Tuesday, February 27, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - march 3, 2018

Okay, I made the statement last week that things were likely to slow down - I didn't expect it to slow down this much. Of course, it was still a modestly busy week within the charts - fair number of gains and losses, sizable number of returning entries, even some top ten activity - but we only have two new songs this week, so regardless of what I do this is going to be pretty short... at least until 6ix9ine crashes in next week, but we'll deal with that engorged appendix when it explodes.


In the mean time and to get that disgusting image out of your head, the top ten... where once again 'God's Plan' by Drake is dominant and at this point its lead is ludicrous. Still dominant on sales and streaming with twice the YouTube of its competition and huge airplay gains, this song which I cannot remember for the life of me is entrenched, and right now, I don't see the competition! Certainly not 'Perfect' by Ed Sheeran, which despite good sales is losing airplay and streaming, with 'Finesse' by Bruno Mars and Cardi B at #3 digging deep into its margins on the radio... but without the sales to make deeper inroads there's a real chance it could stall out. It's above 'Havana' by Camila Cabello and Young Thug still at #4, but its radio is dying fast along with its sales - it's got YouTube as a stabilizing force, but even that won't hold forever. Unfortunately, this means it's vulnerable to 'Look Alive' by BlocBoy JB and Drake up to #5, which despite sales evaporating has enough streaming to rise above 'rockstar' by Post Malone and 21 Savage dissolving down to #6, which is weakening across the board, especially on the radio. This leaves room for 'All The Stars' by Kendrick Lamar and SZA to rise to #7, partially on the strength of Black Panther but also really good sales and streaming, and radio looks like it's catching up too - hell, it was enough to rise past 'Meant To Be' by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line at #8, which might have better sales and a lot of radio momentum... but streaming is weaker overall. But then we've got our second Black Panther song, this one returning to the top 10: 'Pray For Me' by Kendrick Lamar and The Weeknd at #9, pulling on great sales and streaming gains to match its own surging radio... all of which puts it above 'Stir Fry' by Migos clinging to #10 on good streaming and YouTube... and pretty much nothing else.

Next up, losers and dropouts... and there were a few sizable ones in the latter category, most notably 'Filthy' by Justin Timberlake, '1-800-273-8255' by Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid, and 'Roll In Peace' by Kodak Black and XXXTENTACION, about time! And really, when I look at our losers, I'm generally okay with most of these too. Yeah, I kind of liked 'Legends' by Kelsea Ballerini, which is down to 87, and 'For You' by Liam Payne and Rita Ora wasn't going to last beyond Fifty Shades Freed down to 92, but 'One Foot' by Walk The Moon being generally forgettable at 98 isn't bad, and I'm not going to complain that 'End Game' by Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Future has collapsed further to 91. Beyond that, 'Notice Me' by Migos and Post Malone dropped to 88 and 'Big Shot' by Kendrick and Travis Scott is at 83... again, can't really complain!

Now where things get a little more interesting come in our gains and returning entries, the latter of which I'd be hard-pressed to find anything good. Let's get real, nobody was eagerly anticipating the returns for 'Corazon' by Maluma and Nego do Borel at 94, or 'Rubbin Off The Paint' by YBN Nahmir at 97, or 'Mayores' by Becky G and Bad Bunny at 100, or 'Female' by Keith Urban at 99! And our gains... well, they're better, but I'm not going to say I'm happy that 'Friends' by Marshmello and Anne-Marie jumped up to 58, or 'Singles You Up' by Jordan Davis up to 77! But really, the rest of our gains aren't bad at all: 'King's Dead' by Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future and James Blake is up big to 23 thanks to Black Panther, 'Whatever It Takes' by Imagine Dragons is riding radio and sales to 60, 'When We' by Tank got a boost off its return to 79, 'The Long Way' by Brett Eldredge got a nice lift from radio to 80, as did 'Most People Are Good' by Luke Bryan riding stronger sales. Finally we've got 'Hardaway' by Derez De'Shon up a little to 75 and La Modelo' by Ozuna and Cardi B to 72... really, I'm rooting more for Cardi B here, but I guess I'll take what I can get.

So before we get to our two new arrivals, I think it's time I bring back an old feature that I haven't had on this channel for some time, where I go to another chart around the world for something that's awesome that I'd like to spotlight. And since we only have two new arrivals, might as well go for two of these from the U.K., so let's start with something that I probably shouldn't like as much as I do, but here we go...



Look, I'll be talking about Craig David's sloppily produced, only somewhat embarrassing comeback record tomorrow on the Trailing Edge, but 'I Know You' was the trap-inflected collaboration with Bastille that I don't think anyone wanted but actually proved remarkably workable, especially considering the prechorus is rooted in the simple of action of laughing your ass off at your drunk friend who falls down. Yes, I'm not kidding, and when you pair it with barebones trap hi-hats, gang vocals pitch-shifting, and only a fragment of a bleeping melody, you'd think this would be something that I'd find barely tolerable at best. But maybe it's the ridiculous overdubs on the vocal line of the hook that shoves this into over-the-top territory, or how it somehow hits the weird sweet spot between a late night anthem and the genuine unstable darkness at being that drunk against the warping whirs around it... if there's a song to get big from Craig David's last record, I'm kind of happy it's this one.

And next up... a little more successful right now, the winner of the BBC Music Sound of 2018 award, and with a pretty tight song to boot...



So, context: Sigrid is a Norwegian synthpop artist who released her debut EP Don't Kill My Vibe last year that got some traction, but her song 'Strangers' has gotten a lot bigger, even cracking the top 10 in the U.K. And I'm okay with that - her vocal timbre has a level of precision and control that's a good fit for the wiry synth leads driving so much of the groove, the tight keys, and twinkling accents, the sort of synthpop that seemed to hit a watershed crossover moment about three years ago and I honestly wish had stuck around a lot more. What caught me off-guard about this song was its content, though, with the focus on trying to recreate a very specific image of love and affection with someone where the chemistry just isn't there, something that both partners seem to know and need to reconcile if they're going to be more than just strangers propping up empty dreams, which is a nifty contrast to the twinkling elements and pounding groove to emphasize the adrenaline to construct something. And when you see that Sigrid wrote it herself and seems to have pretty damn good taste in synthpop going forward... yeah, I'm definitely onboard, curious to hear more!

Okay, now to the new entries proper, starting with...



93. 'Get You' by Daniel Caesar ft. Kali Uchis - there's a part of me that's a little thrown to see Daniel Caesar on the Hot 100. I remember his debut album dropping last year and getting some critical acclaim, but I was on the road at the time of its release and I never really got a chance to dive in deeply. And with this... well, I get why it got acclaim with the languid bass, sparse touches of melody in the keys and guitar, Daniel Caesar's measured but expressive delivery balanced effectively against Kali Uchis, it got a real liquid, organic sensuality that really clicks. But at the same time... I keep wishing I liked this a little more - the writing feels a tad bare-bones, the interplay doesn't really add more to the story, and as much as I liked the richer layering on the back half, it can't help but feel a bit underwritten for the length. Definitely a good song with a solid slow burn, but I'm not sure I'm all the way there just yet.



43. 'Love Lies' by Khalid & Normani - look, it was only a matter of time before other members of Fifth Harmony started on solo ventures, and when I heard that Normani - who I've consistently labeled as the best member of the group - was teaming with Khalid for her first track, I was encouraged. It was cautious, sure, but it did seem like there was potential... and yeah, there is, as this is a pretty good song with the firmer rubbery bass beat providing the foundation and groove for the desaturated damp guitars and traces of wheedling melody, and I like the give-and-take of the flirtation of lyrics. But I'm not really impressed by the vocal chemistry between Khalid and Normani - the hook feels a tad flat and the layering places his midtempo range against her lower register, which just doesn't match as well as it should, and when you pair it with all the fuzziness around the edge of the mix, it doesn't quite set the mood nearly as effectively as it could, there doesn't seem to be much spark here. I won't deny that it's promising and I hope it gets her the momentum for later crossovers, but again, not really won over.

So that was our week... and really, I'm not giving out a worst of the week, there's no point when I'm just picking between two pretty decent-to-good songs. Best of the Week is going to 'Get You' by Daniel Caesar and Kali Uchis, though - the chemistry and groove is just better, and I'm looking forward to where they go next. But first, we've got to deal with the nightmare of 6ix9ine coming, to say nothing of that Post Malone-Ty Dolla $ign collab... stay tuned, folks, it could get ugly.

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