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)
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.
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