At the moment it would seem as if it’s Justin Bieber’s world and we’re just living it. Despacito is spending another week at number 1, and I’m The One is holding onto number two. Both are good songs, and nothing like each other, despite their overlapping featuring artist. Despacito, of course, is only associated with Bieber in the loosest sense, and I agree with Srinandini’s verdict last week – it would probably be a better song without him. But if Justin Bieber is the reason that Daddy Yankee is back in the charts, I’m thankful that he’s there. Daddy Yankee may not be forever in the charts, but he is forever in my heart, and if the popularity of Despacito leads to more Spanish language and reggaeton numbers getting airtime (preferably without Justin Bieber) then I’ll be very happy indeed. Sangria, anyone?
I’m The One, on the other hand, is not a surprise success. DJ Khaled and Quavo, Chance The Rapper, Lil Wayne, and Justin Bieber? That was always going to be commercially successful, it’s like a delicious late-2010s ice cream sundae. If it had any more featuring artists I’m fairly certain it would become a group charity single by default. It captures the sound of the moment, and has all the key players required to add a pinch of magic that makes it pervasive as well as catchy.
The uninspiring Symphony (Clean Bandit, of course, featuring Zara Larsson) is firmly holding onto number 3 once again. It is a song so uninteresting that I my mind actually empties when I try to recall what it sounds like, even if I’ve just listened to it. It could all change next week thought, as there are enough relatable-and-nonthreatening male singer-songwriters to make a boyband out of rising through the charts, and that’s not all.
Miley Cyrus has entered the charts again for the first time in a while, with the highly controversial Malibu. Before I’d even heard the song I’d read at least half a dozen thinkpieces surrounding Cyrus’s return to a more, ahem, “natural” style after Bangerz. I’m not going to linger on whether she was appropriating black culture (she was) and whether that’s racist (it is), because this is A View From the Top. What we care about is what it sounds like, right? Yeah, it’s pretty bad. Even without any of the pop-discourse. It’s just a bad song. Not natural or organic or simple, but overproduced and ham-fisted, like a Weird Al song but without any of the self-awareness.
And finally, in my opinion the best thing in the charts currently is Did You See. J Hus has been rolling with a pretty good streak of releases, and this is a near perfect song. It’s not breaking any boundaries, but it can be played in almost any situation. Revision? Sure, it’s mellow. Pre drinks? Yeah, there’s a good beat behind it. Walking through town? Will most definitely make you feel like you’re in a music video. It’s at 9 right now, up three places from last week, and it’s been getting a lot of airplay. If nothing else, please go and watch him performing it in 1Xtra’s Live Lounge, entirely dressed in millennial pink. It deserves to be in the top ten for that alone.