Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool!
So after a quieter week on the last edition of this series, I expected things to get a little busier. Turns out, that was an understatement, because this week was insane! Multiple new Top 10 entries, several bigtime shifts across the Hot 100, and 14 new entries... technically! And since I'm as busy as ever, time for another L-L-L-LIGHTNING ROUND!!! ... That works better when you say it out loud.
The Top 10
Anyway, the changes start near the very top!
1. Flowers - Miley Cyrus [LW: 1 / WOC: 4]
2. Escapism. - RAYE (Ft. 070 Shake) [LW: #2 / WOC: 12]
3. Boy's A Liar Pt. 2 - PinkPantheress (Ft. Ice Spice) [LW: 14 / WOC: 8]
4. Kill Bill - SZA [LW: #3 / WOC: 10]
5. Anti-Hero - Taylor Swift [LW: #4 / WOC: 17]
6. Sure Thing - Miguel [LW: #8 / WOC: 7]
7. Players - Coi Leray [LW: #13 / WOC: 8]
8. Calm Down (Remix) - Rema (Ft. Selena Gomez) [LW: #6 / WOC: 25]
9. 10:35 - Tiësto (Ft. Tate McRae) [LW: #5 / WOC: 15]
10. Made You Look - Meghan Trainor [LW: #7 / WOC: 17]
There's quite a bit going on here! For one, the remix of Boy's A Liar with Ice Spice blew up, vaulting into the Top 3! If more people keep pushing this, I could see it beating out Escapism., even if I think it taking Flowers' crown is unlikely.
Moreover, at long last, Players by Coi Leray cracked the Top 10, in all its pretty okay-ness. I'd be happier if it didn't happen to coincide with 10:35 taking a dip to number 9... I don't know how these 2 are related but I still blame the former. Oh, and the continued rise of Sure Thing is cool, but I'd love to have more new songs chart this high.
The Punished and the New
Remember the Grammys last week and the mild impact it had on the charts? Well, that was a meer tremor compared to the shockwave caused by the Superbowl Halftime Show! Rihanna DOMINATED the conversation this week, with her discography and monthly listeners apparently gaining a boost of 150% on Spotify! It would be amazing marketing if I believed she intended to put any new music out this year. However, these aren't technically new hits... I know for a fact that Stay and We Found Love were HUGE over here, but the Irish Charts as we know them today have only been around for about 6 years, so they show up as "new". Hell, even Run This Town came back on a technicality, not to mention the expected boost to Lift Me Up. So no, I'm not going to review them in full, suffice it to say that they're all incredibly mid to me.
That's not the only story from this week. Due to the conversation surrounding Flowers taking a more critical pivot, When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars returned to the chart, as people noticed how similar the 2 songs sound. Interesting debate... but all I care about is that this is now charting at the same time as All For You by Cian Ducrot. Take notes Cian, THIS is how it's done!!!
But we're STILL not finished, because we also had 2 major artists touring in Ireland over the past 2 weeks. One is goddamn fucking awful, one is a goddess among humans. That's why Under The Influence by Chris Brown returned at 25 (BOOOOOOO!!!) and much MUCH lower, at 99, Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine! That's right, on her final leg of the UKI tour, Florence graced us with her presence, and as someone who was in the audience, it was fucking amazing... even if the 3 Arena should really reconsider when they open their doors!
Finally, I wanted to admit a couple of mistakes I made recently in terms of ACR, I was actually off by a week or 2 on some of my past obituaries. This week though, it's confirmed:
Another Love by Tom Odell - #15 -> #35
How Do I Say Goodbye by Dean Lewis - #30 -> #81
Honestly, neither of these should surprise anyone. They've both had impressive runs, and the former might even come back again considering its seeming immunity to falling out of the Hot 100.
But now, on to our long list of new arrivals, starting with:
Title: Love You Anyway by Luke Combs
You know what, good for Luke Combs! After years of releasing music that's seen some real success and promise over in the US - all while getting better with each project - I'm glad to see him finally getting more international success. Okay, there are better country artists out there, but as far as the mainstream goes, I'd much rather have him than Sam Hunt or Morgan Wallen.
That being said, this isn't quite the instant charmer that was Growin' Up & Gettin' Old. It's a simpler love song with very pretty, organic production and a catchy hook where he confesses his undying love for her. Even if they break up and she leaves him, he assures her that he'll still love her. So yeah, a bit of a simp anthem, but it's sweet and his warm tenor is just so comforting!
My only issue is the chorus, where the writing and rhyme scheme gets a bit too hokey. I mean he rhymes "choice" with "North", I can't not wince at that!
Title: If We Ever Broke Up by Mae Stephens
So here's our big TikTok song of the week, actually debuting higher than it did in Mae Stephens' home country of the UK. And honestly, as far as TikTok songs go, it certainly feels more complete than some of the empty shells we get over there at times, with a real hook and competent production... I just wish I remotely liked any of it.
For me, it's an issue with the singer and the weak bassline. If either element were stronger, I could call this decent, but as is, I have nothing to distract me from how bad these lyrics are. This is a girl nonchalantly telling her partner that if they ever break up, she'll make his life Hell. It's just SO unnecessary for 2 people that are still together, and considering one of the things she threatens is to tell his dad about all the shitty things she said to her (although she slurs "said" into "saad" to make it rhyme with "dad- EW!), then WHY are you 2 still together?! If he's being shitty to you, leave him! And don't tell me "it's not that simple", her blasé delivery shows she clearly couldn't care less about him, meaning you're both just shitty, dysfunctional and unlikeable people. The song is just unpleasant, and combined with the weird moment when she delivers the final line on each couplet of the chorus in a lower pitch that is obviously out of her vocal range, you have a song that I just plain dislike.
Title: Call Me What You Like by Lovejoy
Sticking with the UK at the moment, we turn to a VERY different band and song. Lovejoy is a punk band that emerged in 2021 with 2 EPs and songs like One Day and Oh Yeah, You Gonna Cry?, which caught the punk scene by storm for a week or 2 back in the day. Still, it was enough to keep this band in the zeitgeist long enough for this newest single to blow up on release and become their biggest debut yet, at least here in Ireland.
The first big improvement I noticed was the bassline, which gives the song a lot more kick-ass momentum and makes the chorus hit all the harder, along with the frenetic percussion and careening guitars, where frontman William Gold's throatier howl is surprisingly awesome, especially in contrast to his crooning on the verses! Sidenote, he's apparently also a YouTuber and Twitch streamer, making the opening lines "I've never been a fan of the internet" feel a bit... well, let's just say it adds some interesting context.
Paired with an AMAZING bridge - the parking spaces line alone deserves an award - and lyrics that are WAY hornier than I was expecting, with NO pay-off on the horizon, and you have a frustrated, howling song begging for mercy that kicks SO much ass! Great stuff!
Title: Lost by Linkin Park
I've said before that Linkin Park is a weird band for me. I was never a fan of them. I didn't listen to them as a kid, and throughout my teenage and adult life, I just found a lot of their production frustrating and lyrics potent but ultimately unremarkable. That being said, when Chester Bennington tragically took his own life in 2017, you'd have to be inhuman not to feel something when seeing the reactions of his fans and loved ones. So I can understand that the band hasn't wanted to continue as a group, instead settling for anniversary albums, which admittedly makes sense at this stage of their careers.
Which is how we got this, a previously unreleased song with vocals by Chester himself, packaged in with the new 20th Anniversary Edition of Meteora. And I'm torn... you know at this point how I feel about posthumous albums, but this song was supposedly made BEFORE his passing. Plus, the fact that they waited till now to release it feels a lot more respectful than the multiple projects released to milk Juice WRLD's legacy for all it's worth. I just wish this sounded better.
Don't get me wrong, the lyrics and vocals are certainly the highlights. It's nothing new, but Chester's powerful melodic delivery transitioning to the screaming chorus is still impressive, and he ALWAYS gave it 110% every time! I even like the backing vocals, the somewhat generic lyrics and the rock elements... but DAMN do I hate those electronic elements! There's a way of doing industrial rock well, but when Linkin Park did it, it always felt hollow to me, like you were robbing the guitars and drums of their true power rather than adding to them. It's just a sound I've never been a fan of, as much as it works for many MANY other people. I'm perfectly aware it's a personal preference, please enjoy this, it's just not for me
Title: Me & You by Central Cee
I tried to look up who this was directed at exactly... but then I lost interest immediately so fuck it, it's directed at his "bitch" that he mentioned in the opening lines of Doja. Hell, he apologises for that here, along with a bunch of other sappy, horny lines that I'm kind of shocked he put to paper.
It's pretty pathetic, a cloying love song where despite everyone telling him how bad they are for each other, he still wants to make it work in his own ham-handed way. And all with some of the WORST lines I've heard on a rap song in ages! "You're an endangered species at the top of the food chain" alone should be reason enough for her to break up with him, and that's before "When I said that my bitch was gay, I didn't mean that in a degradin' way"... yeah, that excuses THAT! Also the lines about growing up just like an orphan... we know who your parents are, my dude, chill.
But... I kinda love this production. The scattered yet heavy bass and high hats, the pitched-up ad-libs, and the liquid sample work really well for me, and I think the chorus is sincere and quite sweet. It's clear he's a bit obsessed, but the ramshackle delivery and the fact that it's SO corny and clumsy makes it feel a lot more genuine to me. It sounds like a love-drunk idiot trying to make up for his stupid behaviour, which I can buy coming from Central Cee. So ultimately, I kind of enjoy this, whether or not I should.
Title: Special by Lizzo
Ah yes, the title track from that Lizzo album that is kind of mid, but has amazing high points... but does she really think this is one of them?
Yeah, I'm in 2 minds about this one. On the one hand, I think it makes WAY more sense as an album opener, its placement always bothered me! And yet on the other, it is a very positive message, where she wants to remind you, the listener, that you're not alone, you're special! And it's paired with some pretty bombastic production, with a full brass band and a gospel choir backing her up, the song sounds pretty cinematic.
Shame Lizzo ruins it by being so damn defensive! Most of the verses are her venting her own annoyance at being judged and canceled for just speaking her mind as a plus-size, black woman, which may be something she struggles with, but also kind of kills the positive vibe, she just doesn't come across particularly sympathetic or likable on it. Not a bad song, but one where the message just doesn't land as strongly as it could have done.
Title: Snooze by SZA
So we have another SZA song... and I guess it's okay?
Compared to Low or Kill Bill, this is nothing too special, wits nothing all that special to be honest. It's a musing love song where she feels so strongly that there's no way she could snooze and miss a single moment with you. Cute, but unfortunately the idea's a little half-baked, where outside of the hook, there aren't many lines that grab me. In spite of that though, the production's pretty, and while the chorus is quite weak, the bridge with SZA's own pitched-down backing vocals is interesting. And I do at least appreciate that the song zips by quickly enough. Not bad, but pretty inessential album filler.
Title: In Ha Mood by Ice Spice
So like many of you, I only discovered Ice Spice last month through a sheer lack of other albums to check out... even though I clearly found plenty of better music to highlight in January. Now that project was thoroughly disposable to me, where neither her voice nor her bars gave me much to work with.
Still, I have nothing against this. It's a club dance song with some trap percussion and bass, passable backing vocals, forgettable bars, and a mind-meltingly repetitive chorus. Ice Spice's delivery is fine enough I suppose, but there's not enough modulation in her performance, meaning the song just drones on by, barely passing the 2-minute mark.
Look, the only reason this is charting is because of that Boy's A Liar remix, whose own appeal I barely understand to begin with. This is okay, but I don't see it lasting beyond this week.
Title: Evergreen by Richy Mitch & The Coal Miners
Okay, if you think Boy's A Liar is a fragment of a song that only got big thanks to social media, get a load of this! A Colorado folk band of self-taught musicians, who released this snippet as part of their 2017 album, which is now going viral on TikTok because... why not?
This is grand for what it is, but it gives me nothing to say. The instrumental is solid, the 4 or so lines of lyrics are abstract and barely there to begin with, and the entire song clocks in at 87 seconds. Fine, but the most snippet-esque song I've seen touch the charts in a LONG time.
Right, that was a week of mixed results. That being said, despite all we covered, the Best and Worst of the week are incredibly easy for a change: Best is Call Me What You Want by Lovejoy, by a mile, while the Worst is obviously If We Ever Broke Up by Mae Stephens. So many of the songs this week were decent or forgettable, whereas these 2 are neither, one extremely good and one clearly terrible.
So this week was particularly momentous on the homegrown front, because we got a new number 1!
1. One Life - Dermot Kennedy [LW: #2 / WOC: 11]
2. Get On My Love - Picture This [LW: #4 / WOC: 12]
3. Call Me - Belters Only [LW: - / WOC: 8]
4. Time To Leave - Darren Kiely [LW: 8 / WOC: 5]
5. Perfect - Moncrieff [LW: 6 / WOC: 5]
6. We Are One - Wild Youth [LW: #3 / WOC: 3]
7. My Very Best - The Academic [LW: 19 / WOC: 4]
8. FOUND LOVE - NOTION (Ft. Carrie Baxter) [LW: - / WOC: 1]
9. If You're Gonna Break My Heart - Inhaler [LW: 9 / WOC: 2]
10. Northside Arse - Versatile [LW: 7 / WOC: 2]
That's right, as a reminder, when a song hits 13 weeks on this chart, it's gone, so bye-bye I'll Be Waiting! Thank God, One Life is a far better song! Otherwise, aside from one new arrival to the Top 10 and one returning Belters Only song that I can't remember the melody to, this week also saw some boosts for Time To Leave and My Very Best, the latter of which is riding the success of that new album. Expect the same for Inhaler next week, while Versatile hopefully crashes and burns.
And hey, for my thoughts on them and more, check out my video series National Treasures over on Instagram, go follow me there @thesocialtune to hear my full thoughts. You can listen to them here ahead of time:
Title: FOUND LOVE by NOTION (Ft. Carrie Baxter)
Title: Hallelujah by Cian Ducrot
Title: Hurt Like Hell by Aimée
Again, for my thoughts on these songs and more, 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. 2 more dropped recently which means I'm only about... 10 songs behind, FUCK!
As always, 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 off!