04 September 2018

Summer Jam 2018: A CHAMPION IS CROWNED!!

It's a hallowed time around here. We have our Summer Jam Champion! Every Labour Day we recount the hottest jams we've listened to for the previous seventeen weeks and name a final, definitive soundtrack to Summer. It's simultaneously a glorious crowning event as well as a somber reflection on the dreaded Autumn and Winter months to come. Before we get into 2018 let's review the previous winners, dating back to 2007:

2007: "Umbrella" by Rihanna
2008: "Bleeding in Love" by Leona Lewis
2009: "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas
2010: "California Gurls" by Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg
2011: "Park 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. & Pharrell
2014: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea ft. Charle XCX
2015: "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon
2016: "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake
2017: "Despacito" by Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi ft. Justin Bieber

That's right, we've been counting this off for 12 damn years. Well, to be fair, 2010 was the first year where we actually had an official weekly countdown. 2009 had this, which is kind of slaphazard. I first came up with this concept of following eight songs a week in 2008, a murky era of pre-Norwegian Mornin gWood. This means I'd like to push this for at least two more summers so we can have ten straight years of Weekly Countdowns.

Anyway, let's get to it. We charted a total of 60 songs over the past few months, 19 of which were decent enough to warrant some direct recognition. Let's start with the honorable mentions:

"In My Feelings" by Drake
"No Brainer" by DJ Khaled ft. Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Quavo
"The Middle" by Zedd, Grey ft. Maren Morris
"Taste" by Tyga ft. Offset
"Bed" by Nicki Minaj ft. Ariana Grande
"IDGAF" by Dua Lipa
"Sicko Mode" by Travis Scott ft. Drake, Swae Lee
"Africa" by Weezer
"Side effects" by Chainsmokers ft. Emily Warren

Going through this at the end of all things, some other songs that I feel were for whatever reason underrated or underappreciated on the Weekly rundowns included, "Delicate" by Taylor, "APESHIT" by the Carters, "God is a Woman" by Ariana, "Boo'd Up" by Ella Mai, and "Jackie Chan" by Tiesto & Dzeko ft. Preme & Post Malone. Got all that? Now let's usher in the final countdown.

#9: "Psycho" by Post Malone ft. Ty Dolla $ign

Weeks on List: 4
First Appearance: 06/18/18
Last Appearance: 08/13/18
Highest Position: #1 on 06/18/18
Average Position: 3.5

Alright, totally breaking with our eight-year tradition of counting down a Top Eight, we've got nine this year. This was a total judgment call. "Psycho" actually scored as many points as "In Your Feelings", and yeah, the latter was and still is the #1 song in the country. Still, this summer feels much more incomplete without "Psycho." It was a total judgment call and this is my blog so that's the way it'll work. Still, full transparency, if you're an "In Your Feelings" fan you got totally gypped. Anyway, "Psycho" was really old and ultimately a follow-up to Post Malone's "Rockstar" and "Congratulations" but it really solidified his status as flow champion of 2018. We mostly saw the tail end, but it kept cropping up this some and deserves some recognition.

#8: "Friends" by Marshmello & Anne Marie

Weeks on List: 4
First Appearance: 05/28/18
Last Appearance: 07/30/18
Highest Position: #1 on 06/04/18
Average Position: 2.5

Looking back I can't believe that this track only popped on the Winner's List four times. They were potent, though, with an average position of 2.5, including one week at the top. This song felt continually on the periphery, though, a fact solidified by it crawling back in late July. It's a fun song and one that sure as hell makes me think of the Friend Zone quite a bit. It's another jam that was a little old but just stuck around for a long time.

#7: "This is America" by Childish Gambino

Weeks on List: 4
First Appearance: 05/14/18
Last Appearance: 06/04/18
Highest Position: #1 on 05/14/18
Average Position: 2.25

I love that "This is America" snuck in. It debuted fierce as our very first #1 this year, then sank down a bit. It's not exactly easy casual summer radio party listening, even though every single facet of this track is amazing. Childish Gambino tried with some other direct summer tracks, but didn't quite capture this magic. Still, what a week he had back in May with this, Atlanta, and Solo (2018) all reaching their peaks. It dominated the first month of summer and surely has legacy enough to be remembered here even if it wasn't necessarily as ubiquitous in July and August.

#6: "Meant to Be" by Bebe Rexha ft. Florida Georgia Line

Weeks on List: 7
First Appearance: 05/14/18
Last Appearance: 07/30/18
Highest Position: #1 on 06/11/18
Average Position: 4.57

As you can see, this song gets the #6 spot for sheer longevity. Besides its one week at the top spot, its other six weeks were in positions seven through four, including a four-week stretch in June. It faded a bit, but came back in July and remains a surprisingly listenable crossover pop country hit. I feel like we get one of these every year. Maybe just following up "Body Like a Back Road." Anyway, this was part of a surprisingly strong contingent of songs that debuted the first week and never let up.

#5: "Nice for What" by Drake

Weeks on List: 8
First Appearance: 05/14/18
Last Appearance: 09/03/18
Highest Position: #1 on 07/16/18
Average Position: 4.25

One of only two songs to appear on both the first and last weeks of Summer, as well as making an appearance in all five months represented, "Nice for What" made a huge splash. It was a periphery song more than a dominant song for most of its run, which never actually made it more than two weeks in a row. Drake vultured some of his own success this summer with other tracks that were either bigger or smaller, but this was the cream. "THESE HO'S!" "YOUR BOY!" Line of summer, baby. The video used every badass chick who didn't appear in "Girls Like You" (and some who did) and put them all in their own element, away from centering around the male artist behind the track. It also struck me as a real Kanye-like vocal track, but Drake put it all together and produced a great song.

#4: "I Like It" by Cardi B ft. J Balvin & Bad Bunny

Weeks on List: 9
First Appearance: 06/25/18
Last Appearance: 09/03/18
Highest Position: #1 on 08/06/18
Average Position: 2.89

Now, before we get into the Top 4, I should note that this was the closest Top Four we've ever had. There were four legitimate contenders that scored over 55 points.* The closest we've ever come to that before was in 2013 when we had three but "Shut Up and Dance" somehow won. Anyway, this track had five straight weeks in June and July and never did worse than #4. Of the Top Four though, it only had one week at #1, which along with debuting later than any other song, held it back. It was a great "Despacito" heir, though, and added a fantastic Latin Summer Flair to the proceedings, as well as a true showcase for Cardi B, who although this track didn't score higher, is the only artist to have two different songs on this whole list, much less in the Top Four.

#3: "Girls Like You" by Maroon 5 ft. Cardi B

Weeks on List: 10
First Appearance: 06/04/18
Last Appearance: 09/03/18
Highest Position: #1 on 07/30/18 and 09/03/18
Average Position: 3.1

The assault by this track is amazing. I did not expect it being a contender after it stumbled a bit after its debut. It first dropped in early June at #5, popped back in a few weeks later at #7, then somehow people caught on to how great this track is and it spent eight of the final nine weeks of summer crushing the Winner's List, including a six-week streak to close it out at #1. Five weeks at either #1 or #2. It's a great hit for Maroon 5 and the second Cardi B track in this list. Of course, Cardi was featured in every other song this summer, so that's something. It's got such a good crescendo and excitement alongside its relative chillness. For the record, 59 points, just one short of the #2 spot.

#2: "No Tears Left to Cry" by Ariana Grande

Weeks on List: 11
First Appearance: 05/14/18
Last Appearance: 09/03/18
Highest Position: #1 on 05/21/18 and 07/02/18
Average Position: 3.55

Presenting your track with the most weeks on the Winner's List, the only other song besides "Nice for What" to be present on both the first and last weeks, and thus all five months of Summer. We had a little bit of quantity over quality, though, as its average position was relatively low, especially when it came back in mid-August. Surprisingly, though, if it hadn't, it would not have been much of a contender at all. Besides a five-week stretch to start the season it didn't put together much and was largely absent for the month of July. Ariana still had a great summer, though, being featured on four total tracks. For the record, 60 points and No More Beers Left to Try!

#1: "Never Be the Same" by Camila Cabello

Weeks on List: 10
First Appearance: 05/14/18
Last Appearance: 07/30/18
Highest Position: #1 on 05/28/18, 06/25/18, and 07/09/18
Average Position: 2.5

Are you ready?! THE QUEEN of Summer 2018 - Camila Cabello! Her mid-summer lead looked and proved to be insurmountable. 65 points and a spot amongst the Summer Greats like Carly Rae Jepsen and LMFAO. I think Camila will have some staying power. Now, the only mark against her is that she popped out by the end of July, but we need to remember the official Summer duration and think of the whole picture instead of recency. That last breath was barely in the #7 position, but before that she had nine...NINE straight weeks where she never dropped below #3. Only "This is America" had a higher average weekly position, but that wasn't sustained over 10 weeks (without her one run at #7 she averaged the #2 spot for nine straight weeks. That's amazing). Still, it was a very close race this year. I actually came close to adding "Never Be the Same" to the List both of the last two weeks, but felt like some other tracks were more deserving. Had I, then this race would no longer have any question.

You can check out our whole summer-long countdown here.

What do you think was the KING or QUEEN of Summer this year? Check out how off I am according to this ("One Kiss"), this ("Nice for What"), this and this ("In My Feelings"), this ("Boo'd Up") and this ("I Like It").

Is it weird that "Never Be the Same" isn't anywhere near any of these lists? I don't know what they were doing all summer, but that's how my life went. Now I'm actually really curious to hear what others think. I had commented yesterday about this streaming divide in regards to music consumption. I'm still mostly a radio guy, but is that completely out of touch? Are my worldviews that shifted from what's actually popular? If so, why can't radio get it together? Can I keep doing this through 2020?!

*For the record, our points system is pretty basic. Eight points for #1, seven for #2 and so on. The most points a track's ever gotten was "Blurred Lines" with 84 which fuckin sucks.

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