After a record 19 weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” has taken a backseat in today’s music scene. 19 weeks! To put that in perspective, this reign began the week of April 13th, roughly a month before the conclusion of finals last semester, and concluded the week of August 17th, not even three weeks prior to the start of this current semester. On paper, this would appear to have been a rather uneventful summer musically that was overtaken by a single novelty song. However, it is important to note that Lil Nas X was by no means an established act going into this. Originally released independently after months of tumult following his dropping out of college against his family’s wishes, his genius marketing approach allowed him to catch the attention of Billy Ray Cyrus, Columbia records and, well, the world. And that is the (abridged) story of how a gay, black 20-year-old artist made music history. Representation, people!
HOT GIRL SUMMER
Since the end of the reign of “Road” women have taken control of the Billboard Hot 100, making their own history themselves. First came Billie Eilish. With her hit “Bad Guy” she became the first artist born in the 2000s to top the chart. Alright, you all get to blurt out a single “Feel old yet?” and then we are moving on. Done? Anyway, this was followed by the pair that has been fishing for compliments in more ways than one, Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, with their previously #2 peaking “Señorita”. The artist who has shown real staying power, however, is Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” with three weeks at the top so far despite its 2017 release. She has officially tied with Cardi B as the female rapper to top the Billboard Hot 100 for the longest span of time. And personally, she joins a long list of female artists who ruled my summer playlist with new releases, even if some did not rule the charts. Here are a few *cue Ms. Mojo voice* honorable mentions.
HAIM “Summer Girl”
This talented trio of sisters trotted out this swoony single at the end of July, and it may have single-handedly calmed my nerves building up over the month of August in anticipation of classes starting up again. The dreamy saxophone and “Walk on the Wild Side”-inspired guitar pairs perfectly with some warm rays and continues to make for a warm escape as temperatures start to drop.
Miley Cyrus “Slide Away”
Vocally, this is one-hundred percent Miley Cyrus. Musically, it is reminiscent of something Alanis Morissette would put out just with an amplified bass. And that is not a bad thing. Of course, the circumstance behind this song is not an ideal one. But especially with the beautiful strings that creep in towards the end, one hopes that this is a transition Cyrus does not slide away from.
Taylor Swift “Lover”
I will support any artist that gets a bride and groom to choose a wedding song that is not Ed Sheeran. But seriously, this song is cozy and should be considered a highlight of Swift’s discography. In terms of the discography she actually owns (yikes) this one is in fact the highlight and sounds even better when played beside the previous singles on her new record that are a bit more in-your-face and generic. I cannot help but get chills every time she sings “Ladies and gentlemen…” Oh, Taylor, look what you made me do.
THE UNHOLY TRINITY
The act of consolidation appears to have moved past the business world and into the music world, which it kind of is. Three unlikely bands, Weezer, Green Day and Fall Out Boy, have joined forces to put on what they are calling the Hella Mega Tour. On September 10th, the same day the tour was announced, each respectively released new singles. They all vary in quality so allow me to inform you which song you will be screaming along with, which one you will bob your head to and which one you can ignore to use the bathroom.
Weezer “The End of the Game”
With their upcoming March 2020 album titled Van Weezer it comes as no surprise that Rivers Cuomo and company go hard with the guitars here as inspired by the big-haired artists that defined 80s rock. Despite this, Weezer’s meek vocals are still there and yet they mesh well together. Overall, it sounds like a song that high school seniors could be blasting on the way out on their last day of classes. At the very least, we should be seeing actors in their twenties playing high school seniors walking out to this song in the near future.
Fall Out Boy “Dear Future Self (Hands Up)”
If you have liked Fall Out Boy’s releases from this past decade, you will probably like this one. It sounds just like them. This is supposed to be a letter to their future self. However, it screams PAST. I do not see die-hard fans from the band’s inception embracing this one too much. Honestly, the only reason why I tolerate this one is because this next one is basically intolerable.
Green Day “Father of All…”
“Wake me up when September ends.” That is what Green Day was singing back in 2004, and they may have meant it. This is not Green Day. Billie Joe Armstrong’s signature booming, nasally voice is nowhere to be found here. Perhaps he has finally blown his nose. If that is the case, then I guess it makes sense that this song, ironically enough, blows. It would be an alright debut single for an up and coming band, but for the punk icons that are Green Day? Good riddance.