Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is this really the song of summer 2009?

I was flipping thru the recent edition of Rolling Stone magazine the other day,when one of their brief pop culture flow charts caught my eye and made me pause for station identification. It was tracking "songs of the summer" and the end result was in naming the Black Eyed Peas hit "Boom Boom Pow" as the official summer tune for 2009.

Now,as many will gladly tell you(including my sis),I am far from being hip to the jive when it comes to musical taste and current trends. However,as much as "Boom Boom Pow" is played and enjoyed,it really doesn't feel like THE song to me. The Black Eyed Peas are cool-even with Fergie's massive overhype-but something about this little ditty really doesn't click with me on that "must listen" level:

Rihanna's "Umbrella" was noted as the summer song from last year and I find that more of a appealing replay than "Boom Boom Pow",even with the unfortunate Chris Brown incident aura still hovering about her.

I knew that this song hit a cord with me when I was watching an episode of "Nip/Tuck" where Christian was playing amateur gigolo and he picked up his first lady with a line about ending her dry spell of sex and that she would need an umbrella because"it's pouring". Right away,this song came to mind and I was surprised that it wasn't playing in the background:

For many,the best summer songs come from movie soundtracks,particularly from those from the blockbuster section of the cinema.

It's an art form which has lost it's stamina over time(the last really great one being Cobra Starship's "Snakes on a Plane" theme)but the allure of such media exposure was rather potent for awhile. It even enthralled the likes of U2,whose sinister sexy "Hold Me,Thrill Me,Kiss Me,Kill Me" seems more suited to the Dark Knight rather than Batman Forever in hindsight:

Of course,there are the official classics that even the most die-hard of High Fidelity types would acknowledge to be the true representations of the season. My personal favorite from such lofty ranks would be "Summer in the City" by the Lovin' Spoonfuls,mainly due to the way the music and lyrics recreate the gritty steaminess that urban life embraces during the dog days of summer while making it seem like a real celebration of spirit:

What really bugs me about "Boom Boom Pow" is the calculated execution of the song. The video for the song highlights the technical wizardry of the tune,making it an artificial tribute to artificiality. While any good song can pull out all of the best gizmos and gadgets available and really make the sounds soar,heart is what ultimately makes it memorable. The Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz has more authentic feelings in him than does one note of "Boom Boom Pow".

Maybe that is why,for me,this is the true song of summer '09. True,this is a cover song and not even an official release by the singer in question but the raw emotion given to it makes it more deserving than a thousand new Black Eyed Peas songs. Call me crazy or corny,I don't care. Chris Daughtry brings some much needed down to earth energy to Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" that resonates with these hectic times we're in right now. As they say,time will tell:

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