18 August 2014

Summer Jam Week 15: Coldplay and Maroon 5 Get Rude

By gum it's almost the end of August, folks. Mid-August is this weird time of the season - it's essentially the last gasp you can take before taking the plunge into Fall, which usually means buckling down for school, winter, responsibilities, family, and personal and professional growth. It's terrible. It makes me really depressed talking about it, actually. Let's spend another week partying in the either before we start really talking about that crap. Anyway - here are your winners this week:

Hot Jam of the Week: "Seen It All" by Jeezy ft. Jay-Z

Jay sort of legitimizes this track like he could do with any track these days, but Jeezy actually holds his own, and the beat is ethereal, flighty, and cool while retaining a nice edge to it. No Hot Jam is going to dominate Summer at this point, and I can't imagine that this song really fights its way into cultural relevancy outside specific hip-hop fans right now, but that's okay, because I'm one of those specific fans and I dig this jam.

Cartography: "Maps" by Maroon 5

This video came out a while ago I guess, but I saw it for the first time this week - and OH SHIT IT'S CRAY CRAY! What is going on here? Maroon 5 I feel always tries to be the biggest band in the world, but it tends to come up short time and time again. "Maps" is a bit of a middle of the road song for them. Opinion is personal, of course, but as far as my ears can handle it, Maroon 5's usual output ranges from smooth and awesome to grating. I never thought "Maps" was very special, but it has had a nice run this summer that I have never talked about, so acknowledging that here.

Constellate: "A Sky Full of Stars" by Coldplay

I'd say that everything I just said about "Maps" could apply here, actually. "A Sky Full of Stars" (wouldn't dropping that indefinite article make the song a bit cleaner? "Sky Full of Stars?" What do I know?). I though Coldplay bounced with Myolo Xyoloto (2011) or whatever they had, anyway? But yeah, there are Coldplay fans out there somehow who dig this kind of Grade-A Wuss Rock (which I really mean more in a descriptive sense than a pejorative sense. Seriously!), and this jam has been there this summer. Acknowledged.

Weezy Degrassi: "Believe Me" by Lil Wayne ft. Drake

This is more what I was doing back in May where I cared less about what was actually hot or popular but I just wanted to express the kind of jams that I was digging that week. This is it, son. Actually, this sounds more like both Weezy and Drake are sleepwalking and both have been sharper in the past. Like I said, I'm listening to this track this week, but I can't speak for next week. Yes I can - more Jeezy less Weezy.

Bronytails and Prollems: "Problem" by Ariana Grane ft. Iggy Azalea

What?! I thought this was done for? Well, one last gasp that may send it above "Fancy," who is conspicuously absent this week for the first time all summer. It's a staggering prospect, I know, folks. But I heard "Problem" a bit more this week, signifying that it's not quite dead yet. Or at least clinging to some kind of relevancy. I'm infinitely curious which jam we'll be more inclined to listen to ten years from now in nostalgia, and I think the edge of "Fancy" will get it over the edge, but you never know with these things. Actually I'm sort of glad I didn't have to listen to "Fancy" again for this column. I spent fourteen damn weeks listening to that song.

The Devil's Side: "Left Hand Free" by alt-J

I heard this jam on the radio this week and really dug it, and then I looked up the video, and it had come out recently, so I was pumped, because I liked that "Breezeblocks"-whatever song alt-J did, but I don't know much else about them, except for the singer's goofy high-pitched but somehow still raspy voice, and the fact that they possessed one of the more annoying band names since fun. But then all these die-hard alt-J fans (apparently) in the comments talk about how much this song sucks and how it doesn't sound like normal alt-J jams and it was all made just to make "money" for some corporate-grubbing studio and it is supposed to be a parody and all that because "mainstream" American couldn't take "Hunger of the Pine." Well, I can't really speak to any of that (except for the fact that yes, all of these songs were released to make money), but I like "Left Hand Free" a bit better. I guess I'm a sellout corporate wannabe. Shit.

Velcro: "Latch" by Disclosure ft. Sam Smith

I have honestly done this a few weeks in a row, I keep looking up a band called Latch with the song "Disclosure" and getting it all backwards. I guess it's because both the words latch and disclosure would make both good band names and good song names and there's not really a decipherable meaning to the title "Latch" than I can gleam from my half-assed focus on this track after sort of getting into the beat and Smith's pipes on the radio. It's a cool jam, though and is making a nice little late-season run at things.

Reggae for White People: "Rude" by MAGIC!

I really hate this song, but it's getting its share of cultural life, from the response from the supposed father the song is addressing to a general debate as to whether or not it's even culturally appropriate to ask a father for the permission to marry a daughter or if women can decide for themselves who the hell they want to marry. I don't have the answers here, but I still think no matter what you believe, "rude" is still a weird accusation to make. It's not like the dad farted during church or made an off-colour comment in front of people he just met to be so rude. It's there, it sucks, I don't know, deal with it.

Next week...

We're almost at our finale folks, which is weird and terrifying to me. I left off "Fancy," which could certainly come back, but other than that I think we've bridged an important hump into fall - certainly Calvin Harris or Jason Derulo or Sia we won't be seeing again here. I did really want to include Weezer's "Back to the Shack," which I think is a really interesting song. Next week. Stay tuned, folks!

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