24 June 2019

Summer Jam 2019 Week 7: He's Gone

We got a bunch of new jams and some very old ones this week all combining to make a perfect flurry of Summer Pop-ness. We're deep into June at this point and rounding the third-way Summer barrier. What song will we always remember as Independence Day 2019? Well, keep listening next week for that one, but for now here's what's hot:

Hot Jam of the Week: "Rodeo" by Lil Nas X ft. Cardi B

Okay, so it's fairly clear at this point that Lil Nas X isn't going to have another "Old Town Road." I hope he's good at saving his money. Throwing Cardi on this track is a no-brainer but also feels very 2018. Nas X dropped like three songs this week and they all suck pretty hard. "Rodeo" hits that Country / Hip-Hop vibe the best (some call it "hip-haw", which I like). This is actually kind of a cool jam but I wish he'd make something longer than two minutes.

"You Need to Calm Down" by Taylor Swift

Hey, Taylor. You know I've been a big fan for a while. What is this? Is it a gay rights anthem? Is it you squashing your random pop beefs that no one really cared about? There's something passive aggressive here - like telling someone to calm down has never had the effect of calming them down ever. Her lyrics of yesterday were so witty - this jam falls flat. I spent more time wondering when Taylor re-positioned herself as an LBGT icon than listening to this message, which is maybe a petty thing to do. I did like the Pop Queen Drag Show. Like most things, The Onion has the best take.

"Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish

This is still kicking it and it's clear that despite being a perennial runner-up to Lil Nas X in this moment, Eilish has enough pop grit in her to crank out some great songs for years to come. I did not realize how young she was, but there's a lot of punk in her pop that's new and refreshing and exciting. She just needs to break away and have a moment that's only hers.

"Cool" by Jonas Bros

Is this song actually cool? I kind of like it. It does seem like you're not really cool if you think you're cool. Billie Eilish is cool. I'm not sure the Jonas kids are. Props for them not turning out to be total weirdos and preserving, even maturing most of their early boy band sound into whatever this is. Good enough for me to sing their praises here.

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

Yep this is still around, still exists, but fading at this point. I think it's done a fair amount of damage so far to make a great claim, but we'll see how recency affects the latter two thirds of summer. Historically it's been tough for a May / June breakout hit to keep momentum through Labour Day. Keep those horses high!

"Happier" by Marshmello ft. Bastille

I told you we were going old. This song, which I'm sure your grandparents had fun dancing to, seemed to crop up a lot this week. And I'm at the point where I can totally sing it without thinking about it. How did that happen? It wormed its way into my brain. This is how seemingly innocuous pop takes over the world, people. It's scary.

"High Hopes" by Panic! At the Disco

Same with this song. I hate grammatically incorrect names like this and fun. Also that voice, jeez, man. This is terrible. But still everywhere, somehow increasing Hot 100 position and still on the radio everywhere. I'll switch to Spotify next week, I swear. Then this list is going to be full of Tyler the Creator and Lizzo. I should have looked closer this week.

"Glad He's Gone" by Tove Lo

This song was in my head all week and it got a video companion. I actually dig this a lot - it really hasn't done much damage on any kind of chart or for anyone who is not me, but I like the flow, the message, everything is good. Also nice to see Tove Lo have another hit. And by hit I mean song that I've heard. I don't think this has serious Summer Jam potential and we're probably throwing everything out of whack here, but who cares, this is cool.

Next week...

There is still Khalid and Normani tunes out there that I ignored this week. Aforementioned Tyler and Lizzo. Lots that could crop up. "Old Town Road" may not be as dead as I suggest, and no one else has really made a move for the throne yet. You just know Taylor wants to, though. Stay tuned to find out! This has been Norwegian Morning Wood, your definitive contemporary pop music source.

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