Monthly Report: July 2018 Singles

1. Cardi B f/ Bad Bunny and J Balvin - "I Like It" 
Almost a year out from "Bodak Yellow" blowing up, Cardi B has another #1 and a pretty huge album, which is more than I think even the most optimistic fan would have predicted for her. I'm happy for her, though, this isn't even one of the best songs on Invasion of Privacy but it totally makes sense as a breakout hit. And even after "Despacito" it's still a little surprising to hear a song on urban radio where 2 of the 3 verses are in Spanish, I don't think that's ever happened before. Here's the 2018 singles playlist I update every month. 

2. Echosmith - "Over My Head"
I thought Echosmith's big hit from a few years ago "Cool Kids" kind of annoying and off-putting, but I liked their overall sound. So I'm glad that they're back with a much, much better song, I'm still hoping this blows up and they put out an album in this vein.

3. Keith Urban f/ Julia Michaels - "Coming Home" 
On paper, Keith Urban seems like the exact kind of country star who would cross over to pop radio -- photogenic guy who's married to a movie star, did a few seasons of "American Idol," and makes music that often sounds like glossy pop/rock. But he never got into the top 20 of the Hot 100 or had a real crossover hit played outside country radio, even as every album features more and more collaborators from the pop world. "Coming Home" is produced by J.R. Rotem and is built on a guitar loop from one of Merle Haggard's signature songs, which seems like a terrible idea but totally works, and I love the vocals from Julia Michaels in the second half of the song. 

4. Fall Out Boy - "The Last Of The Real Ones"
Mania-era Fall Out Boy is a bit like Keith Urban in that they often reach out of their comfort zone to work with the latest hitmakers but it doesn't necessarily expand their audience. This song is produced by Illangelo, best known for helping The Weeknd originate his signature sound, but it mostly sounds like a good old fashioned Fall Out Boy anthem with a few cool keyboard riffs thrown in. 

5. Morgan Wallen f/ Florida Georgia Line - "Up Down"  
Florida Georgia Line has been on a surprisingly great run of collaborations lately, and they make a good combination with Morgan Wallen, who they wrote Jason Aldean's "You Make It Easy" with. I enjoy a good playful musical/lyrical parallel, and I like the way the slide guitar riff seesaws up and down between high notes and low notes on "Up Down." 

6. James Bay - "Pink Lemonade" 
Electric Light is one of my favorite albums of 2018 and it's a shame that none of its singles have taken off on U.S. radio like "Let It Go" did. But "Pink Lemonade" has broken him through a little bit to alt-rock radio and it's a good fit, wouldn't mind if they worked more singles to rock stations. 

7. Foo Fighters "The Line"
I had high hopes for Foo Fighters making an album with Greg Kurstin, but I think the experiment was mostly a bust, Concrete And Gold is likely their worst album and "The Sky Is A Neighborhood" their worst single. I love "The Line," though, it was always the track that redeemed the album and I'm glad it's finally a single, it's kind of a typical brooding Foo Fighters 3rd single but the piano and synth and violin and vibraphone in the mix really give it a nice unique texture. 

8. Meghan Trainor - "Let You Be Right" 
Two years ago, Meghan Trainor declared "I shit hits" to an interview, and that moment of hubris was timed perfectly to the moment when pop radio stopped eagerly embracing everything she released. I never liked her much anyway, so I was amused by her career downturn, but she's definitely talented and I wouldn't count her out yet. I don't know if "Let You Be Right" could be the one to get her momentum back, but I think it's one of her best to date. 

9. Blue October - "I Hope You're Happy"
Blue October have had almost a dozen songs on the radio charts since the memorably awful 2006 crossover hit "Hate Me," and I don't think I've heard barely any of them that I can remember. "I Hope You're Happy" is surprisingly upbeat and catchy, though, and doesn't remind me at all of "Hate Me" even if the singer still sounds like an angry Muppet.   

10. Red Sun Rising - "Deathwish" 
It's weird to think that the singer of one of the more popular young bands on hard rock radio in 2018 reminds me of the singer from The Scorpions. Not even their music at all, just a certain weird unique tone in the voice. 

Worst Single of the Month: Bryce Vine - "Drew Barrymore"
I really just fly into a rage every time I hear the lyric "you're the next Drew Berry, and I want more." I can't believe dozens of people heard this song, in the studio, at the label, and so on and so on and everyone was like, this is a good idea, let's put it out. Also, the guy's real last name isn't Vine, I don't know if he named himself after Vine the video platform but that really seems likely. 
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