Wednesday, July 18, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - july 21, 2018

Okay look, I knew that any cooldown week coming out of an album bomb like Drake's would not be small, if only for the massive shifts within the Hot 100 itself... and then I remembered that both Future and Meek Mill dropped projects that so happened to get some traction within their circles - two projects that I'll freely admit I forgot about because nobody cared to request either of them. And when you factor in the twenty one pilots breakthrough that's likely to get pretty big pretty fast... yeah, this week wound up busier than I thought, go figure.

And the top ten was not spared this, because in the biggest surprise for me, we've got a new #1: 'In My Feelings' by Drake. Yep, apparently the social media challenge has swept the nation for this sloppily mixed, half-formed song, it took the top of sales and was beating its competition in streaming with gross margins and is rapidly surging up the radio - I'm not normally one to brand anything the 'song of the summer', especially given what else is in the top 10 right now, but if this keeps up the momentum beyond the challenge, I'm not sure what can immediately beat it. Well, there could be the song of the summer that I'm throwing my money behind with 'I Like It' by Cardi B, J Balvin, and Bad Bunny at #2, with meaty sales, a big streaming recovery, and radio not slowing down even with it sitting on top - depending how this goes, it could well compete for the top spot. And that's traction that 'Girls Like You' by Maroon 5 and Cardi B just doesn't have, even up to #3 - yeah, sales are better and the radio gains are strong, but it's just not as big of a streaming presence, even on YouTube. Now all of this shifts 'Nice For What' by Drake down to #4, but given its sales and that radio seems to be fading, all the residual streaming won't prop it up that much longer - hell, when it's got 'Boo'd Up' coming from Ella Mai rebounding to #5 on finally getting decent sales to match its YouTube and radio presence, it could be in bigger trouble. This also forced back 'God's Plan' by Drake to #6 - again, unsurprising, given how it's drooping on the radio and streaming, but that unfortunately makes it vulnerable to 'Lucid Dreams' by Juice WRLD rebounding to #7, actually now with a bit of radio adding to its streams and YouTube. But right behind it is 'No Tears Left To Cry' by Ariana Grande at #8, with considerable radio momentum in its own right to back up streaming and sales that just aren't at their peak right now. Then we have 'Psycho' by Post Malone re-entering the top ten at #9 - yeah, radio's on the downswing, but the streaming and sales numbers are more credible than you'd expect. Finally, stubbornly holding onto #10, 'SAD' by XXXTENTACION, thanks to sales and streams, especially in the wake of so many Drake songs falling back.

So yeah, let's deal with that now, shall we? In terms of drop-outs, the only big enough to be worth mentioning are 'Esskeetit' by Lil Pump and 'Japan' by Famous Dex, and the only non-Drake loser was Becky G and Natti Natasha with 'Sin Pijama' down to 99. But for Drake... okay, let's go through from the bottom: 'Is There More' fell to 100, 'Peak' dropped to 93, 'Finesse' slipped to 78, 'Survival died to 68, 'That's How You Feel' faded to 67, 'Jaded' hit 66, 'Summer Games' lost to 63, 'Sandra's Rose' wilted to 62, '8 Out Of 10' lost 59, 'Talk Up' with Jay-Z fell to 58, 'After Dark' with the late Static Major & Ty Dolla $ign went to 56, 'Blue Tint' faded to 55, 'Can't Take A Joke' fell flat at 45, 'Elevate' dropped to 44, 'Emotionless' drooped to 38, 'Mob Ties' broke down to 28, and 'Don't Matter To Me' with the sample of the late Michael Jackson went to 21.

But as always, what's more interesting after album bombs are what rebounds, especially when you consider that the chart rules did rebalance last week to favor paid streams and to give sales and radio a bit to offset this. And of course the genre that benefited the most from this was country, which saw the few gains from last week pick up - 'Life Changes' by Thomas Rhett to 60 - and then some sizable rebounds, with 'Drowns The Whiskey' by Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert up to 52, 'I Was Jack (You Were Diane)' by Jake Owen up to 50, 'One Number Away' by Luke Combs to 49, 'Mercy' by Brett Young up to 41, 'Simple' by Florida Georgia Line up to 37, 'Get Along' by Kenny Chesney to 35, and 'Tequila' by Dan + Shay to 24. But it's also worth nothing the songs that didn't drop back last week and took advantage of Drake's loss for their charting gain, like 'Sit Next To Me' by Foster The People up to 42, 'One Kiss' by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa to 29, 'Whatever It Takes' by Imagine Dragons to 27, 'Love Lies' by Khalid & Normani to 25, and 'Taste' by Tyga and Offset to 18. Yeah, there's a lot of crap rising up the charts too, it happens, so we're getting 'Better Now' by Post Malone to 12, 'Friends' by Marshmello and Anne-Marie to 20, 'Moonlight' by XXXTENTACION rebounding to 34, 'Te Bote' to 43, and 'Big Bank' by YG, 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Nicki Minaj to 46 - might as well tack on 'Be Careful' by Cardi B to 36, 'Look Alive' by BlocBoy JB and Drake to 32, and 'I Like Me Better' by Lauv to 38 for sheer mediocrity. Thankfully, there's a lot of good stuff that got boosts too: 'Apeshit' by The Carters to 30, 'Back To You' by Selena Gomez to 31, 'This Is America' by Chlidish Gambino to 39, 'Youngblood' by 5 Seconds Of Summer to 40, 'Bed' by Nicki Minaj and Ariana Grande to 48, and even Alessia Cara getting a big boost of her debut for 'Growing Pains' to 99. Hell, we even got some returning entries... which are kind of all over the place, with the best probably being 'OTW' by Khalid, Ty Dolla $ign and 6LACK to 97, and I'm not sure that's enough to compensate for 'Ocean' by Martin Garrix and Khalid to 92, 'Legends' by Juice WRLD to 94, and 'Solo' by Clean Bandit and Demi Lovato at 98.

But now we've got a more scattered and interesting list of new arrivals, starting with...

96. 'Kream' by Iggy Azalea ft. Tyga - let's be blunt: despite her rather impressive self-destruction over the past couple of years, I knew we'd see Iggy Azalea back on the Hot 100, and while I don't think she'll ever have the success she had in 2014 - and it's a little gross she needs Tyga of all people to get momentum, the one thing I can say is that this is more listenable than 'Team' was a few years back, mostly because she decided to go for another bassy ass anthem and that'll chart on the video alone, especially with the fragmented samples of a Wu-Tang Clan song that I probably wouldn't have sampled, especially given that it's a lot better than this. I will say that Iggy leaning away from the phony accent is a good step, but the fact she's fallen into the same desaturated, disinterested flow that Tyga uses whenever he's on these flows is a real disappointment, especially given how utterly inert the content is. So yeah, it's not terrible - the rhymes mostly connect and there's nothing outright awful beyond Tyga's stupid autotune line - but if Iggy's looking for this to be her big comeback... yeah, don't see it happening.

88. 'Jackie Chan' by Tiesto & Dzeko ft. Preme & Post Malone - so now it looks like the U.S. is finally getting a Tiesto track that's been a global force for the past couple months, about time! That's something that's always thrown me a little, given how Tiesto is worldwide how little he's impacted the Hot 100 in the decades he's been active, but now he's got a single with Post Malone on vocals and... look, I'm not denying that it's catchy and Preme has an easy-going autotuned charisma that I actually like more than Post Malone trying to steal your girl and making the most thuddingly obvious Jackie Chan reference on his hook. But honestly, I might have more issue with the production here - I mean, it starts promising with the desaturated rollick of guitars bouncing off the pianos with a fair amount of whirling energy... but then we get that nasal synth drop and it sounds gross, I'm sorry. So yeah, I get why it's blown up as big as it has, but it's certainly not that good - next!

83. 'Drug Addicts' by Lil Pump - honest question: does it smack anyone as disingenuous when you get trap MCs pivoting to make songs about drug addiction, especially when you look outside the main song to place things in larger context? Well, that comes with the obvious follow-up surrounding the framing of said song, and that Lil Pump might just be dumb enough to glorify said addiction without any deeper commentary... which he does, including taking your baby mama, brand name flexing, referencing his biggest hit, and a painfully basic and staccato flow - YIKES. At least 'Gucci Gang' might have had some slick atmosphere, but this is a bassy trap clunker with a sharply discordant melody that sounds like someone ripping off SOPHIE without a lot of confidence. So yeah, if anything this song convinces me that Lil Pump's fifteen minutes might be about up, and I'm not going to complain about that - next!

79. 'Dangerous' by Meek Mill ft. Jeremih & PnB Rock - so I'll say this, given his odd propensity for album bombs I wouldn't have a problem if Meek Mill just stuck to dropping EPs, especially if he's going to start showing a bit more dimensionality. And 'Dangerous' isn't a bad example of this - very much reminiscent of the acoustic-touched early 2000s R&B with just a blockier trap beat, and both Jeremih and PnB rock stepping up to add their credentials to Meek trying to slow things down. But there's two problems, with the first coming in the production: it's got this odd, filmy closeness in the mix that doesn't have nearly the body it really should against the beat, so nowhere as slick as it could be. And the second problem, unfortunately, is Meek Mill - look, I know he just got out of prison and he's trying to be a bit more diverse, but he's still a really one-dimensional presence on the mic with his blocky flow and inability to stop cramming gangsta posturing into his bars - dude, you don't need to kill people in every song, let alone the girls who are talking shit! So yeah, can't really get behind this folks, sorry.

76. 'Racks Blue' by Future - so we've got four Future songs to get through here, and I remember thinking that Future could do with a solid cut to really reassert his relevance in 2018 and not just that awful line on 'King's Dead'. And while Beast Mode 2 has been getting good reviews, I'm not one of those critics who has ever entirely given Future a pass, and with this... wow, if there's a sign that Future might be getting left behind it comes on a track like this - he's speaking more slowly and clearly with the autotuned accents almost reminding me more of his early work with a much more basic flow against the fluttery pianos and rubbery synths and violins clearly playing for high melodrama... and yet the most that really comes out of it is complaining about having stacks of cash and generally still feeling miserable, with little beyond it. So yeah, not really all that impressed, I've heard Future in this lane before.

73. 'Millidelphia' by Meek Mill ft. Swizz Beatz - so okay, we had to get the more sensitive song for crossover, surely this would be the track where Meek Mill turns up in his comfort zone, right? Well, yeah - in fact, let me go out on a limb here and say this might just be the best thing Meek Mill has put out in years, because this is pretty damn solid! Swizz Beatz plays hype man producing the bombastic overdubbed collage of vocals against the thicker trap beat, with Meek Mill hollering his lungs out in sheer triumphant rage. Hell, the content might be one-dimensional flexing - and unfortunately Meek Mill does cram in a reference to stealing the girls of his opponents, along with a bizarre slow down on the second verse to match Swizz Beatz and it doesn't quite click - but for a show of sheer ego and personality, I can't deny that Meek Mill sells it. So yeah, maybe it's the fan of crunk within me, but this goes hard as hell and I hope it picks up traction - for what it is, it's pretty damn solid!

71. 'Cuddle My Wrist' by Future - okay, if you want evidence that Future could use someone outside of his hive and inner circle to bounce ideas off of, it might be here, where he calls a song 'Cuddle My Wrist' without any trace of irony or humor! Like, I get what Future's trying to say here, even if it feels increasingly goofy with his curt delivery against the fluttery pianos from Zaytoven or when he follows it with the line to 'cuddle my bitch' - Future, do you not understand the concept of cuddling, because that might explain a lot why Ciara left you! Beyond that the song feels really undercooked and a lot of forgettable brand name porn, and easily one of the more embarrassing songs Future has put out - and given what I remember from Pluto and Honest, that's saying something!

65. '31 Days' by Future - so this is the song I was told was actually good from Beast Mode 2, at least among what we got this week. And... well, it's okay with the wiry synths and beeping trap groove and Future has his flow back... but my god, the number of flubbed rhymes here is stupid. 'Catalogue' with 'magical', 'land' with 'staying', then 'sleep with us' with 'gigantic', there are some points I don't even know if Future was trying! And seriously, for as much as you're trying to celebrate the thirty one days of debauchery you're having with this girl, why are you putting it in the overlong hook how you fucked her which made her pee? In other words, if there's another candidate for Future needing some sort of proofreader to say no to him, this is another example - next!

60. 'Jumpsuit' by twenty one pilots - and here's the big one, the big comeback single from twenty-one pilots that I'd put money on picking up considerable traction on the Hot 100 next week, even despite not quite having the same pop appeal as their biggest singles - yes, the Clique is just that dedicated and radio is already onboard. So for this...okay, let me get the production out of the way first, I'm a huge fan of twenty-one pilots embraced a heavier riff in their bass with some real sludgy crunch against the ghostly vocal modulations and drippy effects around the verses - it does a solid job leaning into their established sound while ratcheting up the heavy darkness to more convincing territory, especially with that bass melody, especially for emphasizing the paranoia and antipathy roiling around Tyler Joseph, especially when faced with the realization he could be dragged into far darker territory to which he thought he may have left behind, cranked to eleven by the screamed vocals to end the track. If I were to nitpick... honestly, it probably comes with the track feeling a shade underwritten, maybe using one more verse before the bridge, but that's it - I think the larger miracle will be if twenty-one pilots somehow manage to make this successful, so we'll see. In the mean time, great song, I like it.

53. 'Wifi Lit' by Future - ...okay honestly, do we have to end things with Future, especially with a song called 'Wifi Lit' where he actually brags about ditching a girl at a Loews around his generic brand name bragging? And considering the latter case actually happened, I've got no inroads to actually liking what Future says or does on this song, even if the production does have those slight cascades of piano against the lingering strings and lumpy trap beat and even if his flow is good. And at the end of the day, the most notable line in his hook is about him keeping his wifi on while he prays about getting a new drug supplier so he can continue flexing and abandoning women at hotels! So yeah, it's not terrible because of the groove, but I'm not a fan either.

So yeah, the best and worst fall out pretty easily here, with the best... it's close, but I think 'Jumpsuit' by twenty-one pilots just edges 'Millidelphia' by Meek Mill and Swizz Beatz out - although I get the feeling that 'Jumpsuit' is more of an album cut and I think we'll get stronger songs as the album rolls out. Now for the worst... yeah, 'Drug Addicts' by Lil Pump gets that, with Dishonourable Mention going to 'Cuddle My Wrist' by Future - again, most for being humiliating than outright atrocious. Next up... well, the Drake fallout is going to keep happening, but it'll be interesting to see how much twenty-one pilots might be able to surge, especially if 'In My Feelings' fades - stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Jackie Chan (Best Of The Week)
    Dangerous (Honorable Mention)
    Wifi's Lit (Dishonorable mention)
    Drug Addicts (Worst Of The Week (Tie))
    Kream(Worst Of The Week (Tie))