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Musical McCool - Week 15 (April 9, 2021)

Hi guys, welcome back to The Social Tune! My name is Fionn, and welcome back to a brand new edition of Musical McCool!

This is a deceptively quiet week. Not so much because of a lack of new entries or notable ones - in fact our newest top 10 entry has been one of the most heated topics of the past week - but more because this is easily one of the most stagnant weeks we've seen in a good while, especially in the top 10 itself.


The Top 10


Because here's the thing: our 1 through 8 spots didn't shift at all this week!

Number 1 is still held strong by MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X, which is currently dominant across all platforms, with a healthy does of controversy buoying it even higher across the board. In other words this is currently kinda untouchable.


Then we have Peaches by Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar and Giveon holding on at number 2, trailing behind MONTERO by a lot, but still fresh enough to still be a sizeable competitor.


Same story for Bed by Joel Carry, RAYE and David Guetta, still at number 3. A vice grip on its radio spot is probably going to keep this strong for a good while yet,, compensating for the levelling off of its sales and streaming.


Then you have The Business by Tiësto, somehow still at number 4. Still fully expecting this to collapse any day now, I'm just going to keep calling it till it happens!


Number 5 is Friday by Riton, Nightcrawlers and Mufasa, for all the same reasons as Bed except with weaker radio and with slightly better streaming.


Same story for Heat Waves by Glass Animals, which seems to have finally reached its peak at number 6 after 20 weeks of continual growth... not a bad run in fairness.

And to round out our top 8, we have 2 songs that have just run their course and will probably drop off in the next week or 2: Save Your Tears by The Weeknd at number 7...


... and Your Love (9 PM) by ATB, Topic & A7S at number 8. Both good songs, both easy hits, but both were just cut slightly short in the face of recent strong entries that pulled the attention away from them.


Finally, at number 9, we have a sign of life: deja vu by Olivia Rodrigo, the long-awaited follow-up to drivers license that might have come just a little too late to be truly impactful. Don't get me wrong, a number 9 debut is impressive, and considering the relative weakness of some of the songs above it, this has a chance to rise a few more spots... but on the flip side, if you DO consider that weakness, this really should have debuted higher. Again, just felt like her marketing team missed the boat on this one, just saying.


Last of all, we have Wellerman Remix by Nathan Evans, 220 Kid & Billen Ted dropping to number 10. Likely gonna be gone next week after a very respectable run, I'm fine with this bowing out gracefully.


Top 50: The Punished and the New


Once again, the word of this week is "deceptive" for a reason, because there was quite a bit that happened this week on the charts as a whole. For one, we finally got a new ACR mover... unfortunately it's a song I actually like:


Streets by Doja Cat - number 19 to 27


Can't say I'm surprised, this song did see a steady drop the last few weeks, and I can't say it had a bad run by any means (its year-end spot is guaranteed), but still, sad to see it bite the dust instead of... well, we'll get to our gains in a sec.

First off, we saw a few other notable losers this week: drivers license by Olivia Rodrigo is already exiting the top 20 at 21, along with Calling My Phone by Lil Tjay & 6LACK to 25... though expect that to rebound when that album drops. We also saw the surprising but not unwelcome drop-off of Commitment Issues by Central Cee to 35, as well as the non-starter that is As I Am by Justin Bieber and Khalid to 37, thank Christ. Almost makes up for Telepatia by Kali Uchis scrambling down to 42... almost.

In terms of the gains though... lots of surprises. I will admit to being shocked that Body by Russ Millions & Tion Wayne rose to 17 after its debut last eek, considering I've already forgotten it, to say nothing of my shock at Little Bit Of Love by Tom Grennan shooting up to number 20! I mean again, it's not bad, but why this?! I'm also none too thrilled about the non-presence of Believe Me by NAVOS entering the top 30 at 29 or Beautiful Mistakes by Marron 5 and Megan rising to 43... seriously, if this becomes a hit, I just know I will grow to actively despise it! However, to end on a positive note, it is awesome that Heartbreak Anniversary by Giveon has continued to rise up to 34, and who am I tto complain about Blinding Lights by The Weeknd getting another small boost to 40?

Finally, we have a handful of new entries, and one returning one: Dreams by Fleetwood Mac at 50! Because why not?!

Well, I very much doubt anything is going to top THAT, but let's give them their chance to shine:

Title: deja vu by Olivia Rodrigo

Position: #9

Look, despite how much I've ragged on her marketing these past few weeks, I was genuinely looking forward to more music from Olivia Rodrigo. I'll admit I'm not quite as high on drivers license as when I first discussed it on this blog, but the mildly clunky writing is severely helped out by some excellent production and some anachronistic song structures in modern pop music that ahs kept me coming back to that track. It's very teenage, but in fairness, so is she, and there's a place for music like that.

So no, I wasn't remotely surprised that she took this lyrical approach to her next single. Essentially, it's a song calling out her ex, possibly the same one from drivers license, for doing all the same things they used to enjoy together, except with his new girlfriend instead of her. And again, this definitely put me on guard at first, because... well, Want You Back by Cher Lloyd, nuff said! Surprise, if a song is in similar lyrical territory to one of the most hate hits of the past decade, I'm certainly going to approach it with trepidation... but I needn't have worried.

Because yeah, I really like this too. It's similar to drivers license in that it's very teenage and therefore doesn't quite speak to me as it will her core fanbase, but I do see the appeal. And while her writing does still SEEM a bit clunky here, she's got a knack for striking imagery and a way of phrasing simple things that still cut deep. For instance, while I was initially a bit cool on how dismissive she is of his new relationship here, as she details all the things he's now doing with her and then pointing out that he did them with her first, she does get a bit more detailed and hurt as it progresses. At first the second verse seems like it's going to do the typical "Do you shout my name instead of hers?" schtick, until she points out how legitimately similar she and this new girl really are. And when she says "I hate to think that I was just your type", hating that he so easily replaced her and seemingly cared little for her as a person... yeah, that hit me. Same thing with the Billy Joel reference: it seems petty at first to ridicule him for singing those songs to this new girl, until she includes the detail that she was the one who taught him those songs! Yeah, no wonder she's pissed, I feel that too!

I dunno, the song just keeps nearly losing me and then winning me back with a clever detail, it's honestly really well-written in spite of itself. Pair that with her steadily less composed delivery and the roiling, squealing production and thundering drums that cut through the initial, glossier beat... yeah, I still think there's more to Olivia Rodrigo than meets the eye. Much like with drivers license, this is far better than the sum of its parts, and while yes, her knack for just stopping her songs without a real closing hook still throws me off, I still like this. Thumbs up to deja vu, at least from me.


Title: Met Him Last Night by Demi Lovato (Ft. Ariana Grande)

Position: #32

Wow, it has been a WHILE since I've got to discuss Demi. Well, she has been through a lot in the last few years, with the overdose and rehab and such, all of which she has my deepest sympathy for. Well, with the press run for her latest album being very much in the public eye, it's no surprise that it impacted the charts in a pretty big way. And with this song being the big Ariana Grande collab teased ahead of time, I fully expected this to be one of the big singles off of it.

And this certainly is in keeping with the tone of the album. It's another aspect of Demi's recovery story, one about a man who she likens to the devil, who met her and seduced her one night and refuses to fell for again. And yes, there are a few people who could fit that profile, but based on the rest of the album and the multiple drinking similes, you could easily say this guy is just a big metaphor for alcohol, possibly even a song directed at herself for allowing herself to get drunk and wasted so frequently.

It certainly feels that way based on the production, where the trap snare and beautiful strings are accompanied by an oscillating minor synth line that never quite goes away. It's a murky song which feel intentionally unpleasant and off-putting... almost to the point where I'm not sure how well it really works. Not that it sounds bad, but it does sound very busy, and considering this was apparently added on as a last-minute though to the album, that ,ight account for how oddly clunky it feels, where Demi and Ari are belting, but are also weirdly muted by the production. Again, solid enough in terms of writing and I do like both of these performers, but this isn't really clicking for me, especially compared to better songs on the album. I'll say though, it's more substantial than this:


Title: Cover Me In Sunshine by P!nk & Willow Sage Heart

Position: #44

Well, this feels mean... I get that Pink is well into middle age now and that she just wants to make uplifting music with her kid, I just feel nostalgic for her heyday. But fine, taking this at face value... there's not much to say.

It's an uplifting little track about how the world sucks right now, but the ones she loves will still cover her with love and sunshine, allowing her to believe that everything will be alright. It's sweet, it's VERY simple and straightforward, and with the harmonies are actually pretty nice (P!nk is still an amazing singer after all), the production is also way to artificial to really make this stand out. The guitar pickup is rubbery, the fake drums are very distracting, and the entirety of the instrumentation kinda takes away from the authentic, homespun appeal of a song like this.

In other words, it's a modern P!nk song with less substance than usual. Again, happy for her and her daughter, and I get why the song isn't overly polished, but this just isn't for me.


Title: Dancing With the Devil by Demi Lovato

Position: #46

Now, this was the single I was interested in hearing. A lot of that new Demi album grapples with her addiction, recovery and self-esteem issues that played a part in driving her to substance abuse in the first ^place, and this title track was the tone-setter. So not sure what to expect, I gave it a listen... and I have to say, I wasn't expecting it to sound like Skyfall by Adele!

Seriously, the elegant production, the soaring hook, Demi's belting, even the soulful backing on the hook, it all reminds me eerily of that Bond theme. And yes, to be honest, that was all I could think of the first few times I heard it. And to be clear, that's not a bad thing! I could see this being performed with a full orchestra, it's that big in scale, and Demi is singing her heart out across it, building that crescendo across the song and each hook until the final huge finish at the end perfectly! And yet simultaneously, it doesn't feel overproduced to any distracting degree, avoiding multitracking the verses too much. this allowed me to eventually focus on the lyrics... and boy, she sure didn't pull any punches.

Seriously, she doesn't just use the "dancing with the devil" metaphor to detail her struggle with drugs, she legitimately came very close to dying and falling into the arms of the horned one himself. She thought she was strong enough to resist, but despite all the arguments with herself trying to justify that she's okay, she ultimately only barely made it out, as she's now a survivor. Seriously, some of this imagery is fucked up, especially that line about a single white line becoming a glass pipe. I can understand why some have called this hyperbolic or clumsily written, as it does rather take to the issue with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but I'm also sure that the past couple of years can't have been easy for her. It's Demi coping the best way she knows how, and I'm not about to take that away from her, cause this is pretty powerful.


Title: Rasputin by Majestic & Boney M.

Position: #47

... Well, for a change in tone... I'm not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, the original Rasputin is an incredibly ridiculous classic which I still find incredibly endearing to this day. So the choice to create a dance remix of it should be sacrilege. However, I find myself more confused as to WHY more than anything else! The original was already very danceable, why would you need to create a dance remix for it, especially when you don't actually change that much of it?

That's the thing about this remix from London DJ Majestic, it really doesn't add much to the original at all. In a weird way, the fact that it's so similar makes it kind of a welcome edition to the Top 50, as it's basically just the Boney M. version again, with a few more dance beats and more of an EDM song structure. So yeah, it's pointless in so many ways, but I also don't really mind that it's here. Not necessary, but also not terrible.


National Treasures


Am I disappointed that CMAT's historical success last week was so short-lived? Yes. Then again, I'm not that surprised either, it always was a wonderful flurry of coincidences that got it to top the Homegrown charts last week. And if the top spot had to be retaken by anyone, I'm at least glad it was Things Are Different by Picture This, I will say that.

In fact it was a pretty great week on the Homegrown front, across the board. Sure, I Don't Really care For You by CMAT dropped, but it's still at number 8, and that's one spot below I Have a Love by For Those I Love, which actually managed to stick around this time, YES! And the good news keeps on coming a spot above THAT, as The Hurt you Gave Me by Robert Grace managed to gain big up to number 6!

So yeah, all great songs there, and with Babyproof by versatile & Offica dropping to 11, the top 10 has finally been purged! Other than that, not much to report, apart from the return of Sarah Jane by Nathan Carter to 18. And otherwise, just a shortlist of 2 songs, same as last week, starting with:


Title: Crocodiles by Cian Ducrot

Position: #16

I was admittedly hesitant about this. I didn't like Cian Ducrot's previous song Not Usually like This, and the title of this song was either going to tell me everything I needed to know in advance, or possibly be pretty original. Well, the bad news is that the crocodiles in the title are exactly what you'd expect, a reference to crocodile tears, with Cian accusing someone of pretending to cry without actually feeling sad. the good news though, is that the song itself isn't actually bad at all.

I like Cian's voice, he reminds me of a slightly whinier Ed Sheeran, and he knows how to produce for himself, with well-placed backing vocals and multi-tracking to support him. Plus, here he also shows he can build to a big hook, a mournful lamentation on a fake friend of his. That's the last part that surprised me: it's a song about a bad friend. Still a break-up song, but not with a lover. That's honestly kind of refreshing, even if the rest of the song is a tad generic. Not bad, just a simple expression of sadness at a person who turned out to not be a good friend, someone he thought knew him better than anyone, but that he suddenly realised didn't know him at all, and vice versa. Again, not detailed, we don't really know WHY their friendship is ending, but it's still something many of us can sadly relate to. So yeah, not bad Cian, this is certainly an improvement.


Title: We Come In The Wind by John Spillane

Position: #17

Spillane is a fascinating character. A former banker who quit in order to pursue his real passion as a musician, this man from Cork has been making music all this life, being involved in a number of bands including the Nomos and his local jazz band The Stargazers. He's used these connections to travel and perform all over the world, from America to Africa, and on top of all pf that, he's got a degree in English and Irish, saying one of his dearest missions in life is to keep his heritage alive.

So as you would expect from such a traditionalist, this is a folk song. With backing vocals from Pauline Scanlon and a whole bunch of references from Irish literature, this gentle rollicking guitar ballad is written in the style of an old bardic tune. It's simple and pleasant, less worried over being deep or having meaning than painting evocative word pictures and being very pretty. And yeah, it works really well, the kind of Irish song that I could easily see gaining huge traction with a particular demographic. It's a bit unfortunate that I don't see this lasting, as the audience this would appeal to probably doesn't pay a huge amount of attention to this chart, but I'm still glad it made it here for a bit. Fine job Mr Spillane, this is simply beautiful.


And that's our week, hope you all enjoyed! Bit of a quieter week, I know, but we need those now and again. Anyways, feel free to like the post and share any feedback in the comments, let me know what you thought. Make sure you subscribe to the blog and follow me on Twitter to keep up with these releases! Take care everyone, and until the next time, I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune, signing off!

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