My second week of ‘What the Kids are Listening to’ ends as the first week began, with a Drake song. ‘I’m Upset’ is the second single from Drake’s Scorpion and his fifth song in the top 16 of the latest Billboard Hot 100 chart.
This is a better video than song. Directed by Canadian filmmaker Karena Evans, who also helmed the great videos for ‘God’s Plan‘ and ‘Nice For What,’ the short film revisits the cast of the Canadian teen drama Degrassi at a high school reunion.
In the 13th and 14th spots on Billboard’s Hot 100 we have two songs I featured the last time I looked at the charts — ‘The Middle‘ by Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey; and ‘Meant to Be‘ by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line. These two country-flavored hits were back to back in the top five in late May and they’ve stuck together lower on the chart.
At #15 is another (one-time) country artist, though it’s been awhile since Taylor Swift got her twang on. In fact, I think the best unexpected career move for Swift right now would be to put out another bona fide country pop album.
Post Malone sits at Billboard’s #12 spot with ‘Better Now,’ the fifth single from his album Beerbongs & Bentleys. This is the third single from that album — following ‘Rockstar’ and ‘Psycho’ — to reach the top ten.
It’s probably the best of the three, though I’ll admit ‘Rockstar’ gets stuck in my head every time I hear it, for better or worse. This one is inoffensive, except in its use of AutoTune.
At #11 on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 is Drake, with his fourth song on the list (spoiler: it won’t be his last).
‘Nonstop’ is a little more rap heavy than Drake’s usual material. Apparently it’s a trap song, which reminds me that I still don’t know exactly what constitutes trap. I do know a whole lot of it is being made right now.
In the eighth and ninth spots on the latest Billboard Hot 100 are two songs I’ve already featured: Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left to Cry‘ and Post Malone’s ‘Psycho.’ The Grande track is, of course, a banger.
Rounding out the top ten is a song that made a huge leap on the charts for a not-so-great reason. Rapper XXXTENTACION’s ‘Sad!’ jumped from #52 to #1 after his murder by two masked men on June 18. He became the first artist to score a #1 hit posthumously since the Notorious B.I.G. did it in 1997 with ‘Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems.’
Harry Nilsson’s Son of Schmilsson was released in 1972, a follow-up to the prior year’s Nilsson Schmilsson, his biggest commercial hit. This album was more experimental and risky than its predecessor.
A case in point is today’s jaunty SOTD, ‘You’re Breakin’ My Heart,’ which could have been a hit had it not opened with the lines “You’re breaking my heart, you’re tearing it apart, so fuck you.” Nearly 40 years later, in a much different era, Cee-Lo Green found success with a similar sentiment.
‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ is a track from Elvis Costello’s 1993 album The Juliet Letters, a song cycle for voice and strings recorded with The Brodsky Quartet.
I try to imagine crowds watching Costello in his young punk days belting out ‘Pump It Up’ and then immediately fast-forwarding to this, or his classic country album, or his collaboration with Burt Bacharach. The man has certainly carved out a unique career path.