I still have some 2018 wrapping-up to do, including diving into Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll when that’s released and naming my own top music and movie moments of last year, but I’m kicking off 2019 with a look at where the Billboard charts stand one week into the year.
Yes, it’s the latest edition of ‘What the Kids are Listening To,’ though you’ll find this installment comes with a heavy dose of nostalgia due to the holiday season.
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.’
Guess who has the #6 song on Billboard’s Hot 100 this week? If you said Drake, you win a prize! ‘God’s Plan’ is his third track in the top six. I featured it a couple of months back.
At #7 is Juice WRLD with ‘Lucid Dreams,’ a heartbreak song driven by a sample of Sting’s ‘Shape of My Heart.’ Or, as Juice WLRD put it, “my producer Nick Mira used a sample from the band Sting, and I was like ‘Wow, I gotta really take off on this.'”