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Musical McCool Season 4, Week 18 (euphoria, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, CamrinWatsin, and more)

Updated: May 18

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

Oh dear GOD, this is WILD! I think it's easy to say that the past week has been the most interesting and culturally relevant week in popular music in a LONG time, and it's all thanks to a beef that took a crazy turn for the dark and personal! And so, seeing that chart as it is right now is almost kind of underwhelming, even with the arrival of the first major song that kicked a lot of this craziness off.

The Top 10

Instead of focusing on that though, we instead have to talk about our brand new number 1!

1. espresso - Sabrina Carpenter [LW: #3 / WOC: 3]

2. Too Sweet - Hozier [LW: #1 / WOC: 6]

3. Fortnight - Taylor Swift (Ft. Post Malone) [LW: #2 / WOC: 2]

4. A Bar Song (Tipsy) - Shaboozey [LW: #11 / WOC: 3]

5. i like the way you kiss me - Artemas [LW: #6 / WOC: 6]

6. Belong Together - Mark Ambor [LW: #7 / WOC: 9]

7. I Can Do It With A Broken Heart - Taylor Swift [LW: #5 / WOC: 2]

8. Scared to Start - Michael Marcagi [LW: #8 / WOC: 16]

9. Austin - Dasha [LW: #9 / WOC: 11]

10. Lose Control - Teddy Swims [LW: #10 / WOC: 26]

For what it's worth, I never would have predicted this! I think espresso is a B-tier pop track from Sabrina, and even though it's casually enjoyable, I NEVER could have predicted her going to number 1 this week instead of Taylor or even Hozier! Very strange the have a song like that be this huge when the 3 or 4 songs underneath it feel so much more impactful.

And on that note, what I DID predict was Shaboozey's A Bar Song smashing into the Top 10 and we are ALL better off for it. If anything, I'm surprised Taylor managed to keep 2 of her 3 songs in the Top 10, even if Fortnight dropped to number 3 and I Can Do It With A Broken Heart fell to 7.

The Punished and the New

Before we get to the new entries through, there were a notable ACR victims who got their streaming value slashed in half this week:

TEXAS HOLD EM by Beyoncé - #12 -> #30

You know, as someone who's been harsher on Cowboy Carter than most, I honestly think this was the best Beyoncé could hope for. She had 1 single that she pushed from this album, flatly refused to promote the rest of them properly (outside of JOLENE, maybe?), and she got a big hit out of it, plus a ton of acclaim from the general public, so she can bow out now until the inevitable wave of grammys next year.

Otherwise, Olivia Rodrigo was in Dublin, causing vampire to shoot up to 24, obsessed to rebound to 27, and so american to gain a little ground to 53. And in a VERY bizarre turn of events, motherfucking DAYA has been going TikTok viral with her atrocious 2016 hit Hide Away, one of the worst hit songs of the last decade that I can guarantee most of you forgot ever existed! Otherwise... I guess Evergreen by Richy Mitch & The Coal Miners rose back up to 54, a perpetually returning tune that has had bafflingly longevity. As for losers, Starburster by Fontaines DC did drop, but only to 31 (there's still a chance), GATA Only dropped to 57 because who cares, Whatever She Wants by Bryson Tiller just hemorrhaged streaming down to 61, Cry by Benson Boone AND I LUV IT by Camila Cabello & Payboi Carti thankfully suck so much that nobody wants them as they falls to 64 and 66 respectively. Also Houdini by Dua Lipa dropped to 72, but is likely going to rebound next week, if we're lucky. Lastly, DNA (Loving You) by Billy Gillies & Hannah Boleyn falls to 92 after a spectacular run, mad respect!

And now... well, before we get to our new arrivals, I fucked up last week and actually missed covering 1 new entry, my bad! And so, 1 week late:

Title: intro (end of the world) by Ariana Grande

Position: #87

Yeah, I kinda forgot to review this last week, my bad. But honestly, can you blame me?

Not that this is bad, but it's the intro to Ariana's Eternal Sunshine album, not even a full track, it's barely 90 seconds long. And look, it's good! I like the scuzzy way it opens up, Ari sounds sweet, and it sets up for the rest of the album well. But it's very clearly not supposed to be something that gets pushed to radio or streaming. And the fact it's currently charting instead of bye makes NO sense, and is just another damning indictment of what a terrible job Ari's team did in marketing this album, whether that's on purpose or not.

But overall, it's a fine song, just not a very good look. I'm certainly not going to be coming back to this, especially not when compared to Taylor's opening single Fortnight. But speaking of which, now that that score is settled:

Title: Down Bad by Taylor Swift

Position: #11

Last week I said that us getting I Can Do It With a Broken Heart instead of this was a net positive. But keep in mind that song is one of my favourites on the album, because while I may not like it as much, Down Bad is still pretty great and it's only grown on me!

I like the warping instrumental, the chorus is incredibly catchy, and while I do think that some of the metaphors are a little forced, I think that the image of her crying at the gym, that's something that's very real, and the "down bad" line feels like an intentional way to distance herself from her emotions. And I LOVE the line about teenage petulance, where she realizes that it's incredibly immature and silly to have fallen for him so hard in the first place, that it's reduced her to actual tears as a grown woman... but fuck it, she was in love. And considering this is either about the problematic Matty Healy or the disappointing Joe Walwyn, either way you can understand why Taylor would feel betrayed!

So yeah, I think this song is actually really good, I'm glad that it replaced the title track on the charts. If this became a hit, we'd be better off.

Title: MILLION DOLLAR BABY by Tommy Richman

Position: #37

If you're like me, you'd never heard of Tommy Richman before this past week. He released an album back in 2022 that apparently wasn't bad, bot otherwise, his fanbase has been limited to a very niche corner of TikTok. And I'll admit it: when I first saw this out of context, I just assumed it was going to suck, I'm sorry, some awful SoundCloud trash that wasn't worth the time of day. However, that's not what we got.

Instead, we got a Steve Lacy-esque hazy delivery with similar multitracking and a REALLY funky bass beat that sounds great, and an undeniably catchy hook. This guy is apparently affiliated with Brent Faiyaz and I believe it, it's weirdly soulful and a Tyler the Creator feature would feel right at home to me!

Now I do have some criticisms: as catchy as it is, I could not tell you a single word of the verses, that vocal filter makes everything bleed together very easil, and I don't think Tommy's particularly talented as a vocalist. But I don't know, there is something about him over this production that works for some reason. I still haven't fully cracked it, and I'm curious to how it ages, but this isn't half-bad. Certainly better than I was expecting.

Title: Crazy by CamrinWatsin (Ft. Eljé)

Position: #48

As is thankfully increasingly common, CamrinWatsin is a new DJ from ireland, appearing on the Irish charts out of nowhere! A Kildare man - yay, my first home alone - with a new smash hit after collaborating with Eljé. And despite taking over Irish TikTok, I'll admit that I haven't been able to find a huge amount of information about this single online.

But what I can say about it right now is that it's another successful debut from a relatively unknown Irish artist, and the construction of the song is standard enough. But the vocal mixing on Eljé's voice is pretty damn good, it's catchy enough, and I do think the mix is quite detailed, with cascading synths that all work in tandem to make the mix feel a tad busy, but still pretty intricate, more so than it needed to be. I appreciate that effort.

So yeah, it's nice, textured, not the most memorable song out there, but I wouldn't mind if this stuck around. And now, la pièce de résistance:

Title: euphoria by Kendrick Lamar

Position: #51

It feels like weeks since I was praising Push Ups right as Kendrick was dropping euphoria, considering everything that has followed since. And while I will have a lot more to say about all the other songs that dropped in the wake of this one, let's just acknowledge this as a fucking phenomenal response.

Keep in mind I really liked Push Ups, it catchy, calculated and genuinely countered a lot of Kendrick's verse on Like That pretty well! But when this 6-minute slice of awesomeness dropped, even I was a little shocked by how much Kendrick clearly hates Drake! As he goes after his appropriation of other cultures, the fact he doesn't have a real classic, his blackness - he spends several hilarious bars just trying to revoke is his N-word card - and as for his allegations that Drake doesn't like women - which I also found weirdly homophobic at first - I now think it's more a reference to the fact that 1) Drake's a bitch and 2) he doesn't like grown women, he likes girls. Which is TAME compared to his later tracks, but that's another conversation!

I even like how he justifies the lateness of his response by saying HE's a father, not just a rapper, not that Drake would no anything about that - DAMN! - as well as making it pretty clear that appropriating Tupac's voice was a type of disrespect that may well get him killed... pretty chilling now, in hindsight. He also brings up Pusha T - which is ALSO more relevant now than ever, and all over 2 seamless beat switches! He takes his time over 6 minutes to really make it clear that he knows Drake's every moved, he's clearly MUCH smarter than him, and the amount of wordplay and attention to detail put into this is a little staggering, in fairness. Even the botched Haley Joel Osment reference is still really damn funny!

There's still a lot more to analyse, I honestly can't do it justice here in this one post. But again, judging the song purely on its own merits and without anything else that followed, I think that this is absolutely stellar. I get if you're jaded by the beed at this point, it's a lot of heavy negativity in 1 week, but if anything that has been said by either camp is true, I think this was a necessary breaking point that we're witnessing. By no means the biggest swing from this beef, but still a fantastic shot!

Title: Kisses by BL3SS x CamrinWatsin (Ft. bbyclose)

Position: #71

I know this kid is coming right the fuck out of nowhere, 2 songs in 1 week from an unknown artist is... well, crazy, pun not intended!

And just like the first song, while I don't think this is anything particularly special, I still like his approach to vocal mixing, and he knows how to craft a catchy hook. I think the limitations here may come in the choice of subgenre, a trance-adjacent song with a thumping bass that sounds fine, but is pretty plain and repetitive by design, the kind of music to soundtrack racing games. It kind of sounds like Billy Gillies meets horsegiirL, if that makes ANY sense!

Maybe it's because this is a collab track with fellow DJ BL3SS, maybe it's the sexual content, or just the pretty standard structure that builds and drops without much unique flair, but I don't like this as much as Crazy, nor do I see myself coming back to it as much in the future. Not really my genre, but it's still decent, I suppose.

Title: If We Being Rëal by YEAT

Position: #80

No, I still haven't heard the YEAT album, with everything else going on in the world right now, I really don't see the point! Do we really think, with the whole Drake-Kendrick beef, that we're going to remember 2024 as The Year of YEAT?

That being said, this is WAY better than Breathe! For one, the production is faaar better, a cinematic, tumbling soundscape of synths taht reminds me of a sci-fi soundtrack. Which might actually be intentional, because the point of the song is that most rappers are living a life of fiction. It's all right there in the title, as he calls out people who are clearly not living that gangsta lifestyle, unlike him. And that would feel pretty hypocritical, but his delivery is honestly pretty earnest and credible, not Pusha T or Benny, but still!

So yeah, he seems like he takes real issue with people who are fronting while he's actually putting in the work and the numbers, and while I don't think there's a huge amount of creative wordplay, the atmosphere makes up for it. Not bad, YEAT.

Title: HOT TO GO! by Chappell Roan

Position: #88

You know, for those of you who think I'm just a Kendrick dick-rider who will praise anything he drops... well no, euphoria really is that calculated and intricate! But I will also point out that I've been riding Chappell's dick just as hard for the past year! And suddenly, Best and Worst of the week gets a little bit harder!

Now, in fairness, Chappell's last 2 singles were among my favourite songs of ALL 2023, while HOT TO GO! is probably only my 6th or 7th favourite on Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess. But considering I consider that album to approach goddamn transcendence, the mid range is still better than most anything that's out right now! Once again, I love how playful she is when singing about sex, weaving in explicit metaphors about her "heat", pining after you as she lies in bed, yearning to be touched where she hasn't been "in a damn hot minute!" And the fucking cheerleader structure of the hook and the urgent "hurry up it's getting cold" towards the end is fucking hysterical, she's such a goddamn treasure!

I was pleasantly surprised that Casual crossed over to the Irish jars before this - it's still the better song - but this has a MUCH better chance of becoming her next hit! And for all of our sakes, I really hope she gets there... pun intended.

Title: For Life by Kygo & Zak Abel (Ft. Nile Rogers)

Position: #90

So when I heard Kygo was back on his bullshit after that awful collaboration with Ava Max on Whatever, and was once again interpolating a classic - this time Modijo's Lady (Hear Me Tonight) - I was ready to throw a fit. But after hearing the song itself... honestly, if I hadn't been told about the sample, I wouldn't have noticed.

Then again, there's barely anything to notice about this, because this song is just empty. It's an almost impressively bland song, where every single element is so overly-polished that none of it can grab your attention. Nothing against Zak Abel or Nile Rogers, who are NOT to blame for this, but this production makes them sound identical, the content is stale and outside of the hook, the song feels like it samples all the WRONG parts of Modijo. Why the hell would I choose to listen to something that sounds more focus-grouped than fucking Celestial by Ed Sheeran?!

It's just completely soulless, the worst kind of cash-grab that feels so incredibly bland and boring! Whya re we giving Kygo such a push if this is the best he can do? His biggest hit with Selena Gomez is an utterly bland and overrated mess, and nothing he's done since has given me much more reason to take him seriously. But man, in 2024, this man really does feel like he's finally standing out and making a name for himself, in the worst way possible!

So yes, Worst easily goes to For Life by Kygo, Zak Abel & Nile Rogers, what an utter waste of time! As for Best, I'm going to disappoint everyone by giving out a tie and settling NOTHING: euphoria by Kendrick Lamar and HOT TO GO! by Chappell Roan, both incredible songs which I hope to see in the Top 10 at some point, as unlikely as that may be!

National Treasures

And now it's time for our new entries to the Homegrown Top 20. And let's begin with some... comedy? .. I think?

Title: I'm So Hungover I Could Die by 2 Johnnies

Position: #10

2 Johnnies are back again, this time with a song all about being so hungover that you want to crawl into a hole and die, craving kebabs and energy drinks, swearing that you'll never drink again and feeling 90.

And as these types of songs go, it's charming enough. It's certainly pretty detailed, as they remember dancing with your aunt and not much else, opting to recover with pizza and a viewing of The Lion King. But then the backing vocals tell him he made out with his cousin... comedy? I just feel a bit weird after that, especially when the song seems to be undecided as to whether he'll be making all these mistakes again next week.

Still, it's decently produced, the incredibly Irish references bring a smile to my face, and the detail in the songwriting usually makes it better than it makes it worse. Worth a listen, though maybe not a second one.

Title: Speak Up by Coronas

Position: #15

And finally, we close with one of the groups that's grown on me the most since I first heard them. I always like Coronas, but it was only when their last album dropped, with great stand-outs like Write Our Own Soundtrack that I started really buying into them. And thanfully, I think Speak Up is a wonderful follow-up. For one, their sound is more expansive than ever, as frontman Danny O'Reilly's willowy vocaals rest upon a bed of glassy synths, pianos and even some fantastic horn touches, all of which makes the difficult conversation in the lyrics feel larger than life! To me, it sounds like a chat between 2 people trying to build up their relationship and work through a rough patch, as he enourages them to be honest with him, speak up where they wouldn't have done so before. Because that's what growth is, and he promises to take it on the chin. I love the respect for the other person displayed on this track, the bedrock of all emotional maturity, and the song just sounds phenemonal!

In other words... shit, guess I'm really looking forward to that next album now! And if you're a fan of indie rock bands in the vein of Deaf Havana, I highly recommend you give this a listen, and start doing the same!

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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