25 June 2018

Summer Jam 2018 Week 7: It's Ariana's World

My word, folks - it's officially Summer Time! We're seven weeks in, of course, because who really wants a 10 week summer? We need all seventeen weeks of greatness pumping on all cylinders! As we approach the eve of July, the ultimate summer month, there are a handful of tracks in pretty hot contention for Ultimate Summer Jam Royalty status. We definitely wanted to mix things up a bit this week, though, so check out the nonsense we have firing away!

Hot Jam of the Week: "the light is coming" by Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj

I actually really dig this track. The beat is kind of bonkers and the hook is smooth as hell. I don't see it as super radio friendly, and whenever I think "No Tears Left to Cry" is fading it's played a thousand more times and I find myself still addicted. Suffice it to say that we're all living in Ariana's world right now, and she always seems to work well with Nicki throwing down some lyrics, even if she might as well not be in this track, which moreover feels like a weird advertisement for "Chun-Li." Either way, it's hot.

"Hunnybee" by Unknown Mortal Orchestra

I wanted to go really weird and obscure this week, and this song landed on my desk for some reason. I've been digging it all week, and it's a more chill and soothing track than any garbage Demi Lovato song that came out this week, so here you go. Summer Jam / Radio play potential? That's non-existent, friend, but go grab a shandy on the porch and crank this shit. Or maybe just play it barely audibly.

"Apeshit" by the Carters

I kind of get the feeling that Jay-Z and Beyonce are trying too hard with their videos these days. I mean, we get it, you both his artistic apexes with your last two albums each detailing your sides of some huge fight and now I guess you're coming back together. But this video isn't focused enough on a song (that isn't great to start with), and all over the place in that esoteric way that Jay-Z really struck with basically all of 4:44. Anyway, it's still got some cultural cache and made a decent splash this week.

"Nice for What" by Drake

I keep underestimating this track, and like last week it was kind of an incessant background track that is growing on me more than it should. It's not really all that great of a song, not even the best Drake song (lol - that's probably still "Forever," remember that Sprite commercial. I love 2009 nostalgia), but it's kind of just around, which is cool and works as a track that just about everyone can enjoy. That, my friends, is harder than it looks to pull off.

"IDGAF" by Dua Lipa

This is a track I've ignored for the better part of summer, but I tuned into it this week. It's probably better than I've been giving it credit for and Dua Lipa is one of those great new pop voices that I can never place apart from Halsey or Maren Morris or anyone else. But there's a nice rhythm and flow here that she did really well with "New Rules" as well. You know "New Rules" is one of the Top Songs of 2018 already? To some extent this shit doesn't even matter anymore - the top tracks are whatever you wanted to listen to. But this song has some Summer potential.

"I Like It" by Cardi B ft. Bad Buny & J Balvin

Same as "IDGAF" this song did not hit me well at first, but it's grown on me. It certainly achieves that Latin summer feel, but I still hate Cardi B like 50% of the time. Yeah, this hits that mark pretty well. Sometimes her flow is just amazing, but then it switches to some off-key harsh vibes that destroy my ears. She's also like, definitely brain-damaged or insane, or just a wild chick or something. Again, this works sometimes, but I think she just needs a break - her ubiquity is overwhelming. She's like 2004 Jude Law. That's the weirdest comparison ever.

"No Tears Left to Cry" by Ariana Grande

Yep - back again. You just can't doubt this song. It's doing pretty well and one of the biggest songs we got. I keep trying to figure it out - it's half mournful, half resilient, half-Inception (2010), all ballad. Ariana definitely makes connecting with the youth zeitgeist look easy. "We way to fly to partake in all this hate we out here vibing" is an amazing line that I just figured out this week.

"Never Be the Same" by Camila Cabello

This just felt like a Camila week. I also thought this track's status was faltering, but um...I was wrong. We're at a point where we're in a definitive Camila vs. Ariana duel for the summer, BUT it's still really early. Seven weeks in, ten to go. Can they sustain? We could be in for one of the grandest of all showdowns. Now, this column is unbelievably unpopular, but you've got to stick around to see who wins this shit, right?! I....probably. Who cares. This song is close to breaching that irritating threshold for me, but not quite yet.

Next week...

Aforementioned Demi Lovato tracks, plus new Meghan Trainor, Carters, Ty Dolla $ign, Imagine Dragons, Nicki Minaj, PRETTYMUCH, and NF this week. They all faltered in the wake of our mighty Winners Countdown!! Also, Jay Rock & J. Cole "OSOM" I literally wrote up a paragraph before I kicked them out. That song's good. No room for "Meant to Be" this week, either, which could definitely come back. What are you jamming out to this summer?!

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