Welcome back to another Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 Review where I look at some of the most popular songs in the U.S. Top 40. You might want to brace yourselves for a bit because this preamble is going to be long and political. A week ago, the 2020 presidential election took place and it was a nail-biting close race. For most of the week, we didn’t know who was going to win since they were still counting votes days after the election. But on Saturday of November 7, Joe Biden won enough states to cross the 270 electoral votes needed and he will become the next president of the United States, beating the incumbent Donald Trump. UNLEASH THE CRAB RAVE!!
Four years ago, the mood of the country (and the world) was bleak thanks to the election of a man who used bigotry and cruelty to win and the fear that the rights of minority groups were at risk. Now, it feels like the ending to Return Of Jedi where people all around were cheering in celebration as a great evil was defeated. I know I was celebrating. I let out a big “YES” when I saw the news. Now that doesn’t mean that everything is great. There’s still a pandemic and an economic depression on top of income inequality, systemic racism, medical and student loan debt, climate change, imperialistic wars, etc. That’s not going away instantly because we got rid of Trump. I have my issues with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris due to their track records, but they’re miles better than Trump and Pence and I believe that they’ll do a much better job with COVID. And while we’re on Trump, he’s handling his loss exactly how you’d expect a narcissistic sore loser would; not conceding to the election, claiming election fraud with no evidence, and attempting to use the courts to swing the election in his favor. Of course, his supporters lap it up like the cult members that they are. They’re all in the denial stage of grief and I’ve been joyfully chugging on their tears. It doesn’t matter if they take it to the courts and they demand a recount, Joe Biden will still be inaugurated president come January 20 and Trump will either be forced to concede or be dragged out of the White House kicking and screaming. There’s a lot of work to be done in order to reverse the damage Trump has done and with a possible Republican Senate run by the devil himself Mitch McConnell and a conservative supermajority in the Supreme Court, that’s not going to be easy. We also have to be ready to hold the Biden administration’s feet to the fire and call them out when they do more neoliberal bullshit (which they’ll do) while pushing them towards progressive policies. The fight for the future is far from over. I know y’all don’t care to hear me talk politics, so let’s go back to why you’re really here. We got a lot of songs to get through, so let’s begin.
#40. pov-Ariana Grande: So we got an album bomb courtesy of Ariana Grande’s Positions and we’ll be talking about the five highest charting songs from the album, starting with pov. It’s a really good closing track with its lush production and Ariana Grande appreciating her partner loving her and wanting to see herself in that person’s view. I’m giving it a 5/5.
#38. Pretty Heart-Parker McCollum: It’s an okay basic song. 3/5.
#36. One Beer-HARDY ft Lauren Alaina & Devin Dawson: I don’t have much to say about this. It’s another average country song that relegates its sole female feature to backing vocals. It’s another 3/5.
#35. Off The Table-Ariana Grande ft The Weeknd: Here’s Off The Table, the second collaboration between Ariana Grande and The Weeknd. It’s not as great as Love Me Harder, but it’s a damn good song. These two still have great chemistry and they compliment one another in this R&B slow jam where they’re unsure of going further in this relationship. It’s easily the best song on the album and if the label doesn’t push this as a single, they’re fucking up big time. I’m giving it a perfect 5/5.
#34. Love You Like I Used To-Russell Dickerson: This song isn’t good. It’s tries to take the phrase “I don’t love you like I used to” and turn it into a positive. And It doesn’t work. You’re just left with a mediocre song. It’s getting a 2/5.
#32. Motive-Ariana Grande ft Doja Cat: Man, I wanted to get onboard with this song, but Motive didn’t really motivate me that much. The dancey production is cool and the vocals from Ariana Grande sounds fine, but the content doesn’t really grip me. Plus, Doja Cat didn’t do it for me. I’m sure there’s an audience who’ll appreciate this song, but I’m not in a rush to listen to it again. It’s getting a 3/5 from me.
#30. What You Know About Love-Pop Smoke: This is one of those songs that I’ve seen gone up and down on the charts and now, I can finally talk about it. The most noteworthy thing about What You Know About Love is the sample of Differences by Ginuwine. Aside from that, this song is just another gangsta rap “love” song that lacks everything that made Pop Smoke appealing. In other words, it’s a skip. I’m giving it a 2/5.
#29. Levitating-Dua Lipa ft DaBaby: Didn’t expect to see this song on here. I appreciate it though as Levitating is one of my favorite songs from Future Nostalgia with its bright disco grooves, electro-funk textures, and sticky hook. This time around, Dua Lipa is pushing the remix with DaBaby, whose contribution to the song is serviceable. It has the ingredients for a hit and I’m all down with it. I’m giving it a perfect 5/5.
#25. ily-surf mesa ft Emilee: Another song that I’ve seen go up and down on the charts and like every song of its ilk, it got boosted by TikTok. So what do I think of it? Meh. That’s the summation of what I got to say about it. It loops part of the hook to Frankie Valli’s 1967 hit Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and pairs it with a decent midtempo dance groove, but even that’s not enough to hook me in. It’s another skip for me and a 2/5.
#21. Lonely-Justin Bieber & benny blanco: Oh, look. Another Justin Bieber song. Yay. This time around, the Biebs teamed up with benny blanco and Finneas for a slow ballad about the ups and downs of fame. Musically, it’s alright, but I can’t sympathize with Bieber’s plight for pretty much all the reasons Spectrum Pulse laid out when he talked about the song. He’s got a circle of people around to mentor and guide him and he hasn’t shown much growth artistically. The song isn’t bad, but it’s utterly forgettable. I’m giving it a 2/5.
#20. Said Sum-Moneybagg Yo: I remember Moneybagg Yo when he was featured on a Megan Thee Stallion song where he was the most forgettable part of it. Now, he has a hit on his own with Said Sum. And my opinion on this guy hasn’t changed because this is trash. The generic beat, Moneybagg Yo bringing nothing new or interesting in terms of flow or personality, and going through all of the cliches of stealing your girlfriend, buying expensive shit, and a litter of terrible lines. This is a big “no” for me and I’m giving it a 1/5.
#19. Kings & Queens-Ava Max: Didn’t think Ava Max would have another hit. I thought she was going to be another one-hit wonder that we’ll look back upon the past decade and wonder what happened to them. Well, she’s got a new hit under her belt Kings & Queens and it’s alright. It’s a woman empowerment anthem going for the big reverb-heavy pop sound with an interpolation of a Bonnie Tyler song on the chorus and a guitar solo. Honestly, it feels hollow since it plays it very safe and doesn’t show off any distinct personality that makes it stand out among other empowerment anthems. It’s a decent enough song, but it’s no Sweet But Psycho. I give it a 3/5.
#18. Forever After All-Luke Combs: This song became the highest-charting debut for a country song in a LONG time. If it weren’t for Ariana Grande, this could’ve hit number one. This is Forever After All, which Luke Combs wrote for his wife after buying a house together. It’s a nice love song that has a lot of charm and heart, even if it is basic as hell. I’m fine with this existing. It’s getting a 3.5/5 from me.
#9. Dakiti-Bad Bunny & Jhay Cortez: Okay, we got a new Bad Bunny song and it’s a collaboration with Jhay Cortez. I’m lukewarm on it. It has the washed-out production that’s present on a lot of reggaeton tunes, but with a little more melody. The content is nothing you’ll be surprised by as both men are talking about a girl they want to have sex with. In other words, another forgettable reggaeton song and I’m giving it a 2/5.
#8. 34+35-Ariana Grande: Guess what 34+35 means in the context of this song? I’ll give you a hint: nice. I’m not entirely against Ariana Grande making a sex song. She can pull it off, but this particular song doesn’t do it for me. The singing sounds fine and I had a few giggles with some of the lyrics. My main issue with this song boils down to the production. I don’t know, the plucky strings and trap skitter doesn’t really mix well and kinda kills the mood. Also, the outro gives away what the title means like a comedian explaining a joke. Look, the song isn’t particularly bad, but it’s not really that good either. Plus, it’s popular as it is thanks to the 69 joke. It’s getting a 2.5/5 from me.
#2. Positions-Ariana Grande: We’re now at the titular track that’s become the big hit from the album. So how is Positions, the song? Well, I’ll say it’s a perfect encapsulation of how I feel about the album overall; good, but it could be better. Pros: the singing is good and I dig the plucky strings and guitars of the production. Cons: this song needs better percussion because it feels so flat here. Overall, I give Positions, the song, a 4/5.
Off The Table
Love You Like I Used To
And that was another Top 40 Review. Stay tuned next month for the final one. This week, look forward to the Modern Rock Tracks Review of 2008.