My takes on the top five songs on Billboard (on July 17 2023)
#1 Vampire- Olivia Rodrigo
My goodness the bars on this one! Great rhymes. Outstanding voice. That rise in pitch and crescendo in the chorus-excellent. Feels raw, but sounds sleek.
I was a bit confused by the music video. She’s singing at an awards show, one of the lighting rigs breaks and hits her, then for some reason security comes up on the stage. Then she runs away from them on to the street until at some point she seems to be flying…huh? Is she a vampire now? Why was she running away? Why did security try to corral her in the first place? Maybe this is making reference to some real life drama I don’t know about or something. There are just a lot of open threads with the depicted narrative. I would like to see some kind of fan video where some dweeby looking vampire sells parts of her to a Dr. Frankenstein who puts her together and brings her to life, only for her to kill Frankenstein and put a stake in the heart of the vampire dweeb. But that’s just me.
#2 Last Night- Morgan Wallen
Not a fan of this one. Wallen’s voice is a bit nasally for me and the lyrics are repetitive. I do like some of the rhymes though.
#3 Fast Car- Luke Combs (link to youtube video, still image with audio)
This is a cover of Tracy Chapman’s song. I liked the Chapman version better, but this was a neat take on it. I was thinking maybe Combs would change the lyrics the first time I listened to it, but then he said he could get a job as a “check out girl,” which was a bit disconcerting. Combs’ voice is pleasant. Reminds me of a good whiskey.
#4 Calm Down- Rema & Selena Gomez
This one has been on the charts for awhile. It’s a good one. Even in the supermarket it makes me want to sway to the beat. Rema’s dialect and/or stylistic patois gives new life to the English of the lyrics allowing for some surprising rhymes reminiscent of reggae. As for Selena Gomez, I like the show she’s in with Steve Martin and Martin Short “Only Murders in the Building,” but I don’t really like her character in it. I haven’t seen any real reason to dislike SG, but I’m still not sure if she’s a raisin cookie or chocolate chip. At any rate, “Calm Down” is a great song. Singing it is probably not an effective means of ending an argument though.
#5 Flowers- Miley Cyrus
I have a new respect for Miley Cyrus since I saw her episode of Black Mirror. She did a great job in that show. This song is…okay. My main problem with it is the feeling of existential dread that creeps up on me as I listen to it. Because the premise of the song, that “I can buy myself flowers” while played as empowering also seems a little… petulant maybe? Not sure if that’s the best word. Unconvincing? And maybe a little scary? Sure you can by yourself flowers. Sure you might not need someone to do things for you. But I think it’s nice when they do. Isn’t it? Please don’t delete everybody, just because your boyfriend was awful, Miley.
Watching MC in her music video dancing and exercising all by herself, I first think holy crap she’s beautiful! And then I think. Oh, that seems lonely. And then I wonder what type of apocalypse took everybody. I’m a big fan of a different song about flowers and taking pleasure in solitude, “Counting Flowers on the Wall,” by the Statler Brothers. That song isn’t so much about not needing a specific person as it is just not needing to go out and party with people though. Perhaps “Counting Flowers on the Wall” is a celebration of introversion, while “Flowers” is more a depiction of introversion as a coping mechanism. Anyway, I’m happy for Miley Cyrus’s success, and I hope she’s doing okay.
(please don’t delete everybody)