31 August 2020

Summer Jam 2020 Week 17: ThE eNd! jk

 This is a bizarre feeling. We generally count Summer Jams in 17-week intervals. It's a nice, round number and it's the way this has always been done! For ten stupid years! But Summer 2020 is a different beast all together. Labour Day is late and we have 18 glorious weeks. What could this mean? Will one of these late breaking jams have the chance to usurp the presumptive favourites?! Stay tuned, loyal believers!

Hot Jam of the Week: "Out of Sight" by Run the Jewels ft. 2 Chainz

This vid had a lot of hype this week and it's a pretty solid track. I dig IV quite a bit, similar to II when I didn't think III was as great. Anyway, it's hard to tell if this was a COVID video. El-P and Killer Mike don't appear in person (sort of), but there's certainly people here. We are in a weird age. I dig this, though. I don't expect it to break into total mainstream, as no RTJ has really done that besides "Legend Has It" (RIP Chadwick).

"Smile" by Katy Perry

This song is neither good nor popular, but I feel like I heard it a lot this week, so here we are. I have enjoyed Katy Perry less over time. Like each song seems thirstier than the last. She crossed the stream into irrelevance so slowly it was surprising the day we all woke up and no longer cared about her. I dunno, this is sort of catchy. I literally also heard "California Gurls" on the radio today and thought of ghosts of Summer Jams past. Very different times!

"Midnight Sky" by Miley Cyrus

We're having a bit of a diva week this week. This was another track that I just heard a lot this week, and our stated goal is capturing the zeitgeist week to week. It feels pretty fresh and certainly very Week 17 of Summer 2020. It's not all that memorable or significant and far from her best efforts (this is all a familiar refrain) but again, it's not totally offensive to the ears. This and more ringing endorsements to come.

"F2020" by Avenue Beat

Are they a band? I dunno. I still dig this and it is assuredly the most 2020 song ever. An ode to holy crap this year sucks so much. Seriously, we have another black man shot in Kenosha, Black Panther is dead, we have no hope for anything. I do need to stop listening to this. It makes me hella more depressed.

"Rain on Me" by GaGa and Ariana

You know, "Rain on Me" keeps sneaking up this summer. I always feel like it's something that's on the fringe, but then I cave and throw it in the mix. It's outpaced songs like "Toosie Slide" and "Intentions" at this point, which I think of as being here each and every week. When all is said and done this may very well make an impact. I still don't think it's particularly good. Summer Jams always elude GaGa. Is it "I'd rather be drunk but at least I'm alive"? That is pretty 2020.

"Mood" by 24kGoldn ft. Iann Dior

I dig this track the more I listen to it. It's maybe not that big of a deal or anything but again, it's very much a Week 17 song. Shut up, I know "Rockstar" is still popular. This is fun, though, even if the beat doesn't quite match the lyrics. I can get behind it. We don't all need to be depressed all the time. I'm looking at you, "Wishing Well"!

"cardigan" by Taylor Swift

Fart Again! At this point Taylor and WAP are so far ahead of everyone else. This is the kind of classic summer battle we should have gotten weeks ago! They're so polar opposite, too. I'm very excited to see a run like this at the crown, their weeks aren't that significant but damn the potency. Honestly, this summer was really craving that singular dominant song and we finally got it spilling into Autumn. It'll be a Washington Football Team Summer for sure.

"WAP" by Megan and Cardi

Okay, I don't know which remix to put here! We did Dire Dire Docks right? This Nickelback is so clunky, it's kind of awesome. I clearly love it. "WAP" is everywhere, it's the kind of bonkers song, video, concept, and stars that elevate it beyond anything else in the zeitgeist. This is a good run at things and we'll see where it is at the end of the Summer and if it did enough to surge to the top. Do kids listen to this? Is it allowed on the radio? What do people do?

Next week...

Oh, who knows. It'll be a showdown - "Blinding Lights", "Watermelon Sugar", or "Rockstar" could all win it, while "cardigan" and "WAP" will make some significant dents if they continue their dominance. If any track gets in it'll make significant waves. I just need to be completely unbiased. Totally. We'll see if any other wacky songs show up to ruin everyone's day.

24 August 2020

Summer Jam Week 16: Almost There

 We are heading towards an uncertain Autumn. As we weight the fate of our nation, the Post Office, and College Football, let's take a moment to reflect on the Summer of 2020. We are almost there - but the one great thing about Summer 2020 is that we have an unprecedented 18 weeks instead of the usual 17. It's truly freaking me out. So instead of the penultimate week, we're dragging this bastard out. Here we go!

Hot Jam of the Week: "The Plan (From the Motion Picture TENET)" by Travis Scott

To be clear, this isn't very good at all, and also has an awkward title. Oh, I'm quite sure we're not supposed to include "From the Motion Picture TENET" but that's totally how it's listed on YouTube and Spotify. You did this, Christopher Nolan. Maybe this would have been cool if the movie had actually come out this week. Is it still coming out? Sort of? Kind of? We have got to do better than Bad Boys For Life (2020) being the high mark of the year. I can totally get behind the irony of marketing roll-outs that have been completely upended due to COVID-19. Let's get some TENET!

"Mood" by 24kGoldn ft. Iann Dorr

I listened to this the other week and it's an okay song. It's kind of fun. Mildly popular. We've had so many spur of the moment surges of songs this week. I think we're so decentralized that we get these flare-ups from time to time of popular tracks that can't really catch on nationwide all at the same time. Folks are just listening to their own thing. It's a fantastic time to cater to everyone's tastes. A little tougher for shared zeitgeist. I like this one.

"death bed (coffee for your head)" by Powfu

This song is still a thing and while it's not quite as impactful or interesting at this point, it's still a charming track when it comes on Spotify. I never get modern radio here. It's probably still a big song. It feels very unique and calming during a summer where everything is hellish chaos all the time. I can dig it for a while to come.

"Laugh Now Cry Later" by Drake

I mean, whatever. Drake is always known for being cool, but I think this is the first time where the seams are really showing where he's trying to be cool instead of just being cool. And there's nothing less cool than trying to be cool. It's rough waters, especially because we should know that playing the cripple kid on Degrassi does make you cool. This song is popular. It's fine. It's background. It doesn't arrest my heart!

"Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd

I mean...this song is long lover, but I still heard it, it's still charting well, and I still like it. So here it is! A late gain is crucial for The Weeknd's first serious foray into Summer Jam Kingliness. He's got a decent shot because of longevity here. And it's a genuine bop, more so than a lot of other jams this summer.

"Watermelon Sugar" by Harry Styles

Somehow we can't keep Harry Styles down. I never think this song is coming back, and then it does! I may be overjudging it - that is, it's sincerely possible that this song seems like it's omnipresent more than it actually has been this summer when you look at the whole list at the end of all things. But isn't that in itself the sign of a great jam? Does anyone read this? These are the questions that keep me up at night during thunderstorms and Double Hurricanes.

"WAP" by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion

This is still a big, notable song that has taken the country by storm. It's bizarre and kitschy and has a level of cheap 2020 CGI that I can't tell if it's an attractive stylistic choice or just cheap. It's aggressive and sexy, though, and truly the song we need right now. We'll see if this streak catapults it to the top, it's got two weeks left and the summer's been pretty starved of hits. Maybe they were timing it with College kids back in the fall, but we deserved this in mid-July!

"cardigan" by Taylor Swift

I love that these songs are dueling now. It's just spectacular. Again, this is the kind of classic summer match-up we've been waiting sixteen weeks to see! This earns the top spot this week, but that could flip a little bit before we're through. I just want all the sad right now. Like "WAP" this could do some damage late in the game in the absence of a clear summer favourite. We'll probably regret whoever we end up crowning this year.

Next week...

Katy Perry seems to keep trying to do something. None of it is very good. Dua Lipa also seems to be trying to capitalize on having a pretty good summer by dropping a lot of new music constantly. At this point no new song is really going to contend for a title, but we're always curious about late-breaking tunes. We're almost out of this, folks!

17 August 2020

Summer Jam 2020 Week 15: We're Still Doing This!

 This summer just won't end. Usually that's a good, amazing, wonderful thing! This is hell. Hell, baby! We've got some hellishly smokin' red hot jams for your earholes today you fat fucks! It's time to kick things up a notch. We're real fresh this week. Hot salmon in the sun. Fresh and pink. We are...we are, we are really something here. Okay. Here we go:

Hot Jam of the Week: "Laugh Now Cry Later"

This is such...not that great of a song. Also just a straight up Nike commercial? Drake looks like he's gained some weight. He's starting to get DJ Khaled vibes. Maybe it's muscle. He certainly seems like he wants to be an athlete. This article summed up a lot of feelings better than I can. He's just making memes now. Corporate, safe memes. And coasting off being the top rapper for the last decade. This could be a big song. It's so mellow, though and just not really seizing a moment. Whatever, that's Drake.

"F2020" by Avenue Beat

Okay, I still like this a lot and we shared it this week, but it's definitely not a notable track at all. I really dig it and it's so of our zeitgeist it's sickening. I could listen to it forever, it's such a peak of anger, sadness, melancholy, and rage. Also all true. This year is awful. Has anyone noticed that every year is awful? We're just living in pretty awful times, people. Everything sucks. At least we have hot jams.

"Malibu" by Kim Petras

This was a close hot jam of the week. She appeared on Kimmel, not hosted by Kimmel this week, but she's a rising star this summer. This is totally innocuous forgettable pop, but I'm sure that's what some people need right now. I feel like everyone sings about Malibu. We just had that line in "Roxanne" from Arizona Zervas. I guess it can be in more than one song. Also, screw singing about a place known for beautiful elitism right now. I'm all sour. I hope Petras has a great career.

"Who's Laughing Now" by Ava Max

Listen, I know I'm an unashamed and disporportionate Ava Max fan, but she's having a good breakout summer and I dig this track. Totally undeserving of so high a position but this week is also turning into a girl power pop week so let's go with it. I am so on board with this. She's clearly splitting the summer, though, which will only hurt her songs in the long run. That's okay, she wasn't quite going to win the crown...YET!

"Wishing Well" by Juice WRLD

This track has a lost a bit of its first bite but still hits pretty hard. As we have young people unexpectedly going back to classes this week, mostly as everything falls apart and everything sucks and everyone is diseased, let's get some mental health aid! It's really quite powerful. Yeah, it's not really the pulpy bop some of the other jams are this week. It's still a good track.

"Watermelon Sugar" by Harry Styles

Sure. Break up the girl party, Harry. This was somehow the #1 song on Billboard this week and did well on Spotify. Alright. I didn't really hear it but I also live in the middle of no where. He's had a good summer and could do well on longevity at this point. It is a good song as well. HIGH.

"cardigan" by Taylor Swift

This song is great. It's really wormed its way into my life at this point. It's not quite the giant it was last week, but still very much a presence. I had the thought this week that it's also unfortunately a huge missed opportunity that not once in this whole track did Tay Sway rhyme "cardigan" with "fart again" which is incredibly disappointing. We need a "fart again" parody. I will make that. These beans made me fart again. This stuff writes itself, it's all gold, Jerry. Gold.

"WAP" by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion

Obvi #1 this week. Like, no contest. This is a huge track and could surge for the last few weeks of summer. I think these women heard "cardigan" and then tried to make the exact opposite song. What does it say about me then that I love both these tracks? This should have dropped mid-July. Summer was up for grabs! It's nice to see that Cardi had more than Summer 2018 in her. Oh, and I just put it together this week that the title stands for "Wet Ass Pussy." Hell yeah.

Next week...

There were quite a few high profile awful songs this week. Kesha, Omarion, Billie Eilish, and Dua Lipa (ft. Missy Elliott and Madonna?!) all dropped new jams this week. Lupe Fiasco is also doing something. Cool, none of it is that great and nothing really caught my ear or our culture in a significant way. Having said that, they could all be here next week as summer descends into chaos.

10 August 2020

Summer Jam 2020 Week 14: A Good Week

 This week's title, by the way, refers completely and utterly to the quality of music this week. We're definitely not having a good week. Or Month or Year or pretty much lifetime at this point. But there were a slew of good, refreshing jams that hit our ears this week that we'd like to take a moment to share with you. It's a wonderful time to have ears.

Hot Jam of the Week: "WAP" by Cardi B ft. Megan Thee Stallion

There were some contenders this week but when a track and a video like "WAP" comes along it clearly dominates everything. I used to listen to "There's some ho's in this house" in college - ha! Of course I did. This is an ass-filled video for sure. I don't understand some of the cameos - the beat completely drops when Kylie Jenner shows up but she doesn't really do anything. Everyone else seems to get a lot of long luxurious camera gazes, but I didn't recognize anyone except maybe Normani? That's more my problem. See, I'm an old man now. I am really curious if this is a Corona-era video. A lot of it looks clearly green-screened, but Cardi and Megan seem to be together. It wears its sexiness on one sleeve and a high degree of doofiness on the other, and makes for an altogether fun video. We'll see if it gets any radio play...

"WHATS POPPIN" by Jack Harlow ft. DaBaby, Tory Lanez, and Lil Wayne

This song isn't really great and sounds like a lot of contemporary rap that all sounds the same but is somehow incredibly popular. Perhaps that's why - we have more imitators than innovators. Or I'm just old and my ears can no longer distinguish new music. Anyway, this is popular, I saw it in quite a few places but haven't really heard it much. So here it is.

"F2020" by Avenue Beat

Finally, finally we have the perfect Summer 2020 song. Fuck this year. This is brilliant in every way and I love it. It sums up so many feelings. I've been searching for a song that really captures our current zeitgeist because it's been so stressful and horrible and we haven't quite had enough time for art to react yet. This is perfect, though. I did hear it on the radio, which is great and we'll see if this just becomes the anthem for the entire year. It's a song everyone can agree with when it drops.

"Say So" by Doja Cat

"Say So" was on my mind again this week. I heard it a few times and it's still a good song. It's perhaps out of its limelight at this point but this was at least a great summer for the rest of the world to learn who Doja Cat is. She may not have been able to enjoy it too much. This isn't really on the hot list anymore, but it snuck up on me again. I dig it.

"Intentions" by Bieber ft. Quavo

We've underrated Bieber at this point. I mean, as a widely popular artist that churns out consistent summer jams year after year. I think we still don't really like his twerpy kid-ness or his general douchery. This song is still pretty clever and it popped up again in my life this week. I heard it all the time. It's...fine. I'm not that huge of a fan and it's exceedingly safe, but whatever. It exists and at this point is as much of a contender as anyone.

"Rockstar" by DaBaby ft. Roddy Rich

This song somehow is still churning it out but may be cresting its popularity. Oh, who knows, I said that last week. I can still get behind it, especially with insanely tight remixes like the one linked above. I really hope someone out there is desperately searching for this song and has to use the above link. Why would you go to Norwegian Morning Wood ahead of YouTube? Well, dear reader, you tell me! You're here! Haha!

"death bed (coffee for your head)" by Powfu

This is the biggest earworm of the year. It just nestles in your head and never lets go. I always think of it when I bring my fiance some coffee in her bed for her head. It's cute and sweet and a little sad and very 2020. It's an elusive search! We like it. It's a song whose beat actually fits its low energy white boy half-rapping. It's very fulfilling.

"Cardigan" by Taylor Swift

That's right! We did it! Combination of freshness, sadness, rising popularity, artistic clout. It's number one, baby! I don't think this will lead us out of summer or anything, but it ought to clear a good path these last few weeks. These are the last weeks of our lives, people. I even heard "Betty" on a country station. Somehow I think Taylor is back in a big way. Good for her!

Next week...

I dug a few more new songs - Lupe Fiasco's "SHOES" although it has too much talking breaks. "Smile" by Juice WRLD did well streaming, and "Wishing Well" is still a thing. That and Dua Lipa / Weeknd, all proper 2020 artists. We're getting into the last few weeks now, folks. There are only four more weeks left. Wait...18 weeks?! Summer is supposed to be 17 weeks! Thanks to a Super Late Labour Day we get an extra week this year?! I am just learning about this. It's anybody's game now, boi!!

05 August 2020

Summer Jam 2020 Week 13: Return to the Prairie

When this summer first started I don't think I got a post off until Tuesday and subsequently remarked that there would likely be all sorts of delays as we moved forward. I've largely avoided that! Until this week. Sorry. Here's your super-special Wednesday Edition of the Last Summer of Our Lives:

Hot Jam of the Week: "Who's Laughing Now" by Ava Max

Alright, I actually love Ava Max. This isn't quite "Sweet but Pyscho" or "Kings and Queens" or even "So Am I" but it's still a pretty fun track. She dropped her somehow debut album this past week and deserves a highlight. I'd like to see her keep on rising although I constantly feel like I'm the only fan. That's fine. Her time will come. Remember 2018 Lizzo?

This song has flirted with the list this whole summer and although I'm generally not a huge fan, it has gotten familiar enough that when I heard it again this week I wanted to give it a highlight. I just feel like they couldn't have seen this summer coming and this someone comes off as so not of our times. Maybe that's good for the long run. I think more that this will be forgotten forever. Maybe it earned a few weeks but certainly not the points it'll need to contend.

This hasn't quite taken off yet, but it's truly a fantastic song the more I hear it and I think it deserves its moment. It's very un-Taylor, or at least what she has been recently, but that works in her favor. We'll keep an eye on this because I think it's primed wonderfully for a late season surge, but it hasn't quite caught yet. Keep working, Taylor!

This track drops a bit from last week, but is still a thing in my life and I reflect on the lyrics more and more each time I hear it. My soul just craves traumatic bummer songs in Summer 2020 and this does a great job of it. I just picked up the "Killing me softly; Lauryn Hill" line. It's solid. It's not quite making a race to the top at this point as we move into the endgame, but it's still solid.

The Weeknd has come up with plenty of follow-ups since this track, but it remains the OG. It's been on and off a little bit this summer, but earns a pretty strong position this week from making it to the point of its lifetime where everyone can sing along to it and get excited when it comes on. You know...at all those parties this summer.

This is perhaps the most underrated song of the summer, but it's also generally everywhere and everyone knows it. So let it happen! So depressing yet so uplifting at the same time. I am well past my hesitancy from early on in the season. It may not be crowned Queen, but has presented a solid case for itself at this point.

The Summer King apparent, this song has gotten more radio play and it's sincerely grown on me by this point. It's so contemplative and intriguing and enveloping, it pushes its genre to a new art form. Maybe that's hyperbole, but I like it. I found myself singing it quite a bit this week and at this point it doesn't show much sign of slowing, especially because it seems like radio has finally caught up with streaming.

At this point should we be talking about "Watermelon Sugar" as a legit contender? It's got a few winning weekends under its belt at this point. It's possible, as competition is still wide open at this point. It's also blatantly summery. It's not quite 2020 summery, but it ought to earn some serious consideration right now.

Next week...

At this point this crop of songs are pretty finalized. Katy Perry had some new tracks, but they're all garbage. I was thinking about Drake, who really seems to have faded down the stretch. There is always "The Woo" or more Ava or Taylor or Dua waiting in the wings. All have some potential. We're into August now, people - these months are CRITICAL! WHO WILL BE CROWNED FINAL JAM ROYALTY!
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