After a miserable NYC winter, the weather is again warm, and we’re all about hitting these streets! But what will our summer-lovin’ soundtrack include? Since the pop music monster is one that defies taming, most of us can already venture to guess what we’ll likely hear blasting out of car windows while dining al fresco and laying poolside, but for me, it’s all about the songs that may or may not hit the mainstream radar. Specifically, songs that light your summer on fire and arouse flashbulb memory nostalgia for years thereafter. As a music head, I can’t wait to find out what will be this year’s perfect audio accompaniment during glorious, sweaty cocktail-glass pre-game rituals, or what I’ll have on repeat in my headphones as I dodge European tourists in Times Square. Until then, here’s hoping that the radio gods are listening, and (fingers crossed!) that they have good taste.
NOMINATION: Friendly Fires, “Live Those Days Tonight” EXPLANATION: If mainstream radio could just bend some rules and make room for an indie-pop dance record, this next few months would certainly be a bit lovelier. Summoning nostalgia for the (allegedly) more-fun 80s past that he never had the chance to experience, Friendly Fires’ frontman Ed Macfarlane vows to one-up his predecessors on this uptempo, synth-happy slice of audio heaven. Heavy with drums and feel-good vibes, “Live Those Days Tonight” is the first single off of the band’s critically acclaimed sophomore release, Pala, and is also the perfect summer party accessory!
Memorial Day has come and gone, so the season of the summer jam has officially begun! We will be paying close attention to the competition for the 2011 Song of the Summer here on the VH1 Blog. Of course, the pop audience will decide who will win, but here are three of our favorites:
NOMINATION:Lady Gaga: “Edge of Glory” EXPLANATION: “Edge of Glory” seizes on a combination of rock and Euro-house not heard since 2002 (when DJ Sammy’s cover of Bryan Adams’s “Heaven,” among others, hit huge). Gaga’s song provides something not only for fans of the dominant sound of dueling pop kings Doctor Luke and RedOne, but also for those who appreciate more of a classic rock sound.
On top of that, the Clarence Clemons solo happens to coincide with the return-of-sax zeitgeist. Willa Paskinpronounced 2011 the “Summer of Sax” at New York‘s Vulture blog, but her only other evidence was Katy Perry‘s upcoming single “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” so the claim is a bit overstated. But it’s true that sax is back in vogue?indie rockers like Destroyer, and to a lesser extent Gayngs (featuring Justin Vernon of Bon Iver), have returned to a smooth-sax sound, and other artists on the edge, like Gorillaz collaborators (and Raphael Saadiq favorites) Little Dragon, have revived that specific smoothness, though with different instrumentation.
Potter’s Nocturnals have had success on the VH1 Top 20, and country has made its inroads, but can this summery love duet break into next Saturday’s charts (or possibly the race for Song of the Summer)? Your votes, starting next week, will decide.
It might not be officially “summer” until June 21, but that’s not stopping us from starting our 2011 Song of the Summer Countdown. All day today, we’ll be highlighting Song of the Summer contenders as chosen by people who not only work here, but those that live and breathe music. Up first, we’ve got three picks from Jim Shearer, host of the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, which airs each and every Saturday morning. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!
NOMINATION:Beastie Boys feat. Santigold, “Don?t Play No Game That I Can?t Win? EXPLANATION: To the naked ear it sounds like a Santigold song featuring the Beastie Boys, but don?t be fooled. When MCA, Mike D, and Ad-Rock were crafting the instrumental for this beachside-reggae delight, they were having trouble piecing it into a proper song until they got on the bat-phone and rang Santigold. ?Don?t Play No Game? is pop enough for mainstream radio, but will Katy Perry, Beyoncé, and Ke$ha fans open their ears to listen?
According to the calendar, until the Summer Solstice occurs on June 21, we’re still firmly in the grasp of Spring. That said, pretty much everyone we know considers “summertime” to be the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. To wit, this past weekend millions of Americans broke out their barbeque grills, removed their sandals from storage, and spent the long weekend soaking up the sunshine with family and friends for the first time since last summer (and, if the temperatures here in NYC were any indication, it sure as hell felt like summer with temperatures hovering in the low 90s).
One of our favorite parts about the summertime is the way that music takes on an even more omnipresent role in all of our lives. Sure, we all listen to music year-round, but during the winter months, music is generally something you only experience either inside or through earbuds. Once the summertime rolls around, though, suddenly you start hearing music blasting EVERYWHERE: rattling out from car speakers, blaring from boomboxes while you’re lounging poolside, emanating from an iPod dock when you’re chilling in the park enjoying a picnic, and even crackling through old transistor radios while you’re camping in the woods.
And each year, one song emerges from the pack to stand out as that year’s Song of the Summer. It’s not generally a title that is officially anointed by any governing board, but we here at VH1 wanted to put a little science behind the emotion that these Songs of Summer convey.
Hence, we’re excited to announce that we here at VH1 will be tracking this year’s Song of the Summer from now until Labor Day. So, you’re no doubt wondering, what artist has the lead out of the gate: Lady Gaga? Adele? Bruno Mars? Continue along to find out…
It’s hard to believe it, but a quick check of the calendar shows that we’re almost halfway through the summer. Yes, already! On a related note, a quick check of the pop charts and our own Top 20 Video Countdown shows that Katy Perry‘s “California Gurls” has had a stranglehold on the top spot for the last few weeks, clearly cementing herself as the favorite to take home the this year’s Song of the Summer prize. However, don’t go engraving her name on the award just yet! Atlanta’s prodigal son, T.I., has been out of the clink and hard at work in the studio for a few months now and is ready to enter the race with “Got Your Back” (with a chorus featuring the sultry vocals of Keri Hilson). We’re excited to bring you a :30 sneak of the video here on the VH1 Blog today, and be sure to tune in to our Top 20 Video Countdown this weekend to see the whole thing. Let us know what you think in the comments!
Although summer doesn’t officially start until 7:58 a.m. on Monday, there are a handful of songs that have already gotten a head start on the quest to become 2010′s Song of the Summer. Just in the last week alone, we have seen Lady Gaga and Adam Lambert stake their claim in the race with new video debuts (“Alejandro” and “If I Had You,” respectively). And earlier today, Katy Perry — who, you’ll recall, took home the crown in 2008 with “I Kissed A Girl” — released the video for her shot at the throne, “California Gurls.”
The earwormy track, which is currently sitting atop the Billboard 100 and will soon make its premiere on the VH1′s Top 20 Video Countdown, seems perfectly poised to remain ubiquitous throughout the hottest months of the year with its shout-outs to seasonal staples like Daisy Dukes, bikinis and melting popsicles (but, weirdly enough, no weenies!). The video, however, eschews the sorts of “traditional” visual themes that you might expect for a song of this nature (think David Lee Roth’s hypersexualized cover of “California Girls,” for example) in favor of a confectionary (and innuendo-laden) romp through a Candy Land-esque paradise known as Candyfornia, a glucose-drenched utopia where gummi bears frolic underneath clouds of cotton candy.
In a gleeful mix of pop culture references, Perry plays the Dorothy to Snoop Dogg’s Oz figure, only this time, she trades ruby slippers for cupcake-themed lingerie as she makes her way through the sugary wilds wearing progressively less and less clothing. That is, until the video’s final moments, which sees Perry don a bikini top that, in stark contrast to the machine gun brassiere that Lady Gaga debuted last week, fires gallons of whipped cream at the camera instead of bullets. Regardless of your taste for sweets, this is the kind of video that will definitely make lots of viewers this summer want to order seconds.