Today’s Top 40: a Closer Look at the Stories Behind Today’s Top Songs…Song #38.

The songs listed in this post were found using the Top 40 charts of the following music organizations: CHUM-FM, CFNY-FM, KEXP-FM, Billboard Magazine, Spotify and BBC Radio 1. All six songs listed below occupied position #38 on their respective music lists from this past week. So, let’s take a quick look at the first five songs and then, a bit of a longer look at the song in today’s spotlight…”2Step” by Ed Sheeren ft. Lil Baby.

Father Time by Kendrick Lamar ft. Sampha (Spotify).

Kendrick Lamar occupied this spot last week with his song, “N95”. This week, “Father Time” moved into the Top 40 on Spotify. This gives Lamar a total of six songs on the chart at the same time. As I said last week, if you like insightful social commentary in a Hip Hop format then, Kendrick Lamar is your go-to guy.

Cold Heart by Dua Lipa ft. Sir Elton John (Billboard Magazine).

This song has been on the charts for several months now. It famously samples Sir Elton’s “Rocketman” song from the 1970s but, surprisingly, it is Dua Lipa who sings the “Rocketman” sampled lyrics while Elton John sings original content around the sample. Overall, as my girls would say, this song has that collab.vibe. This is a good Pop tune that I am sure you have heard on the radio if you are a radio listener these days.

Superposition by Young the Giant (CFNY-FM).

I am a big fan of Young the Giant and would have really liked to have made them the feature of this post. They roared out of the gate with their debut album back in 2010 that featured a couple of great songs that I actually spent my own money to download called “Cough Syrup” and “My Body”. Young the Giant are an American alternative music band that produces very danceable songs with catchy hooks and choruses. The song “Superposition” draws upon the world of Science and, in particular, Astronomy to express feelings of love. The line, “In any universe you are my dark star” is making the young adults of our world swoon today.

Balling by Vibe Chemistry ft. The DnB All-stars (BBC Radio 1).

I found this entry to be very interesting. For starters, Vibe Chemistry is not a band but an actual person. In this case, he is a DJ from London who is promoting a club scene built around drumming and bass work (which is where the “DnB” comes from). The “all-stars” that appear with Vibe Chemistry on this song are four rising stars in the world of UK Hip Hop. The song, “Balling” is not a good song, as it is replete with misogynistic references and violent Thug Life imagery, which does nothing for me. However, what makes this song interesting is the work of a young London-area rapper named Songer. In the video that accompanies this song, Songer is the only white rapper among the other all-stars. But, his skin colour is not what sets him apart. Songer might be the very best rapper I have ever heard! He raps at Olympian speed, clearly enunciating each word and with feeling. Up until now, I always considered Eminem to be my favourite rapper but Songer might just be better. His presence in the video for this song is my only reason for recommending it to you. But, recommend it, I do.

Sunday by Sea Lemon (KEXP-FM).

This is the debut single from Seattle-based singer/songwriter Natalie Lew. It is a sweet-voiced bit of Indie Pop that will fill your ears with all sorts of light and airy sounds. The song is about the anxiety that we all experienced over the course of the pandemic as we were forced to separate from those family and close friends that we loved but needed to stay away from in order to keep them safe.

2Step by Ed Sheeran ft. Lil Baby (CHUM-FM).

Kyiv, Ukraine.

Our feature song today is “2Step” by Ed Sheeran ft. Lil Baby. The song covers familiar ground for Sheeren in that it is about the romantic pleasure of holding someone you love close to you while dancing. While not a newlywed anymore, Ed Sheeren is certainly still very much in love with his wife and has written several songs that all cover themes of Sheeren being dazzled by the beauty of the woman he is with and how wonderful it feels to love someone like her and, in turn, be loved back in equal measure. What makes this song noteworthy is the music video that accompanies the song. It was shot on location in Kyiv, Ukraine, just prior to the start of the Russian invasion. In the video, you can see how lovely and cosmopolitan Kyiv looked before the bombs fell. While the song has nothing to do with the war, the mere fact that a love song was shot there lends added poignancy because, as we know, lots of loving relationships were lost and many young lovers, like the ones Sheeren is singing about in “2Step”, were forced to separate and may never dance romantically in Kviv again. Whether the timing of this video being shot when it was is mere coincidence or savvy marketing on Sheeran’s part is unknown by me but, regardless, the video possesses an emotional element that is hard to ignore.

The happy couple: Ed Sheeran and Cherry Seaborn.

Ed Sheeran is arguably one of the biggest music stars in the whole world at the moment. He reminds me a lot of The Weeknd in the way that between his solo songs and his collaborations, he seems to be everywhere all of the time on the radio. This has actually been the case for a number of years now. Here is some mind boggling data for you…starting with his debut album in 2011, every single album Ed Sheeran has released has gone to on the charts. As far as singles go, he has had eleven hit songs: “Sing”, “Thinking Out Loud”, “Shape of You”, “Castle On The Hill”, “Perfect”, “I Don’t Care”, “Beautiful People”, “Take Me Back To London”, “Bad Habits” and “Shiver”. In total, his singles have recorded sales of 20 million and have been certified a ridiculous 73 times platinum!!! But, just as much as Ed Sheeran has enjoyed success as a solo artist, he has been just as productive while engaging in musical collaborations with other artists. In those situations, he has enjoyed many number hits including: “River” (with Eminem), “Sausage Rolls for Everyone” (with Ladbaby and Sir Elton John), “Bam Bam” (with Camilla Cabello) and “Merry Christmas” (with Sir Elton John).

One of the most remarkable aspects to Ed Sheeran’s musical journey is how close it came to not happening at all. As a child, Sheeran was not a popular child. He was often bullied because of his appearance due to his mop of shocking orange hair, his glasses, as well as a purple birthmark that covered much of the side of his face. As he grew into his teens, he was able to have facial surgery to remove/cover up the birthmark, giving his face a more normal complexion. However, according to Sheeran, that surgery came with a potentially life-altering consequence…it caused Sheeran to develop a severe stutter. His family took him to speech therapists who, in turn, tried many different strategies but nothing seemed to work. That was, until the day his father read about something called music therapy. This school of thought was centered upon the realization that many people who suffered from stuttering could speak very clearly and easily if, instead of talking conversationally they, instead, communicated through song. So, Ed Sheeran’s father bought him the Eminem album called “The Real Slim Shady”. Young Ed Sheeran memorized Enimen’s rap lyrics and found that he could sing them clearly. Because Sheeran could now sing out his thoughts and feelings, his self-confidence soared. *This makes his collaboration with Eminem all the more special for Sheeran when it happened. It was a way for him to express his gratitude to a man who, quite literally, changed the course of his life with his music.

In the time that has followed, Ed Sheeran has continued to receive speech therapy and is now able to communicate conversationally in ways that allow him to address audiences and tell stories about his life and his music. Sheeran continues to work with organizations that help people who stutter; especially, children. We all have gifts to share but far too often we, as a society, get too distracted by the packaging on the outside. It is a shame that so many never get to realize their potential because of how they are judged and viewed by others. Ed Sheeran is a very lucky and talented man. We are all the richer for him having found his way in this world.

So, without further delay, here is the dramatic music video that was shot in Kviv, Ukraine for the song, “2Step”, featuring rapper Lil Baby. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “2Step” by Ed Sheeran and Lil Baby can be found here.

The link to the official website for Ed Sheeran can be found here.

The link to the official website for Lil Baby can be found here.

The link to the Ukraine Disaster Relief Appeal mentioned by Ed Sheehan in the “2Step” video can be found here.

***As always, a reminder that all original content in this post is the sole property of the author. No portion of this post can be reblogged, copied or shared in any form without the express written consent of the author. ©2022

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #111: Rocketman (I Think It’s Gonna Be A Long, Long Time) by Elton John (RS)

This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song and going until I reach Song . When you see the song title listed as something like: Song (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.

RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #111: Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time) by Elton John.

In the mid 1950s, science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, released a book called, “The Illustrated Man”. In that book, there was a central character who was covered in tattoos. Each tattoo told a different story. One of the stories in Bradbury’s anthology was called, “The Rocket Man”. In that story, being an astronaut had changed from the early days of space travel, when astronauts were viewed as heroes, to being more of a job along the lines of an airplane pilot. The plot revolved around a career astronaut who was growing tired of making his journeys into space but, continued to do so because of his son, who looked up to him with hero-worshipping eyes. The boy dreams of travelling among the stars, like his Dad until, one day, when the father makes that one last flight and dies in an accident in Space. This causes the boy to live a life haunted by the very stars he once sought to visit.

The Bradbury story of “The Rocketman” inspired a band named Pearls Before Swine to record a song of their own called, “Rocketman”. This song came out not long after David Bowie had released, “Space Oddity” so, it was a heady time for space-inspired music in the UK. The legend of the Elton John version of “Rocketman” is that, around the time “Space Oddity” and the Pearls Before Swine version of “Rocketman” came out, Bernie Taupin one night witnessed a shooting star. This caused him to gaze toward the Heavens in wonder and set his mind to work. Taupin freely admits that he was directly influenced by Bradbury, Bowie and PBS and that the song he came to write was merely his own interpretation on the topic. In fact, since the Taupin/Elton John version was published, many listeners believe that they were not talking about space travel, specifically but, in reality, they were using the loneliness of space travel as a metaphor for the rock n’ roll lifestyle that they were starting to experience in their own lives.

“Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” by Sir Elton John came from his fifth studio album called, “Honky Chateau” which was, really, only his second album of note. His previous album, “Madman Across the Water” was the album that really brought them both into the national spotlight and started them down the road to stardom. So, it was not surprising that both Taupin and Elton John would be finding that their lives were changing and that this process would find itself written down in song. So, as much as “Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time” is a nick of two previously recorded songs, the duo managed to make it uniquely their own, at the same time. It is a song that has gone on to be a fan favourite and one that is consistently rated as a classic among all of the great tunes under the Elton John name.

I am a big fan of this song. He and Taupin wrote such great “story” songs during this period in their careers! “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Levon”, “Philadelphia Freedom”, “Island Girl” and so many more, all came from a period of 5-7 years. But, as prolific as Taupin and Elton John were back in the 1970s, the better tribute is the enduring legacy of such hits. Even today, in 2022 as I write this post, “Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” remains a vital song, as seen in how it is sampled for inclusion in the Elton John/Dua Lipa collaboration called, “Cold, Cold Heart”, which the three ladies I live with all think is a smashing version of the classic song.

In the end, “Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” is a song that hints at the perils of a life that can only be experienced alone; whether it be on the brightest of stages or among the shiniest of stars. It takes a brave heart to endure either. Without further delay, here is Sir Elton John with the classic song, “Rocketman (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long TIme)”. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Rocketman (I Think It’s Gonna Be A Long, Long Time” by Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Rocketman” by Pearls Before Swine, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Pearls Before Swine, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Cold, Cold Heart” by Dua Lipa ft. Elton John, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Dua Lipa can be found here.

The link to the official website for Rolling Stone Magazine, can be found here.

Secured By miniOrange