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.