03 June 2019

Summer Jam 2019 Week 4: Lots of Jam

We had a tremendous amount of new singles dropped by established artists this week. It's post-Memorial Day now, people! It's time to set the board for Ultimate Summer Jam status! The contenders are set. Maybe. They all kind of suck. But some of these are pretty listenable jams. Let's dive in:

Hot Jam of the Week: "The Search" by NF

Here is your super-intense rap of the week. Well, we have Cardi B coming up, but this is like 2002 Eminem with an orchestral backing beat that makes me want to assault the Hornberg. This will never be a real Summer Jam candidate but I actually really dig it. It's actually all about how the industry makes your personal life suck. That's fun! Poking holes in the dream of fame and fortune is also a little off-putting for the mass pop crowd. Then again, it worked for Lorde. This could be fun.

"Glad He's Gone" by Tove Lo

It's been a hot minute since we got something from Tove Lo and this is a far more mature track than our last go around. It's a nice girl power anthem and I'm not sure if leaving a pearl necklace is radio friendly. If Lil' Jon got away with skeet skeet this should fly, right? It's a bubbly song with subtle hints of depression but an ultimately hopeful tone. I'd like to see this go far this summer and think it could.

"Cattitude" by Miley Cyrus ft. Ru Paul

Speaking of sexual innuendo... Miley hasn't quite hit 2012 levels in a while despite continually popping up in some critically acclaimed pop work since then. She's successfully darted out of her whore phase, but "Cattitude" returns to that era. I loved that era. You can say whatever you want about Miley's sexuality, but her skill as an artist and singer is actually fantastic and she has the wherewithal to spin that whore title into something prideful. She can't really account for cultural appropriation, but I also don't think that's unusual for her generation, which is more culturally blended. This is getting into a bigger topic than fun pop beats and this track is hot.

"Find U Again" by Mark Ronson ft. Camila Cabello

This week has both Cyruses and two former members of Fifth Harmony. Camila hasn't quite gotten the credit as a pop idol she deserves and while this song is far more lyrically generic than her solo work, it's got a nice rhythm to it. Her voice also dips into some auto-tune, which is weird because she doesn't need it. A lot of that is dipping into the EDM side of pop, although Mark Ronson usually comes out unscathed with his collabos. This could do something or just be really forgettable. We'll see.

"Press" by Cardi B

I'm curious about the origins of this track - by all accounts it has seemed like Cardi B eats up the press. A kid and high-profile marriage then immediate break-up with Offset, but now are they back together? I have not followed Cardi B gossip. I am the good kind of press, Cardi - I only care about your music. Mostly. There is some shock value here, but also a metaphor consistent with the content of the song. The Jack Ruby connection is worth a whole article. This is a rant-worthy column this week.

Bad Guy" by Billie Ellish

This song is gaining a lot of momentum lately, and may even overtake "Old Town Road." While the latter is a genre-busting crossover, this is its own thing, which has been growing on me. Amidst all the other crap of the first three weeks, it's telling that this has lasted through the wreckage of other brainless pop attempts. Third this week, but could blossom even higher.

"Dancing with a Stranger" by Sam Smith ft. Normani

I heard this more than any other track this week, and while it's not particularly good, it IS apparent, which is all we need for a great summer jam. I don't know why my local radio station picked this up so much. Whatever. It's doing pretty okay on the charts and while it was certainly the song of my personal week, it's not really all that ubiquitous. Still, it could stand around a while yet.

"Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus

I haven't actually heard this on the radio much because I live in an area that just got Gotye but this is still #1 on Billboard and #1 on Spotify and listening again, it still maintains that fresh, electric vibe that makes it so appealing. Above is a nice mash-up of the top two songs (according to "industry standards" pfft) in the country that also actually kind of works.

Next week...

There are other upcoming jams from Diplo / Charli XCX (by way of Spice Girls), Katy Perry, whose career, unlike her song title, may be really over, and MIKA, who I've never heard of, but cranked out a song about Ice Cream this week. It's summer! Ice Cream! Everyone likes Ice Cream. This song kind of blows. Stay tuned to see if "Old Town Road" is toppled!

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