Friday, April 28, 2017

DrogeMiester's Billboard Analysis - May 6, 2017

The new Billboard charts have arrived and so it's time again for me to give you my thoughts! In this weekly post, I cover three sections. First, I give my thoughts on the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Second, I give my thoughts on the songs that experienced significant gains below the top 10. Third, I give my initial thoughts on our new arrivals this week. I reserve the right to switch things up in the future, but for now this is what I'm sticking with. I've followed the Billboard charts for a long time now and this is a great way for me to express my thoughts to the world. I hope you enjoy!

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.

New Arrivals:

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.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

DrogeMiester's Billboard Analysis - April 29, 2017

The new Billboard charts have arrived and so it's time again for me to give you my thoughts! In this weekly post, I cover three sections. First, I give my thoughts on the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Second, I give my thoughts on the songs that experienced significant gains below the top 10. Third, I give my initial thoughts on our new arrivals this week. I reserve the right to switch things up in the future, but for now this is what I'm sticking with. I've followed the Billboard charts for a long time now and this is a great way for me to express my thoughts to the world. I hope you enjoy!

Billboard Hot 100 Top 10:

1- "Shape of You" - Ed Sheeran (=) -- Ed Sheeran now joins the exclusive 12 week club at the top of the charts, anchored yet again by continuing to rise on radio. It's only four weeks away from tying the record and quite honestly I'm joining the club that I think it's time for something else to be here. This is still a better song that many songs under it, but I'm looking at the list of songs that have gone 12 weeks at No. 1 and this song feels out of place in that list. But stopping it is going to be a chore with how monstrous that radio is. It's going 13 weeks next week and I'm fairly confident about 14 weeks. But I don't like it. It's time for a change.

2- "That's What I Like" - Bruno Mars (+1) -- The thing is, though, I don't like this song enough to feel good about cheering for it to replace Ed at the top. It's not a good song from Bruno and thus it's not deserving of having that "No. 1 hit" label next to it. So I don't know. I'm conflicted. I wish there was something better to take that top spot. I guess I'll take this for a few weeks if it can catch up on radio, which it's doing well at. But can it do well enough to take over?

3- "Humble." - Kendrick Lamar (-1) -- I guess I'm going to be cheering for Kendrick to stop Ed. Because if Bruno can't beat Ed before the 16 week mark, this is going to have to be the song to stop Ed. After debuting at No. 2 last week, I expected more of a fall in its second week, but it only tumbled one spot, which is a great sign going forward. It'll get a boost on next week's charts because of the album. Will it be enough to jump up to No. 1? Probably not. But I wouldn't be surprised if flip-flops with Bruno again next week. And hey, this would be a deserving No. 1 hit if it eventually gets there.

4- "Sign of the Times" - Harry Styles (new) -- Here's our monster debut for this week. Had this debuted at No. 1, I would've been totally fine with that. But alas 141,000 sales wasn't enough. Zayn celebrated a No. 1 debut last year, but he had 267,000 sales, almost twice that of Harry. Speaking of Zayn and Harry, with them both debuting songs in the top 10, One Direction now becomes the only group to have two of its members debut songs in the top 10 with their solo work. Because, you know, back in the 60's and 70's when bands like The Beatles existed, debuting songs in the top 10 didn't really happen, so take that stat with a grain of salt. Still kinda interesting, though.

5- "Something Just Like This" - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (=) -- I'm a little surprised that this song wasn't a bit higher this week given the boost that the album should've given it. I suppose it did jump ahead of "iSpy," but wasn't strong enough to break into the top three, then got pushed back down to No. 5 after Harry's debut. Now I don't know if this has much of a shot to go No.1, but this would be the one song that I would hope would get there out of our current ten, as this is the best song here. But I have a feeling that the bottom half of the top five is where this is going to peak.

6- "iSpy" - KYLE featuring Lil Yachty (-2) -- I feel the two spot drop here might be temporary because this is still rising in all metrics despite being pushed back by Harry and the Chainsmokers. I'm expecting it to jump those two songs next week. Although there is the case of Future and Lil Uzi Vert breathing down its neck, so maybe this ends up staying put.

7- "Mask Off" - Future (+4) -- I'm angry that this song is here. Not only is Future an awful, boring, lazy rapper who isn't deserving of his first top 10 hit as a lead artist (he's been here once more before as a featured artist), and not only is this song pretty darn awful, but it's also here because of the "Mask Off Challenge." Is this how songs these days are going to artificially force themselves into the top 10? By doing dumb internet challenges with your song that so many Americans are so gullible to follow? Shame on Future and shame on anyone and everyone who has participated in the Mask Off Challenge.

8- "XO Tour Llif3" - Lil Uzi Vert (+8) -- Oh, but we're not done with challenges this week. We also have the "Lil Uzi Vert Challenge" which has rocketed this song into the top 10. So yeah, apparently we are going to artificially force dumb songs into the top 10 because of dumb internet challenges. I hate this trend. Also, on Billboard Countdown this week, the question was asked as to why Lil Uzi spelled "Life" with two l's and a 3 and the popular answer was... because it looks cool? No people, it doesn't. It looks really stupid. Like an immature, young teenager goofing off with his friends. That's still what I hate most about this song. Let's be adults and spell things right, please?

9- "Body Like a Back Road" - Sam Hunt (-3) -- I'm happy to see this drop three spots, but I'm angry that it's still here in the top 10. And I'm angrier upon seeing this is crossing over to pop radio? Like, why? Apparently Sam Hunt sang this to his fiance at the ACM Awards. Yuck. What an awful idea. Do him and his fiance even know the words that he's singing in this? That's not romantic. That's awful and disgusting. Please let's get rid of this song!

10- "Paris" - The Chainsmokers (-1) -- Another song from the Chainsmokers that I thought was going to rise this week. Although again, three songs soared ahead of it while two songs that were above it on the charts last week got pushed out instead of it, so that's a win. However, with songs No. 11 and No. 12 this week being good songs that deserve top 10, it's time for "Paris" to go. Not that I was a big fan of this in the first place, but I'll be angry if it sticks around any longer.

Rising on the Hot 100:

11- "It Ain't Me" - Kygo & Selena Gomez (+2) -- We have a lot of risers this week and it's a fairly mixed bag, but sitting here at No. 11 is one of the better songs on the charts at the moment. It's inching its way towards the top 10 ever so slowly. I'd be fine with anything from No. 6 to No. 10 being kicked out in its favor, but the most likely target is removing "Paris" from that top 10, which would make me happy. Let's get Kygo his first ever top 10! This man deserves to be a superstar as I've loved his music for quite some time now. Let's just hope it doesn't get to his head.

12- "Issues" - Julia Michaels (+10) -- A second song just below our top 10 that I would love to see in the top 10 next week. If we can kick out "Paris" and "Body Like a Back Road" next week by adding "It Ain't Me" and "Issues," it would mitigate the pain a bit of our atrocious top 10.

19- "Congratulations" - Post Malone featuring Quavo (+6) -- This on the other hand needs to stay away. I don't want Post Malone to be honored with a top 10 hit this year and I certainly want to keep Quavo and the rest of the Migos trio far away from the top 10.

20- "Location" - Khalid (+4) -- I don't know how much momentum this song actually has. It seems to be slowly climbing its way up the charts and I have a feeling it's about to get stuck. I'd be fine if I were wrong, though.

21- "Cold" - Maroon 5 featuring Future (+7) -- We already let one Future song into the top 10, let's keep the other one far away. And let's certainly not encourage Adam Levine to make more forgettable garbage by awarding him with another top 10 hit.

32- "Rolex" - Ayo & Teo (+7) -- This song has been a bit inconsistent the last several weeks and I was hoping it would stall out. I've had more dumb rap songs than I can currently take. Let's send this one away.

42- "Swalla" - Jason Derulo featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign (+10) -- Please can this stall out? It's continued momentum up the charts is scaring me.

49- "Redbone" - Childish Gambino (+7) -- And Donald Glover sneaks into the top 50. I don't know how much higher this is going to go, but I'd much rather prefer this than many of our other current hits.

57- "Castle on the Hill" - Ed Sheeran (+12) -- Let's all rejoice! "Castle on the Hill" has been officially selected as Ed Sheeran's second single from his album "divide" and I couldn't be happier. With "Shape of You" bound to start falling eventually, this song will now be promoted to pop radio and be given a strong push by Ed and his team. This is definitely the far superior song to "Shape of You" and is one of the best songs from the album. I would love it if this became another huge hit for Ed!

63- "Losin Control" - Russ (+16) -- It's funny, this song has a hard time sticking in my brain. I keep forgetting that I actually like the song. I have to re-listen to it each week to remind myself what it actually is and when I do, I keep remembering that I'm fine with it rising. Maybe one of these weeks it will actually stick in my head.

64- "The Weekend" - Brantley Gilbert (+16) -- Most of our songs took a hit on the charts after their boost last week from the ACM Awards. But not "The Weekend," which is a shame. This is not the country song I want gaining traction on the charts.

65- "Call on Me" - Starley (+17) -- I keep waiting for this song to break out and do something on the charts after staying steady on the bottom half of the charts. Maybe it's finally on its way up? I like the original and I like the remix even more, so I'd be happy if it did. In a week if a lot of awful crap plaguing the charts, this is a fun pop song that could use a bit more recognition.

75- "Drowning" - A Boogie wit da Hoodie featuring Kodak Black (+19) -- I'm not surprised to see this jump up after its debut last week. But seriously? Why are we making A Boogie wit da Hoodie a thing? And why are we giving Kodak Black another hit? If this were to stall out before hitting the top 50, I would be excited, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going much higher.

76- "First Day Out" - Tee Grizzley (+12) -- Another debut from last week that I am annoyed that it jumped so high. This could've been an interesting song from a man just out of prison, but it's a bland, dumb rap song that I just want to go away.

78- "The One" - The Chainsmokers (+13) -- Surprisingly we didn't get any new debuts from The Chainsmokers' new album, which I'm fine with. There's nothing really worth anything there outside our current No. 5 hit with Coldplay. I'm certainly hoping this is not their next single following that. If it is, I hope this breaks their current streak of weeks in the top 10 by failing to make it because this song is pretty bad, even by recent lazy efforts from The Chainsmokers.

80- "Scared to Be Lonely" - Martin Garrix & Dua Lipa (+10) -- I was hoping this song would turn into a hit, but then it fizzled out. And now it's coming back. Perhaps it can actually gain traction now?

82- "Good Drank" - 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane & Quavo (+13) -- More Quavo rising and he's taking Gucci Mane and 2 Chainz up with him. This is not a good sign. And I still hate it when singers, country or rap, use drank in the wrong tense. It's not cool. It's dumb.

86- "How Not To" - Dan & Shay (+12) -- I mentioned last week that this is a country song that I'm not going to remember long after it falls off the charts. Well, it didn't fall of the charts, but I already forgot about it. Not a good sign. I wish it were "Tin Man" rising instead, but I'm not upset here.

New Arrivals:

4- "Sign of the Times" - Harry Styles -- It's been really interesting following the solo careers of the One Direction members. For the most part, I prefer them on their own, with the one exception being Zayn, who went from One Direction mediocrity to just plain awful. But I really liked Louis Tomlinson's EDM collaboration with Steve Aoki, "Just Hold On," and I didn't mind Niall Horan's "This Town," even though I found it a little too simple and empty. Now we're just waiting on Liam Payne to debut a song and we'll have all five One Direction members giving solo debuts on the charts. As far as this current song by Harry Styles, this is another song that surprised me. I don't like it quite as much as "Just Hold On," but we start out as a simple piano ballad from Harry, which is quite good, then when we hit the first chorus the song turns into a 70's rock song that has a strong David Bowie vibe to it? I didn't see that coming, but I really like it. The only complaint I have is that I don't feel a strong connection to the lyrics, but overall I'm totally on board with this and it has me intrigued by what Harry has up his sleeve with his debut album.

50- "Now or Never" - Halsey -- Before Halsey became a household name after being featured on The Chainsmokers' monster hit "Closer," I was kind of on board with her. I wasn't madly in love with "New Americana," but I didn't hate it as much as some and I thought "Badlands" was a decent album that showed potential. The big question for me is how is Halsey going to do post "Closer"? Did they turn her into a household name or is she going to whimper off into the background? Well, that's yet to be seen as we'll see how this song performs on the charts, but in terms of quality it's not the best story. Say what you want about "Closer," but Halsey vocals are pretty good on that. With this song, though, she sounds pretty lifeless and bored. This is slower, more R&B-inspired song, but it's one I got bored with partway through and it never picks up. Then we have some lazy, cliche lyrics that conflict with each other in terms of what's happening with this relationship. I'm not a fan.

74- "Unforgettable" - French Montana featuring Swae Lee -- This made me laugh when I looked at the title. A song by French Montana called "Unforgettable." It was probably going to be very forgettable and I imagined myself spending my time making awful puns about that title. Surprisingly, though, this isn't that bad. It's nothing memorable, but whoever this Swae Lee guy is (his only other chart appearance was on a random Wiz Khalifa song in 2015 that no one remembers called "Burn Slow"), he seems like a likable rapper that I can tolerate. It's only a sample size of one song and it's not even his song, but we spend more time with him than with French Montana. As expected, French Montana comes in and ruins everything, but when we're with Swae Lee, it's a decent song with a nice groove to it, so I'll give this a pass.

79- "Everyday We Lit" - YFN Lucci featuring PnB Rock -- On the flip side of things, here we have a rap song that is in fact as forgettable and awful as you would expect when you look at the title and read "Everyday We Lit." I couldn't even make it all the way through the song. It's just so dumb with no groove and your typical immature lyrics with them bragging about how rich and famous they are. Knowing my luck, though, this is another rap song that's going to catch on and become a hit. Because we love dumb rap songs that hurt our ears and make no sense. Just go take another look at our top 10 as proof of that. 

89- "Cake" - Flo Rida & 99 Percent -- I have a love/hate relationship with Flo Rida. He actually does have a few songs like "I Cry" that I think are really good rap songs. Then he has a lot of dumb song that are super catchy like "My House" that I can kinda forgive him for because he knows how to make people dance. Too often, though, he puts out songs like this that are not good rap songs and are not even catchy. This song repeats the word cake over and over in a high-pitched chipmunk voice which is super annoying, then the rest of the song is him saying that he didn't come here for the party, he just came for the cake, which in this context is again turning cake into a sexual metaphor, much like DNCE's song "Cake by the Ocean" was metaphorically meaning "sex on the beach." I like eating cake. Speaking literally there. And I don't want to have this dumb sexual metaphor stuck in my head every time I'm eating cake. So STOP IT!!!!

92- "Bar at the End of the World" - Kenny Chesney -- If you looked at the title of this song and you thought it was going to be another dumb country song that makes no sense, you're right. Kenny Chesney is singing about sailing to a bar at the end of the world and I don't even know what he's getting at and I don't care to figure out. Sometimes I wonder where these country singers come up with these dumb lyrics that make no sense.

97- "Weak" - AJR -- If you don't know AJR, they are the ones that sung "I'm Ready" back in 2013, which I thought was pretty fun. They've done like nothing since, so I was curious when I saw them back on this week. I was hoping this would be as fun as "I'm Ready," but sadly it's not. This doesn't have much of a groove. You can't dance to it at all like you could with "I'm Ready." And the message of the song is conflicting. He starts by talking about a weakness that he has, most likely with a girl, that he should resist. He's trying to resist the temptation, but then he admits that he can't. Which is fine, I suppose. Until he then says that he finds nothing wrong with not being able to resist and he can't wait until the next time that he falls into this same temptation. Since he doesn't elaborate much, we have one of two situations. Either he thinks there's nothing wrong with being unable to break bad habits or the habit that he's singing about isn't that bad in the first place. Whichever way we take it, I think there are serious issues with what he's trying to get across.

99- "If I Told You" - Darius Rucker -- Much like Miranda Lambert's "Tin Man" from last week, here we have a country song that actually sounds like a country song and actually has a lot of emotion to it. Darius Rucker has a lot of charisma to him that makes him quite likable. In this song you can feel the pain that he's going through as he tells the story of him not having any self-confidence with all the bad mistakes he's made and all the flaws he has, but that he's doing his best anyways to see if this woman will still love him and help him out. I don't know if Darius is talking about himself specifically or is getting super personal with this song, but I can feel the honesty in the lyrics and the emotion behind them. And it's a sweet, simple song musically speaking as well. That probably means it's going to quickly disappear from the charts, though, because how dare we have a good country song that actually gains traction on the charts. Preposterous!

100- "Flatliner" - Cole Swindell -- Sneaking it at No. 100 this week is a song that I think the world would've been better off if it had barely missed the charts instead of barely sneaking on. This is Cole Swindell with a little bit of Dierks Bentley, despite the lack of official credit. The two of them are just gawking at how hot this girl is that they just saw on the dance floor and they're trying to figure out how to best approach. As I listen to this song, I envision it being a song that will catch on in the country world as it has a good groove to it that will probably suck people in, but I'm not going to be one of those people that gets sucked in. While it's more classy than "Body Like a Back Road" or Thomas Rhett's "Craving You," I still think there are much better ways to sing about a girl rather than acting like two 12-year-old boys who stumbled on some sort of glamour magazine with a lot of hot models in it. I just roll my eyes and hope we get something better in the future.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

DrogeMiester's Billboard Analysis - April 22, 2017

The new Billboard charts have arrived and so it's time again for me to give you my thoughts! In this weekly post, I cover three sections. First, I give my thoughts on the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Second, I give my thoughts on the songs that experienced significant gains below the top 10. Third, I give my initial thoughts on our new arrivals this week. I may decide to switch things up in the future, but for now this is what I'm sticking with. I've followed the Billboard charts for a long time now and this is a great way for me to express my thoughts to the world. I hope you enjoy!

Billboard Hot 100 Top 10:

1- "Shape of You" - Ed Sheeran (=) -- It's now been 11 weeks on top for Ed Sheeran. With every song that gets this many weeks, the question must be asked. Can this song tie or break the 16 week record set by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men in 1995 with "One Sweet Day"? Records were meant to be broken, so you have to think it's going to happen one day especially with how long songs are staying in the top 10 nowadays. But I don't think Ed does it. He got new competition this week from Kendrick Lamar. Bruno continues to gain on him. And Harry Styles will debut on the charts next week with a likely top five debut. The thing Ed has going for him is that radio is as big as ever. It's now crossed 180 million in weekly audience. That's going to keep this song strong for a while.

2- "Humble." - Kendrick Lamar (new) -- I'll get to my opinion on this song below, but "Humble." is the highest debuting rap song since Eminem in 2010 with "Love the Way You Lie." That's an impressive feat. It's sales next week will get cut in half and cause it to fall, but its streaming will keep it around in the top 10 for a while, I'm thinking. I don't think it challenges for No. 1, but we shall see. After falling next week it'll get a boost in two weeks thanks to Kendrick's upcoming album.

3- "That's What I Like" - Bruno Mars (-1) -- Bruno may have fallen a spot thanks to Kendrick's debut, but he's gaining in points as his radio crossed 140 million. I'm guessing he goes back to No. 2 next week. Now the question will be can he hold on well enough to catch Ed? That'll probably depend on if Ed's radio ever falls.

4- "iSpy" - KYLE featuring Lil Yachty (+1) -- KYLE is doing well with strong streaming. I can see this perhaps sneaking up to No. 3 for a week or two eventually, but the most likely scenario is that this song sticks around in the bottom half of the top five for a while instead of getting much higher. For me personally it's going to start wearing out its welcome here really soon if it doesn't start dropping.

5- "Something Just Like This" - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (-2) -- A minor bump in the road by falling to No. 5 even though the numbers weren't super strong for a No. 3 song, but The Chainsmokers' album was released recently, which means this song will get a good boost next week that I predict will send it up to No. 3 again.

6- "Body Like a Back Road" - Sam Hunt (+6) -- What in the fetch is this song doing here? I can't say I'm super surprised considering how much momentum it's maintained, but I'm certainly not happy. Country songs never get any love in the top 10. It's been a few years since a country song even entered the region as they barely even crack the top 20. Yes, I would be fine if more of them got a bit of love. Most country songs are certainly better than most rap songs that poison the charts, so if we were to trade popularity with the two genres, I'll take country. But not this country song. This is such a stupid song with no thought put into it whatsoever. It's embarrassing that it has now cracked the top 10 and I hope it goes away. And fast. I'd almost rather have "Bad and Boujee" or Drake back in the top 10 instead of this.

7- "I Feel it Coming" - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk (-3) -- The Weeknd held in the top five with this song for longer than I expected, so I can say it's been a good run even though I'm disappointed it couldn't break out and go higher than it did. I imagine it will stick around in the bottom half of the top 10 for at least a few more weeks.

8- "Tunnel Vision" - Kodak Black (=) -- Kodak Black is starting to wear out his welcome. I'm glad he didn't get higher than No. 6, but it's now time to go.

9- "Paris" - The Chainsmokers (=) -- "Paris" has been impressively stubborn here in the bottom half of the top 10 as it's stayed here in the top 10 despite quite a few songs getting pushed out instead of it. With The Chainsmokers' album having come out, I'd be willing to bet that it shoots up a spot or two next week and maintains this stubborn winning streak.

10- "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie (+1) -- So happy to see this song back in the top 10! I'm not crossing my fingers, but I hope that this song can gain even more traction and be a fun summer jam for 2017!

Rising on the Hot 100:

11- "Mask Off" - Future (+7) -- Seriously. Why are we making this song a thing? Future has never made it to the top 10 as a lead artist and only once been in as a featured artist on Lil Wayne's 2013 song "Love Me," which also featured Drake. Yet we as a country will finally be enshrining him into the top 10 as early as next week and I'm not a happy man because this song is pretty awful. Why, America? Why?

13- "It Ain't Me" - Kygo & Selena Gomez (+2) -- What would really be cool is if instead of Future getting into the top 10, this song with Kygo and Selena jumped ahead of it and went into the top 10 instead. That would definitely be more deserving than the awful song by Future.

14- "Stay" - Zedd & Alessia Cara (+3) -- Heck, I'd even take this song ahead of Future and, despite my love for Zedd, I really think this is an empty song without much heartbeat. But I'd be content seeing Zedd in the top 10 regardless.

16- "XO TOUR Llif3" - Lil Uzi Vert (+33) -- Whoa! Why in the heck did this song jump into the top 20 following its debut last week? Granted Lil Uzi has had much worse songs in his career, but I'm still not fine with this being a top 10 hit. Let's push it back, please?

17- "Say You Won't Let Go" - James Arthur (+2) -- James Arthur slowly moves up a little bit more. I have a feeling this is just about to plateau on the charts, but we'll see if it can sneak into the top 10. I wouldn't be super upset about that.

29- "Swang" - Rae Sremmurd (+5) -- No time to panic quite yet as this could easily stall before even hitting top 20, but if we give Rae Sremmurd another smash hit, I'm going to be really angry.

34- "Look at Me!" - Xxtentacion (+8) -- I've gone on many rants with this song before, but this song's continual rise on the charts makes me the angriest. This guy is a thug that's spent the majority of the last several months in jail and could potentially be going to prison soon, yet we're giving him fame and fortune by popularizing one of his extremely horrific songs? I don't get it.

38- "The Fighter" - Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood (+37) -- It's been a pretty good week for country with Sam Hunt hitting top 10 and several new country songs debuting. This song skyrocketing up the charts surprised me a bit, but if this can gain enough traction to dethrone that awful aforementioned Sam Hunt song, I'll certainly take it!

40- "Slide" - Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean & Migos (+5) -- I'm doubting this song's overall potential. I'm not sure if it's going to become a huge hit, but I would be down with it if it did.

44- "In Case You Didn't Know" - Brett Young (+7) -- Glad to see this song making top 50. I'd call this the best country song on the charts right now and if dreams were to come true, this would gain enough momentum to dethrone Sam Hunt from the top of the country charts. Let's see if it can happen!

52- "Swalla" - Jason Derulo featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign (+13) -- Not top 50 quite yet, but I'm getting the feel that this is going to turn into a decent hit for Jason Derulo. It's a catchy song, but that's all it has going for it. I'd really like to see this song burn and die.

66- "Black" - Dierks Bentley (+21) -- I can't complain yet because it's not super high, but I don't like seeing this boring country song jumping 21 spots. That makes me nervous.

76- "Yeah Boy" - Kelsea Ballerini (+12) -- I'd rather see this song jump up on the charts than Mr. Bentley. Kelsea is good enough for me to be happy about her success if she continues to get it.

New Arrivals:

2- "Humble." - Kendrick Lamar -- Thank heavens that among all the awful rappers out there that we actually have one rapper who actually seems like he cares to give the world real rap that I can get behind. And not-so-coincidentally on that note, here's a song where he's talking down to the rest of those rappers telling them to be real and humble. Because, you know, if you do so then perhaps you come up with good rap. Now thankfully, there are two versions of this album being released, the explicit version and the non-explicit version. I try not to let cursing be the deciding factor in my analysis of a rap song, but I like it when the rappers also release a clean version of their songs because the cursing in this song gets in the way of my enjoyment. But the clean version removes that distraction and helps me be able to enjoy this song. There's a really good flow and groove. The lyrics are solid. And the beat is fairly dark and super catchy. I think I like "The Heart Part 4" a little better, but I can get behind this song. I hope it goes No. 1. Although speaking of "The Heart Part 4," I'm looking at the track listing for Kendrick's new album due Friday and I'm surprised to see "The Heart Part 4" not on the album. Interesting.

53- "Craving You" - Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris -- Thomas Rhett is a "country" singer that gets a ton of hate from people. And I can see why. It's probably related to my purposely putting "country" in quotation marks because when I listen to this song, it doesn't sound like country at all. This specific song is more like southern rock with a twang. But compared to the likes of Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett is tolerable. I'm not too offended by non-country "country" songs. The bigger problem here for me is that I don't really like comparing love to drugs. Thomas Rhett takes this to the extreme and it doesn't feel that romantic to me. I just don't think I would ever tell a girl, regardless of the depth of the relationship, that I'm craving her. I crave food. Some people crave drugs. Craving a girl seems like you're treating her as an object for your lust to satisfy your sexual desires. Thomas Rhett doesn't go super explicit into that with his lyrics, but that's the implications that come off and I'm not a fan. I was excited to see Maren Morris on the song, but she's essentially used as a background singer and isn't even given her own verse. That was disappointing.

59- "Everybody" - Logic -- I've decided that Logic reminds me a bit of Macklemore. Except I like Macklemore a lot more. But the styles are similar. Both are white rappers (kinda) whose rap has a high difficulty level to pull. Sometimes I feel rap is lazy and dumb, requiring not much talent, especially when some rappers like Future and Future wannabes do the mumble rap thing where it sounds like you were drunk and high when recording in the studio and thus no one can understand a thing you are saying. With this song, I can understand everything Logic says, but he's also rapping super fast with a good flow and that alone impresses me because it actually seems like it takes a lot of talent to pull off. The lyrics here are a bit interesting. Logic addresses the challenges of being half-black and half-white in the rap world as he gets criticism from both sides for being shameful to their race. Black people make fun of him for being white and acting black while white people make fun of him for being black and acting white. What's a man supposed to do? I'm not sure if I'm madly in love with it, but I appreciate the emotion here.

60- "You Look Good" - Lady Antebellum -- It always throws me off that Lady Antebellum is a country music group. The name Lady Antebellum sounds like stage name for an individual female singer as opposed to a group. That aside, I think this is the song that Thomas Rhett tried to write, but failed. Charles Kelley is telling the girl that she looks good, which is much better in my eyes than Thomas Rhett telling the girl that he's craving her. This is also not trying to be a romance song. Charles Kelley is just happy that he has a good looking girl with him and he's kinda happy with the idea that everyone around them is jealous that he has such a good looking girl. Meanwhile the balance between him and Hillary Scott with the shared vocals is actually good as opposed to Thomas Rhett leaving Maren Morris sounding like a background singer. This is also not really pure country, but instead of just sounding like fake country, this is more successful genre bending as it kinda has elements of pop, rock and country that work together quite well.

75- "Tin Man" - Miranda Lambert -- Out of our three country songs so far, this is the one that actually sounds most like a country song. And I'd say it's a pretty good country song with simple acoustics and soft vocals from Miranda. The content is interesting, too, as Miranda is having a conversation with the Tin Man from "Wizard of Oz," who we all know spends the whole movie wishing he had a heart. Well, Miranda is telling him that perhaps he should feel lucky that he doesn't have a heart because it's really painful when that heart breaks. It's a "grass is always greener on the other side" sort of mentality here. And of course you could poke holes in the logic if you thought about it too deeply, but this is a simple, heart-felt song that should be treated as a simple, heart-felt song rather than something that's trying to be deep and profound.

81- "Subeme La Radio" - Enrique Iglesias featuring Descemer Bueno, Zion & Lennox -- I try to be simple with these Latino songs. I don't speak Spanish and I don't have the cultural background to be a fair judge in my mind. And I'm not going to translate lyrics to see what it means. I do know that Enrique Iglesias' English songs have always been hit and miss for me. Sometimes he sings fun, catchy, harmless dance songs and other times his songs are extremely dirty and promiscuous. This seems like the former, but I'm not sure and I will let people who speak Spanish be the judge here, not me. I will say that the beat itself seems more slow and toned down instead of being a fast-paced dance song, which I like. I don't know why he had to bring on so many voices, though. It seems like it would've been just fine with himself and maybe one other friend instead of having four of them.

88- "First Day Out" - Tee Grizzley -- Tee Grizzly spent three years in prison for home invasion and burglary charges. Now he's out and he's signed a record deal and this is a song where he has a whole lot to say about his "First Day Out." This could've gone a few different directions. It could've been remorse for what he did and a desire to change, which would've been cool. It could've been cringeworthy rap like Xxtentacion, our other prisoner on the charts. But instead it's more like muddled, confusing nothing where he references a whole bunch stuff about everything without one major theme about anything. It's not offensive or awful, but to me it doesn't seemed focused at all and thus is just uninteresting.

91- "The One" - The Chainsmokers -- I listened to The Chainsmokers debut album "Memories... Do Not Open" an hour or two after it was released onto Apple Music because I was hopeful that they would actually give me soon good, fun songs to dance to and I mostly just got boring nothingness, which was disappointing. We'll see how many of these songs end up on the charts next week, if any at all, but this here is the first track on the album and it's just dull. Alex Taggart is the singer and the lyrics are pathetic. In the song he's admitting to being a pathetic loser who hates this relationship and refuses to do nothing to fix it, yet also admitting to being an even more pathetic loser by saying he's not going to be the one to end this broken relationship. His vocals aren't good and there's no groove to the song. And he drops a useless f-bomb just so they can have a fancy red "E" on the album.

93- "Conscience" - Kodak Black featuring Future -- I'm on record for admitting that I don't really mind Kodak Black's breakout hit "Tunnel Vision," although as you read earlier I think it's worn out its welcome and needs to go away. However, this song here is pretty awful. Kodak Black features Future, one of my least favorite rappers, and let's Future's trademark mumble rap influence him in this song. So both of them are mumbling the entire time and I can't understand a single word of it. Then when you look at the lyrics, it's your typical awful trash that you would expect from Future. This better not become a hit like "Tunnel Vision" or else I will be mad.

94- "Drowning" - A Boogie wit da Hoodie featuring Kodak Black -- Oh joy. More Kodak Black. This time he's attached to a song by the rapper with my least favorite rapper name, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie. This is not as bad as the previous song, "Conscience," but it's mostly a dumb song where both are bragging about riches and how awesome they are that they made it as mainstream rappers now, which I'm upset about. Why are we giving untalented rappers careers? Do Americans not have ear drums anymore? Why so much dumb rap music poisoning our charts? Now if I'm being objective, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie is more tolerable than Kodak Black in this. Kodak Black's verse is awful while the rest of the song by A Boogie Wit da Hoodie is simply dumb.

96- "Heatstroke" - Calvin Harris featuring Young Thug, Pharrell Williams & Ariana Grande -- When I saw the featured list on this song, my initial reaction was similar to when I saw the featured list of Frank Ocean and Migos on "Slide." Dread. Strangely enough that song actually worked out shockingly well, so in light of that I wasn't sure what to think of "Heatstroke." Unfortunately, though, this one didn't work out. And the problem here is Young Thug. Every time he's rapping the song sinks into oblivion. It's bad. Unfortunately that's most of the song as Pharrell and Ariana are mostly afterthoughts. In fact it would seem more accurate if this was Young Thug featuring Calvin Harris, Pharrell and Ariana. The sad part of it all is when it is just Pharrell and Ariana, the song is pretty fun. The two of them have good chemistry and the tropical vibe of Calvin in the background really works. But there's too little of that in the song to make me pleased overall as for the most part this is trash.

98- "How Not To" - Dan + Shay -- Again another country song this week that does what Thomas Rhett tries to do, but better. Saying "I don't know how not to think about you" is much better than "I crave you." The slight rock undertones mixed in with the mostly country vibe also work a lot better here than in Thomas Rhett's song. Although this version of the song has Dan + Shay, which ever one is doing the singing here, reminiscing over a recent breakup while being very honest about the situation. While it's nothing that I'm going to really remember long after it falls off the charts, it's a nice little country song with a lot more honesty and emotion than many country songs on the charts right now.

100- "Human" - Rag'n'Bone Man -- Last the best this week! Rag'n'Bone Man is a breakout British blues and soul singer whose debut song "Human" was released last year and hit No. 2 in the U.K. back in December in addition to hitting the top 10 in several countries around Europe, including hitting No. 1 in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czeck Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland. As usual, when it comes to the great worldwide hits, we're behind in the U.S. because we'd rather listen to garbage like Future and Drake instead of good music, because yeah this song is pretty darn awesome. His voice is grizzled and angry and he's speaking all about the human condition, which really hits home. A fantastic song to jam to that makes me want to go listen to the entire album, also titled "Human." Once I've done so, I'll get back to you on how it all is. Hopefully the whole album is as good as this lead-off track.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

DrogeMiester's Billboard Analysis - April 15, 2017

The new Billboard charts have arrived and so it's time again for me to give you my thoughts! In this weekly post, I cover three sections. First, I give my thoughts on the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Second, I give my thoughts on the songs that experienced significant gains below the top 10. Third, I give my initial thoughts on our new arrivals this week. I may decide to switch things up in the future, but for now this is what I'm sticking with. I've followed the Billboard charts for a long time now and this is a great way for me to express my thoughts to the world. I hope you enjoy!

Billboard Hot 100 Top 10:

1- "Shape of You" - Ed Sheeeran (=) -- Ed Sheeran now joins an exclusive club in Billboard history as in the 58-year history of the Hot 100, "Shape of You" is only the 34th No. 1 hit out of the 1,061 total No. 1 hits to reign for 10 weeks. Although that mark dampens a bit when you learn that 32 of those 34 10-week hits have come in the last 25 years when the Nielsen SoundScan caused songs to stay on the charts for longer. It's also the 8th time it's happened since 2013, so it's expected once or twice a year and Ed gets the glory of doing it first this year. Still impressive. As far as our countdown for Ed to be dethroned, Bruno is gaining on Ed, but not super fast. Ed is way ahead on radio still and significantly ahead in streaming even though both songs are even in sales. An interesting spoiler watch for both of these songs is that of Kendrick Lamar, who debuted high this week and is looking to debut even higher next week as "Humble" is currently tracking to sell over 100,000 in sales, which should easily put it at No. 1 on that chart and I'm guessing it'll get super high on streaming as well.

2- "That's What I Like" - Bruno Mars (=) -- If we're looking at numbers, just for fun, this week Ed has 85,000 in sales, 173 million in radio audience and 46.2 million in U.S. streaming. Compare that to Bruno, who has 79,000 in sales, 119 million in radio audience and 30.1 million in U.S. streaming. So yeah, it's that radio audience that is the big glaring number that makes me think that Bruno is going to have a hard time catching Ed.

3- "Something Just Like This" - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay (+4) -- Streaking up to No. 3 is The Chainsmokers and Coldplay. This matches "Don't Let Me Down" for The Chainsmokers' second highest charting song and is Coldplay's second highest charting song as well as Coldplay has only gotten higher with their lone chart-topper in "Viva La Vida." But if I'm being honest here, this is a really weak No. 3 hit and is only here because the floor completely fell out with the songs ahead of it. I shared the numbers of the top two songs. How about the numbers here? 59,000 in sales, 59 million in radio audience and 18.3 million U.S. streams. Radio is rising pretty fast while the other two are essentially staying even. So yeah, don't think this is heading to No. 1 anytime soon. If it has more longevity than the two songs ahead of it and nothing else shows up, then perhaps eventually.

4- "I Feel it Coming" - The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk (+1) -- Similar story here as to our previous song. Although it's numbers are mainly just holding steady, but since our two other songs from the top five from last week collapsed, this naturally just rises a spot and now looks like it will hang out around No. 5 or so for a while, which I'm happy with. I've been expecting it to drop, so I'm glad it hasn't.

5- "iSpy" - KYLE featuring Lil Yachty (+7) -- Here's a surprise. "iSpy" hit No. 10 two weeks ago, then dropped out. I kinda thought it was done. But it got a huge streaming boost on a week where a lot of songs collapsed, so now KYLE gets his first ever top five while Lil Yachty gets his second after hanging out here with D.R.A.M. last year on Broccoli. If we have to have a dumb rap song in the top five at all times, I suppose this is a decent place holder. Better than "Bad and Boujee," that's for sure.

6- "Bad and Boujee" - Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert (-2) -- Speaking of which, I'm glad to see that the floor fell out for this song and it got booted from the top five. Now let's see it leave the top 10 altogether!

7- "I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)" - Zayn & Taylor Swift (-4) -- Our other song from the top five last week that feel even harder this week. If this only has a few weeks left, it means that it'll finally be time to give you my list of top 100 songs of all-time as this is the last remaining 2016 holdover that I've been waiting on.

8- "Tunnel Vision" - Kodak Black (-2) -- With "Band and Boujee" and "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" taking huge hits, I expected this to sneak into the top five, but it looks like it fell hard as well, which I'm fine with. This is not the worst song, but had it stuck around for too long, it would've quickly worn out its welcome.

9- "Paris" - The Chainsmokers (+1) -- I said last week that, despite falling to No. 10 last week, that this song would still be around this week and might even gain a bit. Turns out I was right! Go me!

10- "Passionfruit" - Drake (-2) -- After Drake's monster week last week, he had a HUGE fallout this week, which was expected. A lot of his songs are still around, but they all took major hits, which will make our next section quite loaded. "Passionfruit" is the song that wasn't effected as much, which I suppose I'm fine with. No Drake is the best, but this was a tolerable song outside that completely horrendous opening. Although I wonder if Drake is actually going to spend any time promoting this. "One Dance" still never got an official music video last year and none of the songs from Drake's recent album even have the audio on YouTube, let alone a lyric video. If Drake doesn't care to promote his songs, I guess that's fine with me. But if I'm being objective, it would be smart of him to at least put something up. A music video might help him get another top five hit if he wants it.

Rising on the Hot 100:

11- "Rockabye" - Clean Bandit featuring Sean Paul & Anne-Marie (+2) -- The Drake invasion last week kicked a lot of songs down and out, thus we only had three rising songs on this list. With Drake collapsing this week, everything rose back up and we have 34 songs on this list that had significant rises. That's a lot. So let's quickly jump through these. We start with "Rockabye" getting close to a top 10 return? I would love that! It got there a few weeks ago because of the iTunes discount sale and if it now has enough traction to get back in, I'll be a happy man. This is a great song that needs to catch on even more than it already has.

12- "Body Like a Back Road" - Sam Hunt (+4) -- Why is Sam Hunt not falling?!?! Country songs NEVER get this high and they certainly never hit the top 10. Why is such an awful song changing that? What about Sam Hunt's music is appealing to so many people and helping it crossover to the non-country crowds? I don't understand.

13- "Chained to the Rhythm" - Katy Perry featuring Skip Marley (+6) -- The iTunes discount is in full force for Katy Perry right now and I thought that would be enough to get this song back into the top 10, but it fell short. That's unfortunate. I really like this song. It would be the wrong terminology to call this song a flop on the charts, but it's looking like a disappointing lead-off for Katy Perry. Thus continues the curious trend of many of our pop superstars from a few years ago no longer being able to find as much success in today's music world. I'm guessing streaming has a lot to do with that.

15- "It Ain't Me" - Kygo & Selena Gomez (+5) -- I really hope this can get top 10. I want Kygo to finally hit that mark!

17- "Stay" - Zedd & Alessia Cara (+4) -- I suppose I'm fine if this continues to rise, although I won't be disappointed if it gets stuck before hitting top 10.

18- "Mask Off" - Future (+6) -- No! Future needs to go away!

19- "Say You Won't Let Go" - James Arthur (+3) -- I don't feel like this is shaping up to be a top 10 hit. And if it does so, I think it will just barely sneak in. It seems more realistic for this to hang around here in the teens, which seems like a fitting landing spot.

24- "Location" - Khalid (+8) -- This song continues to impress me. Khalid has gone from no-name to now having a top 25 hit. How high is this song's ceiling? Will this land around in the teens or can this actually sneak into the top 10?

34- "Swang" - Rae Sremmurd (+7) -- No more Rae Sremmurd, please! Let's just hope this rose this week just because of the Drake fallout and won't go much higher.

36- "Rolex" - Ayo & Teo (+6) -- This, too. I really hope this gets stuck in the 30's.

37- "Million Reasons" - Lady Gaga (+9) -- Lady Gaga, on the other hand, I would love to see have more traction. But this goes back to what I was saying with Katy. Katy and Gaga don't have as much power today as they did five years ago.

38- "Dirt on My Boots" - Jon Pardi (+5) -- This is whatever. Not as bad as Sam Hunt, but not as high either.

42- "Look at Me!" - Xxxtentacion (+24) -- Dude. This punk was arrested in July of last year for robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. He posted bail in October, then got arrested later in the month for false imprisonment, witness tampering and aggravated battery of a pregnant woman. He was released on bail just last week. I'm assuming a trail is coming up here soon. Meanwhile his absolutely horrendous song continues to rise on the charts while he's been sitting in jail? Why? I don't get it. Let's get rid of this song on the charts and send him to prison instead of giving him a successful career for doing awful things and writing awful songs. We have a messed up society.

44- "Despacito" - Luis Fonsi featuring Daddy Yankee (+8) -- I don't think this is going much higher. Latino songs typically have a lower ceiling than country, but I'm curious to see how far this can go.

45- "Slide" - Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean & Migos (+10) -- Let's send this rising up the charts! It's a collaboration that I thought I would hate, but I really kinda like!

46- "Water Under the Bridge" - Adele (+7) -- Alas, Adele only rises because of the Drake fallout. I know she doesn't really care to promote her songs because she is content with what she already has. And that's cool and all. But I was really hoping this song would have more success than it actually did. The world could use more Adele.

47- "Party" - Chris Brown featuring Usher & Gucci Mane (+9) -- Back up into the 40's? This song has been wandering around from 40 to 60 for the longest while. I'm glad it hasn't been able to break that and is only up this week because of Drake, but it would be nice if it officially died.

50- "Both" - Gucci Mane featuring Drake (+8) -- No! Just... no!

51- "In Case You Didn't Know" - Brett Young (+16) -- Can we just replace this song with Sam Hunt's song? I'm glad to see this jumped 16 spots. This is a good country song that I would be happy for it if it continued to gain success.

54- "Redbone" - Childish Gambino (+17) -- I'm also happy to see this gaining again. Although I'm wondering if this is the song's peak, but if it broke out and got top 50 that would be cool!

55- "Hurricane" - Luke Combs (+13) -- This is whatever. I'm not super offended at this song's rise, but this is just a bland country song.

57- "Heavy" - Linkin Park featuring Kiiara (+22) -- You think I would be happy for Linkin Park. But no, let's collectively get together and kill this song. Encourage Linking Park to go back and make the type of music that we all loved them for.

62- "Any Ol' Barstool" - Jason Aldean (+12) -- Another dumb country song. I'm not surprised to see it rise, though.

64- "Shining" - DJ Khaled featuring Beyonce & Jay Z (+22) -- No. Sorry Bey fans, but this Beyonce and Jay Z song that's masked as a DJ Khaled song because he sings a line or two is trash. It needs to die.

65- "Swalla" - Jason Derulo featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign (+33) -- I saw this one coming. And it's sadly probably going to continue to rise. I just hope it doesn't give Jason Derulo another top 10 hit.

67- "Play That Song" - Train (+10) -- The final jump for Train? I feel this song is about to sputter out and die, but gets one last jump after Drake's fallout.

69- "Road Less Traveled" - Lauren Alaina (+18) -- This is a surprise. I didn't think Lauren Alaina would be able to gain traction. And I suppose this is better than a lot of other country songs now. Again, I would prefer this over Sam Hunt, but I'm not madly in love with this, either.

70- "Deja Vu" - J. Cole (+10) -- I was hoping we'd be done with J. Cole by now. Let's put him out of his misery, please?

71- "Moves" - Big Sean (+12) -- Yuck. This needs to officially die.

72- "Hometown Girl" - Josh Turner (+20) -- This is only in the 70's, so I'm fine with it. Better this than others if it has to rise.

73- "Selfish" - Future featuring Rihanna (+12) -- I've been expecting this to get traction. Future featuring Rihanna sounds like a win in today's world, yet this sputtered out for a few weeks after its release. Out of all the recent Future songs, this is the one I'm least annoyed with, so it's whatever.

77- "Losin Control" - Russ (+14) -- No. 77 isn't anything to write home over, especially not a week after the Drake collapse, but I'd be fine if this song did well on the charts.

80- "Call on Me" - Starley (+10) -- I like this song as is, but did I mention that the remix that is super popular is really good?

81- "The Weekend" - Brantley Gilbert (+12) -- Another dumb country song. Let's just hope that this doesn't get much higher than No. 81.

New Arrivals:

22- "The Heart Part 4" - Kendrick Lamar -- Kendrick Lamar is a rapper that people have been hyping up for quite some time, hoping and praying that he can achieve mainstream success on his own instead of only finding success upon being attached to some pop song. I admit that I haven't dove too deeply into Kendrick, but after listening to this I can definitely see why. Most rap these days I can hardly get through a single song. Forcing myself to listen to all of Drake's album last week was practically torture. This song I voluntarily listened to twice in a row just before typing this. The song immediately grabbed me with a nice, little groove to start things off that remained in the background throughout. Then we had a decent hook that I liked and finally got to the meat of the song, which is where I was shocked and taken aback with how thoughtful, emotional and passionate the two verses are. Most rap these days is either boring and lifeless or full of sleaze and trash. But this here is really dang good. It packs an emotional punch and it his a ton of depth to the lyrics that I can tell had a lot of thought put into it. If all rap was like this, I would like the genre a lot more. Dare I compare this to... Eminem? That's what it reminded me of and I'm sure Kendrick fans would appreciate the comparison.

49- "XO TOUR Llif3" - Lil Uzi Vert -- After listening to Kendrick's song, I was nervous about going straight to this, especially with this extremely unintelligent title. How do I even pronounce that and what does that mean? And why in the heck is Lil Uzi Vert spelling life with two l's and a 3? Turns out this isn't as bad as I thought it would be. The production is fine and Lil Uzi starts out good, but my big problem here is that shortly into the song, Lil Uzi starts mumbling everything and if I weren't reading the lyrics, I'd have no idea what the heck he was saying. I don't like mumble rap. The content of the song isn't bad, but I also feel like there's something a lot better hidden somewhere in there that doesn't quite come across how Lil Uzi wants it to. Overall, not as bad as previous Lil Uzi efforts, but not that great either.

61- "Speak to a Girl" - Tim McGraw & Faith Hill -- I actually really like Faith Hill and I don't hate Tim McGraw, so I was curious about this collaboration. The message here is Tim and Faith are both instructing the audience how to treat a girl. She needs your respect and love. She needs you to be her friend. It's important to drop your pride and also realize it's not your money that she wants. I mean, these things are definitely important principles that are good to know if you don't already. It's important to know how to treat a woman or talk to a girl, but I don't necessarily feel a ton of passion or emotion here. And I don't know why there's two of them singing here. They aren't talking to each other or giving alternate points of view on this. They're just doing the Glee style of singing where multiple people take turns singing a song that really only needs one voice. I don't know if cheesy and cliche is the right term, but that's kinda where I'm going with this. There's other country songs with worse vocals and worse messages than this, but I just chalk this up to another boring country song.  

66- "Still Got Time" - Zayn featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR -- Our former One Direction member has certainly taken his career to interesting places. I mean, kudos for doing something different, but that's all the kudos he's getting from me because the specific direction he's taken is an unpleasant one. Not that I liked One Direction, but Zayn went from below average boy band to hurt-my-ears awful. The song itself has a nice groove to it and you might think it's going to be something surprisingly good from Zayn, but then he starts singing and all that flies out the window. There's actually some debate about what some of the lyrics are, but I think that debate is funny because I don't think Zayn even knows what those lyrics are because he mumbles through most of the song. The jist of what he's trying to get across to this girl is that he's telling her that she should stop worrying so much about finding love and just enjoy life. He kinda mumbles his way through that chorus without adding any depth or passion to it, but then to make it worse our Drake wannabe, Mr. PARTYNEXTDOOR comes in and completely contradicts everything Zayn says as he is begging this girl to come be his girlfriend, so I don't even know what the point of this song is.