Monday, August 11, 2008
The Great Summer Song Debate
I've been loving the ongoing debate on Vulture as to what truly is the Song of Summer 2008. They've been fighting the good fight against Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl," but it's increasingly appearing that it's either Perry, Leona Lewis, or bust. I'd go with bust -- this summer seems particularly fractured in terms of hot summer hits. I'd personally go with Estelle's "American Boy" (Vulture's preferred choice), with Chris Brown's "Forever" making a dark horse run, but nothing's really demanding the title at this point.
I've kept an eye toward the Song of Summer designation ever since Beyonce changed the game in '03. It's almost easier to judge in retrospect -- what song dominated your life in X summer? Oftentimes against your will. And you can leave your music snobbery at the door, okay? This stuff goes beyond taste -- it's the cultural zeitgeist.
I think we can all agree on the Songs of Summer for 2002 (Nelly's "Hot in Herre"), 2003 (Beyonce's "Crazy in Love"), 2004 (Usher's "Yeah"), and 2007 (Rihanna's "Umbrella"). 2006 was a clash of the titans, and two years later I still can't decide between Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy," Nelly Furtado and Timbaland's "Promiscuous," and Shakira and Wyclef's "Hips Don't Lie."
But the mother lode of Songs of Summer has to be 2005. Objectively, we can all probably cede the crown to Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl." Who could get away from that song that summer? No one, is who. But look at the competition it had to beat back: Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together"; the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha" (don't look at me like that); Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Going Down"; and the Gorillaz' "Feel Good, Inc." Not to mention that Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" had just peaked that spring, and that song had a loooooong shelf life, all the way through summer. And each one of those songs, if brought to my attention in a vacuum (that is, before you reminded me of the other ones) certainly sound like bona fide Songs of Summer.
Anyway, my point? It's August 11, and we don't have an iron-clad Song of Summer yet. So why not revel in the Summer Songs of old. I think I just laid out the tracks for one heck of a summery mix. You're welcome.