Side A: Chris’ Picks
Side B: Todd’s Picks
What’s wrong with me? I’ve been sitting here for awhile searching my phone and the internet for something cool to listen to but it all bores me. I’m tired of it all. Well, except for one song. My mind keeps drifting back to this horribly awesome song my daughter initially forced me to listen to a couple of months back, Ariana Grande, “Problem (Feat. Iggy Azalea).”
Yep, Ariana Grande, the super cute girl with the goofy voice from that stupid Nickelodeon kid’s show. Who knew she could sing so well? She’s like Mariah Carey Jr. Have I become an official member of the Arianator nation? No, but the song is catchy as hell and could probably be officially declared the “Song of the Summer.” You know, that one song that turns up out of nowhere, gets played over and over and ends up being the soundtrack to your activities from June to September? I know we can’t take a car ride in my family without a request for “Problem.” My daughter even raps along to the Iggy Azalea part.
Normally, I have my own song of the summer that doesn’t match what’s playing on the radio. Take last summer for instance. While everyone else was listening to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”, I couldn’t stop myself from playing “The Wire” by HAIM, such a great summer song. That’s got me thinking…what were some other notable past songs of summer? Let’s look back. Shall we?
These are the top 10 songs from summer 1985. From the looks of it, a great year for music.
1.”Shout” – Tears For Fears
2. “Everytime You Go Away” – Paul Young
3. “The Power Of Love” – Huey Lewis & The News
4. “A View To A Kill” – Duran Duran
5. “Sussudio” – Phil Collins
6. “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” – Sting
7 . “Raspberry Beret” – Prince and the Revolution
8. “St. Elmo’s Fire (Man In Motion)” – John Parr
9. “Heaven” – Bryan Adams
10. “Never Surrender” – Corey Hart
Now, which would you crown the “Song of the Summer?” What are the criteria for summer song dominance? Let’s dive in.
I think it has to be an upbeat number. No love songs or sad songs. That eliminates Paul Young, Sting, Bryan Adams and Corey Hart.
In my opinion, it shouldn’t be a song from a movie soundtrack especially if it’s heavily featured in a summer movie. That eliminates Huey Lewis (Hello…McFly!!??), Duran Duran’s song from the shittiest of James Bond movies, (Seriously, Roger Moore was like a thousand years old. Horrible!) and John Parr’s St. Elmo’s Fire suckfest. So what’s left? “Shout”, “Sussudio” and “Raspberry Beret.” All excellent songs. All bona fide contenders. So who wins? I’m going with my man Patrick Bateman and picking Phil Collins “Sussudio”, a great, great song, a personal favorite.
While that was a tough choice, other years have a clear winner. Take summer 1988.
1. “Roll With It” – Steve Winwood
2. “The Flame” – Cheap Trick
3. “Hold On To The Nights” – Richard Marx
4. “Monkey” – George Michael
5. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” – Def Leppard
6. “Hands To Heaven” – Breathe
7. “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses
8. “Make Me Lose Control” – Eric Carmen
9. “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” – Elton John
10. “Foolish Beat” – Debbie Gibson
Instant disqualification to Steve Winwood for extreme sucking. I hated that song. The rest of the ten are a collection of sugary love songs that were staples on Loveline dedication radio shows. You know, it went something like this…“I’d like to dedicate “The Flame” to Johnny Smith from East High School. I can’t wait for homecoming. I love you Johnny, Wooooooooooo!!!!!!”
That really just leaves Gun N’ Roses and Def Leppard to choose from. While “Sweet Child” was and still is a kick-ass song, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was by far the song of that summer. Its sticky sweet sexual innuendo filled lyrics dominated all car radios back then.
I know what you’re all thinking now. Hey Todd, are there any other criteria for song of the summer success?
I’m glad you asked. Let’s look at the top songs from the summer of 1991.
1.”(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – Bryan Adams
2. “Rush Rush” – Paula Abdul
3. “Unbelievable” – EMF
4. “I Wanna Sex You Up” – Color Me Badd
5. “Right Here, Right Now” – Jesus Jones
6. “Every Heartbeat” – Amy Grant
7. “It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” – Lenny Kravitz
8. “Summertime” – DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
9. “P.A.S.S.I.O.N.” – Rhythm Syndicate
10. “Fading Like A Flower (Every Time You Leave)” – Roxette
Notice number eight? “Summertime” by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. If your song actually has the word “summer” in the title, you get an automatic win. With lyrics like this how could you pick any other song?
School is out and it’s a sort of a buzz
A back then I didn’t really know what it was
But now I see what have of this
The way that people respond to summer madness
It’s generally pretty easy to choose a “Song of the Summer.” Looking through the top 10 songs from the last 30 years I was able to fairly quickly choose one in every year except one.
1. “Confessions Part II” – Usher
2. “Burn” – Usher
3. “Slow Motion” – Juvenile feat. Soulja Slim
4. “The Reason” – Hoobastank
5. “If I Ain’t Got You” – Alicia Keys
6. “Lean Back” – Terror Squad
7. “Move Ya Body” – Nina Sky feat. Jabba
8. “Turn Me On” – Kevin Lyttle feat. Spragga Benz
9. “Dip It Low” – Christina Milian
10. “Sunshine” – Lil’ Flip feat. Lea
Look at this shit show. The only one of these songs I’ve actually heard was the Hoobastank song. Hoobastank…(shudder)
Now the opposite happened when I looked at 2013. Either the pop music gods shown down with all their glory or my kids influence over the radio has finally made an effect on my listening habits. There are easily 7 songs that one could make a case for “Song of the Summer.” Honestly, I still can’t decide.
1. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke
2. “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons
3. “Get Lucky” – Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams
4. “We Can’t Stop” – Miley Cyrus
5. “Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton
6. “Cruise” – Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly
7. “Mirrors” – Justin Timberlake
8. “Treasure” – Bruno Mars
9. “Cups (Pitch Perfect’s When I’m Gone)” – Anna Kendrick
10. “Come & Get It” – Selena Gomez
So which would you choose? How about this year? Feel free to post in the comments section any past or current summer songs you’ve loved.
Remember the MoSS? Pit post about the trip to Kansas City Mrs. Todd and I took a few months back to see Arcade Fire? If not click here. If so, then you know it was an awesome concert and we had a great all around trip. It just so happens that on the drive down to Kansas City, the Mrs. and I impulsively bought some tickets for a future great concert and great all around trip. (I love technology…always and forever…always and forever)
Of course, we didn’t know it would be great at the time. We were just hoping for good weather and a fun show when we bought tickets in the pit for Kings of Leon in St. Louis. If you read our Undisputed Top Albums ever posts them you’ll remember that I had the Kings of Leon album Aha Shake Heartbreak listed as my #51 album ever. You’ll also remember that after introducing my wife to their music she has become a KOL lover pushing into stalker-like levels. She’d seen them before with pretty decent seats but it was my goal to get her right up to the front of the pit. Come hell or high water we were going to have the best view in the house for this one.
The venue was the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater west of St. Louis where Kings of Leon previously played and left the stage mid set because they were getting bombarded by pigeon shit. Really. Pigeon shit. Upon hearing this news, we weren’t just worried about getting a good spot to see the show. Now we also had to worry about pigeon doodoo? Chris and Sam had been at the venue before to see The Cure and assured me that if we got there right at doors, we would be able to get to the front of the pit. Unfortunately, they had no assurances for the pigeon poopy. We took their advice and we arrived at the venue 15 minutes before doors. There was probably a hundred or so other concert goers in line already but once doors opened and we made our way through security into the pit area, we were able to walk right up and secure a spot 10 feet from the stage. The Mrs. was thrilled, I was husband of the year and all was right in the world.
The only negative, if there was one, was that we had to sit through 2 opening acts that neither of us was too thrilled about. The first was the South African band of brothers, Kongos. We actually listened to their album, Lunatic, on the drive down but neither of us really liked it much. Their live show was actually much better. They were energetic and at times they reminded me of Graceland era Paul Simon. Maybe it’s their South African roots.
The 2nd band was the oddly named, Young the Giant. I’d heard them a bit on satellite radio but never really enjoyed their music. It just doesn’t touch me in any way. I felt the same about the live show. The music was fine. It just doesn’t affect me one way or the other. It just sort of …is. I will say this about Young the Giant, the front man is very charismatic. He works the stage well and really gets into the show. So I guess there’s that.
Needless to say, once Young the Giant were over we were ready for some KOL. Although, it was pretty cool being right up front and watching the small army of men tear down and put up the lighting and sound gear.
After 15 minutes of watching roadies and downing a couple shots we sneaked in, the lights dimmed and the show began. KOL kicked the show off with the terribly titled, but rousing runner of a song “Supersoaker.” It’s the lead single from their latest album Mechanical Bull. Prior to the show my wife and I were discussing past KOL setlists and listing songs that we really wanted to hear but thought to be seldom played long shots. To our delight, the next two songs were actually on that list as they played “Taper Jean Girl” and “Fans” in succession.
KOL have a contest running during this tour where the fans pick a song for each venue of the tour and they will only play the winning song that night. No repeats during the remainder of the tour. The St. Louis selection was “Slow Night, So Long” from the previously mentioned album Aha Shake Heartbreak. This was a particularly fun point of the night because, at their own admittance, they weren’t really prepared to play that one. They pulled it off quite well though. I actually tweaked my neck a bit banging my bald head back and forth in the part of the song when the drums really kick in.
The rest of the set was pretty decent mix of songs from all 5 of their albums. I really enjoyed the sing-along moments of the show during “Knocked Up”, “Pyro” and the KOL stadium killer anthem, “Use Somebody”, which closed out the pre-encore part of the set.
The crowd was pretty diverse. For much of the first part of the show I actually had an 8 or 9
year old girl standing next to me belly up to the rail. Before the show started, I couldn’t believe that her parents would bring her to a show at that age. She knew the words to every song though and belted them out as she jumped up and down. I think my wife was a more than a bit jealous as the band members handed the girl special used items before the encore started. Guitarist Matt handed her a pick and my wife’s favorite Followill brother, drummer Nathan, sent the little girl a drum stick. That last one stung the most I’m sure.
The last 3 songs of the night were KOL encore staples “Crawl”, “Black Thumbnail” and the crowd pleaser “Sex on Fire.” The band seemed to really enjoy themselves throughout the set. Maybe they were just happy not to be dodging pigeon feces all night. No matter the reason they played their asses off and the crowd loved it.
Today when Hip-Hop and EDM lead the way, these guys are a real throw back to the days of the stadium filling rock bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s. If you want to see a real rock show, by a real rock band in their song writing and performing prime, I can’t recommend seeing Kings of Leon enough. If you want, you could even join the wife and me for an upcoming Kings show in Vegas. I will be turning 40 years old in the VIP section as the Followill brothers kick off their show at the MGM Grand. I can’t wait. Holler up at me, maybe I’ll see you there.