09 September 2019

Summer Jam 2019...A Champion Once Again Crowned!

Ladies and Gentleman, another Season of Summer has come and gone. As we've done for the past nine years for some reason, we've tracked, tallied, and ranked every Hot Jam that blasted across our eardrums for seventeen glorious weeks. Now, here at the end of all things, comes the time to assess what we have wrought. It's time to see who will join this illustrious list of SUMMER JAM ROYALTY!

Past Winners:

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
2018: "Never Be the Same" by Camila Cabello

I hate so many of these songs. But that's not for us to decide. We charted a total of 57 Jams this summer. Most are pretty good. Here's #9 - 16, the near cream-of-the-crop that just made the cut in this, our FINAL Summer Jam List:

"The London" by Young Thug ft. J. Cole & Travis Scott
"Money in the Grave" by Drake ft. Rick Ross
"Never Really Over" by Katy Perry
"Cool" by Jonas Bros
"WOW" by Post Malone
"ME!" by Taylor Swift ft. Brendan Urie
"Glad He's Gone" by Toe Lo
"Talk" by Khalid

Alright. Now let's dive in to the real hot stuff:

#8: "Sweet But Psycho" by Ava Max

Weeks on List: 5
First Week: 05/20 (#1)
Last Week: 08/05 (#7)
Peak Position: #1 (05/20)
Average Position: 4.60

This is the official Underrated Song of Summer. It's so listenable and hummable and got in my head so damn easy all summer. It didn't necessarily destroy the charts, but stuck around for two and a half months and hit #1 early on. It will always remind me of a few moments this summer and that's what it's all about. Ava Max is pretty new to the scene, and this kind of dance-pop is decently derivative, but she's got some pipes to rise above the nonsense.

#7: "Dancing with a Stranger" by Sam Smith & Normani

Weeks on List: 4
First Week: 05/27 (#4)
Last Week: 06/17 (#2)
Peak Position: #2 (06/03, 06/17)
Average Position: 3.25

This song was surprisingly only present for four consecutive weeks in May and June, but earned enough points to gain the #7 spot overall. It came in second place twice and never dipped that low. Still, this felt like a consistent song this summer, and narrowly missed out on hopping back into relevancy. It was a consistent depth player this summer and this feels like a natural spot for it. It's seductive, fun, sexy, and salacious. It also was a great leap forward for Normani's career.

#6: "You Need to Calm Down" by Taylor Swift

Weeks on List: 7
First Week: 06/24 (#7)
Last Week: 09/02 (#2)
Peak Position: #2 (0708, 07/22, 08/12, 09/02)
Average Position: 3.17

I sense that I'll always be torn by this song. Its pro-tolerance message ostensibly shields it from any criticism, but it's also definitely a co-option of the LBGT rights movement to fuel both Taylor Swift's personal hater issues and general trolling of female pop queens on the Internet. It's a lot at once but also pretty catchy, but also with a good message at heart. It's just harder and harder to see through Tay Tay's ego these days, even if she's still a master lyricist. This relatively late-breaking jam never hit the #1 spot, but surprisingly had four separate instances at #2, the most of any song this summer.

#5: "I Don't Care" by Bieber and Sheeran

Weeks on List: 8
First Week: 05/20 (#7)
Last Week: 07/29 (#4)
Peak Position: #1 (07/22)
Average Position: 3.63

This was an early contender and held pretty strong through sheer longevity. It did crack the #1 spot in late July, but mostly hung around the middle of the countdown, at one point for five consecutive weeks. At eight total weeks it is actually the fourth most of any song here. Again, I really hated this song. It grated on me after a while. I also think there's something somehow even more shallow when mega-stars team up for a really cheap meme video. It's people just not understand what makes memes funny, and also just seems unfair compared to the folks out there struggling to put out the same quality work. Whatever, it was a jam.

#4: "Señorita" by Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes

Weeks on List: 7
First Week: 07/08 (#3)
Last Week: 09/02 (#3)
Peak Position: #1 (07/29, 08/19)
Average Position: 2.83

Some songs get credit for longevity, this one was all about potency. It is the latest breaking song that still made the Top 8, and had the second-highest average position of any track. If it had debuted a few weeks earlier it would have made a legit run at the Top Three. It's still a fun song to listen to. Camila follows up her 2018 Queen Status with a still impressive showing here. It's also notable that it bowed out at the exact position it came in at, but that's more a cause of running out of weeks rather than anything else.

#3: "Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish

Weeks on List: 10
First Week: 05/20 (#4)
Last Week: 09/02 (#6)
Peak Position: #2 (05/27, 06/10, 08/26)
Average Position: 3.89

I was surprised that this ended up in the #3 spot after seemingly spending this entire summer in the #2 spot, but it did have a big break about mid-way through. After six straight weeks during May and June it fell off for a while, but like "Dancing with a Stranger", always seemed on the periphery. Billie Eilish is the freshest new voice in a while and this is an extremely dynamic, unique song. It came back strong in a post "Old Town Road" world at the end of summer that clinched its #3 slot, but also notable for being ranked so high while never hitting #1. This will definitely always be known as the Summer Billie Eilish debuted, though.

#2: "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo

Weeks on List: 10
First Week: 07/01 (#4)
Last Week: 09/02 (#1)
Peak Position: #1 (07/15, 08/26, 09/02)
Average Position: 3.00

What can I say about this? All 10 weeks on the List were back to back. It exploded on the Fourth of July and stayed strong through Labor Day. This song was a little old so I hesitated with it at first, which means it could have racked up even more points. It's still an amazing song to listen to - I'm getting jacked up right now cranking out her jams. Lizzo had a string of hits last year, and even charted, but 2019 is DEFINITELY the year of mainstream Lizzo. It's awesome. She closed out the year with the #1 spot in the last two weeks of summer and earned the second-most #1 spots of any song on this list.

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

Weeks on List: 13
First Week: 05/13 (#4)
Last Week: 08/12 (#6)
Peak Position: #1 (05/27, 06/03, 06/10, 07/01, 07/08, 08/05)
Average Position: 2.54

Yep. You could have seen this coming. Not only was this the top song of this summer, this was the top song of ANY summer. We haven't had a jam track for 13 weeks since Iggy Azalea and Robin Thicke both pulled off the feat in 2014 and 2013 respectively. Neither hit six weeks at #1. Under our modern points system we've also NEVER seen a victory by this much. "Old Town Road" beat "Truth Hurts" by 22. Prior to this we had had "Shut Up and Dance" by 16 and "Blurred Lines" by 14, but that's about it. In 2011 "Party Rock Anthem" had 14 weeks on the charts, but only four at #1. The only historical jam that can beat it is the absolute dominance of's 2010 "California Gurls", which had 15 weeks on the Winner's List, including six #1 spots IN A ROW. 2010 was nuts. Lol, remember Taio Cruz?

We have seen a tremendous amount of parity lately, though. It wasn't crazy for a lot of previous Summer Jams to skirt by with only a slight edge above their competitor. 2018 and 2016 were particularly close without a real definitive summer jam. I even still question "Shut Up and Dance" because I feel like no one cares about that anymore, but not in a "Call Me Maybe" no one cares anymore kind of way.

"Old Town Road" is for sure a special song. Not only is it a meld of hip-hop and country on the border of creating its own genre, but its distribution, promotion, and success completely fueled by social media is not so much unprecedented, but its mainstream recognition is. There are plenty of songs on Tik Tok. What made this stand out will surely lead to imitators for years. Constant remakes gave it continued life all summer, even if its peak freshness was probably in the Spring.

Its stats speak for itself. It appeared for nine straight weeks to start off summer, including three at #1 in the peak of early July. After taking one week off, it returned for four straight weeks before finally running out of gas in mid-August. Its run was near perfect. It ate up the meaty heart of summer and never looked back. 2019 will surely always be the Summer, nay the year of "Old Town Road." Congrats.

Next year...

If you're someone who actually follows this weekly column, it's no surprise that it wore on me this year. I was usually late or busy or half-assed. I still really do love doing this, though. Even though we have unofficially tracked since 2007, I first really got into thinking this way in 2008. Since this blog started in June 2009, we didn't actually officially start tracking week by week until Summer 2010. While that technically makes this the 10th iteration, I think Summer 2020 will be a nice final year for this madness. Ten solid years of Summer Jam. That's more than any individual has done ever. So, stay tuned next year, folks! It'll be our last!

02 September 2019

Summer Jam 2019 Week 17: That's It!

Here we are folks. Labor Day. It's the End of Summer and thus, the end of all good things in the world for at least the next nine months. It's always bittersweet. Or just completely bitter. I hate this. BUT we also get to tally up our jams and dedicate our brand new SUMMER JAM ROYALTY! Who will it be?! We'll put one more week in the books then figure this shit out!

Hot Jam of the Week: "Babushka Boi" by A$AP Rocky

I love ASAP Rocky and this song is awesome. It's a Dick Tracy homage for some reason but has a biting beat to go along with ASAP's reliable vocals. Sure he's had some legal issues lately, but I found myself not caring at all about that during this song. The video is also brutal and I'm not sure actually shows an intricate good lesson by the end. It's more insanely indulgent and relishing criminality. Dat beat tho.

"Graduation" by Benny Blanco, Juice WRLD

I like all at once this spin on the graduation song, the blase attitude, and the interstitials, which are hilarious and brutal, and totally feel as if they're coming from some show we failed to watch. Could this be a Summer Jam candidate! No, shut up. It's totally mis-timed with the beginning of school instead of the end, but I would like this to play at mine.

"Bad Guy" by Billie Eilish

Yep, Billie made it to the end here. This is a marvelous feat! Her time at the Top of the Billboard charts ended up being short-lived but I think she has a great career ahead of her. The song isn't really grating yet and she's also cranked out some comparably good tunes. This definitely established itself as a notable Summer Jam and will surely rank high once we tally everything together.

"Lover" by Taylor Swift

So, Taylor dropped one of her most mature songs ever, which is amazing. She seems to be less focused on pouty break-up tracks (which to be fair, she excelled at), and more about consistent, thoughtful reflection. I'm not sure this a totally radio-friendly pop ballad, but it is pretty great. Much too late for Summer Jam status, but a lovely number to waltz around the house.

"The London" by Young Thug ft. J. Cole & Travis Scott

"The London" has been on and off this list all summer, sometimes creeping just beyond the edges, but always a pretty great jam. It gets one more push this week since it's in fact pretty fun, spectacular, and tight flow. Good beats. It's got a tight flow. The flow is tight. I may have just had a stroke. It's a cool song.

Senorita" by Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello

These two are dating, I guess? Sounds good. It's sexy. They're sexy. This is your new Billboard #1, and although that distinction is a little late, it still felt fun and fresh enough this week to earn a spot here. Camila's not quite having the breakout year she did in 2018 but this will end with great overall rankings.

"You Need to Calm Down" by Taylor Swift

This ended up being a pretty notable track this summer and it finishes well. It's stayed in the zeitgeist for a long while and by this point its memorable lyrics are sing-a-longable and I can maybe get past the movement co-option and personal shade and relish in the message of acceptance. Taylor notches two on the countdown this week and actually ends with a damned decent summer.

"Truth Hurts" by Lizzo

For all my hand-wringing about this track being a little old to start summer, we were obsessed with it this weekend and just made it our constant jam. Lizzo is actually having an amazing run at the top and surged like crazy these last few weeks. It's not a legit contender and probably deserves more status than it will eventually get.

Next day...

We'll tally this shit up! Who will be crowned... SUMMER JAM CHAMPION?! Stay tuned, folks!
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