Summer Jams: Mark Graham Picks Three Of His Fave “Song of the Summer” Candidates


What is going to be the 2011 Song of the Summer? I honestly have no idea! I’m neither a prognosticator nor a music critic, but rather, I’m simply a fan. My colleagues Nick Minichino, Lacey Seidman and Jim Shearer have already weighed in with their thoughts on which songs will reign supreme (Burrito Supreme!) this summer, but all that I can guarantee about my three picks is that I will be listening to these a lot this summer. Either way, enjoy!

NOMINATION: Foster The People, “Helena Beat”
EXPLANATION: At this time last year, Foster The People were an unsigned band in search of a record deal after a buzzy single (“Pumped Up Kicks”) took the 2010 SXSW audiences by storm. Their song took off in social media circles, thanks in large part to a push from NPR and The Hype Machine. Eventually, the gents signed to Columbia imprint Startime International, and their debut LP, Torches, hit stores in late May, just weeks after they became one of the surprise successes of this year’s Coachella festival.

“Helena Beat,” their second single off Torches, is a synthy indie pop pleaser that will appeal to fans of MGMT. I will confess that I’m not entirely sure what the song is about, and lead singer Mark Foster‘s distinctively high-pitched vocals are sometimes a smidge tricky to decipher, but each and every time I hear this song, I can’t help but to tap my toes. Maybe it’s the washes of sound that roll through the track, maybe it’s the way the progression of the synth line builds, I’m not sure, but this song just feels like summer to me.

NOMINATION: Those Dancing Days, “I’ll Be Yours”
EXPLANATION: I have to preface this selection with an admission: There ain’t no way that this song will ever even approach Song of the Summer status here in these United States, because Those Dancing Days aren’t even signed to a U.S. record contract (at least, not as far as I can tell). This Swedish girl group’s hopes to make some waves here in the States with their sophomore LP, Daydreams & Nightmares, were dashed in March when their visas where not processed in time for them to perform a series of SXSW dates. However, that’s not going to stop me from singing their praises; their Northern Soul-influenced brand of indie pop is just about as joy inducing and bouncy as it gets, and their drummer, Cissi Efraimsson, is one of the most energetic in pop music today.

NOMINATION: Britney Spears, “I Wanna Go”
EXPLANATION: I don’t know what kind of studio wizardry it takes to make Britney Spears come to life on wax —especially when you consider that she looks like a lifeless husk every time she appears in a video or performs live— but I guess that’s why Swedish svengali Max Martin gets paid the big bucks. On the next single from her Femme Fatale LP, Britney purrs her way through a series of confessions about her sexual desires, putting special emphasis on innuendo-laden words like “blow” and “release.” Clearly, this admission is nowhere near as titillating as when a then 16 year-old Britney begged her paramour to “Hit me baby, one more time” (which, mind you, was also a Max Martin jawn), but Brit Brit does an admirable job of selling herself as someone who’s up for some randiness. Plus, it’s got whistling!

However, if you’re asking my pick as to what song is going to dominate the charts this summer and land itself at the top of our prestigious Song of the Summer Countdown, my vote goes to … wait for it … Lady Gaga‘s “Edge Of Glory.”

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