Billboard Hot 100 Top 10:
1- "God's Plan" - Drake (=) -- I posted the music video for this song on my personal Facebook page the other day and that post got a lot of attention. If you weren't one of those that saw that, then give this music video embedded right above this paragraph a watch. As reported in the video itself, the budget they were given to make this music video was $996,631.90. Instead of using that to make a super fancy video, they decided to give it away to various people and organizations who needed. The music video is them filming the reactions of the recipients. What an amazing thing to do! I think that alone makes me want this song to stay for 10 more weeks at No. 1. Which it might do anyways because this is the fourth week that the song has had 75 million U.S. streams. And that's without the help of the video, which will impact the song's numbers next week. Sales were steady from last week and radio is rising. And there's zero competition. So you better get comfortable with this being here.
2- "Perfect" - Ed Sheeran (=) -- Just like last week, the rest of the top five is the exact same. Which I'm kinda disappointed about because it's time for some movement here. But I'm still fine with "Perfect" being at No. 2. It still holds the top spot on the radio for a seventh week, even though Dua Lipa reigns again on pop radio. Both songs are starting to collapse on radio, so I don't expect either lead to last much longer. But the numbers for "Perfect" on radio will probably hold up well enough for it to slowly descend down instead of a sudden collapse whenever it decides to relinquish this No. 2 spot.
3- "Finesse" - Bruno Mars & Cardi B (=) -- It's making me happy that "Finesse" is having the inability to get higher than No. 3. Unlike "Perfect," though, "Finesse" is slowly rising up those radio charts, meaning it could swap places with "Perfect" soon. But unless the streaming for "God's Plan" falls, I don't see "Finesse" getting higher than No. 2.
4- "Havana" - Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug (=) -- I've been impressed with Camila's staying power in the top five. It's been great seeing her have this much success. However, I think this song is in big danger of having the floor fall out from under it as the radio numbers holding it up this high are falling much faster than both "Perfect" and "New Rules."
5- "rockstar" - Post Malone featuring 21 Savage (=) -- Seriously. Can SOMETHING please replace this in the top five? I'll take anything at this point. Even if it's another awful rap song because I just need this gone.
6- "Look Alive" - BlocBoy JB featuring Drake (new) -- I hate to go from praising Drake so much with his "God's Plan" music video to trashing him again so quickly, but I suppose this shows that I'm still not a Drake fan. I'm just a fan of the song and video for "God's Plan." I'll get more into this song down below, but this song's debut has absolutely nothing to do with BlocBoy JB, who is another SoundCloud rapper, this time from Memphis, and is celebrating his first ever Billboard Hot 100 hit, making him one of the few artists to get a top 10 debut with their first ever Hot 100 entry. But no, he did nothing to earn this. Drake found him. Drake wanted to collaborate. Drake sent him his half of the song. JB jumped up, recorded a quick verse of his own. Drake flew into town for the music video. And now the song debuts at No. 6 thanks to 34 million U.S. streams. I just hope this song goes the way of Drake's "Diplomatic Immunity," which debuted in the top 10 at the same time as "God's Plan," but now four weeks later is completely gone from the charts.
7- "Meant to Be" - Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line (+2) -- I was wanting Dua Lipa to replace "rockstar" in the top five, but I'll take this instead. As long as it actually does something and doesn't just peak here at No. 7. "Look Alive" will be gone next week and if "rockstar" actually tumbles enough, it'll set the stage for this to gain big. And if "Havana" also falls, this could go as high as No. 4. I suppose I shouldn't get too far ahead of myself, though. I'll just be happy with this being at No. 7 this week and cross my fingers that it can get higher.
8- "New Rules" - Dua Lipa (-2) -- I feel I've mentioned this song a ton already, but I am sad that instead of jumping into the top five this week, it instead falls down to No. 7. Radio has been the only thing holding this up and with that now starting to decline, I guess this was inevitable. But I hope it can remain consistent enough to at least hang out here in the bottom half of the top 10.
9- "All the Stars" - Kendrick Lamar & SZA (+22) -- The big story of this past week was "Black Panther" debuting to $242 million domestically over the four-day President's Day weekend. The movie boosts the "Black Panther" soundtrack along with it. The three prior songs that had already debuted in past weeks either held steady or got a huge boost. And five new songs debuted, giving us eight tracks from the album on the charts this week. The interesting part of all that is, despite the huge hype for this soundtrack, it was shoved aside in the movie. Only three of the 14 songs even played in the movie. Two of them were brief background noise and this song, "All the Stars" was merely the first end credits song. But hey, I enjoy this song, so I don't mind it being here. When it debuted I was curious as to how the lyrical content would fit into the context of the movie. It doesn't. It's just a random rap song for them to play in the end credits. The question for next week will be where does this song go from here?
10- "Stir Fry" - Migos (-2) -- That big album bomb for Migos a couple of weeks ago didn't last long. There's still a good handful of the songs hanging out on the Hot 100, but they're all falling pretty quickly, which I'm happy about. I thought this song would remain the one steady song out of all them, but it appears to not be lasting long, either. Which I'm not too upset about. This is probably the best Migos song that exists, but that's not saying much and I would really love it if Migos started to become irrelevant. If that means this song has to go away, too, then so be it.
Rising on the Hot 100:
17- "The Middle" - Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey (+5) -- I'm still waiting for "Let You Down" by NF and "Love." by Kendrick Lamar to jump into the top 10. But those songs remain stuck at No. 12 and No. 13, respectively, with "Pray for Me" by The Weeknd and Kendrick Lamar falling out of the top 10 to No. 11. "Pray for Me" was the only song actually featured in the "Black Panther" movie, albeit briefly, so I wouldn't be surprised to see that jump back into the top 10 next week. But amidst all that, it appears that "The Middle" by this trio of artists is another contender to go top 10 as it's doing pretty well on iTunes at the moment and is gaining some real radio traction. I will admit that this isn't the best that Zedd and Maren Morris have done, but it's an enjoyable enough dance tune that fits well on the radio.
22- "Mine" - Bazzi (+7) -- This is the final week that Valentine's Day effects the charts. So I'm hoping that means this will start to fall next week? Or at least see its momentum slow down? I guess we'll see next week if that was me being a good fortune teller or just wishful thinking on my part.
35- "River" - Eminem featuring Ed Sheeran (+7) -- This song confuses me as it can't decide if it's going to become a hit or if it's going to go away. I would kinda prefer the latter. And if you didn't see my comments on the Eminem album that I put on Facebook, I wasn't that impressed. The album is way too long and is all over the place thematically and in tone. It's like Eminem couldn't decide what direction to take the album, so he just did everything and shoved it together on one album. But if he wants to release "Like Home" featuring Alicia Keys, "Need Me" featuring P!nk, "Castle" or "Arose," those are the best songs from the album that he hasn't tried releasing yet. Let's get rid of "River" and replace it with one of those four.
38- "King's Dead" - Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Future & James Blake (+31) -- Out of the three "Black Panther" tracks that were released before the album and movie were released, this is the one track that I thought was both a bad track and would not fit in the movie at all. And I think this might be a situation where Ryan Coogler and/or the folks at Marvel actually may have agreed with me on when they listened to it because this did not show up in the movie. "All the Stars" was an end credits song while "Pray for Me" was played in the background for a minute while they were in Korea and the song "Opps" by Vince Staples and Yugen Blakrok, which didn't even chart this week, played during the car chase sequence for a moment. That's it.
43- "Wait" - Maroon 5 (+12) -- It makes me mad seeing this in the top 50. This is the generically boring Maroon 5 song that I keep forgetting even exists. If we can get this to stall out before it becomes a real hit, that would be nice.
47- "You Make It Easy" - Jason Aldean (+5) -- The only country song on this rising songs section this week. And that's because Jason Aldean just barely sneaks into the top 50. And it would be really nice if we shoved him back out next week.
61- "Dura" - Daddy Yankee (+20) -- A big jump for Daddy Yankee. If this continues to go higher, I'm sure we'll be getting a remix with some sort of American pop star to try to send it higher. We'll see how I feel about that when that comes. But as is, I really enjoy this song as a fun Latino dance song, so I hope for its continued success.
75- "Whatever It Takes" - Imagine Dragons (+12) -- The next single from Imagine Dragons? Joy. This is worse than "Believer" and "Thunder." Dan Reynolds says that he's going to do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes... for WHAT? To be successful, I suppose. I guess that's what he's saying in his pretty bad rap verses that he shouldn't do again. This is empty and meaningless. Just like the whole album. A good song to put you to sleep at night because it's also extremely boring. If Imagine Dragons wants to release a fourth single from this album, they should pick "I Don't Know Why." It's literally the only track from "Evolve" that sounds like decent, classic Imagine Dragons.
6- "Look Alive" - BlocBoy JB featuring Drake -- I talked about this song a bit up above with it debuting at No. 6 this week, but this is about what you'd expect from Drake. Seeing him doing something good with his music is more shocking. Phoned in, boring rap music with zero depth is more of what he's known for and that's what we get here. Drake spends most of his verse droning on about riches and success in typical, dull Drake fashion. JB actually brings a bit of personality into his verse, but his content isn't anymore interesting. There's a Drake chorus repeated three times in between the two rappers' verses. And that's it. There's really nothing to it outside being boring, nonsensical rap that I hope disappears after a few weeks.
49- "X" - ScHoolboy Q, 2 Chainz & Saudi -- Here we have the first of five new "Black Panther" songs. None of these five new songs appear in the movie, so I'll just simply judge them as regular rap songs. Now to be fair, the album title mentions that this is "music from and inspired by" the movie. It's just that the lean heavily on the "inspired by" aspect of this as only two of the 14 songs show up during the movie, with the third showing up in the end credits. The inspiration for this song "X" is most likely the X that the Wakandans make with their arms to greet each other. But with X being the roman numeral for 10, that's what we're going for here as Kendrick, who takes care of the hook of the song, despite not being credited here, repeats the question, "Are you on 10 yet?" Meaning, "Are you ready for action?" After Kendrick asks that on repeat in the chorus, each of the three credited artists take turns getting distracted about riches, fame and girls. I suppose they missed the memo that they are writing a "Black Panther" song and just rapped about whatever the heck they wanted.
62- "Plug Walk" - Rich the Kid -- Not a "Black Panther" track. Thankfully. The world, nor the "Black Panther" movie, needs any of this kid. Send him off into space where he thinks he is in the song. Like, seriously. There's an astronaut on the cover of this single and a lot of space references as well as space-like sounds throughout the song. But I spent way too long trying to figure out how everything connects together in this and I finally found that the term plug is slang for drug dealer. There's also a lot of references to money, girls and fancy cars, which he refers to as his spaceships. The song isn't quite as annoying as "New Freezer," but that's not saying much.
63- "The Ways" - Khalid & Swae Lee -- The second of five new "Black Panther" songs. Also not included in the movie. With this one, I'm not sure how it would fit into the movie or what the inspiration is here. Khalid and Swae Lee express their desires to have a power girl, which means this is a love song and they're confused because this girl is mysterious. I suppose this could be referring to Lupita's character Nakia, the love interest of Black Panther, but even that feels like a stretch. So I could've used more creativity in actually referring to the movie instead of just having this be a random rap song. Or more of a pop song as neither Khalid nor Swae Lee do much rapping. The song isn't bad on its own. But it's mostly just boring and doesn't have any depth to it.
67- "Paramedic!" - SOB x RBE -- The third of five new "Black Panther" songs. Again, this song is also not in the movie itself. And SOB x RBE are a rap group consisting of Yhung TO, DaBoii, Slimmy B, Lul G, Kiing Rod and Yhung Wayne, the last two of whom don't show up in this specific song. So we have Slimmy B, Lul G, DaBoii and Yhung TO each taking a turn rapping a verse with Kendrick. Kendrick does the chorus in between with Zacari and Kendrick, who collaborated on the song "Love.," taking the intro. So yeah, a lot of cooks in the kitchen with this song. And I kinda wish it would just been Zacari and Kendrick, because the intro starts out really good. We even open with the line "I am Killmonger," which makes me believe they are rapping a song from the perspective of Killmonger, which I would be down for. With themes of them establishing their dominance, I can see this working out, but when our SOB x RBE group jump in, the song loses focus. These guys are that bad overall, but I think they forgot they were in a "Black Panther" track and just ramble on about establishing dominance in the streets. I got bored after the first verse because it was just copy and paste with each new voice added, but it was four verses long.
71- "Big Shot" - Kendrick Lamar & Travis Scott -- The fourth of five new "Black Panther" songs that didn't show up in the movie. Unlike our previous song "Paramedic!," this song is more simple with just two rappers instead of six rappers all stepping over each others' feet. The problem is Kendrick and Travis don't do a lot here. The song opens up with the lyrics "Wakanda! Welcome!" But that's as Wakandan as the song gets. Kendrick and Travis instead spend the song reminiscing about their rich and fame, which is really disappointing come from Kendrick, who often puts depth and passion into his projects. But I guess he just didn't care too much here. I kinda like the flute that plays in the background. It gives the song a light-hearted, unique tone to it. It paints the picture of people living relaxed and peaceful, meaning the song had potential here, had there been lyrics that were worth anything.
72- "Friends" - Marshmello & Anne-Marie -- This is obviously not a "Black Panther" track. Marshmello doesn't quite fit into that movie's style. If you don't know Anne-Marie, she's an English singer who was featured by Clean Bandit on the song "Rockabye," which I really loved. "Rockabye" is the only time she's charted in the U.S., even though she's had a decent amount of success over in her home country of the U.K. "Friends" now becomes her first U.S. crossover as a lead act with her and Marshmello being listed as co-leads on this song. No, this song isn't as awesome as "Rockabye," but that's because Marshmello doesn't hold a candle to Clean Bandit when it comes to the construction of songs. But I do like the attitude that Anne-Marie brings to this song as she's trying to drive home the message to this guy that they're just friends. Marshmello backs that up with some harsh tones to make this a more "in your face" sort of song rather than a typical Marhsmello dance beat. So this doesn't blow me away, but it's enjoyable.
91- "Black Panther" - Kendrick Lamar -- The fifth and final new "Black Panther" song this week. This being the title track as well as the track opening the album, you would hope there would be something worthwhile here that actually feels inspired by the movie, which is something those previous four tracks I have talked about don't have. And this does! Although it's not super deep in doing so and the song is rather short and simple at just two minutes, which is probably why it barely managed to chart. Kendrick spends the first half of the song saying all the things that he's king of. The second half of the song is him giving a monologue, as if he were a king speaking to his people or possibly to himself. He ends by saying, "I am T'Challa," which of course drives home the idea that the whole song was spoken from T'Challa's perspective. And it works fairly decently. Although I don't think it's quite as focused and sharp as Kendrick usually is.
96- "I Like Me Better" - Lauv -- We finish this week off with a song that's developing into a decent worldwide hit as it's already top 50 in nearly 20 countries, mostly across Europe. We'll see if it catches on the U.S., which is where this guy is from. He's a 23-year-old kid who released his first EP back in 2015. This song was inspired by a relationship he had when he was living in New York City and is pretty simple as he states, "I like me better when I'm with you." In addition to the lyrics being simple, most of the song is fairly stripped down instrumentally speaking with a slight electronic touch right after each chorus finishes. So it's simple, but it works. For those wanting more complexity to the song, there are a few remixes to the song, most notably being a Cheat Codes remix that adds a lot more EDM to the song as well as a Ryan Riback remix that is probably the best of these three versions. For context, Ryan Riback is the one who remixed Starley's "Call On Me," so he's got a lot of talent when it comes to remixing pop songs into EDM hits. At least with both of these songs, anyways.