21 May 2018

Summer Jam 2018 Week 2! Girls and Boys

Welcome, loyal pop audiophiles to the second week of summer - and boy has it been a cold, dumb, rainy one so far. We've got lots more jams along with more of the same crap from last week. Truly this is an age to behold! Let's just dive in.

Hot Jam of the Week: "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" by the Backstreet Boys

Yeah, so this is the first new BSB song in like twenty years, I had to let it drop here. Although they really aren't Backstreet Boys anymore, more like Backstreet Men. It's amazing, I would never listen to a group called Backstreet Men. That's not right. I'm kind of blown away by how un-notable this track is, they seemed totally comfortable to settle on the most generic song ever instead of anything that acknowledges a legacy or comeback. Also, are they still like, trying to chase girls and sing about having their hearts broken? You're 40, bro.

"Girls" by Rita Ora ft. Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX

This is a little known fact, but this is actually the exact opposite of boys. Of course, Charli XCX already covered that. I do dig how this jam features every hot female artist of the moment and they come together pretty well. The track is fun enough if not exactly revolutionary or groundbreaking or anything. I'm down.

"The Middle" by Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

This is another song that I can never remember either the name of or the slew of artists involved. It's actually remarkably restrained for a big EDM pop ballad with a really confident beat drop. It's also incredibly old, and we're still seeing it ride its big wave but it ought to die down pretty soon.

"Nice for What" by Drake

This song returns, under the radar again, but it's actually got a nice beat and flow to it. Do you think that Drake has crossed a boundary from rap into pop yet? It's totally plausible. This jam is actually better than I've given it credit for in the sense that it's really listenable and engaging, but I also don't necessarily think this will become an immortal track that we always think about in tandem with 2018.

"Chun-Li" by Nicki Minaj

I had "Barbie Tingz" last week, although this is definitely a better song. Nicki performed on SNL this week and this track has also been around for a while. It's kind of grown on me lately, and although there seems to be an artificially generated feud between her and Cardi, by all means they appear to be friendly. Although this film is hella assertive towards her rap dominance. I don't totally get why she's into Street Fighter, and there is some awkward appropriation here that doesn't make sense, but the beat is hot.

"Never Be the Same" by Camila Cabello

The hardest challenge every week is remembering how many "L's" are in both Camila and Cabello. This track is still just taking off and I think could have some legs, although may not ever reach #1. I get the feeling it's a perennial runner-up kind of song rather than one that truly captures some zeitgeist. It will probably inch up here or there, but I've definitely got my ears on it for now.

"This is America" by Childish Gambino

This was a tough call to not be #1, but I also feel like it's dropped a little bit, at least in its novelty. It's still dominating a lot of pop conversation, but the bigger question now is if it can last sonically. Even though it IS a very listenable song, it's hard to divorce that from the political implications. Like, would you play this at a wedding? Is it even comfortable to dance to? I mean, that distracting minstrelsy is the whole point. It's designed to make you uncomfortable. Can it still be a hot jam that way? Well, until it truly dies down, we'll list it pretty high.

"No Tears Left to Cry" by Ariana Grande

For some reason it took me a while to put it together that this song was about the Manchester concert massacre last year. That certainly adds a bit of weight to this jam in addition to it being a fantastic song from every level from Ariana's vocal prowress to the juicy beat. It was kind of every where this week, including this fantastic and surprisingly good-sounding Nintendo Labo performance.

Next week...

There was a shitload of new music that dropped this week, from Meghan Trainor to The Weeknd. It was all pretty shitty, though. I think the top three jams here will last for a bit, at least until something hotter drops sometime in June. What are you listening to this Summer?

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