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Musical McCool Season 4, Week 15 (Hozier #1, Simmer Down, Good Luck Babe, 7 Minute Drill, Karma, and more)

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

So it seems like the charts can't just fucking chill, as rather than settling back into the status quo, we're instead reeling from another ridiculously busy week! Which likely means this will be posted late, especially as I have a new video to post first:

Considering how long it took me to edit that, expect me to plug it again.

The Top 10

That being said... WHAT a way to start off!

1. Too Sweet - Hozier [LW: #2 / WOC: 3]

2. Beautiful Things - Benson Boone [LW: #1 / WOC: 12]

3. i like the way you - Artemas [LW: #5 / WOC: 3]

4. Scared to Start - Michael Marcagi [LW: #7 / WOC: 13]

5. End Of Beginning - Djo [LW: #4 / WOC: 9]

6. Texas Hold 'Em - Beyoncé [LW: #3 / WOC: 9]

7. Lose Control - Teddy Swims [LW: #8 / WOC: 23]

8. Austin - Dasha [LW: #9 / WOC: 8]

9. we can't be friends (wait for your love) - Ariana Grande [LW: #6 / WOC: 5]

10. Belong Together - Mark Ambor [LW: #10 / WOC: 6]

Oh Hell yes, almost as if to make up for the criminal act of NOT making Eat Your Young last year, Too Sweet is our new number 1, and it's far and away the best one we've had all year, SO stoked about this! And seeing as it's seeing growth across the world, even climbing to number 2 on Billboard, this may be a VERY good sign moving forward!

Artemas then also saw a boost up to number 3, as i like the way you kiss me is absolutely inescapable across social media at the moment, while Michael Macargi's Scared To Start is just the latest jangling piece of nothingness to try to wrestle folk's crown away from Noah Kahan.

What surprised me more were the big names, as Beyoncé's TEXAS HOLD 'EM promptly dropped down to number 6 after a tiny boost from Cowboy carter last week, while we can't be friends dropped down to number 9 because it's not the obvious hit, it's clearly bye, what the fuck are you playing at?!

The Punished and the New

On a week this busy, the winners and losers usually either get shifted to the side, or everything implodes in spectacular fashion.

Well, one notable incident was the big returning songs: Another Love by Tom Odell is back up to number 19, Hell n Back by Bakar reaches brand new heights at number 27 thanks to the Summer Walker remix, Feather by Sabrina Carpenter shot back up to number 28 because God loves me, and much lower down, Work Song by Hozier makes its regularly scheduled return at 91; no notes, these are all fantastic songs, hope some of them can ride the second wind.

Other than that, the week belonged to the hemorrhaging losers. Sure, if you think i'm pretty regained traction to 36 off the back of Artemas' other successful hit, and Before You Leave Me by Alex Warren continued its upward momentum to 43, but apart from that? We had 2 ACR victims:

What Was I Made For? by Billie Eilish - #23 -> #65

yes, and? by Ariana Grande - #20 - #72

... and that's just the start of it! Shooting Star by Jazzy dropped to 49 (I forgot it was even charting), bye continues to squander its potential at 51, Make You Mind sadly isn't sticking around as it drops to 55, right next to Never Lose Me by Flo Milli at 56. Then Act II by 4Batz is still a non-starter at 68, stranger by Olivia Rodrigo dropped to 76 (come oooonnnn scared of my guitar), FWTDJ by Hannah Laing sadly wasn't another hit for her as it fell to 80. Finally, Metro and Future's first album together continues to lose the spotlight: Type Shit fell to 78 and Cinderella fell to 90. WHEW!

But now we've got a lot of new music to get through, starting with:

Title: Simmer Down by Casper Walsh

Position: #13

I had a feeling I recognised that name... something about the immediate sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Turns out that one half of Versatile is making films now, while the other is currently charting, getting a big TikTok boost in the face of less competition, going through a very public break-up, and the one line "Did you fall in love with a menace?" going semi-viral.

And look, I will say that there are elements of this I like: the beat's decent, the song's structure is refreshingly unconventional towards the end, and Casper's both the less talented and less offensive member of the duo, which I ultimately think is the lesser of 2 evils. But his voice has always been incredibly obnoxious, his breathy delivery on the chorus, along with the weird autotune towards the end of the second verse, just sound really fucking bad, and of course, it's pretty fucking sexist! He claims you can't trust women yet spends the entire time "dicking down" girls who keep coming back for seconds, and he explicitly makes a point that a girl is wearing make-up, to then go "trust me fellas, you don't want to see her without it"... cool, asshole!

The sad thing is that this is tame, I know Versatile has been FAAAAAR misogynistic in the past, but the little trace of it here still reminds me of everything I associate with this duo. So sure, it could have been worse... but trust me, if this sticks around at all, or sees ANY sort of crossover outside of Ireland, I'm going to be seething!

Title: Good Luck, Babe! by Chappell Roan

Position: #42

And on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have one of my favourite artists in recent memory. A gay icon who made my favourite pop album not just of 2023, but possibly the decade so far! And last year, I called this, I TOLD you she could be the saviour of pop music... and now she is in the top 50, the second-highest newly charting song of this week, and I am SO goddamn proud and happy!

Still, while she was always destined to be huge, it also helps that the new song is fucking fantastic! A kiss-off anthem to a girl who never fully appreciated her, wanting her more to say she has girlfriend than because she truly wants a partner. If anything, it's sort of the spiritual successor to Casual, where a girl she loved wouldn't commit to her properly... so here, Chappell finally tells her to fuck off! And years from now, when you're married in your cis-het relationship and crying iyourself to sleep, you'll look back on your time with Chappell and know that you made a huge mistake! It's the realisation that she deserves better, and it's not fully vindictive, she's just cried a LOT over you and has had enough of this one-sided relationship.

It's a terrific song, the chorus is unbelievably catchy, the production reminds me of excellent stand-outs from her last album like Naked in Manhattan, and the entire thing is just camp as all fuck! The vocal production alone is so goddamn theatrical in its delivery and layering throughout the mix, it's just immaculate! Another example of why you should all get on the bandwagon, and if you haven't heard that last album yet after ALL my recommendations, DO IT!

Title: 7 Minute Drill by J. Cole

Position: #44

And now we get to a song that SHOULD have been one of the biggest stories of the week... and yet with everything that's followed since - the apology, taking down the song, Drake's superior diss track - it's no surprise that it actually debuted way lower than initially predicted. I could argue that Cole doesn't have the same starpower in Ireland that he has in the US, but I think the bigger issue is that the song just isn't really any good.

The biggest problem is the first beat, which sounds horribly cheap, like a bad video game theme, it's awful to listen to! Thankfully, the second beat is better, if a bit clunky and quiet. But the issue is that the first half - the one with the terrible beat - is the one where he disses Kendrick back, while the second half is just about what an authority figure he is now, sounding like a victory lap that he definitely doesn't deserve! And ending by saying that it's "just a warning shot"did NOT age well, woops. The other problem is that J. Cole has ALWAYS been bad at dissing, as his 1 move is just to proclaim how disappointed he is in rappers who've disappointed him, whether it's Kanye, Lil Pump, or Kendrick here. It sounds weird, more like he's complimenting him than anything else, and the bar about To Pimp A Butterfly being boring sounds more like something J. Cole fans spam underneath any post praising Kendrick.... and don't rule out that that's exactly where he got the idea!

Either way, this is weak, I completely understand why he took it down. Will this display have lasting effect on his career? We'll see, but it definitely doesn't look good. And while we're on the topic of J. Cole:

Title: H.Y.B. by J. Cole (Ft. Bas & Central Cee)

Position: #45

Ugh, 7 Minute Drill might be worse-conceived and -produced, but I can appreciate the sentiment behind it. Whereas I think this is a complete waste of space and time.

HYB stands for "hide your bitches", where J. Cole. Bos and Central Cee brag how they're just regular guys who've worked themselves up to where they are now... all to be able to steal your girl with their newfound riches!

And I don't know who's worse on this! Well, actually I do, it's J. Cole, who has some of his worst bars in ages! I almost spat out my drink when he recited the alphabet, followed by "what's even an L?"! Meanwhile Central C is just recycling content he's already explored plenty before - although the line about getting a "horrible hoe on her knees to blow the whole team" did stand out, NOT in a good way - and finally, Bas' delivery is flat as Hell! Can't say I blame him, I wouldn't want to sing this either, especially the nonsensical line about "we ball like TNT", makes NO sense, FUCK!

In other words, this is pretty trash. Nuff said!

Title: These Words (Natasha Bedingfield Remix) by Badger

Position: #54

For fuck's sake, I TOLERATE Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten and its unprecedented return in 2024, but I draw the line at one of the worst hit songs of 2005!

I stand by my opinion that this song is trash, underwritten and thinks it's so much cleverer than it is, not to mention the TRAINWRECK that is the production. So yeah, doing a drum n bass remix wouldn't be MY first choice to put you in better standing with me. Ironically though, I think I do prefer this to the original... at least it just loops that terrible chorus, spares us the trash verses, and the production on it sounds halfway okay compared to the original. So yeah, I guess remixing a song this bad can only make it better, but that still doesn't mean I'd be willing to sit through any iteration of this song. And while we're on the topic of lazy-ass remixes:

Title: I Don't Wanna Wait by David Guetta & OneRepublic

Position: #59

Okay David Guetta, we get it, you have more money that you know what to do with, why make the rest of us suffer from your obvious boredom?! Enter his reimagining of the Numa Numa song, aka Dragostea Din Tei, alongside other frequent disappointment on this show, OneRepublic.

And what do you want me to say? The song is incredibly lazy, the sample is obvious, the fact that it's OneRepublic just reinforces that they're well past their prime and will do anything for a quick cash grab, it's just depressing! The entire song is incredibly soulless, the message basically boils down to the weekend being tonight but he doesn't want to wait that long - it's Saturday, Sunday, what? - I mean honestly, who gives a shit?

Honestly, I think I'd hate this song way more if it wasn't for Baby Don't Hurt Me being such a scourge on my ears throughout last year, at least this song sounds listenable by comparison. But make no mistake, it's still trash, and I'm not about to encourage David Guetta by calling it remotely passable.

Title: My Sky by Emmanuel Kelly

Position: #62

So this is Emmanuel Kelly, an Iraqi singer who emigrated to Australia, and took part in their The X Factor a couple of years ago. Since then, he's blown up as an icon to the disabled community, showing them that you can still make it big in spite of any limitations you body may have. I mean, it doesn't hurt that he's incredibly handsome, but still, I have a lot of respect for the guy.

I do wish I liked his music more though, as like a lot of X Factor contestants, his vocals and instrumentation tend to be very polished and cookie-cutter. And while this song is all about fighting for your dreams and aiming for the sky - which is genuinely inspiring coming from him - the moment I heard this, I said it sounded exactly like Chris Martin from Coldplay. And sure enough, it turns out he's currently touring with them, go figure.

So if you're still a big Coldplay fan, you'll like this, but personally - like a lot of Coldplay's more contemporary material - it just leaves me feeling a little cold and detached. Not bad, but I won't be coming back to this, sorry.

Title: Crocodile Tearz by J. Cole

Position: #64

You know, outside of 1 or 2 lines that are a little corny - I can't decide yet if I love or hate the Bruno Mars one - I think this is definitely Cole's best song to chart this week.

As someone who loved Off-Season and has been really anticipating The Fall Off, this is the closest thing I've heard from the project that re-ignited that excitement, especially with J. Cole's cold bars about being a king who's realising he may have given too many hand-outs, and is now going to lay down the law. And their crocodile tears aren't going to change his mind once he says no!

Now, had this song actually been on The Off-Season, it would not be a favourite, it's not touching 95 South or my life or applying pressure or pride is the devil or close- BUT provided what we got here is just a warm-up, I'm still hyped for The Fall-Off! Even if I think that if this project is representative of what Cole's been cooking on there... well, let's just say that it'll be less Reasonable Doubt, and closer to Magna Carta Holy Grail... yikes.

Title: Feel It by d4vd

Position: #67

So I'm not gonna lie, I think that I've slowly warmed to d4vd. When he first broke onto the scene with Romantic Homicide, I thought that it was absolutely toxic, terrible and essentially incel garbage music from a rich kid with too much free time.

But then he stuck around, he released Here With Me - which I thought was genuinely fantastic, one of the songs I ended up coming back to a lot over the course of that year - and now with this newest song, he actually booked a tie-in with Invincible on Amazon Prime, good for him! And as it turns out, this song is pretty great too: the bassline is a lot tighter, the melody is fucking great, and d4vd is really damn passionate, the chorus hits HARD!

The content helps too, where he's playing this lovestruck idiot who's going along with this girl's every wish, even though she's clearly just using him for his money. But he's so madly in love that he just wants to live the fantasy, at least for now. It could very easily be a sad song, but with the framing and the melody, it hits that chord of being caught up in a whirlwind of romantic feelings that's naturally quite charming, playing well into both his toxic traits and his strengths as a singer. I really like this, nice job man.

Title: Cry by Benson Boone

Position: #74

I have been nicer to Benson Boone than most critics this year, but I am NOT happy that he seems to be the next up-and-coming male artist that we are determined to make a star for some reason. He's just not that talented, I'm sorry!

And Cry was kind of doomed from the start, as it starts with that whiny, crybaby voice with the slow piano. But then the beat switches, with a more upbeat baseline, smacking drums and compressed guitars, as the song takes on a much more sour tone, where he instead tells this person that they can go fuck themself, cry themself to sleep because they clearly don't deserve him and barely know themselves, let alone him. It's essentially Benson Boone's version of Good Luck Babe, except much worse, where even the slight moment of instrospection he displays about HIM being the problem is immediately undercut by his own need to put this girl down, tired of her mental health issues!

It's just very unpleasant, I can't even give him credit for that cheeky bait-and-switch because he already did it on Beautiful Things, you know, his biggest hit ever! And once again, he's just SUCH a terrible singer! At least Slow It Down had some genuine balls and introspection to it, whereas this is both uninteresting and bad-sounding. Ironically, my emotional reaction to it was much less dramatic that Slow It Down, as I wouldn't say I hate it, but it's clearly not ANY good.

Title: Tell Ur Girlfriend by Lay Bankz

Position: #75

So Lay Bankz is an American rapper who had a few minor hits in the US last year, but nothing that really blew up enough to catch my attention, beyond recognising her name when I heard this song. And based on this, I don't think I was missing out on much.

Her sing-rap delivery is pretty standard, the production sounds like a modern flip of Pony by Ginuwine, a song that I'm on-record for saying is hilariously awful. And the subject matter is all about is about 2 people who are cheating on their respective partners together, and since she's considering telling her ex, she demands that he tells his. Pretty standardly toxic... until you realise that SHE doesn't want to tell her ex herself. No, instead her plan is to tell HIS girlfriend, so that she in turn can go tell HER boyfriend, because she's too cowardly to end it herself! Which is so fucking manipulative and toxic, especially when the only reason she gives is "I don't wanna live a lie"... ew, this is giving Unfaithful by Rihanna is the WORST possible way!

I mean even the top comments on the video are people talking about how weird and fucked up the subject matter is, even though they like how the song sounds. And as someone who's very lukewarm on the sound, the content here is too reprehensible to excuse, fuck this!

Title: Jump by Tyla (Ft. Gunna & Skillibeng)

Position: #84

Oh Hell yeah, I was really annoyed when the UK got the Tyla album bomb and we didn't! If you want to hear more of my thoughts on the project as a whole... you know the drill: But I already highlighted this as a personal favourite!

Tyla sounds energised here, completely different from the way she did on Water but still no less beautiful, sticking in her higher register that absolutely kills opposite that liquid guitar! And mixed with the Afrobeat, the instrumental just sounds fantastic, and thankfully the guest performers kill it too! Never expected this sound from Gunna, but he sounds so natural, he should pursue this in the future!

I want more hits from this woman - and from this album specifically - on the charts, can we please make that happen? Because between this and Water, she's making a strong case for keeping her around.

Title: Parked Car Conversations by Picture This

Position: #87

They're really dragging out this album rollout more than they should! Because neither this nor Act Of Innocence have sounded like singles, and this in particular really sounds like a B-side from Life In Colour.

Seriously, when you had such fantastic songs like Leftover Love in circulation, THAT's when you should drop a project, otherwise you can't be surprised that each single has debuted lower and lower. If you wait this long to roll out an album, it's just not going to have the same impact, I've been telling Cardi B's label thar for years! And while the image of sitting in a car and solving the world's problems together is both relatable and charming, and the pre-chorus is quite good, the chorus itself isn't as strong as it should be, with undercooked backing vocals robbing it of its anthemic power.

If anything, ironically, it feels a little rushed, the song could have used a few extra coats of paint. Probably the weakest of the singles released so far, but definitely the one that has me the least interested in the upcoming project... and that's not a good sign.

Title: Karma by JoJo Siwa

Position: #90

I heard about the controversy surrounding this song long before I heard the song itself. All the build-up of JoJo Siwa proclaiming that she was going to be the new progenitor of a brand new genre of music called "gay pop", that she made up, and definitely isn't already a popular genre made big by Sam Smith, Lil Nas X, fuck even Chappell Roan! Then she drops a 2010-derivative Kesha knock-off with terrible songwriting about 2 awful people cheating on each other.

But then the bombshell dropped: turns out that all that talk of her being an "originator" was even MORE bullshit, as the song itself was originally written by an artist called Brett Smith back in 2012, which was never officially released until now. Now, do I think that JoJo deserves AS much backlash as she got for this? ... I don't think so. I don't believe she ever claimed that she wrote the song herself, even if it is a little weird to be placing yourself at the forefront of a "new genre" with a cover of a song from 12 years ago. And I do think that Brett Smith reportedly dropping her version of the song almost immediately after JoJo was a dick move. But ultimately, amid this whole mess, I just don't really care enough.

The song itself is pretty bad, the whole "karma's a bitch" thing is undercut by the fact that they're BOTH cheating, and all in all, it feels fitting that the song should have the lowest debut of this week after all that controversy, there's just nothing much to it.

And that was our week, and a pretty rough one at that. I think the Best should be obvious: it's Good Luck, Babe by Chappell Roan, by a MILE, I'm so happy that she's currently getting so much attention. Props to both d4vd and Tyla though! Worst is considerably tougher though, there were at least 5 songs that deserve it, probably more if I'm in a bad mood, but currently I think the overproduction of Cry by Benson Boone is going to get on my nerves the most over time, the part around the 2-minute mark where he momentarily pretends to show nuance makes the overall sentiment so much uglier for some reason.

National Treasures

And now it's time for our new entries to the Homegrown Top 20. And while there's only 2 of them, they're both talented, familiar faces.

Title: Say I by Darren Kiely

Position: #8

I like Darren Kiely a lot, ever since Time To Leave! He always gives the feeling of being the soft-spoken, good-natured underdog, whose last EP was actually really good, check it out if you haven't. But I will admit that his newest song had me nervous, as it sounded a little bit generic in terms of the production... but then I came around on the songwriting.

You see Darren doesn't seem to be doing too well, as the song has him praying not to lose the fight for his life, including lines like hoping that "I'm still worth the breath I'm taking", Jesus! There are also references to substance abuse, wanting to pour all those voices down the drain, ridding himself of a crutch he knows won't keep him going forever. It's pretty devastating... but my issue is actually in the delivery. While Dermot Kennedy sings everything as if he's fucking miserable, Darren tends to sing with this dogged optimism that doesn't fully translate well to all of these lyrics.

That, and the chorus is a little lacking in impact, especially considering how serious the subject matter is. are? Still, it's so heartfelt, coming from a guy I've been calling underrated for months now, and I really do hope that he gets whatever help he needs to get out of this headspace. I'll keep supporting you man, hang in there.

Title: EASTSIDE by Kojaque

Position: #18

And last but not least, we end with more Kojaque, who after London Lido is once again the talk of the town; fair, that single is fucking incredible! But I haven't seen the same buzz for this song, which is a shame because it's less immediate, but still excellent.

The song sees Kojaque caught in a power trip, flexing left and right that he's going to live forever, reveling amid a blurry, reverb-soaked mix that adds in additional elements throughout its whole runtime, until the mix is almost overwhelming. And that's very much the point, as all that bravado can't mask the desperation, as he keeps opening bars opening that next gold ticket, as his friends and family slowly starve and his conviction that he's above it all slowly starts to slip, as his delivery gets more and more manic and high-pitched, ending in the haunting phrase "luck is gonna change, God willing", repeated until it's the only sound left in the mix.

Kojaque's always been one of the most introspective artists on the scene, playing his Jaackie Dandelion character as a sleazy braggadocious grifter, who nevertheless is revealed to be nuanced, and painfully aware of his own shortcomings. Even his best bangers have this existential dread that grounds them, and continuously makes me respect and love talking about his music. I still like London Lido more, but I still think this is definitely worth your time, and deserves more attention than it's currently getting!

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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