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Musical McCool Season 4, Week 19 (Not Like Us, Family Matters, meet the grahams, and more)

Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool, my weekly series dissecting the Irish charts! Sorry for the delay, this has been an eventful week in my personal life.

Still, finally... here we are, the week a lot of you have all been waiting for. The week that Kendrick and Drake finally had songs battling for dominance on the Hot 100... and dear GOD did Drake lose! Putting aside quality for a second, not only did Kendrick have 2 debuts to Drake's 1, but euphoria rose into the Top 20 and Push Ups dropped out of the Top 30, DAMN!

The Top 10

But before we get to any of that, let's discuss our less eventful, but still notable Top 10.

1. espresso - Sabrina Carpenter [LW: #1 / WOC: 4]

2. Too Sweet - Hozier [LW: #2 / WOC: 7]

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

4. Fortnight - Taylor Swift (Ft. Post Malone) [LW: #4 / WOC: 3]

5. i like the way you kiss me - Artemas [LW: #5 / WOC: 7]

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

7. Austin - Dasha [LW: #9 / WOC: 12]

8. Scared to Start - Michael Marcagi [LW: #8 / WOC: 17]

9. MILLION DOLLAR BABY - Tommy Richman [LW: #37 / WOC: 2]

10. Lose Control - Teddy Swims [LW: #10 / WOC: 27]

Yep, we got 2 new Top 10 entries, with A Bar Song climbing up to number 3 and MILLION DOLLAR BABY to number 9. Honestly, good! I love the Kendrick-Drake beef as much as anyone, but it's exhausting! And the fact that we have 2 legitimately fun songs charting in the Top 10 and poised to be massive new hits moving forward, all that's a great sign for the Summer months.

Only other things I want to note is that espresso maintained the number 1, but it's by no means all that solid, I could see either of the new entries challenging it next week.

The Punished and the New

2024 has been so much more dynamic than 2023, so seeing As It Was AND Flowers returning to the Top 40 doesn't fill me with joy... still less loaded than Bambi Thug's Doomsday Blues, a really good song by a really good but slightly morally compromised artist. Not that I think you can totally blame her but still...

Back to Kendrick though: euphoria shot up to number 13 this week - be nice if it could crack the Top 10 though I have my doubts - while Like That with Metro and Future regained some ground to 25, all but guaranteeing its year-end spot.

And those were the only winners this week aside from our Top 10, while the losers include Happier by Blessed Madonna down to 41, greedy by Tate McRae to 52 (this is STILL here???), the unfortunate loss of Starburster by Fontaines DC AND Feel It by d4vd down to 59, Another Love by Tom Odell to 80, and to the delight of absolutely everyone with taste, Cry by Benson Boone AND I LUV IT by Camila Cabello both plummeted to 88 and 98, good fucking riddance!

And now, our highly anticipated new entries, starting with a big one:

Title: Not Like Us by Kendrick Lamar

Position: #11

I don't think the impact of this song can be emphasised enough. Not only is it by FAR the catchiest song to come out of the whole thing, debuting at number 1 in the US and breaking multiple of Drake's records in the process, but forevermore, Drake is going to have to live with the fact that for an entire Summer, the whole world was dancing to a song where Kendrick calls him out, by name, as a pedophile!

And I'm not gonna lie, I think this song is incredible! The Mustard beat is fantastic, there are too many phenomenal sing-along hooks to counts - including, but not limited to:

  1. Certified loverboy, certified pedophile WAP WAP WAP

  2. A minooooooooor

  3. OV-hoe, step this way

From the beginning, I've seen Drake fans argue than Kendrick wasn't as catchy as Drake or that he had no right going after a guy who was just more popular than him, and Kendrick shut ALL of them up by making the catchier song while STILL inserting his own trademark witticisms and conscious rap. Because for me, the real killer moment is when Kendrick starts to name-drop all the rappers that Drake used to get to the top, to make sure he could appeal to as many demographics as possible, not like a colleague, but like a fucking coloniser!

It's a devastating diss, arguably the nail in the coffin that will be heard around the world all Summer long, and the craziest part is that it might not even be the best song Kendrick dropped THIS WEEK! But before that:

Title: FAMILY MATTERS by Drake

Position: #21

So believe it or not, I think this song had a shot. Drake responding to euphoria with his own 6-minute, multi-verse track with 2 beat switches, all while addressing Kendrick's critiques AND landing a few shots of his own, it was a dirty play, but it was effective. So why do I think it fails even BEFORE we get to what happened next. Well, for one, Drake's just not as thorough of a rapper as Kendrick, as the best he can do at first is make a few decent short jokes, takes WAY too much time going after lesser targets like Rick Ross, then immediately after his family, claiming one of Kendrick's children was adopted by him, and ending with the claim that Kendrick beat on his wife Whitney. And look, while the son thing has been debunked, it is worth noting that Kendrick may well have struck his partner at some point; if anything, it makes a lot of sense when you hear Mr. Morale and the self-loathing Kendrick seems to harbour for himself on it.

The difference is that Kendrick has clearly worked on himself and seems genuinely remorseful, whereas Drake... I mean his defense against Kendrick's allegations have been very lacklustre and again, he went after family first. Which explains what followed a mere 30 minutes later:

Title: meet the grahams by Kendrick Lamar

Position: #26

So in the time it took for euphoria to drop, it's pretty clear that Kendrick recorded about 10 or so tracks with different contingency plans based on what Drake would do next. And before you say that I'm dickriding and there's no way... the alternative is that he wrote, recorded and produced this is 30 minutes, what do YOU think is more likely?!

And so, when Drake dropped a song going after Kendrick's family... well, he had his response ready, and it predictably absolutely decimated any conversation or longer attention that could have stemmed from it, especially when he released Not Like Us right after! And while that track was fun, this is HAUNTING, reminding me in the beat and atmosphere of Dance With The Devil by Immortal Technique, one of the most chilling songs you will EVER hear, though I'm giving you a STRONG trigger warning if you do, it's genuinely horrifying! Anyway, thanks to The Alchemist, Kendrick put out of concept song where with each verse and NO chorus, he addresses each of Drake's family members: his son, whom he offers to be a better father figure to. His parents, whom he full-on calls out for giving birth to such a sick fucking narcissist. A 2nd child that Drake's been hiding, which hasn't been confirmed but which a number of internet sleuths have said is very possible! And finally Drake himself, as he calls out his hypocrisies, his disgusting and manipulative behaviour, and the many lies that he's told that have driven away the 1 man who could have saved him. And the thing is... I believe him. Even though Kendrick clearly HATES Drake, if Aubrey had come quietly, I believe that he would have tried to help him battle those demons in some way... again, Kendrick's still got that saviour complex, and has plenty of experience battling dark urges.

But instead, Drake chose to get personal, and Kendrick took it waaaaay further than I think anybody could have predicted! And it's worth nothing that while Drake's his main target here, Kendrick also mentions that multiple artists are involved in these alleged sex rings, and there's a good chance that this song is targeted to take down much more than 1 rapper. Let's see what happens next, but for now... this is a song only Kendrick could have made. Whether you like it or not... you can't deny that it's stunning.

Title: These Walls by Dua Lipa

Position: #44

I was pretty underwhelmed by Illusion, and combined with song... look, I haven't listened to that new Dua Lipa album yet, and this makes me want to put it off just a little longer.

First of all, the melody here owes way too much to Training Season, only with less of a groove. Meanwhile the lyrics remind me of a Post Malone breakup song, where the walls themselves are telling them all the ways in which this relationship is fucked, and the longer they stay together, the worse it gets. Has potential in theory, but unfortunately, NONE of the potential pathos comes through in the verses! The groove is really limp, the tone is trying to be poppy and upbeat - which doesn't match the lyrics - and there's no emotion in Dua's delivery to indicate that this relationship is in dire straits.

Now, Dua Lipa's never been the best at conveying emotion in her music - that was my problem with IDGAF a few years ago, but the whole thing's also just really underweight and underwritten, I just don't really see the point of it. In other words, it's not terrible, but it's far from her best.

Title: Risk by Gracie Abrams

Position: #48

I miss you. I'm sorry finally broke Gracie Abrams through this year, but as somebody who wasn't crazy about that song, I didn't know how to feel about a new song from her charting so soon after. But as it turns out, I think this is SO much fucking better!

The thing that I love about this song - and I do - is that it has the same energy as an Olivia Rodrigo song, where she realses that the emotions she's feeling aren't healthy, but she's going to feel them anyway, fuck it, she's invested (very Tortured Poets-coded)! She loves this guy, even though she probably doesn't know him well enough yet to say that for sure! I love how descriptive the lyrics are, how he shows up to her door all flustered, and she's equally so as he starts talking and she just stares at his mouth and doesn't take in anything he says. There's something just so cute about it, with the sweet acoustic guitar, the really earnest delivery, the catchy melody, all of it just works!

It's by far the best thing that I've heard from her, and while you could argue the production could use a little bit more polishing, there's simply also no denying that when she finally shouts that she loves him on the bridge, it's got catharsis that tfew can sell this well. In other words, I get Gracie's it-factor now, she convinced me with this one. We'll have to see if she can follow it up, but for now, great little song!

Title: Addicted by Zerb & The Chainsmokers (Ft. Ink)

Position: #70

If Gracie Abrams' break-out hit or Hozier's number 1 were low on my prediction list, The Chainsmokers having another hit in 2024 was somewhere in the arctic. But after I got over the initial terror... I don't think that this song is bad.

It's a collaboration with their fellow DJ Zerb and it's very... mid-2000s deadmau5? And with the choice to go for more minor keys, I think that this works okay, highlighting the darker side of addiction when you're at the club throwing it back to distract from your terrible life. And look, as childish as it sounds, I find it very funny that a song that's all about quietly seducing someone on the dance floor, convincing them that the 2 of you were destined to meet here tonight... contains the line "come and get addic-dick-dick-dick-dicted one more time", it's just a little funny, objectively.

Yeah, the more I listen to this, the more I think it kind of works. I don't think it's my genre, but as these types of dance songs go, I wouldn't mind if this stuck around for a little.

See, which leaves us with the Best and Worst, and it's a tough one! I think at this point in time, I'm going back to Not Like Us more, but I legitmitely think meet the grahams is the better song, so they get a tie, with Gracie Abrams's Risk as the VERY big honourable mention! As far as the Worst, that's easy: the only song I didn't like today was These Walls by Dua Lipa, not that it's a bad song necessarily, but it's just the one out of these that I would go back to the least. Yes, I would play Family Matters before it.

National Treasures

And now it's time for our new entries to the Homegrown Top 20. And sice I'm already late, let's make this quick:

Title: Fisherman's Blues by The Tumbling Paddies

Position: #11

The Tumbling Paddies have consistently been charting since they became official hitmakers again, so we're really scraping the bottom of the barrel today. Hence we get their cover of the Waterboys' song Fisherman's Blues, which they performed last Summer and has been floating around TikTok ever since.

And look, it's a good live performance, with some great crowd energy, harmonies and lively instrumentation. DAnd if you know the original song, the tone is pretty well conveyed, similarly bombastic with the Uilleann pipes, and while it's missing Mike Scott's hangdog delivery and is almost too pretty at times, it's still a barnburner that anyone can still get behind in this form.

And speaking of Irish men doing performing well-known live covers:

Title: Travelin' Soldier by Highstool Prophets

Position: #14

Fun fact, Tumbling Paddies also covered this, so maybe we'll discuss that at some point in the future. For now though, this is a Chicks song which The Highstool prophets covered during the same set where their viral performance of This Is Your Life made its debut.

And look, it's organic as Hell, the banjo and pipes are wonderful additions, and while I do think The Highstool Prophets always sound a bit too anonymous for my liking - especially when compared to the original - their harmonies still sound good. I just think the slower pace of the original conveys the tragedy of the lyrics a fair bit better, this one can't help but feel quite routine.

2nd time these guys unfortunately pick a really incredible song to try and cover, and while I admire the ambition, this just doesn't do quite enough to win me over, yet again. Valiant effort though.

Title: Aw, Shoot! by CMAT

Position: #15

Of course! After making 2 of the best pop albums of the decade so far, why would CMAT ever take a break?!

I've gushed about this woman too many times to count at this point - see my multiple videos and blog posts on her for more context - but after finally seeing her get a ton of recognition and even seeing her live this year, I suppose she really wanted to prove herself to all her well-deserved new fans! And what has always impressed me most of all is her ability to churn out hooks and quotable lines like nobody's business, all with an ear for instrumentals like few others! And while Aw, Shoot! isn't reinventing herself by any means, it still contains all the hallmarks of her very best work.

Joining the proud tradition of artists to gain inspiration from writing about their writer's block, CMAT wrote an absolute banger about 2 weeks of her life spent in Paris, trying to write but coming up with nothing, drinking about 3 bottles a day, and even terrifying a random American tourist who knocked on the wrong door. It's an incredibly pathetic song, from her lowest point after every single coping mechanism has failed her and she feels stuck. She even apologises to our audience, who know her as the one who told them to "have fun". But fun's a welcome that she has long overstayed.

I adore how self-referential and slightly indiulgent this is, as CMAT shows once again that even at her lowest points, she's endlessly relatable, all with yet another incredible chorus to her name. Fucking stellar!

Title: LOVE MAKING by Kneecap (Ft. NINO)

Position: #18

Kneecap is back again, this time with a very different song than their last couple. Because while they've made songs about mental health and belittling politicians up until now, it's surprisingly hard for concious rappers to make songs about sex.

Now, it's not unheard of - Kendrick has a couple of good ones, and Kojaque may as well be the fucking master of it between bangers like Bambi, WOOF and Sex'n'Drugs - and getting NINO in for a welcome other perspective could work really well. And... it's okay? I think the beat is a little underwhelming compared to their last album, and while I think everyone sounds decent - especially NINO - it is distracting that the chorus and verses don't match up at all. NINO sings about "the way we're synching up" and I almost had to laugh at the irony.

Again, 3 talented people can have a day where they're not all on the same page, but to me, it just doesn't feel like either member of Kneecap knew what to do with themselves. Not terrible, they don't embarass themselves or anything, but you can really tell this is out of their comfort zone.

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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