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Musical McCool - Week 44 (October 29, 2021 - Moth To A Flame, Ghost Town, Clock Winds Down)

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

So this is actually a bit of a quieter week, one where there were a couple of new entries but nothing quite as momentous as last week's Adele bumrush. Therefore, we're gonna make this one a bit of an easier one in general because I need an easy week at some point.

The Top 10

And luckily the chart gods acquiesced!

Because Easy On Me is still easily the number 1 for this week. It's got an absolute stranglehold on the top spot, nothing's coming close to touching it and we should all get used to it being around for the foreseeable future

I can say much the same for Cold Heart (PNAU Remix) by Elton John & Dua Lipa at number 2, I don't think it's going anywhere anytime soon unless ACR comes into play. However, I do see it dropping off slightly.

And the reason for that is Shivers by Ed Sheeran, currently still at number 3, Thing is, Ed Sheeran just released his new album =, so I expect Shivers to get a big boost this week, along with Bad Habits. And while, sure, it might not be his most successful or most anticipated album, I still expect it to be fairly disruptive.

Unfortunately, 1 song that is likely to get caught in those crosshairs is THAT'S WHAT I WANT by Lil Nas X at number 4. Of course, right now it's pretty solid as the currently top-selling single from Lil Nas X's album, but believe me, if it weren't for INDUSTRY BABY being moved to ACR, we'd probably still have that in the top 5 as well, he's still doing really good numbers!

Then we have the black sheep of the family, Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah) by CKay at number 5. Somehow it's still holding on, for now, but I don't expect it to last much longer.

Up next we have Heat Waves by Glass Animals at number 6, and considering how much the weather has been fluctuating recently, I wonder if it's ever going to leave. The only thing that's really going to stop it at this point is once it gets moved back onto ACR again.

Then as regular as ever, we have Better Days by Dermot Kennedy. Sure, it's slowed down a bit by moving back to number 7, but this is still being played on the radio everywhere I go! Even if it drops from the chart next week. I don't think I'm going to stop hearing it anytime soon.

Still, I think I would rather hear it than My Heart Goes (La Di Da) by Topic & Becky Hill at number 8, which continues to do very well across streaming and sales. This is as forgettable as the first day I heard it... almost.

What's more interesting - though not by a huge amount - is our new arrival to the top 10 which I saw come in a mile away: Meet Me At Our Spot by The Anxiety, aka Willow Smith & Tyler Cole, entering at number 9. This has been doing incredibly well worldwide, it's easily set to be Willow's biggest hit. And while it's not really for me, I can definitely see the appeal to a millennial generation who just want a sing-along song while they hang out at their spot like the no-good, loitering teens they are... God I'm old!

Finally is Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish trailing at number 10. Why? Because it's Billie and we're better off with her around.

Top 50: The Punished and the New

This week wasn't quite as crazy as the last one in terms of drops, mostly because we didn't get as many new arrivals, but we still have a couple of things I feel we could highlight. For one, we have 3 new arrivals to ACR:

Woman by Doja Cat - number 14 to 27

MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X - number 22 to 49

I GUESS I'M IN LOVE by Clinton Kane - number 38 to GONE

It's kind of crazy to me how long Woman has lasted on the charts, but as a whole, I do like the song so I'm not exactly complaining, even if I do still think the chorus is the weakest part of it. And Montero is actually being put on ACR for the second time after getting a revival because of the full album dropping a few months back. I mean, it wasn't going to get as big of a second wind as Heat Waves, I just have to accept that, but I'm still really glad this came back, it really is a great song. As for Clinton Kane... I'm honestly not too sad to see it go. It's probably JUST going to miss making the year-end list and that's honestly kind of a good thing, that wouldn't have ended well for him or me.

Now we had some other losers this week that are worth highlighting: for one, even though it's not on the charts anymore, can I just say I'm a little shocked how quickly Westlife just plummeted down the charts? I don't know, I sort of thought they might have more of a shelf life. Also a bit of a rough week for Coldplay, coming off the album bomb last week, as both My Universe with BTS and Let Somebody Go by Selena Gomez dropped to 14 and 42. We also saw Obsessed With You by Central Cee drop down to number 20, but he did just release that full music video so that might get boosted back up again next week.

Then you had the expected losses for Adele, as When We Were Young goes down to 26 and Love In The Dark falls to 34, alongside the continued losses for Drake, as Fair Trade with Travis Scott dropped down to 32 and Way 2 Sexy with Future & Young Thug only dropped down to 44... not as far down as I wanted. In terms of more expected losers, we have Boyz by Jesy Nelson & Nicki Minaj, which collapsed down to 30 - Seriously, does nobody else like this?! - only a couple of steps behind Hurricane by Kanye West, Weeknd & Lil Baby at 40. This song has honestly lasted longer than it probably should have, it's clinched its year-end spot, it can bow out gracefully now. What's obviously a much bigger story this week are our winners: for one, you had the continued rise of Tell Me Something Good by Ewan McVicar to number 16, as well as Where Are You Now by Lost Frequencies & Calum Scott to number 18, clearly the much better song of the 2. Then to my utter rage, 24/5 by Mimi Webb rose up to 22! Look, the song itself barely has a hook and is entirely bland and forgettable, but the thought that we are considering bringing Mimi Webb along into 2022... NO THANK YOU!!! And on the topic of non-memorable singles, Ghost by Justin Bieber is right behind it at number 23... as well as If You Really Love Me (How Will I Know) by David Guetta, MistaJam & John Newman, rising up to number 30! Seriously, this song was basically bubbling under in the bottom 10 spots of the top 50 for the past few months and NOW it's just rising? Seriously? At least there were some good songs rising up as well: Drive by Clean Bandit, Topic & Wes Nelson rose up to 31 for instance, along with Talk About by Rain Radio & DJ Craig Gorman getting another boost up to number 35. And you know what, I'm actually fine seeing MONEY by LISA from last week rise up to 36! Definitely didn't expect it - it's mainly because she has a really devoted fanbase and that the song is big on TikTok - but still, I really don't hate this as much as I probably should. Also Levitating by Dua Lipa & DaBaby rose back up to number 39 again, because we're not gonna let this song go that easily. Finally, we had 2 returning entries this week, one of them being Save Your Tears by The Weeknd coming back again to 47, and of course, Kiss My (Uh Oh) by Anne-Marie & Little Mix returning at number 50. And now for our new arrivals, starting with the big one of the week:

Title: Moth To A Flame by Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd

Position: #13

I have to be honest... I can't say I was really anticipating this. Look, don't get me wrong, Swedish House Mafia has a pretty good track record, but I might be one of the only music critics who does not give a shit about Don't You Worry Child. And while I absolutely love The Weeknd, I really haven't gone back to Take My Breath since it dropped outside of the weekly listen I give the top 50, it's just never really something that I particularly feel in the mood to go back to. I don't know, maybe I'm all Weekend-ed out after how huge he's been in the past year and a half... but honestly, this was very refreshing!

What I like about this personally is that the tone of it feels a lot more Beauty Behind The Madness-esque, it reminds me of something he would have dropped on that album or possibly of the darker moments of Starboy. It's very melodic, it's got a very nice groove to it that doesn't get in the way of the atmosphere, with these really grandiose synths, and Abel sounds fantastic, playing the guy who is cheating with the girl, but highlighting that she still won't actually commit to him. This is a very fine line he's walking, but thankfully it's a role that I absolutely buy from The Weeknd specifically. He's one of the few singers who can really sing this type of song without coming across as a complete asshole to me, and I absolutely believe that this era of him would play cuckold to a woman he loves, who still won't actually be in a relationship with him. It's pretty fucking sad and he's perfectly okay with playing a character who isn't exactly the most likable.

And yet I do find myself feeling something close to sympathy for this song. Maybe it's the low-key groove that Swedish House Mafia give him where they really don't get in the way of his performance, something I always appreciate from EDM producers. Maybe it's the fact that Abel is sticking in that more willowy range that I haven't heard from him in a while (he tried it on that last single but it didn't really stick the landing for me). Or maybe it's simply how he fully acknowledges that this other guy is way better for her. Whatever it is, I found myself really liking this, especially with repeated listens. It hasn't got as many views as it probably should on YouTube yet, so if you're curious, definitely check this out; I genuinely hope this sticks around.

Title: Better Days by NEIKED, Mae Muller & Polo G

Position: #25

Okay, this immediately made me suspicious. The second I heard this, I immediately felt an overwhelming wave of affection towards that, but I really couldn't explain why. I mean, I'll be honest, this Swedish producer NEIKED hasn't exactly been a super compelling artist for me in the past. Mae Muller's voice is a little bit too nasal for my taste, sort of a half-hearted Dua Lipa impression, and I don't think that either, and while I do like Polo G, he's as consistent as ever here, but I can say that his verse blew me away or anything. But then it hit me: this is Say So by Dota Cat! The throwback feel, the funky groove, even the way the chorus is paced is almost exactly like it. Hell, I'm pretty sure there's a mash-up on YouTube already! As soon as I realized that, it all made sense, considering that song was in my top 10 best hits of last year.

And look, I'm not saying that this song is immediately invalidated for that. It is bouncy, it is fun, but I really can't get over that comparison, let alone unhear it. Pleasant enough I guess, but I'm always going to go back to the original even despite Dr. Luke... wow...

Title: Ghost Town by Benson Boone

Position: #37

Oh boy, this is one of those songs that has really left me ruminating on it for the last couple of days.

While he has a pretty sizeable TikTok following, Benson Boone is a young American who has also had a fair amount of success in more traditional mainstream media, even making it quite far on American Idol, before excusing himself a few months back for reasons that I don't really care to get into. However now, a few months later, he released a new single which is now making big waves. And of course, as Easy On Me is what's big at the moment, it's a grandiose piano ballad with strong, earnest vocals. If you've heard a Dermot Kennedy song, you know what to expect from this, it's no wonder that this got big here in Ireland.

But what really threw me off about this song is how it seemed so unreservedly bitter on my first listen, to the point where I really didn't understand why there were so many people saying how romantic it was! I mean, he literally says "maybe loving me is the reason you can't love yourself," that is HARSH! As it turns out, Benson Boone is playing a really weird role here: the role of a guy who appears to have taken everything from this woman, tearing her down to the point where she can't even love herself anymore, yet who has the self-awareness to recognise this, and even recognises that she would be a lot happier with this other guy. Therefore, out of what I can only imagine is pity(?), and well-aware that their own relationship is nothing but a ghost town, he asks her to recall every precious memory she's ever had with him... so he can tear it all down, forcing her to go with this other guy!

This song is so profoundly weird to me! At first it just sounds like a typical "Oh, well, you love this other guy, fuck you" type of revenge fantasy, promising to make your life miserable, but the more I listened to it, the more I think that he's genuinely trying to do the right thing! He is going to sabotage his own relationship, but specifically so that she'll leave him and go with this other guy who's a lot better for her. I mean, I can kind of see why some people would consider that noble or romantic... kinda? But dude... why don't you just break up with her?! I know that maybe, in your big melodramatic scenario, that's not going to be enough, that she's just going to keep coming back to you if you don't burn that bridge, but this just seems extreme and needlessly cruel! I don't know, there's a part of me that actually kind of gets that he's trying to do here, trying to be the good guy, but it's such a weird way of going about it. It's like he wants you to think of him as the good guy, while he's also being the absolute WORST guy in her eyes, I really can't quite wrap my head around it.

So yeah, I would actually recommend listening to the song, if only because I can't think of many songs quite like it. But this isn't good, especially with Benson Boone's howling vocals that really don't really impress me much, the rollicking looping piano that feels basic at best, without much modulation or change across its entire runtime. So again, not a good song, but I will say it is a fascinating one.

Title: Red Light Green Light by Digga D

Position: #43

Welp, it's yet another Digga D song. And as soon as I saw the title, I realized that this was going to be Squid Game-related. And yeah, this is about as obvious as you'd expect it to be, having very little to do with the show at all outside of the sample and hook. Apparently this was inspired by a comedian Papz14, who posted a video with this sample on TikTok, calling out fake rappers, which Digga D then ran with for this song. And I will say this for him, this might be the best solo single I've heard from him so far this year.

Okay, it's arguably not as memorable as that ArrDee collab from a couple of months back. but I would say it's a better song on the whole. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that Digga D is actually trying on these verses, with some genuine energy and at least an attempt at wordplay. I mean sure, the content is nothing special, there is a lot of bragging about his come-up, fake rappers, and it always weirds me out when British rappers brag about shooting people, considering how less prevalent guns are in the UK and Ireland compared to America. But I will but the chorus is fine, even if that sample is doing a lot of the heavy lifting. Also, respect to Digga D for actually featuring the comedian who inspired this song in his music video, as well as using the Korean sample as op[posed to relying on any dubbed crap.

Again I kind of wish this content got a little bit more specific to the show, maybe he could have spun it as the fake rappers needing to join the Squid Game for the clout, but there's not really much in the way of references here, outside of chorus and sample. And as much as I think this song is fine, I don't know if I'm going to remember it in a week or two. Make of that what you will.

National Treasures

So a few things happened this week on the Homegrown charts. For starters, even though it plummeted on the main charts, Starlight by Westlife actually took the number 1 here. I guess this is technically the biggest Irish song around right now that hasn't been on the chart for more than 13 weeks - otherwise Talk About and Better Days would absolutely be topping this - but hey, I'm like the song, so although I don't see this lasting long, I'm fine with it being here.

Otherwise, Bluebird by Offica dropped out of the top 10 to number 11, and Planes in the Sky by James Vincent McMorrow actually went down to number 15... more's the pity, I like that song. On the other hand, Rambling Rover by Nathan Carter went down to number 19, which is probably for the best. And best of all, Sad Fuck by Ryan Mack collapsed to number 20, proving that even his fans don't like this song. upside of that,

Other than that... I mean nothing really rose up except for Róisín by Pa Sheehy back up to number 3, but that's not gonna last considering that it's on its 13th week and will therefore be gone next time, taking Always On My Mind by Shane Codd & Charlotte Haining. Oh, and this is funny: now that Dermot Kennedy's Better Days has exited the Homegrown chart, The Killer Was a Coward came back to number 9... buuuuut it's also on its 13th week, so it too shall be gone next week, once again to be replaced by another Dermot Kennedy song, can't wait to find out which one. Finally, GOT TO GIVE by Hermitage Green also came back at number 18; good song, let's keep it!

And now, the new arrivals, starting with a familiar face:

Title: Hey by Lea Heart

Position: #6

In a year where teenage pop music has become somewhat of a huge trend for many, many people, thanks to acts like Olivia Rodrigo, Lea Heart has been a pretty damn consistent voice from the movement in my opinion. She's had fantastic songs this year like Million Goodbyes and IDK Why, as well as one or two light misses here or there, but nothing that would entirely disparage her in my eyes. So I'm quite happy with the fact that she's actually had a very successful 2021, with IDK Why even hitting the top 50 earlier this year! So when I saw she had yet another new single out, I thought sure, why not check this one out? Hopefully it's better than I'll Get Over It (I will not).

And yeah, it definitely is, but it's also an interesting side of teenage pop music. And by "interesting", I mean it's one that I haven't seen done much this year. See, this is one of those "Notice me Senpai" types of songs in the vein of Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me, where all she wants from this person is just a "hey", a heads-up, something to show that she's been noticed. After every bad date, or seeing the less-than-good people that they're dating and how she could be so much better, it would feel very catty and petty if it weren't shown through such a twee lens.

If she played this with almost any other tone, this would come across as incredibly bitchy and insecure. But here... I don't know, it feels kind of endearing. Maybe it's the fact that it's so twee to the point where it almost feels like I'm watching fucking Clueless. I mean, there's a line about her mistaking a different guy for him, but hugging him anyway, because I guess she's all sunshine and rainbows. I don't know, the song is kind of ridiculous, almost saccharin to a point, but I'm not gonna lie, there is something a little bit sweet about this. It definitely doesn't have the teeth of most of Olivia Rodrigo's songs from this year, but that's because it's not trying to. It's not a breakup song, it's not bitter, it's not even vindictive in any way. It's just a lonely little fantasy, wishing that she would get noticed. And you know what, once in a while, we all feel like that.

Good song Lea Heart. Not your best from this year, but I'll take this.

Title: Write Our Own Soundtrack by The Coronas

Position: #7

And just like clockwork, they're back! At the very beginning of the year, I covered a Coronas song, and there I believe I said that I didn't mind The Coronas, but I've never been a huge fan. And that hasn't really changed; a lot of their songs sort of run together for me, and while they bring some nice willowy voices and semi=organic instrumentation with nicely blended guitars, it's the type of soft rock that doesn't really evoke much emotion, it's more just pleasant to listen to. And that's what I would say about this new single as well. But I will say that this one's a little bit better than average for them.

For one, I do actually think the lyricist is trying a little bit harder, as they portray a relationship where these two are determined to forge their own path, to write their own soundtrack and not have a traditional sort of romance. Sure, things aren't always perfect, but at the very least it's theirs, it's unique to them. And there's something inherently romantic about that to me. Plus, I think the hook is very pretty, especially with the horns joining the fanfare. Once again, the production is really on point, it's kind of beautiful.

Now, it doesn't stray into brilliance for me, mainly because for as much as the content is trying a bit harder, the actual writing isn't exactly stellar by any means. But it's kind of like that Gavin James song from last week, you can take a lot of clichéed lines and still turn them into a good song, so long as you put them in the right order and give them a slightly bigger context. All of which I think this does!

So yeah, I do like this. I'm not sure I'd quite call it a huge comeback for them or anything like that, but you know what, if we're going to get a Coronas song playing on the homegrown charts for the next few weeks, I would happily take this one. It's catchy, it's infectious... aaaaand I just remembered that they're called The Coronas, so make your own jokes about that.

Title: Clock Winds Down by Christy Moore

Position: #10

And last but certainly not least, let's talk about this one. So Christy Moore is kind of a legend in terms of Irish folk. He is well-known for making very conscious, very singer-songwritery anthems, where he basically tells a lot of stories and ballads, some allegorical, some not. He is basically the closest thing we have in Ireland to a genuine living Bard, and he is a fascinating character with a great husky voice that really doesn't feel like it's changed in the last 30 years, some really solid writing chops, plenty of classic songs under his belt, and a penchant for getting political in a good way. He's one of those acts and my dad would say is absolutely essential if you're going to listen to Irish music at all.

So yeah, I was quite surprised when I saw him hitting the charts with a new song. But having listened to it, I can kind of see why it made it here. Because while I don't think this is quite on the level of his best, there's a lot here to really like! The very rhythmic twang of the guitars and drums, the slight tick in the mix that emphasizes the passage of time of the clock winding down, and Christy Moore's voice is as great as always, carrying you through the mix with a conviction and charisma that's just impossible to fake. And the reason for his serious tone is because... well, this song is actually about climate change, and about how the clock is steadily winding down to when it's too late to do anything about it. And yeah, the song doesn't really pull any punches. He very much blames his own generation for it, even saying that it's hard to look a kid in the eye when they look at you and says they were depending on you.

It's all pretty biting, which is unsurprising if you know anything about him and his music; this guy's had songs banned for calling out capitalists with inflammatory comments in the past. And yeah, there is something quite refreshing about hearing an older man in the industry saying this rather than all the younger cats who have been complaining about the previous generation for years now.

Now, with all that being said, as much as I do like this song, and I do think it is terrific, it's one of those songs that I feel I admire more in concept than I do in execution. Which is why ultimately, while I do think it's great, it's not quite getting the Best of the week. That is going to Moth To A Flame by Swedish House Mafia & The Weeknd, for really impressing me and giving me a side of Weeknd that I hadn't seen in a while. I really hope it sticks around as long as Take My Breath did. As for the Worst though... yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think Ghost Town by Benson Boone deserves it. Even if I can sort of see what he was going for, I keep trying to picture a friend of mine coming up to me and pitching this to me as the way he's gonna break up with his girlfriend and it just feels mildly psychotic. So no, this isn't doing it for me.

But that was our week. Thanks so much for reading this far and keep an eye for some upcoming releases outside of Musical McCool very soon. So in the meantime, 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! And until the next time, I'm Fionn and this is The Social Tune signing off!

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