Tuesday, October 29, 2019

billboard BREAKDOWN - hot 100 - november 2, 2019

...okay, look, they can't all be good weeks. And what's frustrating is that in a week with new cuts from both Frank Ocean and Selena Gomez, the larger story is our new #1, but at least it's short enough to go down quickly and the album bomb coming next week will probably disrupt enough to render this week irrelevant quickly - good riddance.

So let's not dance around this: we have a new #1, and it's 'Someone You Loved' by Lewis Capaldi. And let me stress that it is a weak #1 - it's not dominant in any category, its streaming is poor, radio has peaked, and you can argue it only really got here on a sales discount. And that would normally mean 'Truth Hurts' by Lizzo could rebound and take its spot back again, especially given its radio dominance... but somehow it's even weaker now on streaming and sales, which is not a good sign. Nor is 'Senorita' by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello down at #3 - even despite being right up there on radio, it lags on streaming and sales have fallen back considerably. If I'm being brutally honest, I'd put more money on 'Circles' by Post Malone making a run from #4 - YouTube might not be there, but its consistently better on streaming and is narrowing that sales and radio gap with real traction. Now a lot of this will depend on how its streaming is insulated from the album bomb, but given how it seems okay... yeah, I can see this going to #1. Then we have 'No Guidance' by Chris Brown ft. Drake at #5, propped up on streaming and YouTube even as the radio went into freefall - honestly, I'd put money that 'Panini' by Lil Nas X will continue to make gains beyond this week and pass it, given that it jumped up to #6 on better radio and consistently better streaming. Then we have 'HIGHEST IN THE ROOM' by Travis Scott sputtering at #7 - yeah, dominant on streaming, but radio's been slower to get on-board than I expected and the sales have pretty much evaporated, not good signs. Meanwhile 'Ran$om' by Lil Tecca also slid to #8 for seemingly similar reasons: streaming still robust, but with no real sales and radio dropping, this seems to be in a precarious position. Then we have 'bad guy' by Billie Eilish at #9, and I'm a bit conflicted on how quickly it'll fade, mostly because it still has consistent strength across the board, including on the radio - I dunno, I think it'll have more stability than some of the songs above it only in one channel, just saying. Finally, breaking back into the top 10 with the stability that makes me think this'll be sticking around for months, we have '10,000 Hours' by Dan + Shay and Justin Bieber at #10 - the radio loves it, sales are solid, and even streaming isn't bad, so this'll probably entrench itself even beyond the album bomb, which... look, it's just kind of tepid and underwritten to me, but to each their own.

But on the flip side, if we go to our losers and dropouts... honestly, there's just not much in the latter category worth caring about, with the only significant ones seeming to be 'Bad Bad Bad' by Young Thug and Lil Baby and 'Saint-Tropez' by Post Malone. And in the losers category, the majority are from YoungBoy Never Broke Again having that better-than-expected album bomb: 'Self Control' slid to 62, 'Hot Now' went to 78, 'In Control' slid to 86, and 'Carter Son' dipped to 92. Then we saw DaBaby taking a few more hits - 'INTRO' slid to 67 and 'TOES' with Lil Baby and Moneybagg Yo went to 96 - and other debuts from last week like 'Lights Up' by Harry Styles tumbling to 66 and 'Kinfolks' by Sam Hunt skidding to 83. And outside of them, we just have songs that have just utterly flopped in the past few weeks, notably 'Don't Call Me Angel' by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey at 91 and 'Boyfriend' by Ariana Grande and Social House at 99 - which in the latter case might be one of the most unexpected and sudden collapses I've seen all year, yikes!

Now when we go to our returns and gains... am I the only one a little confused that 'Hate Me' by Ellie Goulding and Juice WRLD apparently took off enough on TikTok to get to 69? Then we have a Lauv remix of BTS' 'Make It Right' rebounding to 76 - it's going to collapse again, k-pop stans, I wouldn't get your hopes up - and then 'Nice To Meet You' by Niall Horan sliding back in at 90... although again, I can't get my hopes up with this one, especially given the album bomb coming and its questionable radio traction. And our gains feel just as scattered: yes, I'm happy that 'Dance Monkey' by Tones and I is continuing to surge up to 51, and that 'Love You Too Late' by Cole Swindell got a nice boost to 49 or even that 'We Were' by Keith Urban rose to 81, but if it's coming with 'One Man Band' by Old Dominion up to 32... look, I just haven't been able to get into the band, it's not clicking for me. Then we have 'Baby Sitter' by DaBaby and Offset at 59 and 'Rich As Hell' by YoungBoy Never Broke Again surging off the debut to 79... and seriously, that's the one people are getting onto, when there was so much better on the album? Really?

In any case, we have a very slim list of new arrivals, but I have to be honest, picking an Ideal Hit for this week was tough, because it leaves me in the situation where the album bomb coming from Kanye might well sweep it away if it even charted. Hell, he could block her from possibly charting next week too... so screw it, let's bring something righteous forward from a woman who deserves all the acclaim making her triumphant return...

Now I feel I have to be brutally honest: as much as this has grown on me, I'd struggle to put this among Kesha's best singles - in fact, given how lumpy and massive that bass feels in crushing the rest of the clattering percussion, it almost reminds me a little of 'Sorry Not Sorry' by Demi Lovato, especially given how often Kesha's voice hits the top of the mix. But everything else about this connects really well: the blasts of horns, the live drums, the swells of organ, Kesha's more raw singing cutting off of Big Freedia's shouts, and I have to love Kesha unabashedly wrenching southern gospel iconography for the sort of ribald, sexually-explicit dance anthem that she's always made. And reveling in that sort of juxtaposition... honestly, it's the sort of transgression against a life they clearly have lived that reminds me of why I loved 'Americans' by Janelle Monae so much; understanding the power, and then subverting it to a new end. Now this isn't on that tier - again, the production sloppiness is concerning - but it still kicks a lot of ass. Terrific song, really looking forward to that album next year!

But now onto our new arrivals, starting with...

98. 'DHL' by Frank Ocean - so like with other singles Frank Ocean has teased over the past few years, I have no illusions that this is going to lead to any album release; it's likely more tied into promoting the nightclub endeavours he's been working through the past few weeks, especially given the first snippets of this song were leaked back in December of 2018. And I'm kind of okay that this doesn't seem intended for more, because it's really underwhelming - muddy vocal mixing against the leaden percussion and blur of synths, and Frank Ocean hopping on triplet flows where he flexes, cycles through guys and girls, and picks up drugs... and I think it's a stretch to look for any subtext beyond that. And in comparison to the more layered and rich singing that Frank Ocean used to bring... I can see someone catching a vibe if they get high enough, but for me, this ain't it.

97. 'Somebody' by Internet Money, Lil Tecca & A Boogie wit da Hoodie - hey look, Lil Tecca is teaming up with his most obvious influence, so let's rattle through another trap song where there's absolutely no content worth remembering! Now that established, the watery guitars and keys off the cheaper trap percussion isn't bad, and Lil Tecca can at least roll well into the prechorus in his somewhat wistful desire for a girl who actually wants someone to treat him special, and that's... well, at least relatable? Granted, I'm not really convinced A Boogie adds much to this song, and each of the verses seem to run short of momentum, and none of the punchlines are all that memorable, but it's inoffensive enough - I don't mind it.

15. 'Lose You To Love Me' by Selena Gomez - so apparently Selena Gomez is rolling out her next album with a piano ballad that's all about her messy former relationship with Justin Bieber, and I'll be blunt: I stopped caring about this years ago. More interesting is that she's now working with Billie Eilish's producer and brother FINNEAS, which given Selena Gomez's vocal timbre might be a decent fit... until you discover one of her cowriters is Julia Michaels and you brace yourself for the worst. And sure enough, we have brittle strings touches that feel utterly lacking in groove or momentum and both verses that seem to be focused on the abuse Selena suffered to damn near a masochistic degree - which could be a decent way to add some reality to a picture of Bieber being a total dick, but given that it's Julia Michaels behind it, it yanks me out of the picture, given how she's given this template to acts who have shown a lot less vulnerability than Selena Gomez normally does. So even if this kind of makes sense for Selena Gomez, I feel like the anthemic elements never quite explode the way they should, especially given how I otherwise like the multi-tracking on the hook. But it might circle back to the tempo and groove at the end - the lyrics feel stilted against whatever spare beat we do get, and it never picks up or develops, which is a real problem. I dunno, I feel this might have worked if the piano melody was more dynamic or the torch song dynamic felt a bit more intimate instead of anthemic, but as it is it just feels undercooked and underwhelming, and as someone who defends Selena Gomez probably more than he should... eh, I expected more.

But given we have so few songs here... yeah, I'm as surprised as anyone, but Internet Money, Lil Tecca, and A Boogie are taking the best of the week with 'Somebody', with worst of the week going to 'DHL' by Frank Ocean of all things, if only because Frank can do so much better than that. Next week... an album bomb of which I don't think anyone is anticipating, so brace yourselves...

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