26 May 2014

Summer Jam Week 3: Lorde and Iggy Go for the Jugular

As Memorial Day charges through the nation and everyone really starts opening pools, playing outside, and generally gets actually pumped for summer, a whole array of Jams are pounding our ears into pop submission. I like mixing things up here, and there a lot of pretty hot tracks to cruise to this week. Go for it!

Hot Jam of the Week: "Tennis Court" by Lorde

Back when I reviewed Pure Heroine as I was wrapping up the Best Music of 2013, I called "Tennis Court" one of Lorde's better songs and I'm glad it's now getting some airplay. The beat is typically minimalist for Lorde, which allows her ridiculous vocals to really shine through. It's not as blase as either "Team" or "Royals" but it's still full of that "over it" attitude that makes Lorde refreshing and instantly popular.

Hum it Out: "La La La" by Naughty Boy ft Sam Smith

I take an extreme amount of joy in listening to this track, even though it's really not that great of a song. I think I just dig the cute kid and the simple chorus. It's a pretty undersung pop track that doesn't really descend into either heady erudite lyrics or completely braindead pop stereotypes. It's fairly solid if not a total breakout Summer Jam.

Rap's Champ: "Trophies" by Drake

I generally dislike Drake, even if he lit it up on SNL and generally appears to be pretty self-aware of his Canadian, half-Jewish, Degrassi: The Next Generation past that should add up to create the softest rapper in the game. That's all true, but Drake doesn't really care and in doing so, sort of diffuses the stereotype as well as the notion that any of that shit even matters. "Trophies" is a sweet song even if it's highly likely we won't be talking about it again this summer.

Smoking Under: "I Wanna Get Better" by Bleachers

This is a pretty fun song that's further supported by a pretty crazy video featuring actors like Retta and that guy from Outsourced. As far as Summer Jams go, there's no musical reason why this kind of lighthearted, catchy thumper shouldn't take off, but it just hasn't found traction yet. It needs a bit more airplay and interest outside of its niche market to become a true Summer Jam.

Love Me Do: "All of Me" by John Legend

"All of Me" is still out there, but it wasn't quite as dominant as it has been so far this summer. I still have less respect for this song than it probably deserves, it's not like it really transcends anything that Legend as ever done, even if it's getting a lot of attention. It is the best crooner love song we've gotten recently, though, but I can't picture jamming out to it at a Beach Party.

Welcome to the Machine: "Digital Witness" by St. Vincent

This is a spectacular track that has so far eluded really mainstream success, but I'm still pulling that those trumpets find their way onto mainstream radio play. Actually, I think Annie Clark is perfectly satisfied enjoying her own level of success distinct from the typical popular airwaves. It would be great to see this start to take off, although as it stands now, we may not be able to support it much longer.

One Prescription: "Fever" by The Black Keys

The Black Keys have had a bit of diminishing returns in regard to the quality of their alubms lately, and their latest, Turn Blue, doesn't really have the punch that El Camino or Brothers had. There is a lot of talk about them being one of the last really great contemporary Rock Bands, which is probably true, and everyone likes this shit, even if "Fever" doesn't really do much to distinguish itself from every other single in the Black Keys' catalogue.

Clueless: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea ft. Charlie XCX

I generally can't believe that Iggy Azalea's voice comes out of Iggy Azalea's mouth, but it's incredible. It actually took me until "Fancy" to buy into what she was doing, and Charlie XCX's bridges here just add to what could be an extremely potent Summer Jam. It's certainly my favorite song right now, and the video references to Clueless (1995) are sly, surreal, and awesome.

Next week...

No song has yet really broke out to take hold of Summer, so really, it's wide open, folks. I'm still looking at Pitbull, and maybe either "Wild Wild Love" or his World Cup Song to take off, but it's really pretty shitty. Other than that, I'm curious if "Wiggle," "Talk Dirty", or some other really misogynistic "Blurred Lines"-style track takes off. It's probably going to be a long summer.

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