Musical McCool - Week 18 (April 30, 2021)
Updated: May 3, 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 may be the first week I've dealt with where a lot seemingly happened, but where none of it had much consequence. Not only were there no movers to ACR yet again, but despite multiple unexpected rises and returning entries, it felt more like the natural follow up to several weeks of busy turmoil, where things are just naturally correcting themselves to fill up space.
The Top 10
Now with that said, some of the shifts were interesting, even if I don't expect them to last... take our top 10, for instance.
Yes, MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X, held its spot at number 1 to the surprise of nobody.
However, right below that and seemingly out of nowhere, Save Your Tears by The Weeknd got a massive second wind all the way up to number 2. This happened for 2 reasons: 1, there was a discount on sales that allowed it to regain some serious ground on a lot of the weaker songs above it. And 2, the remix with Ariana Grande, which has been gaining MASSIVE streaming numbers. And look, the remix is fine. The best part about it is that it shows off Ariana's lower register really well, she's rarely sounded so clear. But I still don't think it adds much to the song itself and I will admit the toning down the vocoder was a lateral move. Cool music video though.
We also saw the long-awaited boost of Bed by Joel Carry, RAYE and David Guetta up to number 3. This song has been steadily biding its time to surpass the songs above it for a while now, and it finally saw its chance this week.
I am a bit surprised that Peaches by Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar and Giveon lost ground so early, but then again, none of the singles from Justice have been performing as well as expected. At least this one's still in the top 5.
Then you had Friday by Riton, Nightcrawlers and Mufasa, regaining to number 5, as the songs above it just collapse inwards.
Which brings us to the main reason for all these gains: RAPSTAR by Polo G just flopped down to number 6. Honestly kinda shocked this one is already on its way out, but the radio just will not give this one a chance, which still means something in this country.
This takes us to the long-coming drop-off of Heat Waves by Glass Animals down to number 7. Again, this song's lifespan and trajectory is really impressive, regardless of what you think of the song. It steadily built its way up to be a fully organic hit and now it's bowing out gracefully; can't say fairer than that.
All of this brings us to Kiss Me More by Doja Cat and SZA, quietly gaining a spot to number 8. I really wish the radio would get around to this one, it could easily compete with Bed or Friday there if they would just let it!
Next you have The Business by Tiësto dropping another spot, 1 at a time, to number 9.
Last but not least, deja vu by Olivia Rodrigo fell back to number 10. Okay, considering how badly she's been marketed after drivers license, that makes sense! I was shocked when this rose up last week, but turns out that success was brief, as it's now on its way out naturally. Kind of a shame, so much wasted potential.
Top 50: The Punished and the New
So as I said, this week was deceptively busy. A lot of small shifts up and down the charts, but many of them for very simple and possibly short-lived reasons.
Let's start with the losers: is anyone going to lose sleep over the inexplicably successful Astronaut in the Ocean continuing to drop down to number 19? Or for Titanium by Dave losing traction a week behind schedule to 21? Look a bit lower down and we see Calling My Phone by Lil Tjay & 6LACK falling down to 35; oh, how the mighty have fallen, slowly yet consistently. Beyond that, the only notable drops were songs that I never expected to stick around long: Mr. Perfectly Fine by Taylor Swift at number 40, Another Love by Tom Odell at 41 and Little More Love by AJ Tracey at 44. Shame about that last one, it's one of the better UK crossover drill hits from this year.
The gains are a bit more interesting, even aside from Save Your Tears. For one, Body by Tion Wayne and Russ Millions rose up to 13 off of the strength of its remix/sequel song thing. Megan's song is still better regardless though. Makes more sense than Levitating by Dua Lipa & DaBaby gaining again to 14, what the fuck?! The only reason it makes sense it because the radio still absolutely loves it more than most of our newer hits. Same reason goes for My Head & My Heart by Ava Max rising to 17 or Rasputin by Majestic & Boney M gaining big to 26 or even Head & Heart by Joel Corry & MNEK. Unfortunately that's probably also the reason for the success of Cover Me In Sunshine by P!nk and P!nk Junior to 30 or Beautiful Mistakes by Maroon 5 & Megan to 36. Honestly, the only song that honesty gained anything off of streaming success this week was Best Friend by Saweetie & Doja Cat up to 45. This song has never really been big, but it's amazing to me how long it's lasted toward to bottom of this chart.
Hell, what more proof do you want that this week was dominated by radio than the return of Blinding Lights by the Weeknd to 43, AGAIN?! Otherwise, much like last week, we just had a handful of hits debut lower down the charts which probably won't be around in a week or 2. So let's kick things off with:
Title: Didn't Know by Tom Zanetti
Nope! Nope, nope, nonononononono NO, do not like!!!
Look, normally I would never be subjected to Tom Zanetti's music. He's a relatively well-known producer/rapper from Leeds who had a minor dance hit back in 2016 with You Want Me, a song I every much doubt any of you remember, So nobody really gave a shit about his music until he started dating Made In Chelsea star Sophie Hermann, a show I have only ever seen loose clips of and which is emphatically not for me. Look, I don't like reality TV, never have. The only way I can tolerate it is through the lens of a show like Gogglebox, and even that's hit-or-miss.
Regardless of all that though, this song of his has been floating its way up the charts for a while now, and I'm a little stunned it made it this far. because this is trash! It combines a few things I really don't like in my music: generic, badly-produced stock house chorus with uncredited female vocals repeating the same thing ad nauseum with all the energy of a narcoleptic, which then gets chopped and screwed in the least original way possible. the beat, which is made up of basic and uninteresting bass and this shrill synth that just annoys me. As for Tom himself... I just don't think I can take him seriously as a sex symbol, especially with lines like "fly like a pelican." Okay, I will say that his promise to treat her right on the second verse is nice, but he then immediately follows it up with the promise that he won't stop pursuing her till he has her, which just reeks of nice-guy energy! And even that feels fake because of what a frat-bro-douche he comes across as!
In other words, none of this is for me, and if it weren't for the loose association with an inexplicably popular TV show, nobody would give a shit about it! If you ever want a reminder of just what a breath of fresh air drill brought to UK rap, look no further than this, cause it's embarrassing!
Title: Summer 91 (Looking Back) by Noizu
That's more like it! See, if you want to make a good house song, you need to meet a few requirements: ideally, start by placing the melody at the forefront, using the bass as support to drive the groove. Next, get an engaged performer who seems like they're having fun! Apparently the original song didn't have any vocals at all, and these ones just add to the euphoria of the original production, perfectly complimenting those bright pianos and that drum machine. And if you have to sample something, might as well make it Love's Gonna Get You, a song that's been sampled close to 100 times in MANY well-known hits (ie. The Power by SNAP!).
In other words, this is just one of those songs that does everything right with the tools at its disposal. It throws back to a sound that some would consider the golden age of electronic dance music, adds in vocals that compliment the original sample, and even add the touch of making the lyrics all about nostalgia and looking back at the way things used to be. It's the full package in a way I haven't covered for this style of song since Get Out My Head by Shane Codd, and as much as I love that song and its long run on the charts, this might be even better!
Noizu is an LA-based producer who's apparently been an up-and-comer for a while now, and for once, I can actually hear it! If this becomes a hit, I'd be delighted! I'll certainly take it over Believe Me by Navos, that's all I'm saying.
Title: You by Regard, Troye Sivan & Tate McRae
So far we've had 1 bad entry, 1 good one, so it makes sense for us to round things out with a middle-of -the-road one. And fittingly, all 3 are house-adjacent, as this last one gives us some good old deep house.
To be honest, I don't think I've ever hated a DJ Regard song. He usually has good taste in performers, and the worst thing I can say about him is that I occasionally forget he's there. And heck, a lot of people would say that's a good quality in a producer, so let's not dwell on it. This is certainly no exception, as the beat has some nice bounce to it, with very hazy, reverb-soaked backing vocals, and providing some nice bass support and high hats to accentuate the groove for our 2 performers. And while I'm not the biggest Troye Sivan fan, I'll admit he sounds good over it, kind of reminding me of David Whelan of Wild Youth.
Great, so far I have no complaints... then comes Tate McRae. Look, I don't know how else to put it: her voice reminds me of Camila Cabello, and NOT in a good way. I've seen most people call her biggest hit You Broke Me First a Billie Eilish knock-off, but I feel that is giving her FAR to much credit. I'm sorry, she just doesn't project confidence or presence, or anything beyond sullenness to me, and she certainly doesn't match the bounce of this groove. I guess she fits the content, and I suppose Regard did the best he could in balancing her vocals opposite Troye's, but I'm just not a fan of hers. And unfortunately it knocks' the song down from good to just decent, at least for me.
Much like last week, the busier of our 2 charts this time round was the Homegrown one again. Kinda weird considering it's only 20 songs instead of 50, but eh, there are a lot of other caveats in place too. Luckily it was a tad quieter overall, with not nearly as many unexpected shifts or new arrivals.
To my shock, the biggest gainer from our new entries last week was the one that debuted the lowest, as The First Day by Villagers rose up to number 8... still on the fence as to whether that's a good thing. What I know I don't like is Can't Say No by Wild Youth rising up to 13, because a good band can still make a bad song!
The losers are a bit more predictable and unfortunate: Don't Let Me Stand On My Own by Imelda May down to number 11 and Down by the River by MOM & The Rebels to 19. Yeah, that does suck... but hey, I Have A Love by For Those I Love re-entered again at 20... that's pretty fucking cool right there.
Anyway, we still need to run through these 4 new arrivals, all of which are in the top 10, so let's get off to the first one:
Title: Close My Eyes by Sarah McTernan
We discussed Sarah McTernan a number of weeks back on this series when her song Loving You with HalfTraxx came to prominence on Irish radio. I haven't gone back to that song all that much, but I remember liking it a fair bit, and revisiting it, it came screaming back to me, it's undeniably catchy! And so, right on cue, let's talk about Sarah's new song Close My Eyes.
And this is pretty good. It reminds me of a Zara Larsson hit, in the sense that the singer is definitely powerful and talented, but mainly just serves the purpose of delivering the hook. They each do it well, and it's musically pleasant, but it doesn't really feel particularly momentous or memorable in any way. The production is full of bright, stabbing synths, the chorus is full of stuttered oh's and ah's to fill up space, and it builds and drops exactly as you might expect.
In other words, it does everything it('s supposed to, and I'm not sure how I could improve it... but I feel like if you switched out this production for a piano or something more stripped back, it would probably compliment her a bit better. She's got a great voice, but here it just feels like it's part of a dance product. I dunno, with the lyrics about heartbreak, and dwelling on a past lover, I just think a bit of the intimacy is lost when the production just turns it into just another pop song... come to think of it, I think I had the same criticism of Loving You. Either way, this is still good for what it is, but I do feel like she kind of let the instrumentation dictate the tone of the song for her... unlike:
Title: Break My Heart by JC Stewart
Too Many Nights has been a would-be club staple for the past 3 months since I covered it, and with its exit, it makes sense that this bubbling-under song FINALLY made its official chart debut. And to be honest, the first time I heard those guitar plucks on the first verse of this song, I was immediately reminded of Shawn Mendes' Treat You Better and was put on guard! In fact a lot of the structure of this song reminds me of that one, at least instrumentally, including the way it strips back for the bridge and bursts forth on the hook. However, that's where the comparisons stop, and the credit for that has to go to JC Stewart himself.
I can't put it any other way, he fucking OWNS this, grabbing the song by the scruff and bulldozing through that hook! Seriously, he's got energy, he's got real power on the chorus and he delivers the emotion that a song like this needs really well, where he's begging a girl to break his heart properly, so that he's never tempted to come back. "If you're gonna break my heart, do it right, don't leave me hanging like the last time." That's a challenge issued by someone who's been burned before and knows what he needs to hear so that he doesn't repeat the same mistake again. It's an oddly original angle for a song like this to take, and I found myself won over by it way more than I initially expected.
So yeah, if you want a good example of a performer leading the song in place of the production, I'd say this is a great one. And paired with a solid melody and some very dynamic guitars and multitracked shouts, this turned out way better than I originally imagined. Nice job JC Stewart, I like this a lot!
Title: Town's Dead by Kojaque
Oh God... Tom Zanetti, take notes and then quit. Kojaque is a rapper I only discovered because of Musical McCool, when I covered his song No Hands a few weeks back, a harrowing song about growing up as the man of a house without a dad, his musings on religion and how it related to his dad's suicide, and a fuckload of other things covered in some extremely compelling and technical bars. I'm new to "indie" Irish rap, but right now Kojaque is my gold standard for it, and I was highly anticipating the title track for his upcoming album Town's Dead.
And yeah, this is a filthy, grimy love letter to Dublin in so many ways! Hell, it kicks off with a Girl Band sample, bringing in the post-punk shrieks, the fuzzy drums and guitars and an infectious energy and flow that he flips into just as easily as his conscious side. It's industrial, fist-pumping awesomeness, and the fact that he blends it with his own style of hip-hop so well is nothing short of stunning! And like the punk influences he's pulling from, it's as gritty and grounded in reality as it is inspiring. He describes wandering around town, seeing all the fist-fights, drinking and dormant potential everywhere he looks. people who are just waiting to burst forth and take their chance as the big shot in a town that is right on the brink of soaring. And much like us, he's determined to reach his full potential someday too, with just enough money to impress his friends, to afford being able to stay at home watching Netflix, and drinking till he pukes. That's a life goal right there!
This song is awesome! It's so debaucherous and filthy in its content and presentation, but it's also such a great time, with a message that feels both inspiring and actually attainable to some of us. I can only hope that Kojaque will reach that level of success very soon, so help him out by checking this out!
Title: Siena by Bicep (Ft. Clara La San)
I'm sure a handful of you are looking at this song and thinking "I don't remember this from that last Bicep album." Well, that's because this is a song from the Deluxe edition of Isles. And as someone who quite enjoyed that album and the song Apricots that came from it and held a very prominent spot on this chart for months, I'm not complaining that we're getting another entry from the group so soon after. Gotta say though, I'm a little surprised this is the song to replace it, rather than Cazenove or Saku. heck, even X makes more sense than this. The song isn't bad by any leans, but it's very... safe. I suppose the beat is a bit similar to Apricots, which may be why this is here, but it doesn't do anything near as interesting with it. It cranks up the bass a little. It goes a little more of a minor, dark tone. I even makes Clara La San's vocals a bit more ethereal and has a little crescendo... but I keep repeating the word "little" for a reason.
The issue I have with this is that everything feels like a half-measure. the song technically evolves in small ways as it goes one, but it's too gradual and slight to really make a huge difference or give the listener a sense of payoff. Again, not bad, but other songs on the album either had stronger melodies, or at the very least did more with what they had. this is just okay... kinda see why it was a bonus track.
And that's our week, hope you all enjoyed! As always, please feel free to like the post and share any feedback in the comments, let me know what you thought. Also, don't forget the new Top 10 Worst Hit Songs of 2010, posted last Monday, I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. 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!