The Hit Songs of January 2021

It’s a new year and hopefully, we’ll get some new trends on the charts. However we start a new year pretty much the same way we ended the last one: with a lot of meh. There’s was a decent amount of good and really not too much bad. But there were a large band of tracks that debuted on the charts this month that were extremely medium. But there was a lot of them so let’s get to it, worst to first.

24. Ritt Momney – Put Your Records On

White indie rapper covers a pop song. Hmmm, haven’t heard that one. You couldn’t have heard the first verse of this one either since it sounds like someone singing in the shower. It feels more like an Ableton Live demo. Every vocal has multiple filters, the tempo gets played with. It really comes off as a dare track. Let’s see how many features we can cram into one cover song. Great exercise for producers, shit idea for a single that gets released to the public. But it’s apparently a huge hit in the Philippines, so what do I know?

23. All Time Low ft. blackbear – Monsters

Four or five years ago, this is a Fall Out Boy track. My songs know who to emulate in the dark…

22. Morgan Wallen – Sand in My Boots

Just take this as a write-up of a generic modern country ballad. If he’s not gonna put in any effort, neither am I.

21. Morgan Wallen – Wasted On You

I listened to it three times and I can’t tell you anything about it other than “generic mid-tempo country song”.

20. Olivia Rodrigo – Driver’s License

A squeaky, wanna-be Lana Del Rey. Turns out a female still-not-over-it song is equally as annoying when its lazily done.

19. Lil’ Baby – On Me

A generic track that’s blessedly short. The beat is pretty tight though.

18. Taylor Swift ft. HAIM – No Body, No Crime

Taylor’s “Goodbye Earl”. Next.

17. Yung Bleu ft. Drake – You’re Mines Still

Drake is here and he’s the only positive on the track. Yung Bleu is so heavily autotuned it kinda hurts to listen to. The remix is the version that charted but it doesn’t sound complete. Like there’s still some mixing to do with this here one.

16. Ed Sheeran – Afterglow

Well, Ed opens with an acoustic guitar and the vocals from Imogene Heap’s “Hide and Seek” so there’s that. After that, it’s an Ed Sheeran single but far less catchy than his normal fare.

15. CJ – Whoopty

Short and intense, CJ’s rapid fire delivery almost makes up for the grating sample that’s the excuse for a beat used here.

14. Taylor Swift – Gold Rush

The songs that get the more full studio production treatment stick out like a sore thumb in this batch of songs. This isn’t a bad song but definitely is outshined by most of the other singles on the album.

13. Lady A – Champagne Night

It’s a Lady A song. Hey Bartender with a we’re not classy enough for champagne twist. Which is not true and I can prove it. It’s on the What-Tails Facebook page. I drank like a bottle and a half and there’s nothing classy going on over here.

12. Taylor Swift – Willow

Even with its folksy stripped down sound, Willow reminds us that Taylor can still write a pop song. But for some reason, in this case they don’t seem to fit together just right.

11. Taylor Swift – ‘Tis The Damn Season

Actually, a strong storytelling track that’s a Christmas song without sounding like one.

10. Malawa X The Weeknd – Hawai

Solid.

9.   Doja Cat – Streets

This track sounds dark as fuck, from the bass line to the background vocals to the intro, there’s nothing here to pick you up. It’s a ballad about missing someone after the flame is extinguished but there feels like there’s a darker edge just lurking underneath.

8. Justin Bieber – Anyone

Bieber starts off 2021 with a much much much better song than he started 2020 with. The simple production actually helps accentuate the work his voice is putting in here.

7. The Kid Laroi – SO DONE

Not really a big fan of his voice, but the track has the contrast of a reggae groove backing the lyrics of a guy who’s had enough of a bad relationship. You kinda can’t help but nod along as this guy is just done being held in a toxic relationship. 

6. Saweety ft. Doja Cat – Best Friend

This song is more fun that it probably should be. The beat does some interesting things and both ladies stick to all the best parts of it. And they fill it to the brim with razor-sharp one-liners.

5. Juice WRLD & Young Thug – Bad Boy

Another posthumous banger from Juice WRLD. Juice’s chorus is stupid catchy, Thug surprisingly does the heavy lifting with his verse while Juice is more aggressive than you’d expect. But it all works really well with the minor key beat.

4. The Weeknd – Save Your Tears

 Speaking of retro pop done right, this feels like a more stripped down Blinding Lights. There’s a crisp sound in the vocals and in the production. Everything is just airy and enjoyable and I really dig the synth runs in the chorus.

3. Taylor Swift – Champagne Problems

Taylor is really good at writing songs to shit talk exes. But it doesn’t seem like a worn-out trope here. When you frame a track like this in the indie pop parameters, talking about how you were treated by a boyfriend just works better

2. SZA – Good Days

SZA is just ethereal here, absolutely beautiful backing vocals, just one of those you have to stop and listen to and let it wash over you.

  1. Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa – Prisoner

Miley continues to impress, showing that she may have found her best place in the pop landscape: the retro sounding tracks. Plus, Dua Lipa is here and she can still do no wrong to my ears. This song feels like a more brooding “Physical” and I’m here for every second.

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