18 May 2015

Summer Jam 2015 Week 2: Tove is Tops

It's Week 2, a stab at the middle of May and we're full of anticipation of what could be a great jam-worthy summer. That being said, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and it's none too likely that any of these tracks puts a serious dent in our heart of hearts. It's largely just a shuffle from last week with no real jam soaring or falling that significantly, although this is also always the time where you kind of figure out where things should start landing in anticipation of Memorial Day, which to many is the critical kick-off weekend for the Months of Sun.

Hot Jam of the Week: "Bitch I'm Madonna" by Madonna ft. Nicki Minaj

I thought about highlighting Nicki's solo effort, but Madonna was boosted by a pretty sweet Tonight Show performance recently. It's getting a bit of airplay in wake of that, and although it certainly sounds like a Madonna song with a modern veneer, it's a bit too similar to every other EDM track out there to break out on its own. I also wanted to talk about it in context of Britney's similar team-up with Iggy Azalea we talked about last week. I'm glad these former pop superstars are trying really hard to be relevant again, and using current stars to help them reach their former glory, but I think Britney made a bit of a better song. There's difficultly in them breaking out now after they were such a force at the start of their careers. It's a tricky line because it's not actually that they sound like everyone else, just that everyone else since they dropped have tried to sound like them.

Only R&B of the Week: "Somebody" by Natalie La Rose ft. Jeremih

I think this pushed ahead of Omarion's "Post to Be" this week and I think it has potential to hang around this position on the list for a while without really surging near the top. The more I hear this song the more I like it, actually, even though its lyrics are completely unoriginal. You know, I'm really glad we finally got to hear Natalie La Rose's opinion on staying at the club after it closes. Not enough singers are bringing that to our attention. But it's all about the rhythm! It's smooth and cool and rolls with a fresh cadence that's pretty ear-pleasing. That's all a good R&B song needs to be great for summer. To be a song that's great ten years down the line? That's a taller order that "Somebody" ain't filling.

Hey What's Up Hello: "Trap Queen" by Fetty Wap

I may consider "Trap Queen"'s big zeitgeist moment to be a few weeks ago, but it's still a cool enough song to get some notoriety here. Plus I want to talk about Fetty Wap's weird eye. I mean, he's a rapper and a pirate! To be honest, he just lost it to a glaucoma that almost took both, which gives more credence to that disease being a bit more than just an excuse to smoke up. "Trap Queen" is an awesome song, though, and Fetty Wap is as much a rising star as anyone in the rap game right now. He also seems like a levelheaded dude. I think "Trap Queen" has spent too much to last the whole summer, but he could have momentum to drop something else fantastic.

Bring the Tissues: "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Push

One of these days I'll post the Miranda Sings version. This is probably the movie song of the year (Oscar, much? No, I can't picture that), even if the actually diagetic theme of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) may be the most notable score we've heard so far. But as long as this is still getting pretty good airplay and continuing to be a significant tear-jerker, it'll be on this list. Oh, Paul.

Big Pimpin: "Bitch Better Have My Money" by Rihanna

I always sort of have a softspot for SNL performers, and since this was the last one of the year before the Fall Season starts, I ought to include our golden girl, Rihanna. It's been a while since she had a definitive Summer Crown, 2007's "Umbrella," but she has never been a stranger to Summer Jam Success. This song is rising rather than falling, and it has that mix of intensity, personal anguish, and just not giving a shit that Rihanna has really been able to specialize in lately. I feel like she's always in the pop background doing something fantastic but no one totally recognizes it, maybe because it tends to be weird or uncomfortable or uneasy to fit in a projected pop star mold. I love Rihanna.

The Most Positive Summer Jam Ever: "Honey, I'm Good" by Andy Grammer

Here is the best trick to making a good Summer Playlist: "Honey, I'm Good" directly after "Bitch Better Have My Money." Just rolls off the ears. I do like how this is all about staying faithful and being really happy to have the significant other you already have. It's totally upbeat and smiley but it avoids being bland or milquetoast. It's also a track that's rising instead of falling and being pretty damn Summery, I'm sure we haven't heard it for the last time.

Michael Jackson Style: "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon

Get it? Here's our second totally positive and upbeat song of the week about really positive hook-ups. There's no real pain here, but plenty of longing, and this is still the funnest song on this list. It's got that instant Summer Catchiness and is breaking at a good time to dominate the first half of the Season or so. That being said, it's totally possible that it gets completely irritating by this time next week and we banish it to one-hit Hell. Until then, jam out, baby!

Put it On Me: "Talking Body" by Tove Lo

I think we have really underrated this song, which wormed its way into my earballs more than any other Jam this week. It's a bit more positive than "Habits" but doesn't lose any of Tove Lo's edge or originality. It's epic, grounded, sassy, and sexy. This little bit of everything comes together really well to propel it to great heights. It hasn't totally smashed through the charts yet, but there's no song I hummed more this week and for that reason, Tove rules over everyone. I can see these top two tracks fighting for a while, at least until some killer jam hits and dominates the Summer, but for now, it's these guys.

Next week...

Nicki Minaj seems to be cranking out a lot, whether it be by herself or with David Guetta again, and I'm tempted to see if anything else she can do fights its way into this list. I was also close to including The Weeknd's "Earned It" from Fifty Shades of Grey (2015), which is still kicking ass on the charts, but just isn't that hot. We trade in white hot jams here, people, not that lame three-month old shit. But we'll see if it ends up being worthy of jam consideration. Stay tuned!

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