23 June 2014

Summer Jam Week 7: OK, Go Eazy

If you've somehow turned your eyes away from the World Cup (who are we kidding, Americans, it's just background noise until you hear an announcer excited about a goal), you may be really getting into the Summer Jams this week - with this weekend bringing us the First Day of Summer in a cosmic, seasonal sense, and this being the last week of school for many young whippersnappers out there, it's do or die time for any Summer Jam attempting to become THE big Song of Summer 2014. I think our contenders are pretty set. Let's dive in, shall we?

Hot Jam of the Week: "The Writing's on the Wall" by OK Go

The words "ultimate mind-blower" get thrown around a lot these days, but without hyperbole, OK Go pulls off another insane practical single-take music video that looks like an extreme pain to set up but amazing for us, the viewer. Like most of their tracks, the song itself isn't really anything special - I mean, it's a fun light alt pop-rock jam, but it would probably be ignored if not for how cool all the forced perspective and practical camera tricks of this video are. I actually can't stop watching it. It's very cool. Summer Jam? I dunno, this is really made for visual rather than audial consumption, but it is easy listening that's pretty rad. Go!

That Big Fat Butt: "Wiggle" by Jason Derulo ft. Snoop Dogg

This feels like an older Snoop song - like "Beautiful" or "That's That Shit" (and yes, I can't believe I now consider those to be "older Snoop songs" but jeez, it's like 10 years ago) - it's got that nice ring of misogyny to it that I feel like most rappers can't get away with anymore. It's phenomenally stupid, and Derulo is a tool, but it's also a pretty catchy tune and it took off a bit this week. Still, did Snoop give up on Reggae already? He's still got the dreads, so that's something.

Cartography Lesson: "Maps" by Maroon 5

I get really torn over Maroon 5. Sometimes I really dig their stuff, like "One More Night" or "Misery" but I can't stand drek like "Moves Like Jagger" or "Payphone." I guess I just dislike their more pop-oriented jams, but as any reader of this column can tell, I don't normally have an issue at all with pop music. Anyway, "Maps" is their attempt at 2014 relevancy after not really doing much for a while. It's a fair song, but I can't say it grabs my brain and melts it like some other songs this week. It ought to get enough airplay just from being their next big attempt, but I imagine it flares out after some time.

Dangle Dangle: "Chandelier" by Sia

As far as chandelier-themed songs go, I kid of favor B.o.B., but this rad, too. The video is peculiar - simultaneously intense and irreverent, and it's backed by a slowly building powerful jam that's probably a little better of a song than it deserves to be. But boy is it fun and bouncy. Not actually appearing in this video is a bold move for Sia, who doesn't really have widespread name or facial recognition, yet. As a result I don't think it will take off that much, despite it being slightly more pertinent than the typical summer pop smash. We'll see how it does off of airplay.

The Next Brokaw: "I Mean It" by G-Eazy ft. Remo

I actually really dig both this track and this video. It's hypnotic, from the autotuned chorus to the competent white rapping by G-Eazy. It also has an interesting tone streaking through it, sort of goofy but also pretty focused and agitated. It's not really the best flow out there, but G-Eazy does have a good deal of confidence, and almost sounds like the cadence of an old LL or something. The beat is ethereal but simplistic, but everything combines to end up with a pretty serious track. Somehow. I don't think this will launch G-Eazy into superstardom, but it's pretty cool.

Don't Go Nowhere: "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith

Sam Smith seems like the next big white guy soft rock act to break out, and "Stay With Me" is getting pretty huge as a reflection of that. He's got a nice set of pipes for sure but I'm not sure this track is Summer Jam potential. Maybe like, crying at the end of a bad night of drinking material, but this ain't a party beach anthem. Still, there's always room for this crap and it'll probably take off even more.

Get Special: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea ft. Charlie XCX

I think "Fancy" may finally be reaching its tipping point towards becoming overplayed, but it hasn't really reached its super-annoying status yet, which is good for it. I'm not sure this can ever get old and annoying. But a few more weeks will probably do it. It's had such a good run for these first seven weeks - will it hold in our memory by the time Labour Day hits - especially since it really hasn't experienced any success in the heart of Summer, yet? We'll see, baby!

No Problemo: "Problem" by Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea

This track is really starting to take off, which brings it at an interesting crossroads with "Fancy" - they roughly started picking up steam at the same time, but I'm kind of favoring "Problem" over its second place counterpart here. It's infused with so much more pop energy that makes it exhilarating, I think it will have a bit more legs come July. Still, it faces the same problems - even though it's clearly a contender by now, it hasn't been tested in the depths of Summer. What will come of it? It's tough to tell. Go USA!

Next week...

I'm curious about Florida Georgia Line's continual ability to crossover pop with country with "This is How We Roll" which is set up to do as great as any jam like this can be. Jumping on the Sam Smith bandwagon, I also like his collabo with Disclosure, "Latch," which is nearly fresh enough to break out. And can Calvin Harris' blatant attempt at Summer Jam Royalty "Summer" actually catch on? Stay tuned, folks! We're just getting farted!

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