25 May 2020

2020 Summer Jam Week 3: Special Quarantine Edition!

Well, what's going on, now? We're still pretty quarantined, but loosening up restrictions a little bit. It's Memorial Day and time for beaches and pools to open up. It seems like we are doing so although there's no real indication that the virus is slowing down or anything or that it wouldn't come back immediately if like...we go back to what was causing it to spread. Never mind that shit, we got some hot salsa jams to get through!

Hot Jam of the Week: "Kings & QuaranQueens" by Ava Max

So this is really just "Kings & Queens" but it's a pretty good energetic pop track and I love a video that acknowledges the zeitgeist in a positive way. Ava Max is maybe underrated and this is a fun home video. We can do quite a bit at home, it's not a big deal. I'm into it. I hope this electric jam catches on and we have some fun this summer.

"Claws" by Charli XCX

Watching this just reminds me a lot of current Millennial tastes. It's purposefully kitschy, random and nihilist, since everything else in the world they've grown up in has been a chaotic disaster. It's actually pretty fun, with this grinding techno beat, chewing auto-tune and actually a nice positive drive. It's not popular or anything, but a nice diversion this week.

"Stuck with U" by Bieber and Ariana

We want to lean hardcore into quarantine this weekend and here's the capper song for everyone. It's not very good or memorable despite featuring two of the leading voices in pop music. But it's totally modern and has a nice ballad feel to it. I'm curious how much this stuff will last over the next few years. It's okay I guess.

"Supalonely" by Benee ft. Gus Dapperton

This also reeks of Millennial tastes, which is all fine. The song isn't all that memorable, but we can add being trapped at home making weird music to our list of generational standards. This song just broke and has been gaining some traction. The beat doesn't totally sync up with the lyrics or flow and could underline just about any song. Still, its nice.

"Watermelon Sugar" by Harry Styles

This song isn't that great, but it features a lot of Watermelon munching. How can you have a better summer jam than that?! Despite never listening to One Direction I tend to like Harry Styles, which might actually be related. This doesn't really do it for me, though. I wonder if my ears are starting to cave and all pop songs have become trite and interchangeable to me. No. It's the children who are wrong.

"Don't Start Now" by Dua Lipa

Dua has an early Summer Lead, but I'm thinking it might be cresting. Well, it should have crested quite a while ago, but I still dig it a lot. The big Disco ballad still gets me, though and as far as I'm concerned, this is her masterpiece. It still got plenty of references this week and is credible. Sort of. It may fade fast from here on out, but I also still enjoy it a lot so probably not.

"RITMO" by Black Eyed Peas ft. J. Balvin

"RITMO" feels very old but it's not, giving it a specific weird space to thrive in. It probably succeeds by re-purposing "Rhythm of the Night" by visionary generational voice will.i.am. Also apl.de.ap. Man the Black Eyed Peas blow. I'm giving it a lot of stock this week. It comes on and it's like, "oh, this song I haven't heard much, what is that all about!" but it's all a tired fallacy. Quarantine pop regurgitation! This song is terrible. I'm addicted.

"Blinding Lights" by the Weeknd

I was really struck this week but how good this track actually is. By the weekend, the Weeknd had me hooked. "In Your Eyes" is good, too and we highlighted that last week, but if he's going to have a run at this, he needs to consolidate his tracks. I'm not sure this fills summer ubiquity standards that will carry for the peak months of June and July, but this is in a good spot right now. I love the 80s throwback with a decidedly modern style. It's just fun as hell.

Next week...

I left a lot off this list. "Say So" is still a thing, as is the new Lady GaGa / Ariana Grande jam, but to be honest, I thought that track really sucked. That's a big collabo, though and we likely won't have heard the last of it. We put "Watermelon Sugar" on this list, but "Adore You" is still a thing as well. And Toosie Slide! Sorry, Drake.

18 May 2020

2020 Summer Jam Week 2: FOR THE MONEY!

Ahhh mid-May. A time where Summer's wave is just cresting, kids are graduating, the sun is squinting its eyes after a long sleep and the jams and movies are just heating up! Except this year. This year everything sucks! Hooray! We're kind of at a loss about jams right now. These are probably popular? What is going on? Who knows. We're all doomed. Let's listen to these slaps!

Hot Jam of the Week: Ludacris ft. Chance the Rapper

I don't think this song even has a name, or maybe it does but who knows right now. Ludacris dropped all these songs during an online instagram song that was supposed to feature Nelly, except he doesn't understand how to work a computer. Far from Tez, here. These songs may actually drop one day, but it's fitting to showcase a song that Luda apparently just had sitting around and felt like sharing during quarantine. It's an average song with an okay beat. Luda dropped a ton of unreleased songs on this show, none are very good, but I like the format of artists in quarantine just doing whatever they want.

"Toosie Slide" by Drake

This song is just kind of there, again. It's existing pretty hardcore right now. Like, it's fine, it'll get the job done, not a hot slide into the list, but not dominating anything. Great background music. In many ways, all music is background music. I put virtually no thought in adding it to this list, nor could I really recall the beat that well. Do I dislike Drake? I might.

"Adore You" by Harry Styles

I think I actually do like Harry Styles, though. This has been around for a while. For someone who spends nearly four months of the year writing a weekly pop music column I surprisingly don't pay attention to pop music. This has been around and I think I've kind of dug it without ever tuning into the specific modalities. Harry's good. He was in Dunkirk (2017). I didn't know he was so I just thought he was a good actor. This is a good track.

"In Your Eyes" by The Weeknd

Has anyone noticed The Weeknd cranking out tried and true bops recently? I guess he's just a really good artist. "Blinding Lights" is a little bit more popular right now but "In Your Eyes" is a lot hotter. He's got these funky synth rhythms that consolidate so many musical styles in one. I think it's actually generally accepted that The Weeknd is good and I'm maybe not saying anything new. I might as well be in 2012 with Kevin Garnett and Howard Ratner. I dig it.

"Level of Concern" by Twenty One Pilots

It's been a minute since we heard a crappy twenty one pilots song and this does a nice job of filling that out. I'm not sure it it was written pre-quarantine or what, but it's a nice nod for where we're at right now. It's actually a fantastically apt quarantine song. I'm curious how much more we're going to get by the time this crap is all over.

"RITMO" by Black Eyed Peas, J Balvin

The Black Eyed Peas made a bold choice by moving on without Fergie, but maybe no one cares? Or are they actually...better? The song has been rattling around in my head for a while now and I heard it a bunch this week, even though it's pretty old. Time no longer matters. This song is attached to Bad Boys 4 Life (2020) which could emerge as the #1 movie of 2020. Just think about that a little bit.

"Say So" by Doja Cat

I don't think this has actually been on the radio all that much, but it's still getting traction. What does it mean to be the #1 song in the country during quarantine? Is Doja Cat just the next Cardi B? Why can we have thousands of white boy crooners but only one black female rapper at a time and they are all instantly rivals? I love Doja Cat. This is a great song, it's accessible, interesting, and varied enough, floating from these ethereal vocals and then slamming down these harsher rap bars. It's all good.

"Don't Start Now" by Dua Lipa

Bounce to cool off that hot lava water! This has been stuck in my head for weeks. It gets the #1 spot in my brain this week. I resisted last week because it's so damn old, but I actually still like it a lot. I love how it descends into this funked out 70s beat and her grunts get all kinds of bonkers. It's great and Dua deserves a brighter spotlight.

Next week...

I left out "My Oh My" but instantly regret it. I have also been sort of kind of getting into "Supalonely" which feels like a weird Millennial video without much interesting merit, but it's surging in some popularity. Other than that, plenty of ancient songs to go around. I was thinking about GaGa's love song, but that never really took off, did it? Stay tuned, intrepid pop adventurers!

12 May 2020

2020 Summer Jam Week 1! LOCKED IN A BOX

Well, folks, it's that time of year again. It's the most glorious time of any year - it's Norwegian Morning Wood's SUMMER JAM COUNTDOWN! Each and every week we'll break down the hottest, spiciest, sauciest, sexiest jams to hit our earballs until one track is finally named the winner and champion of all 2020.

And how is Summer 2020 going so far? How about freaking terrible. We are still in quarantine lockdown due to Corona, everything is awful, and we're not getting nearly the kind of hot party jam exposure we need to. It's also a polar vortex and there's no superhero movies to watch. What kind of summer is this?!

Without further griping though, the Jams must go on. We will countdown eight hot tracks each and every week from now until Labour Day. And we're already off course because I forgot to write this yesterday. I absolutely 100% guarantee that the rest of the summer will go smooth. Corona is dead! Long live Sol!

Hot Jam of the Week: "Roses" by SAINt JHN (Imanbek Remix)

You know I sure as hell ain't spelling out the grammatical nightmoare of SAINt JHN every week. But this track dropped four years ago and didn't make many waves until this remix. See, all you need is some EDM fused sick beats and you got a banger on your hands. It's a bop for sure and maybe a little old and obscure, but those songs take some time to crawl up the charts. We'll see if it progresses. I hope not, just for the band's name.

"Don't Start Now" by Dua Lipa

Old but potent! I think my grandparents boogied to this back in their day. But it's still fresh somehow, maybe because we're not listening to music like we used to. Or just I'm not since I have no TV and no radio and don't really sit around listening to music alone. Dua Lipa has been around for a while now and has never quite seemed to reach diva level. Maybe it's her greater comfort with EDM beats like this instead of traditional pop ballads. This has hopefully elevated her and I love the "Don't stop caring-UHbout me now" and the Clapper.

"The Scotts" by Travis Scott, Kid Cudi

This is a few weeks old now, but time no longer has meaning in quarantine. Travis Scott is good but always in that unplaceable generic hip hop way. The beat is hot here, though, it's got a little twisted, melancholy bent but retains its edge. It's a fun song. We haven't heard Kid Cudi in a while, either. This could do well and has a decent 2020 pedigree but may remain in the background.

"Savage" by Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyonce

I heard this on the radio this week and was like "Oh, that's hot." I love hearing Beyonce swear. It's just fun. It's like hearing your mom swear. It's so rare. Megan Thee Stallion is a promising new act and it's great to have Queen Bey's blessing here. I feel like Beyonce rarely actually puts out songs, but when they do it's fire. It's a treat.

"My Oh My" by Camila Cabello ft. DaBaby

This is like if a telenovela was a song. It's awesome. It's trashy and catchy and beautiful. I have been touting Camila for years now and I hope this takes off this summer. Jeez, this dropped in February? Where have I been this year? Quarantine really does mess with your head. I feel like I heard this for the first time this week. Whatever, I'm down. Maybe being in isolation inside will extend some lifetimes.

"Blinding Lights" by the Weeknd

I guess we're actually all doing classic tracks now. I'm an old man now. This is our 10th year of this crap. This song is great, it feels simultaneously like Uncut Gems (2019) Weeknd and just a straight up synth 80s song. It's a good jam and one we can trip out to or bang out to this summer. Maybe, if it hasn't spent its last breath. We might as well be just covering all the gems from Spring 2020. Soundtrack of Quarantine. Soundtrack of our Lives.

"Toosie Slide" by Drake

Unpopular opinion - Drake isn't actually that good, he was just anointed as a cool rapper in like 2011 and never messed that up. He is was in Degrassi, ya'll. Go Raptors. Anyway, this somewhere between "God's Plan" and "Money in the Grave" and that's just fine. It's kind of like "Blinding Lights" in that it just sounds like any other song from the artist, but it's still good. It doesn't push his art anywhere. But it'll do.

"Say So" by Doja Cat ft. Nicki Minaj

Doja Cat has moved up quite a bit since "Mooo!" which we proudly showcased back in the day. Her softer vocals pair up well with the intensity of Nicki and we really just need a Cardi B remix to hit a strong female rapper trifecta. Also this gets the #1 spot because she apparently promised Nicki she'd show her boobs if it hit #1 on the Billboard charts. I don't think that will happen, but that's fun. Fun stuff. It's a good song, it could hang around a while more.

Next week...

Dua Lipa seems to be coming out with a song every few days, so that's a constant threat to jump on this countdown. It's going to be tough to be all ears for new music, but I guess it's actually no different than our typical search for new jams online. We'll be searching for the hottest, sweatiest, thirstiest jams out there. Or just put up this crap again, it's all good.
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