Wednesday, October 24, 2018

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - october 27, 2018

So am I the only one feeling underwhelmed? Like, I know the new Quavo album is already fading from memory - hell, you could make the argument that was happening the day it dropped - but beyond that and our... let's call them 'enterprising' new top ten entries, it just seems like the Hot 100 hit a lull this week, and while I do expect Future and Juice WRLD to rack up the streams for next week... well, the critical reception hasn't been much better there, so I'm just not sure if the album bomb is guaranteed.

In any case, there was significant activity within the top ten... although not enough to unseat the #1, with 'Girls Like You' by Maroon 5 and Cardi B somehow getting another week on top. And at this point, given the second YouTube video, it looks like the only reason it didn't get unseated was flailing desperation, especially as it spent the week in radio freefall. But it did hold its spot against the closest competion: 'ZEZE' by Kodak Black ft. Travis Scott and Offset debuting at #2... and while I'll get into the content of the song more later on, the only reason it broke this high was obscene streaming and surprisingly good sales, and with the radio not even close to getting behind this, I don't see it sticking around, at least not this high. It did push back 'Lucid Dreams' by Juice WRLD to #3, as it also spent the week losing radio and is really only getting propped up with streaming, mostly on YouTube. Still held over 'Better Now' by Post Malone, which I actually thought would have fallen further but for a good sales week to keep it at #4. And this leads to our second new top ten entry: 'MIA' by Bad Bunny ft. Drake. Again, we'll talk about the song at length in a bit, but if you're looking for a cut that has a better shot at being a hit, it'd be this one: more consistent stats across the board, and for a song entirely in Spanish, it's got more radio traction than you'd expect! Then we have 'Happier' by Marshmello and Bastille rising up to #6, mostly thanks to a huge radio push and solid sales numbers, just enough to rise above 'SICKO MODE' by Travis Scott, which fell to #7... and let's make this clear, with the release of the video, this song will rebound in a big way - as of yet radio has not stalled out, and I can see this making a major play. Now this forced back 'Drip Too Hard' by Lil Baby and Gunna down to #8, but frankly, I'm more annoyed that it wasn't pushed out of the top 10 altogether... but streaming has stuck around, so I'm just going to hold myself content that this song will likely wind up caught between years and miss both year-end lists! Now this moves 'Youngblood' by 5 Seconds Of Summer to #9, but given how much sales and radio are slowly slipping, I'm not surprised by this - what I am surprised by is 'Shallow' by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sticking to #10, as it holds the top spot in sales and actually seems to be picking up radio traction - again, I don't really expect it to stick around, but given how well the movie seems to be doing, this might wind up a soundtrack hit in a year that had more of those than you'd probably expect!

So now onto the losers and dropouts... and really, the latter category there's nothing much worth discussing here, with the only one with any significant longevity being 'The Way I Am' by Charlie Puth, which never took off. What's more intriguing are the losers, namely that there doesn't seem to be much of a pattern. Yes, Eminem had a bad week as a whole, with 'Venom' dripping down to 57, 'Killshot' continuing down to 70, and 'Lucky You' running out of gas at 74, but beyond that the losers are kind of all over the place. The only big losers from our album bombs of last week were 'Never Recover' from Lil Baby and Gunna ft. Drake to 35 and 'I'll Never Love Again' by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper to 54 - oh, and I guess 'STOOPID' by 6ix9ine and Bobby Shmurda went to 51, but I'm just trying to pretend that song doesn't exist. I guess Lil Wayne didn't have a good week either with 'Mona Lisa' with Kendrick falling to 42 and 'Don't Cry' with XXXTENTACION slipping to 91, but neither of them are getting the single push and 'Uproar' is doing just fine. Then we have the songs that have likely sealed their year-end spots and I don't really care too much about either of them, with 'No Brainer' from DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper and Quavo to 45 and 'Simple' by Florida Georgia Line to 60, and the rest just feel like flops. And yeah, that sucks for 'Desperate Man' by Eric Church skidding to 89, but I'm not about to complain that 'New Patek' by Lil Uzi Vert fell to 77 or that 'If I'm Lyin I'm Flyin' by Kodak Black went to 99.

Now we did have a healthy crop of gains and returning entries, so let's start with the latter category where I'd argue these are expected recoveries for songs that got muscled off prematurely, like for 'Rich' by Maren Morris to 85 or 'This Feeling' by The Chainsmokers and Kelsea Ballerini at 90, or 'Chanel (Go Get It)' by Young Thug, Lil Baby and Gunna at 94 - hey, I didn't say any of these were good! Thankfully we do have 'Thunderclouds' by Labrinth, Sia, and Diplo back at 95 - it's growing on me - and 'Electricity' by Silk City and Dua Lipa at 97, likely riding the rerelease of her debut, which leaves the last return for 'Drowns The Whiskey' by Jason Aldean and Miranda Lambert at 98 - still wouldn't expect this to stick around for long. But it's the gains that don't seem to make much sense to me here - well, okay, besides 'Lost In Japan' by Shawn Mendes and Zedd continuing up to 68, that's probably going to be a pop hit. And hell, I can probably say the same thing for 'Beautiful' by Bazzi and Camila Cabello at 32 and maybe 'Taki Taki' by DJ Snake, Ozuna, Cardi B and Selena Gomez at 16 - with the exception of a slow radio pickup, this could probably be a hit. And then 'W O R K I N M E' by Quavo got the album boost for 53, but beyond all of that, why is 'Break Up In The End' by Cole Swindell getting a second wind at 56? Maybe just a good radio week, but you can't really use that excuse for 'No Stylist' by French Montana and Drake up to 67 thanks to streaming! You can probably use it for 'Lie' by NF, and maybe for 'Best Shot' by Jimmie Allen getting a boost to 69, but certainly not for 'Hangin' On' by Chris Young stalling out at 78, and especially not 'Best Part' by Daniel Caesar and H.E.R. up to 81 - not complaining with that one, just surprised! This leaves us with 'Leave Me Alone' by Flipp Dinero up to 76... again, on-demand streaming, although given how incredibly irritating that hook is, I can see it gaining traction regardless.

And this takes us to our new arrivals... and folks, if you don't want to hear me talk about Quavo, Drake, or Kodak Black, you might as well check out now because that's literally all we have here, starting with...

100. 'Lose It' by Quavo ft. Lil Baby - it's like the mini album bombs from last week and this week have merged together into a tasteless soup of monotony, shoving the faint organ line to the very back against the drippy percussion. And look, in recent years I've seen Quavo get handily outstripped by both Takeoff and Offset in terms of content and flows, and the only way he comes out looking somewhat decent is in contrast to Lil Baby, who somehow transplanted his terrible vocal production and even clumsier rapping from his album to this. And am I the only one who thinks that Quavo just forgot to include a final hook on this piece - letting your last failed rhyme echo into the mix doesn't fill that void, Quavo! So yeah, this is lousy, next!

93. 'Huncho Dreams' by Quavo - okay, so when Nicki Minaj made 'Barbie Dreams' and talked about screwing a bunch of rappers, I assumed at least a few of those hookups were real... and yet I'm on the fence whether it looks good that Quavo confirmed that he might have slept with her. For one, this feels like more of a pointed interlude than much of a song in its own right, a clumsy response that can't match the weight of Nicki's flip, and if he was irritated about all the name-dropping, it's not like he doesn't do much of the same here... but on the other hand, it does seem believable that they hooked up with a lot of carnal detail and that flip of 'In My Feelings' is very telling, especially given Nicki's arm's length relationship with Drake this decade. But at the end of the day, this still feels like a pale shadow - I think Nicki came out ahead.

88. 'Rerun' by Quavo ft. Travis Scott - I'll say it, Quavo and Travis Scott just bring out the worst possible impulses in each other, most notably a lot of really boring autotuned droning against gross, oily production - and that's before we get the homophobic slurs built into the hook! And if that was the only thing, I'd be inclined to pitch this out the window, but when you factor in how so much of this is built around how these girls are just here for their money - reinforced by a Kylie Jenner sample of all things - and then Travis Scott describes how he beats it just like Ike and Tina. Yeah, this is straight garbage, and if anything make both artists look considerably worse, especially Travis Scott who I've been trying to give a pass probably for too long. But it makes sense this is called 'Rerun' - a pale facsimile of what was done better elsewhere and the unquestioned feeling my time has been wasted - next!

86. 'Biggest Alley Oop' by Quavo - okay, we've got the opener of the album here... and no, I'm still not off my issues from the last song, so I'm not going to be generous or give anything much of a pass! The flutes sound gutless, the trap beat is beyond generic, and it's very telling that Quavo compares himself to MC Hammer, a pop rapper who was never any good and eventually became irrelevant when the climate inevitably shifted. And given what we saw with 'Huncho Dreams', he's about as thin-skinned as Hammer was too, and about as boring of a lyricist in his flexing - and for you to have the balls to say you're bigger than Jay-Z... well, I'd say more, but how this album performed says plenty.

61. 'Pass Out' by Quavo ft. 21 Savage - if you had told me just a year ago that I would be looking forward to 21 Savage verses, I'd call you crazy... but here we are. Organs shoved to the very back behind the stuttered bass and forgettable trap snares, built around a hook where his girl fainted and the bank in the face of so much money and adlibs... and why don't I believe any of this, especially with that wheezy post-chorus? I do believe you bought a house for your grandma - you wouldn't kill the flow of your first verse if that didn't happen - but then you end your third verse abruptly and the entire song just feels abortive. Which means, even though 21 Savage describes his diamonds as 'pissy', he's the best part of this song - yikes indeed.

48. 'Flip The Switch' by Quavo ft. Drake - I still don't understand Drake's relationship with Migos - they toured together, sure, but that tour kept getting dates cancelled and 'Walk It Talk It' sucked, so I had zero expectations for this. And that might have been appropriate, as we get another wheezy flute line against Drake making more lazy subliminals at Pusha-T and Kanye with his most disinterested flow in a while, and Quavo rattling through admittedly better flows, but that's because they're an overlong Juvenile flip. And is it just me, or are there these weird drowned out squeals creeping into the mix that make the song feel a bit darker than it really should? Either way... again, this isn't good.

5. 'MIA' by Bad Bunny ft. Drake - okay, we're out of Quavo territory... and up to a reggaeton song with Drake and Bad Bunny. And look, I can't say this is very good - the weird, chipmunk yelping against the beyond forgettable percussion line and desaturated melody that with every switch-up seems to get more flat and uninteresting, the generic hookup lyrics, the fact that instead relying on genuine starpower from Drake to sell sensuality we're stuck with Bad Bunny braying over the song... but honestly, it's more boring and utterly forgettable than egregiously bad, I guess I have to take it.

2. 'ZEZE' by Kodak Black ft. Travis Scott & Offset - the fact that I'm stuck hoping for quality coming from Kodak Black this week is a little frightening, not gonna lie, especially given how much Travis Scott already disappointed me. And look, there's very little that's good about this either - the beat is by-the-numbers trap with a steel drum contributing to the melody, Kodak Black still sounds like he's constantly slipping off the beat, the content is brand name porn, and Offset's verse, while the best of what we heard this week, honestly feels below par with the syllables he's cramming into some of the final lines. Honestly, it just feels slapdash and underweight and kind of empty, and while maybe it could have worked as a summer song, in the middle of October it just feels kind of limp and lifeless. Not terrible, but not really good either.

And that's this week - and it sucked, no way around it. At least Lil Baby and Gunna had A Star Is Born to push back against this dreck, but here... I'm stuck with a Bad Bunny and Drake collab as the best of the week, and at best I'd call it average. And I can't give out an Honourable Mention, I'm sorry, but I can give Worst of the Week to 'Rerun' from Quavo and Travis Scott, and two Dishonourable Mentions, one to 'Biggest Alley Oop' and the other to 'Lose It' with Lil Baby. Next week... I'm a little scared to say I'd prefer whatever Juice WRLD and Future deliver will be better, but I have to hope.

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