10 August 2015

Summer Jam Week 14: Read this Post for Free!

It's hard to believe that we're almost rounding out towards the end of Summer folks, but for better or worse, our time in the sun is slowly drawing to a close. Lay your forlorn heads to rest, my innocent chickadees, and let us bathe in the glory of Summer Pop Music for but a few more weeks. Actually we have nearly a month left because Labor Day is stupid late this year. So while it feels as if Summer's about to end, it's totally not and we're only like three quarters through. Cool, sweet, bonus!

Hot Jam of the Week: "For Free?" by Kendrick Lamar



Apparently Kendrick Lamar makes all the great music videos now. As the title indicates, it's more an interlude than a song, with a long spoken word bit at the beginning by some presumable golddigger, followed by Kendrick acting surreal and goofy with a tone straddling a line between hilarious and unsettling. It's a masterful two minutes of fast-paced verbal work pared with doofy traipsing around an elite mansion and a palpable tête-à-tête between the principal characters. Solid. Also, America.

One Two Three: "Ex's & Oh's" by Elle King

King sounds like Kat Dahlia by way of Gin Widmore with a bit of Feist, but that may just be the counting thing throwing me off. Elle King is somehow the daughter of Rob Schneider and will probably emerge as his greatest contribution to human kind. This jam is part riveting crunch rock and part synthy pop ballad that just works all around. It hasn't totally caught on mainstream airplay yet, and it may not be able to do so in the next couple weeks, but I'd be game if it does.

Lookin' Good: "Good For You" by Selena Gomez ft. A$AP Rocky

When will Selena Gomez not look like a twelve-year old? That's when she'll be looking good for me. But anyway, this track, steeped in irony and imposed self-loathing has a solid message, distinctive harmonies, and a pretty good use of the now ubiquitous third bar rap verse in pop collabos. I'm looking forward to more of this from Selena and less of the bubblegummy stuff she used to create her empire. It's like GaGa or Tay Sway - give the people what they want to get your name out there then just make whatever music you want. That's probably more GaGa than Taylor. Still, I can dig it.

Bullets and Smooches: "Lean On" by Major Lazer

"Lean On" continues to kill it, although it seems to be joining the many great Jams of Summers Past that stayed forever on the list somewhere in the middle, but never rose to the top spot. I can see that happening again, although it's still a track whose stock is rising every week. Perhaps a run late in the game can earn it some serious credentials?

Official Dance of Summer: "Watch Me" by Silentó

You know, this kid is prepared to never have another hit, right? I mean, he's not a good rapper at all. He's just gone totally viral with this contagious dance song. Another week goes by and we get another week of cops, coaches, and athletes Nae Nae-ing all over the country. It's totally possible this jam rides momentum to the end of the year and it's been around long enough to build a case for it to be in contention for a Summer Title. Plus, now I know how to bop!

Dat Ass: "Cool for the Summer" by Demi Lovato

This song has totally grown on me the past few weeks. I'm slowly getting to the "Jam to This All Day" point in a song's life cycle. It still feels like Demi's trying too hard but with no other diva being really hot right now I'm more surprised that this song hasn't taken off more. Maybe it is because it just doesn't stick with you that first time you hear it, unlike say, a "Bad Blood" for instance. The video is a fluorescent mix of Spring Breakers (2013) and X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), which are weird references, but I liked when "Edge of Glory" did that palette better.

Punch it Out: "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten

This kind of goes in the opposite direction of Demi, but I'll crank out another week in what's turning out to be a great Summer for Rachel Platten. It does kind of get you amped up, but I just don't feel like I'm going to know all the words to this jam in ten years. Or five years. Or six months from now. And I just totally got into a glorious Lady GaGa clickhole remembering Jams of Summers Past. Oh Jams of Summers Past, how fantastic are you? "Fight Song" is putting up a good fight these past few weeks though and if it can surge to #1 it could contend.

Like Metal Fingers: "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd

I still struggle with the concept that The Weeknd is just one dude, but he's totally got a pop game to rule if he wants it. I get the impression that he gives a shit less than other big musicians who try really really hard to be famous. He's more a soulful little dude who just wants to croon away the pain in his heart. In what must tear up Fifth Harmony who totally just want to be famous more than to be artists, this is exactly what makes his music worth listening to and makes him popular. So, for the first time this summer, here's The Weeknd, a guy who's certainly earned it. This honor will definitely make his day when he finds out.

Next week...

There were actually quite a few tracks I felt like including but just couldn't find room for. The first is a collabo between eternal douchebag Robin Thicke (who looks surprisingly old here) and eternal Summer Jam afficionado Flo Rida, "I Don't Like It, I Love It," which is actually totally just half the chorus of "Can't Feel My Face." Next is Jason Derulo's latest hot jam, "Cheyenne," which has to be about Wyoming, but I will never believe that he's been there. Lastly, my favorite that I missed out on reporting about, "You Don't Own Me" by Grace ft. G-Eazy. I also almost brought back "Honey, I'm Good." What do you think about these hot jams?

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