Usher's singles from his 2008-2012 dance-pop phase all did pretty well on my chart during my late teenage years. After that though, only "Crash" and "Bad Habits" have reached top 10 (or have come close).
"Bad Habits" is just a sleek R&B throwback that I didn't know I needed. The pre-chorus and the "bad at it"/"bad habits" parts are decent hooks too.
I charted a few London Grammar tracks back in 2013. Namely "Strong" (16), "Help Me Lose My Mind" with Disclosure (12) and "Wasting All My Young Years" (32). Their highest-peaker came quite recently, however, in their collaboration with Flume ("Let You Know"), which reached #3 in 2019.
LG's style is quite similar to Florence + The Machine, who is one of my favourite artists. I wasn't that impressed with their other 2020 release ("Baby It's You"), but this one caught my attention.
The instrumentation on "Californian Soil" successfully creates an alluring atmosphere. I get the image of the American farmland during the Great Depression. There's something bleak and worrisome about it. Lyrically though, the song is about leaving behind your homeland to carve your path in life.
Klangkarussell had a massive European hit in 2013 with "Sonnentanz". It was part of that era of chill deep house dance songs; in a style similar to "Waves" or "Jubel". I overlooked "Sonnentanz" at the time, but "Netzwerk (Falls Like Rain)" peaked at #4 the following year. In 2020, I gave "Shipwreck" a curiosity listen and I was impressed.
From the opening clanging bells, to the heavy bass line, "Shipwreck" establishes a unique atmosphere. The shipwreck metaphor describes how pursing this love interest has lead to self-destruction. The production paints an image of stormy seas. The heavy bass beats ricochet and submerge whatever's in its path, much like violent waves attacking the ship. The singer has an emotive voice too.
Points: 390.8 Lifetime Points: 465.8 (enough to be #60 for 2020) Peak: 5 Debuted: 2019-12-20 Chart Run: (33-7)-6-5-8-11-13-17-21-25-30-34-40
The promo single "Future Nostalgia" was overshadowed the two more noteworthy singles surrounding it. "Don't Start Now" had just finished a 7-week run in the top 2 as "Future Nostalgia" was ascending through the middle of my top 10. And then "Physical" debuted at #1 in February, while this was still in the top 20.
"Future Nostalgia" is an ambitious opening statement of the album, where Dua addresses everyone's expectations of her new material. It's an assertive stance of what she'll deliver, but the quality of the album speaks for itself. This has been an iconic era for Dua, and one that has cemented her status as a main pop girl.
The chart run speaks for itself. I was hyped for a new Rita Ora single (since I'm known as the Rita stan amongst many of my Pulse friends). But I forgot about this song pretty quickly. It doesn't help that it spent like 2 weeks in the UK charts.
The "shouty" chorus is pretty catchy though, thanks to the rapid-paced singing, the brief pauses and the stomping rhythm.
Points: 407.7 Lifetime Points: 1084.8 (enough to be in contention for #1 of 2020) Peak: 1 (in 2019) Debuted: 2019-11-08 Chart Run: (19-2-2-2-1-2-2-2)-4-7-9-12-15-16-19-22-26-29-32-37
This is an unfortunate case of a song split between years. "Don't Start Now" would be in contention for #1 of either 2019 or 2020 otherwise. I kinda wish I let this spend 7 weeks at #2 to break the record, but it deserved at least one week at the top. "Habits (Stay High)" remains the biggest song to not go #1 (I believe).
"Don't Start Now" is an immaculate and timeless pop song, with an incredibly low burn rate. It's full of hooks from beginning to end. Namely the "If you don't want to see me..." line (and how the arrangement isolates it). But the chorus is also a huge bop. Dua's delivery of "Don't show up... don't come out..." is like she's shoving this person aside. It's easy to sing a long to. It uses pauses effectively. And even the cowbell(?) is effective. Moreover, the transition into the chorus does the anticipation/release tactic well. And the final chorus lets go of all restraint (largely thanks to the added repetition of each line).
Furthermore, the funky groove drives the song. And the disco-inspired production is, again, timeless. Overall, "Don't Start Now" is just an aurally satisfying song to listen to, if that makes sense?
I remember the first time I listened to Art Angels and thinking WTF was that? Grimes's songs are quite twisted and strange. I learned to love much of the album (although "Scream" is still unlistenable). "Flesh Without Blood" and "Kill V Maim" subsequently became top 10 hits on my chart in 2016. Her highest peaking song is actually "We Appreciate Power", though, which reached #2. It was blocked by Fisher's "Losing It".
Anyways, "So Heavy..." is another song where I really like the atmosphere, thanks to the enveloping heavy bassline.
I need to listen to Miss Anthropocene again sometime.
"Do It" has been a huge grower that just kept moving up and up. It's a breezy and catchy R&B song that utilizes the repetitions of "ooh ooh" effectively. The rest of the song contains plenty of hooks too; "I'm just with the crew", "And tonight, we on a hundred", and "Press play, rewind, keep it on repeat" are all catchy lines.
"Jerusalema" became a notable hit in Europe in 2020 (it's currently #3 in Germany, and has reached the top 2 in France, the Netherlands and Belgium). It's pretty rare to see an "Afrobeats" song cross over.
Initially I thought the song was overly monotonous, since it repeats the same percussion chord throughout. But Nomcebo Zikode's vocal melody adds another layer to it. She suits the spiritual nature of the song. Wikipedia even labels "Jerusalema" as "Gospel house" which is... a unique genre.
The Burna Boy remix also exists, but I've stuck with the Nomcebo Zikode solo version.
The song had a second wind on my chart thanks to Pulsevision.
Songs that peak in December are always screwed over in my year-end chart.
So I stanned Little Mix throughout their first 4 album eras, but I was disappointed with LM5. "Wasabi" and "Strip" are two notable stand-outs, though. Since then, I haven't latched on to any of their singles until "Sweet Melody" came out. ("Break-Up Song" and "Holiday" just seem basic to me *shrugs*)
"Sweet Melody" is characteristic of Little Mix's signature style, but the song still has its own identity. MNEK supplies an enticing production here. I like how the beat "drops" in the second half of the chorus. And it's cute how the song incorporates the "sweet melody" and the "syncopated beats" that it's referring to.
Harry truly found his niche with the Fine Line era. He sounds comfortable, this style suits him perfectly, and it's still palatable for the mainstream audiences.
All four singles performed similarly on my chart, peaking at 3, 4, 5 and 6 (not in that order though). Harry creates an uplifting, carefree vibe in "Golden". It's a simple song that's mostly carried by the "da da da da da da" hook. But the melody is catchy enough that the simplicity works. It's a good driving song. It keeps moving forward, if that makes sense.
Now for a CanCon hit! Virginia To Vegas have had a few radio hits in my country. "Just Friends" was a cute one.
"betterman", on the other hand, tells an honest and personal story. The singer feels empty because of the social isolation that comes from being a musician. He sounds really earnest about seeking a change, while the "oooooh oooooh"'s and the repetition of "better" allows for an adequately catchy melody.
This is LP's second chart appearance following "Lost On You", which peaked at #5 in 2016.
"The One That You Love" is similar to "Lost On You", but the instrumentation is really compelling, thanks to the guitars and the dramatic drum stomps. LP's anguished howls add emotional depth too. In my mind, the song creates a vivid image of the dry, hot countryside. Like a Western film lol.
The pre-chorus is a great hook too (ie. "Try to be the fire for you...")
Why is Aminé not credited on Spotify? He occupies more of the song than slowthai does lol.
"Watch Your Step" and "My High" were the two stand-outs when I gave Disclosure's new album a listen. This one charted better, though. I just like the combination of Aminé's flow and the shuffling beat. There's a buoyancy to it. In particular, I like the way Aminé says "You was there standing all night..." slowthai's verse fits in seamlessly too.
This is Jax Jones's 10th appearance on my chart, following smashes like "You Don't Know Me", "Instruction", "Breathe" and "All Day And Night". Au/Ra, meanwhile, previously reached #4 with "Panic Room".
"I Miss U" isn't that original compared to Jax's previous releases, but the song was catchy enough to occupy a slot in my top 10 for multiple weeks. Au/Ra's voice completes the pensive dark night tone too. The "Seasons change and I remember..." pre-chorus, and the bounciness of "...I open my eyes, And I breathe, and I try to forget" are effective hooks. As is the "that I don't think of you" escalation in the bridge.
Longevity wins out here. I don't remember why "Boss Bitch" had a second wind that catapulted it into the top 10, but I'm glad it happened.
Doja just goes off in this song. She's relentless, but in a good way. Her rapid-fire delivery in the rap verses is impressive. I love how the second half of the second verse kicks it up a notch. And the lyrics are kinda hilarious. The chorus is also an effective reprieve.
The squawking bird sounds in the final chorus can go though.
If there's one song I regret charting in 2020.... it's this one
There seems to be an endless supply of (lazy) dance covers taking off on Spotify lately. I know reworking existing material is the backbone of this genre, but I'm really getting tired of this trend. That "Goosebumps" cover is just.. ugh. And for whatever reason, "ily" has been one of the biggest.... even reaching #2 on US pop radio.
The chopped-up vocal hook and the chilled-out tropical house production is why I latched on this song for a few months. But now I just find it really empty.
And here's the other Carly song that I charted in 2020. I'm often a sucker for Jack Antonoff's signature echo-y soundscapes, which is the core structure implemented in "This Love Isn't Crazy". Beyond that, Carly delivers an emphatic vocal melody, as if she's shouting from the rooftops. It creates a blissful vibe though, as she's ready to let go of the pain and forgive.
The song is pretty catchy too, between the "WE GOT TO HOLD ON..." hook and the pitched "ooh"s.
I never paid much attention to 5SOS until "Youngblood" came out. Following that, I started bopping to many of their singles, including "Easier", "Teeth" and then this one.
The reflective nature of "Old Me" was endearing to me. I can relate to seeing personal growth from my youth now that I'm in my late 20s. And the song contains some undeniable hooks; including the "I made, I made, I made" part and the repetition of the "oh me" rhymes. The build-up in the first half of the chorus is also a highlight.
The INXS sample is the backbone of "Break My Heart". Rock songs from the 1980s were all about addictive guitar riffs, so of course the "dun. dun. dun. dadadadadadada" rhythm is an earworm here too. But it's incorporated seamlessly enough that "Break My Heart" carves its own identity around it.
The sample is repeated throughout most of the song, only breaking for the "center of attention..." pre-chorus, which is an effective diversion. The beat even sounds like footsteps in the intro, which is neat. The chorus takes advantage of the sample the most, with the stutters of "STAYED. AT. HOME.", followed by the rapid "Iwasdoingbetteralone". It's catchy! Meanwhile, the final line ("Am I falling in love...") is a deep plunge, like Dua's heart sinking at the realization. The lyrics describe the cruel irony of a heartbreaker (Dua) getting dumped by the one partner she wants to keep.
It's a slick pop song, but the chart run suffered because it got overshadowed by her other songs lol. This felt like the weakest of the singles at the time.
I'm always a sucker for some Scandinavian pop. Zara, Sigrid and Astrid S have all appeared in my top 10 before. "Somebody" has been a significant hit in Norway (one of the many international charts I follow).
The energetic dance-pop production excels at creating a vibe of euphoric bliss.
Kylie is my top artist on last.fm. That doesn't necessarily mean she's my favourite artist ever (Madonna and Gaga have higher highs in their discographies), but she's extremely consistent. Although I wasn't that interested in anything she released post-Aphrodite/"Timebomb"... until this era came along. Kylie was doing disco-pop twenty years ago (long before the current trend), so her 2020 album fits right in with that.
The "You got me started..." hook is pretty strong, while the atmosphere is magically uplifting and inviting. There's something carefree and natural about it.
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