Billboard Hot 100 Top 10:
1- "Perfect" - Ed Sheeran (=) -- So this is awkward. The song "Perfect" celebrates its sixth week at top, but Beyonce isn't invited to the party this time around. Billboard has reverted back to simply billing Ed Sheeran as the duet version with Beyonce is no longer contributing to the bulk of sales, streams or airplay. Apparently this isn't the first time temporary artist credit has been placed on a song when that version of the song is contributing heavily to the song's success. All version of "Perfect" will still contribute to its chart points, but we're apparently just billing Ed Sheeran now when his original version is getting the bulk of the success. So that's that. I mentioned in the last two weeks that Justin Timberlake could challenge for this top spot. He debuted at No. 9 this week instead. The actual contender comes with "Finesse" by Bruno and Cardi, which jumped 32 spots to No. 3 this week. I'm not sure when "Finesse" takes over, but it's looking like our next chart topper.
2- "Havana" - Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug (=) -- Camila celebrates her seventh week at No. 2. That means if she stays at No. 2 for three more weeks, she'll tie the record for most weeks at No. 2. You can take the glass half empty approach to that if you want, being sad that Camila won't make it to No. 1 with this song, but I'll take the glass half full instead because seven weeks at No. 2 is pretty darn good. How many artists can brag that they have the second most popular song in the country?
3- "Finesse" - Bruno Mars & Cardi B (+32) -- Part of me was surprised to see this jump so high, but then when I realized it debuted at No. 35 last week with just one day of sales and streaming and only three days of airplay. So this is the song's first full week of tracking. Which does mean it has the potential to experience a second week drop next week. If it survives next week without too much damage, then that's a sign that this is here to stay. I'll take it, I suppose. This is better than the next four songs that appear on this list. And as I said last week, this is also better than "24K Magic" and "That's What I Like." But my stance remains the same. This is a very shallow song. Bruno is bragging that he's with a really hot girl with that physical appearance seemingly being the only thing he cares about her. And Cardi B adds nothing to the song. She's there briefly at the beginning and end, proving that Bruno only brought her on to help with the song's success and not because she adds anything musically to the song.
4- "rockstar" - Post Malone featuring 21 Savage (-1) -- The good thing about "Finesse" jumping to No. 3 is that it knocked "rockstar" down another notch. Now seriously, why is this song STILL here? I'd predict that fans of Post Malone are even starting to get bored of this song after so many weeks, but who am I to judge? I was bored of this song after 30 seconds of my first listen. If you love Post Malone and consider this an epic masterpiece, I seriously question your taste in music.
5- "No Limit" - G-Eazy featuring A$AP Rocky & Cardi B (=) -- I'm glad this isn't going any higher. But I'd be even happier if this started to decline. Who on this planet cares about G-Eazy? The only reason he is this high is because the music gods knighted Cardi B as a superstar. Everything she touches turns to gold. G-Eazy and A$AP Rocky better be on their knees praising her because they had nothing to do with this song's success.
6- "Thunder" - Imagine Dragons (-2) -- I take it the previous wind of success for "Thunder" can be attributed to the holiday purchasing and year-end radio lists after all. After all that is going away, "Thunder" seems to be going away, too. Good. Let's speed up that process, please.
7- "Bad at Love" - Halsey (-1) -- It's also nice to see Halsey dropping a spot after soaring up to No. 6 last week. I was excited to see this song almost dropping out of the top 10. Let's get back to that.
8- "Too Good at Goodbyes" - Sam Smith (-1) -- It's still nice to see Sam Smith hanging around. I don't know how much longer this song will get in the top 10, but I appreciate the consistency as I'll take every week I can get.
9- "Filthy" - Justin Timberlake (new) -- I mentioned the last couple of weeks that Justin Timberlake has a great opportunity here. He has a new album coming out next month, two days before he performs at the Super Bowl LII halftime show. That sent Lady Gaga's sales soaring through the roof last year. So if this song fails, then it's all on JT not giving us a quality song to connect to. A debut at No. 9 is nothing to scoff at. While not nearly as good as the No. 1 debut that "Can't Stop the Feeling!" got in 2016, a debut anywhere in the top 10 is worth celebrating. Now the next few weeks will tell the real story here. Can this catch on and serve as JT's next huge hit, foreshadowing good will for his upcoming album? Or will this fade away, becoming a bad omen for JT's 2018? I don't know. It debuted with 79,000 sales and 15.8 million U.S. streams. Those aren't bad numbers. But those do mean that JT will have to rely on the song gaining traction rather than solely banking on his comeback pushing the numbers.
10- "MotorSport" - Migos, Nicki Minaj & Cardi B (-2) -- It's really refreshing seeing this song fail. With several songs knocking on the door, including Dua Lipa's "New Rules" at No. 11 and Kendrick Lamar's "Love." at No. 13, I really hope this is the final week for this song. It's time to really shake up this top 10. Also, can I quickly celebrate the fact that "Gucci Gang" got officially booted from the top 10 this week?
Rising on the Hot 100:
14- "Bartier Cardi" - Cardi B featuring 21 Savage (+5) -- The other song that got booted from the top 10 this week was "Bodak Yellow," which had a second life for two weeks with holiday sales and year-end radio lists. Speaking of which, all those songs that dominated this section last week are all gone or severely declining, meaning 2017 has finally given way and allowed for 2018 to start making its impact. And of course we have yet another Cardi B song heading for the top 10 as this looks to avenge the dismissal of "Bodak Yellow" from the region. Now listen, in addition to Cardi really needing to come up with better names for her own singles, this is just not good at all. "Bodak Yellow" grew on me a bit just because it was better than all the awful trash around it. I don't see this song having the same effect and I certainly don't want 21 Savage to find any additional success. No one on earth needs any more 21 Savage in their lives.
15- "Let You Down" - NF (+3) -- The next two songs give me hope, though. This is a Christian rap song that continues to stun me. After getting pushed away by all the holiday risers, this is back on its way up. It would be great if this could sneak into the top 10, at least for a few weeks.
18- "Meant to Be" - Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line (+6) -- If I'm not mistaken, this is our top country song of the week and that makes me happy. It's the perfect country pop song, showing that Bebe Rexha has the perfect voice for country in choosing to dive into that genre a bit. She also has great chemistry with Florida Georgia Line. This combined with the previously mentioned "Let You Down" as well as "New Rules" (No. 11) and "Love." (No. 13), gives me hope that we can have some good music in the top 10. So let's make it happen!
31- "Sky Walker" - Miguel featuring Travis Scott (+7) -- I don't like the idea that this song has been slowly rising on the charts. It doesn't feel like it has quite enough moment to make any real impact, which is a good thing because this is a very unintelligent song. I really hope that's not just hopefully thinking on my part.
32- "River" - Eminem featuring Ed Sheeran (+13) -- It's nice to see Eminem recovering. But I was really hoping that "Walk on Water" would be the Eminem song that does well. This Ed Sheeran collaboration doesn't do it for me, but it's still better than most of the awful rap songs on the charts, so I'm not complaining.
39- "Marry Me" - Thomas Rhett (+5) -- I guess Thomas Rhett is gaining real traction with this song? I was hoping that it was going to be a fluke. But whatever. These types of country songs have a low ceiling that the song has almost hit, so I'm not too worried.
55- "Tell Me You Love Me" - Demi Lovato (+17) -- Oh this is encouraging! Demi's album was a mixed bag for me, but this here is classic Demi for me. To see it jump 17 spots this week makes me really happy. Let's make this a hit!
64- "This is Me" - Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble (+19) -- Do I keep having to remind the world that I don't like "The Greatest Showman"? This is an empty, generic empowerment anthem written by a couple of privileged white boys who have never had the experience of being oppressed. And its use in the movie was a huge missed opportunity. But I guess this is going to hang around for as long as the movie is somehow still gaining huge traction at the box office. I'm just glad that this song lost to "Remember Me" from "Coco" at the Critics Choice Awards this past week. Let's hope the Oscars go down the same route as the Critics instead of being dumb like the Globes.
70- "Heaven" - Kane Brown (+12) -- Out of all the country songs to get huge gains last week due to end of year radio play I'm assuming, this is one that I'm unhappy seems to be experiencing actual traction on country radio. Kane Brown is a very unimpressive country artist for me.
72- "Stir Fry" - Migos (+17) -- I'm so used to rolling my eyes whenever I see a Migos song rising on the charts that it's going to take a bit of conditioning to remind myself that this is an enjoyable song from them. I won't be offended if this does go away, but if we have to have a Migos song doing well, I would definitely prefer this one!
86- "Best Friend" - Sofi Tukker featuring NERVO, The Knocks & Alisa Ueno (+14) -- I was wondering if last week's debut was going to end up as a one-week fluke for this, but it appears that this actually might gain real traction on the Hot 100? I'm happy about that! This is a creatively fun song. Some might be upset with how many different directions it goes or how many cooks in the kitchen there are, but it works for me. I just have to work on blocking the Animoji section of the commercial from my brain while listening to this song. Because, as a reminder, this got popularity thanks to that iPhone X commercial that started playing back in September.
9- "Filthy" - Justin Timberlake -- I've heard a lot of hate directed towards this song and I want to say that at least a portion of it is due to the fact that people were expecting something much different from Justin Timberlake. I think part of this was because in JT's album introduction video it sounded like he was about to deliver something completely different that maybe even had JT testing the country music waters. He also said that the album is inspired by his wife, his son, his family and where he's from (Tennessee). And with that introduction in mind... we get this? A song about him attacking his haters while asking this girl to put her filthy hands all over him? That doesn't sound like it's inspired by his family and his home. Especially not because it's an R&B song that sounds like he collaborated with Skrillex. So what's the deal JT?
The other reason people are a bit taken aback because JT's song "Can't Stop the Feeling!" is still on people's minds. I guess people were expecting more family-friendly, poppy, dance tunes from JT? Forgetting the fact that that song was not indicative of a new direction JT was going, but rather was a song specifically written for Dreamworks' animated film "Trolls." No, "Filthy" wasn't written for a kids audience like that song was. Are we forgetting that JT was one of the lead singers of the boy band NSYNC, was responsible for the famous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl halftime performance in February 2004 and released an album in 2006 called "Future Sex/Love Sounds" which featured the single "Sexy Back"? JT is not a musician known for his family friend music, thus his work on "Trolls" is more of an anomaly than anything.
So if we forget about "Trolls" and we forget about what he said in his album intro video, I think we can give "Filthy" a much more fair judgment. When I listened to it, it reminded me a lot of "Suit & Tie" and "Mirrors" from his previous album in 2013. Thus while many people were shocked that this wasn't what they were expecting from JT and hate it because of that, to me this sounds exactly like a typical JT song. As such, I'm not madly in love with it, just like I was never in love with "Suit & Tie" and "Mirrors," but it's also not a bad song. It has a nice, slow groove to it that continues to build as the song goes along. It's grown on me over the last week or so and I think it has the potential to grow on others as long as they are willing to strip themselves of the expectations they had going in and remember who this is that's singing. And I'm still quite intrigued by this upcoming album "Man of the Woods" because there's still the potential that we get the album he was talking about in his promotion.
43- "All the Stars" - Kendrick Lamar & SZA -- If you haven't heard the news, Kendrick Lamar has been put in charge of the soundtrack for Marvel's upcoming movie "Black Panther," which I think is fitting. We have a superhero movie with a predominately black cast being released during black history month and a black rapper with actual talent who is universally praised is in charge of the music. That gets me excited. This here is the lead single from that soundtrack and I think it's a solid introduction. Kendrick Lamar and SZA both get equal time in this song and they play off each other quite well with their respective verses. The central theme of the song is love as the first line is "Love, let's talk about love." Which is then followed up by the question "Is it anything and everything you hoped for?" We then get a narrative where it seems like when this specific couple managed to get closer to their dreams of falling in love that it wasn't what they were hoping for as both Kendrick and SZA feel angry and heartbroken. As far as Kendrick's side of things, this isn't as potent and sharp as his music from his own album last year. But on SZA's side of things, this is the best she's presented me with. But both are equally good. It's just that I've seen better from Kendrick and nothing interesting thus far from SZA. The final aspect of this is that I'm trying to think of how this song fits in with the "Black Panther" movie. But I suppose I'll find out next month!
82- "For You (Fifty Shades Freed)" - Liam Payne & Rita Ora -- Hey look, a second movie soundtrack for February. Now if there's one thing I'll give the "Fifty Shades" franchise credit for, it's that they've done a decent job with their soundtrack, with Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do" being an excellent example of that. That song is beautiful. And last year's big song "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" by Zayn and Taylor Swift wasn't bad, either. On that trend, we have another romantic song that works rather well on its own merits. At least for most of it. Rita Ora starts this off and she owns this song, almost bringing it to the level of "Love Me Like You Do." The problem is that she's paired with someone as uninteresting as Liam Payne who sounds as uninterested and bored as ever with lyrics that feel very much like a Liam Payne song. Then we bring Rita back in and she does a good enough job to make up for Liam's incompetencies. No this song isn't super deep, but as a song written for a romance film, it does its job. Too bad the movie itself won't do the song justice. But at least Rita tried and if this gives her a big hit, I'm OK with this as she has yet to hit top 50 on the U.S. Hot 100 in a song she serves as the lead. She definitely deserves better.
85- "Nowadays" - Lil Skies featuring Landon Cube -- I was hoping that we were going to leave these dumb SoundCloud rappers in 2017. But I suppose that was wishful thinking. As a general rule of thum, if I see a new rapper with the name "Lil" in front of some other word, that's a huge red flag. It works for Lil Wayne. It's dumb for everyone else, because it just sounds like they're trying too hard to be cool and hip. Lil Skies' real name is Kimetrius Foose and he's a 19-year-old rapper from Pennsylvania who exploded because of a few songs he released on SoundCloud and YouTube went viral. Now he has an album that was released on January 10 and we have two songs from that album charting. The positive thing about this kid is that he's not mumbling or loading his song with Migos-style echoes and sound effects. And he's not rapping about killing people or escaping prison. And this song actually has a decent flow. But you know it's been really bad recently when that bar is something I'm compliment someone on when they pass it because most of these SoundCloud rappers haven't. But that's as much praise as I'm going to get. He starts by saying that he's too cool for a girlfriend and that we should live like we'll die when the world ends, so it's alright every time we break a sin. Yeah, this sounds like an uneducated kid lazily writing a rap song that somehow caught on. It's not offensive. But it's just dumb and forgettable.
92- "I Miss You" - Clean Bandit featuring Julia Michaels -- Oh sure. I spend the whole year in 2017 hoping that "Symphony" charts for at least one week. But no. Nothing. It was a major hit everywhere else in the world, but we wouldn't even let it on for one week in the U.S.? Shame. But now we're less than a month into 2018 and this next song from Clean Bandit, which is far less interesting, has already made it on? Oh goodness. But oh well. At least we have something from Clean Bandit on the Hot 100. That means we're capable of having more. On record, if you missed my favorite EDM songs of 2017 list, "Symphony," by Clean Bandit featuring Zara Larsson was my No. 2 song on that list and it would've been around the same spot on my favorite songs of 2017 list had it charted on the Hot 100. "I Miss You" by Clean Bandit featuring Julia Michaels wasn't even good enough to get on the honorable mentions. But it's not awful. The instrumentation by Clean Bandit is interesting enough and Julia Michaels does a good enough job with her vocals. The lyrical content just isn't there. Julia is sad about her recent breakup. She misses him. That's it. Now again, I'm comparing this song to previous Clean Bandit songs like "Rather Be" and "Symphony." When put next to those, it doesn't hold up. But this is still better or at least on par with the other stuff on the charts right now, so I'm still happy it's here and I hope it has success.
98- "Red Roses" - Lil Skies featuring Landon Cube -- See the previous song from Lil Skies for more info on him. This one is apparently the one that actually got him famous on SoundCloud. And I have no idea why. This has two long verses separated by the hook. The first verse sees Lil Skies droning on about doing drugs and other things. Each line is the same melody repeated over and over, so musically this is extremely lazy and dull, which means I was bored after 30 seconds. Landon Cube at least has a bit more personality in his verse as Lil Skies just sounds like he's drunk and half asleep during his part. But said second verse isn't that interesting. I just hope that both of these songs go away after a week or two and we never have to hear from these untalented kids again.