06 September 2016


We've finally wrapped up another Season of Summer Jams and it's with a heavy lopsided heart that we bury our hope and love for another long Winter. We've been tracking Summer Jams in general since 2007, and pretty in-depth (that is - week by week since 2010). In that time through a tricky combination of radio play, Billboard success, and general "what-I-feel-like-talking-about-ness" I've recounted the hottest of the hottest jams each week. Before we dig into the greatest jams this summer, let's again recount previous winners:

2007: "Umbrella" by Rihanna
2008: "Bleeding in Love" by Leona Lewis
2009: "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas
2010: "California Gurls" by Katy Perry
2011: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
2012: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen
2013: "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke ft. T.I. and Pharrell
2014: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea ft. Charlie XCX
2015: "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon

These tracks aren't without controversy. "Blurred Lines" is a pretty awful mar and I'd rather remember 2013 for "Get Lucky." 2014 will always be a debate between Iggy's "Fancy" or "Problem" with Ariana Grande. Finally, last year Walk the Moon really nabbed the title but felt so much more like a Spring Song. It was kind of an April to July thing, and I still feel like Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" as more indicative of the season and zeitgeist. It'll make you happy to hear that we're really not without controversy this year, either. First, let's talk all the songs we tracked this year:

At some point or another we discussed 47 different songs, which is actually somehow ten less than last year. We can break this up into many different tiers, but there's only a few worth talking about. Let's start with Jams 18-9:

"Bored to Death" by Blink 182
"All in My Head" by Fifth Harmony
"Dangerous Woman" by Ariana Grande
"Cold Water" by Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber, MO
"Closer" by The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey
"Love Yourself" by Justin Bieber
"Don't Mind" by Kent Jones
"Work From Home" by Fifth Harmony
"Make Me..." by Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy
"7 Years" by Lukas Graham

So let's now jump into the REAL list - the TOP EIGHT FINAL SUMMER JAMS!!!

#8: "Don't Let Me Down" by The Chainsmokers ft. Daya

Weeks on the List: 4
Peak: #2 on 06/20

This track never really went away, appearing during Week 1 and Week 14, with some spots in between. While it was ubiquitous, it wasn't really that good or interesting of a song, and seemed largely relegated to background noise rather than something to really get pumped up about. Still, it broke through once each in May, June, July, and August, which is a damn impressive feat.

#7: "Ophelia" by The Lumineers

Weeks on the List: 5
Peak: #1 on 05/30

A sane person probably wouldn't have touted this track so loudly, but for some reason I just kept hearing it, and I still dig the tune quite a bit, so it wormed itself in my life this summer. I can only assume it did the same for you, loyal reader. It had a nice streak of three weeks in a row very early on, then fell off for a bit before returning in the middle of July. The track was catchy as hell and one reason why it kept crawling back is because it's the kind of jam you hum all day, even if it didn't really blow up in any sort of big pop-y way.

#6: "This is What You Came For" by Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna

Weeks on the List: 5
Peak: #1 on 08/22

This should have really been the Summer of Rihanna (a whopping nine years after she already won with "Umbrella"), but despite dropping three different singles that we tracked, nothing seemed to be that sticky. Still, this cookie cutter Calvin Harris track proved to be an outlet for her voice, even if it's more innocuous and expected than her work off of ANTI, which is admittedly and decidedly non-commercial anyway. This was sort of like a partner to "Don't Let Me Down" in the sense that it was just another random EDM hit without much to set it apart that just always felt in the background this summer. It did some damage in July, fell off, then came back in a big way near the end of August.

#5: "Panda" by Desiigner

Weeks on the List: 5
Peak: #1 on 06/13

For a while there it looked like "Panda" would be THE song to beat ,but after a very strong five consecutive weeks in May and June it fell off a bit. It's still a pretty fun song, and although it may not have become the "Trap Queen" I can bet Desiigner wanted it to be, it's still got a little legacy going for it. There were many other weeks I just barely left it off the List, but we obviously needed room for "Dance Off" and "Milk $."

#4: "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" by Adele

Weeks on List: 6
Peak: #1 on 08/08

This is possibly an odd bedfellow to pair with "Panda" but they actually had the exact same score this Summer when all was tallied up and done. Its best streak was only three weeks in a row, but it ascended each week when it shot to #1 in early August. It made other appearances from June to mid-August, and although it didn't quite match up with some of Adele's other efforts, namely 2011's "Rolling in the Deep" that earned a strong #2 overall, or last Autumn's "Hello" which dominated about everything, this ended up a somewhat unlikely contender that got lost in the shuffle more than over the hump.

#3: "One Dance" by Drake ft. WizKid, Kyla

Weeks on List: 8
Peak: #1 on 06/20, 07/04 - 07/11

Seven consecutive weeks on the List was the longest streak of any song this Summer and for much of the first half appeared to be dueling hard with or eventual winner. While it ruled July, though, it fell off by the mid-point and couldn't ever really recover, despite being close a few times. It ultimately just broke a little too early. I'm also curious why it was such a short song, never really had a music video that caught on, and had such a good verse out of Kyla without much from Drake. Kind of like Adele, he crushed the Fall with "Hotline Bling" and this just never hit that same culture-ruling hot point.

#2: "Cheap Thrills" by Sia ft. Sean Paul

Weeks on List: 9
Peak: #1 on 07/25 - 08/01, 09/05

"Cheap Thrills" broke late, not appearing until seven weeks into Summer, but after that appeared on nine out of the remaining eleven weeks, not really even slowing down for Labor Day. It's my pick for personal favourite summer song and I'll freely ooze bias to say that I wish it had clinched victory. This will be like "Bad Blood" was last year - just a song that's way more indicative of 2016 than the actual winner and one that I'll give a spiritual victory for years and years from now.

#1: "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake

Weeks on List: 9
Peak: #1 on 06/06, 06/27, and 07/18

Listen, I'm glad JT finally has a Summer Jam under his belt and he's really the first established artist to win since Katy Perry in 2010. Still, among JT songs, where does this rank? Like, can you even call it Top 10? After all the points were tallied, it edged "Cheap Thrills" by two points, which isn't all that significant, but a win's a win. It certainly peaked while dueling "One Dance" in the first half of the Season, but unlike Drake, JT never really went away, appearing nine times over a thirteen-week period, all the way until late August. I knew it had won sometime in mid-July when it was still crushing weeks after Drake dropped out, but no part of me feels particularly great about that, especially considering how likely Trolls (2016) is going to bomb. I mean, do you honestly really think of "Can't Stop the Feeling" when you think Summer 2016? I struggled to remember the title even today. After this and Walk the Moon I may have to reevaluate my shoddy haphazard counting method. Maybe.

So that's it for Summer 2016! What do you think? Which jams did we snub? "Dark Necessities"? "Ride"? "Heathens"? "Pill in Ibiza"? Let us know below!

05 September 2016

Summer Jam 2016 Week 17: That's All She Wrote!

It's always with a heavy heart that we crank out the final installment of the Summer Jam Countdown - another Labour Day is upon us, folks and it's time to end this ridiculous exercise in pop-stravagance. Before we anoint our Summer Champion, though, we have one more week to get through:

Hot Jam of the Week: "No Money" by Galantis

This has been around or a bit but is still a super-likable pop jam that carries us out of the Summer Season. Galantis is a bomb name and that creepy cat/flower/Cloverfield monster is awesome. This jam has shades of reggae, 90s pop, and a lot of other stuff going on that's almost as if it's throwing a lot at the wall and seeing what sticks. It also echoes themes of "Cheap Thrills" by way of Santigold. In the end, I care less about that than how ear-wormy it is.

The Best in Wuss Rock: "Treat You Better" by Shawn Mendes

Is this even wuss rock? Or just shitty Sam Smith-style pop? I'm not really into this at all, but it's been on the periphery for a while before it broke in this week. This obviously isn't really in the Summer Jam conversation but could it be in the Fall Jam Conversation?! Of course not. That's not a thing.

Everbody's High: "Cold Water" by Major Lazer ft. Bieber and MO

How is Justin Bieber still a thing? I mean, he is having his best year yet in terms of producing songs that are actually pretty decent, but in general he's a terrible human being who garners for more hate than adoration. This isn't an incredibly great song, but I do dig it, and even if it didn't necessarily break into major conversation this summer, it still did a decent job.

Block is Hot: "Me Too" by Meghan Trainor

I'm not a fan of M-Train at all, but this beat is crazy hot. This is still one of the more egotistical songs ever, which is an amazing feat to do in a summer where Kanye also tried to continuously drop new material. There's a fine line between confidence and conceitedness that I don't think Trainor walks gracefully here. But like I said, that beat is hot.

Joke's on You! "Heathens" by twenty one pilots

Is it possible that this song is more popular than its film, Suicide Squad (2016)? Is it even possible to accuse Suicide Squad as being unpopular? It made a ton of money despite its terribleness. This is actually one of the cooler movie-related videos ever, right along with "Purple Lamborghini." Suicide Squad tried so hard, didn't it? It's ultimately a little late, even though Squad came out weeks ago by now.

It's Britney, Bitch! "Make Me..." by Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy

Britney's had some attempted comebacks lately, but I don't remember anything being this successful. I also really disliked this when I first heard it, but it's starting to grow on me. I do kind of wish she would have tried to go in a slightly different direction - for some reason her grinding comes off more awkward than it should, even though she's not really that old. This ended up doing some good damage, but will ultimately come up a bit short.

Kyra Sedgewick: "Closer" by The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

This track has also really grown on me this week. It blew up out of no where and is assured to dominate all of Autumn. It's a really cute song, full of youth and zeitgeist-y hipster beats (or maybe post-hipster, at this point), and a wonderful build to its bloopy beat. I love the "I'm gonna live forever!" attitude along with the lyrics that generally don't make sense at all, but rhyme really uniquely and a flow that's impeccable.

One Last Time: "Cheap Thrills" by Sia ft. Sean Paul

I love that Sean Paul is relevant again. "Cheap Thrills" was EVERYWHERE this week, and although it had an exceptional run this summer, I think it broke just a bit too late to earn the coveted Summer Prize. Still, this is a really fly track that I loved jamming to this summer.

Next year...

Oh, who knows. Thanks for reading along this summer and we'll start this insane exercise back up in May 2017. As for now, stay tuned tomorrow as we tally up our FINAL SUMMER JAM CHAMPION!!
Related Posts with Thumbnails