Today’s Top 40: A Closer Look at the Stories Behind the Hottest Songs of the Day…Song # 3/250: As It Was by Harry Styles

Editor’s Note: Just for the information of those keeping score, I am tweaking the format of this series slightly. For starters, I am expanding the list of Top 40 charts I am leaning on for content, and as well, I am going to be more random in what chart position I compare each week. In the past, I had started at Position #40, and then I wrote about Position #39 the following week, etc.… Now, I am going to bounce around the chart positions in order to give these posts a bit more variety than they may have had otherwise. So, starting today, I am using the Top 40 charts from the following places: BBC1, CFNY-FM and CHUM-FM (from Toronto), Billboard Magazine, Spotify Weekly Countdown, as well as KEXP.FM (from Seattle). So, without further delay, let’s look at what is hot and trending in the world of music today.

Today’s Chart Position: #1.

Today’s Musical Selection: As It Was by Harry Styles (BBC1)

Other Contenders:

Kendrick Lamar: n95 (Spotify, KEXP)

Kendrick Lamar is, arguably, the most respected performer in the world of Hip Hop at the moment. His albums have been hailed as masterpieces for years now. As Hip Hop lyricists go, he has often been considered a poet, as much as he is a rapper. It is not by fluke that Kendrick Lamar finds himself atop two very different Top 40 charts at the same time. He is highly recommended, if you are in the mood for some cutting edge Hip Hop. ***Listener discretion advised.

Of Monsters and Men: Alligator (CFNY.FM)

Of Monsters and Men hail from Iceland and have had much success on the Alternative music scene for the past decade. They hold a soft spot in my heart because we used to play their song King and Lionheart at my favourite little school, Grant Sine PS, just before it closed. The song spoke of change and the need for courage. Our school was located in the middle of a socially-assisted housing complex, so change was not something that anyone wanted. In order to prepare the kids for the coming storm, as it were, we often gathered together and sang as a school community. One of the songs we sang the most was King and Lionheart. Alligator is a peppy, Folk-Rock song that you will enjoy if you give it a listen. It will get your toes a-tapping, for sure.

Camilla Cabello and Ed Sheeran: Bam Bam (CHUM-FM)

Ed Sheeran is certainly one of the most prolific musical talents of his generation. Whether we talk about his solo records or his many collaborations, it seems as though Ed Sheeran is everywhere, all of the time, when you turn on the radio. Camilla Cabello got her start with the hit song Havana. Since then, she has enjoyed much chart success around the world, and is definitely one of the most respected and recognized young female stars in music today. The song Bam Bam is about picking up the pieces after breaking up with someone you thought you might build your life around. Many believe that this song is about her relationship with Canada’s own Shawn Mendes. As one would expect from one of today’s top Pop stars, Bam Bam is infused with Latin beats and plenty of upbeat vibes. It is an easy song to bop to, all the while forgetting that her heart is breaking throughout the whole song.

Jack Harlow: First Class (Billboard)

A rapper from Louisiana, Jack Harlow is one of the rising stars of the genre. I don’t particularly like this song nor this style of sexually-charged storytelling, but apparently, that may just be me. Harlow debuted at #1 on many charts in the US and around the world with this song. Feel free to check this out if a song about doing favours for beautiful women…such as moving them up to First Class… in exchange for sex…is your jam.

Now, on to today’s chosen artist and song….

Harry Styles is a multi-talented artist who has experienced success as a solo singer, as a member of one of the biggest selling Boy Bands of all time, One Direction, as well as taking star turns as an actor in highly-regarded movies such as Dunkirk. But as much as Harry Styles is known for being a star of stage and screen, he is becoming equally as well known for his work in the Fashion world as a style icon and for his philanthropic work supporting numerous causes…the most important to him being those centered around gender identity and the LGBTQ2s+ community. So, let’s take a few moments and get to know a young man who is combining substance and style in ways rarely seen these days. Harry Styles is one of the biggest stars on the planet at the moment. This is his story.

Harry Styles is actually his real name. It almost seems too perfect to be true, but it is. He was born Harry Gordon Styles in 1994 in Redditch, Worcestershire, England (which is a little over an hour to the northwest of London, just south of Birmingham). Harry was a music lover all through his childhood. When he turned sixteen years of age, his mother encouraged him to try out for a British television show called The X Factor. Harry Styles made it through the initial audition process as a solo singer, but was eliminated in the second round of competition. However, Styles was given a second chance by the show’s creator, Simon Cowell. That second chance turned out to be one of the turning points in Harry Styles’ life. Cowell told all those who had been eliminated in the second round that they could re-audition for a chance to be on the show, but this time, they weren’t allowed to be solo acts anymore. They had to find a partner or form into a group. Harry Styles still had dreams of having a singing career, so he agreed to Cowell’s new format and met up with four other male singers named Niall Horan, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik. The five boys agreed to rebrand themselves as One Direction…because there was only one direction they wished to be headed, and that was straight to the top! One Direction ended up making it all the way to the finale and placed third overall. As a reward, they were given the chance to record and release a song out in the real world. The song was called What Makes You Beautiful. That song became a monster hit for the boys, reaching all the way to #1 around the world. I can tell you for a fact that it was a very popular tune in my own house, with my two daughters who were reaching the age where they were just starting to make their own song choices and playlists. One Direction had many more hits such as Story of My Life, Best Song Ever, Drag Me Down, Perfect, Steal My Girl and many more. From 2010-2015, One Direction sold over 70 million albums, making them one of the biggest-selling Boy Bands in history (trailing only The Backstreet Boys, The Jackson 5, BTS and surprisingly enough, The Osmonds).

As One Direction released album after album, their success grew exponentially. However, keeping in mind that the members of the band all entered into the profession with dreams of solo stardom, it was not all that surprising that the band called it quits at the very height of their fame. While all five members possess musical talent, it was Harry Styles who seemed to always stand out…just as Justin Timberlake did while a member of ‘NSync. So, in 2016, Harry Styles began his solo career. That phase of his musical career has been just as wildly successful as was his time in One Direction. His many hits include Sign of the Times (which was Rolling Stone Magazine’s Song of the Year in 2017, as well as being BBC1’s Music Video of the Year), Falling, Watermelon Sugar, Adore You, Fine Line, Treat People With Kindness (Harry Styles’ merch. is often tagged with the letters TPWK, which, as it turns out, is an acronym for this song), and finally, the #1 song around the world today, As It Was.

The song title, As It Was, is actually part of a longer line from the lyrics of the song which states that…nothing is the same as it was. This song is about many things, but primarily, it offers a commentary on the changing nature of how we view other people. As mentioned earlier in this post, Styles is on the forefront of a societal change with regard to gender identity and how accepting we must be of the personal choices that people make. Many people note that Styles has started becoming known for wearing clothes on stage that many would consider to be “women’s clothing and accessories”. When asked if his style of fashion was signalling to the world that he was coming out publicly with a sexual preference, Styles replied that his sexual preferences should not be a factor in accepting him for who he is as a singer and an actor. Harry Styles believes that our penchant for judging others in gender-specific ways serves to limit the potential that each of us has within us. I am not sure that I want to wear pearls, as he often does, or to don frilly frocks, but I suppose that If I did, I would still be me and that is the point that Harry Styles is using his public platform to make. When asked about being a role model, Styles claims that he wishes to follow in the footsteps of people such as David Bowie, who used fashion and music for the cause of advancing social change.

As 2022 unfolds, the sky is truly the limit for Harry Styles. His new album, Harry’s House, is the top-rated album in the world as you read these words. I am sure that another acting gig awaits after how well he did in his role as a British soldier in the Academy Award-winning movie Dunkirk. Harry has also been heavily involved in the fashion Industry, and has already served as co-chair of the extravagant Met Gala in 2019, so a fashion-oriented future remains on the table for our young star, too. Overall, Harry Styles stands as one of the world’s biggest stars and most forward thinkers. It is with interest that we should all monitor how his future unfolds, because, no doubt, more great and memorable things are in store for everyone.

The link to the video for the song As It Was can be found here.

The link to the official website for Harry Styles can be found here.

The link to the closing scene from the movie, Dunkirk, featuring Harry Styles can be found here.

The link to the official website for BBC1, where Harry Styles and As It Was are ranked as #1, can be found here.

***Just a reminder that all original content in this post is the sole property of the author. This blog post may not be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner without the express written consent of the author. ©2022

The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #142: Time by Hans Zimmer from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Inception” (KTOM)

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 #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (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 #xxx (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.

KTOM: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #142: Time by Hans Zimmer from the Original Motion PIcture Soundtrack to the movie, Inception.

A few posts ago, we profiled Broadway legend, Stephen Soldheim. In that post, I talked about how there are whole categories of music that this countdown list has, seemingly, ignored. On that day, we aimed the spotlight on Broadway show tunes. Today, we are going to take a detour from the original countdown list and showcase another genre of music that is critically important yet, often under-appreciated and that is, movie scores. Just so we are clear, by movie scores, I do not mean hit songs from movies like “Saturday Night Fever” by The BeeGees or, “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion from “Titanic”. A movie score refers to the music (usually instrumental) that is placed throughout the scenes in a movie, documentary or television show. A good score will complement the scene that is unfolding; adding a layer of meaning and emotion that go beyond the dialogue and imagery before you, as a viewer. The undisputed King of movie scores is John Williams. His score for the original movie, “Star Wars” places him light years ahead of everyone else, in terms of sales figures and the ease with which audiences recognize his score and his own fame as a composer. But for today’s post, we are going to focus on a man who also ranks highly on every list of well-known movie composers and that is, Mr. Hans Zimmer. Even if his name is unfamiliar….and, it won’t be if you are a movie buff….but, even if you aren’t, I still have confidence that you have listened to his music and been moved by it, as well. Here is the story of Hans Zimmer… composer extraordinaire!

Hans Zimmer is a German-born composer who has had a hand in composing the score for over 150 movies. Of those 150 movies, many are regarded as the best of all-time. A listing of Zimmer’s credits reads like a list of the A.F.I. (American Film Institute) retrospective of the Top 100 movies ever made. Zimmer won an Academy Award for his score for the movie, “The Lion King”. He has been nominated several times for movies such as “Gladiator”, “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Crimson Tide”. He has, also, scored the following films…..I could list dozens but, here are ten, more recent films, just to give you a sense of this man’s references when it comes to being among the most prolific film scorers ever: “Dunkirk”, “Interstellar”, “Dune”, “12 Years A Slave”, the “Spiderman” series, David Attenborough’s “Planet Earth” series for the BBC, “Blade Runner 2049”, “Wonder Woman 1984”, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series and, going back a few years, “The DaVinci Code”. There are many, many other well known films that Hans Zimmer has been involved with that have brought recognition for him or for the movie, itself. In fact, of the 150+ movies that Zimmer has composed the musical score for, he (or the film) have been nominated for major movie and/or music awards 75 times. Gross sales of the movies his work has touched reaches beyond the one billion dollar mark! While I could focus on any number of compositions for this post, I have chosen to talk about his piece called, “Time” by the movie, “Inception”.

“Time” is, quite simply, a lovely, moving composition that uses notes and chords to describe the cycle of life; from birth to death. In particular, “Time”, as used in the movie, “Inception”, deals with the idea of Love; with “birth” being your life before finding love, the rousing mid-section is the act of finding love/falling into love and living a love-filled life and then, the heartbreaking finale to the song is “death”….when love is lost and silence fills the void left in your heart. If you have watched (or, tried to watch) the movie, “Inception”, you will know that the description I just used is not as straight-forward as I am making it out to be but, trust me, that is the message of Christopher Nolan’s movie and that is what Hans Zimmer manages to achieve with his wonderful composition, “Time”. For the video for this, I will leave you with a live performance that took place in Prague a few years ago. I will, also, toss in a few additional videos of his music from other movies.

One of the things that has drawn me to Hans Zimmer is that he has publicly stated that he finds the melding of classical and more modern, electronic music to be very interesting. As we just saw in the post about the EDM song, “Sandstorm”, *(which you can read about here), the blurring of genre lines between classical music and the most cutting edge electronic music is one of the most popular trends in all of music right now. “Time” shows that very well during the live performance. As an FYI, the guitarist featured in this live performance is Johnny Marr, formerly of The Smiths. His extraordinary guitar skills add much to this piece. He was personally selected by Zimmer to be involved in the score for “Inception”.

So, without further delay, allow me to introduce you to the most prolific musical film scorer on Earth, Mr. Hans Zimmer, with his composition of “Time” from the movie, “Inception”. This is simply beautiful. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the live version of “Time” from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Inception”, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Time” from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Inception”, can be found here.

The link to the video for “The Dark Knight Medley”, from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “The Dark Knight Rises”, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Circle of Life/King of Pride Rock” from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “The Lion King”, can be found here.

The link to the video for the song, “Interstellar theme” from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Interstellar”, can be found here.

The link to the video for music piece known as the “Nimrod: the Enigma Variations”, from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to the movie, “Dunkirk”, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Hans Zimmer, can be found here.