30 August 2011

War of the Months: August

Well folks, it's the final day in August (well, the last 15 minutes), which means it's time once again for War of the Months, your year-long look at the cinematic box office and critical trends and results for every month of the year. This is another dumping month, which by the way, why are there so many more dump months than good months? Is there really just that much crap around? August is for July hangovers. Generally there's nothing going on, school is about to start, people are on vacation, it's a time for everyone to do nothing with their Sunshine while they actually don't have obligations for a few weeks. There's a bit of greatness in that though, but it certainly shows at the movies.

August: Month of Bleh

Nothing's really going on in August. It's this Dead Zone for everyone's lives. In terms of movies, there are generally some potentially big flicks that come out and some do pretty well. It IS still Summer, after all. Early August tends to be a great time for Sleeper Comedy hits to launch as well as some Blockbusters whose Financial Predictions may fall in between March and June. Flicks just risky enough that studios would avoid an important weekend, but may still do pretty decent.

August Moola: Fitting the Bill

After July, August certainly seems lacking. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), August's greatest movie ever, opened at $69,283,690, which isn't too shabby, but certainly not the worst possible. Although this is far below the biggest March and April Opening Weekends, the Top 10 August Weekends Ever show us that there are still a lot more films that can nab $40 - 50 million than any of the Spring Months.

Some of the other Top 10 August Films include Rush Hour 2 (2001), Signs (2002), American Pie 2 (2001) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). As you can see, it tends to be a place for films that are franchises or brands but not really that great, and surprisingly good comedies. Clearly the success of our two August Risers, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) are a testament to that.

The Top August Ever was 2007. In addition to the success of The Bourne Ultimatum somehow confirming that the Bourne Series was a legitimate cultural force, even though hardly anyone seemed to see the first one, it also saw Rush Hour 3 close out the Summer of Threequels. Finally it was really helped by Superbad's slow burn that continued to generate revenue for some time after it released. The rest of the August Releases this year are atrocious. You've got things like Daddy Day Camp, The Invasion, WAR and Balls of Fury. None of these did business, but the sheer number of them added something to the Box Office Totals.

August Quality: Fucking Terrible

This can be a rough month. There really aren't a whole lot of pagestoppers here but there are some gems amidst the endless swirling sea of shit. A lot of these are small comedies that turned out to be awesome, or an underrated action flick, as well as the occasional Oscar-worthy pic somehow.

#10: Superbad - 08/17/2007
#9: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - 08/13/2010
#8: Desperado - 08/25/1995
#7: District 9 - 8/14/2009
#6: The Fugitive - 08/06/1993
#5: Tropic Thunder - 08/13/2008
#4: Unforgiven - 08/07/1992
#3: The Iron Giant - 08/06/1999
#2: The Usual Suspects - 08/16/1995
#1: Inglourious Basterds - 08/21/2009

Use your coin!
I gave Basterds the edge because there is no reason ever to watch The Usual Suspects more than once, tho that first time is great. Good Augusts tend to come in spurts. This includes 2009, 1995, which also includes Babe, and 1999, which in addition to The Iron Giant adds under-appreciated Comedies Mystery Men and Bowfinger. It also tends to be a super-Apatow month featuring The 40-Year Old Virgin (2005), Talladega Nights, The Other Guys (2010) and Pineapple Express (2008). In addition it has tons of cult Comedies like Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001), Rat Race (2001), Beerfest (2006) and Mystery Team (2009).

In terms of the few solid action flicks August produces that just missed the cut here are Natural Born Killers (1994), Blade (1998), xXx (2002) and Layer Cake (2004). Besides these bleak offerings August also gave us the Greatest Feel-Good Movie of all time, The Replacements (2000).

So that's August. A fun month for sure, there's definitely an enjoyable flick every once in a while, but more often than not this is just a terrible month to go to the movies. 2011 was especially horrible, besides the somehow okay Ascent of the World of the Monkeys. Of course if you think this is unbearable at all you all but need to wait until September rears its atrocious head.

29 August 2011

Summer Jam 2011: August 29 Winners

There were five Mondays in August, that's terrible. Welcome again folks to the Winner's List for the week preceding August 29th, 2011, our Summer-Long tracking of the hottest Summer Jams to crank out of those speakers. There's a lot of wackiness in this, our penultimate week of Sunshiny Times, so blast the Boom Box one last time and let's begin:

#8: "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine

How is Adam Levine suddenly everywhere? I'm expecting a Wuss Rock-off between him and Chris Martin sometime soon. I also think Travie is garbage, but this is still a rad song mostly from the groovy beat, although that tends to lose its funk during the choruses. The third stanza breakdown by Adam is also so pop cliché it's almost distracting. Obviously at this point no one's considering this a fearsome Summer Jam threat, but it might have a few nice weeks as we wrap things up here.

#7: "Pumped up Kicks" by Foster the People

It's always nice to see an actual band on this list every once in a while. It's weird what alt songs can crossover into the Pop Mainstream and this is doing a nice job of that so far. I was listening to these dudes back in February and thought it was one of the funkiest tracks about school shootings since "Jeremy." It's got enough of a light-spirited tone and pulsating rhythm to slip into the mainstream, but it's also a pretty crazy track lyrically. It's Pop development will be interesting.

#6: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

Huge fall this week but is the damage already done? Billboard already named it the #1 Song of Summer and its pedigree is excellent. I think it's a very zeitgeist-y song, infused with hipster irony, a techno-driven beat and some very goofy looking dudes. It's very simplistic, which is what Pop is all about. This really is the track to beat come Labour Day when we tally the Final Winners.

#5: "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

Back up after dropping off a bit, Nicki is unstoppable. This is a tough song to hate and get sick of, which is a credit to the charisma and ridiculous flow of Nicki herself. I never thought the instrumentals were impressive at all here, but they're actually understated enough to put the attention on Nicki's vocals, which are the real highlight, anyway. I think this could end up being ranked pretty highly at Summer's End, she hasn't really been out for very long all Summer.

#4: "I Wanna Go" by Britney Spears

It's interesting that Britney had a good hit at the start of Summer with "Till the World Ends" and is coming around again here at the end. If the timing of either track was a bit better I might be considering her for Summer Jam Queen a bit more seriously, but as of now she's not doing anything special. This track certainly isn't exceptional or very outstandingly Summer-y so there isn't a whole lot to talk about here.

#3: "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera

Christina and Britney rocking the Pop Charts? What is this, 1999? This track is set to explode though, which makes sense because it's so filled with jazzy pop sensibilities. I don't understand anyone paying attention to a track like this that really seems like an homage to Mick when he's got his own Superband around the corner putting out great Jams of his own. The sheer weirdness of genre mashing that Superheavy accomplishes is way more interesting than a crappy collaboration by the Stars of The Voice on NBC.

#2: "Lighters" by Bad Meets Evil ft. Bruno Mars

I think this track is already starting to peak out on the irritation level, which is good because there aren't a whole lot of Summer Weeks left. It's fun to hear 5'9" take it to Em on this track, he kills it far better than Em does. I also praise this as one of the only Summer Jams to have an instrumental worth listening to. There's a lot of layers and building here, far beyond the repetitious crap of some other songs this Summer (see below).

#1: "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" by Katy Perry

With four weeks at #1 this has actually tied "Rolling in the Deep" and "Party Rock Anthem" with the most this Summer. Even though there's no reason why it shouldn't also win next week its spotty history for the rest of the Sun Months may work against it. Needless to say, Katy as an artist has dominated the Season again, though with her success split this time between this track and "E.T." I'm not sure either track will be considered worthy of Queenship. We'll find out next week!

We thankfully lost Pitbull this week, he actually had a big slide out of the Billboard Top 10 but could be back next week pretty easily. We also said goodbye to GaGa, we'll see if that long streak around the Middle of the List will do her any good when it's time to add everything up.

So next week in addition to rallying the final Winners and determining who had the Greatest Summer Jam of 2011 we should also see some more up and coming songs that may be big Fall Hits, although for sure aren't doing anything else this Summer. I'm looking at Dev's "Dancing in the Dark," the aforementioned Superheavy as well as tons of hot upcoming albums from Coldplay, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lil Wayne among others. It's crazy.

25 August 2011

Cultural Microcosm: The Strange Exhibition of Jersey Shore

Another Season of Jersey Shore is upon us, folks. Whether you love this show because you identify with the characters, love to mock them or just want to fit in, Shore is here to stay. You may also despise this program for hundreds of plausible reasons. It's an exercise in low entertainment. Still, especially when watching this season take place in Florence, Italy, I found the distinctive culture of the show growing in intrigue. Let's for a moment, examine what makes Jersey tic:

Introducing Pauly D - the only reason to come back next week.

There are plenty of Microcultures in this country. That is, relatively small pockets or groups of people that share a similar outlook on life or general habits and ways of doing things. Miami, Florida culture is going to be very different than Cleveland, Ohio culture. Probably better for basketball playing. Likewise there's distinct Hipster Culture, Tween Culture, even Rugged Lumberjack Culture. It's not often that these people clash with each other, but when they do there may be tension, simply because someone immersed in Twilight Culture may treat people differently than someone immersed in Golden Girls Culture. It's not like one is wrong or better than another, it's just different.

Then there's Jersey Culture. I don't know why MTV picked this pocket of East Coast Trash to create a reality show around, but whatever the reason it clicked and it's now Cable's Highest Rated show. What the hell? There are a handful of these shows like, the Real Housewives of New Jersey or whatever, but Jersey Shore is the big focal point here, providing a model of acting for an entire generation of Television Watchers. Yes, that should scare the shit out of you. The stars of Jersey Shore, whether they realise it or not, are advertising Jersey Culture, even though it's actually an even smaller pocket, they're self-proclaimed Guido Culture - basically twenty-something Italian-Americans (or the brownest equivalent) living in the vicinity of the NYC Metro area. So what do these people appreciate?

Jersey Culture is loud, abrasive and proud. Quick to anger, insult and blow things out of proportion. Fake boobs, fake tans and obsessive behaviour over physical appearances in both males and females typify the experience. What's more interesting than the actual culture though is how for granted its practitioners take it. Watching this show is almost difficult to follow because of how automatic the characters reactions are to seemingly insignificant events. Last week Snooki found out that The Situation has been lying about smushing her two months ago - this automatically means that if her BF Gianni finds out they will break up. This shouldn't make sense to any logical human. Shouldn't Snooki be able to easily say that the Sitch is fabricating the story and shouldn't Gianni trust her enough to believe her? No, because lying, cheating and alcohol are so infused with the Culture that also contains so much judgment, anger and rash decisions that any peaceful solution is aberrant to their lifestyle. Now you're starting to see why MTV chose this group of people.

What's more interesting is how this nearly impenetrable Culture is guarded by its practitioners, at times very aggressively. After being a practitioner of Lumberjack Culture myself, I laugh every time the guys have commented on Vinny's "beard" this season. There is a goal to maintain constant equilibrium. Weekly haircuts and tanning sessions, constant gym access to keep up a perceived perfect appearance. For all its excess and alcohol it is not a risky culture, or one that incorporates difference well at all. It appears very tight-knit and secluded.

It's great that the show has taken seasons outside of the Geographic Jersey Shore in order to fully demonstrate this idea. You'll note that they aren't sightseeing in Florence - they GTL. They have no interest in appreciating other cultures. When in Miami they sought out and engorged themselves on the Clubs and Hotspots that were most like their Jersey hometown. Even in Florence they always have this urge to replicate their own culture rather than accept a new one, even for a short period of time. In Miami Sammi was more obsessed with Ronnie than enjoying the sunshine and location they were visiting. There is no desire to do anything not included in their Jersey-based culture: Physical fitness, copious alcohol consumption, finding as many members of the opposite sex to copulate with and meticulous personal care that makes metrosexuals look like hungry hobos.

Now, this may have something to do with the editing of the show, which no reality show is really factual. It does stand out amidst Reality Programming though in the fact that the same people have returned for Four Seasons now (besides the swap of Deena for Angelina) with no competition involved or goal to achieve. In the end, it really comes off more of a study, like examining how animals behave in a zoo. It's fascinating. It's a peak into a Culture that is so insane, so deviant from the mainstream and yet within the Jersey Culture every action is so automated and performed with such huge confidence that it comes off as more inclusive than it really is. Instead of allowing for any other cultural factors to enter in they relish their own attitudes and personal philosophies, and yet find innumerous ways to disagree and argue with each other despite the Culture's limited sets of available attitudes and personalities to choose from. There is no desire to absorb any other culture because theirs is so egotistical and dominant in their own eyes - they keep attempting to replicate Jersey everywhere instead of soaking in something new.

Jersey Shore comes on MTV 58 minutes from now. Go watch the Exhibition.

23 August 2011

The Long Halloween Vol. II: Summer!

Welcome folks to another installment of The Long Halloween, our year-long look at the best Holiday-Themed Media Consumption possible each month. August is always a bastard because there's no major events here. It's just this dead month where everyone is trying to get their act together for their lives to start up again in September after sitting on their ass eating Corndogs all Summer. Thus, for August we are looking at just that - Summer. How do we roll an entire Season into a Single Holiday? Really didn't take too long.

For me, my Most Idyllic Summer was 1996, pictured here.

Summer Flicks:

There are so many perfect Summer Movies. Anything big, loud and obnoxious will do, anything that is reminiscent of the Summer Blockbuster Season. Transformers (2007) comes to mind. More seasonal-specific though, there are plenty of movies that perfectly capture a Summer Mood. To best recall the idle Summer Days of childhood I recommend The Sandlot (1993). You've got baseball, hot pool chicks and a hot slobbery mutt, all perfect Summer Tropes.

The most fitting Summer Movie may, however, be JAWS (1975). It's centered around the Fourth of July and extensively features beaches, swimming and tons of people acting very stupidly. That's Summer Fun! It has also left a mark on the Summer of '75 and Movie History, forever changing our paradigms of what Summer should be. Suddenly in addition to vacations and beach bumming, we also had to see lots of big dumb movies. That's all JAWS. Extending from the premise is the idea that the Summer Season is what makes towns like Amity survive (and a Big Nasty Shark chomping off its shores will kill it) and it reminds us that these little Seaside Burgs really do cater to a Summer crowd that is a bit different when there's Sunlight rather than Snow.

To remind you, Wet Hot American Summer stars everyone awesome.
Perhaps the best Summer Movie though, or at least one explicitly suited to the Final Week of Summer, is Wet Hot American Summer (2001). I'm not sure I can fit more uses of Summer in one sentence. It's again going back to a "simpler" time where shorts were short, hair was long and everyone listened to Jefferson Starship and Loverboy. There's the futile Summer Fling, river rafting, motorcycle chases, everything that a good Summer requires. It also has a phenomenal cast that almost all would eventually become A-List Actors, a story largely about nothing and a sense of humour dryer than a Sudanese Well. Too soon?

Here is a list of some of these flicks among other great ones to enjoy the season with.


Caddyshack (1980) is an essential Summer Movie. It's golf, pools, yachts and getting hooked up with the wrong chick. That's all you need. Of all the immortal comedies of that Era I'd consider Caddyshack to be the one that falls most appropriately for Summer. Watch Animal House (1978) come Fall to get your mind back into the wet leaves and start of classes, Christmas Vacation (1989) during the Winter to put a deranged Family Holiday Tale in your mind and that really just leaves The Blues Brothers (1980) for spring, because you need no other excuse to watch The Blues Brothers.

Summer Tunes:

Rainforest sweaty.
There are tons of great Summer Songs, I spend the whole Summer trying to figure that out. I've also gone in to previous detail here. Actually I'm not sure I can add more to that list. If you get to hot in here, you can play "Hot in Herre" by Nelly. If you think the sun is about to come out you can play "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles. It all comes together. I might add Last Year's Queen of Summer, Katy Perry's "California Gurls," that was a perfect Summer Track that makes icicles melt in January. Play some righteous rock or fast dumb rap or even a smooth slow jam and you can get into a funky Summer Mood, baby.

Summer Fun:

There's a lot to enjoy about Summer. Probably far to many to list here. Beach volleyball, soccer and baseball are your available sports to watch and play. Beer, Hot Dogs and Watermelon are your available food and drink. You had better make it something Mexican, like a Corona or Tecate. Beautiful. In addition to that form of Mexican Intoxication why not slug down some frothy Margaritas during the lazy Summer Months? Or at least some kind of Lemonade. You can't drink Lemonade in December. That's just not right.

Did I really make a Sudan joke back there?

22 August 2011

Summer Jam 2011: August 22 Winners

Hello everyone, welcome once again to the only Posts in August, the on-going search for that elusive Summer Jam of 2011. It's the one truly jamworthy track that we'll always associate with the blistering heat of the Summer Season 2011. It's do or die time by now as we head into the final couple Sunny Weeks. There's still some punch left in a lot of these tracks though. Let's get started:

#8: "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5 ft. Christina Aguilera

This is definitely a funky track. It's kind of a weird Homage to the Rolling Stones frontman as well as a nice advertisement for The Voice on NBC. It's also pretty un-Maroon 5 sounding, with a beat that seems to be more made in a studio than performed by talented musicians. It's catchy though, although it seems like it comes very close to being a good song then stumbles on its own chorus. Basically it's trying way to desperately to be a big hit, which it's really not.

#7: "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

This is the second time this Summer that I thought Nicki was out but she came roaring back. This is Nicki's hit track, the one that guarantees she's a star. She just needs to avoid overexposure this year after being featured in countless other tracks. She's having fun here though and that's vital to a good Summer Jam. She hasn't been off the Winner's List in two months now, that might count for something when everything's said and done.

#6: "I Wanna Go" by Britney Spears

This song is actually gaining some ground, but I think Britney's going to run out of room to be considered a good jam this Summer. The song is also incredibly forgettable although it's a fine time in the moment. I don't give a lot of credit to this song but for now it's doing just fine and may rise a few more spots by the time the leaves start falling.

#5: "The Edge of Glory" by Lady GaGa

This song snuck up on me this week, I didn't think I was hearing it that often but then somehow by week's end it was everywhere. GaGa is having an underrated Summer, I think this song is very good but it's also very un-GaGa-like. I don't think it will be immediately counted as one of her surefire hits when we remember her. It does make me want to charge a street alley and start fist pumping though.

#4: "Give Me Everything" by Pitbull ft. AfroJack, Ne-Yo & Nayer

This is still around somehow, it's getting to be one of those Pop Songs that is just dying a slow death. It's certainly got Summer Fun all over it, but it's also not really a distinctive track at all. It's so finely produced to replicate past Pop Successes that it's formulaic rather than spontaneous. And Summer Jams should be fun and spontaneous. All of Pitbull's random Date Rape songs are like this.

#3: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

This track seems to be fading as fast as it ascended. It's got a good lead for the Crown right now, and I suspect it will be the last we hear from LMFAO. They've got One-Hit Wonder all over them. I think it will keep falling and may not even be on this list by Summer's End. There are enough fresh tracks out there to supplant it status. Still, the work's been done, now we'll see if Katy can overtake them.

#2: "Lighters" by Bad Meets Evil ft. Bruno Mars

Eminem's massive mainstream popularity still confounds me, but this is a cool song. Like his "Love the Way You Lie" track last year, this isn't really a Summer-y Song but it's got the best chance for a late run out of the lot this week. The instrumental here is actually quite intricate and follows the emotional beats of the song very well and although it's not really that danceable it's definitely smooth listening. Bruno also does an excellent job filling in his style amongst the angst of Em and 5'9. Where did playful Eminem get to anyway? His voice is much harder these days.

#1: "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" by Katy Perry

For the second consecutive week Katy nails the Top Spot, this track was everywhere this week. It's really such a terrible song, poorly constructed, vapid lyrical material, obvious sexual marketing - but these are all keys to Pop Success! It will keep doing well, for sure, although with Katy's High School Girl Fanbase I've got to imagine that it's popularity is born of a massive wish fulfillment more than anything else. Great. Tragic. Awesome.

So we lost Wheezy's "How to Love" this week but he seems like he's fading out. Beyonce's "Best I Ever Had" has also been hovering and is just waiting to crack the Top 8 again. I've also still got my ears on Rihanna's "Cheers," featuring great, complex lyrics from Avril Lavigne by the way ("Yeah yeah! yeah yeah!"). I think it will end up being a big Fall Track, it might crack the Winner's List by the end of August or so. I'm also curious about the rising stock of Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks," but I've been jamming out to that one for months now. It just crossed over to the Pop Charts and is catchy as hell, so it may turn some heads. Go crank those Radios up!

15 August 2011

Summer Jam 2011: August 15 Winners

Clearly we've had a busy couple of weeks here at NMW but nonetheless, there will always be a Summer Jam Winners List. That's just far too important. All Summer long we've been tracking the most jam-worthy tunes that will always call back to the Summer of '11, and I actually heavily disagree with most of the Hot 100 this week. There are so many fresh jams out there that are way beyond Adele or Pitbull. Those acts are just stale by now. Nevertheless, the people have spoken and here we go:

#8: "Stereo Hearts" by Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine

I feel like Adam Levine has fifty hits right now, tho some are just imitators. Anyway, I can't really stand Travie McCoy but he does a nice job here. The song is innocuous enough to be a charming End of Summer Track and it will probably start charting better soon as its airplay skyrockets. For now it is still a hot track and tho not really spectacular or thrilling it gets the job done swimmingly.

#7: "I Wanna Go" by Britney Spears

Ew Britney turns 30 this year. Actually I can't believe she's only 30. How do you peak at 18? Eh, Lindsey? After seemingly irrelevant for a few weeks "I Wanna Go" came back this time and is doing pretty well. As one of the more relatively fresh Jams in the Hot 100 Top Ten it might do well, although it really isn't anything special at all as a pop song. It's ultimately just another Britney hit that will come and go without really changing the Pop World at all. As a Summer Jam it's not worth much more than this either.

#6: "How to Love" by Lil Wayne

We almost escaped this week without Wheezy but by the weekend this song surged forward. Still, it loses a few points for not being consistently everywhere all week. It's a good track, a smooth track, but fighting an uphill battle against the likes of Katy, LMFAO and others. It definitely can't capture the energetic Summer Spirit that some of the others can, I think it will manage to hover around this spot for some time, possibly decreasing if it loses traction again.

#5: "Give Me Everything" by Pitbull ft. AfroJack, Ne-Yo & Nayer

Continuing to fall is Pitbull here, whose monopoly on the charts is basically an afterthought by now. It's still getting tons of airtime but nothing near the ubiquity it had a few weeks ago. As it continues slipping it should still have some nice ranking but it's fading into irrelevancy pretty fast. It will be interesting to see where it measures up, it's more telling that it only squeezed a few #1 spots amidst other giants rather than claiming the title for itself.

#4: "Lighters" by Bad Meets Evil ft. Bruno Mars

If any track can make a late run it will be this one. It's got everything set up to be a good jam including a couple fading powers at the Top of the Charts. I think it will peak in the last week or two of Summer though, which probably won't be enough to solidify its status as a Summer Jam at all. Eminem's wide popularity is incredible, really, I can't believe he's a consistent Top 10 Pop Hit maker as well as one of the most skilled rappers out there, while being pretty hard and intense the whole time. He's a pop anomaly. I'm not complaining, I love his stuff, but usually the stuff I love is shoved under the rug.

#3: "The Edge of Glory" by Lady GaGa

GaGa was everywhere this week though she's tumbling off the Charts. This is GaGa's highest position on this List for the Summer, which is surprising. I can't imagine she has another radio week like she did this week, so it's looking like she'll fade into oblivion pretty soon. I don't think "The Edge of Glory" really made the splash that some of her other more fantastical tracks did but it wins because of its smoothness and listenability, not in spite of it.

#2: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

Trading off again with Katy this week, LMFAO may have just dodged the level of sheer annoyance after two and a half months of overplaying. That may not signal well for its Contention for Kings of Summer, but we've a few weeks to go yet. Actually this song still gets me pumped to go out and dance, I mean, it was about time for someone to write an Anthem for Party Rocking. It's like, when you're at a Party and needed to Rock, for so many years we had nothing. Thank you LMFAO. Thank you so much.

#1: "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" by Katy Perry

By all accounts this is a terrible track. It's not exactly irritating or derogatory, but it just isn't innovative at all. There's nothing to be gained from listening to it. The beat is extremely pop-friendly and typical and Katy just walks through the vocals without anything that grandiose or ear-worthy. I think she catches our eye by describing herself skinny-dipping, needing ginger ale and very casually dropping her involvement in a Ménage à Trois (who would the third be? I mean, Russel Brand, then what, Jonah Hill?). She just plays off this general sluttiness with an innocent edge the way Britney did ten years ago when she was barely legal and it was exciting. More than even Britney is doing this now Katy is building that into a career.

So what's up for the Last Three Weeks of Summer? I left off Nicki this week but she can certainly bounce back. There was just too little room for all the Fresh Tracks to keep some of the ones who we didn't really hear a lot of this week. I'm also looking at Rihanna's new Jam, "Cheers" which should turn into a fantastic Drunk anthem and take the weekend back from Rebecca Black. She's also in Battleship (2012). Gotta count for something. Also I think "Moves Like Jagger" is finally making some moves lately, it might be good for a #8 spot by the time the Leaves Fall.

08 August 2011

Summer Jam 2011: August 8 Winners

Welcome once again folks to NMW's Weekly rendition of the Top Jams of Summer 2011. This week was incredibly unremarkable, virtually unchanged from the week before. We're getting into the nitty grind though, only a few more weeks of sunshine and Summer Shorts left and then it's back to the books and shoveling walkways and finding Easter Eggs. I think "Rolling in the Deep" finally died this week, which is spectacular, I couldn't stand that track anymore, which means it really did reach Peak Annoyance, always a good indicator of a Summer Jam. Let's Begin:

#8: "Lighters" by Bad Meets Evil ft. Bruno Mars

Honestly, do you hear the first few chords of this song and think "Yeah, Bad Meets Evil here for sure?" Apparently Eminem has been working with Royce da 5'9" (which is an absolutely terrible rap name) since the turn of the century and they call themselves together Bad Meets Evil. So that's that. I did say earlier that I thought this could be another Eminem Summer, that didn't really turn out but this track will probably do well and be everywhere come September. I also said we wouldn't see anymore Bruno this summer after "The Lazy Song" faded. He's really too good of a chorus singer to disappear for long. This is a good track though, I'm excited to see it hang around.

#7: "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" by Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Funkiest Track of 2011 debuted way too late. If this thing had dropped in May or June there's no doubt it would have made for a memorable Summer. In early August though this isn't going to do anything, at least not with the zeitgeist. It should fall into the awesome blur of Peppers Canon pretty soon and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a fantastic track that transcends the moment we're in now which leaves it as not very vital to the times. It's also got the best cowbell of 2011 besides "Make Some Noise."

#6: "The Edge of Glory" by Lady GaGa

Here's where the complacency starts. The next four spots are identical to last week, which means that there's not a whole lot of new blood doing all that well out there. I'm surprised really, because there's plenty of catchiness coming out of Tinie Tempah, DJ Khaled and others. Anyway, GaGa falls here again, relegated to this middle field but actually pretty stable. This Summer has worked in bands, Pitbull has always been near the top, GaGa and Bruno have always been near the middle and the bottom has always been the Flavour of the Week. When everything is said and done at this point GaGa has proven herself that she might be a quality Summer Jam Candidate.

#5: "How to Love" by Lil Wayne

For the third week in a row Lil Wayne takes up the third spot with this track. I'm actually almost surprised this song has lasted this long for as specific its demographics must be. It's not exactly for typical Wheezy fans and well, his style shouldn't really be attracting manic High School Girls so I'm not sure who's listening to this. I am though. I guess there's enough people who are closet fans that put this on in the background and just let it take up the room. I don't think it'll gain many spots the next couple weeks but we'll see it again.

#4: "Give Me Everything" by Pitbull ft. AfroJack, Ne-Yo & Nayer

I'm about done with this one as well. Luckily it's slipping in his Hot 100 position, but its radio play is still excellent. It really broke too late and with too much competition around it at the wrong time, it had those few weeks where it knew no rival but timing just didn't work out for Pitbull to be a King this Summer. That's got to be crushing for Mr. Miami.

#3: "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

If it's possible to get sick of this song we should find out soon enough. Nicki's still doing very well and as long as she keeps those tats perky and smile gushing I think she'll be fine. It's also interesting how Black this track really is, which also shows how well Nicki can parlay an unstoppable flow into a cross-cultural phenomenon. It helps that the video is real sexy with something for everyone, too. No idea what a Super Bass is but at this point it doesn't even matter.

#2: "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" by Katy Perry

This track flip-flopped with the #1 song this week, it just lacked the immense about of airtime it had last week. More and more I'm realising how bad and uninteresting every part of this song is. The beat is so typical, so manufactured for basic pop standards, it's as if you've heard this song a thousand times before. Needless to say, that's why it's popular. Katy Perry is a well oiled machine who tends to make controversial statements through her songs that under the tiniest second thought aren't that controversial at all but still attention-grabbing. Mostly because a hot chick is saying it. I also find it funny how we've moved on as a culture from getting pumped up about the anticipation of a raucous evening (does the incorrect grammar of "I Gotta Feeling" deeply bother anyone else?) to glorifying the aftereffects. We just all need some Rihanna to balance it out in the middle.

#1: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

GoonRock is a music producer. His name should not be in the title list, you can't list everyone in the damn title. This new wave of DJs who believe they're important is terrible. Anyway, this track is back up to the #1 Spot, giving some good credence that the Jam of the 2011 Summer would be some random one-hit wonder that no one could predict. I feel like it's got some competition but really only from Katy. I don't think Nicki will make it to the Top if she hasn't by now and everyone else on this list is either already in their decline or a ways away from making a significant run at the Top by the time Summer Ends. The whole thing just makes me laugh my fucking ass off.

So what's up for next week? It's hard to tell although I do believe that "Lighters" will keep doing very well. I don't know how Beyonce slipped up but it's apparent her latest track isn't catching on. She actually hasn't really had an ubiquitous hit in a while. I actually wouldn't rule out Britney either, "I Wanna Go" hit its peak at #9 this week and there's no reason that can't keep climbing.

01 August 2011

Summer Jam 2011: August 1 Winners

And so we trot into August. Here we are again folks, the Summer-Long tracking of the hottest Jams out there. There are a lot of up and coming tracks, none that made the List for the Week, but could shake things up in the very near future. Let's cut our teeth on some juicy pop now:

#8: "Best Thing I Never Had" by Beyoncé

This is the sassiest video ever. Beyoncé simultaneously exudes an effortless confidence and independence that makes this song captivating. It's a relatively simple track but she's still real sexy. I do wonder why Beyoncé has so many heartbreak and whiny relationship songs though. She and Jay-Z are one of the (seemingly) more stable Hollywood Relationships. At any rate it's nice to see both her and Kelly with some contemporary hits.

#7: "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele

This shit really won't die. It creeps up again this week although I'm really at the point that I can't stand it any more. It's a shame that this good song has been overplayed to death. Maybe I'll be able to listen to it next year.

#6: "The Edge of Glory" by Lady GaGa

GaGa was actually all over the place this week but five other songs managed to outperform her. I never knew Bondage Raccoons could sing this well. I'm trying to think of how we'll see "The Edge of Glory" in five or ten years, I can't imagine it being highly ranked in her oeuvre. Still, it's a good 80s callback for 2011.

#5: "How to Love" by Lil Wayne

Maintaining the middle ground this week is Lil Wayne, still a great little Summer Slow Jam. It's one of the fresher songs on the Winner's List right now, there's no reason why it can't stick around and do a little better. It's a good song but actually not really invigorating enough to really catch fire. It should still be pretty decent for a while.

#4: "Give Me Everything" by Pitbull ft. Nayer, AfroJack & Ne-Yo

I finally figured out that AfroJack is just a DJ, which I have no idea why he's getting credit in the song title here. Especially when his beat kind of sucks. He's just like David Guetta who is extremely overhyped. Actually he's Guetta's protégé. That's got to be rough, man. This track tumbled a bit this week, there's just a lot hotter shit out right now. It may thankfully fade into obscurity pretty soon.

#3: "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj

This song was everywhere again this week and it's actually a tough track to get sick of, despite Nicki's best intentions. Her charm and flow make it infinitely re-listenable even if Beyoncé may be holding a female singing clinic across town showing what something like this could really be. What the hell is a Super Bass anyway? I'm picturing some sort of Giant Flying Fish.

#2: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

For the first time since its debut "Party Rock Anthem" has slowed a bit this week instead of accelerating. It's definitely still a close call to fall to #2 but the Top Track this week was just everywhere and deserved it. I'm thinking this will also turn into a very zeitgeist-y song that ends up burning out quickly without a lot of post though. Remind me to Party Rock with my Super Bass while I can.

#1: "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" by Katy Perry

Getting the punctuation of this song accurate after these hungover weekends is far more difficult than it should be. Katy kind of came out of no where though, suddenly by Friday I realised I had heard this song 14 times during the week and it needed to be #1, supplanting LMFAO. I still picture them battling and for sure nothing is guaranteed but it's looking like another Katy Summer, at least collectively. She's also starring as Smurfette in the Smurfs (2011) this weekend. Poor thing is starved for attention, isn't she?

"The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" by RHCP was pretty close to cracking the top this week, it's definitely a hot Summer Track. Other than that, I've been listening to "Till I'm Gone" by Tinie Tempah ft. Wiz Khalifa, "Far Far Away" by Tyga ft. Chris Richardson and both of Eminem's New Tracks, "Space Bound" (featuring "actress" Sasha Grey) and "Lighters" ft. Royce da 5'9 (most retarded rap name ever) and Bruno. Any of these five tracks could break in as early as next week.
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