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Musical McCool Season 4, Week 10 (Von dutch, Overcompensate, stayinit and more)

Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool, my weekly series dissecting the Irish charts!

NOTE: Apologies for the delay, I was absolutely knocked out with the flu.

Well, it happened... fucking dammit, I thought we in Ireland at least would be spared from this, but in a country where controversy and antisemitism are still alive and well, I guess I should be surprised.

The Top 10

Because yes, Kanye West cracked our Top 10, even higher than initially predicted!

1. TEXAS HOLD 'EM - Beyoncé [LW: #1 / WOC: 4]

2. Stick Season - Noah Kahan [LW: #2 / WOC: 63]

3. Beautiful Things - Benson Boone [LW: #3 / WOC: 7]

4. End Of Beginning - Djo [LW: #4 / WOC: 4]

5. Lose Control - Teddy Swims [LW: #5 / WOC: 18]

6. CARNIVAL - Kanye West & Ty Dolla $ign (Ft. Playboi Carti & Rich The Kid) [LW: #11 / WOC: 4]

7. Scared to Start - Michael Marcagi [LW: #6 / WOC: 8]

8. Training Season - Dua Lipa [LW: #8 / WOC: 3]

9. Birds In The Sky - NewEra [LW: #7 / WOC: 10]

10. Cruel Summer - Taylor Swift [LW: #10 / WOC: 49]

This is infuriating, but I'm not going to shy away from it. The fact is, the Irish public has actively chosen to listen to a bigoted, sexist and unstable asshole who is somehow having his most successful album run in nearly a decade! And it's not because of Ty Dolla $ign, the public is simply choosing to prop Kanye up, and trust me, while some are choosing to willfully ignore the red flags, there are also PLENTY of people who are supporting him BECAUSE of them! Also the song just sucks to listen to, why would you choose to do this to yourselves?!

The Punished and the New

Apart from the neo-nazi though, we had a couple of other winners this week: Austin by Dasha continues its shockingly strong momentum up to number 13, FEIN by Travis Scott shot up AGAIN to number 45 (talk about a yoyo effect), Bryson Tiller's Whatever She Wants shot up to number 50... and Baby Shark by Pinkfong is at 61... what?

So yeah, none of that really makes up for Ye, and our losers only make me feel worse. Due to the continued scourge of ACR, Houdini by Dua Lipa collapsed to number 31 (yes I know we still have Training Season but it's not as good), along with DNA (Loving You) by Billy Gillies to 43 and Never Lose Me by Flo Milli all the way to 76 vc, 1 song I really like and 1 that deserved better. Also worth noting that I Will by Central Cee collapsed down to number 72, no surprise there; still not as devastating as Dermot Kennedy's drop-off last week.

Well, that was pretty shit, let's hope our new arrivals can give us some hope, starting with:

Title: Von dutch by Charli XCX

Position: #34

So I'm kind of mixed on this. I'm going on 5 years as a full-on Charli XCX fan - really getting on board with her 2019 album Charli - and as such, while I've seen this get some VERY negative feedback online, I'm actually inclined to call this a return to form.

The glitch and hyperpop is back, with a maddeningly familiar interpolation that I can't quite put my finger on, where the filtering and mastering on Charli's vocals makes it sounds distorted and alien in ways that do remind me of that album. It's just far more interesting than anything on CRASH TALK or anything she's dropped in a good long while! But I won't quite say I love it; I do think that instrumental gets a bit too overwhelming and starts to drown out her vocals, and the higher-pitched elements sound too scratchy in points, and I say that as someone whose favorite Charli XCX song is Shake It!

But overall... yeah, I'm not mad at this, and I'll certainly take it over most of what's been charting successfully in 2024.

Title: Doctor (Work It Out) by Pharrell Williams & Miley Cyrus

Position: #44

Oh boy, speaking of songs I'm a bit mixed on...

As you all know, Miley saw a huge amount of success last year, off of what was sadly her most anonymous album to date, despite trying to stoke the flames on drama that was already 4 years old. And nothing on it came close to the greatness of Plastic Hearts, the project she released RIGHT after the divorce, and which leaned into her strengths a lot better! So yeah, I will admit that almost anything would be an improvement to me, certainly if she went back towards her grungier, punk rock style. But instead, we got a funky dance song produced by Pharrell!

Now, if that sounds a bit random to you, it's because this song was actually written in 2012, originally intended for Miley's 2013 album, BANGERZ, which despite its clear identity crisis, is probably my second-favourite of her projects so that's positive. But with the song being cut from that album and instead coming out now... it hits a weird note. True, Miley's huskier delivery works pretty well, on a love song about wanting to be your love doctor. But not only has that type of song been done many times before, it also feels incredibly dated, especially when you combine antiquated content with this funky sound. It sounds fine, just very anachronistic, even with Miley giving it her all.

It just can't help it feel like a performance, because I never would have predicted this would be the direction she'd go in next, and I don't think she does a good enough job convincing me this was the plan all along. But hey, Pharrell's a fantastic producer, Miley's still a charismatic performer, and when you put 2 and 2 together, you get a decent song out of it, I don't mind it.

Title: Overcompensate by twenty one pilots

Position: #49

Look, I'm a MASSIVE twenty one pilots fan, have been for nearing a decade now. Their last 3 albums are all 9/10s for me, with Trench being one of my Top 30 albums of the past decade. So with this being positioned as a sequel to that album - where the extended edition of this single contains the line "welcome back to Trench" - a triumphant culmination of over a decade of lore, I will admit my expectation were really high. And MAN do I wish I liked it more!

Don't get me wrong, I like parts of this! The drums and cavernous reverb remind me in a good way of the harder tracks on Blurryface and Trench, and the chorus is pretty damn catchy. What I don't love are the verses, where Tyler Joseph's rapping feels very wonky, as if he hadn't settled on a flow before starting. And the content, while pretty lore-rich, doesn't feel like it's currently adding too much, especially when compared to basically anything on Trench. Plus, controversial take, I think even the hook is weaker than basically any single one off of Scaled & Icy, an underrated gem in their catalogue despite bing the de facto "worst" of their last 3 albums.

Overall, I still do like this, and as a fan, I'm not about to give up on it, twenty one pilot singles have occasionally only clicked for me in the context of the full album. But as lead-off singles go, this might be their weakest, and I'm a little concerned how the album as a whole turns out after hearing this, especially with so much hype behind it. Fingers crossed for that new Marianas Trench album though, can't wait to hear more from that release!

Title: stayinit by Fred again.., Lil Yachty & Overmono

Position: #57

All throughout 2023, I was singing the praises of Fred again.., the producer/DJ who consistently made some of my favorite hit songs of last year regardless of genre, including a couple of underrated gems; Rumble should have been HUGE, dammit! Anyway, shortly after his last single leavemealone, he released a new track with fellow producer duo Overmono featuring vocals of Lil Boat himself, Lil Yachty! And holy shit, this guy just cannot miss!

The lyrics are a heartfelt plea to a friend to cling on to life, to stay in it rather than losing hope and leave it. And that desperation definitely does come through in the production, which is manic and heart pounding with pulsating break beats that will make your heart race just as fast, all while still being incredibly danceable and dynamic, where even when he falls into a pattern or a specific melody, he always knows just when to switch things up to keep it interesting.

It's such an engaging song and Yachty's vocals are tied in beautifully with these wonderful reverb and autotune effects actually making him sound pretty damn great. This is the kind of music that if it crossed over to the US, critics would be absolutely raving about! Great song... and yet with some strong competition:

Title: Where The Wild Things Are by Luke Combs

Position: #75

Gettin' Old was my favorite Luke combs album to date, even despite the more downtempo tracks and his cover of Fast Car being good, but not great to me. And if I had to pick a favourite from the album, it would either have to be Growing Up & Gettin' Old, Joe or, most likely of all, this song.

The track dedicated to his wild-ass brother who got on a motorbike, rode off into the sunset and broke their mother's heart. And after calling him for many years about how great life on the road was, Luke finally went out to join him. They partied, went a little wild for a bit, but eventually, Luke moved back home, because the wild life isn't really for him. Even though he knows that his brother is never coming home, too in love with that lifestyle. And in the final lines, the song reveals that his brother eventually died in a motorcycle accident, as they bury him out in the wild, where he would have wanted to be laid to rest.

It's such a well-told story, the chorus goes hard, the instrumentation is fucking wild and I really appreciate that Luke plays the tribute more wild and upbeat rather than slow and sad, befitting the man it's written about. It's incredibly charming, organic and vivid, and definitely one of Luke Combes' best songs to date!

Title: Solo by Myles Smith

Position: #93

So here we have yet another folk-touched ballad with boring 2012 production, a sing-along Lumineers/X Ambassordors-esque hook with bog standard multitracking and all wrapped up a punny chorus where he demands to know why you'd make him feel so high to leave him solo (so low, get it?).

And... I dunno, what do you want me to say about this? The melody reminds me of Ghost Town by Benson Boone, and while Myles Smith is a better singer than Benson or Michael Marcagi, I find his overall presence and delivery to be pretty lacklustre and boring. There's no passion, just. a dead-eyed demands for answers that almost feels comical in how little he clearly cares about the answer. So yeah, pretty bog-standard and boring, especially for a song that's supposed to be sad and distraught. I really don't know why this is a sound we're so intent on reviving in 2024. And speaking of which:

Title: Belong Together by Mark Ambor

Position: #95

Yep, it's another one, this time by one of our reedier-voiced contemporaries Mark Ambor, who's been a growing viral sensation since 2022.

And look, I won't lie, the banjo that opens this up gave me hope, and while the lyrics are very corny - boiling down to "you and me belong together like ice tea and warm weather" - it's a love song that kind of works because while his vocals are much less refined them Myles Smith's, Mark Ambor at least infuses some goddamn passion into his vocals!

As much as I love Noah Kahan, his legacy of poor imitators is proving to be a bit of a challenge in 2024. But while Mark Ambor is certainly not on his level, to me, he does at least get the appeal of Noah Kahan better than a lot of the others, with solid production, passionate and imperfect vocals, and a pretty catchy hook. Not exactly great, but I'll take it over a lot of the dreck that's currently out.

Title: FWTDJ (All Night Long) by Hannah Laing

Position: #97

I've repeatedly heaped praises onto Hannah Laing, the breakout name of 2023 who arguably impressed me even more than Fred again.. because I didn't have any previous expectations. And with this new song all about "fucking with the DJ", she delivered another banger.

Now, i don't think it's quite as great as Party All the Time or Good Love, but what makes it work is a strong understanding of how to keep a repetitive hook still feeling fresh, especially with the bass beat that warps and switches things up a few times. Sure, the synths feel a bit 2010 Black Eyed Peas, which is mildly disturbing, but even then Hannah Laing manages to warp them on the hook to feel more like a Martin Garrix drop.

Is it possibly her song that feels the most beholden to its influences so far? Yes, but by those standards, it's still pretty damn great! And considering how often it's gotten stuck in my head since it dropped, I think there's a good chance it'll grow on me. Good song.

Not quite winning Best of the week though, which is going to be a tie between stayinit by Fred again.., Lil Yachty & Overmono and Where The Wild Things Are by Luke Combs, 2 great songs for very different reasons, while Worst is ultimately going to Solo by Myles Smith, simply because it's the one that bored me the most, I don't see any point in ever listening to it.

National Treasures

And now we reach our new all-Irish entries, which make up the Homegrown Top 20. And we have 2 new songs, starting with yet another new entry from our old friend:

Title: Must Be Love by Niall Horan

Position: #9

I've said my piece on The Show across multiple platforms at this point, and frankly, this is one of the more mid tracks on the album for me.

It starts out okay, as he reflects on being an overthinker, running away from relationships he's afraid of getting hurt in, but then the chorus feels pretty leaden and slow, stating that "if it feels like love, it must be love". And what irks me is that it doesn't build on this idea at all, as he constantly runs away when he feels love creeping in, never facing or confronting those feelings or even telling us much about them beyond the fact that he's an overthinker.

Combined with a hook that feels pretty clunky and obvious, the song just doesn't give me much reason to return to it. At least Heaven swept me off my feet, and On A Night Like Tonight had that psychedelic shit going on. Must Be Love just bores me... and that's never something I thought Niall would make me feel.

Title: Lie To Me by John Gibbons

Position: #16

Damn, there's a name I haven't heard in a long time. Raised in Carlow, John Gibbons is a London-based Irish DJ who made it big a few years back with 2 huge hits Would I Lie To You and P.Y.T., 2 remixes of older hits that absolutely tore up the festival scene... according to friends of mine, I wasn't paying attention to this type of music 6 years ago.

And while they've never stopped making music, this song is the first one to cross over to the Homegrown charts in a while, a piano-touched dance song about how his partner keeps lying to him, needing a break to recuperate. It's a pretty serious topic for such a danceable song, but to its credit, the song manages to be both danceable and forlorn with its use of more minor keys across its runtime.

I don't know how much I'll come back to this, but for what it is, it's decent enough. Check it out if you're curious, just know there's more interesting Irish music in this genre.

And that's our week! 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. I hope life treats you kindly, and until the next time, I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune signing off!


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