27 June 2016

Summer Jam 2016 Week 7: Dancing All the Way to Independence

We've reached Week Seven, folks, and as we close out June and head towards the Fourth of July weekend, it's time for the Summer Jam to really get into full swing. The kids are out of school, no one really cares about being at work, the country is boiling it's time to GET DOWN.

Hot Jam of the Week: "Dance Off" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Idris Elba



I never thought I'd get to say "ft. Idris Elba" in one of these things, but I'm glad to do that here. It's remarkable how much he intones Vincent Price in "Thriller" considering if he's anyone he's the exact opposite of Vincent Price. It's just that menace in this voice and the Thriller-esque synths that start blaring. I'm still wholly on #TeamMacklemore, but I kind of get the impression that the rest of the country is over him. To be fair, his flow seems identical to his work on "Downtown" here, and even though their style is still very unique and independent, which ends up being refreshing compared to the rest of the industry, they haven't quite topped themselves yet. I generally really enjoy Ryan Lewis' direction as well, from his clever push-ins, cohesive framing, and overall embrace of goofiness. This Jam's hotness is fueled by an impressive Tonight Show performance this week, but I'd be surprised if it has a lot of staying power.

That One Shot: "All In My Head" by Fifth Harmony ft. Fetty Wap

I don't know how they got Fetty Wap to sing-rap over this (I also didn't realise he hasn't cut his hair since last summer), but unlike Tyga, he's actually not the worst part of this track, even if he's still unnecessary. To be fair, "Work From Home" could have nabbed the spot, but I love how soulless and manufactured this is. It's so obvious in its exploitation and cookie-cutter shittiness, yet the group has found some success. And of course, there's this one shot here. Now you have my attention. Thsi song could so easily stand in for any other pop song ever. I just listened to it twice and can't recall the beat.

Take a Cab: "Ride" by twenty one pilots

Wait, this video came out a year ago? Well, fuck it. This track's gained a lot of momentum on the radio and has been stuck in my head for a while now. It's pretty catchy if not a life-changing song. Twenty one pilots has had a bit of an upsurge recently, but I can't help feel like they'll turn out like X Ambassadors or MAGIC! where we'll never actually hear about them again. They're a trivia question, not a band with real potential. The also had that new Suicide Squad (2016) tie-in song this week, but I literally never heard it.

Like a Doll's Eyes: "Dangerous Woman" by Ariana Grande

So I named Ariana Grande my #1 SNL host this past season, but despite her natural screen charisma whenever she's on that show, she seems so damn dead in all her music videos. She just kind of stands there like she's too cold and has no idea what to do with her hands. It's really weird. Got a mean set of pipes, though, and this has started to grow on me like a mole I gotta check out. I've ignored it somewhat so far this summer, but it's worthy of acknowledgement and could make some waves it if stays hot.

Tripped Out Mellowed Down: "Up & Up" by Coldplay

This song isn't that popular, but this video is sweet and I wanted to ramble about it. I don't think anyone really cares about Coldplay anymore - they seemed to even know that during their Super Bowl performance a few months ago where they had Bruno Mars and Beyonce, both previous Big Game acts, throw down a far more memorable performance. This song is nearly indistinguishable from anything else Recent Coldplay has put out. Their last great album was clearly Mylo Xyloto, and the rest, while not really bad, just doesn't give me any reason to listen. But I like I said, this video rules.

I Like Your Style: "One Dance" by Drake ft. Whatever

You know, this SNL video is like, the only genuine Drake-voiced version of this jam on YouTube. I'm fine with that, but when is this shit dropping a music video?! It's been atop the Billboard charts forever now, surveying and commanding all the land within earshot. I almost left this off but I'm still hearing it a ton, and by now we ought to consider it to have a mighty assault on Summer Jam King status. Which is crazy. Lots of sunshine left, though.

How Low Can You Go?! "Cheap Thrills" by Sia ft .Sean Paul

I suppose I've been unfairly ignoring this jam, mostly because I listened to This is Acting like 40 times in a row when it came out, and this is one of the best songs off the album, so when I've been hearing it as a single it already found its way into my playlists back in February. Needless to say, this jam is spectacular and it's actually surging pretty well in popularity. Sidebar: I always thought the hook went "How Low Can You Go?!" instead of the proper "I Love Cheap Thrills!" which is perhaps the worst Mondegreen ever. Despite the words being the song's title, it wasn't until the music video that I figured it out. A music video, which is of course, awesome. I'll give Sia credit for not going with interpretive dance again, like she's done with every single other video ever, which works, but this is a nice breakout that's still damn fine.

JT RULES ALL: "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake

They really gotta get that Dreamworks Animation Trolls off this song. No one's going to see Trolls (2016). But this was everywhere this week. Even though it seems to be up and down, this seems to be the proper duel for Drake and maybe "Panda" for Throne Status right now. Of course, we're still waiting for a proper jam to drop, which cold come from anywhere at this point.

Next week...

Has anyone noiced how hard Lil' Wayne is trying to drop a big new single? "OFF OFF OFF"? "Skate it Off"? "Sucker for Pain"? None of these songs are very good. I've also been looking at "Don't Mind" by Kent Jones, but I don't think the hotness is quite there. With some videos on YouTube FINALLY I was also close to throwing Beyonce's "Sorry" back on here, which would also pair nicely with Adele's new jam, but I didn't really hear them this week.

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