Chart Mondays: Nicki Minaj - Super Freaky Girl

Another week has gone by, and Sam Smith & Kim Petras are still at the UK top spot on the chart with "Unholy", so this time I'm reviewing "Super Freaky Girl" by Nicki Minaj, and I never know what to expect when it comes to this queen of hip-hop, but I can guarantee she serves in every visual, and this is just another serve and a half! Selling sex, fierceness and charged energy, Nicki Minaj doesn't disappoint both with this song and the music video, and you can totally understand why she has hit after hit after hit.

Sampling Rick James' "Super Freak" throughout, Nicki Minaj transforms the track creating lyrics about sexual fantasies and desires while also rapping about the length of her career. The songwriters are listed as Rick James, Alonzo Miller, Lukasz Gottwald, Aaron Joseph, Lauren Miller, Vaughn Oliver, Onika Maraj, and Gamal Lewis, with Dr. Luke, Malibu Babie, Vaughn Oliver, and Aaron Joseph acting as producers.

The music video sees Nicki Minaj as a Barbie-like character who also has a love interest who resembles Ken - played by Alexander Ludwig (known for being in The Hunger Games, Vikings, and Heels, as well as The Band Perry's music video "Gentle On My Mind"). The video feels like it's straight out of Fergie's music video for "M.I.L.F. $", it's that suburban lifestyle, only Nicki Minaj has a more sexed-up style, with sexual intentions and suggestions. There's choreography, of sorts, passionate delivery from this queen rapper, and there are also some vicious (freaky) accessories within the scenes including a very sharp knife and some scissors.

Chart Mondays: Steve Lacy - Bad Habit

With Sam Smith & Kim Petras still at number one on the UK chart with "Unholy" - a song I adore and I hope will continue its reign for many weeks, I decided to choose to review "Bad Habit" by Steve Lacy for my Chart Mondays review. This song has peaked at number eight here in the UK after being stalled at number nine for the past two weeks, will it rise again next week? The track has had global success managing to chart at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, as well as charting in the top five in Australia, Israel, and New Zealand, becoming his biggest global hit to date.

Written by Steve Lacy, Diana Gordon (yes, that's Wynter Gordon who sang that hit song "Dirty Talk"), John Kirby, Britanny Fousheé, and Matthew Castellanos, "Bad Habit" is an addictive R'n'B indie song that has a hint of dance thrown in which is what makes this song extra catchy. Steve Lacy has been in the music industry for a few years and seems to be underrated so it's great to see him get the recognition he deserves.

The music video, directed by Julian Klincewicz, doesn't have a lot going on, Steve Lacy performs the track in a studio space where he can be seen dancing and moving to the track while a pulsating light switches colours, freestyling and just being himself, almost as if the camera was left running and the song was played on repeat and he was left to do his own thing. There's a clear passion for the track displayed, and the scenes with his dog are adorable. Halfway through, the visual takes on a blurred concept which then intercuts the other scenes in the rest of the video - my takeaway from it is that it suggests that things could be different in an alternative reality, which links in with the concept of the track.

Chart Mondays: Ed Sheeran - Celestial

I might be making Chart Mondays difficult for me by covering this music video right now, but it's new in the UK chart at number five and it's full of such cute visuals, that I just had to cover it today, so I'm hoping it doesn't rise up to number one - although, it is Ed Sheeran, and it's one of my favourite songs he has released. Since Sam Smith & Kim Petras are still at number one with "Unholy", I chose this song from the UK Top 10.

Written by Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, and Johnny McDaid, with the former two songwriters co-producing the track, "Celestial" is an addicting track that has a cute autumnal vibe to it perfect as the weather changes from summer to autumn. Clear and crisp, the song has that exciting feeling of love mixed throughout with Ed Sheeran's vocals on fire from start to finish.

The music video, directed by Yuichi Kodama with Genki Kawamura and Masami Hatanaka acting as producers, is a fun day in the life of Ed Sheeran the Pokémon trainer. The visuals mix real life with cartoon animation warping both worlds into almost an augmented reality concept as if both complement each other. I like the idea of Ed Sheeran being the only person who can see the Pokémon, so when he's travelling on Lapras or Charizard, the average general public sees Ed Sheeran travelling on invisible creatures.

The first half of the video comes off better on story concept, I love the idea of us all having our own Pokémon in our homes, helping around the house (or making things worse). The second half becomes more skewed, with Ed Sheeran just going about and walking on the street, but then ending up at the end trying to stop Mew and MewTwo, regardless of that, the imagery in the second half is beautiful, that field with the Bulbasaurs is just epic!

Chart Mondays: Sam Smith & Kim Petras - Unholy

Now, this is what we call an all-out music video, but what do we expect from a Sam Smith & Kim Petras team-up with the title "Unholy"? There's literally so much to unpack in this four-and-a-half-minute music video, there's just so much going on and I always see something new. The LGBTQ+ representation is undeniable and effortlessly done - again, we expected this from Sam Smith and Kim Petras. 

They've topped the UK Singles Chart this week with this song and I hope it's a chart mainstay as we need these unapologetic queer artists at the top of charts around the world! In topping the UK Chart both Sam Smith and Kim Petras have made history (ermmm... I mean herstory), because this is Sam Smith's first number one in the UK since he came out as non-binary becoming the first, and only ever (to date), non-binary artist to top the UK charts, and Kim Petras follows suits becoming the first, and only (to date), trans artist to top the charts; time for this LGBTQ+ duo to break records and stereotypes around the world!

Other than the UK, this track has seen itself sit atop global charts including Australia, Canada, the Billboard Global 200, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania, New Zealand, and Slovakia. I'm sure more chart number ones are around the corner, since it's at the top spot on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube charts globally - including Romania, Singapore, the Netherlands, Poland, and the United States, amongst others.

As a Kim Petras fan, I instantly love this song, (how "Coconuts" wasn't a worldwide hit I'll never know) and I've been pretty keen on Sam Smith's latest tracks, with their "Diamonds" single easily being one of my top songs of 2020 (it just speaks to me as it was released a few months after the breakdown of my relationship of nearly three years). "Unholy" was written by Sam Smith, Kim Petras, Blake Slatkin, Henry Russell Walter, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Omer Fedi, and James Napier, whilst it was produced by Sam Smith, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Cirkut, Omer Fedi, Jimmy Napes, and Blake Slatkin. 

Directed by Floria Sigismondi with Joel Honeywell acting as director of photography, this "Unholy" music video is stunning, incredible, and truly unforgettable. It has all the elements of a great music video, especially with an engaging narrative whilst also making Sam Smith and Kim Petras totally shine. The choreography was created by French dance collective (LA)HORDE, with notoriously-known drag queens Violet Chachki (winner of season seven of RuPaul's Drag Race) and Gottmik (third place in the 13th season of RuPaul's Drag Race) acting as the bosses of the club - which is the only issue I have with this music video, as these two queens do not have the best reputation and I don't understand why UK drag queens weren't used instead, or even local drag queens, as the RuPaul Drag Race UK already spans four seasons with many credible alumni who have already proven their brilliance in music videos, although special shout-out to Baby who is one of the dancers in the video and is also currently on series four of RuPaul's Drag Race UK.

The music video opens up with a couple, where the husband (played by Henry Davis) decides to attend a sex club cabaret venue instead of being beside his wife (played by Maren Bjorneseth) at a Poetry and Literature party. He drops her off, makes sure she takes his coat as it's cold, and tells her not to wait up; only in his rush, he forgot about the unopened condom wrapper with the venue, "The Body Shop", emblazoned on the front, the name of the club, which was in the coat pocket. We then watch him go into a garage where Sam Smith and Kim Petras are mechanics, but it's all a front for the cabaret show that's around the back.

Taking inspiration from The Clockwork Orange, Moulin Rouge, Madonna, Claude Cahun, Crazy Horse, Mr. Pearl, and Bob Fosse, this music video really has it all. Sam Smith is a legend for the dance spotlight they have on them with the incredible backing dancers highlighting them in every way. Their confidence and strength on stage really is bright and it's clear that Sam Smith is owning who they are and hands down their stage presence is out of this world. Sam Smith loving themselves is a total goal! Kim Petras brings it in her Madonna and Moulin Rouge moment too! This is just beyond epic!

The ending sees the husband's scandals shown publicly with a car behind him that has spray-painted words on which are "Liar", "Cheat", and "Fumier", the latter being in French which means "Manure" or as we brits would say, "Shit", or any combination of that word which the husband can definitely be described as. The wife walks into "The Body Shop" and sees this on display, but instead of letting it get to her and breaking her apart, she is liberated by the entire show and feels free to be who she is, with confidence, and so removes her coat and her wig, feeling sexually liberated.

This music video is everything I wanted it to be and more. The song is about a straight relationship where the man cheats on the wife and the music video is not just fitting, but explodes the meaning of the song and creates this awesome concept that makes me want to watch it again and again, constantly wishing it was longer, as this is something I never want to end, yet Sam Smith ends it with a fan saying "fin" - the French word for "end".

The cast includes dancers Daniel Allwell, Aleshia Williams, Emily Haygarth, BABY, Jordan Boury, Megan Charles, Novaya Shey, Samuel Mena Garcia, Pfion Vince, J’Adore La Vie, and Sakeema. There's also a lot of featured cast, including Yuri Park, Nancy Violet, Jolene, Brett Tatham, Louise Gibb, Nicholas Tredrea, Kitt Ibbott, William Darby, Lulu Kapansa, Armando, Fern G, Ego Valentino, Treasure Iyamu, Daragh Mccann, Lewis Walker, Jamie, Paddy O’Brian, Amani Hussain, Miriam Veil, and Max The Tribrid.

Chart Mondays: Ariana Grande - positions

As expected, Ariana Grande jumped straight to the top spot of the UK Singles Chart with her latest track "positions" and so I am reviewing the music video for my Chart Mondays review. I am not so impressed with the song, she has definitely released better songs in the past, but this is her official seventh UK number one. As usual, her voice is superb, but the song just doesn't hit me unlike some of her previous songs. It is the lead single from her brand new album of the same name which has been released this week and is more than likely going to chart at number one on the UK Albums Chart. The track's lyrical content suggests that Ariana Grande is willing to try new things for the person she loves and her overall dedication to him and willingness to switch positions (from sexual to stereotypical).

The music video has been directed by Dave Meyers and sees Ariana Grande acting as president and fulfilling some of the tasks that the president undertakes whilst also taking on typical female stereotypical roles such as being in a kitchen. It also stars her mother, Joan Grande, as well as frequent collaborators Tayla Parx and Victoria Monét. The release coincides well with the 2020 US Presidential Election. I feel like this could've been iconic and there is substance to it, but it's just missing so much, I also don't like how it transitions between her positions. I truly believe if this was wrapped up in a complete narrative storyline, it would've worked amazingly.

Chart Mondays: Pop Smoke Featuring Lil Tjay - Mood Swings

This song, as well as the other songs from Pop Smoke's debut album, has been gaining traction over the last few weeks, which isn't a surprise sing the album hit number one on the UK Albums Chart a couple of weeks ago, with "Mood Swings" featuring Lil Tjay becoming his most chart successful song in the UK. Back in February, he was murdered where he was shot twice during a home invasion. As with most posthumous releases, he has charted well around the globe, defining his legacy and making sure we're all aware of his name. I'm reviewing this music video this week as 24kGoldn and iann dior is still at number one with "Mood". "Mood Swings" is a great hip-hop track with raunchy lyrics and an addicting R&B backing track that all piece up together brilliantly, with Pop Smoke and Lil Tjay working well together on the track. The artists include references to their women and the expensive items that they own and therefore boasting about their lives and fame. The track has gone viral on video-sharing app TikTok.

It's so sad that Pop Smoke is no longer able to appear in his own music videos but Lil Tjay fully brings it for the visual. The opening scene sees two women in a car with the driver discussing with the passenger that she can't keep picking her up when stuff happens in her relationship even though the passenger states that she loves Lil Tjay. Then we watch their relationship unfold from the sexual attraction - and a lot of it within this visual - to the fights and disagreements that end up with her leaving him at the end. It's an important topic to cover in a music video, and that opening scene sets up the rest of the video absolutely perfectly. Lil Tjay brings it for the performance visual throughout, giving it his all and managing to make this a solid video even though Pop Smoke isn't there. I just wish there was more to the narrative overall.