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Musical McCool - Week 47 (November 19, 2021 - All Too Well, abcdefu, Johnny Boy)

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

Well, I really should have seen this coming. And yet somehow I didn't. Maybe it's because, while there has been a vested interest in her re-recording her music, none of the albums have done especially amazingly by her usual standards? But apparently Red was the tipping point.


The Top 10


Because this week, Taylor Swift absolutely dominated, getting her very own album bomb... and she even took over the number 1.


That's right, All Too Well (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift is currently the biggest song in the country at number 1. Which is kind of shocking considering I didn't think anything was going to be able to get to force Adele off the top!


But that's what happened: Easy On Me by Adele lost its grip on the top and slid down to number 2. Although I do expect that with 30 selling the way it is, it's going to recover in no time.


The rest are a little bit less surprising: Cold Heart (PNAU Remix) by Elton John & Dua Lipa got forced down to number 3, as it is definitely reaching the end of its life span... at least I think it is.


Along with that, Shivers by Ed Sheeran fell back to number 4. Again, this just hasn't got enough legs to pick itself up, and with equals fast getting overshadowed by even bigger releases, I don't think it's going to gain any more ground from here.


Then you had Meet Me At Our Spot by The Anxiety falling down to number 5. Again, I do think this will recover, especially as it's absolutely killing it in streaming, but that's highly dependent on the strength of the songs above it, which... well, we'll have to see.


One song that's stubbornly standing its ground though is My Heart Goes (La Di Da) by Topic & Becky Hill, still at number 6. Again, this thing is here just to fill a quota, it's not like it has a huge fanbase or anything. But nevertheless, it's one of the few songs that didn't actually drop this week, although not the only one.


But before that, we have our second Taylor Swift entry: State of Grace (Taylor's Version) at number 7. Once again, I'm honestly a little bit shocked that this was the one to make it this high rather than one of the old singles, but since the reimagined versions of 22 or We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together aren't that good, I suppose this is more of a neutral choice to go with.


Next is Heat Waves by Glass Animals, holding it spot at number 8. This one is just dragging its heels while on its way back out, especially with the increasingly freezing weather we've been getting lately!


At number 9, we have our third and final Taylor Swift entry, Red (Taylor's Version). Still a weird pick, but I suppose it is the title track. And by the way, this does mean that Taylor's re-release of Red was almost as huge as equals as few weeks ago, with all 3 songs debuting in the top 10... damn!


Finally, THAT'S WHAT I WANT by Lil Nas X was shunted back to number 10. I do think this might have a chance of recovering - and I sincerely hope so because it's a great song - but I don't know... being forced back on your ninth week, right before ACR might kick in next week... not the best sign.


Top 50: The Punished and the New


This week was kind of a massacre. In the wake of Taylor hitting the charts, a lot of songs got forced back. Which kind of puts them into an interesting position, when we all know that The Christmas Invasion is on the way. It's gonna be interesting to see who sticks around after this moment of weakness, that's all I'm saying.

For starters, we actually have a couple of movers to ACR:


Love Nwantiti (Ah Ah Ah) by CKay - number 5 to 31

Better Days by Dermot Kennedy - number 10 to 36


One of these is very surprising and one absolutely isn't. I was expecting to see CKay drop a while ago and I'm jhonestly just shocked it took this long, but Dermot Kennedy's Better Days?! My God, was this turn of events! I know that because it's Dermot Kennedy, he's probably still going to be sticking around for a while yet, but this is definitely a stark contrast to what happened with Giants last year. Also, for those of you who read this every week, THANK YOU, and yes, I had sort of called it a bit early by a week or 2 when he dropped down to number 11. Again, I didn't expect the drop to be this drastic when it did get here!

Oh, but those were very far from our only losers this week! For one, not a great week for Ed Sheeran, as both Overpass Graffiti fell to number 15 and Bad Habits to number 16. And that's only the beginning. My Universe by Coldplay dropped to 20, Love Tonight by Shouse fell out of the top 20 to number 22, as did Stay by The Kid LAROI & Justin Bieber, dropping to 25. Not to mention Moth To A Flame by Swedish House Mafia & Weeknd falling to 26 - I honestly thought that song would have more of a chance - and right next to them, you have Ghost by Justin Bieber falling to 27, Better Days by NEIKED, Mae Muller & Polo G tanking at 28, and a little further down, OUT OUT by Joel Corry & co going down to 32, good riddance to that last one! Then you had INDUSTRY BABY by Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow struggling at 34, Obsessed With You by Central Cee dropping to 35, Drive by Clean Bandit, Topic & Wes Nelson unfortunately losing all of its traction down to number 39, Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish bowing out gracefully at number 40, The Motto by Tiesto & Ava Max proving NOT to be the hot new thing by immediately sliding down to number 42, Ghost Town by Benson Boone thankfully collapsing to number 43, Remember by Becky Hill & David Guetta being quickly forgotten at 44, Woman by Doja Cat only barely clinging on as it slides down to 45, Black Magic by Jonasu was hit very hard down to number 47, good 4 u by Olivia Rodrigo tanked at 48, and FINALLY 24/5 by Mimi Webb divebombed to number 50! ... Wow, I think that's the largest amount of big losers that we've had in a week, possibly ever, at least in a very long time.

By contrast, there were a couple of interesting gains: for one, off the strength of the album dropping, Smoking Out The Window by Silk Sonic rose all the way up to number 11! Am I a little bitter the Taylor blocked it from entering the top 10? Yes. And the good news just keeps on coming, as my other Best Of The Week from last week, Seventeen Going Under by Sam fender also surged up to number 13! These two are both fantastic songs, and if we can actually keep them around long enough to become real hits... oh my GODS, I'd be so grateful for that, it would be an amazing start to 2022!

And the trend of songs I like doing well continues: Flowers (Say My Name) by ArrDee rose up to number 17! We do see a slight dip as Do It To It by ACRAZE featuring Cherish rose up to 24... meh, I don't mind this. And the only other gain is Coming For You by SwitchOTR featuring A1 & J1, told you all this one would pick back up. And that's really about it.

No returning entries from Taylor due to the 3 song-per-artist limit, but we did get one, the one we all expected, which is practically a tradition now: All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey returns at 49. This will likely be in the top 10 in just a week or two from now.

And with all of that out of the way - and Christ it was a lot - let's move on to our many new arrivals, starting with the big one:


Title: All Too Well (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift

Position: #1

So now we get to the big one, this one that sparked all that controversy and made all the headlines. Taylor Swift's 10-minute version of All Too Well, where she calls out an ex-lover of hers about mistreating her in the past. Now, this has sparked some interesting debates about whether or not Jake Gyllenhaal deserves all those death threats (he doesn't), but I'm not here to discuss the morality of it. My main takeaway was that she turned it into a 10-minute song. I mean the original version was already 5 minutes long, and most of the punch of it came from that short burst of sheer emotion, conveyed all the more by how much younger she sounded back then. Now, she's older, she's more mature, more poised... and I think that's what actually gives this new version its power.

You see, on the original, the pain was still fresh. After all, she was writing it for her album as a 22-year-old, of course she wasn't going to be exactly objective. Now though, 8 or so years later, the statement that she remembers it all too well actually has a lot more punch to it. There's still pain, but it's more observant, colder. She drops into a much lower tone on most of it, fleshing out the story with details and fantastic little moments of wordplay - you can really see how far she's come as a songwriter and performer, especially after her last couple of albums - all while keeping up the tempo in a way that really pulls you in. I seriously didn't realize how long this wasn't until the end where it fades out a bit slowly, and it's the one point on the song I would have made a bit more concise. I don't know, I would have probably wrapped it up a little bit quicker than that, even though I do understand the power of the fade-out, particularly as the final track, and it IS beautiful. She adopts the same tone she has on songs like champagne problems or mad woman, where it's almost more reflective of her own pain. And it makes the gutpunch moments hit all the harder, like the "turning 21" line or when her dad turns to her and says "it's supposed to be fun turning 21", oh my GOD, that disappointment hit hard!!!

So yeah, despite some nitpicks, the song does too much right to ignore. The production is absolutely top-notch courtesy of Jack Antonoff, the backing vocals all feel excellently timed, and the emotion of the original isn't lost, it's just enhanced, it's aged wonderfully. This is the older, more mature Taylor Swift looking back at a period of her life in the same way she has on past songs like betty or cardigan, and if I'm comparing it to songs off of my favourite Taylor Swift album, that should tell you the quality on display here. The original is pretty excellent, but it can occasionally feel a bit twee, the weight of it can get lost because of how young she sounds. But Taylor's version really does transcend it for me, especially in terms of the production and the performance. I would have probably made it 7 or 8 minutes instead of 10, but I get why she wanted that nice big number. Probably one of, if not THE best of the songs she's released this year. Well done.


Title: State Of Grace (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift

Position: #7

So now that I've praised All Too Well, full disclosure, I'm not the biggest fan of Red. An ex of mine and I used to argue a lot about whether it or 1989 was the better Taylor album, and I never understood the full appeal of it. To me, this has always felt like the awkward moment where Taylor was trying to transition from country to pop music. And while I think that really came into its own on her 2014 release, this was definitely the transition period, and unfortunately, not every song has been equally refined on the rerecorded edition. Case in point, the opening track State of Grace.

Look, the song has some good ideas: the strong prominent guitars, the writing, while definitely not her best, is still decent, and the chorus is admittedly pretty euphoric and catchy. The problem comes down to the production; unlike on All Too Well, where it sounds like a lot more of the newer production techniques she's been using all year, this one is a little bit more poppy. Therefore, there are far more electronic elements that become glaringly obvious: the weird beeping that accompanies that strident guitar that really doesn't flatter it, the incredibly synthetic backing vocals - even though I know it's just Taylor's multitracked voice that joins in on the chorus - those were fine at first, but once they start echoing the "Oh-oh-ohohoh"'s, it all just loses me. Even the mixing is really odd. I don't know why the guitars and drums are placed so prominently in the mix, it just means Taylor's voice has to be pitched even louder to compensate and it all ends up sounding cacophonous!

The entire song never really comes together for me. It's decent enough because, once again, the chorus and the writing are pretty okay outside of the backing elements, but overall... yeah, there's a reason why this one wasn't pushed as a single back in the day. Unlike, say:


Title: Red (Taylor's Version) by Taylor Swift

Position: #9

See, the title track works much better in my opinion.

The verses start out very nicely and acoustically, sounding like she has on previous cuts from Taylor's Fearless this year. And I really love the lyrics where she describes the different stages of their romance and breakup as being different colors, the wordplay really is on point. And then the chorus hits and the weird stuttering re-e-e-e-e-d thing starts and once again, it just sort of loses me! Not as badly, because it is still catchy and I still like most of what's going on with the production, but that stuttering chorus just really takes me out of it.

The song builds up really nicely, I just wish the payoff was there too. Again, this is not a bad song and I do like it more than State of Grace, but I'm reminded once again of the dubstep elements on I Knew You Were Trouble. It feels like it's relying on a gimmick that's really just a fad. And I don't know why she brought it back for her own version of this. Sorry.


Title: Already Dead by Juice WRLD

Position: #23

So now that we're done with Taylor, let's move on to something else... Fuuuuck me, did it have to be this?!

Look I am done with posthumous Juice WRLD releases! I will say the label is being clever about letting them out bit by bit, but they're also manipulative and abhorrent so no points for them. While I've honestly come to appreciate his style a little bit more in the last couple of years, the songs are rarely consistent and they're VERY melodramatic. If he were alive, there might be some chance for him to grow, I can see the potential there... but the man is dead. It's sad, but he's gone. And that's why this song pisses me off so much.

I mean the title says it all. It's a song about being depressed, doing drugs and losing himself, sad to the point where he feels like he's already dead. So there's nothing you can really do to hurt him any more than he already is, he's been dead for years. And normally, this would put me in a weird position, because the song sounds okay. Not amazing, but at least the piano works well with his voice. But I'm sorry, this makes me sick! The mournful piano designed to tug at your heartstrings, the title that's pure clickbait, and the closing verse... "I know that I'll never live again, I'm only here by popular demand, I'm staying alive for the fans"... FUCK YOU ALL TO HELL! I know that most of the song was written back in 2018, but this is just morbid, especially considering it's the leadoff single to yet another studio album! The man is dead, just let him rest in peace! Normally I would just completely ignore this, it's not the kind of song that I ever want to promote because I don't think that we should be giving these people any more money than they're already getting. I'm sorry if you feel connected to this, but this makes me furious.

It's been nearly 2 years, let him rest in peace. He deserved and still does deserve much better.


Title: Feel Like Shit by Tate McRae

Position: #29

Okay, let me say this first and foremost: the music video is incredible. No, really, the choreography is absolutely stellar and if Tate McRae doesn't really think it can work out for her as a singer, maybe she can make it as a dancer. Now I say that because.... ugh, I really still can't stand her voice! She still reminds me way too much of early Camila Cabello, and while it does seem like she is expanding her sound a little bit more, it's really not straying too far from the status quo. If Tate McRae took off in the next couple of years, it would basically be the equivalent of Mimi Webb's career this year, only possibly slightly more interesting because at least her voice isn't quite as sleep-inducing, at least she has a little bit more emotion in her voice.

But as for this song... it's just meh to me, at best. It's the kind of thing that shows up multiple times a year like clockwork, the standard break-up song with the standard pop chords, murky production, and only slightly better vocal mixing than you broke me first. It's not that different though; it's still her feeling sorry for herself for the entire song. And one weird detail is that she's losing it because he's not calling her back anymore. Not saying it's bad, it's oddly introspective that right when he stops trying to call her is the moment when she starts missing him and wondering if he was The One. There is an element of humanity to that, we all want what we can't have, especially when the thing we want has stopped wanting us back. But at the same time, there's definitely a bit of toxicity to this that I'm not a huge fan of.

Then again, Tate McRae is young, so I'm not going to hold it over her too much. This song is serviceable, if I'm being generous. And I am feeling so at the moment, so lucky you!


Title: abcdefu by GAYLE

Position: #33

Even before I heard this song, I was nervous. I mean the first thing that title reminds me of was that blackbear song do re mi, one of the most toxic songs to be released in the last few years. Then again, blackbear's sort of came around on me on songs like my ex's best friend and hot girl bummer. And ironically enough, this song is pretty much the female equivalent of hot girl bummer... you know, other than Hot Girl Summer. I mean that it's an anthem telling your ex to fuck off in the most blatant way possible. More specifically, she wants you, your dad, your mom, your sister, your friends, everybody but your dog to fuck off.

I will say it does have a similar appeal to hot girl bummer. It's just a song about being done with your shit, not liking you or anything you stand for, they're just telling you to fuck off. Now, blackbear's song definitely sounded better in my opinion. The production here is just a little bit too clunky, there's too much clattering bass, it reminds me of that i hope ur miserable until ur ded song from a couple of months ago. I will say that Gayle definitely comes out looking better than blackbear, who was just being a dick; basically, this guy broke her heart, was never really there for her in the way she was for him, and absolutely dragged her name through the mud after they broke up. And so she decides "Well, if you're going to tell everybody I'm a bitch, I may as well play the part." and according to the music video, she trashed his house. I'm not sure how much I buy that part... in fact, I really hope it's not true because I'm pretty sure that's a felony.

But hey, the catharsis definitely comes through in the song itself. It's got an easy appeal and I honestly do think that it comes together because of the hook, especially the mention of his dog being exempted from the general "fuck you". So yeah, I'm okay with this. I know it's only taking off now, a few months after coming out, because TikTok is sometimes a bit late to these things, but I'm okay with it. This is a pretty decent song when I'm in the mood for it.


Title: Bad Man (Smooth Criminal) by Polo G

Position: #37

So apparently Polo G is already moving on. Kind of weird, I thought that he might have a few more singles from Hall Of fame (I mean June wasn't that long ago), but apparently not. Instead, he's already releasing an extended edition called Hall of Fame 2.0, with this as the lead-off single. I mean, fair enough, rappers do tend to release multiple projects per year, but I don't know, I feel like he could have coasted for a bit longer.

Anyway, putting all of that aside, how's the song itself? Well, as you might expect from... well, everything, this song is heavily inspired by Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. It's dedicated to MJ, the melody of the beat is identical, even if all the dynamic instrumentals of the original have been replaced by the very boring low 80s keyboard that seems to be fucking everywhere nowadays. It also feels weirdly compressed, missing the title of the original. And while I will say Polo G is killing it in terms of his energy here, I don't really think it fits all that well. The moment that really made me realize why this wasn't working was when he tried to sing-rap on the pre-chorus and it fell incredibly flat, like all the air got let out of the song at once. Like, it barely feels on beat, it really doesn't work here.

Hate to say it, but the original was lightning in a bottle, and say what you will about him, few people can match MJ's charisma and insane energy. Polo G is trying his best here, but the entire thing ends up feeling really jerky and ill-fitting for a rap song. There are some rappers who can supposedly rap over anything, but I don't think Polo G is one of them, at least not yet. Don't get me wrong, the guy's talented, and again, the bars and content are solid. But other than the instrumental, this is kinda forgettable, it doesn't even have the strong hook RAPSTAR had. I'm not going to remember this outside of the gimmick a week or so from now.


Title: No by Little Mix

Position: #41

So the new compilation album from Little Mix came out and... didn't do as well as I think most people expected. Apart from this one single, which they pushed as a last-ditch effort to get this thing promoted, their marketing has been in shambles, at least since Love (Sweet Love) if not longer. Thus No only debuted at number 41, a lot lower than many, including myself, had projected. Now, that's not all that surprising... against all odd, Little Mix ended up having a surprisingly decent year in terms of hits. But at the same time, there was constant speculation as to why Jesy left and rumors flying in every direction, some of them being spread by the band members themselves. So yeah, it was definitely a bit of a weird year for them, and this definitely seems like an odd note to go out. I said it last week, but those solo albums coming out might mark the end for this group.

But hey, let's be optimistic. Say this isn't the end, say it's just a temporary hiatus and this is the single to see us all off. Well honestly, I do like it quite a bit. Of the singles that they've released as a trio, this is by far the best one. It's concise, it's punchy, it's got a very distinct chorus, and in my opinion, it ends up being one of their best performances in a while, as a group and individually. Each of them gets time to shine as they basically do their own version of No Scrubs. They've been saying yes for so many years, but at the end of the day, no means no, they're taking a stand and making you fucking work for them! The music video is over the top, sure, but it's Little Mix, of course that was going to happen. And hey, it gets the point across.

I really do enjoy this song. It's by no means my favorite single they've ever put out, but it's probably the thing I've liked the most since Sweet Melody, so that's definitely saying something. Somewhat mixed on this emotionally, but as a song, this definitely works. I'll take it.


National Treasures


We,, this is a lot busier than I expected. I thought we'd lose a couple of songs from the Homegrown chart and replace them with some returning entries like clockwork, but instead the musicians of Ireland decided to serve me up even more to talk about! ... Well, here goes! Before we get to our new entries, the movers of this week all really annoy me for different reasons. For one, Our top 3 is still the same, but Dermot Kennedy's Nothing Else Matters, the Metallica cover you all forgot about, rose up to number 6. There's a sense of priviledge I get from this song's success that relaly iritates me, especially when it's pretty damn boring! All the other big movers were drops though... and sadly they're all varying degrees of good. Ok, I won't lsoe sleep over Your Song Saved My Life by U2 immediately tanking after its debut to number 11, neither they nor Sing 2 need any more promotions. But did we have to cycle out CMAT's No More Virgos so soon, down to 14? Or Chain Reaction by Mick Flannery & Susan O'Neill to 13? I mean it's not like the new hits we're getting are going to be better than those 2! Our only returning entry was If Ever However Whenever Forever, one of Picture This' most tedious songs in a long time! At least next week should be calmer... fingers crossed. Anyway, elt's get to the new batch:


Title: The Blower's Daughter by Ronan Keating

Position: #9

Anyone remember that 2004 film Closer? I think Natalie Portman was in it, she had pink hair? Anyway, this song from the soundtrack called The Blower's Daughter was written and released by Damien Rice a couple of years previously, doing reasonably well on the Irish charts and even seeing some minor success in the UK and US as well. The song launched his career and ensured his debut album sold quite well the year after. I say all this because the story behind the song is arguably more interesting than the song itself. This brings us to Ronan Keating, former member of Boyzone, singer-songwriter/presenter in his own right, and now host of a breakfast show, good for him. Anyway, he released a set of songs this month called Songs From Home, a set of tunes in tribute to his home country. They're very tasteful covers too, with lush production, polished till it shines like brass, with the occasional female backing vocals to add some harmonies, always a good idea. And it's decent for what it is, I suppose. Ronan Keating has a very good mid-to-low range and a limited upper range, which really shows on this song in particular, as he strains to hit some of the high notes. But give the man credit, he can belt pretty convincingly, especially when the strings swell up on the second hook.

Now, content-wise, the song's always been a bit ambiguous. Some say it's a simple love song between the protagonist and the title character, some say it's a Romeo & Juliet song where the 2 of them are separated by class differences, some even say it's a simple song about a relationship held over thephone, where she eventually loses interest and stops calling him. Personally, I'm in the third camp, as all the grand posturing and smitten love comes to a halt really abruptly, and the closing lines "Til I find somebody new" definitely seem to indicate this love was far shallower than our protagonist may realise, as is often the case in young love. And that's why, for as lush as this is... I do wonder if it's a bit too pretty. When Damien Rice said those final lines, he was barely singing anymore, he almost whispers them to himself. Ronan Keating sounds so sincere and invested, which is great... I just don't think it was the right approach with this song. So give this a listen, it's worth hearing for the performance and instrumental alone. And I've no doubt your mum will love this, for sure. But in terms of it being a good or faithful cover... nah. Pretty though.


Title: Get Back by D15 (E1, Tuggz, Hoodz, Trigz)

Position: #10

Well, about time these guys broke through! See, in exploring more of Irish drill this year, I've discovered a number of acts that I never really get to talk about much on this series. Mainly because, with few exceptions, it's usually dominated by the AV9 and A92 camps which I've covered multiple times this year. D15 are a group that do have their fans, but haven't really had enough momentum to break the top 20 this year... until now!

Going by online forums, D15 are considered to be the very best rap group in the game, the cream of the crop with the best talent. Now, in my opinion, I would place them somewhere between the 2 groups mentioned above. They haven't got the personality or quite the high points of A92, but they're certainly a damn sight more interesting and consistent than AV9 to me, at least I can tell their performers apart on a song! And this... well, it's not their best, I would have much rather Trackstar from about a month ago cross over, but it still has all the same rappers, so at least there's that. Well, all except 1 addition, Trigz from Cornwall, who doesn't blend quite as well with the other 3 here, with a relatively weaker closing verse to boot. But he's not bad, I just find the others mildly more convincing, especially with his assertion that he's got Kit and he's got Kat. I'm not a huge fan of E1 usually, but he tends to work really well when paired with Tuggz, and he ends up handling the chorus really well. In fact, that and the production are definitely much more prominent than usual, this feels like it was somewhat designed to cross over.

The other verses are all pretty good too. I was on the fence about Hoodz's one at first with the constant repetition of "Gaza strip", but when he flipped it on its head and asked why this guy kept coming back to the Gaza strip if he keeps getting beat up, that did make me laugh. Overall though, I think I have to give it to E1 again, he really is more consistent here than I've heard him be before. Not amazing, but not a bad song either; nice to see some fresh faces around the drill scene for a change.


Title: Johnny Boy by Christy Moore

Position: #15

So remember Clock Strikes Down from a couple of weeks ago? Well, I didn't realise this was all leading to a new album, this one called Flying into Mystery. I also didn't expect to be talking about a second cover this week, but life's funny like that. This one is for Johnny Boy by Gary Moore, and is a much more faitful cover. Originally released in 1987, the song was a tribute to his former Thin Lizzy bandmate Phil Lynott, who had passed away the year before. And while I've never been a huge fan of his voice, he sold the song with a lot of bombast and power that you'd expect from a late 80s ballad, with grand strings, guitar, Uilleann Pipes, and what I could swear are harps. It's a mournful swan song. Now, note that I said "faithful" before, not "better", because this certainly doesn't have the heft or personal weight of the original... and yet I think i may prefer it as a whole.

Look, I love Christy Moore's voice, and he sounds fantastic here with that rich Irish brogue! I also think the production is fantastic, with the pipes replaced by harmonica, the strings are places near the back of the mix in favour of his close vocals, and the acoustic guitar is far more prominent, it's just beautiful! And the pipes do come back on the second ahlf od the song for their own little solo, it all goes down phenomenally. It gives me the feeling of an old man staring across the water on a late spring evening, as the sun sets, which is exactly what the song's about. Overall, a damn amazing cover, glad this one crossed over!


Title: Alone In Monochrome by The Zen Arcade

Position: #18

The Zen Arcade are back! I absolutely LOVED their last hit High Fidelity, and having dived into their discography in more detail since then, it appears that this garage rock outfit are more than capable of taking on multiple genres. Sure, they may have a penchant for the sounds of old, but they have such a great knack for making them their own, with some great songwriting chops to boot. And thus, when I found that their new hit would bring in elements of 90s indie rock and even some elements of post-punk, I was certainly open to it.

And..., you know, it's rather fitting that this should chart the same week as Taylor's Red, because both are songs that invoke colours to describe the stages of a relationship. The difference is that The Zen Arcade takes it in a more general direction, describing leaving a world of colour and love to be alone in monochrome, where all the colours are dull and grey. Now, that's not quite as original of a concept, so you might imagine that it would be the more basic song... but as is pretty typical of this band, they aren't content to rest on their laurels. Instead, they just prove once again what amazing songwriters they are, taking the simple concept and elevating it far beyond expectations! With lines like "The colours of compulsion have been painted over with white emulsion" and "It's hard to keep up an interest in pigments when every colour palette is a passing figment", they just suck you in, creating a song that is far greater than the sum of its parts!

Now if I did have a complaint, it would be with the production. Not that it's bad, far from it, but the melody reminds me more than a little of Starcrossed Losers by The Fratellis in that guitar breakdown, a song I certainly haven't forgotten even if many have. Also, it just doesn't have the same organic bite as their last single, where the instrumentals were a lot crisper and punchier, with fewer hazy effects slathered over them. The guitars still sound really good, the melodies are great, and our frontman Joe Clarke is killing it, but it is a small step back for them. In fairness, that was an extremely high bar, but it's worth pointing out. However, this is still pretty terrific, I highly recommend checking it out.


Title: You Got Gold by Nathan Carter

Position: #19

And we close off with another Nathan Carter song. Say what you will about his cookie-cutter good looks and that damn smile of his, but he is still one of the few pushers of modern Irish country who charts now and again, so I double I'll ever get completely sick of him. But his last cover of The Dubliners really fell flat for me, and it'd been a while since he'd released anything as good as Sarah Jane... but thankfully, this is actually pretty damn good.

Not to be confused with his other song called If You Wanna Find Gold, this new song is a promotional single for his new album, and it's the classic love song you'd expect from him. What gives it its charm is the production> Very often I find Nathan Carter to be a bit too polished for my taste, but here you've got fiddle, light percussion, a great blend of guitars and some VERY subtle electric keyboards that don't distract from how organic the rest of it sounds. And while yes, you can fucking HEAR the smile in his voice, Nathan Carter sounds great on this, and his enjoyment is pretty fitting for a love song. Plus, i kind oif love this rhyme scheme, where each first line has internal rhymes and each every second line rhymes with the next one. I can't think of another song in recent memory that fits "delicatessen" into the lyrics, that's pretty impressive. Pair it all with a really optimistic hook about believing the best in a lover who'd separated by miles of water, where despite all the odds, he'll believe they'll make it, and you end up with a really charming little song. A bit goofy, sure, and corny as Hell, but I can't help but smile when I hear this. I have to imagine Nathan Carter is secretly a serial killer or something, which is how he can be so cheery all the time, but if he makes more songs like this... well, what's a few missing people? Please do not quote me on that, it was a joke.


Anyway, that was our week, not a bad one either, most of the main chart was just very mid-tier. For the Worst of this week... I'm sorry, I have to give it to Juice WRLD's management team and Already Dead for being in horrible taste and really making me angry whenever I listen to it. And the Best is n All Too Well by Taylor Swift, for being the best thing she's released all year. Not quite my favourite song by her in recent years, but it's certainly up there! But it was a close race, Christy Moore and The Zen Arcade are just that good!


As always, thanks so much for reading, feel free to like the post and share any feedback in the comments. In case you missed it, I release my Best Hit Songs of 2006, which you should definitely check out, proud of that one. Also, I have another top 10 in the works that will be out sometime in December, so keep an eye out. 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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