While we didn’t do a full episode on the new music in December, I figured I’d still look at the charts and rank the best of what charted in the month. Which wasn’t much new music, there were a lot of Christmas tracks re-entering and we skip those.
SZA – I Hate U -A classic soul sound accentuated by SZA’s honey vocals, but the beauty of the music sugarcoats the fury of the lyrics.
Juice WRLD & SUGA – Girl of My Dreams – There’s a lot of interesting concepts going on in this cut, but it doesn’t feel disjointed or scrambled because of that.
Chloe – Have Mercy – A slow burning sexual anthem with excellent vocals.
Adele – To Be Loved – Adele and some piano chords. That’s all it needs to be good.
Adele – My Little Love – Soulful love song to her son, while confessing the insecurities of every parent. I love you, but I’m terrified I might accidentally kill you/send you to therapy for your entire adult life.
Juice WRLD – Burn – I like the dark, spacey, multi-layered production. Feels like a complete contradiction to the weight of Juice’s lyrics.
Adele – Oh My God – feels like a throwback to the alt-pop of like 8 years ago or so. I like that sound but the track on the whole doesn’t do anything special for me.
Adele – Can I Get It – simple and upbeat, but something just feels a little… flat. I can’t put my finger on it though.
Adele – I Drink Wine – I know this is getting all the rave reviews, but I feel like it’s really just a pedestrian self-reflective/motivational song
Kodak Black – Super Gremlin – Relatable lyrics about a lost friendship but nothing much else here to separate it from a thousand other trap tracks. The really lazy beat doesn’t help its case.
GAYLE – abcdefu – not an awful break up/fuck you song but the first line of the chorus is so cringe that it brings the rest of the song down with it. Possibly the dumbest three seconds in pop of the year.
Oliver Tree – Life Goes On – As unpleasant as the toxic relationship it described.
Lil Durk ft. Morgan Wallen – Broadway Girls – The release rivalry/race/future lawsuit over this song is more interesting than the track itself. The hick hop (ugh) track gets the trap treatment and it’s… well, not much. I mean, I nothing this song. It’s not bad from a production standpoint, but it’s not particularly good either. I just can’t find many feelings on this one besides: bleh.
It occurred to me that I have been derelict on getting my full rankings of the charting single out this summer, which is no good because how else are we supposed to name a song of the summer? Let’s remedy that now that we’re officially into autumn.
Roddy Ricch – Late at Night
BTS – Butter
Olivial Rodrigo – brutal
Riton X Nightcrawlers ft. Mufasa & Hypeman
Sofia Carson – Fool’s Gold
Megan Thee Stallion – Thot Shit
Bad Bunny – Yonaguni
Polo G & Lil Wayne – GANG GANG
Jackson Wang – LMLY
DJ Khalid ft. Post Malone, DaBaby, Lil Baby and Megan Thee Stallion
Olivia Rodrigo – hope ur ok
Polo G ft. Lil Durk & The Kid LAROI
Migos – Avalanhe
Anitta – Girl From Rio
Olivia Rodrigo – traitor
Doja Cat – Need To Know
Olivia Rodrigo – favorite crime
Migos ft. Drake – Having Our Way
Olivia Rodrigo – 1 step forward, 3 steps back
Olivia Rodrigo – enough for you
Olivia Rodrigo – jealousy, jealousy
Olivia Rodrigo – happier
Dierk Bentley – Gone
Marshmello and the Jonas Brothers – Leave Before You Love Me
AJ Mitchell – STOP
Chris Young and Kane Brown – Famous Friends
Nessa Barrett ft. jxdn – la di die
Dua Lipa – Love Again
Doja Cat & The Weeknd – You Right
Tyler, the Creator ft. Lil Uzi Vert & Pharrell Williams
Tate McRaw and Khalid – working
BTS – Permission to Dance
Rauv Alejandro – Todo de Ti
Tyler, the Creator ft Youngboy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla Sign – WUSYANAME
Normani ft. Cardi B – Wild Side
Billie Eilish – NDA
Maneskin – Beggin’
Coldplay – Higher Power
Dan + Shay – Glad You Exist
Bella Porarch – Build A Bitch
Jason Aldean – Blame It On You
Doja Cat – Ain’t Shit
Cheat Codes – Lean On Me
BIA ft. Nicki Minaj – WHOLE LOTTA MONEY
DaBaby – Ball if I Want To
The Kid LAROI ft. Justin Bieber – STAY
NF – JUST LIKE YOU
Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits
Cole Swindell – Single Saturday Night
Post Malone – Motley Crew
Walker Hayes – Fancy Like
Chase Rice ft. Florida Georgia Line – Drinkin’ Beer, Talkin’ God, Amen
Aaron Lewis – Am I The Only One
Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever
The Weeknd – Take My Breath
Silk Sonic – Skate
Lizzo ft. Cardi B – Rumors
Kane Brown ft. Blackbear – Memory
Pop Smoke ft. Dua Lipa – Demeanor
Tones and I – Cloudy Day
Tai Verdes – A-O-K
Lainey Wilson – Things A Man Oughta Know
TOMORROW X TOGETHER – Magic
Aventura ft. Bad Bunny – Volvi
Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood – If I Didn’t Love You
Camilla Cabello – Don’t Go Yet
Farruko – Pepas
Lil Nas X ft. Jack Harlow – INDUSTRY BABY
Luke Bryan – Waves
Bazzi – I Like That
WizKid ft. Justin Bieber and Tems – Essence
Maroon 5 – Lost
Silk Sonic – Skate
You cannot deny this feel good jam. It should have risen a lot higher up the charts because this song is just too fun to be relegated to just the second single off the Silk Sonic record.
Ed. Note: I just realized that this month never got posted and it’s possible this post is incomplete. My apologies for the lateness, and for the next one…
Last month was pretty above average compared to the last few months. You’ll see a lot of J. Cole here because his entire The Off Season record charted the week it came out. So I think the best way to describe it would be: alright. Cole is at his technical best, and the songs all sound good, but there’s no real radio single here. All the tracks fell into the same decent to good area on my scale. A good listen but I dunno how often I’ll be revisiting it.
Billie Eilish – Your Power
A heavy, minimalistic folksy ballad, the track is a sledgehammer blow against the powerful who punch down instead of up. And it is jarring and impactful with that simple production, letting Billie’s lyrics and wispy vocals with a touch of reverb just bounce around your head.
If I thought March was a middle of the road month on the charts, man, was I in for a surprise just 30 days later. There were fewer new entries to the charts and I think it’s safe to say that its a month right in the middle. Nothing amazing, nothing so terrible that I wrote a page-long, obscenity-laden rant about it.
15. Mooski – Track Star
I can’t get past the mess that is the production here. There are like nine ideas being fleshed out all at once and none of them work together. I think the tempo changes several times, not to mention the fact that Mooski doesn’t bother sticking to any of them. Just a muddle of blah.
You know how in several months in the past when the FKA has gotten together to do our monthly wrap-ups and the album guys are like “this month was a lot of meh” and I have been able to come back with “well actually, the charts gave us a lot of interesting stuff”? Yeah, that’s not how March went. There was some great stuff to hold it up, but the Hot 100 spent most of the month in the morass of mediocrity.
1 – Silk Sonic – Leave the Door Open
Silk is right, good gawd. This song is a love letter to 70’s soul and R&B in all of the best ways, without any of the notes that are best left in the 70’s (see: The Floaters, Float On). Musically it is just tight. You will sit and listen and pick out the artists that influenced each bit of the track. The backing vocals just envelope you in sound, drawing you into the strings, drums and lead vocals. If this is the lead single, I cannot wait to hear the full record.
2 – Drake ft. Rick Ross – Lemon Pepper Freestyle
Is there another pair in the game that guarantee a sick track when they get together? Gold Roses, Money in the Grave, Free Spirit and now Lemon Pepper Freestyle. I’ve seen many fans say this is Drake’s best verse ever and it’s definitely up there. The sample grew on me fast and went from annoying to ethereal over just two spins.
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.
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…
Well this was a much calmer month, thankfully. It feels like the pop charts slowed down a bit for the holidays. Just a quick note for this list next month: the only Christmas songs that will hit this list next month will be brand new ones. So I’m not reviewing All I Want For Christmas Is You. Unless we do some list or pod about Christmas songs. Then all bets are off. Whelp, here we go, crap first then scroll down for the good stuff.
13 – Morgan Wallen – More Than My Hometown There’s an example of country done right towards the top of the list. This is country done… well, I’d say wrong but this is just what the genre is now. The production’s the easy part. It’s a cookie cutter country track. There’s a steel guitar in there, there’s a Telecaster set to maximum twang and an even, if not boring drum track. Now let’s get to the worst part: lyrics. I can’t roll my eyes harder at the thesis of this song: oh, I love you more than all of these great big things in this great big world, but I can’t love you more than this one stoplight holler in the backwoods of bumfuck, wherever. So enjoy life, girl, where people drive electric cars and fancy apps deliver you food and you don’t have to walk to the back of the property to take a shit. Songs like this are the reason the genre has picked up the reputation it has over the last two decades.
Man, the top 40 was weird this month. Songs popped up then plummeted. 21 Savage’s entire album charted one week, then all but disappeared as everyone moved on to something else. Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” recharted 40 years after being released thanks to a TikTok video. (I didn’t include it in this month’s rankings but that song’s a solid 87-90. I really like the whole Rumours in general.) Oh, and country actually had a taste of pop success this month, so all around a busy month on the charts. What that does mean is we got a lot of tracks to sift through, so hold on to your butts. (throws the main breaker). Note: There’s a ton here so a lower ranking doesn’t necessarily mean a song’s bad. In fact, if you want to get right past the bad and meh, jump down to like #20.
31. Justin Bieber and benny blanco – Lonely Another “woah is me, fame is so hard” anthem from the Biebs. I thought “I’ll Show You” was bad enough. I usually find strength in tracks where artists express their struggles with mental health. It can help those who are struggling to find something in pop culture that they can relate to, knowing that they are not alone in the struggle. But fuck is this just whiney. It sounds more like the slurred wailing of the drunk cryer in the group. It’s hard to feel anything for you when your expressions of self-loathing come off as nothing more than a cry for attention instead of help. There is a difference. The minor keyed Fender Rhoads backing track just amplifies this feeling that the emotions are disingenuous. I’m not saying the kid doesn’t have mental health issues and I wouldn’t dream of berating him if that were the case, but there’s nothing on this track that feels like a genuine examination of his heart. And seriously, what the fuck is that warble on the hook?