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

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: .

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 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 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 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 , 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

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