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Musical McCool Season 4, Week 2 (Greenlight, A Cure For Minds Unwell, Just Another Rainbow, and more)

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

So we're clearly taking our time easing into the new music of this year, but I have I think it's already off to a great start, at least if you look at the songs that were released late last year and are only seeing their impact here now. Still, we did get some quirky blips on the radar for this week...

The Top 10

But before that, our Top 10:

1. Stick Season - Noah Kahan [LW: #1 / WOC: 55]

2. Murder On The Dancefloor - Sophie Ellis-Bextor [LW: #7 / WOC: 2]

3. Prada - Cassö, Raye & D-Block Europe [LW: #2 / WOC: 22]

4. Lovin On Me - Jack Harlow [LW: #3 / WOC: 9]

5. greedy - Tate McRae [LW: #4 / WOC: 17]

6. I Remember Everything - Zach Bryan (Ft. Kacey Musgraves) [LW: #5 / WOC: 20]

7. Cruel Summer - Taylor Swift [LW: #6 / WOC: 41]

8. Houdini - Dua Lipa [LW: #10 / WOC: 9]

9. Something In The Orange - Zach Bryan [LW: #8 / WOC: 67]

10. Northern Attitude - Noah Kahan (Ft. Hozier) [LW: #9 / WOC: 9]

So once again, the Top 10 is incredible right now, and all that changed this week is the order. And that's because Murder On The Dancefloor surged up to number 2, to the delight of everyone! Now, to me, this is personally just a fun revival of an older hit that I'm familiar enough with and have enjoyed for a while, but the simple fact that it's giving so much attention to Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Saltburn and a great song, all in 1 go... I'm not complaining!

Also Houdini saw a slight jump too, YAYYYY!

The Punished and the New

As for the movers and shakers of this week, I'm actually pretty happy with the losers and winners of the past week! Lose Control by Teddy Swims rockets up to 13 - the sort of overwrought soul song that can be very hit-or-miss and in this case HITS - and Never Lose Me by Flo Milli may not be her best, but still glad to see her getting some recognition as it rose up to 39 off its debut last week. As long as we ignore the boost to Popular by The Weeknd, Playboi Carti & Madonna, I'm pretty happy! As for the losers, most of them are long-overdue exits, or just plain bad songs. Life Lesson by Belters Only & co dropping off to 49 makes me VERY hopeful that the Irish public might be getting sick of them, Sprinter and Flowers dropping to 53 and 63 respectively is just nature taking its course, and I could CRY I'm so happy to finally see Calm Down by Rema & Selena Gomez finally dropping all the way to 97, THANK GOD!

Otherwise, the most of the noteable story is in our returning entries. For instance, Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield is currently at number 11 thanks to a new RomCom that's apparently quite popular called Anyone But You. Unlike Saltburn though, I've no interest in seeing this one, I don't think the song's current run will measure up to its original 2000s one, and I also just don't like it all that much, so fuck it. But if you think THAT's a tenuous reason to get a song charting again...

Title: Greenlight by Pitbull (Ft. Flo Rida & Lunchmoney Lewis)

Position: #17

No, you are not hallucinating. In 2023, a Pitbull song with everyone's favourite void of personality Flo Rida and the guy who made Bills in 2015 (one of the most bafflingly overlooked non-hits of the decade, it SHOULD have been huge!) somehow ended up in the Top 20 here in Ireland. And the reason may shock you... or bore you, as the case may be.

See, the World Darts Tournament happened recently, and apparently this was the play-off song for Luke Littler, the youngest person to ever reach the finals.

So first off, I know NOTHING about this sport (or any other, really), but congrats to the guy, even I know that's a massive achievement! Secondly, to his many fans criticising him for picking this as his anthem... shut the fuck up. If it was Chris Brown or some other serial abuser, fair, but otherwise, shut the Hell up and let the kid play whatever song he likes. And yes, I know that's ironic coming from me! As for the song itself... look, as a 2016 throwback by 3 names that haven't touched the charts in years, this is kind of nostalgic for me! I remember when this hit the US charts for a short time, and while I can see why it didn't stick around - the horns sound weirdly cheap, Pitbull's sex-centric verse references OJ Simpson, and the hook isn't exactly amazing - there's still such a charm to a song like this, it makes me smile in spite of myself!

Again, the verses and content are nothing stellar, and the production could use a few coats of paint, but these 3 seeing chart success this long after their hey-day, and for such a random-ass reason... that's something to celebrate for me. More so than darts anyway.

Title: Strangers by Lewis Capaldi

Position: #70

So like with a lot of Lewis Capaldi songs, I didn't initially get the hate for this one. I'd heard the negative buzz, but I just rolled my eyes naively and thought "haters gonna hate"... Gods, just... WHY?!

Why does this man - who I really want to like by the way - continuously feel the need to blow out my fucking eardrums on almost every single hook he's ever put together?! Your lower register is FINE, why must you bay like a fucking Basset hound on so many of your goddamnn hooks??? It doesn't sound good, it's incredibly at odds with Baby's First Piano Melody, and dear GOD does that punchline of a chorus not deserve this level of drama! "It's strange cause we're strangers all over again" BRAVO, how long did that one take you, a full 5 seconds?! And the verses aren't much better, the standard love-was-so-perfect-and then-suddenly-it-wasnt that feels incredibly lacking in detail and one-sided! And can we just cool down on the Wonderwall hate?! We get it, you're edgy, do you hate The Beatles too?!

I've had a weird amount of patience for Lewis Capaldi, where even songs like Someone You Loved and Wish You The Best don't bother me that much, and I genuinely think he's a reasonably good songwriter - Forget Me and How I'm Feeling Now are both genuinely great, I stand by them! But for the life of me, I can't find anything good about this! I can't tell whether it's just that this song is so whiny and awful-sounding, or if it's just the result of multiple letdowns in a row now, but every time I hear that wailing chorus, I just groan, the sympathy has LONG-since dried up! Awful song, I'm well aware that you can do better!

Title: A Cure For Minds Unwell by Lewis Capaldi

Position: #73

... Are you fucking mocking me? ... Right after my most anti-Capaldi rant ever, he follows it up on the album with this, easily one of his BEST songs to date, FUCK YOU!

Anyway, yeah, this is great! I'd even argue it's Lewis Capaldi's best-written song since How I'm Feeling Now, a genuinely devastating song where he wakes up hungover in his own house, after suffering a major existential breakdown the day before, realising that he's growing older all alone... and FUCK is it effective! He may look like he's smiling, like he's working hard as expected of him, but on the inside he just feels intense pain and loneliness. I stand by that Capaldi usually works best when he's NOT singing about relationships, and while there clearly is a failed relationship referred to here - hence his house feeling haunted, or regretting all the things he should have said - but it's not the focus, HE is! And that final stinger line on the chorus is both poetic and shockingly impactful, it got me!

Now again, I do think the composition is pretty straightforward, the structure is very familiar for him, but DAMN do the good elements heavily outweigh the bad ones for me! Reminds me a lot of the themes of Drayton Farley or Ed Sheeran's albums last year, and that's ONLY a compliment! Nice job Capaldi, but again, THIS is the usual standard I expect from you!

Title: Just Another Rainbow by Liam Gallagher & John Squire

Position: #76

Liam Gallagher REALLY wants another hit, doesn't he? I mean I can't say I mind, again, I love Oasis and Everything's Electric was quite good, so what's the harm, even if he himself seems like a preening diva. Well, as it happens, i think this song is ALMOST fucking fantastic.

Recruting Stone Roses guitarist John Squire was a VERY smart decision, because the instrumentation on this sounds HUGE, building in this perpetual crescendo that just seems to hit in waves of kick-ass noise! It's the type of music that any classic rock fan will instantly perk up at, and the pealing electric guitars just fill me with awe, particularly in the second half of the song where they take over completely! Sure, it's pure self-indulgent rock wankery, but it's oh so sweet!

Ironically, the worst part of the song is Liam Gallagher himself, who frankly sounds fucking awful on this. I don't know why, he doesn't sound particularly different here than he has anywhere else in recent years, but the psychedelic vocal effects make him sound like a bad John Lennon impersonator from the late 60s/early 70s, and it's not remotely flattering. That combined with the non-existent content knocks it down a few pegs, but my GOD do the greatest elements fucking shine!

Title: Thank You (Not So Bad) by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Tiësto & Dido & W&W

Position: #82

Sure, why not make a techno remix of Dido's best-known song?

Most of you might know this as the sample from Eminem's Stan, and the cool kids probably know the original. The point is 99% of the people who listen to that melody can instantly place it, and it strikes me as a really weird choice for this type of festival banger. The synths and beats are just far too stiff, and the mixing of Dido's voice absolutely drowns her out behind the iconic instrumental.

3 DJs on this, one Belgian, one Greek and one Tiësto, and none of you thought to redo this, maybe blend the sample in a little better? It's not exactly bad, just a weird idea that feels half-executed... speaking of which:

Title: Songer by Toxic Freestyle

Position: #99

Okay, this is just silly!

I actually listened to Songer's album SKALA, and I genuinely don't remember a second of it outside of the opening track Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, which was so chock-full of dated pop cultural references that I still find it morbidly fascinating. And here, he delivered a freestyle over Britney's Spears' most iconic instrumental ever and... it's not good, shocker!

The man has such a basic flow and an interchangeable voice, constantly following the same setup-punchline structure, but I'll admit there were some lines that stood out to me. "If talent comes down to melanin, why am I so much harder than you?" sounds extremely defensive and a losing battle from the jump. The way he says he's going to get guys to express their feminine side because they'll be jealous of him, thereby implying all women have jealousy issues. "You hold food like plastic bags" is not a joke. Calling his ex a slag is just classy! And saying he's going to swing a man like a propeller so he can steal his girl is just plain odd. So yeah, bad song, but nothing out of the ordinary for Songer. Hell, the Britney sample's the only reason it's here at all, and as his freestyles go, this is about what I'd expect from the very little I remember.

Which means, miraculously for him, it's NOT getting Worst of this week, because I care way more about Lewis Capaldi fucking up on Strangers than about Songer. Funny enough though, Capaldi also wins Best of the week for A Cure For Minds Unwell, it only gets better with repeated listens! Sorry Liam Gallagher fans, maybe next time there'll be even less of him on his own song and it'll turn out even better!

National Treasures

And now we reach our new all-Irish entries, who made it to the Homegrown Top 20. And we're actually starting with one of our entrants on the Top 100 BEST Songs of 2023:

Title: Want You More by Moncrieff

Position: #10

Moncrieff should be no stranger to you at this point. I've covered him multiple times here on the log and on Instagram, he made one of the best hooks of last year on the incredible Young Men, and he's gained a good amount of popularity that has felt very much earned as he continues to expand his sound. And this is a continuation of that, a song where he is unabashedly in love with someone who is a certified mess! Where the sex is wild, the fights are nasty, but he genuinely loves her beyond just the hook-up, and the messy human emotions of it makes him want her more.

What separate this song from something like Last Night by Morgan Wallen - aside from sounding FAAAAAAAAAAR better - is that he seems in it for the lecherous hook-up, and she seems to deserve far better. Here, it's still very toxic, but he seems willing to endure and actually progress this relationship, you can tell he wants more, he wants to get to a place beyond just the sex.

Look, very few singers in this vein can sell sincerity like Moncrieff, and his characters tend to be FAR more interesting and emotive than, say, Dermot Kennedy's. It's earnest in a way that kept bringing me back, and while it's NOT his best, it's still a really good showcase of why this guy is as big as he is!


Position: #10

Garage punk from Dublin. GOD, THIS is exactly why I love highlighting Irish music on this blog!

This is SPRINTS, a local rock band who just released their debut album Letter To Self a couple of weeks ago. A debut I highly recommend by the way, it's a much-needed shot of adrenaline in the doldrums of January! It's an album reflecting on the sensation of being alive VS actually living, through a lens of mental illness, social awkwardness, with killer blasts of drum and guitar, the howling vocals of Karla Chubb, and the songwriting that isn't super lyrics, but says all it needs to with very few words.

And quite frankly, Heavy isn't even my favourite song on the album, I personally love the more lower-key Shaking Their Hands or the thundering majesty of Can't Get Enough of It even more. But that's not to discount the kick-ass riff the song opens up with and then builds upon beautifully, of Karla's monotone voice that breaks into a scream on the chorus, or the repeated mantra that still rings home true for anyone who's ever had an out-of-body experience while unable to sleep. And that's all high praise, because this kicks ass!

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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