25 August 2014

Summer Jam Week 16: Taylor Swings! Misses!

Have you everything ready for fall? School supplies? Work...supplies? This week sort of sucks - it's about the last gasp of Sunshine we're going to get before all shit gets run into the hellish maelstrom of Autumn. Fuckin shit. Sorry to get so angry, but I just depressed myself. At least the Summer Jam is nearly over so we can toss a coin to decide which Iggy Azalea song won.

Hot Jam of the Week: "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift

Is this it? The final moment were Taylor shakes off the last remaining remnants of her country-ness and allows herself to be completely absorbed by pop music, instead? I actually first heard this maybe last week or something, and totes didn't even realize this was Swift until this very moment when I looked up who the hell sang this for the List this week. Therein lies an interesting inherent conundrum - is this gamble going to truly bring Swift into the mainstream pop world or will it alienate enough of her country-loving fans to prove her doom? Also, didn't she get her start singing about not being the popular cheerleader?

The Poor Girl's Jhene: "2 on" by Tinashe ft. SchoolBoy Q

I probably give Tinashe more crap than I should just because there seems to be this influx of cooing babyvoiced R&B singers lately, and she's just on the tail end of that upsurge - but damn if this isn't a really damn sexy song. There's a bit of an edge to her soft brays here that make this super-listenable and a really righteous Summer Jam. I don't think this is winning Summer anytime soon, but I may list it as one of my favorite jams of the year come December.

Fart Noises: "Boom Clap" by Charli XCX

The hook really saves this otherwise pretty boring pop exercise and there's nothing else really notable about this jam. I wonder what else Charli XCX has in her, because right now she's basically proven herself to be an exceptional chorus singer but there's something lacking in substance elsewhere here. I don't mean to shit all over Charli XCX, but I'm just unimpressed with this song in contrast to her talent.

Gone Fishin': "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor

How had I never heard this track before this week? This is fantastic! The beat! That swagger! I love that chunky sassy white chicks like this can launch jams like this and get 27 million YouTube views and soar to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. America! The "love yourself, you're beautiful you fat goddess!" message is a little on the nose and appears immediately defensive. It also seems like an old message if not for the fact that nothing in pop culture's attitudes towards women has really changed at all since something like Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." But yeah, this song rules.

To the Woods: "Back to the Shack" by Weezer

This jam is starting to hit me more and more as a pretty solid track and not just a re-tread of '94 Weezer. It's at once this call for simplicity, to turn up the radio and turn down reality singing shows. It even has a bit of admission to the necessity of making mistakes to foster character growth. All this is wrapped up in a really lively package that is probably one of the funner tracks of Summer 2014's Rock Scene. If only we had a bit more Days of Sunshine left.

Right Here: "Stay With Me" by Sam Smith

I really dig this song, even if it's really just for that throbbing building beat and the gorgeous tenebrity of Smith's voice. The lyrics themselves aren't really sophisticated or insightful, although there is certainly a pitched emotion and fearlessness to their simplicity. I think that Smith can keep proving himself to become a pretty good presence in pop music, and we'll all be able to say "Summer 2014! I was there, man!" Who cares.

Completely Without Flaw: "Flawless" by Beyonce

I featured here the Nicki Minaj remix, which is pretty solid. It's not even fair for every other artist out there when Bey really brings her A-material like this, although it seems like hubby Jay's ego is rubbing off on her. Doesn't this sound like Jay-Z Watch the Throne lyrics sung by a pop goddess? It'd be easier to hate on Queen B if she was wrong at all.

Sawing Ears in Half: "Rude" by MAGIC!

I think I've run out of things to say about this song. I don't like it. The reggae doesn't work. The lyrics don't work. It's really popular because it can earworm its way into everyday life with exceptional ease. It's also making the best case for Song of the Summer right now with a late run that could possibly upset either "Fancy" or "Problem." Not entirely likely, but hey - magic.

Next week...

I like Sam Smith's other track, "I'm Not the Only One," although that may be fueled more by my severe crush on Diana Aggron. Other than that, we've only got one more week of Summer Jams to go - can MAGIC! take one more swing at Iggy Azalea and strive for relevance? Stay tuned for one more exciting rendition of Summer Jams, folks! It's gonna be hot!

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