Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week Pop Shots is hitting you with some Billboard singles chart analysis. The summer is here, which means the charts are beginning to be filled with summertime songs. Every year at least one of those songs emerges as a hit that dominates playlists until the leaves change color. I’ve rounded up some of the usual suspects to see who might be giving us this year’s song of the summer. The chart positions I’m using are from this past Thursday, and since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
2) Taylor Swift w/ Kendrick Lamar - Bad Blood
In what many consider to be one of the most unexpected friendships in all of music, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar enjoy each other’s work so much they’ve started working together. The beginnings of this relationship can be traced back to when each of them were singing/rapping/lip syncing along to each other’s songs on Instagram videos and Vines. With the remix of “Bad Blood” they’ve become a teaming to be reckoned with. As a longtime hip-hop fan I’m happy for Kendrick, as, after albums that were lauded by the hip-hop press, but were streamed far more often than bought, he’s now become a household name. When it comes to the song, however, I still prefer the Taylor-only original. Regardless, I feel no “Bad Blood” towards this remix. This is one of FOUR Taylor Swift songs currently in the top 50, so who am I to question anything she does?
9) Selena Gomez w/ A$AP Rocky - Good For You
In another example of a pop star working with a rapper well known within hip-hop, but not as well known outside of it, Selena Gomez has a verse from A$AP Rocky on her latest single, “Good For You,” which is an Auto-Tune heavy, chilled out ode to being visually appealing to one’s significant other. It’s unusual to think of Selena making vibe music, but while “Good For You” involves some talk of getting dressed, it’s definitely the kind of pop song you can put on to set the mood for getting UNdressed, and the lyrics make that known, as she sings, “Leave this dress a mess on the floor.” I don’t know about you, but thinking about Selena Gomez getting undressed is the kind of thing I fully support, so this one’s in my personal rotation.
17) Skrillex & Diplo w/ Justin Bieber - Where Are U Now
Not gonna lie, the first half dozen times I heard this I had no idea it was Maple Leif Garrett (aka Justin Bieber) singing. His vocals have become completely nondescript. Personally, I think he’s attempting to sound more mature, and while those efforts have made him sound different from his teenybopper years, they’ve also made him sound like a plethora of other alright, but not great, male vocalists. That said, the production on “Where Are U Now” is excellent, and with this being a production heavy song – how could it not be with Skrillex AND Diplo at the helm – that’s what we should focus on as this songs dominates the airwaves throughout the summer. Basically, we’re stuck with this, so we might as well find the good parts to enjoy.
24) Maroon 5 - This Summer's Gonna Hurt Like A Motherf****r
Maroon 5 has cemented their place as one of the biggest pop bands of their generation, and with that they can experiment musically without upsetting their extremely large fan base. “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt Like A Motherf****r” features the band continuing their recent foray into dance music, but not the kind of dance music you’d hear at the Electric Daisy Carnival. This is a chill dance song, which isn’t the oxymoron it reads like. Were it not for the “motherf****r” throughout it, you could easily imagine this as part of the soundtrack to a laid back summertime BBQ. Also, for the ladies, the video has gratuitous Adam Levine nudity (yes, I wrote that just to get throngs of disappointed readers who Google “Adam Levine nudity” and land on this column. Hey new readers, did that “hurt like a motherf****r?”).
NR) Demi Lovato - Cool For The Summer
Picking up right where Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” left off we have Demi Lovato’s latest, “Cool For The Summer,” which is a pop ode to having a lesbian fling in the warmest months of the year. Subtlety is in short supply here as Demi sings, “Take me down into your paradise / Don’t be scared cuz I’m your body type / Just something that we wanna try / Cuz you and I / We’re cool for the summer.” “Cool For The Summer” also features the most redundant lyric I’ve heard in quite some time, as “Got my mind on your body / And your body on my mind” is literally the same damned thing said twice (as was the line that inspired it, “Got my mind on my money, and my money on my mind”). There’s no need for an “and!” There’s no need for the second line! There’s also no need for me to be yelling, as it doesn’t f*cking matter, “Cool For The Summer” is going to be a gigantic hit. With everyone else creating more chilled out songs, Demi has given us our joyous, crazy, summer song, which makes her cool for the summer.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.