01 June 2015

Summer Jam Week 4: Survivors and Stretchy Hearts

It's almost unbelievable, but we're about to close out our first month of Summer. Today marks the beginning of June, the time when we truly dip our toes into the glory of freedom, sunshine, and irreverence. We have a few more weeks of drudgery to go, but that first step into the Month of Cottonweed is a momentous one. There are some new weirdos this week and some old favorites. Did any of your favorite jams make the cut this week? Read on to find out.

Hot Jam of the Week: "True Survivor" by David Hasselhoff

I had a tough time coming up with the Hot Jam of the Week this week, and well, this is the result. "True Survivor" dropped a little over a month ago without any real context other than being a surreal Hasselhoff video, which was fine and all, but luckily, Kung Fury (2015) debuted this week, which made this video make a whole lot more sense. I won't totally jump on the Kung Fury bandwagon, because awesome does not equal great, although Kung Fury sure is full of awesome. This is the perfect song for the short film, and well, any excuse to embed this video on my site is good for me.

Your Weekly R&B Dose: "I Bet" by Ciara

I think this should really become a weekly thing - you need at least one smooth R&B jam to get you through the week. "I Bet" has been around for a while without me realizing it was Ciara, but I'd like the chance to talk once again about how I don't quite understand why everyone doesn't love Ciara. I mean, people like her, but she doesn't have Rihanna or Beyonce love, despite being just as talented, and for my money, the hottest damn pop star out there. We tend to give her a collective culture "meh" though and I don't really know why. Perhaps there's some irony here. "I Bet" is totally a more conservative song than "Bitch Better Have My Money" or "7/11." Maybe Ciara just needs to loosen up and make herself more adorable. I dunno. I love Ciara!

Rubber Band Girl: "Elastic Heart" by Sia

This song/video is actually a bit old, but I didn't hear it until this week, and it also seems to be finally overtaking radio play, so fuck it, here you go. Sia continues her already legendary partnership with crazy expressive dancing girl Maddie Ziegler and adds Shia LeBeouf in...his best acting ever? How is that possible? I mean, not that he was better in Constantine (2005), but where was he hiding this level of expression and open pain all these years? It's a pretty great song and Sia's making an incredible career out of not showing her face. It's really all about the music, people. It totally doesn't matter what you look like, although Sia's brand is still really strong. Actually this video makes me want to cry more than "See You Again." I also really like how it isn't afraid to continue while the music stops. Brilliant on such a simple level.

Still Trying to Bring Do-Wop Back: "Dear Future Husband" by Meghan Trainor

This track has also been persistent the last few weeks but I also started really cluing into it these last few days. And I do get irritated by Meghan Trainor, mostly for assuming the worst from her audience, or maybe that's just me because I don't think I am her audience. "All About That Bass" was critical of haters before they hated and this song kind of puts down men for being men when our dumb asses never even got a chance to screw up in the first place. And I get it, I get it, gender politics really suck and we need to encourage more strong independent women to balance a tremendous amount of culturally-institutionalized sexism in this country, but alienating sympathetic dudes like me isn't the way to go about that. Let's hear from the haters, now.

Day Drunk Into the Night: "Talking Body" by Tove Lo

Last week I suggested that this jam may have peaked and that's definitely true heading into the rest of summer. I still got this track stuck in my head a few times this week but I heard it a lot less. It's still a fantastic song with a compelling, addictive melody that showcases Tove Lo's growth as an artist as well as hopefully solidifying her future as a mainstream pop star. Naaah, I never want her to be mainstream. Keeping that edge sharp, sister.

Monogamy Hee Haw: "Honey I'm Good" by Andy Grammer

What more can I say about this one? I think it's also slipping a bit, because it's so weird and cheerful and kind of dumb, but it's still so unique and positive that it keeps trucking along with exuberant glee. It's a fine combatant for the cultural cynics out there, a sincere song without being traditional or reactionary. I might call its ascendancy halted and ready to be replaced with grungier Summer Jams, but until they rear their head, Grammer for all!

Pass the Tissues: "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth

This must be some kind of Summer Jam record - this is the only song here with a featured artist? That's nuts. Are we sick of this, yet? Somehow not. I actually had a death in the family this past week and it's corny but listening to this song for the eighth time in a row on the radio brought up extra-Paul Walker-based tears that are especially reflective and positive considering the circumstances. Has anyone ever received a better eulogy? This is the modern-day Funeral March for Queen Mary.

Keep Your Eyes on Me: "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon

I kind of thought I was getting sick of this track and it was fading out this week, but I still heard it like fifty times and it's actually hitting its stride where every time I listen to it, I like it a little bit more. Maybe it's the juxtaposition of a delusional long-term relationship contrasted with that declaration of zeitgeist-y living in the moment irreverence. "SHUT UP AND DANCE WITH ME!" For my money there's not a better summation of relationships for a generation of over-thinkers and worriers. I'm okay with this getting some legs, though once again I don't think it'll be #1 forever. After all, that's the job for "Bad Blood."

Next Week...

Yep. Left off "Bad Blood" this week. I just didn't encounter it enough. And I wanted to get some random rants about Ciara and Meghan Trainor out of my system. It'll be here next week. And probably for the next thirteen weeks after that. Other than that I was kind of surprised that Maroon 5's "This Summer's Gonna Hurt Like a Motherfucker" didn't prove to be the surging force of nature it should have been. Maybe the F-bombs were too much. I mean, it's not really a good track at all, but c'mon, that's never stopped this shitty band before. But I'll be keeping an eye on that, too. So, that's done. Did your jams make it?

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