Hey guys, welcome back to Musical McCool, my weekly series dissecting the Irish charts!
Eyy good news, the IRMA finally did their job and posted the chart, albeit it 4 days late! Can't really blame them, it's a bank holiday, but still, that's the reason this is late. Well, that and also my NEW VIDEO SERIES, kind of a mash-up of my Monthly Musical Marvels series with Record Round-up, check it out:
Anyway, the BIG story this week was going to be Megan VS Nicki... one problem though: Nicki Minaj's Big Foot didn't even chart yet. Likely that means it will show up next week (I know enough about the Barbs to know it's coming), but still, talk about an early victory for Megan here in Ireland!
The Top 10
However, the more immediate news is our Top 10:
1. Stick Season - Noah Kahan [LW: #1 / WOC: 58]
2. Murder On The Dancefloor - Sophie Ellis-Bextor [LW: #2 / WOC: 5]
3. Prada - Cassö, Raye & D-Block Europe [LW: #3 / WOC: 25]
4. Lose Control - Teddy Swims [LW: #9 / WOC: 13]
5. Lovin On Me - Jack Harlow [LW: #6 / WOC: 12]
6. Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield [LW: #7 / WOC: 4]
7. greedy - Tate McRae [LW: #8 / WOC: 20]
8. yes, and? - Ariana Grande [LW: #5 / WOC: 3]
9. Homesick - Noah Kahan & Sam Fender [LW: #4 / WOC: 3]
10. Scared to Start - Michael Marcagi [LW: #11 / WOC: 3]
As things continue to stabalise slowly, both yes, and? AND Homesick drop to 8 and 9 respectively! Which is nuts, I thought for sure both of these songs would stick around in the Top 5 for months, but I suppose the Irish public would rather prop up 2000s nostalgia.
I will admit I'm glad Teddy Swims is getting some shine, but why oh WHY is Scared To Start in the Top 10 all of a sudden?! The song is gutless, whitewashed, 2010s folk that sounds like literally THOUSANDS of other songs, what's even the point of it?!
The Punished and the New
As the winter rolls on into a weirdly mild February, I think it's fascinating watching the Irish public embrace a lot of the newer music as opposed to waiting months on end while cuddling the comforting hits of the previous year (again, with the exception of the 2000s ones in the Top 10). Which is why, to my delight, our gains include Nothing Matters by the Last Dinner Party to 22, the fucking YG Marley song Praise Jah in the Moonlight up to 25, Birds In The Sky by NewEra at 28, and yes, I'm even happy to see Alibi by Ella Henderson & Rudimental at 68! Bit less pleased with the choice to promote the rather toxic Not My Fault by Renee Rapp & Megan Thee Stallion to 54, or indeed the latest clout chaser from David Guetta and Kim Petras When We Were Young, but I also can't say I despise either of those songs, per se.
As for the losers this week, we have the disappointing but expected decline of Perfect (Exceeder) by Mason vs Princess Superstar to 39, the internet breathes a sigh of relief as David Kudhner's Skin and Bones flops HARD down to 64, and I mourn the unfortunate drop-offs for 21 Savage as Surround Sound with JID & Baby Tate and nee-nah with travis & Metro Boomin are in freefall to 69 and 78 respectively. Finally and best of all though, the godawful FTCU by Nicki Minja NOSEDIVES to 100, good fucking riddance!
But now, it's high time we talk about our biggest story of the week:
Title: HISS by Megan thee Stallion
You know, I want to emphasise that the only reason this isn't higher likely comes down to release timing, because the number don't lie, this is doing pretty well in Ireland, if not quite as ridiculously as in the US. Because make no mistake, even without Nicki's overreaction at that 1 Megan Law's line that wasn't even fully dedicated to her, this song still feels like an event! Megan has faced so much criticism for years now, both in the double-standard landscape of hip-hop and overall on social media. And this is a diss to all her doubters, firing down large swathes of haters with explosive buckshots that absolutely slap!
Now to be clear, it's not as incredible as Thot Shit, and I'd argue the lack of a chorus means it might not stick with me as much as Cobra, but with that menacing minor piano, the incredibly elastic flows all across the track, and again, the KILLER bars, this absolutely shut everyone else in the room up, and anyone who's bothered to respond has looked absolutely pitiful by comparison! And that's before we get to my favourite part: Megan herself. She has a FIRE under her, delivering each line with intent, knowing that each and every words she spits deserves attention!
It's the kind of statement that doesn't even bother daring you to respond, because it knows you can't do anything to it. It's a phenomenal showcase of her skills, the first time in a LONG time that a diss track has made enough of a splash to go to number 1 on Billboard, and the kind of song that feels earned and LONG incoming! Terrific job!
Title: Doomsday Blue by Bambie Thug
Befire we get to anything else, I really do want to recommend you check out the studio version of this song, since it's the only version I can see myself listening to. Because this is the Irish 2024 Eurovision entry... and I'm going to forget about Eurovision for a second. That organisation is dead to me until they rescind Israel's invitation, and I know millions of people are happy to boycott them alongside me. HOWEVER, this song in isolation is AWESOME!
The delicate balance between the rock-rap verses, the screamo, the demented distortion that make Bambi sound like a possessed doll, not to mention their unbelievable presence! Like Megan, their delivery demands your attention, and every line is sung with the energy and enthusiasm of any theatre kid who knows THIS is their moment! It's gothic, camp as FUCK, and absolutely deranged, especially on the bridge when the industrial guitars and drums wail out alongside Bambie's growled vocals! It's like if Wicked was performed by Nine Inch Nails and I am here for it!
Honestly, it's a damn shame that Eurovision chose this year to be bigger cunts than usual, because this is the kind of showcase that would absolutely CRUSH the competition. It blows me away every time I come back to it, and I think Bambie deserves their time in the spotlight far beyond this! So please keep this around, it's soo fun and unique NOT to!
Title: Home by good neighbours
UNLIKE THIS! Remember everything I said about Michael Marcagi a couple of weeks ago. Well, at least that song is fucking listenable, whereas THIS tries to pair that song's sheer emptiness with these atrocious and STRAINED falsetto vocals and whistles, and production that sounds like someone forgot to mic up a single instrument! It sounds like if AJR wrote a fucking jingle... and YES I AM AWARE BUD LIKE YOU EXISTS!
The fucking 2012-era indie whistling is infuriating to me, the vocal mixing is atrocious, and the lyrics are dogshit, a plea for "darling" to take him home that sounds like something Lewis Graham would have left on the cutting room floor! To all of you who judged Benson Boone last week, NOW do you see how much worse it can get?!
All i can say is that if this is a sign of what 2024 is going to try to make a thing, I think we're all in big fucking trouble. And I say that even knowing World War 3 may be around the corner!
Title: Selfish by Justin Timberlake
I have very mixed feelings on JT these days. On the one hand, he didn't treat Britney well when they were together. On the other hand, I don't think it's fair to continue harrassing him about that 20 years later, especially when there are far more culpable people involved. On the other OTHER hand, that "apology to nobody" thing he pulled was fucking stupid, he should have just shut up and taken it. And finally, THIS song is crap!
The production reminds me of a mix of the cheapness of Not A Bad Thing and every poorly-produced Justin Bieber song from 2012. And I should NEVER be making that comparison, but considering the other most common one I've seen is Robin Thicke... i think I'm being generous! But even aside from the stock beat that sounds like it came pre-made with the keyboard, the lyrics and content are questionable at best! It's a track where he refuses to apologise for being selfish, thirsting after this girl whose lips were made for him. it's the kind of immature dick-swinging that Nick Jonas initially tried on Jealous and it's just as pitiful here... MORE so actually, since I'm pretty sure the girl in this song is his ex!
We sure have come a LONG was from Suit & Tie in terms of "I'm back bitch" singles, and while I've always questioned just how cool Justin Timberlake is - I don't even like Sexyback - this sounds like a man in his 40s DESPERATELY trying to stay relevant... and just sounding utterly anonymous. And even at his worst, that's never something I ever thought I'd say about this man.
Title: Gas Me Up (Diligent) by Skepta
So let's be fair: as far as pivots go, Skepta's recent choice to go fully electronic was a bold one. But at the same time, I think everyone, including him, knew that hiding behind a producer tag was never his style, especially when he's far too cocky and frankly quite talented as a rapper. But after what happened when he released this...
Okay look, I could talk about the song, but it's actually really boring. The flow is basic, Skepta's delivery sound like he's got his mind on anything but his bars, the content is generic as fuck, Central Cee's come-up and flexes are more interesting, at least he's entertaining, intentionally or otherwise. But let's just talk about this for a second:
... Okay, at the best of times, that image was a really dumb mistake. And for content, Skepta says it's supposed to represent London skinheads. But having a bunch of shaven people, seemingly in colourless grey uniforms, and THAT phrase on their heads, especially with the upward trend of worldwide antisemitism... well, suffice it to say the internet got a little outraged and the image was removed from all platforms. And you know... FAIR! I don't think he did it on purpose, for the record, but again, in times like these... fucking THINK!
Title: Spin You Around (1/24) by Morgan Wallen
That's right, Morgan Wallen is still charting in Ireland! After Last night, I hoped he'd go away for a bit, but seemingly he thought, rightfully, that if he went away, we'd never want him back. So instead, he got back in the studio, dug up one of his old EPs from 2015, long before he blew up, and re-recorded them with a real budget this time around... and why do I kind of love this?
I'm sorry, but WHAT? The gentle guitar, the multitracking on that hook, the genuinely gorgeous melody, where the fuck was ANY of this on that last album. I'm not denying the man has some songs I like, but aside from that one song with Eric Church, I haven't heard anything I've liked this much from him since Whiskey Glasses, and even then it's a song I need to be in the mood for!
This though, it's a song where he works up the nerve to ask this girl across the room to dance with her, psyching himself up to show her a good time, buy her a drink, and show her a good time. And after doing so, and the night seems to be going his way, he takes her back out for one more dance, and while he makes it clear that she may just see this as a one-night stand, he just hopes he can change her mind. He deserves a chance at least, right? Look, I'm not saying this is an amazing song. And admittedly there are better songs about drunken hookups where the singer has real feelings, but to come from Morgan Fucking Wallen, with such a gorgeous melody... was NOT expecting that!
That being said, he's not winning Best of the week, which I'm actually dealing out as yet ANOTHER tie between Hiss by Megan Thee Stallion and Doomsday Blue by Bambie Thug, both of which are great songs I hope get even bigger! To balance things out though, I'm also giving a tie for Worst, as Home by good neighbours and Selfish by Justin Timberlake are both absolutely godawful, cheaply produced and terribly written in very different ways!
And now we reach our new all-Irish entries, who make it to the Homegrown Top 20. And we're starting out this week with someone I've got a lot of thoughts on:
Title: Class by LYRA
I'm increasingly torn by LYRA. She's an absolutely phenomenal singer, with a rich voice and an awe-inspiring presence. And yet time and again, she seems to compromise on a production from, with chilly synths and stiff beats that feel stylistic - there's definitely still effort on display - but rarely match the grandeur of her voice, usually feeling a bit weak by sheer contrast.
Now, in fairness, I'd argue that's the point here. The straining production that tries to hem her in but hasn't got a hope of doing so mirrors her own story in the early days of her career. She describes navigating social situations where she was challenged and underestimated at each term, where just as she's starting to learn the pattern, the person on the other side cheats or games the system. It clearly means a lot to her, and is admittedly quite powerful, even if I wish she'd written the song out to either sound more authentic (like Raye did on Ice Cream Man last year), or at least added more chess puns!
As is, it's a good song, only stiff by design, and LYRA's still one of the best singers in the game on a talent level. But I don't see myself coming back to this, and I can't say that this feels like she's living up to all that potential to me. Hopefully that changes with the next single... we'll see.
Title: False Alarm by Moncrieff
Around this time last month, I reviewed Moncrieff's last single Want You More, which I praised for being formulaic, but in a way that played to his strengths... and I hate to repeat myself, but this is another case of Moncrieff really understanding his own strengths... better than LYRA, anyhow.
It's a song where the instrumentation feels quite airy yet pretty huge, and thin yet grandiose backdrop to highlight his voice, as Moncrieff laments on a failed love where he misread all the signs and ended up alone. And what I like about him is that when he belts, he trusts the mix to support him, as the multitracking and slight reverb do what they're supposed to and make the chorus really soar!
Once again, I'm not going to pretend he's AMAZING just yet, but I appreciate a performer who's this consistent and knows what he's good at! Another good song, kind of looking forward to that album now! ... But let's be honest here:
Title: Angel by NewDad
I like LYRA and Moncrieff... but when you have a band who's got the best of both worlds - both the raw talent and the consistent track record - that's when you have the acts who are really going to stick with me long-term. And if you've seen my recent video as stated above, you should already know how fantastic I think this album is, with the opening track setting the stage brilliantly!
The build of guitars and drums, that ominous bass, the absolutely gorgeous reverb that's such a staple of shoegaze, the filmy multitracking on Julie Dawson's vocals, not to mention how much better they've gotten about what makes a great groove and crescendo! It's larger than life, the chorus explodes each and every time, and the bridge kicks ass!
I likened this chapter in their careers to Metric at their best, and while that may be a broad comparison for a few of the songs, Angel definitely fits that bill! And considering I'm still not sure it's even the best on the album, that should be more than enough reason for all of you to check MADRA 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!