For Week Two, here are some of my opinions on tracks currently in the top 20:
1 – “In My Feelings” by Drake:
Now the reigning #1 song for over two months, “In My Feelings” has been an enormous hit for Drake. While this song’s success isn’t particularly surprising, I strongly believe that it’s undeserved. The hook (Kiki, do you love me, are you riding, say you’ll never ever leave) is admittedly very catchy and displays Drake’s singing ability quite well. However, the rest of the song confuses me and absolutely does not fit the mold for a traditional #1 hit. While I almost always enjoy experimentation, especially in pop music, this song dramatically fails to make its odd bridge and samples fit, and everything breaks down by the second chorus. At that point, new rappers on the scene City Girls have a heavily chopped verse where they only have 2 pairs of rhyming lyrics before the song’s chorus and an additional sample (this time from deceased rapper Magnolia Shorty) both interrupt City Girls’ verse. After this extremely convoluted “verse” which sounds more cluttered than anything, the chorus plays, before another similarly cluttered verse, this time a mash-up of Magnolia Shorty’s earlier verse and Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop”. If you haven’t heard the song, my description is highly likely to seem complicated and overly confusing, but that’s honestly just the nature of the song. It attempts to mash together several songs that just don’t fit together very well, and in addition to Drake’s single disappointing verse and a downright ugly outro skit from a TV show, the song completely fails to land with me beyond the first chorus.
4 – “Better Now” by Post Malone:
The instrumental for this song was a somewhat interesting idea, but it really falls flat for me. The guitar sounds uninspired, and when it fades, the rest of the beat feels very bland and lifeless. Post Malone’s vocals don’t add a whole lot, either. He seems like he’s trying to show both sides of a breakup, but the effect of this is a chorus that’s difficult to follow and not much else. I also don’t think the chorus is particularly catchy, which is disappointing from a singer who has put out extremely catchy songs in the past. The verses’ lyrics are alright, but Post Malone almost sounds bored singing them. It’s honestly hard to blame him for this with how boring the instrumental is, but nonetheless he fails to turn it into an interesting song.
5 – “Lucid Dreams” by Juice WRLD:
By far the most memorable song in the top 10 right now, Lucid Dreams is a 20-year-old whining about how his (seemingly long-term) girlfriend left him and he’s never going to recover. The themes of sleep paralysis, suicidal thoughts, and death are explored over a soft, sad acoustic guitar melody in this track. On one hand, several lyrics are extremely immature and juvenile, such as the often-mocked “You were made out of plastic (fake!)” and “Who knew evil girls had the prettiest face,” and it seems as though Juice WRLD is confusing lucid dreams and sleep paralysis. On the other hand, it’s a song that shows a strong feeling of regret, and it seems to be pretty genuine. In addition, the track is an interesting exploration of a sad, almost emo, hip-hop beat. Overall the song is pretty enjoyable to me, and the exaggerated lyrics and corny moments don’t bother me too much.
11 – “Youngblood” by 5 Seconds of Summer:
I’m gonna have to agree with the sentiment expressed by my good friend Jack Kister on this song: “Youngblood is the worst song ever. It is so bad and annoying.” While I don’t genuinely think it’s the worst song ever, I think it has a profoundly hollow sound which represents a complete abandonment of the band’s old, signature pop-punk style, replacing it with indistinct, lifeless pop. The topic of the song is the singer’s romantic situation with an on-and-off girlfriend, and their cycle of confused breaking up and getting back together. The song’s sound matches this pretty well, in all the wrong ways: it’s a confused, passionless, and remarkably un-romantic song.
5 Seconds of Summer picture: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%EC%98%A4%EC%86%8C%EC%8A%A4_%EB%8B%A8%EC%B2%B4%EC%82%AC%EC%A7%84.jpg, from 관동별곡 on Wikipedia.