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Musical McCool Season 4, Week 21 (Lunch, Chihiro, one of wun, Ain't No Love In Oklahoma, and more)

Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool, my weekly series dissecting the Irish charts! Whew, after the sheer SPICE of the last few weeks, it feels refreshing to ONLY have a Billie Eilish album bomb to talk about. And while that comes woth its own fair share of controversy (for some stupid reason), it's a lot easier to talk about and - spoilers - ultimately dismiss.

The Top 10

That being said, Billie did not take the very top spot:

1. espresso - Sabrina Carpenter [LW: #3 / WOC: 6]

2. A Bar Song (Tipsy) - Shaboozey [LW: #2 / WOC: 6]

3. Too Sweet - Hozier [LW: #4 / WOC: 9]

4. I Had Some Help - Post Malone (Ft. Morgan Wallen) [LW: #1 / WOC: 2]

5. Lunch - Billie Eilish [LW: - / WOC: 1]

6. MILLION DOLLAR BABY - Tommy Richman [LW: #5 / WOC: 4]

7. Chihiro - Billie Eilish [LW: - / WOC: 1]

8. Belong Together - Mark Ambor [LW: #6 / WOC: 12]

9. Austin - Dasha [LW: #10 / WOC: 14]

10. i like the way you kiss me - Artemas [LW: #9 / WOC: 9]

Unsurprisingly, the initial boost wasn't enough to keep Post Malone and Morgan Wallen at the top spot, as they instead ceded it to... espresso, once again. Gotta be honest, I do not get the massive appeal of this song, I'm getting a little sick of it.

This meant that I Had Some Help dropped to number 4, just above our 2 new entries: Lunch and Chihiro by Billie Eilish at number 5 and 7 respectively. Not surprised she had such a huge debut, even with no lead-off singles this woman is a force of nature.

The Punished and the New

So as you may have noticed, we had some pretty notable exits from the Top 10, specifically Fortnight by Taylor Swift & Post Malone dropping down to 12, and Not Like Us by Kendrick Lamar falling to 14. Honestly, this was expected, as radio doesn't want to keep pushing an anti-pedophile anthem... even if they seemed fine with pushing something as cluelessly xenophobic as Rich Men North of Richmond last year. On a similar note, Hind's Hell immediately dropped to 82.

Other than that, euphoria by Kendrick dropped to 39, Family Matters by Drake collapsed down to 80, meet the grahams fell to 91, ALL the Eurovision songs dropped down to varying degrees, along with Charli XCX's 360 to 73.

As for winners... I guess further down the charts there was some activity: The Door by Teddy Swims was the biggest jump up to 56, followed by Zach Bryan's Revival up to 63, and Stumblin In by CYRIL climbing up to 79. None of these songs are currently all that relevant, but we'll see. And now, onto our new arrivals, starting with the Billie ones:

Title: Lunch by Billie Eilish

Position: #5

So I've seen a lot of predictable backlash towards this song... and some less predictable. Sure, you have the usual flood of homophobic and misogynist media critiquing her for using such explicit language to describe her sexual awakening, as she revels in both receiving and giving pleasure to this girl - using all sorts of colourful turns of phrase which I found pretty damn funny, intentionally so - but what I wasn't expecting was the fans who didn't like the sound of the song. And... I suppose I can see how it's not for everyone? The guitars are kinda psychedelic with a touch of Chilli Peppers sizzle, unlike anything she's really touched on before, and the structure of the hook is probably the most... straightforward one she's had since Bad Guy, it's very easy to see why this was pushed as the single, especially with that scuzzy bassline and that insanely catchy hook.

Personally, I think this could be a Summer smash that is the pretty obvious choice for the next number 1. It's fun, upbeat, and just a fucking cool song to see this high on the charts in 2024! Even with Billie's name attached to it, I love that she can push a song like this to the top, and I sincerely hope it sticks around, great song!

Title: Chihiro by Billie Eilish

Position: #7

As soon as I saw the title, I knew what it could be reference to, And yes, Billie Eilish did make a song inspired by Spirited Away, one of my- nah, one of THE best films ever made. And it's less complicated instrumentally this time, with a great bassline and softer vocals from Billie that reminds me most of her 2017 EP Don't Smile At Me, probably still her project that I go back to the most.

As for the songwriting, it seems to be searching for validation from a very uncommunicative partner, hence the ambiguous lyrics. it parallels Chihiro's own journey in discovering a world full of magic and colour through Haku, giving her a new perspective on life as a rather disenchanted child. I do like the subtlety of it, even if I personally would have liked a few more Ghibli references, she could have had fun with it.

So yeah, definitely could have been fleshed out more, but I still think the song is really lovely, especially with that extended breathy me-e-e-e on the hook. And even if I personally think songs like The Greatest, Skinny and The Diner are more immediate, this still hits a magical note in Billie's unique way.

Title: Birds of a Feather by Billie Eilish

Position: #11

You know, with the very melodic production, this song kind of puts me in the mind of some of Pinkpantheress' early material, with the sweet layered vocals and a very earnest performance from Billie, where she sounds really invested in this relationship. In terms of songs where Billie's emotive voice is the main focus though... I dunno, songs like I love you still feel more fleshed-out in the songwriting. Here, it's just focused around someone whom she will love till the day she dies, even if that time together is running out. It's about valuing the time spent with a person who brings you a sense of pure joy, an increasingly rare and special feeling for someone in Billie's position.

It's a pretty restrained song - necessarily so, as I feel like she wants to keep the identity of this person VERY vague - but the dreamy haze is still very pretty. I just don't know if I'm going to come back to it as much outside of the context of the album.

Title: Who's Afraid Of Little Old Me by Taylor Swift

Position: #22

This is the song that I saw so many point to as the moment where Disc 1 officially lost them. Where Taylor's scream of "Who's afraid of little old me? You should be." felt like her self-awareness once again evaporation as she vanished up her own ass.

But, unsurprisingly, I disagree. It's another song where Taylor is playing up her role as the evil villain - if only to justify all the shit-talking going on behind their back - as she fantasises about breaking free from the gallows that the public has hung her from, bursting in through the door and serving sweet witchy retribution! Is it over the top? Fuck yes, BUT I do think that the song has some very potent points!

The asylum line IS very fitting when you consider it's metaphorical. Despite her position of privilege, not many celebrities have been as scrutinised as Taylor Swift, especially when it comes to her love life and personality, and very few people could stand that level of exposure and judgement, let alone flourish to the point of becoming a billionaire, and that IS because she's smart and has worked her ass off! And I love the narcotics line, as it's a double meaning for how catchy her songs can be AND how addictive the stories she concocts AND those concocted about her can be! And if you're just going to discredit all of that, call her overrated and talentless... well shit, no wonder she finds it easier to play the villain. Again, the parallels to Ariana's thank u next are STARK!

However, the narcotics line also leads me to my 1 gripe with the song, which is that whenever I try to remember the melody on the verses, I just find myself humming Fresh Out The Slammer or even the build-up to the chorus on Florida, both of which stick in my head much better. It's just not her most memorable instrumental on the project, even if it's well-written and the chorus sticks the landing. Still, if you're looking for a song that easily justifies its existence and placement on the album, purely on songwriting alone - yes, even with the hook - I still really like this song.

Title: one of wun by Gunna

Position: #62

I feel like Gunna is trying to trick people into thinking he's 21 Savage with that mumbly chorus... and that's genuinely all I have to say about this.

It's produced okay, the content is very lightly braggadocious, and judging by the cool reception I've seen for the rest of the album, and that this was the ONLY song from it to chart in Ireland... yeah, safe to say that Kendrick's 1 line referencing Gunna on euphoria will likely end up being the most impactful thing about him in 2024.

Title: Ain't No Love In Oklahoma by Luke Combs

Position: #65

This song was written for the movie Twisters, a sequel to the 1996 film Twister starring the legendary Bill Paxton, RIP. And putting my thoughts on Hollywood's desperate reliance on sequels for a moment... man, this song just strikes a weird sour chord for me.

The guitars feel like they're closer to rock than anything else, more in the vein of Chris Stapleton's harder stuff. Which sound positive... but MAN does Luke Combs feel out of place over this. Don't get me wrong, he's got the power to his voice... but it's kind of like when Blake Shelton made God's Country, where the dick-swinging posturing feels very out of place with the image he's spent years cultivating. I hear this and I hear a drunk dad shouting angrily, and I just don't feel like it works. Power isn't the same thing as gravitas, after all.

Of course, the lyrics don't help. Where Blake Shelton at least felt like he was tackling some meaty subject matter, Luke here just sounds like he's shouting at nothing, and weirdly anonymously at that. I get that this kind of country rock generally works for me, but in this case... no, this is missing either another re-write or a softer touch to really click. Not a bad effort though, there's potential.

Title: Cowgirls by Morgan Wallen (Ft. ERNEST)

Position: #83


You know, it says a lot that whenever I have to revisit that last Morgan Wallen album, after I proclaimed that Last Night was the worst song he's ever made, song after song just keeps making me reconsider that choice! Last week it was Thinkin Bout Me, and this week it's this absolute turd of a song!

First off, this might be one of the worst-produced songs Morgan has ever made, with these awful pitched-up guitars that blend into this squeaky slurry, that then default into that ugly trap beat on that hedonistic chorus, where he describes this girl as buckwild, compares her to a Mustang, generally pulls from every Luke Bryan bro-country cliché you can think of, and NONE of it's flattering!

And ERNEST is no better! Sure, he's less obnoxiously blaring as Morgan - he sounds mildly better - but he also sounds checked-out and miserable, not helped by the dour instrumental! And tied together with the lame-ass bridge where they're basically begging these women to give you the time of day - because you just know they're all for cowgirls so long as THEY get their attention at the end of the day - it makes for a pretty revolting track sonically and lyrically.

Title: Mind Still by Sonny Fodera (Ft. blythe)

Position: #96

With all of the Trance songs that's got big over the last year or so -a lot of which I've personally loved - Sonny Fodera falls into a weird place. I've always appreciated his creativity, but his songs are usually missing just 1 little extra step to really win me over. But with Mind Still, he may have finally done it!

It's a very heady track that doesn't bother to build to a huge chorus, instead relying more on the space between the beats, as pretentious as that sounds. The song's all about catching your breath and finding a moment of stillness from your mind running into overload, its stuttering beats almost mirroring a rapidfire series of thoughts jumping around your brain. Maybe it's just the lyrics that convince me, or maybe it's the image painted by this production, but either way, it's pretty effective.

My only nitpick is that blythe's cooing works a lot better than her weirdly strained moments where she's called to sing lyrics. Maybe just a comfort zone issue there, can't really blame her for that, but yeah, other than that, this is probably the most I've enjoyed a Sonny Fodera track. Good stuff

Title: Love Me Jeje by Tems

Position: #97

The explosion of Nigerian music in the last couple of years has been stunning, with artists like Burna Boy and even Rema quickly becoming household names. But if you wre paying close attention in 2022, you'd know that another big name to break onto the scene was Tems, probably best known for her collab with Drake & Future Wait For U. And with the lead-off single for her upcoming album, it's a sad example of the lowest-charting hit of the week also being one of the best.

The gorgeously produced string and handclaps, the great interplay between the primary and backing vocals, that solid-as-Hell melody, but on top of that it's an interpolation of the Seyi Sodimu track of the same name, a song her mother is apparently a big fan of, which Tems decided to recreate with a bunch of her friends.

Yeah, this is gorgeous, rollicking, calming in the best possible way, and the kind of song that tries harder than it needs to yet makes it look effortless.

In fact, I was actually tempted to give it Best of the week... but I'll be honest Lunch by Billie Eilish has an absolute lock on my heart right now, I love that track! Great week overall actually, which means Worst EASILY goes to Cowgirls by Morgan Wallen & ERNEST, what a piece of shit. Second week in a row, go Morgan!

National Treasures

And now it's time for our new entries to the Homegrown Top 20. So let's kick things off with yet another song from:

Title: Ocean by Darren Kiely

Position: #5

Darren Kiely's latest song caught me a little off guard. Not that it was necessarily unexpected, but after his last sparse song about self-doubt and hints at suicidal thoughts, a pivot to an early-2010s indie folk ballad wasn't what I was expecting. Still, it's certainly in his wheelhouse, and at least he didn't add the very obvious oh-oh-ohs (even if I did catch some faint ey-ey-eys at the back of the mix towards the end). And it's a very sincere love song, where Darren professes that his love for you is like an ocean he can barely hold back. But on the verses and bridge, he makes it clear his love is sadly quite one-sided, as he hopes that this other person will cut him loose and let him drift away.

Sure, it's probably one of his simpler songs, but this guy has enough raw charm and such a great voice that I still find myself smiling throughout it! Good song, I really hope this guy gets more wider acclaim going forwards, and I'm glad to see him getting consistent attention on the Homegrown charts!

Title: Both Ways by The Script

Position: #10

Kind of hilarious to me that Darren Kiely can debut higher on this chart than the fucking Script in 2024. Then again, I've always found this band overrated - I never tire of saying it - and on this new song... ugh, no.

Look, it says a lot that when these guys were announced as the Headliners of the last Electric Picnic, the Irish public reacted with sheer scorn, we're ALL sick of them here (yes, even The Man Who Can't Be Moved, which is STILL charting on the mainstream charts), and on this song, even they sound bored. It's like the worst of the Jonas Brothers reunion song, with horrible overproduction, fake drums, whistle-pitched vocals, and underwritten lyrics.

I dunno, if you're a hardcore fan in your mid-30s, maybe this still makes you feel all gooey inside, but to me this type of pining song sounds disingenuous and desperate, especially with that stupid "feeling goes both ways" line on the hook. Boo!

Title: Between the Jigs and the Reels by Shane Fallon

Position: #14

Look, sometimes you come across a song on this chart that's so niche that finding reliable information about it online is a dubious endeavour.

With that in mind, this is a folk song by Shane Fallon, a Ranelagh-based artist with an Irish Country/Bluesy sound that has apparently been active since around 2015, with very minor success and a very hoarse but passionate voice. Honestly, I went through his entire Spotify and there's some really good and varied stuff on there, but this song feels a bit too busy. The pipes and strings sound great individually, but altogether with the awkward vocal layering, it just makes it sound a bit too busy.

The lyrics also feel a but unfocused, with meandering songwriting about confirming his Irishness - I believe he is - and while I wouldn't say it's bad, it does feel a tad amateurish. I recommend you check out the rest of his stuff though, there's some good stuff. And either way, it's better than that The Script song, fuck's sake!

Title: Little Chaos by Orla Gartland

Position: #19

Oh she's back! Orla Gartland was one of the first artist to really blow me away on this series back in Season 1, with the unbelievable tune More Like You, which deservedly made my Top 10 best songs of ALL 2021! And since then, she has continued to grow, releasing a group album under FIZZ last year which I should have given a listen back when it dropped, and continuously releasing cleverly-written anthems that are SO damn potent and catchy. And this new song... yeah, this kicks ass! It's a "take me as I am" song, where she's blatantly flirting with the listener and challenging you to turn her on and keep her entertained, all while calling herself your "little chaos", as her wild energy can barely be contained and you have to be accepting of that.

Honestly, i do feel like in my own relationship, we each provide the other with quite a bit of said chaos, and as it happens, both of us have been obsessed with this song since it dropped, especially with the grungier guitar work and production. Awesome song, one of her best hooks in ages, check this out!

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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