27 May 2013

Summer Jam Week 3: All New Hotness Edition

Well folks, it's the start of another Summer Week and we're back to looking over the greatest and best Hot Jams the season has to offer. This week we're taking a bit of a detour, though, and checking out ONLY the hottest, freshest tracks that lay in wait to become the ultimate in Summer Royalty. Let's plug away:

The Blonde Jam: "I Need Your Love" by Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding

The track is simple, sweet, catchy, with a beat apt enough to get a nice Summer Make Out Session on. Ellie Goulding is flickering just on the edge of superstardom and all she needs is one big hit to lurch over. Calvin Harris isn't really a household name yet by far, but as a follow-up to "Feels So Close" and "Sweet Nothing" if this breaks he may be.

All That Power: "Black Skinhead" by Kanye

Kanye has really seemed to dip into the Black Power persona he flirted with in songs like "Gorgeous" on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I do call that a persona, because I have a tough time really buying this kind of music from the same dude who hooks up with Kim Kardashian and loves lambos and Louis V's. Still, it's a new dark, scary, and politically energized direction for Yeezy. If the song was a bit catchier, less intense, and less racially charged it'd be a prime hit. Of course, that song would in no way resemble what he's done here. And isn't that the point? It's worthwhile to bring these kinds of issues to mainstream media attention - whether that media still listens to him after this is, unfortunately, a whole other post. As for me, I'm still with these guys.

I Like it Too: "I Like It" by Sevyn Streeter

Sevyn coos and caresses this track, doing her best Kelly Rowland, but there's something nice there. Especially after Kanye's bold antics, it's a nice way to mellow out during the summer months. It's much more vapid for sure, and essentially devoid of interesting lyrical content, but for a newbie, this is a fine Summer Track to cascade over your eardrums.

Mac Grande: "The Way" by Ariana Grande ft Mac Miller

I never joined on the Mac Miller hatewagon, but after his show exposed who he is a bit more...yeah I'm on that wagon now. I tend to really like this track when Ariana hits it, then I change the song when I realise it's that one with Mac on it. Maybe it's because I've never listened to this all the way through that it keeps getting me like that. It's got a lot of potential, but Mac isn't really the kind of Summer Jam Headliner you want on your most mainstream track, and Ariana hasn't really gotten the exposure she needs to break out. Still, I'm jammin.

Country Grammar: "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line ft Nelly

It seems as if every few years Nelly drops some new track to remind us that he exists and may be one of the more talented sing-rappers out there. He also seems to have a fondness for country crossover hits, and I'd call this a really strange move if not for the success of "Over and Over" a few years back. This is a nice lazy jam and could certainly gain some steam. The last time anyone cared about Nelly was during the tail end of Summer 2010 when "Just A Dream" briefly dominated our airwaves. With a little better timing this could be a hit - it's just always weird getting the country lovers to kowtow to R&B and the hip-hop lovers to slow it down for a little country. When it works, though, country crossovers are the biggest hits ever.

Give Your Heart a Break Attack: "Heart Attack" by Demi Lovato 

I always thought that Demi could sing. She's an X-Factor judge, after all. With this song, though, I'm not so sure. I don't know what happened to her voice in the past year, but she needs to get it back. And yes, this is a different song than her last hit, "Give Your Heart a Break" although it seems to deal with the exact same cardiopulmonary dangers. It's a strange video, too, perhaps because of its use of infrequent cuts rather than a steady stream of whirlwind half-second shots that make up most vids these days. She's really into that ink and stuff too. Someone needs to get these people a book on how to execute a metaphor without being completely oblique.

I'm In: "I'm Out" by Ciara ft. Nicki Minaj

It seems like Ciara is always on the outside looking in to true pop stardom, despite her being one the hottest artists around, along with an incredible singing and dancing talent. None of her recent stuff seems to really take off. That said, she's got a new aggressive album, Ciara coming out in July, and you've got to think she wants a slice of Summer Jam pie. With songs like "Super Turnt Up" by Ciara ft. Ciara off the album, Ciara, it ought to be a fun time. "I'm Out" isn't that great of a track, but it may do to lead into something a bit better.

For Reals: "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton

Alright - our true Jam Champion for the week once again is Macklemore, crew in tow. It's the trend of 2013 so far that just when a Macklemore song seems to be fading we suddenly start hearing it nonstop. This is also the kind of epic video you can make when your first breakthrough song is the unquestioned champion of the year. The Mack deserves a lot of credit for his relentless sober energy, as does Lewis for his invigorating beats, and as long as we have chorus masters such as Ray Dalton and Wanz tying songs together, there's no limit to this thing. It'll be an uphill climb for anyone to dethrone the crew in 2013.

Next week...

We'll see if anyone can dethrone the Macklemore crew. Any of the artists named here could get a little surge, but I'm also looking again at Pink, Kat Dahlia, Imagine Dragons, and other rising stars like French Montana and Cruise (another Nelly vehicle). And with a solid new album, is anyone going to give Daft Punk a chance? Stay tuned, loyal readers.

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