11 August 2014

Summer Jam Week 14: We Got Everything

Mid-August, folks. That's sort of terrifying. We only have a few more weeks of this, folks, and right now it doesn't look like we have any competition at all. That's okay, because we jam on like the true pop/rock/country/hip-hop/reggae fusion enthusiasts that we are. right? Commence.

Hot Jam of the Week: "Break Free" by Ariana Grande ft. Zedd

This ought to get its own video pretty soon, but for now here's the audio of this largely by the numbers electro-pop song. Ariana exploded this summer, and Zedd should be familiar to lovers of last year's "Clarity" collabo with Foxes. "Break Free" is a bit less than the sum of its parts and ends up being fantastically uninteresting. Late Summer surge for an artist who has already had a pretty great summer? I don't really think so.

Fart Sounds: "Boom Clap" by Charlie XCX

Last week this song went nuts, which died down quite a bit this time around. It's still hanging out there, though and I'm really torn whether or not it's actually a good pop song. I think Charlie XCX is better for hooks rather than carrying her own jam, and sure enough here the chorus is what kills it, not any of the verses. The frantic urge of "BOOM! CLAP!" is epic, everything else is kind of dopey.

The First Syllable in Country: "This is How We Roll" by Florida Georgia Line ft. Luke Bryan

I really didn't know there were different kinds of country. Apparently there's pop-country, twang country, and this sort of R&B infused Florida Georgia Line-style among others. It's all pretty foreign to me, I usually stop at Johnny Cash and when the mood strikes, Garth Brooks' "Low Places." But Florida Georgia Line does seem to strike this balance of those old crooner saloon songs and the big stadium energy of modern country. It would all be fascinating to me if it didn't make my ears bleed. I really sound like a hater right now, but I still put it on the list, so step off.

Two-Night Stand: "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith

Sam continues his awesome assault on our ears this week although I'd consider "Stay With Me" to be remarkably less fresh than it was when it first dropped. That's the nature of any jam, though, and even though in my mind I sort of begrudgingly included it this week after not really noticing it that much, those first few bars hit me again and helped me realise how powerful a track it really is. It can and will very likely stay as long as it wants.

Dylan: "Studio" by SchoolBoy Q ft. BJ the Chicago Kid

I really need to dig on more jams by SchoolBoy Q because he's really getting to be one of the better up and coming rappers out there. This track has Kanye-style vocal overdubs along with a chill hook and a legit summer rhythm. Dylan is of course, each of the five greatest rappers of all time. That was the best rap studio joke I could come up with.

Shinin: "Chandelier" by Sia

Actually, by this point we have to consider this to be a fairly serious Jam contender. Somehow this little track sneaks its way onto our list here, and it has consistently outlasted much headier competition this summer. I don't think anyone's going to remember it by Halloween (I heard "Written in the Stars" by Tinie Tempah the other day - I really had to look up why the hell that song sounded familiar. That's my prediction for this - in 2017 it'll be like "Why do I know this song?" rather than "Yes! Sia!"). Prove me wrong, kids.

Ass Quakes: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea ft. Charlie XCX

Iggy gets the number two spot this week, but "Fancy" isn't going anywhere. There's almost no way it doesn't grab the Summer Crown this year and has yet to spend a week off this list. That's really unheard of around these parts, but it will hit 200 million YouTube views by next week and has really penetrated every aspect of American culture. It's the only jam this Summer that can really claim such feats.

The Cards Don't Lie: "Rude" by MAGIC!

I like that we live in a day and age where a reggae song crooned by white Canadians tops the Hot 100 and a Weird Al album tops the Billboard 200. I haven't dug enough into this jam's reggae nature. Even though it is, by technical aspects a reggae song based on its instrumentation, it really doesn't feel like a classic Peter Tosh or Snoop Lion jam (...). Maybe it's because I consider that Caribbean patois to be essential to reggae. But is it? Thanks, MAGIC! for throwing everything I thought I knew about reggae into question. If "Rude" wasn't so stupid I may put more thought into how we classify these things. Till then, pass the dutchie and I'll just move on with my life.

Next week...

It was pretty hard to not include some old 70s hits this week that have gained popularity in the wake of appearing on the Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) soundtrack. Awesome Mix Tape Vol. 1 has had that much cultural influence - but do we pick "Come and Get Your Love", "Hooked on a Feeling", or "O-o-oh Child"? It's way to hard. And crazy. But these are great tracks. How about the whole album? Or how about the mere fact that we're even talking about a movie soundtrack album at all, much less one that features forty-year old songs? It's an incredible feat. I wonder if Beta Ray Bill 3: Korbinites on Patrol (2042) will feature "classic" Iggy Azalea jams.

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