Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Jams

The "Song of the Summer" is a concept as ethereal as it is ephemeral. In theory, it is the one tune that different stripes of people all over are jamming out to that summer, which somehow encapsulates the zeitgeist of the time and, in the future, will conjure up memories of whatever it was you were doing during those steamy months. There are disbelievers out there who will deny that the Song of the Summer actually exists or who will perhaps argue that, in the past there may have been such a thing, but the Song of the Summer as an institution is now dead due to the fragmentation of musical tastes, the general crappiness of the music being churned out these days, etc.

My personal experience with the Song of the Summer has been fairly limited I guess. But I can remember a few occasions when, probably in August, I've been in a club somewhere (I go to clubs?! Sure....) and a song came on. Maybe the song had become ubiquitous to the point where it bordered on annoying. Or maybe I had somehow managed to only hear it a couple of times up until then, and on those occasions although it had barely registered for me I was at the same time slightly intrigued. So anyway, now it's August and I'm in that hypothetical club and I'm like "it's that song again" and even if I'd thought I was bored with it I suddenly realize that I am in the presence of the Song of the Summer and so I get swept up in the moment and really enjoy it.

Of course, I can't actually name any of these songs now. I want to say that "Paper Planes" by MIA was the song of a couple of summers ago (or was that last summer? I think it depends on who you're talking to), and I also want to say that "SOS" by Rihanna or maybe "Shut up and Drive" – one of those – was once the Song of the Summer. Or is it just that I really like Rihanna? Whatever, mine is a personal relationship to the Song of the Summer.

So what is all this a lead up to me announcing what the Song of this particular Summer is? Hell no; I'm so out of the popular music loop it's not even funny. But, there are a couple of songs that came to my attention lately which I've been enjoying and which I wanted to share. Before I do so however I should probably repeat that I am NOT claiming that either of these are serious contenders for SotS.

First up is this song "Make Her Say" by Kid Cudi (whose producer is Kanye West) and featuring Kanye and Common. The hook is very catchy and the video has lots of pretty colors. Word is maybe still out for me on whether this kid can really rap (Kanye and Common's parts are way better), but I still like the song. Watch the video but BE WARNED that (a) its subject matter is somewhat vulgar and (b) Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" is heavily sampled. Somehow though Lady Gaga comes off sounding all angelic on this track -- kind of like a Regina Spektor type.

If you didn't like that, song #2 is totally different. It's called "Prepare Your Coffin" and its an instrumental track by a "post rock" band called Tortoise (off their new album Beacons of Ancestorship). I can't stop listening to it, and it's video is just as artistic and stylish. BE WARNED that this definitely falls into the category of "white people music," also the first 15 seconds might sound a little hard and dark but don't let that (or the song title) scare you off. It's really good, I swear.

One final thought on the Song of the Summer: how come none of the other seasons get their own song?


Kevin said...

That Kid Cudi song is good. My vote for song of the summer though goes to "Say Hey (I Love You) by Michael Franti and Spearhead. YouTube it, it kicks ass.

Meeg said...

That "I know you want me" song is pretty catchy. I think that might be my song of the summer.