The Hit Songs of February 2021

Another month on the charts that seemed to be running on fumes.

14. The Kid LAROI – Without You

Another break up song on this month’s list, LAROI comes off as a Justin Bieber clone that likes to curse. But at its core, this is an emo break up song in its most generic form. The song feels like it can’t get out of first gear until about 2 minutes in and there is finally more than an acoustic guitar and a whiny rapper. But even when some drums are finally added, the emotion just isn’t there. It’s a very bad sign when you’re singing a heart-wrenching break up song and it hits with the same emotion of Radio 4’s shipping forecast. The newsreader’s falsetto might be more impressive.

13. Parmalee X Blanco Brown – Just the Way

What if Bruno Mars made “Just The Way You Are”, but with a country twang and he brought up God in every other line? You’d have Just the Way, Christ way to not even try to dodge the comparisons, and you’d have the vastly inferior version.

12. Lil Tjay ft. 6LACK – Calling My Phone

This could be a decent break up/getting over things song, but it’s buried in thick layers of auto-tune that just destroy the effect. Also, the repetitive and grating line from 6LACK pushes this into nails on a chalkboard territory.

11. Jason Derulo ft. Adam Levine – Lifestyle

It’s a Jason Derulo track. You know exactly what you’re getting. Despite having some interesting production, Jason Derulos all over the song. Adam Levine adds precisely… dick. He doesn’t bring any more energy, he doesn’t bring anything different or interesting lyrically. You can tell someone that’s not Jason is signing the 2nd verse. The living embodiment of meh. I think everyone but radio programmers got the same message, as this one has barely gotten onto the Hot 100, peaking at 74 but making the radio top 40, so here we are talking about it.

10. Pooh Shiesty ft. Lil’ Durk – Back in Blood

Dark and gritty, the production builds around a simple piano scale and gets dirty from there. It’s intense, but has little misses here and there that detract from the intensity some.

9. Ava Max – My Head and My Heart

In a departure from the downbeat sad tracks that have permeated the tracks since… well, for most of the pandemic, My Head and My Heart is a total bop. The big, shiny production gives you something to move to in your own private living room club. The song isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it is a reminder that dance pop is a thing and it’s totally okay to listen to it, even if you can’t yet hit up a club to jam on a packed dance floor to it.

8. BRS Kash – Throat Baby (Go Crazy)

It’s probably safe to say that BRS Kash has made the definitive blowjob anthem. There are no punches pulled over a decent beat and Kash’s melodic rap. I’d stick with the original though. The remix with City Girls and Da Baby seems to be subtraction by addition.

7. Moneybagg Yo – Time Today

Moneybagg spits some fire rhymes, his tight and intense flow is the highlight of this track. He drives the dark, minor key beat hard through the songs’ really short run time. It’s only 2:17 but it really goes by quick. The song isn’t revolutionary, but it’s good at what it’s doing.

6. Sigala ft. James Arthur – Lasting Lover

Wait… Time to Pretend? Alright then. The 80’s throwback is apparently the current pop trend and I am not mad about that at all. The production is tops, though the vocals feel like Lewis Capaldi on speed and diction pills. What’s that? Capaldi wrote it? Ah, there it is. I will say that I like this much, much more than Somebody You Loved. Far more fun.

5. Taylor Swift – Love Story (Taylor’s Version)

The first of what will likely be many re-charting of Taylor’s catalogue as she re-records her music after the nastiness with Scooter Braun. It’s been 13… damn, 13 years? Really? Years since the song’s original release and naturally, Taylor’s vocals are more mature and her country twang has pretty much been erased. Don’t come expecting a massive re-working. But you will take away a different feel from the song, less of a fairy tale and more of a recollection of young love. 

4. Kelsea Balerini – Hole in the Bottle

The old school country drinking break up song gets a poppy update, replacing wine with whiskey, and I’m here for it. Another of my favorite happy sounds, sad topic tracks, Balerini perfectly walks the line between Nashville and LA, grabbing the best of both worlds in the process. Yes, it’s kinda kitsch but in a good way. It has the throwback vibe with some trending sound.

3. Cardi B – Up

I have praised Megan Thee Stallion for her intensity and I will do the same for Cardi B. This is straight up angry bragging, no humble here. I love that she’s backed by a relatively simple but hard-hitting beat and she slides in a bunch of one-liners to boot.

2. Lil’ Durk ft. Lil’ Baby – Finesse Out the Gang Way

Remember what I said about Megan Thee Stallion and how it had been a while since I heard someone ride a beat so hard? Lil’ Durk did that same thing just a few months later. His verses are so tight the hook seems like an inconvenient stop on the way to more rhymes. Lil’ Baby machine guns his feature in there. It’s not bad but Durk far and away outshines him here.

  1. The Weeknd – Save Your Tears

Not gonna lie, first time I heard this track start I thought it was Capital Cities. I know I’m easy to amuse, but I am a big fan of those shimmering synth lines. Another track that juxtaposes it bright sounds with the less than bright topic of a break up. I think I like this track more than Blinding Lights. It’s kind of the perfect pop song.

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