Musical McCool - Week 34 (August 20, 2021 - Rumors, Cold Heart, Millian)
Updated: Oct 19, 2021
Hi guys, welcome back to The Social Tune! My name is Fionn, and welcome back to a brand new edition of Musical McCool!
Warning, the first half of this post was written about a week ago, and then some personal things came up. Suffice to say I just needed a little bit of time off, but I'm here, I'm catching up on the last two posts, hopefully before the next one is scheduled to drop. So thank you for your patience, hope you enjoy.
You ever have one of those weeks where you're just really tired and this music reviewer thing takes a backseat to things like work and family and friends and your own personal life? Well, that's my excuse for this week, where even though we had 11 new songs and a fair bit to talk about, it's going to have to be a shorter one. I genuinely don't understand how some people can work full-time and still film a video every week, this experiment of just writing a weekly series has given me a whole new level of respect for those guys!
So here I am: tired, cranky, and with a few thoughts on this week of the Irish charts. And in my defense, this is also not exactly a great week by any stretch, which doesn't add to my enthusiasm much.
The Top 10
So let's start with the very top...
... where for yet another week, Bad Habits by Ed Sheeran held on to number 1. Okay, I was tired of this song after 2 weeks and now it's just white noise to me, just drop the album already!
Right below that at number 2, Stay by The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber continues its incessantly whining challenge for the top spot, despite the fact that nobody seems to like this song!
And if you thought number 3 would brighten me up... nope! Because Remember by David Guetta & Becky Hill suddenly leapt up to number 3. I can see why this would be a decent pick for a crossover song between Summer and Autumn... I just wish it were more memorable. Just you watch ModeReviews, if you think people are gonna forget Mimi Webb's Good Without a year from now, try THIS on for size!
Okay, enough ranting. In better news, Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish is still at number 4, dropping a spot this week but still faring better than predicted.
Unlike Black Magic by Jonasu at number 5, which is staying exactly as prevalent as I knew it would... and that's the nicest thing I can say about it.
Next at number 6, Better Days by Dermot Kennedy continues to bide its time, although I expect that to change soon, one way or the other.
Thank God for INDUSTRY BABY by Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow, which rose up to number 7 and finally seems somewhat solid in its positioning.
Too bad it's followed up by *sigh* Need To Know by Doja Cat, entering the top 10 at number 8. I have said it time and time again, but why are we so intent on making Doja Cat's worst song into a hit?! Just give me 1 good reason, just 1!!!
Then, determined to make Wellerman only the second-most surprising house hit of the year, Talk About by DJ Craig Gorman & Rain Radio is at number 9! If you had told me this a month ago, I would have laughed in your face, WHAT IS REALITY?!
And just to end things off on an extra sour note, Fly Away by Tones & I rounds things out at number 10... even despite Billie and Lil Nas, this might just be the worst the Irish Top 10 has looked all year folks.
Top 50: The Punished and the New
Okay, so maybe I ranted more in that first stage than I should have... it's been a week guys. So this is where we shorten things, because otherwise we'll never get through the shifts this week, it was MAD! So first, a bunch of songs moved to ACR, including some real tragedies:
good 4 u by Olivia Rodrigo - number 5 to 12
Heartbreak Anthem by Galantis, David Guetta & Little Mix - number 9 to 20
Beggin by Maneskin - number 10 to 22
I Wanna Be Your Slave by Maneskin - number 11 to 28
By Your Side by Calvin Harris (Ft. Tom Grennan) - number 15 to 36
Dumb Love by Mimi Webb - number 24 to 46
Our Song by Anna-Marie & Niall Horan - number 22 to 47
Good Without by Mimi Webb - number 21 to gone
Didn't Know by Tom Zanetti - number 40 to gone
Yep, those are some rough ones, along with a couple I'm so happy to see go! And that's not even counting favorite crime by Olivia Rodrigo, and NDA & oxytocin by Billie Eilish dropping out too. Oh, and Kiss Me More by Doja Cat & SZA was edged out by her new single too, although how long that will last... well, you'll see.
As for other losers, Lose by KSI & Lil Wayne is a fitting non-starter at 33, and Verdansk by Dave fell to 35. And thankfully that's all she wrote.
As for winners, other than the 3 that entered the top 10, Kiss My (Uh Oh) by Anne-Marie & Little Mix rose to 15, which is still not as funny as 2055 by Sleepy Hallow gaining ground to 21 for some reason! Then there's You For Me by Sigala & Rita Ora rising to 23, Don't Go Yet by Camila Cabello getting a second wind to 24, the welcome surge of Love Again by Dua Lipa to 37, and the bland shrug of Love Tonight by Shouse building to 44.
As for returning entries... Friday by RITON, Nightcrawlers & Mufasa is back. Again. At 50. Will it ever go away?
And now, new arrivals! And since I'm over a week late, it's going to be the abridged version!
Title: Out Out by Joel Corry & Jax Jones (Ft. Charli XCX & Saweetie)
Look, am I happy Charli's back? Of course I am! Sure it took me longer than the rest of the world, but her landmark self-titled album in 2019 won me over completely on her as being one of the most talented and daring voices in pop music. And hey, Joel Corry and Saweetie have had pretty good runs this year, and I don't mind... well, care about Jax Jones, so I was excited to see this debut so high this week.
Here's the problem though: the second I turn it on, all I hear is the sample, which happens to be a childhood staples of mine: Alors On Danse by Stromae! It's an iconic song about dancing to get through the monotony and misery of life, and I love it! Whereas this... it has n0 personality. The sample is lazy and barely changed, which is weird when there are 2 producers on it! But it's not just that, the performances are bland and uninteresting too! Saweetie and Charli are forces of personality, how are they this anonymous on this, ESPECIALLY Charli?!
So yeah, utter waste of time, the kind of disappointment that targets my bad taste receptors directly. Most people will probably like it fine, but this feels too personal for me not to immediately dislike.
Title: Rumors by Lizzo (Ft. Cardi B)
So, Lizzo and Cardi B, two of the biggest names in music right now, have a collab track. I will admit I was a little curious to hear what this had to offer. And you know what, it's pretty much exactly what you would expect based off of that title, essentially a song about how all the rumors about these two are true, and how dare you try and use them against them. They're just going to reclaim the power for themselves and use it to further raise themselves on their respective pedestals, and I gotta admit it's kind of awesome.
I love how they both buy into all of the rumors being said about them, and then just shrug and say "What the fuck are you gonna do about it?", while still taking the time to point out that these rumors exist in the first place because they're both successful women trying to make it in the industry. Now, in terms of production, this isn't that far off from those big breakout album, because in many ways the horns sound a little bit programmed and fake the trap. The trap and soul elements, kind of fused together but not so much that it's seamless. And yet you find yourself not caring all that much because the performances really do back it up so well, you barely notice those elements. Those slightly dissonant elements, even the very sneaky guitar shredding an electric guitar, that somehow snuck its way in there without anyone noticing. Although I would have liked it to tread just a little bit louder and let loose a bit more. So yeah, let's get some thumbs up from me, If you haven't checked it out yet, do.
Title: Woman by Doja Cat
Okay, yet another song from Planet Her; surprised it's not the Ariana Grande collaboration but whatever. This is the song Woman, a track which, before I listened to it, I was told was basically a strip club song. Turns out that has more to do with the sinuous production and the very repetitive chorus than anything else. Because this reminds me a LOT of an early Fifth Harmony single. Pretty cheap-sounding instrumentation, a very dull and repetitive chorus, and not much in the way of good writing, or particularly creative vocal choices.
And then the verse comes in, and the song just changes completely for me! Because in one verse, Dojo cuts to the core of what it's like to be a woman in music - Hell just a professional woman - working in today's world far more effectively than either Lizzo or Cardi did on Rumors. And I know that's not quite a fair comparison because technically the main point of Rumors is a bit more personal than that, but it still bears pointing out as being pretty impressive on Doja's part. So yeah, this song is pretty mediocre for most of its runtime, but that one extended verse is pretty fucking great. So yeah, not worth old, I don't see it holding Kiss Me More at bay, but don't dismiss it outright
Title: Wasted by Digga D (Ft. ArrDee)
*sigh* Fine, I'll give him another chance. After Digga D thoroughly disappointed me with Bluwuu, I wasn't exactly interested in hearing what he had to say next. But then again, Bringing It Back is still one of the best singles I've heard so far in 2021, so I was still a little bit on the fence as to whether or not I should give him a chance.
And you know what, this isn't bad. Okay, I think the production is a little bit annoying, with the chipmunk vocals and especially those weird skipping effects that I've never particularly liked, and the content isn't much to write home about, other than the juxtaposition between the verses being about being drunk-wasted and out on the street making a fool of yourself, and the chorus is about wasting other people with his gun. That's a little clever if you squint at it sideways.
But mainly, I think that both ArrDee and Digga D give pretty good performances, even if I do think that the latter does get outshone on his own song. Again, neither of these people are remarkable rappers, and I will say that the injections of the high pitched "WOI" in both of their verses are ridiculous and immediately take me out of it. But other than that, this isn't bad. I guess I gave it a passing grade... definitely compared to Bluwuu anyway.
Title: Cold Heart (PNAU Remix) by Elton John & Dua Lipa
Look, my thoughts on this are exactly the same as everybody else's: what the hell was the point of it? I mean it's basically Sacrifice by Elton John, with a club beat and very tinny synths places on top of it to give it more of a dancefloor feel, even though the original Sacrifice was already a nice late-night lounge tune that you would hear come on as things wind down for the night... okay maybe not for YOU people, but certainly in MY cool bars!
But the really baffling part for me comes with Dua Lipa. Not the fact that she's on this song, I mean she's kind of everywhere, but more ummm... why the hell does she sing Rocket Man?! I mean I know it's arguably Elton John's best-known song, but it's not Sacrifice.... no literally, it's a different song! I don't know, it's just a very confusing choice to me, and one that I'm kind of surprised that Elton John signed off on.
I do like the original, but this remix just makes it way more generic and more odd than it needed to. There's more originality than Majestic's remix of Rasputin, but I'm not so sure that's a good thing in this case.
Title: jealousy, jealousy by Olivia Rodrigo
Speaking of artists who simply will not go away, it's yet another song from Sour. This time it's jealousy, jealousy, a song that I kind of expected to cross over a lot sooner. But hey, it's here now and I'm not about to complain about that, because I honestly think this song is pretty good. Similar to brutal in its scuzzier vocal effects, where the instrumentation goes for slightly rougher minor tones, it ends up being a pretty cutting song about her own insecurities, where she's constantly comparing ourselves to strangers she passes on the street, people doesn't even know.
Yeah, it's not the most instrumentally creative song on the album, and I will say that this is one of the few songs on Sour where there isn't 1 single breathtaking line that jumps out to me, more a lot of really solid lines, especially that "co-comparison is killing me slowly" line on the hook which I really love. But ultimately... yeah, I still really like this one. Still not sick of this girl, keep these songs coming!
Title: Essence by WizKid (Ft. Tems)
Well, a little late for this to be crossing over, but better late than never. I've talked about WizKid a couple of times in the past, and I've always found him to be a pretty decent artist at best. I will say that his use of real instrumentation is nice, but he falls into a similar vein of R&B as SZA, which is very much based on the vibe and the instrumental more than it is the the actual performance of the singer or the lyrics, where the voices almost blend into the production to create a smooth, chill vibe.
And look, I do think this does sound smooth. I like the horns and while I think she's trying a lot harder than he is, I think that both of his and Tems' vocals fit this pretty well, especially with the laid-back mantra "you don't need no other body, only you feel on my body." Overall though, I do find this to be pretty tepid, not to mention the fact that it really should have hit the charts a lot earlier if it wanted to make an impact and stick around for the Summer.
I don't know, this is just not the kind of song that I will ever choose to listen to, more just something that comes on passively in the background and that I will vibe out to for a bit before switching to something with more momentum like Silk Sonic. So if you're looking for something like that, this is pretty decent, but I also know that this is arguably the song I'm going to forget the quickest from this week. Certainly not bad, but not really my thing.
Title: Just For Me by Pinkpantheress
Now this is something slightly more interesting. I mean yeah, at first glance, it's just this week's regularly scheduled Tik Tok song, but in this case it's actually from a London-based artist who scored a record deal at the beginning of this year off of her single Break It Off, and has since had some real success in the UK with a couple of top 40 singles. Well, this is her first song to cross over to Ireland, and I have to say I kind of like it.
It's got a very Bandcamp appeal to it, with the vocals being forced right to the front of the mix, a very simple guitar loop as the core of the instrumental, and some blurry filters on the vocals to make them sound just a little bit more robotic, but not in a way that takes away from the intimacy of the track. If anything I would say it increases it, which fits pretty well when, content wise, it's quite a cutesy song about how everything that you do is just for her, where she seems to marvel at the fact that someone would be so dedicated to her. Might sound corny, but here's nothing in there that's inherently bad or offensive or cringe.
It's just a sweet little pop song, which I have to say charmed me a little bit more than I was expecting. Nothing particularly remarkable, and you won't find anything at Olivia Rodrigo's level of writing here, but for what it is... yeah, I like this.
Now for the Homegrown charts, things are thankfully still pretty peaceful. In fact, the top 8 didn't budge at all, with the only mover being Welshy's All for You re-entering at number 10.
Otherwise, the only big shift was the massive drop-off of Permanent +1 to 19! Okay guys Jeez, it's not as good as Counting Houses, but still! Apart from that, I'd like to highlight More Like You by Orla Gartland returning again to number 20 and putting a huge smile on my face in the process, even if it being on its 13th week means this will be the last time we see it here. In fact this marks the 13th and final week for a whole slew of our songs here: Our Song by Niall Horan & Anne-Marie completing a very successful run, LA House Party by Picture This utterly shocking me with its longevity, Paradise by James Vincent McMorrow which I completely forgot was still here, and finally Versatile's Terminal 1, a song I enjoyed waaaaay more than anything they've made before... and possibly will ever make.
And now, new arrivals, and it's all rap this week! So let's start with:
Title: Millian by Rose9, Chuks & Swift9
These guys almost tricked me this time, I almost thought for a second that this song wasn't about just flexing. But nope, they just misspelled "million" to make you think that it was something slightly deeper than it was, maybe a love song or something. I'm praying for a thug love song guys, what does THAT tell you?!
But no, once again it's just mindless flexing from all three of the rappers here, although I will say they did at least bring some of their best members with them, with some fun flows and a pretty great eastern sample, even when they pitch it down to match the same warping bass and trap beat they always use. I suppose it's better than their last single in that there are fewer performers and the ones here each sound more unique, but this is still pretty basic and average to me at this point. Maybe if it had a better hook, this could work better, but as is, it's the kind of thing that I will listen to once and then instantly forget about.
So hey, props to WizKid, I guess because Essence is no longer the most forgettable track of this week. And to be clear, this is not a statement against the entire genre of Irish drill as a whole! And to give an example of that:
Title: Swing & Duck by Ksav, Dbo, Kebz & Nikz
If there's one rap group that has impressed me a hell of a lot more during 2021, it's the A92 gang. And yeah, they really don't show any sign of slowing down with this latest single. In fact, I'd argue that they took 4 of their best members and threw them on a track together... no disrespect to Offica who isn't actually here. But yeah, between Nikz handling the hook with some easy smoothness, not to mention his own verse where he rhymes "calisthenics" with "anesthetics". Dbo having easily the most recognizable and best voice out of the A92 crew and killing his verse, Kebz initially showing himself to be the weak link (only by default) and then absolutely destroying his second verse, and Ksav being easily one of the most talented members out of the crew and proving it here in spades!
This really is a track that just keeps on giving, it's just so awesome with such a great flow to it. And even if the content is basically about their childhoods being fucked up and them now having a second chance to redeem themselves, swinging and ducking their way past the competition with a pretty well-structured golf metaphor, it doesn't take away from the fact that it's well-executed and pretty damn entertaining.
Now, if I did have one criticism, it would be the fact that the beat isn't anything all that special, basically the same warping bass and slightly echoing, filtered backing vocals that we've come to expect from this type of track, but even so the MCS really make it so that I don't find myself caring about it that much at all. It's one of the better tracks I've heard from this crew this year, and I will definitely say that it's one that I'll probably return to! Definitely a real highlight, check it out.
Title: Queenish by Soulé
Hey, I love welcoming new faces the table, so welcome Soulé, a London born rapper who moved to Balbriggan at a very young age. She tends to rep Ireland above all else, so I'm more than happy accepting her here, especially as someone who was also born in London and reps his Irish heritage. And it helps when the song itself is actually pretty fucking great too!
Out of the many rap songs we got this week, this one probably has the strongest hook with the "queenish Imma bust like my mama" being firmly stuck in my head for the past two weeks. Her flexing is really convincing on this, especially with, in my opinion, a much better flow between the verses and the hook than even Rumors did.
I wouldn't quite put this on the same level as say 061 from by Denise from a couple of weeks ago, it's not quite that sort of rap song, it's much more pop-friendly. But hey, as pop rap goes, this is still pretty fucking great! Even if I will say it does remind me a fair bit of a mid-2000s Beyonce song, which isn't a bad thing, but the influence is pretty obvious, and once you hear it, it's very hard to unhear. But still, this is really good stuff. Check it out if you're curious.
So, that was our week. Honestly, it's one of those ones where the Best and Worst kind of almost feels arbitrary since there were a number of songs that were about on par. But you know what, I think I'm going to give the Best to Swing & Duck by the A92 crew, even though Queenish, Rumors and jealousy, jealousy came pretty close, I was just more entertained by that track as a whole, especially with the consistency between all the performance involved. As for the Worst though...from an outsider's perspective I can understand why it would seem more mediocre than awful, but I'm sorry I just have a knee-jerk reaction to Out Out by Joel Corry, Charli and co that I was not expecting! That Stromae song is just too near and dear to my childhood for me to be able to be objective on this remix, so yeah, it's getting worst of the week by a pretty huge margin.
But anyway, thank you guys for reading this, thank you for your patience. As always, please feel free to like the post and share any feedback in the comments. 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!