Updated: Jul 11, 2021
Hi guys, welcome back to The Social Tune! My name is Fionn, and welcome back to a brand new edition of Musical McCool!
Wow... how did I not see this coming?! After the delay on the last edition, I naively thought I could catch up if this week were a quieter one. Instead, this turned out to be one of our busiest weeks yet, with 3 ALBUM BOMBS, a ton of movement, and even a new number 1!
The Top 10
And honestly, when I was taunting everyone to challenge good 4 u last week, I really should have considered the fact that this guy had just dropped a new single.
Because Ed Sheeran absolutely ran away with the number 1 spot this week with Bad Habits going right to the top of streaming and radio, and only didn't top the sales charts because of the aforementioned albums from 3 other artists dropping this week. And Ed Sheeran still beat all of them to the top spot... of course.
This forced good 4 u by Olivia Rodrigo down to number 2... but honestly, that might be for the best. Think about it, if a song remains stagnant and doesn't gain at all over the course of more than 9 weeks, it'll get moved to ACR and its streaming points will get slashed in half, whereas here, the timer is kind of reset for it. I'm just curious if Bad Habits beating it might have actually allowed it to win the war.
And in more SHOCKING news, one of my predictions actually came true, as Beggin' by Måneskin rocketed all the way up to number 3! Okay, that happened a lot faster than I expected, but it's the better Måneskin song in the top 20 at the moment, it deserves to be the bigger hit.
Not that I Wanna Be Your Slave is going down without a fight, as IT rose up to number 4 this week! I know I said Europe was embracing this band, but WOW this is unprecedented!
Back to reality for a sec, Heartbreak Anthem by Galantis, David Guetta & Little Mix rose up to number 5, slow and steady. It still rules radio at the moment, but the margins are definitely closing.
All of this caused traitor by Olivia Rodrigo to retreat back down to number 6. I do wonder whether we might see this get replaced by another Olivia Rodrigo song before we lose good 4 u, because despite the slew of new competition, Sour does still hold the number 1 on the album charts.
As expected, Holiday by KSI also fell back, though not as many spots as I thought, still comfortably in the top 10 at number 7. Man's got a strong fanbase, what can I say?
Then in the wake of some long-time players losing big, Good Without by Mimi Webb gained some ground back to reach a new peak at number 8.
And in oddly consistent new, Our Song by Anne-Marie & Niall Horan held its spot at number 9, proving that being solid across the board can weather most storms.
Finally, we round out our top 10 with another brand new song: Addict Of Magic by Picture This. It's their highest debuting single all year, only made possible by the album bomb it was a part of. Because yeah, this was the biggest of them, debuting higher than both Tyler, the Creator and Doja Cat... and Kojaque, who still debuted at number 5 for the record, that's DAMN impressive!
Top 50: The Punished and the New
Ly God, what a bloodbath! Much like our busiest week in Musical McCool history (still Eurovision week), this busy week was partially enabled by a bunch of big hitters moving to ACR all at once. And just look at these big names:
Kiss Me More by Doja Cat (Ft. SZA) - number 3 to 13
Little Bit Of Love by Tom Grennan - number 7 to 25
Friday by RITON, Nightcrawlers (Ft. Mufasa & Hypeman) - number 8 to 28
The Business by Tiësto - number 15 to 47
Astronaut In The Ocean by Masked Wolf - number 22 to gone
Rasputin by Majestic & Boney M - number 24 to gone
Leave The Door Open by Silk Sonic - number 34 to gone
Yep, much like RAPSTAR before it, Kiss Me More was moved to Accelerated Chart Ratio the same week as its album hit, not only that, but this rule FINALLY put an end to The Business and Friday's respective reigns of terror, as well as completely ejecting some songs that were mostly kept afloat because of streaming. None of those last 3 songs cracked the top 10 by the way, but their year-end spots are all but guaranteed if my midyear post is anything to go by.
Now, apart from the movers to ACR, all this movement near the top did force some songs further down to lose some steam; MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) fell back to number 19, Confetti by Little Mix & Saweetie stumbled back to 22, and sadly even t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l by WILLOW & Travis Barker was cut short at number 30. Otherwise, you just have a lot of hits that are either on their way out naturally, like Body by Russ Millions & Tion Wayne to 33 and Build A Bitch by Bella Poarch to 40, or which never got that much attention to begin with, like Higher Power by Coldplay to 35 or Way Too Long by Nathan Dawe, Anne-Marie & MoStack to 50.
By contrast, we only saw 2 big gainers outside of our top 10 this week... and I wish I were happier about either of them: By Your Side by Calvin Harris & Tom Grennan rose to 16 because fuck me I guess, and Fly Away by Tones & I inexplicably rose up to 37! Why??? I don't even hate it, but it's so boring and just... nothing!
Anyway, with our only returning entry being LA House Party by Picture This (really, not Things Are Different?!) and the clock ticking, let's dive into the first of many new entries:
Title: Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran
Again, I really should have predicted this! I mean Afterglow went to number 2 in this country, and that was an adult-alternative love ballad that wasn't going to end up on any projects. Sure, I still loved it, but it was still just a teaser, a sign of things to come. And so, does Bad Habits meet all those expectations?
Well, here's the thing: much like Shape Of You, this is kind of out of left field for Ed Sheeran, playing in a style of pop music you'd expect more from Charlie Puth circa Voicenotes, or even reminiscent of a song or 2 by Niall Horan. And similarly to his last album's lead single, it's very catchy too, where Ed reflects on his past bad habits, and how they always lead back to this person. And what I think works well is that it's not necessarily her who's the toxic one here, but HIM. They're his bad habits, and while he seems to revel in them to a degree, the chorus also shows that he's done with them. He's had his fun, he has nothing left to prove or use or do.
I know that Ed's pop pivots tend to be polarising, especially among this critic community, but I'll usually rush to his defense. Cause this, it's a solid pop song. Not his best, and I'm curious how much of this sound will stick once the album comes out, but definitely still a welcome return from my perspective. Good to have you back Ed, looking forward to more.
Title: Addict Of Magic by Picture This
Okay... I'll admit, I'm very conflicted on these guys at this point. The first single I ever heard from them was Winona Rider, an absolutely phenomenal pop rock song that held so much promise. And since then... none of it's been terrible, but between some bad decisions like Troublemaker, If Ever However Whenever Forever Whenever or Whatever it's called, they just didn't seem all that consistent... and that's before they dropped Things Are Different, which will likely make my favourite songs of this year, regardless of hits!
But after all that, they finally released their third studio album Life In Colour, which contained a smattering of their singles from the past 2 years and a bunch of new songs. It debuted at number 2, and this was their highest debuting song... and it's alright. Look, it's a love song where he compares her love to a drug, we're in familiar territory here. I suppose they do make it interesting by making the metaphors a tad more literal than usual, saying he'd break into a car for some of that sweet heroin that is her heart. Although I question the line about breaking up the band for her, that's bound to leave your fans VERY conflicted.
I guess I'd like it more if it were more energetic. I mean with a title like that you'd expect some frenetic energy or desperation, but it's just your typical looping guitar pattern and Ryan crooning leisurely and slowly. I mean he sounds fine, but I just feel like there's so much untapped potential here, it's too safe. So I guess it's okay and even mildly catchy, but nothing to write home about.
Title: You Right by Doja Cat & The Weeknd
I am very conflicted on this song. On the one hand, I am on record for vehemently hating songs about cheating, for reasons that are personal and shall remain unspoken. Furthermore, much like the horrendous Need To Know, this song was produced by Dr. Luke, one of my A-list enemies where the "A" stands for "asshole". On the other hand... look, I'll admit I've grown older, more mature, to the point where I understand that cheating tends to be more of a grey area... usually because there's more than 1 or even 2 perspectives involved most of the time. Also, I like both of these artists, and they do paint a very vivid picture here. Okay, not a justifiable one per sé, but one where there are enough conflicting emotions to at least be believable. Buuut on the other OTHER hand... does anyone feel this is more of an Weeknd or even an Ariana Grande song than a Doja one? There's none of her trademark personality or weirdness here, and while that hook is surprisingly sticky, it doesn't really rise above average, especially on a compositional level.
Now again, the writing is good. I liked the line about not believing in fairy tales but still having fantasies, and Weeknd's one about her falling in love with her man back before she was who she is today (people change, it is true), even though this is hilariously juxtaposed by his argument that he'll win her over with just 1 or 2 strokes of his dick... keep it classy there Abel. I also feel like this performance feels a bit... regressive from the Weeknd? Is that just me? It feels more like a feature he would have done way back in 2015, mainly sticking to his upper register, which just isn't as flattering in my opinion. So like I said, a lot of conflicting opinions, but overall I'd still say it just scrapes a decent score for me. It's a song I would have hated even just 2 years ago, but which I now just find way too easy to nitpick. Either way it's not nearly as awful as Need To Know, and the fact that that song didn't return to the top 50 when Planet Her dropped... yeah, nuff said.
Title: WUSYANAME by Tyler, The Creator
I think it's extremely telling that Tyler's CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST debuted above Planet Her this week. Tyler's cult fanbase is huge, and deservingly so, because ever since Flower Boy, I have been consistently impressed by his output. I may not love IGOR as much as some critics, but between deep cuts like ARE WE STILL FRIENDS? and singles like A BOY IS A GUN, I've still gone back to that album in one form or another since it dropped, well deserving of the awards and accolades it received.
That said, this new album seems to be bridging the gap between his pre- and post-Flower Boy material, and... I fucking love it. No lie, if you haven't heard that album, do it, it's just amazing! But to bring the attention back to this song specifically, it starts out with a brief spoken-word piece over soulful backing vocals, before the beat switches into a smooth R&B groove with gleaming synths, which Tyler then proceeds to rap over OH so smoothly! And I'm gonna say it: Picture This, you need to take notes on how to write an original love song... from Tyler, yes!
After 2 albums of questioning his sexuality and attraction to men, it seems Tyler came to the decision he may be attracted to both, as this song actually addresses a girl who he's trying to pick up. And it's just so... him! I mean instead of calling her slim, he calls her malnourished and offers to cook for her, but also balances that out by calling her a bright light and he's a moth. He also invites her to share everything on her chest and offers exfoliating tips, which he's clearly way more versed in than any other man who may be in her life. And that's important by the way, maybe she doesn't have a man, so technically he isn't stealing her.
It's just a quick, minute-long verse of lovestruck awe and gushing, where he ends it by suddenly remembering to ask for her name, and it somehow ends up being one of the most romantic songs I've heard in ages, even before YoungBoy Never Broke Again & T Dolla Sign come in to wrap things up beautifully. Great song, and not at all surprised it's the highest debuting of his songs this week!
Title: Ain't Shit by Doja Cat
This isn't what I expected from that title. I mean aside from the fact that the beat is a blatant copy of Frank Ocean's Super Rich Kids. I actually mean that this is way more light-hearted and slow than I predicted. I mean I didn't expect a Megan-style takedown (more on that later), but I just expected something less pretty than this. Not that I'm complaining, because this is easily one of the best songs off of the album.
The verses just make me smile, where Doja flexes her rap skills with a very simple flow, but some pretty great wordplay, in which she takes apart the men who have overestimated themselves over the years. And Hell, maybe this is partly directed at me as well, but I still find it so endearing that it's hard for me to take offense. Plus, again, it sounds like Super Rich Kids, arguably one of my favourite R&B songs... ever!
So yeah, it's straightforward, simple, dripping with Doja's personality, and if it weren't for the fact that it is a bit safe and simple for the type of song it is, likely one of her best songs in a while. Still not quite up there with Kiss Me More, but still, solid fucking effort.
Title: Black Magic by Jonasu
Soooo is this just here because of Griff's Black Hole? Or possibly because of Little Mix being back in the spotlight and people remembering THEIR song Black Magic? I ask this because this song was released more than half a year ago and only recently started gaining traction in the past couple of weeks. And that might be because it's not exactly anything special...
Don't get me wrong, the vocals from Shannon Hilversum are rich and full, and the dance beat is... standard. But the moment the hook hits and the chopped "black black magic" starts coming through, the song just feels like it gets very jerky and awkward, especially after that drop hits. Sure, the horns on the post-chorus are a nice touch, but it's also nothing special from a house song, and certainly doesn't rise to the level of those other songs I mentioned at the top of this segment. Overall, it's fine for what it is, but like I've said, I'm very picky with my choice in house music and EDM, and while I can say this is okay, it doesn't really rise above meh for me. It hurts me to say that about a Dutchman, especially with how prevalent they are in this scene, but sorry Jonasu, dit is niet voor mij.
Title: LUMBERJACK by Tyler, The Creator
I heard about the scandal surrounding this song long before I heard the song itself. And yes, it is a shame that Tyler is denying any knowledge of it, truly awful... I am of course talking about the Gravediggaz sample from 2 Cups Of Blood! Jokes aside, although I'm fairly certain that Tyler is trolling when he says he doesn't know Gravediggaz, it doesn't change what a dark banger this song is. It's the Who Dat Boi of the album, where Tyler slips into his grimier Goblin flow, where he interrupts his own song to acknowledge his own mother's thanks for shouting her out... - try wrapping your head around THAT - before breaking into bass-heavy, threatening jam where he mixes in his challenges toward his peers with brag-raps about his good credit score and more serious moments where he reflects on the young poor boy he used to be.
It's just a great shift in tone after WUSYANAME, and while I never think Tyler will go back to being as gritty as he was on Goblin, it's nice to still see glimpses now and again. Although nothing he does will ever be as hard as Trouble On My Mind with Pusha T... just wanted to shout out that song. Have you heard it? Do it. Now. No, wait, finish reading first. Or multitask. I dunno. Moving on.
Title: All Ayes On Me by Bo Burnham
So this was the big one, the song from the Bo Burnham special everyone seems to like the most... and eh, I guess?
To me this is the This Is America of the special, the song with the most modern elements and where I think the concept is brilliant, but I don't know if I love the song all on its own. I do think it shows how much he's improved as a singer, as I could definitely see this KILLING at shows, and the spoken-word passages where he talks about why he gave up performing and what happened when he eventually accrued the mental tools to go back to it... but I dunno, the punchline just felt a bit weak to me. Certainly it's cathartic for me, but (and I hate to say this because that's kind of the point), it's not as enjoyable as an audience member as Welcome To The Internet, a song all about theatrical showmanship. Again, I know, I'm part of the problem, but it doesn't change the fact that I just find this pretty good as a whole. Great concept, great hook, I just wish there was a bit more meat to it. Still a great special though, you really should get on that if you haven't already done so.
Title: Thot Shit by Megan Thee Stallion
Hehe. You know how I said Ain't Shit could have been a bit more aggressive based off its title? Well, part of the reason i say that is because I heard this a couple of weeks back and I can't unhear it, because it. Is. AWESOME!
Not gonna lie, this is the most I've liked a solo Megan song to date. Savage was fun, Girls in the Hood was great but I didn't really find myself wanting to go back to it, and WAP was a collab with Cardi... and even then, I think I might like this more! If for nothing else than for that FLOW! I mean she just doesn't slow down, switching her flows continuously and always leading perfectly to the main hook, which is SO catchy! Hooks have always been a strong point for me, flipping a simple phrase into the coolest-sounding thing in the world, but the verses are really pulling their weight here too, with too many great lines to count! It's braggadocious, it's in-your-face; and it all sounds so amazing over this trap beat and those echoing ghostly backing vocals that shouldn't work but they DO!
Plus the video is just great, going way darker and more explicit than I expected... though I guess I shouldn't be at this point. This is Megan fully-realised, and this handily outpaces everything on Good News. And as someone who has always liked her, but has been waiting for that moment where she would reach her full potential... yeah, I am SO here for this! Awesome song, hope we can actually keep it around for a bit!
Title: LEMONHEAD by Tyler, The Creator
Aaand back to Tyler once more, with yet another grimier song, this time over production that sounds like it might have been made by Maybach Music but with more bite. And add in DJ Drama as a hype man, 42 Dugg doing WAY better than I think anyone expected, and an outro where Tyler and Frank Ocean are trading notes gorgeously over some lovely flutes and twinkling beats... yep, this is another winner!
It's basically just brag-rap, possibly the most blatant one on the entire project, but with so much personality, above-average bars and mountains of energy that it really is hard to deny! Probably still mid-tier on the album if I'm being honest, but the fact that THIS is middling should be all the incentive you need to check this project out!
Title: Die For You by Picture This
And lastly, we close with another Picture This song. And okay, that's more like it; a love song where he describes in detail all the ways he loves her, to the point where he would die/kill for her. And while I'm normally not a fan of this particular hyperbole in these types of songs, the details really do make a good case for it.
For one, this girl is far from everybody's perfect woman, as the details he chooses to highlight are far from classically romantic (see "choosing to watch Scarface", "not letting him sleep next to the heater" and "punching him in the fucking face" as examples of that). Furthermore, unlike most songwriters, Ryan actually acknowledges that what he's about to say might make her uncomfortable, which... yeah, fair point there! But it all results in a low-key, intimate song where you'd believe that this is how these 2 communicate. It may not be functional or healthy by any means, but it's their love, and you do believe that.
Plus, the piano and guitar production is much fuller than on some of their past singles, making for a much prettier song to listen to. I know it's not conventional by any leans, and without the verses the hook really would feel ridiculous (and it still kind of does), but I can buy into this particular brand of melodrama. Nice one guys.
And now, thankfully, we turn to a mildly quieter week locally... good, I'm already late to this. Well, for starters, Addict Of Magic debuted at number 2, only very slightly behind Our Song... very close on that one to be honest, they're right next to each other on both charts!
In terms of movement though... well, the top 10 is pretty stagnant right now, but we did see Heavy On My Heart by Sarah McTernan drop down to number 12. I'd say "I told her so", but her songs have a habit of rebounding, so I'll wait... even though again, I don't think this song makes the best use of her talents at all. The only other real mover was Dermot Kennedy's The Killer Was A Coward rebounding to 13... but that's not as fun as our next segment!
Because we also got returning entries this week, where I would once again like to congratulate Kojaque for Town's Dead, the album, debuting in the top 5 alongside so many big names! This is HUGE for the guy, and I'm so pleased for him, as well as for having the title track return to number 6. And of course I'd be remiss not to mention Inhaler's Cheer Up Baby returning AGAIN at 17, with their album just 2 weeks away. And speaking of frequent returns, Sarah Jane by Nathan Carter is back again at number 20, just another great slice of Irish folk to treat your ears.
And now to see if any of our new arrival can match any of those returning entries, starting with:
Title: Plugged In by Kwengface & A92 w/ Fumez The Engineer (Ft. Pete & Bas, PR SAD, DoRoad, R6, Suspect & PS)
So I don't think I've really discussed Fumez The Engineer before. the main reason for this was that the last Plugged In Freestyle that hit the Homegrown charts was from the majority of A92, and got so big that it actually cracked the top 50 singles chart at the end of 2020 before I started this series! And since none of the Plugged In performances have come close since (fight me), we haven't heard from him in a while... until Kwengface decided to collab with A92 for the season finale of the Plugged In series, along with a ton of features from this past year's guestlist.
And look, the trap beat is echoing drill goodness with a warping bass and some haunting backing vocals, fairly standard for Fumez... but I don't think I've heard so many rappers kill it in quick succession in years. No joke, and I'm sorry to say this, but this puts AV9's posse cut from a couple of weeks back to shame by comparison. And in fairness, it's not a fair comparison, because here you have way more variety in your MCs, these are different acts with their own unique styles coming together... but even so, the difference is VAST! And I'll be honest... I don't think A92 had the best verses here. Okay, BT and Dbo probably did the best out of the crew, but Suspect and ESPECIALLY the adorable old duo Pete & Bas absolutely stole the song for me. Not to mention the way Kwengface and PS close out the song trading bars back and forth like that, such a sick closer!
So yeah, this may be the rare case where I may call out the Homegrown Irish chart for taking credit for a song made great by mostly non-Irish people, but this is still a great barfest! Not without its ups and downs, as you'd expect from this many performers, but still, what a spectacle!
Title: Karaoke Song by Saint Sister
Huh... this is odd. I'd liek to introduce Morgan MacIntyre (from Belfast) and Gemma Doherty (from Derry), 2 young women who met in Trinity College Dublin and formed a traditional folk group in 2014. Since then though, they've strayed more into a folktronica style or even "atmosfolk" by some critics. I don't know if I'd go so far as to give them their own genre denomination, but this is certainly interesting, a blend of traditional Irish elements like the harp, organs and female harmonies, with an electronic beat, shimmering synths and a pop structure.
Now this particular song is a karaoke song, right down to the title and the music video, where our protagonist is serenading her crush with a brit-pop dream, singing like they're really in love, just like she dreamed... until the karaoke song ends, and they pass on the mic to the next person. Because she's never going to make a move, not when she's sober, because it's much safer to stick with the fantasy when they're singing together on the couch. Now I will say, for as pretty as this song is, I do think it is a bit lacking lyrically. Another verse or just more detail would have really made this tug at the heartstrings, but as is it just ends up rather sweet and quaint. Maybe that was the point, to just be a simple, understated, but quietly tragic karaoke song, but I just find myself wishing there was more here. Maybe I've just been spoilt though, because this is still really pretty and unique. So if you're in the mood for this kind of electropop, give it a listen, it might be for you.
Title: Ross & Rachel by Stephanie Rainey
And lastly, we get the return of Stephanie Rainey, whom I had actually been looking forward to hearing from again since her last single No Cowboy, a song that has stuck me more than I initially expected when it dropped back in January. And look, I do like Friends, no matter how trash and dumb it may be, so of course I was intrigued by that title too. And wow, this IS different!
Not a first, mind you. It starts out as a similar guitar-and-piano backed ballad lead by Stephanie's strong voice, where she's describing a relationship where they're talking about the future while watching their favourite films. But then the hook hits and it's lathered in vocal effects and reverb... but weirdly it works. I can't quite place it, this is normally a move I wouldn't encourage for such a good singer, but it sounds really good here! I think it helps that with each verse and hook after that she adds in a subtle element to the production, which allows the song to feel like it's evolving. And when the "spa-a-a-arks" bridge hits, it's just so beautiful in such an alien way; again, it SHOULDN'T work, but it does, almost reminding of Closer by Halsey and The Chainsmokers if it were, you know, GOOD!
And yeah, the way that final hook hits... I'll admit the first time I heard this song I didn't know what to make of it, but with each repeated listen, I really do think this was a good move here. Props to Cian Ducrot and Gary Keane on the production here, looking at all of you growing up so fast! And hey Stephanie, if this is a real relationship being described here, sounds like you've got something there. Because if it is like Ross and Rachel, it might go terribly, but if you do fall, you'll fall hard.
And that's our week, hope you all enjoyed! Second one in so many days, but I'm almost back on schedule, I appreciate all of your collective patience! 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!