Unsurprisingly, for a fourth week, here we are discussing Clean Bandit, Anne-Marie and Sean Paul’s Rockabye. I say “unsurprising” not because the track is exceptionally good, of course, but more because of the disappointing tendency number one singles have nowadays to cling to the spot once they reach it, regardless of quality.
I will admit though, that in many ways, Rockabye is a great listen - Anne-Marie’s smooth vocals, the melody and rhythm all come together to make an incredibly light and catchy number, which I personally, couldn’t stop re-listening to. On the other hand, it’s funny, for nearly every other number one single I have ever reviewed, I have complained about bland, clichéd lyrics. Now, here’s a song which tells a story with some substantial albeit still clichéd lyrics, and I’m still unsatisfied. As many of the previous reviews of this track have mentioned, the biggest flaw of Rockabye is the lack of cohesiveness between the lyrics and the genre. This track is without a doubt one which makes you want to get up and dance, and grooving along to lyrics about a single mother’s hard life just makes me feel uncomfortable.
The only solution is to ignore all the substance the lyrics have and dance to the beat, which, as Charlotte so accurately pointed out last week, just about sums up recent pop music. It’s equally amusing that Sean Paul has about twice as much of a role in this song as compared to Cheap Thrills and yet somehow his participation is so much more effective in the latter. In Rockabye, his lines like “Single mama you doing out there / Facing the hard life, without no fear” just made me cringe. I’d go as far as to say that this track would have been even better without him.
Black Beatles, in second place isn’t really my style, but has a relaxed vibe and is a pleasant enough listen. The rest of the top 10 mostly looks disappointingly familiar, with the Chainsmokers, James Arthur, The Weeknd and Little Mix with their respective tracks that we all know too well by now. Exceptions include Maroon 5’s new single, Don’t Wanna Know, in the seventh spot, which is by no means their best work, but still another catchy track. Neiked’s Sexual, which is just above it, has some cringe-worthy lyrics, but is enjoyable as well.
As I said, overall this week’s number one is a pretty solid track in spite of its flaws, and probably deserving of a few moments in the spotlight, not that it has had a lot of competition given its numerous weak predecessors. But are the charts eternally destined to live in this Groundhog Day-like fashion now, where seasons change, and yet nothing ground-breaking or particularly striking ever enters, and the number one track remains unchanged for a minimum of three weeks? I’m not sure we want to know the answer.