Gawker: Live, From Vegas! continues unabated through the night (so stick around!). Next on deck, another special guest for this hot, inaugural summer weekend: music writer extraordinaire and Idolator editor Maura Johnston. Maura, kick out the jams, please:
While the increasing likelihood that someone has eschewed new music in favor of retreating into the nostalgic coziness of her iPod has made the idea of a genre-spanning "summer jam" less and less likely through the years, New Yorkers do have a somewhat dubious advantage when it comes to songs of the hottest season: Our lack of reliance on cars, which results in us actually having to hear ambient noise that we haven't picked after endless scouring of
file-sharing sites our completely legally acquired musical libraries. Below, seven tracks that you will likely be subjected to should you decide to spend headphone-free time in the city's agora.
The Sunshine State-repping MC has figured out a way to escape one-hit wonderdom: Egregiously "interpolate" the most annoying hits of the past, and employ singers almost more anonymous-sounding than Flo while doing so. Mr. Rida has followed the success of "Right Round," which rode the hook of Dead Or Alive's "You Spin Me Round" to record sales on iTunes, pretty ingeniously, releasing a track will have sane people everywhere on an as-instant-as-possible hunt for its hook's source material, so as to eradicate it from their brains / answer their synapses' incessant braying of "what was that?" And you thought you'd never have to think of Eiffel 65 again.
Sure, the American Idol coronation song is dreck that newly minted judge Kara DioGuardi probably penned in hopes of finally severing ties with the show, which put her through a season-long hazing that ended in her revealing her ribcage to America on Wednesday night. But the playlists of the adult-contemporary stations that blare into your local Duane Reade are notoriously sclerotic, and new songs have to generally have a non-musical hook—hello, shiny crown sitting on the head of this year's sweetly smiling Idol victor—to even make it onto even the wee hours' playlists. Get ready to climb hurricane mountains and travel nowhere roads every time you need deodorant!
R. Kelly's recent efforts have been subpar—hey, he's distracted—but this track from R & B newcomer Jeremih, which centers on the idea of giving good loving in honor of one's natal anniversary, can certainly, ahem, slide into the "Ignition (Remix)" void.
You are probably already sick of the Black Eyed Peas' minimalistish new single—and its remixes, and its attendant HP-advertisement video, and Pepsi's insistence that lead Pea will.i.am is our generation's Bob Dylan, and Fergie's crazed eyebrows, and that whole dumb hologram thing. But that's the whole point of the Black Eyed Peas, really. In that way, they represent America in 2009 better than any other pop-cultural entity.
Previous efforts by these dayglo-drenched synth-rockers have been too smart for the degraded landscape of late-decade pop by half, but the presence of Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester on this track should at least attract the ears of people waiting for her star vehicle's season-three premiere. (Personally, I prefer her co-star's efforts, but I also thought L7 was better than Roxette back in the day.)
Sure, it's more likely that you'll hear this in a bar than at your local Fresh-blaring bodega—but then again, it's only been 10 years since LeN's "Steal My Sunshine" ruled the pools, and it sure would be nice for a similarly left-fieldish hit to make an inroad or two into the black pits of yarl that are rock radio's everyday playlists.
Anyone who has nostalgia for the 1990s to the point where they wish that the decade would "come back" would do well to listen to this effort by Kentucky outfit Cage The Elephant, which sounds kind of like what would happen if the Butthole Surfers' "Pepper" were rewritten by members of Asher Roth's frat. Between this and the double-barrelled reunions of Limp Bizkit and Creed, we might be better off looking toward the future as a rule.
Honorable Mention: Journey, "Don't Stop Believing"
What was that about looking forward? Oh, right. Well, this track was just resurrected by the cast of Glee—and let's face it, it pretty much trumps every other song on this list.