Music sounds better in the summer, everyone knows this. It gets bigger, so we can bang it from our cars; and other times it gets weirder, because the sun’s got us spinning anyways. Most of all, the promise of Labor Day —when we can put away our “Call Me Maybes” with our white pants— begs repeat listening. Thusly, if you need me, I’ll be listening to one of these Song Of The Summer this summer:
NOMINATION: Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend”
EXPLANATION: So what if it’s not really “chilling by the fire while we’re eating fondue” season? There is nothing this season so sweet as this falsetto bridge “I like to be everything you want / hey girl let me talk to you.” While being a little amateurish, his breathy rapping recalls the Ying Yang Twins’ “Whistle Song” in all the right ways; and the Justin Timberlake-like guitar picked chorus isn’t so bad, either.
NOMINATION: Future, “Same Damn Time”
EXPLANATION: Or, all of the “Samn Damn Time (Remix)”s at the same damn time. Must be played loud. This Sonny Digital speaker-buster is the ultimate ode to multitasking. In Atlanta rapper Future’s case, this means wearing Gucci and Prada at the same damn time, talking on the phone and cooking dope at the same damn time (this is a trap rap anthem, after all), and singing and rapping and yelling at the same damn time. His gravely warble — made weirder by auto-tone — is his and his alone. It’s commanding and melodic at the same damn time; it’s got the swag and stomp of southern hip hop, and the post-Drake, earnestly sung hooks at the same damn time. As for us, our summer of multitasking will look more like this: doing anything, listening to Future, at the same damn time. You in?
NOMINATION: Usher, “Climax”
EXPLANATION: This song is hot like a summer night, the heat suspended in the air even after the sun’s set. Not all of Usher’s recent collaborations have been so successful. Here, producer Diplo and Usher meet at a place foreign to both in its haunting restraint. There is no climax to this song, it builds but never drops. It’s the perfect antidote to the rest of the summer radio’s thump-thumping.
I am also counting on this being the summer that the world wandering Diplo explores the Top 40. “Thought of You” off of Justin Bieber’s new album might be a perfect pop song, replete with so-sweet “you-hoo-hoo”s and a kicking beat. He’s working with No Doubt on their new album. And, hey, looks like he was in the studio with Future last night.