!!! ... There aren't any this week.
Okay, as tempting as it is to jump straight into our new arrivals at breakneck speed, I'd feel guilty if I put any less effort into this, so let's talk about how many BIG losers and non-starters we saw this week: SZA's Nobody Gets Me collapsed to 48 - haha, good, Low's way better... SHIT, that dropped to 54!!! - People (Check On Me) by Libianca plummeted to 50 - on the one hand, I adore it, on the other hand, it did get my last video copyrighted... - Nonsense by Sabrina Carpenter fell over 30 spots to 52, and Rumble by Skrillex, Fred Again.. & Flowdan was almost as bad, dropping 28 spots to 77!
And with the main highlights dealt with, let's run through the newcomers, QUICKLY!
Title: Love Again by The Kid LAROI
Yeah, I don't like this. The Kid LAROI is the kind of artist who lives and dies on the strength of his production, as his lyrics always show him off as a mildly toxic manchild who varies WILDLY is likeability. And this is no exception, as the cloying delivery begging to be given a second chance despite how truly awful these 2 seemed for each other does very little for me personally. Like I said though, the main issue is how it sounds. Kid LAROI sounds like he's singing through his nose, the guitar is incredibly interchangeable (seriously, it sounds like a fucking commercial jingle), and there's little to no modulation between the verses and hook. It's like a drive-by sneer that stretches out to 2-and-a-half minutes.
It's ugly lyrically, utterly boring sonically, and just unpalatable to my ears. It's a nope from me!
Title: Voices by KSI (Ft. Oliver Tree)
There's something fundamentally off-putting about the tone of this song. The bass is low and sinister, the percussion is kind of erratic, and the melody is filled with these oddly minor tones that make me really uncomfortable... and that's before I saw the video!
It gives me the same feeling as I Like You by Doja & Post Malone, there's something off, wrong even, about the way it sounds. And the choir of vocals humming about the voices in my he-e-e-e-ead doesn't help either, nor KSI's musings about where you sleep at night! If anything, Oliver Tree's the normal one here, at least he seems like he WANTS to forget you and move on. Creepy, unsettling, ugly and unhealthy. That about sums it up.
Title: I'm Not Here To Make Friends by Sam Smith, Calvin Harris & Jessie Reyez
I heard the album this is from LONG before I heard about the controversy surrounding this new video. And after all that fuss, seeing the video... how fucking prudish ARE you fucking assholes? The video barely contains anything remotely racy by today's standards, get the fuck over yourselves! That being said, to me, this is the song that fits the least on Gloria. It's the pop crossover where even if Calvin Harris' name wasn't on it, you'd know he produced it. The lyrics are rather disposable, Jessie Reyez is consistently the worst part of every song she's on, and Sam sadly sounds kind of anonymous. I kind of hope this becomes a hit out of pure spite for the cunts causing Sam all that grief online, but personally, How To Cry's way more interesting.
Title: Hey Mickey by Baby Tate
If you've seen my best songs of 2022 overall, you should recognise this name. Baby Tate was known to me as "that singer from Surround Sound by JID that led us into one of the best beat switches in recent memory". Turns out though, she's her own singer and a weird one at that!
The Toni Basil sample was predictable, but the kooky glitch-pop beat was intriguingly bizarre, I honestly wish it went even weirder. What I wish were a little easier to follow is the writing, where Baby Tate goes on about this guy who's a player, rich and makes his own drugs, but as she tries to marry him, she finds out he's gay... that's really it.
The song is really short, not even 2 minutes long, and judging by the lyric video, seems designed to take off on TikTok, which is how it got here. Points for being honest I guess, but this is just too sparse for me, there's nothing to grab onto and remember.
Title: TRUSTFALL by P!nk
Calling it now, this could be an honest-to-God hit in Europe. It's a dance pop song that is bound to play amazingly at festivals, a very catchy hook that's motivational and easy to remember, and it's very accessible to most audiences.
The premise is actually pretty good, where she sketches out that the system is NOT built to help us succeed and that you have to fight for the change you want. Okay, it's a bit vanilla in its politics, it's nowhere near as vicious as P!nk can get at her very best, but what she does get right is the courage that change takes, and the fact that it's both scary now and will be for a while. But she promises to not leave you behind, ready to catch you as you fall.
Paired with a really good EDM beat that (no surprise) was produced by Fred again.. and you have a pretty anthemic pop song. This is the title track for that album dropping in 2 short weeks, and honestly, I might check it out. Cause this one's kind of a grower.
Title: Us Against The World by Strandz
Well, this sure is an unexpected sound in 2023! It's a 2000s throwback that's VERY reminiscent of G-Unit, right down to that flipped Smokey Robinson sample, brought to us by London's Strandz, a young Nigerian-born rapper who's been making waves since around April of last year. And I can see why, as his young-sounding voice still emulates this sound really convincingly, especially with his use of backing vocals.
Hell, even as a thug love song from that era, this is arguably a pretty faithful interpretation, where he highlights his rough upbringing, and that nobody is on their side, and it's her and him against the gangs, the police, everyone.
I dunno, maybe I'm just a sucker for this sound, but I love how smooth this is, without the questionable lines I expect from that era, and some simple but cute bars, like saying she's "finer than a key of coke". It's an easy sell to most older hip hop fans - by which I sadly mean anyone over the age of 21 - and I do recommend it. Even if, once again, it's way too short at only 2-and-a-half minutes!
Title: Growin' Up & Gettin' Old by Luke Combs
I feel like Ireland JUST discovered Luke Combs. He's been a proven hitmaker for a good while over in the US, but here, it feels like I'm just starting to hear him on the radio stations. And with the rising success of The Kind Of Love We Make, it makes sense that his most recent single should cross over.
I've always liked his voice, a rich baritone, a rough but authentic timbre, and the vibe of a guy you'd love to grab a beer with... probably while his own songs play in the background! And I LOVE the message here, as he still likes to raise Hell and hang out with his bros, but has reached a point in his life where, while he's not old yet, he's learned to slow down, know his limits and appreciate restraint. Trust me, as someone settling into domestic life remarkably easily, I FEEL this! Friends are great, but hangovers suck, and staying at home is awesome!
It's a song that appreciates the passage of time catches up to all of us, which manages to fit a surprising amount of nuance into its lyrics. And the great chorus, the steel guitars and the subtle backing vocals only sweeten the deal. This kicks ass, looking forward to the next album!
Title: the BLACK seminole. by Lil Yachty
At this point, every critic on Earth has raved about how awesome this album is. Maybe we're all just brainwashed by incredibly low expectations, but Lil yachty's attempt at this brand of psychedelic rock is such a fascinating pivot that you can't NOT be fascinated by it!
That being said, this, the opening track, does highlight the obvious strength and main flaw of the album: it's VERY beholden to its influences! There's nothing about this that pushes boundaries if you know your music history, and while I do appreciate Yachty for doing it, I'll also admit that he himself is the least interesting part of his own album. Still, it DOES sound incredible, with the bleeping electronic effects, the waves of distorted cymbals, synths and the kick-ass guitars, not even touching on the amazing-but-short drumroll on the outro. Even the lyrics are odd and cryptic, it really pulls you into the trippy experience!
I just wish it ended a bit earlier, as the 6-minute runtime feels a bit arduous. By the time the howling woman comes in I was ready to leave. Then again, that's another staple of the genre, it doesn't know when to shut up and leave well enough alone, so not too many points deducted.
So despite Lil Yachty's best efforts, I can't give him Best of the week. Mainly because Luke Combs' Growin' up & gettin' Old just hits me where I live, what a great song! The Worst is a little harder... but yeah, I'm giving it to Voices by KSI & Oliver Tree, again, there's something twisted and wrong about it that gives me a headache the more I listen to it!
Fuck, I feel like I slowed down there, back to speeding things up to race to the outro:
1. I'll Be Waiting - Cian Ducrot [LW: #1 / WOC: 12]
2. One Life - Dermot Kennedy [LW: #2 / WOC: 9]
3. Get On My Love - Picture This [LW: #3 / WOC: 10]
4. Superstar - Belters Only & Mickey Modelle (Ft. Simone Denny) [LW: #4 / WOC: 11]
5. Time To Leave - Darren Kiely [LW: 5 / WOC: 3]
6. Perfect - Moncrieff [LW: 6 / WOC: 3]
7. Je Ka Lo - Rose9 [LW: - / WOC: 1]
8. We Are One - Wild youth [LW: - / WOC: 1]
9. Mayday - CMAT [LW: 7 / WOC: 3]
10. Rewind - Aby Coulibaly [LW: - / WOC: 1]
Yep, the Top 6 didn't move, and we have 3 new arrivals, including Irelands's 2023 Eurovision entry! For my thoughts on those newbies and more, check out my video series National Treasures over on Instagram, go follow me there @thesocialtune to hear my full thoughts.
If you're craving a sneak peek though:
Title: Je Ka Lo by Rose9
Title: We Are One by Wild Youth
Title: Rewind by Aby Coulibaly
Title: Go Dig My Grave by Lankum
Title: Everywhere With You by Derek Ryan & Emma Langford
For my thoughts on all of these, 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. I am currently a little behind, but trust me, I'll be catching up on a LOT of them these next few days, stay tuned!
As ever, please let me know in the Comments what you thought of the songs covered this week, and leave a Like if you enjoyed! 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 offf