10 June 2013

Summer Jam Week 5: The Gay Anthem of Summer

 As the sun crests over another Summer Monday Morn, it's time once again for NMW to recount the hottest jams of the week previous. Each song is jostling for position to claim THE Throne of Summer 2013 - which track will we forever remember as that one great Summer Jam? Let's dive in:

Hey! A Gay Summer Anthem: "Same Love" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Mary Lambert

This track dropped a while ago, but with Macklemore suddenly exploding, it's got a bit more attention now. And while it's way too heady to be a truly bubbly Summer Jam, the subject matter is bold and prescient, and there's no telling how high a Gay Anthem like this can soar. Its drawbacks are its slow-burning tune and story-based nature, which can limit its playability, but there's no reason why this can't take off, at least in personal playing this summer. But it's probably not a party jam.

Tastes like Garbage: "Crazy Kids" by Ke$ha ft. will.i.am

I think it was Peter Griffin, describing Xtina Aguilera as "Salty Garbage" that really was a much more apt description of Ke$ha all along. There's no real talent there and an assault on all five senses. You've got to hand it to a girl who bangs ghosts, though, Ke$ha may be one of the bolder pop acts out there right now. Who the hell knows why she's rapping from Compton now, but it's not like that could ruin her image. The only thing that could make this song worse is if will.i.am made an appearance, so sure enough he does, as some kind of Astronaut / Television, while doing so adding nothing positive to this track. I can't imagine a world where a producer finishes this up in the studio and then thinks, "Yeah, I contributed to society today." There's such an unspeakable horror in the fact that this exists, which means that someone, somewhere thought that this was the best they could do.

Oh Baby: "Diane Young" by Vampire Weekend

This has taken a few weeks to catch on, and Vampire Weekend is quite there yet, but their latest album, Modern Vampires of the City is their most mature yet, and this is a pretty fun song that someone sounds much better coming out of the radio than they did on SNL a few weeks back. It's fairly palatable, and hopefully Vampire Weekend won't need an Old Navy commercial or Step Brothers (2008) to properly break this jam.

As Fun as Pink Eye: "Just Give Me a Reason" by Pink ft. Nate Ruess

If anything, the popularity of this song has introduced us all to the name of the lead singer of fun. and ensured that we'll all one day figure out how to spell it. Ultimately, even though this is still pretty popular, Pink will be the bridesmaid and not the bride this Summer, mostly due to blowing her wad a bit too early.

Sassy Fierce: "I Love It" by Icona Pop ft. Charli XCX

Those are the two words I use to describe this juggernaut - Sassy and Fierce. There isn't a fiercer, sassier song out there on the charts right now, and Icona Pop is fine to get a pass to stick around here for a while. It's like a little "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" kind of furious and proud independence infused with copious amounts of swagger. It's spectacular and a true jump up and down headbanger Jam for Summer. Its timing is a little off to truly make some waves, and it's not all that popular really - but a great tune this is.

Get Those Windows Down: "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line ft. Nelly

This is so close to breaking wide opening and destroying Summer, and I'm all for it. It's an elegant blend of country and hip-hop, and perfectly suited for a Summer Drive. This ought to convert a generation of hip-hop lovers into country bumpkins, as well as transition a bunch of hicks into the smooth flows of R&B. It's got such a good vibe to it - it hasn't really been able to catch on, but it's got plenty of time to gain some traction and it's catching on at the perfect time to really secure its Jam Status.

Cracked: "Heart Attack" by Demi Lovato

Demi scares the shit out of me in this video, really. She's crazy intense, although I have no idea why. It's fun actually after the liberating nature of Icona Pop to listen to this song where Demi virtually says that she's usually a strong independent women, except this one guy has total control over her and she falls apart, destroying her strong feminist ego and causing her to succumb to more "painted nails and perfume-wearing" stereotypes. Her ultimatum to have a heart attack rather than going through with this kind of behavior is actually, oddly strongly feminist in its own right, actually. Go Demi.

Mack is Back: "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton

Macklemore closes this week's list as he opened it - with another Jam from The Heist that actually dropped years ago. The Heist itself was released as a series of singles that have dropped since 2010 - if only they had led with "Thrift Shop"...but there's a good formula of finding really good fits for the tracks like Ray Dalton, Mary Lambert, and Wanz, among many others who appear here - and as long as Ryan Lewis is producing these incredible jams that fit with Mack's own style and cutting voice, there ought to be a nice career here. Or not, who cares.

Next week...

We'll see if Mack keeps on keeping on - I kind of have the feeling that that bubble has got to burst soon. I'm still a fan of "Cruise" but I'm also wondering if another crossover country artist, Taylor Swift and her "Everything Has Changed" can make some summer waves. On the other end, I think the sheer funk of Daft Punk and Pharrell has some juice left in "Get Lucky". Stay tuned!

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