Tuesday, September 24, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - september 28, 2019

These are the album bomb weeks I always tend to find a bit perplexing... because the fuse seems "delayed", for lack of better words. Post Malone may have cut a swathe across the Hot 100, but like with other huge album bombs, many of his songs didn't crash out that hard, which meant that many other songs didn't rebound as big as you'd expect. All of this translates to a relatively mild week for me, and while I'm not complaining, I can't help but feel I'm waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Anyway, our top ten, where 'Truth Hurts' by Lizzo solidifies its hold on the #1 thanks to rock solid sales and dominant radio - yeah, her lack of streaming is a weakness, but when your closest competition is 'Senorita' by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello at #2, which lags in every category and took losses on sales, she doesn't have much to worry about. We did see a mild bounce back for 'bad guy' by Billie Eilish to #3, but it's tanking across the board, only highlighting the prominent gap between our top two and everything else... which leads us to the most unwelcome gain thus far, 'Someone You Loved' by Lewis Capaldi at #4. It's got the radio and sales to make a serious push... although without even consistent streaming, I do question how much of a run it can seriously make. Compare this to 'Panini' by Lil Nas X, entering the top 10 and vaulting into the top 5 thanks to robust streaming, huge YouTube, and even a little radio presence on the rise - yeah, the sales aren't really there, but I can see this making a play, at least for a little. It blew right past 'Ran$om' by Lil Tecca at #6 - huge streaming but pretty much nothing else - and 'No Guidance' by Chris Brown ft. Drake at #7, which is holding on streaming and YouTube but isn't consistent enough on the radio to make much of a run on anything. Then we have the expected dropoffs for Post Malone as the album bomb fades, with 'Goodbyes' with Young Thug fading back to #8 and 'Circles' going to #9 - although in the latter case, it's got the streaming stability and is making the radio run to likely stick around for a solid while. Finally, sliding back into the top 10 is 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus - even if everyone is sick of it, the radio and streaming is still holding strong!

But to continue into our losers and dropouts, the funny thing about a lingering album bomb is that you'd expect it to take out even more songs that are flailing, and Post Malone absolutely did that with 'Hey Look Ma, I Made It' by Panic! At The Disco clinching its year-end spot and both 'Go Loko' by YG, Tyga and Jon Z and 'Easier' by 5 Seconds Of Summer likely missing it. But what I found fascinating is that it wasn't just Post Malone's new songs suffering losses. Yes, 'Enemies' with DaBaby went to 26, 'Hollywood's Bleeding' fell to 31, 'Saint-Tropez' melted to 33, 'Die For Me' with Future and Halsey dropped to 42, 'On The Road' with Meek Mill and Lil Baby crashed at 48, 'A Thousand Bad Times' skidded to 60, 'Staring At The Sun' with SZA burned out at 70, and 'Allergic' spiraled to 78, but it wasn't just him! 'Self Control' by YoungBoy Never Broke Again also collapsed to 83, and 'Shameless' by Camila Cabello flamed out as expected to 95, along with continued losses for 'Rearview Town' by Jason Aldean and 'All To Myself' by Dan + Shay - not good for two songs fighting for their year-end spot. Hell, the only other loser was 'Slide Away' by Miley Cyrus, which is just fading out with no momentum.

Now here's the thing: normally you don't see losers rebound from this sort of album bomb so much songs that were consistently strong before pick up gains in the wake - hell, the only loser that made a recovery was 'Right Back' by Khalid, and I'm not complaining about that one; granted, it's counterbalanced by the one new arrival '223's' by YNW Melly and 9LOKKNINE surging to 59, but you take what you can get. And indeed, we did see some songs holding steady from last week make their move: 'How Do You Sleep?' by Sam Smith up to 29, 'On Chill' by Wale ft. Jeremih at 35 - seriously, how is this making a run, even with radio - 'Time' by NF at 53, 'Ballin' by Mustard ft. Roddy Ricch at 55, 'Prayed for You' by Matt Stell at 57, and 'Good Vibes' by Chris Janson up to 74. Of course, the big story for me is 'Even Though I'm Leaving' by Luke Combs getting a serious push up to 62, and the big question here is whether it can make a strong enough run to clinch a year-end spot. Watching its radio and sales run, it's very possible, but there's only eight weeks left in the Billboard year after this, so it will be down to the wire... Oh, and we also had a few scattered returns for which I don't expect much: 'What If I Never Get Over You' by Lady Antebellum at 96, 'Wish Wish' by DJ Khaled, Cardi B and 21 Savage rebounding at 98, and 'We Were' by Keith Urban at 99.

But now for a pretty brisk list of new arrivals, starting with...

100. 'Remember You Young' by Thomas Rhett - I'll be honest, when I saw a new Thomas Rhett song debuting on the Hot 100, I just felt drained... but I will give him credit for picking one of the two good ones on his newest album. A piano ballad that leans into gentler tones on what sounds like an accordion and deeper strings section - yeah, there's a drippy beat that doesn't quite work and I do think some of the bombast is a bit oversold, but the organic drums do slide in pretty quickly - as Thomas Rhett makes his lightweight version of Alan Jackson's 'Remember When' as he focuses only on remembering the best earlier moments. Which... honestly, I could question that as not quite as mature as it could be, but this song is too benign and pleasant to criticize there. And yeah, this is fine enough - not his best by any mark, but not bad either.

97. '1, 2 Many' by Luke Combs & Brooks & Dunn - this is the sort of collaboration that if you know your 90s country well makes a ton of sense, because Brooks & Dunn were never the deepest or heaviest of their scene, but they did throw together a rollicking good time, which makes them a natural fit for Luke Combs now. And this... look, I don't know what I was expecting, but if you had told me this had dropped in '91, I probably would have bought it, because this is exactly the sort of neotraditional, honky tonk country with rich electric guitar tones, a quick tempo, saloon piano, and decent harmonies that makes a really good Brooks & Dunn song. Hell, it's almost to the point where you can tell Luke Combs fits in a little too seamlessly and you wish he had a little more interplay, especially considering when you look at the lyrics this is as direct and propulsive of a drinking song I've seen in some time. But for this kind of chugging blatant throwback that clearly owes a lot of its DNA to 'Down On The Farm' by Tim McGraw... yeah, I like it a lot - fun stuff!

91. 'Hot Girl Bummer' by blackbear - okay, no, we're not doing this, we're not enabling one of the most flagrantly unlikable and shallow acts working in music today to try and flip what Megan Thee Stallion has built, nobody asked for this! And I don't buy for a second that blackbear is so out of touch that he didn't know how Megan was moving, so him trying to capitalize on it remains cheap as all hell... oh, and the song is goddamn asinine. Why did you make the handclap and guitar sound so damn cheap and peppy on the hook when it doesn't match any of the atmosphere of the song, and remain a disaffected non-presence as a sing-rapper? But like always, what's truly gross about blackbear is his writing, where it seems like he's setting out to take down every girl who got into 'hot girl summer' but framing it as an 'everyone sucks including me' anthem... but that's never how it feels. The girls are framed as 'too thicc' and who buy likes and who cheat every Thursday, unlike him who has the bottles and racks and does one more line and can't fit in a Trogan and is pulling up with an 'emo chick that's broken' - seriously, the undercurrent of pissy misogyny is hard to overlook. So yeah, this is flat out terrible - can we consign blackbear back to irrelevance where he belongs?

76. 'Mood Swings' by A Boogie wit da Hoodie - I've been frustrated that I haven't found an A Boogie song I can truly like yet - 'Look Back At It' actually got close for me thanks to the production and melody, but he never quite got there on the content... and this isn't doing it for me either. For one, why does the entire vibe from the elongated syllables near the end of lines to the watery brand of autotune feel like a really frustrating Future impression from three years ago? I get that might be part of what Wheezy does, but the oscillations of scratchy beat off a half-buried weedy guitar and standard trap beat don't add much here, especially when A Boogie doesn't seem to make himself all that appealing, where apparently he realized his best friend was nasty as hell - 'kissing on bitches like lesbians' - so he screwed her. And then on the verse we learn there are people trying to screw his wife and the whiplash in tone and content is excused as 'mood swings'. Or, you know, just an incoherent and underwhelming song - I'll go with that.

75. 'Behind Barz' by Drake - I did not know Drake put out a song recently, although the buzz was suggesting it was primarily for his U.K. audience... and yet I have to ask, given all the drama he's had with Wiley over there in recent weeks, I'm not sure him co-opting grime flows and styles yet again is remotely a good idea, especially off a compilation with a lot of grime artists! But here's the thing: this is not a new song, not really: all of these are bars we already heard when he did a freestyle in the UK for Link Up TV, only with a bit of reverb and better blending! And as such, I don't have anything new to say about this - the flexing is utterly unconvincing with the phony patois he's trying, and while I like the piano melody here, if you're just going to repackage a freestyle, it feels like yet another cash grab from Drake in a year where all he's really delivered is underwhelming snippets across his career! And this one... yeah, we could have left this behind, easily.

45. 'Graveyard' by Halsey - am I the only one kind of worried about Halsey? Yeah, 'Without Me' is still huge, but 'Nightmare' was a flop single and badly made to boot, and if she's doubling down into the darker side of mainstream pop... well, again, I was worried how well she'd stick the landing. Her verse on 'Die For Me' was promising, and this... well, okay, it's better produced than 'Nightmare', but I'm lukewarm on this at best. Yeah, I get the reflective impulse that questions how much you give to someone in a relationship when they're in a downward spiral, but I can't be the only one who feels like the autotune touches, handclaps, and brighter melody on the hook feels weirdly dissonant with the lyrical sentiment, especially when the bridge seemed to promise a darker change-up that doesn't happen. More specifically, it feels like an AURORA song that would have dropped late last year... except nowhere near as organic or textured or interesting. Which... okay, fine, it's still one of Halsey's better singles in recent memory... but if she's trying to push her album off this, she might in bigger trouble than she'll admit, just saying.

40. 'Camelot' by NLE Choppa - well, the follow-up was bound to show up eventually... but my god, does anyone really care that much about another mediocre trap song with bad mixing and interchangeable content? And while this might be better mixed than 'Shotta Flow' - although the vocals sound like a total pileup of sloppily layered adlibs beneath the clunky trap beat - I'm not hearing what's so striking about this. A lot of gunplay, a lot of references to him getting his dick sucked where he wants her to gag on it, and punchlines that feel like they're supposed to be funny but just aren't, like that Baskin Robins line and referencing Johnny Bravo. Again, I don't really dislike this, but I don't see much of the appeal here either, and I'm not going to remember it - next!

13. 'Don't Call Me Angel' by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus & Lana Del Rey - I've been hearing buzz about this collaboration for some time now, and on the surface I was kind of fascinated by the combination of artists, as none of them seem to inhabit much of a similar pop ecosystem in style or sound. And yet... I kind of like this? I think a lot of it has to do with the production: the rattling keys behind the fizzy trap progression, the slight synth horns, relying on Ariana's cooing to anchor most of the song, softening some of Miley's biting sharpness, and then giving over the bridge to submerge into the reverb saturation that has always been Lana's comfort zone. And while I'm always the sort who prefers a little more interplay as a trio, they do sound pretty solid together. And the sentiment of not wanting to be placed on a pedestal, appreciating the attention but never losing control of the power dynamic, they sell that well - hell, Lana playing into her sultry side at the end is actually a good way to drive this home, especially as she's more comfortable with that sort of ambiguity than Ariana and especially Miley. I think if I were to have a problem is that it kind of lacks a climax - the hook is pretty and has flair, but I did hope a little more rawness or intensity would creep in, amplify the sense of danger beyond just the minor keys in the melody; so I can see why some might say this lacks impact. But for me... yeah, I like this, more than I thought I would.

And that also means it's getting the Honourable Mention this week, with the best easily going to '1,2 Many' by Luke Combs and Brooks & Dunn. Worst of the week is even more obvious: 'Hot Girl Bummer' by blackbear takes this by far, with the Dishonourable Mention going to 'Behind Barz' by Drake for being a thoroughly lazy, embarrassing and cheap cash grab for a UK audience that I reckon isn't buying this. Anyway, next week holds the question of how long any of this will last, especially on a relatively quiet week ahead...

No comments:

Post a Comment