Welcome to Phantomonium
Back when I said that 2019 was off to a good start, I was not kidding. This has been such a bizarre year for music to the point that it’s becoming surprisingly good. A Contemporary Christian song, a nursery rhyme, a country-trap fusion reaching the number 1 spot, two one-hit wonders from the early 90s making a comeback, late 2000s nostalgia kicking in, and so on. Like I said, this year has been extremely good where it’s to the point where I would only consider 3 songs in my worst list. The week I’m reviewing is May 25, 2019. Every seasonal ranking would be on the last week on the last month of the season like in the last week of August in the summer ranking. Before we start, let’s explain the tiers
Shit Tier- Songs that I can’t stand with a passion
Bad Tier – Songs that are utterly useless with at least one redeeming quality
Meh Tier- Songs that aren’t bad, but aren’t good either and they’re just mediocre
Decent Tier- Songs that I like, but something I wouldn’t listen to very often
Good Tier- Songs that I love, but contains a few flaws that prevents it from being outstanding
Great Tier- Songs that I love and keep playing it on repeat every day
Also, this is just my personal opinion. If you disagree, that’s fine, but don’t be an asshole about it. Let’s begin with this shit
20. 7 Rings by Ariana Grande
I won’t say much for this because I’m saving my full thoughts on December and I already explained why I hate this song so much. But here’s the thing, I wouldn’t even consider this as my least favorite hit this year. Not even joking. I would find at least 3 other songs I would consider worse than this. It’s a shame Ariana Grande stoop this low to make this miserable dreck because she can do so much better than this.
Back-to-back Ariana Grande songs in my bottom ranking. This isn’t looking too good for her. Back then, I said that this was the worst song on Thank U, Next. While, part of that is true, I can just only find it bad. The production sounds relaxed, and Ariana sounds pretty over it. But here’s the problem: the title track is break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored. To make it worse, it was the closing track. That was basically dead on arrival. This is a song where she wants to take a guy from his girlfriend all to herself because she’s bored. There’s no excuses to break up a happy couple for all I know. Some may say it’s about regaining self-love, but again, there’s little to no details in the song itself and it was only presented in the video. I’ll give her points for self-awareness, but she doesn’t care about this girl’s feelings. This song is trash, but I don’t hate it that much where it would make my Shit tier.
18. Without Me by Halsey
Wow, this song has shrunk on me pretty hard. I didn’t mind this song because it’s just a nonexistent pop song, but after several relistens, it was worse than I thought. The production is still drowsy, and it contains some elements identical to Jason Aldean’s Burnin It Down. Seriously, listen to both songs and you’ll see a resemblance. Also, Halsey’s performance is grating as all hell and the lyrics. Oh boy, those lyrics. Remember I said that it was aimed at G-Eazy. Not only it’s whiny as all hell, but it leaves a toxic undertone behind. She believes that he can’t live without her and how she’s responsible for his career. BULLSHIT. G-Eazy was already popular before you were. Me, Myself and I was a top 10 hit before people even know you. And you made that atrocity that was New Americana, so you shouldn’t even be talking about “putting him up there.” Also, she made a remix of this song with Juice WRLD aka the teenage version of her. The remix made my appreciate this song a little, but it doesn’t do much because Juice WRLD and Halsey have no chemistry. Kinda ironic that they’re both identical to the characters they portray in their music. And this may end up as the biggest hit of the year. Whoopie.
Meh Tier (2/5)
During my time exploring new music, Taylor has been dropping snippets revealing “4/26,” and I eager to see what it was. When April 26 came, Taylor dropped a new single for her upcoming single ME!. And it’s just meh. I never really cared about Taylor Swift, but at her best, she can bring that potential I’ve always waited from. Which is why songs like Style, Blank Space, Delicate and a few others worked for me, but this sounds like a mashup between Imagine Dragons’ Thunder and a rejected Panic at the Disco song, kind of ironic since Brenden Urie is the featured artist. I will say that this is better than most of the songs in Reputation, except for the aforementioned Delicate, but that isn’t saying much. Taylor and Brenden have no chemistry and it’s not providing any of their strengths and their performances are average at best. The production is light hearted with the marching drums, and the thin horn touches in the mix, and the multi-tracking doesn’t work for me. The lyrics are a bit too vague, but the bridge is easily the worst with the lines “spelling is fun” and “And you can’t spell “awesome” without “me”. Do I really need to explain how white those lyrics are? This song should’ve just been called “MEH!” because it’s the epitome of “meh.”
Ah shit, here we go again. Usually when I find songs like this, I’m usually reminded of Thotiana and Mo Bamba, both songs I don’t even hate anymore. I will say this is better than both of those songs I previously mentioned, but not by much. The minimal production is generic and DaBaby isn’t all that special of a rapper in my opinion. But he does has a somewhat decent flow in the verses and the groove is decent enough for me to actually care about this song, but only a little.
That title speaks for itself. Okay look, I mean the song isn’t bad, but there’s little to work with. The production is sounds cheap and the performers sounds stoned up their own asses. Heck, just watch the music video, it’s completely looks unfinished with the green screen added in. This song is where Sheeran and Bieber are at a party they hate, but is fine with it since a girl they like comes. This is like Here by Alessia Cara, but without any of the intelligence and goodwill that song contained. Again, not bad, but incredibly forgettable.
14. Going Bad by Meek Mill ft Drake
Isn’t it ironic that this song is in the same position as my last ranking? And still in the Meh tier? Good to know time hasn’t changed at all. In all of fairness, this wouldn’t happened if you have released ‘Oodles O’ Noodles Babies’ as a single instead of this, Meek Mill. I didn’t know what was wrong with me when I talked about the beat because the more I listened to it, the more I hear dreary pianos instead of glossy synths. Eh, I don’t know. Guess that happens when a song is that forgettable. Also, RIP Nipsey Hussle.
Now that I noticed, I totally understand why this song was so hated. The production is way too loud in the mix with those drums, the horns, the sloppy mixing, and Urie belting in the chorus totally ruined the song for me. But here’s the thing, everything else is what made me like this song. The verses is well structured, the lyrics being able to give hope that I can do anything, and Brenden Urie does make the song passable for me, until that chorus. But I wish that Say Amen(Saturday Night) should’ve been the comeback single for P!atD.
My opinion on this song has not changed, not even a little. It’s still a passable break up song ruined by the loud, upbeat drop. And since this song is slowly leaving the top 20, can we let CHVRCHES has their first hit with Here With Me? Too bad it involves Marshmello as well. Good things can never really happen.
This doesn’t really seem right to me. I said in the past that I’m a fan of Khalid and this is blowing faster than I expected. Usually, it takes at least 20 to 30 weeks for Khalid to reach either the top 10 or top. That explains how long it took both his collaboration with Normani in Love Lies and Benny Blanco and Halsey in Eastside at least half a year to reach the top 10. Hell, it took 30 weeks for Better to hit the top 10. Now that’s out of the way, how’s Talk? Well, it’s okay. I do admire Disclosure’s contributions in the production, with the shimmering synths and lightweight percussion that works well in the mix. Khalid does sounds good as always, like when would you hear a song where Khalid is at his worst. Well, 1-800 exists, but he’s the only redeeming part of that song. The lyrics are about a relationship where Khalid is trying to speed things up with this girl, but it’s not really working. That kinda sums up my thoughts on this song. I mean, I do like the song, but it doesn’t click with with me as it should. Not working that its his biggest since it cracked the top 5 the following week.
10. Sucker by The Jonas Brothers
The Jonas Brothers are back, woohoo. What, it’s just me? I don’t blame you either. Back in the day, I used to watched a lot of Disney shows. One popular show I remember was Hannah Montana. That piece of crap that has Miley Cyrus and her father Billy Ray Cyrus. I brought that up because one episode I watched included The Jonas Brothers. They were somewhat of an industry plant to Disney and were only appealing to teenage girls before Justin Bieber and One Direction exists. They never really caught my attention and I find their music to be boring. They were huge in the mid to late 2000s and everytime I see them, the more indifferent I become. I wasn’t their target demographic for their music and they were only appealing to teeange girls. Not helping that they disbanded in 2013. Six years later, they’re all grown, came back and released a new single with Sucker that debut at number 1. I will say this: it’s kinda good. Nick Jonas handles the majority of this song and Joe only does the prechorus. The production is good, but sounds what these guys would’ve made a decade ago. Now, many people stated that this sounds like Portugal The Man’s Feel It Still and I disagree. There isn’t that much of a bass to it and that’s only if you speed up the tempo to match that song. And to be fair Sucker isn’t as phenomenal as Feel It Still, so that comparison falls short instantly. But still, I dig this song, but I kind of find it as radio filler. But tolerable.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I’m incredibly late on this, but what do I know. For those who don’t know the controversy surrounding this song, here it is. Old Town Road is novelty song that got big off TikTok and started charting. Later, it debut at number 19 on the Hot Country Songs. Then, Billboard decides to remove it from the country charts because it lacks country elements. If only they did the same with Sam Hunt, Meant to Be and The Fighter. But also, they could’ve done the same things to the hip-hop charts with Post Malone, but what do I know. Then, the Internet got mad over it. Many people called Billboard racist over the removal of Old Town Road, but I call that bullshit. Black artists like Kane Brown, Darius Rucker, and newcomer Jimmie Allen are all pretty huge on country radio at the moment. So how can Billboard be racist to black artists in the country charts? The controversy was so big that Old Town Road rocketed to number 1. In response, Lil Nas X recruited Billy Ray Cyrus for the remix. Find it weird that Billy Ray is so desperate for relevance, he has to be in this song. So, that’s out of the way, is the song any good? Well, it is goofy, I can tell you that. The beat resorts to a trap and dark ambient feel to it. That’s mainly because of the Nine Inch Nails sample. Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus complement each other very well. This song is too powerful to the point where it block big names like Post Malone, Taylor Swift, Brenden Urie, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, and Justin Bieber (and Billie Eilish as I’m posting this) from reaching number 1. Prefer this as the biggest hit of the year, instead of Without Me that’s for sure.
I don’t know I like this song as much as I should. This is basically a rejected Stoney cut, but good. I did mention previously that Post Malone was bragging about his wealth, but in a few lines, he’s actually rapping
Used to have a lot, but I got more now (Yup)
Made another hit ’cause I got bored now
Yeah, I’m actually surprised as you are. But to all seriousness, why is he considered a rapper? He barely done any rapping in any of his songs and Ariana Grande rapped more on 7 Rings than he does on his entire discography. Hell, Fifth Harmony rapped more on their godawful single BO$$. So, why is this guy considered a rapper, again? The world may never know.
7. Middle Child by J. Cole
I don’t know why I like as much as I should, but it keeps growing. I still like the idea of being in between two generations of hip-hop,but something kind of doesn’t feel right to me. Maybe, it’s the Auto-Tune hook or how rushed this song kinda went. Considering the fact that we had to deal with shitty, untalented acts like Lil Pump, 6ix9ine, Kodak Black, etc in recent memory, I’m glad that this exists for my well-being. And I’m happy that it is now locked for the year-end, making it J. Cole’s first appearance since his collaboration with Miguel, Power Trip, in 2013.
So, it is me or are we becoming more lenient towards the late 2000s and early 2010s? First it was with the Jonas Brothers and now this? Color me surprised. I heard from many people that this song is what happens if you mash up Down by Jay Sean and Poker Face by Lady Gaga and yeah, 100% agree. The vocal melodies, the tight percussion, the shimmering synths and the standard chord progressions from both songs does match this song. I always thought that this song kind of interpolates Poker Face with the stuttering in the chorus. The verses are pretty standard and Ava Max is a pretty average singer in my opinion. I don’t really care about the lyrical content, which is about a psychotic woman. I just like it because I find it to be a traditional pop song with enough elements that can make me support this song. And I glad that this ended up becoming a top 10 hit, because it deserves it.
5. Eastside by Benny Blanco, Halsey, and Khalid
I’m honesty surprised that this song is still here. I just realized that Benny Blanco has produced many songs that I love. Songs like Castle on the Hill and Don’t by Ed Sheeran, Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes, Never Call Me by Jhene Aiko and many others. Now that he has decided to put his name in his songs, I starting to believe that he may end up as the quiet version of DJ Khaled. And it’s not a good sign that he follows this up with Roses with Juice WRLD and Brenden Urie and I Can’t Get Enough with Tainy, Selena Gomez and J Balvin.
4. Bad Guy by Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish is having one hell of a year. Her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? has sold 300,000 copies in its first week. And can’t you really it because the album is pretty much worth your time at this point. So after all of that, this debuted in the top 10 at number 7. The moment I heard this song, I was easily grabbed in. The finger snaps, the heavy bass tone and the kick-drums, as well as the trap-beat in the outro. I know that the section of the song was holding it back from being excellent, but I really don’t mind it. Don’t even get me started on the part that she sings to the fan and responds “I’m the bad guy. Duh” and the infectious melody kicks in, creating a tight groove to it. I just find that unintentionally hilarious. Like I said, this song is just gold and I’m that there’s another good week with Billie Eilish in my top 20 ranking. Let’s hope that keeps on going.
3. Sunflower by Swae Lee and Post Malone
I kinda feel bad that it got snubbed from the top from my last ranking. Eh, it happens. So, I will talk more than what I did in the upcoming months. But I will say this, I suddenly realized that this mostly works because it’s used as Miles’ go-to song whenever to go through a tough situation and make him feel better.
Shawn Mendes has been a hit-or-miss to me. He’s a serviceable singer who is becoming better from his Illuminate days 3 years ago. After all, he did make my least favorite song of all time(you guess). But like I said, he is becoming better and started releasing songs that I like. For example, songs like There’s Nothing Holdin Me Back, Youth with Khalid, In My Blood, Lost in Japan, and now this. I love this song the minute I heard it. The tight pianos and guitars complement the mix very well and Shawn does pour his heart out in this track. This is Fun fact, I heard that originally it was going to be a duet with Dua Lipa (not kidding). But he couldn’t be able to reach her. I might consider that a good thing because as much as I love Dua Lipa, she might’ve shut his ass down harder than what Cardi B did to DRAM in the latter’s remix to Cute. Kinda disappointed that it got cockblocked by Old Town Road for the top spot because like Bad Guy, it deserves it.
1. Dancing With A Stranger by Sam Smith and Normani
I’m glad that this arrived. I never really cared about Sam Smith. I usually find him as the poor man’s version of Adele. Literally. But when he is featured on some EDM, he is surprisingly good. And I found Fifth Harmony to be a bit annoying, but Lauren and Normani are who I considered to be my favorites. Kinda wishing Camila Cabello is considered the most popular one in the group. Seriously, listen to Waves by Normani and tell me that doesn’t deserves to be a hit. And this shows why I like Normani lately and me growing on Sam Smith as an artist. The tight, infectious groove in the production and the vocal harmonies on both performers is pretty damn solid. I will start to understand Sam’s appeal and seek out new music from Normani in order to change my mind on Fifth Harmony.
So, that was it. 1 shitty song, 2 bad songs, 4 mediocre songs, 4 decent songs, 4 good songs, and 5 great songs. In total, that gives us a 63/100, meaning it’s a good year overall. If it keeps going til August and November, I would say that it was a really good year. Next time, Phantomonium out back to the darkness. Bye.