Today’s Top 40: The Stories Behind the Hits of Today.

The songs listed below were all found using the following Top 40 charts: BBC Radio 1, CHUM-FM and Indie88-FM (in Toronto), KEXP-FM (in Seattle), Spotify as well as Billboard Magazine. For this week’s list, I looked at songs that found themselves listed in and around chart position #8. So, without further delay, let’s dive into Today’s Top 40 hits! Enjoy.

Sunroof by Nicky Youre ft. dazy (BillBoard Magazine, Spotify and CHUM-FM)

Nicky Youre.

For the first time since I started compiling lists for Today’s Top 40, we have a song that appears in the same position on three different lists at the same time. “Sunroof” by newcomer Nicky Youre is a light, peppy bit of Pop confection that is certain to have your toes a-tapping. It is a mood lightener, for sure. The origin of the song is from an idea Youre left on a voicemail he sent to producer, dazy. The idea was for the two to join forces to create a song that captured the mood one feels when you have just met someone who makes your heart leap out of your chest. That sense of excitement that you feel when you can’t stop thinking of your new love was the vibe Youre and dazy were going for. The result was “Sunroof” which is as catchy a Pop song as you will find on the radio these days.

***The link for the lyrics video can be found here.

Foxglove Through The Clearcut by Death Cab For Cutie (Indie88-FM)

I once read a New Yorker cartoon that showed a police officer arresting a bather at the beach for reading a book by Russian author Dostoevsky. The caption read something like, “I’m afraid that’s not summer reading. You’ll have to come with me”. I thought of that cartoon as I compared the song ”Sunroof” from above with this new song from the band Death Cab For Cutie. One is definitely light and breezy with that summer vibe. The other is “Foxglove Through The Clearcut”.

Death Cab for Cutie.

What an interesting song this is! “Foxglove Through The Clearcut” comes across like a spoken-word poem about the environment. However, it is combined with haunting guitar riffs, along with a music video that captures and holds your attention. It is a very Indie/Alternative sounding song that might be a little too smart for its own good in this age of short soundbites and repetitive messaging. As you may know from a previous post that you can read here, Death Cab For Cutie originated because of a song that was included on The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. Like the Fab Four, Death Cab For Cutie have become known for creating songs that work well in a multimedia style that allows listeners/viewers to extract deeper meaning from the lyrics. Death Cab For Cutie came into the public spotlight as the house band from the TV show, “The O.C.” a few decades ago. Their most famous hit was “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” which you can read all about here. “Foxglove Through The Clearcut” is an intelligent song that will get you thinking. It is definitely not summer reading, but instead, it is a song with artistic aspirations and a serious message, all dressed up in the guise of an awesome Alternative/Indie banger.

***The link to the lyrics video can be found here.

Fool’s Gold by Built To Spill (KEXP-FM).

When I was writing about the Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History, one of the bands that I really enjoyed getting to know better was Guided By Voices. Based in Dayton, Ohio, GBV was led by a charismatic front man named Bob Pollard. Pollard was the only real, permanent member of the band and was responsible for churning out a seemingly endless number of Indie tunes that made their way onto a seemingly endless number of Indie-type records. Fiercely independent, Guided By Voices have built a loyal following without feeling as though they had to compromise their integrity to do so. You can read more about them here.

Doug Martsch from Built To Spill.

My first impression of Built To Spill is that they are modeled very much on Guided By Voices. The lead singer is a man named Doug Martsch. His original idea was to have a band with only him as a regular member. The remaining musicians would change for each album. Built To Spill produces pure Indie rock. They tour relentlessly. They are beloved by music critics and have a very loyal fan base. LIke GBV, Built To Spill put forth copious amounts of music, much of which possesses a rawer, more frenetic energy. The video for “Fool’s Gold” revolves around trying to separate the fake from the real when it comes to music. The band hail from Boise, Idaho. Much of the video for “Fool’s Gold” was shot in the ladies restroom of a local theatre there.

***There appears to not be a lyrics video available for this song. Sorry. Here is a live version instead.

Late Night Talking by Harry Styles (BBC Radio 1).

Have bed. Will travel. Mr. Harry Styles.

This song is the follow-up to Styles #1 hit, “As It Was” which was profiled in a previous post that you can read here. The video for “Late Night Talking” has been much-discussed and analyzed for meaning. It shows Styles in various beds with various bedmates, everyone wearing different pyjamas, all the while the beds he is in end up traveling to an Italian restaurant, Buckingham Palace and so on. It is a very artsy video but done in a cute and personable manner, as has become Styles’ schtick.

When asked to describe this song and video, Harry Styles stated that it was about being him…a young, single man trying to have a love life but who also happens to be in the spotlight. Styles talked about overcoming his shyness that someone like him would have a sex life that would merit scrutiny and comment in the first place. Then, as he has grown as a person, Styles has made it clear that one of the hardest things about being someone famous is all of the labels and boxes people want to place him in. He says that the song, “Late Night Talking” is about all of us being more open to exploration and being freer with the boundaries that society sets for us. In real life, Harry Styles is presently dating actress Olivia Wilde, for those who are interested in such things. As for the musicality of the song, well, it sounds like a Harry Styles song to me. If you are familiar at all with his song catalogue then you will find “Late Night Talking” to your liking as well.

***The link to the lyrics version of this song can be found here.

***As always, all original content found in this post remains the sole property of the author. No portion of this blog may be reblogged, copied or shared in any manner 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: #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

Today’s Top 40: a Closer Look at the Top Hits of Today…Song # 2/250: Take My Breath by The Weeknd.

Editor’s Note: Each week, I intend to write about one of the songs that is making news on the charts today. In order to do this, I shall be calling upon the following Top-40 Charts:,, and Toronto’s own, CHUM-FM. From each of those charts, I will pick a certain chart position number and look at the song from each list that occupies that space. From there, I will determine one song to write about.

Today’s Chart Position Number: 39

Today’s Chosen Song: Take My Breath by The Weeknd. (CHUM-FM)

Other Contenders:

Two Ribbons by Let’s Eat Grandma (KEXP)

***Don’t let the group name fool you. This band consists of two girls who have a folksy vibe not unlike Simon and Garfunkel. This is a slow, sweet song that is perfect if mellowing out is where your head space is at. A truly lovely song.

Ghost by Justin Bieber (Spotify)

***It’s Stratford, Ontario’s own Justin Bieber! I’m sure most of you know his story. For those of you who don’t, I am also confident that at some future date there will be another Biebs song that follows the same formula as this one does so we can talk about him then.

Voodoo by Future ft. Kodak Black (BillBoard)

***Cool, jazzy Hip Hop that makes me feel like donning a tuxedo, undoing the bow tie and letting it dangle, all the while walking around with a martini in my hand. Even if Hip Hop isn’t your thing, this song has a sleek, smooth sound to it and is worth a listen.

That brings us to today’s featured artist…Abel Makkonen Tesfaye or, as he is more commonly known…The Weeknd! Tesfaye was born in Toronto and was raised by his Mom. His father has not been part of his life, so as a result, Tesfaye grew up in a home provided by his mother who worked very hard in order to feed, clothe and house him as a child. Consequently, while his mother went to work, Tesfaye often found himself alone. However, for him, being alone meant that he was free to indulge the creative side of his personality. So, as a teenager, Tesfaye began writing his own songs and creating short videos of himself that he would upload to YouTube. He threw himself into his songwriting to such an extent that going to high school seemed unnecessary, and so he dropped out in the eleventh grade. At this point in time, Tesfaye came to the proverbial “fork in the road” in terms of how his life was going to play out. After leaving school, he moved out of his family home and into an apartment that he shared with some friends. After a spasm of drug use and hedonistic partying, along with a series of dead-end, minimum wage service jobs, the still-young Tesfaye took stock of his life and decided that he needed to channel his energies in a different manner if he was going to end up realizing the dreams he had for himself and for his mother.

So, Tesfaye did something that a lot of teens wouldn’t have had the skill set to do…he started his own record label. He named it XO Records. He signed himself up as his own first client and released a series of mixtapes out into the Toronto Hip Hop community. In 2009, he released his first mixtape of original music called House of Balloons. That tape made its way into the hands of the titan of Toronto’s music scene at the time, Drake. Drake gave the mixtape his seal of approval by mentioning it on a blog post that he wrote. From there, Drake’s legions of fans began clamouring for House of Balloons, which encouraged Tesfaye to release two more mixtapes of original work called Thursday and Echoes of Silence. With a growing catalogue of material to work from, Tesfaye was invited to open for Drake at Drake’s OVO Music Festival in Toronto. While Tesfaye’s dreams of stardom were starting to come true, he was somewhat hesitant to fully embrace his growing fame, because his personal privacy was important to him. Consequently, Tesfaye made the bold decision to not perform under his own name but, instead, to adopt a pseudonym. He chose the name The Weeknd because he wanted his new name to be one that most people associated with happy times. The reason he spelled it the way that he did was so that it would have an artsy, mysterious air about it, but also, because there was already a rock band in the US called The Weekend and Tesfaye wanted to avoid any legal hassles that copying their name would surely bring in the future.

As The Weeknd, Tesfaye has spent the last decade becoming one of the hardest working, most prolific and successful music entertainers in the entire world. In that time, he has sold over 75 million albums (which instantly puts him in the company of the all-time greats in music history!),he has won multiple Grammy Awards, and his records have achieved Platinum status 45 times over!!! He has collaborated with the biggest stars in the music industry: everyone from Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Drake, Post Malone and many more have shared his stage. He has had many #1 hits including songs such as Earned It (which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song of the Year from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack), I Can’t Feel My Face, Blinding Lights (which stayed in the BIllboard Top Ten for an entire calendar year), The Hills, Starboy, Heartless, Save Your Tears and today’s song, Take My Breath. The Weeknd has been the musical guest on Saturday Night LIve three separate times and was the sole musical guest at the Superbowl Halftime Show two years ago.

The future seems limitless for Tesfaye. His unique falsetto singing style has allowed him to carve out a very distinct place for himself in the music world. His voice is most often compared to that of Michael Jackson, but perhaps a fairer comparison would be that of the Gibb Brothers (who sang as the BeeGees). Whatever the case, Tesfaye seems equally comfortable singing in multiple genres such as Pop, Dance, Soul/R & B or Hip Hop. His latest song, Take My Breath, has been compared to that Disco classic, I Feel Love, by Donna Summer because of the energy that is produced by the pulsating beat of synthesizers. Whatever the song, whatever the musical genre, whether singing solo or as part of a musical collaboration, The Weeknd can seemingly do no wrong. He is riding a wave of success that is as impressive and consistent as any ever enjoyed by the all-time great artists in the history of music. The amazing thing is that Tesfaye is still relatively young. When all is said and done, 2022 may turn out to not even be the midway point of his career. If he keeps going at the rate he is at present, Tesfaye stands a chance at becoming one of the very biggest selling artists of all time. As if foreshadowing this, Tesfaye…who used to share a Toronto apartment with three friends and struggled to pay his share of the rent…recently bought a home in the Hollywood Hills for $18,000,000. After living there for a year, he sold his mansion to…Madonna(!)…for almost $20,000,000. If Tesfaye starts selling homes to Garth Brooks, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney and/or Priscilla Presley, then we will know that he has a checklist in his head and is reeling in the greats, one Top Five best-selling mega star at a time.

For now, here is The Weeknd with one of his current hits, Take My Breath, which was occupying Position #39 on this past week’s Top 40 CHUM Chart in Toronto. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song Take My Breath by The Weeknd can be found here.

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

Header Photo courtesy of Daniel Jackson, GQ Magazine.

***Just a reminder that all original content on this blog post is the sole property of the author. This content cannot be re-blogged, copied nor shared without the express written consent of the author. ©2022