20 July 2020

Summer Jam 2020 Week 11: Vacation from Crap

We are barreling through the chaos now. I don't even know where to begin anymore. Everything is pretty bad all the time. I guess we can just listen to some hot summer jams to get funky fresh but what's the point? What's the point of any of this! Cataloging the Summer 2020 Summer Jam List has unearthed heady bits of existential drama over here. Let's dive in!

Hot Jam of the Week: "For the Night" by Pop Smoke ft. Lil Baby, DaBaby

Pop Smoke dropped an album and got like six songs in the Billboard Hot 100 this week. None are particularly good, maybe "The Woo." Juice WRLD is lighting up Spotify, but they aren't all that great, either. So, I'm sure I'll eat my words when these become big bangers, but I'm also struck by the fact that we're so decentralized that entire albums get charted because people are just streaming and listening to whatever they feel like listening to. It's amazing and democratizing and fantastic. Hell for distilling into a weekly list, but great for pop culture consumption.

"The Bigger Picture" by Lil Baby

This song found its way on a playlist of mine this week and although it's not really charting, streaming, or getting radio play, it also feels very much like a song of our time and I enjoy it quite a bit. It's a good jam, too. We're at such a point where we don't know how to react anymore and the art that emerges from quarantine and racial struggle ought to get some more recognition. The way Lil Baby says "We've had a hell of a year" sums it up. We certainly have.

"Say So" by Doja Cat

We're doing a hardcore "Remember the Summer" edition this week, not in small part because we seemed to hear a little bit of everything over the last few days. In the life of a pop song I think we're beyond the initial freshness, beyond the initial staleness, and then into the "Oh yeah, this jam is a jam" part of jam life. "Say So" is all in that. It's still a very funky song that we enjoy.

"Blinding Lights"by The Weeknd

Surely we are forming some kind of Summer 2020 with some of the jams this week. I still don't really believe Summer 2020 will be known for its music, but these are all emblematic of the Soundtrack to Living in Our Homes. I also generally like all these songs. With a gap of anything really ubiquitous, this is the default. Funky 80s style with some fresh rivets.

"Rain on Me" by Lady GaGa ft. Ariana Grande

I heard this this week and kind of didn't hate it, even longed for it a little bit. It still seems like an underperformance considering the talent invovled but it's maybe not totally terrible. I don't know where Lady GaGa finds herself. I am an obvi stan but she seems inexorably tied to her early 2009 pop success and daring fashion statements rather than the lasting diva she should be. Maybe I'm way off base, especially for a fan. I'm saying I wanted this song to be better rather than a clubthumper that could have been done by any starlet out there.

"ROCKSTAR" by DaBaby ft. Roddy Rich

This is maybe pretty much over, but it still earns a place here. I'm not tooootally sick of it, just getting there. It's still doing well chart-wise and at this point, has done well to cement itself as a strong contender. At least at this point I don't feel like any other song really sums up 2020. At the same time, it feels so small, right? No one is singing "Rockstar" in the streets. We'll see how we keep progressing.

"Break My Heart" by Dua Lipa

After a few weeks off, Dua Lipa is back with a song we heard a ton a while ago but not much since. I dig this track a lot, it might be my favorite Dua Lipa to be honest. She has splintered her jams this summer, though, and I worry that she won't contend for the crown since no one song has been dominant. This apparently still has some life in it, though. Could be something.

"Toosie Slide" by Drake

Drake is just the default of like, the decade. I don't think he's especially great - he's definitely good, but should he dominate the way he does? Not really. Like Dua Lipa, after a few weeks in the shadows, this track came back in a big way this week, and I found myself humming it quite a bit. It's fine. It's a fine song.

Next week...

I'm not sure "Toosie Slide" should be #1. But this is where we're at. I'm curious about the track Kanye dropped as he dropped out of the Presidential race. Perhaps he realized it's actually a hard job that requires geopolitical knowledge? Or not, who cares. Any of those Juice WRLD or Pop Smoke tracks might catch on. But the same as Dua Lipa's multiple hits, when you have five or six contenders, it's hard for any one song to stand out and become THE notable song. Keep truckin!

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