02 June 2014

Summer Jam Week 4: Iggy's All Over June

Welcome again folks to our round-up of the Hottest Summer Jams of the Past Week. June is upon us, meaning that one Summer Month is down and it's just starting to get hot in here. Our quest to find that one immortal Summer Jam is never ending - at least until Labor Day, when it ends. It's probably fair to note too that this list has devolved into really just the top eight songs that I found interesting this week. So let's dig in:

Hot Jam of the Week: "Of the Night" by Bastille

The UK is a little ahead of us when it comes to Bastille, and they've had this one since last fall, but it's starting to get more airplay over here. This wasn't as evident with "Pompeii," but Bastille is really mixing in these weird EDM elements and horrible synthed voices here that make an otherwise soft but charming track nigh unlistenable. I can't imagine this really catching on like "Pompeii" did but the band's name attached to it ought to at least carry it a little bit.

Crunched: "Dangerous" by Big Data ft Joywave

Now here is an electronic song with a heavy dose of funk integrated into its beat. It's not really Daft Punk circa 2013 levels, but Big Data presents a pretty mellow crunchy Summer Jam here. It hasn't really broken away from its niche at all yet, but its music video is also spectacular. I can see this gaining a nice following if they can get some traction and radio play, it straddles enough genres to get on more than a few modern rock and pop stations.

Yes it Is: "Ain't it Fun" by Paramore

I've tried to ignore this track because it's really irritating to me, but I need to acknowledge its surging popularity. Paramore has gotten progressively shittier as a band with each new album, and this is full descent into pop nonsense. The beat is virtually nonexistent, and the video has no real significance beyond an arbitrary day of wackiness centered more on the enjoyment by the band members themselves rather than providing a service of being entertaining to fans. I dunno, I really hate this shit. It is catchy as hell, though.

Dangle Me This: "Chandelier" by Sia

Sia is a competent, if not very interesting pop performer, but if this is her opus, we're okay with that. The video is all kinds of wacky with this little bodysuit girl going crazy and it's a pretty fun song, if not a little overblown. I'm down with the line this walks between epic and doofy, although I'm not sure that doofiness was intentional, which is disconcerning.

Don't Break It: "Fragile" by Tech N9ne ft Kendrick Lamar, MAYDAY!, and Kendall Morgan

This track is maybe a little old, but I heard it for the first time this week and dug it, even if Tech N9ne's name is really annoying to type. Even if it was just Tech 9ine or something I feel like I can get my brain around that. Anyway, the minimal beat give support to both the rapidfire lyric deliveries as well as the stretched out chorus verses. It's getting hard to hate anything that Kendrick touches, and he's more in angry raspy mode here than his smooth flowing voice, which is a delight.

Like Spongebob: "I'm Ready" by AJR

AJR is sort of interesting to me - boy band looks and voices but they're actually this little indie band who just mixes their songs in their apartment. This has all the makings of a pretty audience-friendly pop hit, although it lacks anything to make it really stand-out. Still, it's getting pop airplay (of course it is, this should be in the background of doctor's offices for the entire Summer), and could lead to something a bit more significant to obviously a talented group of kids.

Decked Out: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea ft. Charlie XCX

This week was ultimately a tough toss-up of Iggy Azalea songs, and ultimately, "Fancy" falls to #2. I maybe like this one a little better, probably because the hard as shit gangsta Iggy voice dominates a little more, while Charlie XCX croons halfways between Gwen Stefani and a completely unrepentant 90s bitch. Of course she is. "Fancy" has already made a strong statement for its case for early Summer Jam Queen, but this list has been so transitory, without much less coming along to dethrone it. It's hard to tell what will happen to this once the big Summer Jam Hits start landing come the next few weeks.

One Less: "Problem" by Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea

It's maybe unfair to call these two tracks Iggy songs, because really, "Problem" is all Ariana. With a fairly bland video accompanying the song coming out this week we get to see even more of Grande, who's built a nice career starring in a Nickelodeon show (apparently) and had that mild hit with Mac Miller last year. I feel like she hasn't quite found a public persona to match that incredible set of pipes, though. In the video she basically stands around looking cute with her fingers up her mouth, does some whatever dancing, and never really seems that comfortable. C'mon girl, sell this shit, "Problem" is a fantastically enthusiastic song, give us more Beyonce and less Lana Del Rey.

Next week...

I see "Problem" staying here for a while, but anything can happen. This is an integral week in the life cycle of the Summer Jam - college kids have finally stopped drinking every night with their high school friends and are settling into their internships. High Schoolers are just about ready to bust loose or at least start finals, and all the adults in the world can finally stretch their legs as the pollen starts to fall, weddings heat up, and the sun shines. Fuck you, Pitbull, your Jams suck. It's anyone's game.

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