Hi guys, welcome back to The Social Tune! My name is Fionn, and welcome back to a brand new edition of Musical McCool!
And now, the calm after the storm. With last week being such a clusterfuck, the fact that this is even just a medium-busy week came as such a relief. Honestly, if it weren't for the loss of most of our Eurovision entries from last week, this week would have been almost entirely without incident.
The Top 10
And the main reason for this is because Sour didn't lose any tractions... at all!
Seriously: good 4 u held onto the number 1 spot...
... deja vu is still at number 2...
... and traitor is still at number 3! And once again, the entire album is dominating the streaming charts, this is nuts!
That being said, there was just enough give for Kiss Me More by Doja Cat and SZA to rise back up to number 4, as predicted. This is shaping up to be a radio monster and i have no problem with that.
Next, Body by Russ Millions & Tion Wayne slid back down to number 5, as its streaming presence has significantly dwindled... and that's really all it has.
To my complete shock, 2 songs I was sure were on their way out actually gained this week! The first one being Friday by Riton, Nightcrawlers & Mufasa, back up at number 6. It feels like whenever this song is about to exit, Friday rolls around again and its streaming and radio numbers spike again.
Then as a quick aside, the more obvious gain is Little Bit Of Love by Tom Grennan rising up . to number 7. The Irish public LOVES stuff like this, and after a good 2 years of Dermot Kennedy, a new face on the scene was bound to take off... just wish he sounded different.
But back to the other, more ridiculous long-running hit that gained another boost this week... YEP, The Business by Tiësto is back AGAIN at number 8!!! Seriously, this song is already a lock for the biggest song of this year, you don't need to rub it in!
To my pleasant surprise, we also saw Our Song by Anne-Marie & Niall Horan gain this week too, up to number 9. If we can get this to stick around, even just in Ireland and the UK, it might increase the longevity of Niall's solo career, and that's only a good thing!
Finally, to close out our top 10, Butter by BTS fell off a bit after its initial debut. Apparently this topped the Billboard charts and is likely going to be a hit in America... I'm good thanks, this just isn't for me.
Top 50: The Punished and the New
So thankfully, this week was much quieter across the board. For one, we only had 1 mover to ACR this week... as unfortunate as it may be:
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X - number 6 to 17
Yeah, this one hurts a bit. Don't get le wrong, I'm happy for Olivia Rodrigo and her massive success, but I can't help but wonder if the timing of that album bomb moved this to ACR prematurely... eh, I'll just blame Body instead.
In terms of other losses, we saw Without You by Kid Laroi drop back down to number 20 as the interest in the Miley remix quickly wanes. We also saw the expected loss for Your Power by Billie Eilish, because decent streaming can only compensate so much for a complete lack of radio presence, We also saw the natural losses for What A Time by Julia Michaels & Niall Horan to number 33, J. Cole's p r i d e . i s . t h e . d e v i l with Lil Baby and m y . l i f e with 21 Savage and Morray to 35 and 36 respectively, while a m a r i left the top 50 altogether. In fact, this was a really bad week for Lil Nas X, as Sun Goes Down dropped down to 45. Sorry guys, I don't see this one sticking around for the year's end.
In fact, the busiest part of this week might be our many gains: Let's Go Home Together by Ella Henderson & Tom Grennan rose all the way up to number 11 this week, probably following in the wake of Little Bit Of Love. We also saw a slight but very welcome boost for Zitti e Buoni by Måneskin to number 12, yet another good radio week for Save Your Tears by Weeknd allowed it to rise up to number 15 again, Confetti by Little Mix & Saweetie finally hitting its stride at number 24, and even better, Black Hole by Griff rose up to 29. Come on, this is too obvious of a hit not to be big! I only wish I was so enthused for some of our other gains... like Didn't Know by Tom Zanetti reaching a new peak at 37, or Beautiful Mistakes by Maroon 5 & Megan Thee Stallion gaining big to 38. Finally, in the spirit of The Business, we also saw the almost comical resurgence of Dermot Kennedy, as Giants and Paradise with MEDUZA are back up to 40 and 44 respectively.
Lastly, as predicted, we saw a few returning entries... though I gotta say, I wasn't expecting the highest one to be Summer 91 (Looking Back) by Noizu at 39. The other 2 are more what I was expecting: GOOSEBUMPS by HVME at 46 and Blinding LIghts by The Weeknd at 48. Otherwise, we have a nice, reasonable amount of new arrivals, all of which hit the bottom half of the Hot 100 last week, and starting with:
Title: I Wanna Be Your Slave by Måneskin
So apparently, the mainstream public was so impressed by Italy's Eurovision win that they decided they want to give Måneskin a bit more exposure. Sure, I like me some rock music, and if we have to import some from Italy, so be it. Unfortunately, this just isn't doing much for me.
What I loved so much about Zitti e Buoni was the tightness of the groove and the punchiness of the hook. There was energy, there was passion and a strong, infectious rhythm section that just wouldn't quit. So much so that the fact it was all in Italian didn't even matter, you could still connect to the feel of it! I Wanna Be Your Slave, on the other hand, is much more staccato and stilted in its groove, which blunts the effect of the guitars significantly. Except for the guitar solos, which are pretty awesome regardless.
Now, the lyrics are a bit easier to decode this time too, mostly because they're in English. And they're also pretty ridiculous, describing all the kinky ways that Damiano David wants his lover to treat him. And yeah, I like the genderqueer style of the writing, but it's also a bit too simple for my tastes. I just think this style of rock just feels a bit too stiff to really work as a sex song, and it doesn't help that the verses and chorus kinda blend into each other.
I dunno, Damiano has a ton of personality, and this band still has enough raw elements to hold my interest beyond their biggest hit, but this isn't quite clicking for me. Not bad by any means, but not all that good either.
Title: Marea (We Lost Dancing) by Fred again... (Ft. The Blessed Madonna)
Now this song has been building up momentum on the dance charts for a while now, the concoction of British producer Fred again... (known for working with FKA twigs and AJ Tracey) and Club DJ Marea Stamper, otherwise known by her stage name The Blessed Madonna (a longtime legend in the DJing scene who has been active since the 90s). the 2 met about 5 years ago and have been firm friends ever since. And while during lockdown, they came up with this little gem.
Yeah, this is a type of electronica I can really get behind, one not just interested in making you dance, but also in making you feel and telling a story. In fact, the words of this song all come from a conversation the 2 of them had about the pandemic and its impact on nightclubs and raves. And it's amazing to me how they manage to make this song sound so tragic and so hopeful at the same time! There's a wistful edge to those tight horns, ebbing synths and echoing backing vocals, and the lyrics really strike home considering the past year in music. And yet the echoing instrumental still contains some major keys in there, and the lyrics eventually evolve from the sad phrase "we've lost dancing" to the more profound note of hope, where they know that if they survive this, what comes next will be all the more marvelous.
Up until now, Get Out My Head by Shane Codd felt like one of the last house songs to really reflect the lingering worry surrounding the pandemic, and even it took a much brighter and cheerier approach to its sound. Whereas this, while certainly a harder pill to swallow for some, just has so much depth and nuance to its sound that it really left me stunned when I first heard it. If you can listen to this and not feel anything, I genuinely feel for you, because to me, this is excellent!
Title: Way Too Long by Nathan Dawe, Anne-Marie & MoStack
So this is the second time I'm discussing Nathan Dawe on this series, after his last hit No Time For Tears with Little Mix turned out to be a really nice little song which sadly didn't have nearly enough legs to stick around long enough to solidify his presence here. Now though, we're looking at a collab with Anne-Marie which does have more promise, even despite its lower-than-predicted debut.
That being said, I just wish I liked this anywhere near as much. Again, this isn't so much bad as it is kinda boring. It's a song about 2 lovers who haven't seen each other in so long, wanting to move on from each other. And I'm sorry Anne-Marie, but you do not have the same chemistry here as you did with Niall on Our Song last week. In fact, I'd go so far as to say MoStack doesn't fit in here at all, as his good flows only compensate so much for his complete ignorance of the subject matter of the song, instead defaulting to clichés like getting her to dance like Cardi... cause that'll make her miss you.
More to the point, I just don't think the production does anyone any favours. It's trying to hard to still be a dance hit and the elongated autotuned effect on Anne-Marie's vocals on the hook just do not work at all. I can tell there's effort here, but sadly it just refuses to coalesce into a good song. Better luck next time guys.
Title: If Ever However Whenever Forever by Picture This
It worries me that this Picture This single is debuting so low... I mean Things Are Different has a slight chance of making the year-end list, and while LA House Party was only meh at best, I didn't think it would tank the way it has. In fact it's no wonder the guys are releasing this next single so soon, especially if they want to promote that new album on the way. And after listening to it, I'm actually not surprised this didn't do great.
For one, this doesn't sound like a single, or eve, much of a Picture This song for that matter. If anything, it feels like a Ryan solo single, with lyrics and delivery that owe a LOT to Ed Sheeran. heck, it's practically just a white guy with his acoustic guitar, where he's pledging to ever, however, whenever, forever be hers... that's just a bit to clumsy to be considered clever. And it sucks, because there are some nice lyrical details here, about 2 broken hearts becoming one after their respective exes got addicted to drugs. But I'm sorry, it still doesn't change the fact that the composition and delivery make this feel very plain and basic to me.
If anything, even more than Ed Sheeran, this reminds me of a cut off of Heartbreak Weather, but sadly it's just missing to production quality and raw charisma that Niall brought to the cuts from that album. In other words, I do think I like this better than LA House Party, but I also wouldn't be surprised if I and everybody else forgot about it even faster. Sorry.
Title: Meant To Be by Stay Flee Get Lizzy (Ft. Fredo & Central Cee)
Fredo and Central Cee have both been big recurring names in 2021, and as far as UK drill goes... well, I'll take them over A1 & J1, I'll say that. That being said, Fredo still bores me to tears, and while Central Cee is a pretty impressive MC, he did also make Commitment Issues, comfortably one of the worst hits of this year. So imagine my surprise when after the last couple of disappointments, I actually find myself liking this collab.
It's a fairly standard banger courtesy of Stay Flee get Lizzy's production, with a trap beat, subtle bells which toll at the start of each hook and some nice pitched-up backing vocals that surprisingly don't ever get annoying. And yes, the hook is a bit basic, boiling down to the money being "meant to be", they were always destined for success, but it's still fairly catchy, especially the way they split the chorus between the 2 of them. And while both of them are basically just bragging about how the girls they have because of said money, Fredo is enthused in what he's saying and avoids any bad lines. The one who really impressed me was Central Cee, not just from his flow but his wordplay. he's rarely a slouch on the mic, but this is still a lot more technically proficient than what I've come to expect from him and I'll say it, I was impressed.
So yeah, as far as UK drill goes, this isn't AJ Tracey, but it's actually not bad. In spite of its low debut, I could see this one becoming a hit, given the chance. Guess we'll see, I don't mind this.
Well, nice to return to a state of normalcy. Our Song by Anne-Marie & Niall Horan still reigns supreme at number 1 (by a lot), and for the third time in so many weeks, we have a new Picture This song in the top 5, as If Ever However Whenever Forever debuted at number 2. I really don't see this lasting though, especially with some of the songs rising up beneath it. I mean it's a weird turn of events when I'm hoping Versatile, of all people, overtake them soon, because Terminal is their best song yet and it rose up to number 3 this week. We also saw the resurgence of Break My Heart by JC Stewart back up to number 7, as well as Count To Ten by ANIM back up to... well, number 10.
In terms of drops this week, we really only had 2: Michael Moloney's ode to his father All That I Do fell back off its debut last week to number 8, and sadly, Obito by Offica dropped down to 11. Other than that, it was just a bunch of returning entries: first, the amazing Town's Dead by Kojaque came back to number 17, the no-less-great Video Call by Jessica Hammond returned to number 18, and for the umpteenth time, Close My Eyes by Sarah McTernan re-entered at 20. Overall a net positive! And that's before our new arrivals, including an old friend I'm particularly excited to see! And I'm not even talking about my first good friend here:
Title: All For You by Welshy
I only barely mentioned it at the top of this year, but Haiti was one of the best house songs to drop last year, created by a young man from Kilkenny who's been DJing and making music since he was 14 years old! Plus, he spends his spare time scamming other scammers, the lad seems sound! And so, I was admittedly quite curious what he would follow that big hit with. And while i think it's just a shade weaker, I gotta say this is still pretty impressive.
It doesn't quite have the more exotic sound of Haiti, but much like Marea, it really knows how to build up its atmosphere, starting spare with those uncredited female vocals and slowly building up its elements. even incorporating a language switch for the hook. And once the light bassline takes control of the song, it really gives it a nice bounce, especially when the snare comes in to accentuate the chittering synth beat. Sure, it may not be the most layered or deep song, but it still sounds beautiful, so I can't complain here. So yeah, straightforward appeal, catchy enough, I could see this sticking around. Don't know if I'll revisit it as much as Haiti, but still a good song.. but now for the star of my show:
Title: Kids (Don't End Up Like Me) by The Academic
Regardless of what you think them, The Academic is a band I will always hold dear in my heart. They were the first Irish band that I actively sought out to review on my channel back in the day, when they dropped their album Tales From The Backseat, and one of the songs from that project Why can't We Be Friends? is one I still return to to this day, it's a great song that almost made my top 50 favourites of that year! Well, now they're back with a new indie rock tune as the first single for their upcoming EP and... oh wow, this is just an instant earworm!
Craig Fitzgerald voice always surprises me, as it's not technically amazing, yet always works so well with their choice of production. Here, that took the form of well-placed multitracking, the usual excellent drum work of Dean Gavin giving at a great groove, great shimmering guitars and all anchored by that terrific bass work. But what really makes this stand out is the writing, because my GOD can these guys write a song!
It's a song about struggling through life, trying to live up too the expectations you set yourself up with. Where you reflect on your dreams as a kid, but once you actually get there, it's a pale imitation of what you expected. When I say I shine, I barely glow, and who can blame people for not wanting to know my name. It's weirdly depressing, but more in a charming hangdog way that I think a lot of us can relate to, especially if you're at an age where the fantasy has just begun to crumble. And paired with one of the catchiest hooks of the year, I can see this becoming a staple for me in 2021. So check this out, it's well worth your time!
Title: Sapling by Foy Vance
So most of you will look at this name and just think "Who?", not even knowing that this folk artist has played alongside acts like Josh Groban, Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John! Originally from Bangor, this Northern Irish musician has been producing a style of blues that I think is sorely underrated in Irish music for the past 15 years. His voice is fantastic, reminding me a fair bit of Zac Brown in how rich and full it can get, and his songwriting chops have been proved time and time again. And no surprise, Sapling is another great addition to his catalogue.
Based around a simple piano progression, this is a love song where he contemplates how he could survive if she left. I know that sounds melodramatic on paper, but he does actually flesh it out pretty well. With his travelling lifestyle, it's a real concern, and he remembers how it used to be before they met, he was a drunken, hapless fool. The songwriting here really is uniquely detailed, in a way only a veteran really can be. I mean how many songwriters would use words like "ennui" and make it work?
It's just so soulful and passionate that i can't help but like it. You feel like he really just cares and doesn't want to risk losing her, to the point where you almost forget it's all a hypothetical. Maybe a bit dramatic for some, but for me... no, this definitely works. Fine job as always sir.
And that's our week, hope you all enjoyed! Fair bit to get through regardless, hope you'll take the time to check out anything here that catches your interest. Please feel free to like the post and share any feedback in the comments, let me know what you thought. Make sure you and your friends 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!