We’re not sure exactly where you live, but here in New York City, there’s a palpable feeling of excitement coursing through the streets. After dealing with (an admittedly mild) winter for the last few months, the sun has begun to creep out, resulting in people shedding their winter coats and gearing up for warm weather. With the summer months rapidly approaching, the jockeying for this year’s Song Of The Summer has already begun. British singer Rita Ora is one of the first artists out of the gate to stake a claim in the race with her infectious hit, “How We Do (Party),” a song that is built off the Notorious B.I.G.‘s high-life anthem “Party And Bullsh*t.” (We’ve got the official video for “How We Do” below.)
“To me, ‘party’ and ‘bullsh*t’ summed up a party,” Rita told us when she swung by our VH1 headquarters a few weeks ago. “So we took the quote and turned it into a summer jam.”
The song, which made a huge splash when Jay-Z and Rita showed up to debut in on Z100 back in February, is already stirring up a significant amount of heat, particularly it’s refrain of “Cause when the sun sets baby, on the avenue/I get that drunk sex feeling, yeah when I’m with you.” The hashtag #drunksexfeeling has been popping up on Twitter repeatedly, so we asked the Roc Nation artist if she was ever concerned with that phrase becoming a lightning rod for controversy.
It’s an inspirational track, one that’s very reminiscent of last summer’s big hit for Eminem, Royce da 5’9″ and Bruno Mars, “Lighters.” Both songs feature a simple piano loop sitting on top of a thumping backbeat, lyrics about overcoming adversity, and a soaring vocal hook that is impossible to resist singing along with. “The Fighter” seems well-positioned to do well on this year’s Song Of The Summer charts, and seems like a no-brainer to be prominently featured during musical montages during the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Move over Rihanna, there’s a new babe on the block! The super gorgeous Rita Ora is poised to topple Rihanna’s throne as the go to girl for hip hop collaborations and sexy pop. Her new single, “Party & Bullsh*t” (which you can listen to below) is the first release for her forthcoming debut under Jay-Z‘s label, Roc Nation. The chorus of the infectious party anthem directly references Biggie‘s own iconic “Party & Bullsh*t”, and we predict that the new track is going to be blasting out of speakers everywhere this summer, especially with Jay-Z’s backing, and other huge collaborators like Drake, The-Dream and Stargate for her album.
The stunning Ora was a favorite at fashion weeks this past month, and rumors are flying that Jay-Z has “dumped” Rihanna is favor of Rita. Media Take Out “reports” that Jay-Z has begun a “media blitz” for Rita, not least because he’s angry at Rihanna’s for her recent collaborations with Chris Brown. An “rock solid” insider has allegedly said that, “Rita [Ora] has the same kind of pop appeal that Rihanna does, but she’s younger, and not as crazy… [Jay Z] has scheduled to make a bunch of appearances with her, and he’s even going to integrate her into [upcoming THRONES] concert [with Kanye West].” Does Rihanna need to watch her back? Will Rita dethrone RiRi’s, until now, dominance of cameos on the songs of hip hop’s finest? Is Rita Ora about the be the sexiest thing to happen to pop since RiRi’s “Umbrella”?
These Jeopardy contestants have got some catching up to do. When presented with the question “Got that song ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ stuck in your head? Blame this trio led by Mark Foster,” all three contestants were hilariously silent. One of the catchiest songs of 2011, Foster The People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks” has been unavoidable; it was played everywhere, all the time, and as a result, has been stuck in our heads since the spring. We’re finding it hard to believe that these contestants completely missed the boat on one of the most fun, danceable songs of the year. Memo to Jeopardy contesants: add our You Oughta Know section to your bookmarks, stat!
Well, from what we can gather from this preview of “The One That Got Away,” her chances seem promising. Although it has some similarities to Rihanna‘s voice over/narrative-led video for “We Found Love,” Katy’s video seems much more whimsical, with a soft focus aesthetic and some very Zooey Deschanel moody eyes and eyelash batting. With building hype around the single and an emotional trailer, will “The One That Got Away” make Katy the kitty that got the cream?
For the last 14 weeks, we’ve been tracking the race to see which track would become this year’s Song Of The Summer. Since people consume music in so many different ways these days, our goal was to put together a democratic formula that compared how a group of over 70 songs performed across five of the primary channels that people frequently use to listen to their favorite jams: the Billboard Hot 100 (radio play & sales), the iTunes charts (pure sales), Last.fm scrobbles (listening on computer and mobile devices), the YouTube music charts (streams) and, of course, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown. Each week, we tracked how our group of competitors fared in each of these different platforms, and then added up the results.
So, without any further ado, we are psyched to announce that Katy Perry has taken home the first place prize in VH1’s first annual Song Of The Summer competition! When the summer began, it looked like Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” was going to be an unstoppable force, but as soon as Katy dropped her 80s-tastic “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” video during the week of June 27th, she dominated the countdown from there on out. Katy was gracious enough to film an quick speech for us while she accepted our totally awesome Song Of The Summer trophy, which we’ve got for you above.
For you completists, here is our final Song Of The Summer countdown chart (that is, until Memorial Day 2012 rolls around!). And you’re on Spotify, you can subscribe to our VH1 Song Of The Summer 2011 playlist and re-live the summer whenever you want.
We’re going to announce this summer’s winner here on the VH1 Blog on Tuesday, but before we do that, we’d love to find out what YOU, the VH1 audience, felt was this year’s Song Of The Summer. What song did you jam the most on the beach? Which track was blasting when you put your ragtop down so your hair can blow? What jam got you and your friends pumped up for a night out on the town? Vote as many times as you like in our poll below. (Oh, and congrats to You Oughta Know artist Foster The People for being only the third song all summer long to hold the top spot in our countdown with their zeitgeisty smash, “Pumped Up Kicks”!)
At this time last year, hopes for Maroon 5‘s third studio album, Hands All Over, were high. The lead single, “Misery,” had hit #1 on Billboard‘s Adult Pop chart, and since the band had convinced famed superproducer Robert “Mutt” Lange to come out of semi-retirement to produce their album, everyone looked for the band to take the leap from a well-liked, fairly popular M.O.R. band to the next level and a spot among the world’s most commercially successful bands. However, once the album finally hit streets in October 2010, the masses shrugged their shoulders and largely ignored the album. The record was certified gold by the RIAA for shipping over 500,000 copies, but worldwide sales stalled out at just 529,000 total units.
Perceived failures like this have sunk many a band in the past, but thanks to charismatic frontman Adam Levine and ten weeks of national TV exposure courtesy of NBC/Universal’s The Voice (corporate synergy at its finest!), the band has totally reversed their fortunes in less than a year. Their new track, “Moves Like Jagger,” hit #1 on the iTunes chart this week, and Levine’s featured hook on Gym Class Heroes‘ “Stereo Hearts” propelled the song to a Top 20 finish in this week’s Song Of The Summer countdown. No wonder artists like Mariah Carey (The X-Factor), Sara Bareilles (The Sing Off) and more are looking to land prime positions as judges on televised singing competition shows; it’s exactly the kind of exposure to Middle America that the flagging music business is no longer in a position to give these artists using “traditional” music channels. As Maroon 5 has proved, it’s great work if you can get it!
As for the rest of our Song Of The Summer chart —only two more weeks until we crown a champion!— kudos to Katy Perry for her ninth consecutive week in the #1 spot.
Electro-sleaze goofballs LMFAO are, at this moment, the only thing standing between Katy Perry and the history books. As we told you last week, their smash single “Party Rock Anthem” is blocking “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” from ascending to the top of the Billboard 100 chart (which would be Perry’s fifth Number One off her Teenage Dream LP). LMFAO is also currently besting Perry on the YouTube and iTunes charts, while Katy is maintaining dominance on Last.fm as well as airplay on our station. And our friends over at New York Magazine‘s Vulture just named “Party Rock Anthem”—a song they described as “a contrived, effective bit of nonsense about how ‘everybody?s gonna have a good time'”—as their current Song of the Summer.
Despite this onslaught from the progeny of Motown records founder Berry Gordy, our highly scientific formula still shows Perry atop our charts for the seventh consecutive week. While it will be incredibly difficult to topple her, it’s good to see Foster The People making a run at the Top Five. After a standout performance at Lollapalooza this weekend, their outstanding single “Pumped Up Kicks” is quickly climbing the charts; if the word “alternative” still carried any weight as a genre, there’s little doubt that Mark Foster could lay claim to the “alternative” Song of the Summer crown.