Due to travel and study commitments I’ve been frustratingly neglecting my blog and as such have missed quite a few rounds of Chart Wrap Up. So instead of dissecting the chart as a whole, we’ll be looking at a collection of tracks which have popped up over the last few weeks. Don’t fret though, next week will be business as usual.
- Send My Love (To Your New Lover) – Adele
Starting us off is the latest single from Adele’s 25, looking to capture the kind of rapturous success seen by Hello and most Adele singles. What sets Send My Love apart from the usual Adele single is its production and writing. Penned and produced by Pop behemoths Max Martin and Shellback, their influence is instantly recognisable on the snarky and sugary hook. This more aggressive attitude from Adele fits with the lyrical themes of moving forward and letting go of the past. The issues with this song are blatant though, while Adele can outperform almost all Popstars in a more baroque setting she is awkwardly matched with the waves of synthetic percussion that burst through the chorus. Hardly a bad song, but nowhere near the standard Adele has set in the past.
- Into You – Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande was on shaky ground during the lead up to her third album Dangerous Woman. While the self-titled leadoff single did okay, the momentum did not match what she once had in 2014 with Problem and Break Free. Into You looks to fill the same summer hit slot Break Free once did; ditching many of the risks Dangerous Woman did in favour of straightforward Electronic-leaning Pop. It pays off in spades, with the throbbing synths warbling in the background as Ariana’s newfound performing prowess takes the lead. This is the song Ariana needed in the fallout of Dangerous Woman and there’s no reason why this can’t be the radio hit of the summer.
- Ride – Twenty One Pilots
The playful Pop jibes which permeate much of Ride fall away like a curtain when you examine the lyrical content. Tyler Joseph frankly reflects on his own mortality and the fragility of life, and makes for a scarily unhinged narrator. Like much of Blurryface, Ride can be frustratingly commercial, with the crescendo on the chorus sounding well at home among top 40 drivel and the reggae inspired instrumentation is still an odd fit. That being said, Tyler’s refrain on the bridge is sweet and 21P are always a welcome addition to mainstream radio.
- We Don’t Talk Anymore – Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez
Considering this song pairs two of the most frustrating performers in Pop music today, it’s not as bad as it could have been. Perhaps this is because Puth dials back his insufferable crooning to a tolerable murmur in an attempt not to hopelessly overshadow Selena’s fragile voice. The production is pretty messy as the bubbly percussion battles with the acoustic guitar line, almost like the song doesn’t know if it wants to be a ballad or a Pop tune.
- Hello Friday – Flo Rida ft. Jason Derulo
This song is lazy even by Flo Rida’s low standards. I just can’t think of anything this song offers that isn’t done somewhere else much better. Flo Rida’s verses range from vacuous party raps to inane attempts to weave in sexual innuendo complete with oreo and Limp Bizkit references. Jason Derulo phones it in big time as he lets the pitch correction do all the heavy vocal lifting. There’s nothing this dingy, cheap attempt at a club track does that isn’t done better by countless other songs.
- Kill’em With Kindness – Selena Gomez
I can’t tell if my utter disdain for this song is justified or if my irrational hatred for parts of it clouds my objectivity. For one, the whistling sample is irritating as hell (another thing Flo Rida ruined) and paired with the countless amounts of horrendous refrains, yeah I can’t think of anything nice to say. Selena Gomez is honestly a pathetically limited performer for the amount of buzz she has received and this song exemplifies all her shortcomings.
- Frankie Sinatra – The Avalanches
As the first piece of new material we’ve seen from The Avalanches since their revered 2000 release Since I Left You, the hype for this track is understandably rabid. To build its prestige even further, both Danny Brown and DOOM spit verses over the accordion and vocal sample driven beat. The resulting track features two gold-class rappers put in great performances over an innovative instrumental. I tend to prefer my Avalanches tracks more wholesome than this, but it is a promising look into what their new album could bring.
- Treat You Better – Shawn Mendes
I would like to preface this by saying that unlike many artists I tend to be extra critical of (Meghan Trainor, Charlie Puth), I actually would like to see Shawn Mendes find success. Something Big was an addictive burst of Teen Pop delight and Stitches was, well, it was catchy at least. Treat You Better sees this young artist already falling into autopilot as the horribly clunky songwriting, flimsy instrumental and terrible lyricism culminate into garbage Pop tragedy.
- In My Blood – The Veronicas
As the Avril Lavigne driven craze of manic cutesy Pop Rock faded into the past, acts like Lavigne and Australia’s own Veronicas faded with it. After seeing some moderate success with their comeback album in 2014, they are having another crack with the single In My Blood. To give them credit, they have at least updated their sound to fit seamlessly with their new radio counterparts and the production is fairly decent. It’s just, without the youthful gusto that once made a generation of Aussie kids jump around to 4ever; The Veronicas seem to be just another Indie-leaning Pop duo. With In My Blood they seem to be emulating the most mundane, Triple J pandering brand of Electro-Pop you can find and the result isn’t bad it’s just so dull.
- Don’t Be So Shy – Imany
Ah these posts wouldn’t be complete without at least seemingly random radio-EDM track. Don’t Be So Shy has a cool nineties flavour with its bouncy, neon club beat paired with a sultry vocal performance. But unlike say, Show Me Love by Robin S or Rhythm of The Night by Corona, the vocal performance lacks any kind of conviction. Don’t Be So Shy is a sound attempt at a throwback track that ultimately fails in execution.
- All In My Head (Flex) – Fifth Harmony ft. Fetty Wap
I’ve learned to expect the worst from Fifth Harmony; so far they’ve proven themselves to be a tackier version of Little Mix, always pandering to lowest common denominator of popular music and containing little vocal talent spread thin over the five members. It’s telling that Fetty Wap’s “so bad it’s good” brand of crooning is the best part of this track. Hardly the worst thing they’ve done so far but without the horribly catchy hook found in Work From Home I can’t see this track getting too much char leverage.
- Crash – Usher
While Usher pushed out a decent series of Pop singles in 2014, a considerable amount of his energy has been devoted to more textured R&B cuts. Crash falls more in line with those more textured songs than Usher’s radio material which is why it’s odd to see it gain any kind of traction. It’s a solid modern R&B track with some grimy percussion, brilliant choral and backing vocal presence and Usher putting in an excellent vocal performance. What it lacks in dynamics it makes up for in pure soul, and while its stay on the charts will undoubtedly be brief, it is nice to see it there at all.