We had a bit of a weird week for the Summer Jam, and the intricacies of Rochester Radio are becoming more and more apparent to me. In my home town of Rochester, NY I'm finding that our own tastes skew a bit off the national curve. For one, our GaGa intake is huge - she's massively popular. A week where I don't here every single from GaGa's career is pretty rare and "Alejandro" by far has had the most airplay the past two weeks.
Also, David Guetta's "Sexy Chick (Bitch)" had enough radio play this week to earn the #7 spot on this week's Jam Countdown. This was bizarre. Since the track was last seen on the Billboard Hot 100 at #50 a month ago I've left it off this list, but I may note that this was a good week for the Jam, at least in Rochester, NY. So let's get to it:
#8: "Young Forever" - Jay-Z & Mr. Hudson
What is the deal with Jay-Z and black and white videos? I mean, the stylization is cool once but when it's used every time it loses a bit of its specialty. It's like if Kevin Smith made all his films black and white after Clerks (1994). It's as if Jay-Z is attempting to fuse all his videos with that same kind of integrity that is just repeated too much to remain effective. Actually that last one is pretty cool. Of course it'd be his least popular song out of that lot. Anyway, it's still lingering around the Summer Jam List.
#7: "Break Your Heart" - Taio Cruz ft. Ludacris
Back with a vengeance, this track had a good resurgence this week and should be considered a great contender for the throne. If it can fight up a bit more to regain some momentum I'll be pleased with what it can do. That chick in the video is still incredible looking, and despite its slightly pessimistic lyrics (or is it? There's a great kind of honesty there with some genuine longing for redemption from inherent character defects) it's worth a good Summer Beat and certainly Jammable.
#6: "Bulletproof" - La Roux
Still lingering around, "Bulletproof" is that secret song of summer that no one's really extremely into but likes just enough to keep it around. It's gotten a bit more exposure each week that goes by although it's very possible the height of its popularity has crested, certainly with the massive amount of better songs this summer. We'll see how it limps off.
#5: "Billionaire" - Travie McCoy ft. Bruno Mars
Again, this was pretty close this week. There is a ton of parity between Jams #5 - #2. There's a lot of mellowness, hopefulness and coolness in this song and it could make a pretty good run soon. Also, what is up with songs like this being so needlessly dirty in their uncensored versions? It reminds me of "Best I Ever Had" or even "Sexy Bitch." It's weird for songs so dependent on Pop Airplay and mainstream success to have such explicit lyrics. I mean, kids mostly listen to Pop Stations, which now feature a pretty equal amount of Bubblegum Pop and sexually suggestive tracks. In fact, what further blurs the line is the simple notion that the Censored Versions of these songs really are simply Bubblegum Pop. It's a weird place for our culture to go but at any rate it's not hurting any popularity.
#4: "OMG" - Usher ft. Will.i.am
Back up a couple notches this week "OMG" is here to stay. Speaking of Swearing Pop Songs look no further to "Lil Freak," gaining popularity on Hip-Hop stations. It's funny how some artists have that success between slightly different genres expressed through different radio stations (or television channels) that specifically cater to one race or another. Usher's Summer Hit for Whites is "OMG," his Summer Hit for Blacks is "Lil Freak." Parts I and II of "Airplanes" is the same way.
Also, real quick I need to mention this old Trey Songz track that I heard this week, "LOL:)," clearly there was some precedent to singing about Chat Acronyms. This song is full of youth zeitgeist. Also, Trey Songz tends to sound exactly like R. Kelly in songs like this, what the hell.
#3: "Airplanes" - B.o.B ft. Hayley Williams
Like I mentioned earlier, the Eminem-less Part I is the one we're tracking, more popular among the predominantly White Stations. It's popularity is still pretty high although I'm starting to have some doubts over its sustainability. It's too intense and bemoanful to be a good Summer Jam especially in the face of such other Bubblegum hits that we've been assaulted with this Season. As long as Hayley smooths over that Chorus, though, it'll be pretty high.
#2: "Alejandro" - Lady GaGa
For the second week in a row GaGa comes in at #2. I'm starting to realise how much Rochester is bias towards GaGa however and while she's of course popular nationwide her ubiquitous status in Upstate New York is seemingly over-deserved. For now though, she'll be number two and if the rest of the nation catches up to my hometown which plays a GaGa song about once every four minutes she'll get that #1 Spot.
#1: "California Gurls" - Katy Perry
Katy Perry's insane assault on Pop Culture continues this week with no real signs of slowing down. Now, I talked about this video a bit last week but it really needs some finer addressing. Katy started a bit of controversy and displayed some massive hotness with vids for "I Kissed a Girl" and "Waking Up in Vegas" but nothing like this. It's not only that she's so unspeakably hot but she really is just about bucky naked throughout this whole thing.
This song is everything a Summer Jam could ever be. It describes a perfect dream location (Exactly what California was named after) with sex and sand and wet wild girls. The video is the cutest, hottest video in years with an edginess belied by playful innocence. In an era of brooding emotional action films, drawn out droopy break up songs and complex TV melodramas with increased pessimism, Katy Perry lifts up an entire nation with this chipper bubbling song. Hooray!
So that's it for this week. No new debuts, although we'll see if Ne-Yo can fight back or even if T.I.'s new track can make some movements. You'll notice a thankful lack of Ke$ha this week, we can only pray it stays that way. For now there isn't a whole lot of indication these positions will change but hey, that's what Summer Miracles are for. Stay tuned, dear readers.