Wednesday, August 9, 2017

DrogeMiester's Billboard Analysis - August 19, 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 (=) -- With Billboard back on track this week after being delayed last week, it feels like "Despacito" had an awfully short 12th week at top before now climbing to its 13th week at No. 1, becoming only the 11th song in history of the Billboard Hot 100 to reign for at least 13 weeks. Of the previous 10 to hit this milestone, only two of them managed to get stuck at 13 weeks while seven of them finished their reign at 14 weeks. Only Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day" made it past that 14-week mark, making it to 16 weeks at No. 1, a record that has stood for 21 years. Of the songs that have come so close to topping the record, 13 weeks hasn't been a tough hurdle, but it's that 14 week mark that no one has been able to get past. While we wait to see if "Despacito" will break Billboard's most sacred record, there are a two other major records that "Despacito" just broke. This week it became the all-time leader for most weeks on top of the sales chart with 14, passing Flo Rida's "Low," Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" and The Chainsmokers' "Closer," all of which previous led with 13 weeks. It also just barely passed Wiz Khalfa's "See You Again" for the most viewed YouTube music video of all-time, joining "See You Again" as the only two songs to hit the 3 billion views mark. If you're following my margin's game, Billboard didn't report how close "Despacito" and "Wild Thoughts" are this week after "Despacito" had a 1.59-to-1 lead last week, but the numbers for "Despacito" are as follows: 84,000 sales (down 17 percent), 49.8 million streams (down 6 percent) and 141 million radio audience (down 1 percent).

2- "Wild Thoughts" - DJ Khaled featuring Rihanna & Bryson Tiller (=) -- Comparing the numbers of "Wild Thoughts" to "Despacito," "Wild Thoughts" achieved 34,000 sales (down 5 percent), 34.8 million streams (down 1 percent) and 128 million in radio audience (up 9 percent). So comparing these numbers, if in theory both songs were to follow these exact same peercent changes, when the illustrious 16-week mark hits, "Despacito" will still still have significant leads in sales and streaming while the only advantage "Wild Thoughts" will have is radio, a category in which it could pass "Despacito" as early as next week. So the big question is how heavy does Billboard's formula give weight to radio? Can "Wild Thoughts" get a big enough lead on radio to stop "Despacito" from hitting that 16-week mark? Because it doesn't look like it will be able to do much with sales and streaming at this point. I honestly don't know the answer. This is going to be close.

3- "Unforgettable" - French Montana featuring Swae Lee (+3) -- This is what I THOUGHT was going to happen last week. So after surprising me by falling down to No. 6, "Unforgettable" again surprises me by jumping up to No. 3 this week. But No. 3 is definitely where this is going to stay for a while. While the song increased in all three categories, it's still no where close to either "Wild Thoughts" or "Despacito." I could see this going No. 1 eventually. But not in the next three weeks.

4- "That's What I Like" - Bruno Mars (-1) -- I'd say we're making slow progress with this song falling back down to No. 4. But we're really not as this already fell down to No. 4 before somehow jumping up to No. 3 again. I mean, to heck with "Shape of You" and "Despacito," if this song won't leave the top five, this might end up as the most popular song of 2017. So even if you do like this song, tell yourself. Is this song good enough to be declared the most popular song of 2017. And keeping in mind that "Uptown Funk" isn't Bruno's song (he's only a feature on it), is this really worthy of being declared Bruno Mars' best song?

5- "Believer" - Imagine Dragons (=) -- Well, Imagine Dragons did manage to jump ahead of "I'm the One," but they all also got leap-frogged by "Unforgettable," meaning they stay put at No. 5. And you know, if it means booting DJ Khaled and friends out of the top five with that overrated snooze-fest, then I'm happy for now.

6- "I'm the One" - DJ Khaled featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper & Lil Wayne (=) -- Speaking of this song, let's all stand and shout our hallelujah's that this song FINALLY fell out of the top five. It never belonged there in the first place and only got there because DJ Khaled recruited four popular musicians, not because the song has one ounce of quality. Next step is to get this the heck out of the top 10 and off the charts all together. It doesn't belong.

7- "Attention" - Charlie Puth (+2) -- I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, Shawn Mendes once again got held back from rising any further and "Shape of You" is even closer to FINALLY dropping out of the top 10. But on the other hand, it's boring as tar Charlie Puth that rose up to No. 7. So it's whatever, I suppose. I just hope this somehow loses momentum and sputters out before it manages to camp around in the top 10 for way too long.

8- "There's Nothing Holdin' Me Back" - Shawn Mendes (=) -- "Despacito" is still the No. 1 song on radio when you combine all formats, but Shawn Mendes just passed "Despacito" on pop radio. Because pop radio has nothing better to do than playing boring, bland, worthless pop songs on the radio. But since Shawn Mendes has no traction at all in sales and streaming, he stays at No. 8 for a fourth straight week. Preventing this song from rising higher is a minor win in my book.

9- "Shape of You" - Ed Sheeran (-2) -- It would really bring me much joy if this were the last week in the top 10 for "Shape of You." I don't hate the song. But it wore out its welcome a long time ago and I want it to go away. It's not deserving of song of the year.

10- "Body Like a Back Road" - Sam Hunt (=) -- Speaking of things that would bring me much joy and happiness, if this song were completely erased from existence that would make me the happiest man alive. Meanwhile Sam Hunt should just completely give up singing and go flip burgers at McDonald's. That would make the world a better place.

Rising on the Hot 100:

14- "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)" - Cardi B (+14) -- There's a whole lot of songs rising right now, making it so we can kinda see what Fall has in store for us once our current stubborn top 10 finally breaks. And, well, it's a very mixed bag. As this song from the Nicki Minaj wannabe continues to soar up the charts, potentially breaking top 10 as early as next week, I'm not super excited about this future. It looks like we can just write off 2017 as a crappy year for popular music.

15- "Slow Hands" - Niall Horan (+3) -- Part of me finds great joy that Niall has now jumped ahead of Liam for current top song from a former 1D member. That's another minor win. But I'd still rather see Harry or Louis in this spot, so it's not a very big win.

18- "Bank Account" - 21 Savage (+3) -- Should I be happy that this piece of crap only jumped three spots this week or upset that it managed to crack top 20?

26- "Rake it Up" - Yo Gotti featuring Nicki Minaj (+6) -- This is now just on the outside of the top 25. While one can only hope this stalls before getting too much further, this song rising at all is a big lose for America. I don't get the appeal to this at all.

31- "Loyalty." - Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna (+33) -- I wish Kendrick had picked a better single from his album to promote next instead of the one written just for the sake of popularity with a Rihanna feature, but hey, I'll take this over the other two rap songs I just talked about.

32- "Praying" - Kesha (+6) -- It really makes me happy seeing this reverse course after dropping hard in its second week. I've noticed that the radio has started to latch onto this and that's a good sign. Let's just hope sales and streaming continue to follow because I would really love if this was a major fall hit.

34- "Feel it Still" - Portugal. The Man (+21) -- I would also love for this to become a major fall hit. In a year stuffed full of boring mediocrity, it would give me great pleasure if this and "Praying" can help ease the pain a little bit. We really need more good music.  

37- "Love Galore" - SZA featuring Travis Scott (+9) -- I suppose we are going to make SZA a major star because this song doesn't seem to want to slow down. And if Travis Scott wasn't on this song, I could accept this rising female star. As of now, I'm not happy.

42- "Small Town Boy" - Dustin Lynch (+7) -- Country radio has a lot of rising songs this week. And one of them desperately needs to rise fast enough to top Sam Hunt on the country charts. This song I hope isn't the one because it's not that much better.

46- "Versace on the Floor" - Bruno Mars (+7) -- It makes me happy seeing this song continue to rise. Not because I'm madly in love with it. Because it gives me hope that "That's What I Like" will finally fall off.

47- "Do I Make You Wanna" - Billy Currington (+11) -- Here's a country riser that I would love to see top the country charts. Let's send this one to the top.

48- "What Ifs" - Kane Brown featuring Lauren Alaina (+15) -- I'd also be fine with this song rising to the top, but not quite as happy as Billy Currington.

50- "Drinkin' Problem" - Midland (+10) -- Even though I lived in a city called Midland for a while, we certainly don't need to encourage these guys to make any more music.

51- "No Promises" - Cheat Codes featuring Demi Lovato (+17) -- We have a surprising lack of EDM artists on the charts right now compared to what was happening last year. Although I'd love to see more EDM do well, Cheat Codes can go away. Let's actually popularize a good EDM artist because Cheat Codes isn't one of them. And Demi's done much better, too.

54- "Thunder" - Imagine Dragons (+15) -- Most years I'd be happy to see Imagine Dragons do well. A second song gaining traction on the charts points to them gaining favor in the eyes of the mainstream again after their second album was a big flop in terms of singles. But I just can't get myself to be excited for either "Believer" or "Thunder" doing well.

63- "Heartache on the Dance Floor" - Jon Pardi (+10) -- And for our final country riser this week, well, let's just be glad that this one hasn't quite broken top 50 yet.

64- "Young Dumb & Broke" - Khalid (+18) -- Khalid's punctuationless follow-up single takes a surprising jump in its third week. I can't myself to be too excited for this, but yet there's definitely a whole lot worse happening right now, so I'm not complaining.

73- "Reminder" - The Weeknd (+27) -- I was wondering if The Weeknd was going to have another single do well from his "Starboy" album. This re-entered a little bit ago and seemed to have trouble gaining traction at first, but is this a sign it will do well? While I don't think this is as good as "Starboy" or "False Alarm," and probably a step below "I Feel it Coming" as well, this song does have a decent groove to it and I would be happy if it did well. After mostly enjoying the album, which surprised me, this is not a song I remembered from the album, so that's not a great sign. But again, there's a lot worse happening on the charts right now, so I'm not going to complain at an average, yet groovy song from The Weeknd doing well.

80- "Down" - Fifth Harmony featuring Gucci Mane (+10) -- One of the things that's a lot worse is that Fourth Harmony is managing to stick around and got a boost this week. I was happy when this song started failing. Now let's please send this to the trash bin.

New Arrivals: 

38- "You Da Baddest" - Future featuring Nicki Minaj -- Oh goodness. We have to suffer through more Future? And it's featuring Nicki Minaj? Yikes! What did we all do to deserve this? And why did this song debut in the top 40? Like, I seriously don't understand how people call this music. Future spends the whole song mumbling as usual, making him sound like he's stoned and drunk while recording. And looking at the lyrics it sounds like the same. Like he threw some random, dirty lyrics on a paper five minutes before recording then lazily stumbling through the song during the studio. All while drunk and high. The only positive thing about the song is that it is mercifully short on the Nicki Minaj side of things. She does a quick pop intro followed by a quick rap verse somewhere towards the middle and that's it.

68- "Unforgettable" - Thomas Rhett -- Gotta love Mr. Rhett's timing on this song. He releases a single titled "Unforgettable" while French Montana's "Unforgettable" is in the top five. Now we have two of these songs to follow. And, well, let's just hope America quickly "forgets" about Thomas Rhett's version because this song is very "forgettable." Granted, when compared to "Craving You," his other single from his upcoming album, this song is much better. Instead of telling the girl how much he craves her (not the best word choice when you're trying to be romantic), he's describing the first day they met... which included him spending 30 minutes trying to guess her middle name? Like, who does that? I think Thomas Rhett is trying to be romantic, but it just comes off as boring. Not offensive or horrible, but a song I'm literally going to forget rather quickly.

85- "When it Rains it Pours" - Luke Combs -- We follow up the previous bland and forgettable country song with one that I find a bit confusing. Usually when you use the phrase "when it rains it pours," you are referring to the fact that one bad thing led to a whole slew of awful things. Instead Luke Combs is talking about his girl dumping him and that being followed by a pouring out of great luck that causes him to be grateful that he left his girl. That's the wrong usage of the term, Mr. Combs. That aside, I don't know what light he is trying to put himself in, but as he's describing these events I just think that he's acting like a total insensitive jerk. Not to mention that musically he's using an extremely twangy, drawn-out voice to try to disguise the fact that this isn't a country song at all. Nothing in this song jives with me at all. It's just a big mess.

87- "They Don't Know" - Jason Aldean -- Third time's the charm for our country songs this week? Nope. It's three strikes and we're out because Jason Aldean has released what sounds like an album filler on what's probably a boring album. He brings his southern rock in full force in this song. But, you know, he sings with a twang and wears a cowboy hat. That means it's country, right? At least this song feels more connected than Luke Combs' song, but we're back in the boring range. Aldean is singing about how know one cares or appreciates the life of a farmer. Which I want to say people actually do. But Mr. Aldean can act butt-hurt for no reason if he wants. I'll just log this song away and go on with my life.

88- "Honest" - The Chainsmokers -- I listened to The Chainsmokers' full album when they released it back in April, hoping I'd find more songs like "Something Just Like This" and less songs like "Paris" and "Closer." Unfortunately I was extremely disappointed because most of the songs were like the latter two. It just felt lazy and phoned in. Like they worked hard as EDM artists until they gained this enormous mainstream success which caused them to think they didn't need to try. "Honest" has no life, no soul, no interesting beat, no drop. Nothing. And it's Alex Taggart just singing himself, which I thought he had learned to NOT sing anymore. Songs from The Chainsmokers are better when they feature real, trained singers. As far as the album goes, this song is better than "Break Up Every Night," "The One" and "Bloodstream." But it's a part of the huge clump of songs from the album that are just bland and boring. If The Chainsmokers were to pick another single from the album, I was hoping it would at least be "It Won't Kill Ya," "Wake Up Alone" or "Last Day Alive." At least those three are decent. But nope. Of course they go for one of their many bland ones.

89- "The Weekend" - SZA -- Well I've made it no secret that I'm not a fan of SZA's "Love Galore," which is doing really well right now. Thus I was not intrigued in the least bit to check out the album. But this song was me giving her a second chance because maybe having no Travis Scott or another untalented rapper would make her music decent? But no. This song is boring and stretched out like taffy. Like, I can tell that this girl does have talent in her, but thus far I've not seen that potential unleashed. Now perhaps this song being super slow is reflective of her mediocre, dull life that she's having in the song after realizing that her man is playing around with a bunch of other girls. But she doesn't seem to be as angry or upset as she should be. It almost like she's fine with sharing him, but would just like it if she had more than two days. So I'm not feeling it. Perhaps I should check out the album to see if there's anything worthwhile, but with two dull samples thus far, that's just not super high on my list of albums to listen to.

90- "New Rules" - Dua Lipa -- Unlike SZA, Dua Lipa is a rising female artist that I am excited about. She also has a debut solo album that has been released recently that I'm actually more excited to go listen to. I think Dua Lipa has a great voice, a good musical style and a lot of potential. Although it's not been all rainbows and butterflies. Her first crossover to the U.S. charts was "Blow My Mind (Mwah)," which I found super annoying. But then she teamed up with Martin Garrix for "Scared to Be Lonely," which I really enjoyed. "New Rules" is probably somewhere in between those two songs. There's still a level of potential that I feel she's capable of reaching that she doesn't hit. The song is pretty basic without much depth or passion. But it also has a decent groove to it that makes me prefer it over a lot of stuff that's been crowding the charts. So nothing too special, but a decent pop hit that makes me want more Dua Lipa.

93- "Wish I Knew You" - The Revivalists -- Here's a genre that deserves more love on the Billboard charts. Rock. Any sort of rock. But preferably rock that's more imaginative than Imagine Dragons right now. Occasionally one sneaks in, like this song here, and makes me happy. This is probably classified as a lighter, alternative rock as it topped the Adult Alternative and Alternative charts within the last year and has finally crossed over to the Hot 100 two years after the album was released. And it's possibly hear because it was featured in a beer commercial? Well, it's kinda sad that commercial songs are the only way we get semi-unique songs on the charts these days. But hey, whatever works. "Wish I Knew You" is nothing that will blow your mind. It's a softer, relaxing, groovy alternative song with a simple message. But it's a good song with a lot of good instrumentation and solid lead vocals from frontman David Shaw. A nice breath of fresh air. It makes me want to go listen to more of The Revivalists' music, of which they have three albums worth of content.

94- "Every Little Thing" - Carly Pearce -- We have a new country girl on the scene as Carly Pearce debuts her first ever single on the Billboard Hot 100. I think in general I have a little more of a soft spot for female country singers. They seem to fit the genre better. Not that there aren't any good male country singers. But I think there's a lot more female country singers that I enjoy and I might have to add Carly to my list. This is only based on one song, of course, but it's a great first impression as there's a lot of earnestness to this song. It's a soft song with restrained vocals, but I can feel the emotion as she's singing about, well, a subject that most country singers sing about. She's lost her lover. But unlike some country singers, I can feel the pain here. It's also possible that Carly is singing from the heart because she has yet to have a major hit on any charts. I hope she can stay honest because I'm curious to hear more.

97- "Learn to Let Go" - Kesha -- More Kesha to talk about this week as we now have her third song from her upcoming album "Rainbow" hit the charts. After being blown away by "Praying" and somewhat repulsed by "Woman," I was honestly curious as to where the rest of this album would be going. If it wasn't obvious before, it should be now that this ongoing issue with Dr. Luke is going to be the main inspiration behind this album. Which I appreciate. It's good to put some emotion and personal experience into your album and I think it worked great with "Praying." It's yet to be determined how the whole album will play out, but it was a breath of fresh air for me to discover that "Learn to Let Go" is more in line with "Praying" than "Woman." There's emotion and depth to the song rather than her just shouting about how awful and useless men are. I will say that "Learn to Let Go" doesn't quite hit the vocal heights or power of "Praying." I'd be surprised if any song from the album did, to be fair. But this is a good direction for Kesha that gives me confidence.

98- "All the Pretty Girls" - Kenny Chesney -- If you want to hear a good song called "All the Pretty Girls," go check out Fun.'s song with that title from their first album "Aim and Ignite." I absolutely love that song. This song by Kenny, though, doesn't really amount to anything and is thus pretty forgettable. He starts by talking about some stereotypical pretty girls and some stereotypical lost boys and for a moment you wonder what story he is going to tell. What arc both of these groups are going to go through. But instead it just amounts to them meeting together in a bar, getting drunk and making out. It's pretty anti-climatic and uninspiring. But a tad better than his previous hit.

99- "For Her" - Chris Lane -- This is our sixth new country song of the week and so far we've only had one good one. That being from Carly Pearce. Can we get a second? Unfortunately not. Although I will admit that this started off better than many of the others. Chris Lane seems more honest and earnest in describing this girl and what she makes him want to do for her rather than just spewing out another bland country song. The problem is that the song doesn't really have much of an arc or a story behind it. It's like in this instance, Chris Lane came up with a decent verse and a good chorus, but didn't know how to follow that up and form it into a full song, but he somehow managed to get to the three and a half minute mark by mostly repeating himself both in terms of exact lyrics or similar ideas. Eventually I just got bored.

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