Liner Notes: Harlow knocks off the Beatles but can’t take down Swift
Stars and Stripes December 1, 2023
Billboard Hot 100 No. 2, Nov. 25, 2023: ‘Lovin On Me,’ Jack Harlow
Note: For the second month in a row Taylor Swift’s “Cruel Summer” came in at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for the first week of the month. Because we wrote about it in November, we figured we’d move on to what landed at No. 2 this week.
Well, the song was good enough to unseat The Beatles in the UK for Harlow’s first No. 1 single over there. Taylor Swift, however? The Hot 100 has something to say about that (at least for this week). Even so, a couple listens to this boppy, pop-rap jingle and you’ll have a tough time getting it out of your head. Clocking in at below two-and-a-half minutes, Harlow is smart enough to not overstay his welcome, a trick more important than ever now in a popular culture that is losing its attention span by the gigabyte.
The result is simple, an up-tempo beat that is startling with its lack of aggression and a laid-back flow from Harlow that cites whips, chains, getting love from Detroit and, of course, the suggestion that “if you came with a man, let go of his hand.” The hook is the point of consequence, complete with a Cadillac Dale sample that recalls the tenacity of 1995 R&B. Not only does it serve as a solid counterpoint to Harlow’s signature calm flow, but it’s as a reminder that there probably isn’t a song from that genre in that era that can’t be sampled with success today.
He’s on record as saying this song officially marks a new era for his career. If so, you can’t get much bigger than knocking The Beatles off the top of the UK charts. Or, well, unless that means he can overpower Taylor Swift stateside. The thing is, with a chorus as infectious as this, and some undeniable production that is both deliciously lazy and unapologetically trendy, Harlow’s new era may just take him to a brand new level.