Billboard Hot 100 Top 10:
1- "Humble." - Kendrick Lamar (+2) -- All hail King Kendrick!! Last week I admitted that I was getting tired of "Shape of You" at the top. I still think it's a fun song that I'd rather have on top than some other songs making a push, but it was time for Ed to be done and I was rooting for Kendrick to be the one to dethrone him. I didn't think it was going to happen this week, but I'm glad it did as the huge boost on streaming from Kendrick's album drop was enough to push this over the hump to get to No. 1. Now let's hope this can hang onto this spot next week as the week after album drops usually deflate songs back to where they were previously. I'd really like for this to rein supreme for a while because I've grown to really love this song. It's one of my favorites from Kendrick's new album that you'll be hearing a lot about in this post given that the other 13 tracks all debuted on the Hot 100 this week.
2- "Shape of You" - Ed Sheeran (-1) -- For the first time in quite some time, the radio for this song actually fell. But not by much as its still super strong. In theory, if Kendrick dropped significantly next week, this could return to the top for a 13th week, but let's all hope this doesn't. It was a nice placeholder until something else came around, but that something else is here. "Humble." is a much better song that deserves to stick at the top for a while.
3- "That's What I Like" - Bruno Mars (-1) -- Things look even dimmer for Bruno's prospects of getting another No. 1 hit with this song. Not only has Bruno not quite been able to catch Ed, but now that Kendrick is on top, it seems like a lost cause. But I'm sure this will stick around in the top 10 for a while given that it's numbers, especially on radio, are still pretty dang good.
4- "DNA." - Kendrick Lamar (new) -- Surprise!!! We get a second Kendrick song in the top five this week! When I saw this news on Monday, I knew that meant that Kendrick had a fantastic week and he certainly did. Not only did all 13 of his other songs debut on the charts this week, but most of them debuted in the top 50. Quite frankly I hope they all stick around for a while. It would be great if "DNA." and "Humble." both stuck around in the top five for multiple weeks or if "DNA." got a turn at the top as well. There's a handful of other songs that I like more than "DNA.," but this is a catchy, deep song that deserves to stay around. Much more on this song and Kendrick's full album in the new arrivals section.
5- "Mask Off" - Future (+2) -- Well this is embarrassing. Why in the world did we let Future into the top five? This song is a piece of trash and people really need to stop doing the Mask Off Challenge so that we can get rid of this song.
6- "iSpy" - KYLE featuring Lil Yachty (=) -- I'm glad that this song didn't go back into the top five as I'm ready for it to go away, but if I'm being honest, it's the lesser of two evils when compared to "Mask Off," so if I had to choose between "Mask Off" and "iSpy," I would've preferred to see "iSpy" back in the top five. But oh well. The results are in the history books now, so all I can do is hope that both of them drop and that we can replace them with good songs.
7- "Stay" - Zedd & Alessia Cara (+7) -- This surprised me. I knew we were going to get a couple of new entries into the top 10 this week, but I thought it was going to be "Issues" and "It Ain't Me," both of which I was excited about. But no, instead "Stay" leapfrogged both of them, which kind of disappoints me. It's funny, when I look at this song title, all that comes to my head is Rihanna's "Stay" as well as Sam Smith's "Stay with Me." Not the actual song. When I have a hard time thinking of the tune for a Zedd song, that's a bad thing. But I can accept this if it means opening the door for future Zedd songs to enter this region that are actually worth listening to. But can we please bring Kygo into the top 10? Please????
8- "Something Just Like This" - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (-3) -- Another thing I wasn't expecting this week is for this song to take a hit. I thought it would be more consistent in the top tier because the radio has started to really love this song, which is a good thing. Now I'm wondering if it will take a surprise exit from the top 10 and end The Chainsmokers' streak of consecutive weeks in the top 10, which I believe is at 51 weeks right now. Let's hope not. Not for the sake of The Chainsmokers, but for the sake of this song deserving to stay around.
9- "Despacito" - Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber (+39) -- Rounding out our week of huge surprises is the biggest one of all. Out of all the Latino songs to enter the charts recently, this is the one that stuck with me the most even though I still don't know what the lyrics mean because I don't speak Spanish, so I'm glad it has achieved huge success. The first song in the language of Spanish (or mostly Spanish) to enter the top 10 since "The Macarena" in the 90's. That's fun! But I can't help think that they cheated to get here by adding Justin Bieber, which is exactly why this jumped from No. 48 to No. 9 this week. The Bieber remix. I mean, he fits the flow of the song and it's a way to break barriers by forcing people to listen to music that's not in their own language. I just don't think this song needed Bieber to be good, so it feels a bit artificial. But in weighing the positives and negatives, in the end I'm happy about this because this is a great song!
10- "XO Tour Llif3" - Lil Uzi Vert (-2) -- Finishing off the top 10 is the great news that Lil Uzi Vert fell two spots instead of following in Future's footsteps by rising. Let's hope this trend continues and this horrifically spelled song that's not quite as bad as the title makes it look can go away, because I still don't really like it even if Lil Uzi picked a different name or spelled the word "life" like any normal adult would.
Rising on the Hot 100:
15- "Congratulations" - Post Malone featuring Quavo (+4) -- Not many songs rose this week. With Kendrick's monster impact this week, only three songs, outside our new top 10 entries, rose on the charts. The others all took a hit or stayed in the same spot. And I'm really upset that this is one of the three that didn't take a hit. Let's hope that its fortunes don't continue and that this is where it peaks.
59- "Unforgettable" - French Montana featuring Swae Lee (+15) -- Our other two risers this week come from the pool of new arrivals from last week and surprisingly this is one of the better songs from that group, mostly because of Swae Lee. I'd be fine if this became a moderate hit, although we shouldn't get too carried away with knighting French Montana because that will encourage him to make more music, most of which is actually crap. He just got lucky this time.
73- "Cake" - Flo Rida & 99 Percent (+16) -- I'm totally not surprised that this song rose as well. This seems like the type of awful Flo Rida song that would become a hit. I can only hope that this slows down before it gets too high. I'll throw a fit if it becomes Flo Rida's next top 10.
4- "DNA." - Kendrick Lamar -- This week Kendrick Lamar's new album made its impact on the charts, debuting all remaining tracks that hadn't yet debuted, meaning this week will essentially be a review of the full album with five non-Kendrick Lamar songs thrown in there as well. And being that the censored version of the album was also available on Apple Music, that's the one I have listened to in order to review these songs. "DNA." is track 2 from the album. After the first track ends with a clever, subtle attack on those who misinterpret his music, I certainly made sure not to do so myself, especially since I've seen a lot of power and emotion in Kendrick's music, something we don't get enough of with rap music these days. In fact, I really enjoy reading Kendrick's lyrics and diving into what he has to say. "DNA." might not be as powerful and catchy as "Humble." is, but there's a ton of depth to this song when you sit down and read the lyrics that mainly consist of him celebrating his race and who he is as a person while some people may wrongly give him a bad name. It has a good flow and groove to it, a trend you will continue to see as we continue to dive into this album.
14- "Loyalty." - Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna --Track 6 from Kendrick's album. Most likely debuting higher than some of the others due to the feature from Rihanna. I always kinda roll my eyes when I see Rihanna on a song because most of the time it's done so because artists have figured out that if they feature Rihanna they can have more success because everything she touches turns to gold. It's a bit frustrating, but in this case I don't mind her that much. Kendrick and Rihanna intermix quite well and the song is probably better than anything Rihanna has on her most recent album, which isn't saying much, but still. It's another slow, mellow song from the album where in this instance Rihanna and Kendrick are going back and forth about the need for loyalty in a relationship as it appears that both of them question the other a bit. Kendrick is unsurprisingly a lot stronger musically speaking than Rihanna in the song, but Rihanna's been much worse, so I don't mind.
16- "Element." - Kendrick Lamar -- Track 4 from Kendrick's album. Not every song on this album is a home run for me as "Element." is one of those that I don't feel I connect to very well. I tried diving into the lyrics of this song and this time around it wasn't that interesting. I think he's talking about how he's on top of the business, but still tries to be humble about it. So kinda similar to "Humble." I suppose, but not quite as epic. I would still prefer this over most other rap these days, though.
18- "Love." - Kendrick Lamar featuring Zacari-- Track 10 from Kendrick's album featuring a random nobody named Zacari who is probably extremely thankful for the top 20 hit he now has. This song is again another slower ballad for Kendrick that contrasts very strongly with the previous track on the album, "Lust." While "Lust." spends the song talking about how the industry is consumed with self-centered lust in their monotonous routine, "Love." is talking about just what you think it's talking about. The desire for love and affection through all of this, touching on a personal, emotional level as opposed to just wanting the physical pleasures that lust brings. The contrast between Kendrick and Zacari is interesting in this as Zacari has a very high register when he comes in on the choruses and the refrains that gives the song a very smooth and sweet tone to it as Kendrick is rapping about the desire for love. It's a very smooth, infectious song that is surprisingly romantic and sweet.
32- "Yah." - Kendrick Lamar -- Track 3 from Kendrick's album. This isn't a song where the flow and rhythm of the song jump out at me. I also don't know if I have a complete grasp of the lyrics here or what he is referring to exactly, but I do know there is a lot of religious metaphors on this album. The previous track on the album, "DNA.," references Yeshua and Nazareth. And in this song Yah is short for Yahweh. So we have three different references towards Jesus or Jehovah. Kendrick also calls himself an Israelite while a few lines later saying that Deuteronomy says we've all been cursed and that he knows God walks the Earth. So I'm gathering here that he knows that God is there trying to guide him, but he's just having a tough time dealing with the worldly temptations. As a religious person myself, I appreciate these connections and emotions.
33- "XXX." - Kendrick Lamar featuring U2 -- Track 11 from Kendrick's album. This one featuring rock legends U2? That's a really strange combination on paper, but it works. U2 comes in during the third part of the song. The first part of the song, following our intro that states, "America, God bless you if it's good to you," is a mellow, toned down, almost dreary melody by Kendrick. After a few stanzas, the beat suddenly changes to an upbeat, powerful melody similar to that of "Humble." that is very catchy and easy to dance to. Then, as I said, the final third of the song is a U2 song. Bono frames Kendrick's final verse with a quick chorus before and after. During the verse, we have our drum and guitar of U2 staying on in the background. Yes, the way this song is crafted is brilliant. Hitting things home is that this is by far Kendrick's most political song of the album, as you may have guessed from that line in the intro I quoted. I won't dive into politics myself, but I love the passion and energy Kendrick brings to this song with what he's rapping about and agree or disagree with what he's saying, you've got to respect him for doing what he does in the song. I would be more than willing to call this my personal favorite song from the album.
35- "Feel." - Kendrick Lamar -- Track 5 from Kendrick's album. After a bit of a lull on the previous two tracks, "Yah." and "Element.," this is where Kendrick brings it back a bit. This is more of a mellow, laid back song from the album where Kendrick is pouring out a whole ton of emotion about what he's feeling. Most of what he's expressing in this are a lot of the negative emotions that he's experiencing in his life as well as what he's seeing around him. This negativity and sadness is expresses well at the beginning, middle and end of the song where around the verses he expresses that nobody is praying for him, which makes me feel kinda sad when he's expressing that.
37- "Pride." - Kendrick Lamar -- Track 7 from Kendrick's album. In an album full of religious metaphors, I take it that its not coincidental that "Pride." and "Humble." are the dead center of the album, with six songs coming before "Pride." and six songs coming after "Humble." as "Humble." is track 8 on the album. It's also interesting listening to the two songs back to back because "Humble." is very bombastic and in your face while "Pride." is more toned back. You can say "Humble." is a very prideful song while "Pride." is a very humble song. Great contrast. Kendrick is being very honest in "Pride." as he talks about how pride is the downfall of men and admits that he is very prideful, going through a lot of the mistakes he's made and contrasting them to what he would do in a perfect world. I also think it's interesting that we have a song called "Pride." and a song featuring U2 on this album. Wouldn't it have been funny if U2 was featured on this song instead of "XXX."?
39- "The Cure" - Lady Gaga -- We interrupt the Kendrick show today with a new single from Gaga that's... not from "Joanne"? What's the game plan here Gaga? "Joanne" was released less than a year ago and only had two official singles. Have we given up on it already? Because even though I was very meh towards the album overall, I could still pick at least a song or two that would work as a third single that would've been better than this new song, "The Cure." You see, when I think of a Gaga song, I think of something like "Poker Face," "Bad Romance," "The Edge of Glory" and "You and I." I even really enjoyed "Perfect Illusion" and "Million Reasons" from "Joanne." These are songs that are catchy and powerful with strong vocals and interesting lyrics. In a day where the pop superstars of the past like Gaga, Katy and Lorde sadly have proven they don't have as much prowess on the charts like they once did, if Gaga is going to try to change that, she should come up with something better than "The Cure." It's a generic love song that doesn't feel risky and doesn't test the limits like Gaga has done in the past. She never really hits the vocal range that we all know she can. There's no emotion or power. The song isn't bad, but it feels way too safe, which I don't think is going to help Gaga's case out. If this ends up being hit, I'll be happy because I want Gaga to have more relevance, but this feels like a song that will be gone from the charts in a month.
42- "Lust." - Kendrick Lamar -- Back to Kendrick. This is track 9 from Kendrick's album. After we contrast "Pride." and "Humble." on the album, tracks 9 and 10 contrast "Lust." and "Love." It really makes this album interesting when you look at things in context of the album as a whole as opposed to a collection of individual singles. "Lust." is a song that dives into life of fame and wealth of those in his business that often find them consumed in self-centeredness and lust. The second verse is interesting as he references the election and other things that they are upset about that might disrupt their monotonous life, but then after a while they go back to their normal routines despite it all. Towards the end of the song there is more Biblical references, this time specifically references James 4:4, talking about those who are friends with the world are enemies to the Lord, a very sharp stab towards the industry and the people in it that are consumed by this.
50- "Fear." - Kendrick Lamar -- Track 12 from Kendrick's album. Easily the longest track on the album at nearly eight minutes, but one that tells a rather fascinating story if you stick with it. Framing the song is a voicemail from Kendrick's cousin Carl Duckworth giving him hope, encouragement and a little bit of spiritual guidance, finishing by telling Kendrick that he is praying for him, something that Kendrick earlier in the album was worried that no one was doing. In between this voicemail Kendrick raps about three different experiences where he experienced true fear when he was 7, 17 and 27 years old. When he was 7 he was scared of his mom and how strict and angry she was towards him. When he was 17 he was scared that he was going to die. When he was 27 he was scared of losing all of his fame and riches that he had gained with his career. A lot of power and emotion in a well constructed song that sucks you into what Kendrick is saying.
54- "Blood." - Kendrick Lamar -- Track 1 from Kendrick's album. It's not very long and is more of a partial song than a full song, but man is it's a dang good intro. In the one verse of the song, Kendrick tells a story of him going to try to help a blind woman only to have her shoot him. Then we end with a clip of a news reporter completely misinterpreting one of Kedrick's songs. This wouldn't be a song that you would listen to on its own, but as an album intro it does a dang good job at doing what it sets out to do. It packs a powerful punch with a short symbolic story that gets you excited for the album you are about to listen to. I love it!
58- "God." - Kendrick Lamar -- Track 13 from Kendrick's album. This coming right after the song "Fear." Fear God? Thus we continue the religious metaphors after "Pride." and "Humble." as well as "Lust." and Love." I sit here and look at these lyrics and I'm trying to decipher exactly what he is meaning here as this certainly isn't a song where Kendrick is saying that he needs to fear God. Instead he's telling us that, "This what God feel like." It appears that he's rapping about his fame and glory of being king of the rap world and daring his competition to try to top him. He raps about where he's been and his happy about where he is now. But perhaps there's some other subtle messages thrown in there about how he should be fearing God as God can take away everything he has in the blink of an eye? I don't know. It's interesting to ponder given the context of the album.
63- "Duckworth." - Kendrick Lamar -- Track 14 from Kendrick's album. The final song on the track. This song tells a very interesting story that is even more interesting when you read up on the details behind it. Long story short, Anthony Tiffith, aka Top Dawg, came into a KFC one day and almost killed Kedrick's father, but decided not to. Later on, Top Dawg is the one who signed Kendrick to a record deal. At the end of the song, Kendrick is reflecting on this incident and how one moment shaped his career. If Anthony had killed his father, then Anthony could be serving life in prison while Kendrick could've grown up without a father and may have been killed in a gunfight. But his father did survive and now Kendrick is one of the most popular rappers in the business. We should often remember to look back and cherish the moments who shaped us into who we are. Given the themes of the album, perhaps we should also give thanks to divine intervention in our lives. Fantastic way to close the album. Duckworth, by the way, is Kendrick Lamar's last name. But perhaps you already knew that.
76- "Good Life" - G-Eazy & Kehlani -- Representing "The Fate of the Furious" soundtrack on the charts is G-Eazy and Kehlani with "Good Life," a song that I don't even remember from the movie at all. I really enjoyed the movie. It's a lot of fun. And I remember there being music in the movie, but none of the songs stuck out to me at all. They just kinda faded into the background. Perhaps the next time I watch the movie I will recognize this song now that I've talked about here, but had that not been the case, I don't think I ever would've. The song has your typical themes from the Fast & Furious franchise, thus I can see how it fits, but listening to the song on its own makes the song kinda boring it's just under four minutes long, which isn't too terribly long, but after two minutes in I get really bored. It's not even close to the quality of "See You Again," which worked great as a beautiful tribute to Paul Walker at the end of "Furious 7" as well as a good song on its own.
78- "Peek a Boo" - Lil Yachty featuring Migos -- I literally am losing the ability to tolerate anything to do with Migos at this point. I find their style of rap so annoying that I can't listen to it. I looked up the lyrics of this song and knew exactly what I was getting myself into and almost just skipped it. But I gave it a listen and only lasted 50 seconds. The lyrics are absolute trash that horrified me when I read them and scattered throughout the whole song are Migos' trademark sound effects everywhere. I don't know how people can listen to this garbage. Add this to the growing list of worst songs of the year.
87- "Black SpiderMan" - Logic featuring Damian Lemar Hudson -- A few minor things bother me about this song. First off, Spider-Man is spelled with a dash. Spider-Man = yes. SpiderMan = no. So Logic spelling Spider-Man wrong is mildly annoying. Second, the basis of this song is centered on the idea of why would it be so weird for Spider-Man to be black? He's talking about how race, sexual orientation and religion shouldn't put up barriers and that we should accept people for who they are, which is all fine and dandy. But he talks about black Spider-Man in the song as if black Spider-Man doesn't exist. He does. His name is Miles Morales. Maybe Logic does know about Miles Morales, but if that's the case, why not mention that? Spell Spider-Man right and talk about how he wants Miles Morales to show up in the live-action Spider-Man movies. That aside, I suppose the song itself is fine. The intentions behind the message here are good, but I will also note that it's a message that's been rapped about a lot and done so in a much better, more clear, more emotional way. Then we slam on the brakes towards the end of the song to have a gospel verse of sorts from Damian Lemar Hudson which does kind of feel out of place give how fast Logic's rap is. I like the idea of contrast, but this didn't really fit for me.
93- "Broken Halos" - Chris Stapleton -- A decent country song, if you want to call this a country song. It has more of a rock vibe surrounding Chris Stapleton's country twang, so I don't know what to call it. But anyways, this is a song that Stapleton wrote when a childhood friend passed away, so I like the emotion and motivation there, but it would've been nice if Stapleton had gone into more depth in hitting home what he was getting at. I guess he's referring to the people he loves as angels and thus he's seen his share of broken halos and folded wings that used to fly, but that's really all. Without context, it might be hard to understand his symbolism there. And even then I might not be getting it fully right. But that's really all he says. He's telling us over and over that he's had a lot of people close to him pass away. That's sad and all, but it would've been better if he had gone into more depth and said more that would help us feel the emotion behind the intended lyrics. You can tell us simply that you've gone through a tragedy, but if that's literally all you choose to say then we might not be able to empathize with as much as if you told us about the tragedy. If that makes sense.
99- "The Night We Met" - Lord Huron -- I don't know much about Lord Huron or the album that this song originally came from. But I do know that this is the song from the Netflix show "13 Reasons Why." It's the song Hannah and Clay dance to during the Winter Formal. In that context, this is a bittersweet song because at that point in the show, the relationship between Hannah and Clay is actually really good. They have great chemistry when they are dancing at the Winter Formal, but when Clay is thinking back on that, the memories are really painful given that Hannah ends up committing suicide. And no, that's not a spoiler. The suicide is the premise of the show. That context fits with the lyrics of the song as the song is Lord Huron wanting to go back to the night they met so that they would've never met in the first place or perhaps do things right this time. The song doesn't exactly go into details. He is just talking about the pain he's in and how the ghost of this girl is haunting him, so he wants to go back to the night they met. Without the context of "13 Reasons Why," this song feels a bit empty and lacking explanation. With context it makes sense, even though it wasn't written for the show specifically, but it also brings up a lot of personal frustrations I have with the show as a whole. So I'm not exactly sure what to do with it. It's not bad, I suppose.