Friday, August 4, 2017

DrogeMiester's Billboard Analysis - August 12, 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- "Despacito" - Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee featuring Justin Bieber (=) -- One of Billboard's top-tier data providers experienced some technical issues this week, hence the delayed charts this week and my delayed thoughts. We're glad it was all sorted out and hopefully we can get back on schedule next week. But that made for an unusually long wait to learn what we all already knew was going to happen. "Despacito" becomes one of just 19 songs to reign at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for 12 weeks or longer. It also ties Ed Sheeran's "Shape of You" for longest reign of the year. As far as margins go, sales and streaming dipped a bit more this week than the previous weeks while radio essentially stayed even. 102,000 sales (down 13 percent), 52.9 million streams (down 8 percent) and 142 million in radio audience (down 2 percent). According to Billboard's report, the gap in chart points this week for "Despacito" vs. "Wild Thoughts" is 1.59-to-1. Compare that to last week's 1.73-to-1 lead. If a similar marginal decrease continued at that rate each week, "Despacito" would make it to 15 weeks at No.1 while being stopped just short of Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's 16-week record. In other words, this is going to come down to the wire. Last week I mentioned "Unforgettable" as a potential spoiler. Well, that song fell this week, so scratch that off.

2- "Wild Thoughts" - DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna & Bryson Tiller (=) -- I mentioned the margin in chart points this week is 1.59-to-1. The specific numbers for "Wild Thoughts" this week are 36,000 sales (down 9 percent), 35.3 million streams (down 1 percent) and 117 million in radio audience (up 10 percent). In other words, while sales aren't helping at all, "Wild Thoughts" held well enough on streaming and got a good enough radio boost to gain on "Despacito." But there's no margin for error here. It's going to need to continue to hold steady on streaming and continue to rise on radio while hoping "Despacito" continues to collapse on sales and streaming. If "Wild Thoughts" trips and falls, even for a week or two, "Despacito" may just steal that record away. Unless a new song manages to come in and debut at the top. But is there anyone poised and capable of doing that right now? I don't think so. But I'd be fine if there was.

3- "That's What I Like" - Bruno Mars (=) -- Bruno Mars certainly isn't going to rise up back to No. 1. The fact that this song is still at No. 3 shows the weakness of the songs below.

4- "I'm the One" - DJ Khaled featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne (=) -- And I'm really surprised that "I'm the One" can't jump ahead of Bruno Mars again. I hope that this is a sign that it's on the way out of the top five. Thanks heavens!

5- "Believer" - Imagine Dragons (+2) -- Well here's a surprise. I expected "Unforgettable" to jump as high as No. 3 this week. Instead that song falls a spot and it's Imagine Dragons jumping into the top five instead. This is a sign to me that it's all up to "Wild Thoughts" or a new debut to stop "Despacito" from breaking the record. Because a rock song certainly ain't going to do it. I mean, tell me. When is the last time a rock band was actually No. 1 on the Hot 100? And don't respond with Maroon 5. They went away from rock a long time ago and barely count as a band.

6- "Unforgettable" - French Montana featuring Swae Lee (-1) -- As I said a few times now, this honestly surprises me to see this fall this week. I thought this had enough momentum to at least jump ahead of Bruno and DJ Khaled. But not only was it not able to do that, but Imagine Dragons also passed it. Now there was a Latin remix of this song that dropped recently where J Balvin was added to the mix. We also had a Major Lazer remix drop as well. So French Montana is doing his best to try to push this song over the hump. Can these remixes help reverse this song's fortunes? Sales and streaming charts on give me doubt, but it would be an interesting turn of events if J Balvin was the key ingredient to stopping Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee.

7- "Shape of You" - Ed Sheeran (-1) -- Baby steps. This fell from No. 5 to No. 6 last week and from No. 6 to No. 7 this week. How many more weeks until this finally drops out of the top 10?

8- "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" - Shawn Mendes (=) -- This song has only been here for three weeks and I'm already sick of it. At least it's camping out at No. 8 and not going any higher. Although I expect it to jump ahead of Ed next week. But let's hope No. 7 is where it peaks.

9- "Attention" - Charlie Puth (+1) -- It's been two weeks and I'm also already sick of this song in the top 10. Why are we giving so much attention to bland pop singers with little talent? Get Mr. Mendes and Mr. Puth far away from my Billboard charts and my radio.

10- "Body Like a Back Road" - Sam Hunt (-1) -- Do you want to know an awful horror story? Not only is this song STILL in the top 10, but it broke the record for most weeks on top of the Hot Country charts. So congratulations screwed up American. You have crowned this as the top country song of all time. And it's actually still rising on pop radio, which I can only explain by Sam Hunt's gang breaking into all the radio stations and holding the DJ's at gun point, forcing them to play his song. Because why else would this piece of trash country song be played at all on pop radio?

Rising on the Hot 100:

16- "Strip that Down" - Liam Payne featuring Quavo (+9) -- Really bad news on the rising songs chart. Liam Payne has jumped into the top 20 with his awful turn with Quavo. I'm about ready to crown this man as the worst former 1D member. And sad thing is we're encouraging him to continue to go down the awful route he has chosen? While rejecting Harry Style's brilliant music?

21- "Bank Account" - 21 Savage (+13) -- NO!!!!!! How dare we boost 21 Savage so high!!!! Someone stop this awful mutiny!!!!

28- "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)" - Cardi B (+21) -- And we're also encouraging the Nicki Minaj wannabe to keep making music. I mean, just look at the title of this song.

30- "Mi Gente" - J Balvin & Willy William (+14) -- Another huge jump for J Balvin this week. Is this song heading for the top 10? If it does, I will be super impressed that it managed to do so without an English-speaking pop star joining the song. Luis Fonsi needed Justin Bieber to make his song a hit in the states. Can J Balvin do it on his own?

32- "Rake it Up" - Yo Gotti featuring Nicki Minaj (+9) -- Oh goodness. Not only do we have the Nicki Minaj wannabe rising on the charts, but we also have the Wicked Witch of the West herself rising on the charts. This song is literally one of the worst songs of the year. Why are we making it a thing and why won't the untalented Nicki Minaj just get out of my life?

46- "Love Galore" - SZA featuring Travis Scott (+7) -- We're making SZA a thing, too? Oh well. At least she's not quite as bad as Cardi B and Nicki. So it's whatever. But why does she have to bring Travis Scott along with her? That man has no ounce of talent.

51- "Whatever You Need" - Meek Mill featuring Chris Brown & Ty Dolla $ign (+38) -- It's a Meek Mill week. He gets six new songs debuting on the charts. Along with that, this song from June gets a huge boost. And I already forgot that this song existed, so let's hope it falls back down next week when these songs go away. Word on the street is that it was the Meek Mill songs that were the cause of this delay this week with some people trying to give him fake streaming numbers.

85- "Glorious" - Macklemore featuring Skylar Grey (+14) -- Yes! With all this mostly bad news this week, we finally have some good fortunes. This song almost dropped out after its debut, as it fell to No. 99. I thought it was done, which was going to make me sad that one of the few good rappers got rejected in favor of all these fakers. But thankfully it has survived. Now a jump to the 80's is nothing to lose my mind over, but at least it's a positive early sign. I want this song to be a hit. And we've had so much bad or mediocre luck on the charts this year that I would really be nice if we had a good song do good on the charts for a change. We all deserve it!

New Arrivals:

40- "Back to You" - Louis Tomlinson featuring Bebe Rexha & Digital Farm Animals -- I actually really liked Louis Tomlinson's first song, "Just Hold On" with Steve Aoki. I thought the EDM mix from Aoki worked really well with Tomlinson's voice. It was a good direction for him and I'm sad it failed to become a hit. Well, now that all the 1D have had a lot of success with their own songs, Tomlinson is back with his second song, this time collaborating with Bebe Rexha. And again, I really enjoy this. Minus the unnecessary cursing. But hey, usually there's clean versions released, so I'll wait for that. But this is a decent duet with Tomlinson and Rexha. A lot more than your typical pop collaboration where the featured act is there for a verse just to boost the song's sales. Tomlinson and Rexha's voices mesh really well and they both get equal time in this song to sing about how they are trying to move on from each other, but they keep coming back to each other. So just like with "Just Hold On,"  the lyrics aren't super original or deep, but the two of them make it work. And the instrumentation by Digital Farm Animals in the background rounds things out rather nice. Well done, Louis! This makes me look forward to your album if you have that on the way.

61- "What's My Name" - China Anne McClain -- Step 1 for this song was to determine who the heck is China Anne McClain. Turns out she's a 19-year-old Disney Channel star. OK. The next Selena Gomez or Demi Lovato? Step 2 is to figure out where the heck this song came from. "Descendants 2"? What the heck is that? And what is "Descendants"? Well, apparently "Descendants," not to be confused with Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" is in original Disney Channel movie from 2015 following the teenage sons and daughters of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella De Vil and they are out to steal Fairy Godmother's wand. OK. And now we have a sequel to this movie that just premiered recently and was popular enough to chart two songs this week? Interesting. Well, in this movie, that I don't care to watch, China Anne McClain plays Uma, the daughter of Ursala. If you didn't know any of that, now you do. As far as the song, this sounds like Rihanna. A good version of Rihanna before she went completely down the drain. This girl has a great voice and good potential if she wants to pursue a music career. The lyrics sound like a villain song, so I'm guessing Uma is the villain of the movie and this is her main song. But I don't care enough to know the exact context. But after listening to this song, I can guess that people who like these "Descendants" movies really dig this song. It's not bad for a Disney Channel movie song.

77- "Issues" - Meek Mill -- If you couldn't tell by the six Meek Mill songs in this section, Meek Mill dropped his album "Wins & Losses." And I'm going to go through this quickly because I've never cared about Meek Mill. In this song, Meek Mill is singing about how he has issues. He's one of the many rappers that has copied Migos with an overdose of sound effects and echoes, which I find annoying. Luckily he manages not to be as annoying as Migos, which is a slight plus. And he's also actually rapping about something instead of girls, drugs or fame, which is another slight plus. But I mostly just got bored of this song. I don't think there's anything interesting here.

79- "Wins & Losses" - Meek Mill -- Here's the title track of Meek Mill's album, which is also the debut track. I do have to say this starts off the album in quite the epic way with an intro that grabs your attention followed by a sample from a speech from motivational speaker Eric Thomas. I can see fans of Meek Mill loving how this grabs your attention for what they probably think is a sick album. For me, though, the problem comes when Meek Mill starts rapping. In this instance, it's just one big, long verse after the intro and while the groove and flow is better than many rap songs, I still got bored 30 seconds into this actual verse and there's nothing unique or special with the lyrics that he sings. In this instance, I would've rather had a break for a chorus or two in between the verses and maybe then I could've given the song a pass, but that's not how the song went down.

81- "It's Goin' Down" - Descendants 2 Cast -- Read above for my brief description of "Descendants 2." This is the other song from the movie that charted and this one has the whole cast, which I'm glad Billboard simplified that for me so I don't have to type all their names. This is a bit harder to try to predict the context, but I'm guessing this is where the heroes of the movie go up and fight the villains on what sounds like a pirate ship where the king is captured. I'm sure it's an epic moment in the movie for those who watched the movie because this is a pretty fun song. Much of the song is dialogue between China Anne McClain and Dove Cameron intermixed with chanting from the two sides. Mitchell Hope has a nice little bridge towards the end that I liked, but the standout is when China Anne McClain gets the opportunity to belt it out and man does that girl have a voice. It's hard to believe the voice is coming from a 19-year-old girl as opposed to a seasoned, trained singer who has been doing this for 20+ years. I think this girl has a good future if she wants it.

83- "1942 Flows" - Meek Mill -- Unlike the previous Meek Mill song I covered, "1942 Flows" actually has some breaks with a chorus and refrain instead of just being one long verse. But in this song, Meek Mill is rapping about one of the most common things to rap about as he talks about how he went from having nothing to having everything. I don't know who the first person was to rap about becoming famous, but I probably wouldn't have been interested in that and I'm certainly not interested in the other 1,502,471 times it's happened since. When rappers don't have the ability to be unique or creative and instead do the same thing that everyone else does, my interest level immediately goes out the window. Also, this song at 4:42 is way too long. I stopped when I got to like 1:30 because I was already bored and I didn't want to listen to the other three minutes. Reading through the rest of the lyrics didn't convince me it was necessary, so I don't feel about at all.

91- "Imitadora" - Romeo Santos -- Romeo previously showed up in March with his song "Heroe Favorito," a song that I don't really remember to well, but upon a re-listen I am reminded that it is a decent Latin song. It's more toned down as opposed to being a big, bombastic Latin dance song, which is probably why it failed to stick around. Now Romeo gets to chart again with "Imitadora," which translates to "Imitator." I don't look to deeply into these Spanish lyrics, but my quick look is that he's trying to get this girl to come back to him as opposed to sticking with this "imitator." Romeo has a very high-pitched, smooth voice, which sells the romantic, sexual tension rather well. I don't need to translate any lyrics to pick up on the tone of the song and where he's going with it. And I think the song works well for what it's trying to do. Although, again, this is a softer song as opposed to an upbeat dance song like "Despacito" or "Mi Gente," so I'm predicting that this song won't have a very long chart life on the U.S. charts. It'll probably stick solely with its intended Latin audience.

96- "We Ball" - Meek Mill featuring Young Thug -- Every time I hear a rap song that talks about them balling, I'm convinced it was written with the sole purpose of making it onto the next NBA 2K game or to be played on ESPN, because for some reason ESPN and NBA 2K are suckers for those types of lyrics, even if they have nothing to do with basketball, just like this song doesn't. And for some reason Meek Mill felt the need to bring Young Thug onto the song with him, despite the two sounding almost exactly the same. If I wasn't looking for the exact moment where the two switched singing, I would've missed it, especially since Meek Mill sings the first half and Young Thug sings the second half and the song doesn't miss a beat. It's kinda like when you have those Glee covers where they unnecessarily have multiple singers singing one song when musically it doesn't make any sense for a new voice to come in. Yeah, not interested.

97- "F--- that Check Up" - Meek Mill featuring Lil Uzi Vert -- Remember when I said it was boring to me when rappers sang about them being famous and rich? Now can you guess how I feel when a rapper sings about it twice in one album? Yeah, I'll let you connect the dots. At least in this song I could tell the difference between the two rappers, unlike the last one. Although I hate Lil Uzi Vert, so I actually stopped the song when he came on. Especially since this boring trash went on for almost four minutes. Not quite as long as "1942 Flows," but still way too long.

99- "Heavy Heart" - Meek Mill -- I'm really glad I only had to cover six of these songs this week instead of all 17 songs on this way too long album that I'm just going to go out on a limb and say has absolutely nothing interesting on it. Just looking at the song titles, this was the one song that I thought could perhaps have more depth and emotion to it. Nope. He's just upset that all this fame, riches and girls left him unfulfilled. There could've been depth. But instead he just comes across as a self-entitled, stuck-up prick. If you like Meek Mill, I'm sorry. I just don't understand the appeal.

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