When my friends and I had a legit clique and and ran a college radio station in Naperville, I learned about love and life and listening to music. I learned enough things to write a book. One of 20 I still need to write. But, we’re talking radio, so let’s soldier on, shall we?
Among the many things I learned was the concept of a “summer song.” Right now Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” are running game for the #1 summer song right now. Summer songs (1) — great to dance to, light mood, celebrate sex and love and partying all night long. But for sure, with a solid hook. Something that gets stuck in your pants, I mean brain, and won’t let go.
Daft Punk, “Get Lucky”
Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines”
But there’s also the concept of bringing back songs that have fallen out of rotation *just for the summer,* because they have certain themes or are old summer songs or are songs that you just must roll down the windows and crank up whenever they come on. I’ve been hearing “Hey Ya” all over the limited amount of time I spend with the radio — definitely a summer song of its day, and still works with the windows down:
Outkast, “Hey Ya”
the song that my Music Director in the summer of ’92 brought back was Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” I thought it was kind of odd — not something we’d normally play, especially since we were gutting the collection of things that didn’t fit — but Jen said that it was a summer song, and would just be in rotation for the long days and hot nights. (Not her words; mine.) I’m sure she knew this from other radio experience, but I added it into my knowledge and repertoire — it seemed solid. The theory, if not the song.
Jimmy Buffett, “Margaritaville”
I was running around the city in the car the other day and since the presence of “Hey Ya” was looming large, I was thinking about summer songs and other such. The other thing I’ve been coming to the conclusion of is this: I love a lot of music. I know and love artists many people have never heard. I can appreciate all sorts of genres. I love music; it is my church. But I’m nearly helpless against a hook. All the pop music that people rip on and hate on (Maroon 5, Train, P!nk — (I really hope people don’t hate P!nk)), I like here and there because they have crafted or composed or outright bought a hook.
I’ve also come to the opinion that I like Bruno Mars quite a bit. I grew up on Top 40 pop and “Locked Out of Heaven” sounds like a Police jam for today. It’s catchy as hell. So there. Oh well. Does that wash out my love of Van Morrison and Stevie Wonder and The Dave Clark Five?
Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven”
The other thing I’ve come to understand while listening to the hits of today is that as much as I LOATHE dubstep, if you throw just a small element of it into a pop song, I actually like the combo. To wit:
Taylor Swift, “I Knew You Were Trouble”
Skip to 2:00 for the actual song. I have no clue what kind of artistic statement Taylor Swift is EVAH making, but certainly not now.
Alex Clare, “Too Close”
So, yes. Summer songs and dubstep. Mostly, it’s just pop music. Not power pop, just pop. Songs that are really ridiculous, but have a great hook. Nothing that should go down in any record books, but sometimes songs that can automatically put your windows down.