I promised a music article in the last installment of the Summer's Seven Guilty Pleasures, but truth be told, I don't listen to the radio that much or buy albums anymore, so when I do hear a song that registers…it means something: that the performer has done what few artists have been able to...they caught my attention. During the summer I expect a few anthems (a la Beyonce's 'Crazy in Love') or laid back jams (Kid Rock, 'All Summer Long'). This summer hasn't delivered a standout so far, but below are a few choice contenders:
(The Superstar Collaboration)
LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE - EMINEM FEAT. RIHANNA: A great song has contrast and builds. This single, off Eminem's 'Recovery' has Rihanna singing a soft, breathy hook while Eminem spits out verses with a contained rage that makes the lyrics shoot out at you. (Currently #1 on the Billboard 100)
(The One Hit Wonder)
IMPOSSIBLE - SHONTELLE: The song isn't impressive for Shontelle's voice, although she does have a lovely one, you can hear better ones singing in church on Sunday. No, the credit for this song belongs to the producer, Arnthor Birgisson, who crafted an airy ballad that floats like a feather and just as easily blows away.
(The Dance Song)
YOUR LOVE IS MY DRUG -KE$HA
Since Ke$ha has released three catchy Billboard charting singles from her album 'Animal,' she can't be labeled 'one-hit.' Despite not making it to #1 (the song peaked at #4), Your Love Is My Drug benefits from Ke$ha's loopy party girl delivery and fun lyrics.
(The Country Crossover)
NEED YOU NOW- LADY ANTEBELLUM
Despite there being more country music stations than any other type of radio station in the US, artists from the genre rarely make a dent on the Hot100... that is until the success of uber-stars like the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain and Faith Hill. Lady Antebellum joins the list by using the tried and true method of country voices, with a mainstream sound.
(The Love Song)
UN-THINKABLE (I'M READY) - ALICIA KEYS
Word is that Keys' now husband, then boyfriend, Swiss Beatz inspired the lyrics in this song. A big difference in tone for Keys whose vocals usually express ache and yearning. She's singing about love this time, not loss. There's a peace and calm to the single that makes it a standout in Keys' repertoire.
(The Cameo Song)
ALL I DO IS WIN - DJ KHALED FEAT. T-PAIN, LUDACRIS, RICK ROSS & SNOOP DOGG
There's usually one single during the summer season that features over two well known artists, kind of like 'We Are the World,' but on a smaller scale. You'll see this more with non-performers (I'm talking to you, Diddy!) who cover themselves by featuring a hot beat and every artist they've ever met.
(The Fad Song)
TEACH ME HOW TO DOUGIE - CALI SWAG DISTRICT
The season would be incomplete without the song that sparks a dance craze, like the Macarena and the Soulja Boy before it, this song's verses are mostly filler while the main course is the chorus which allows you to 'dougie' to your hearts content.
(The Comeback Song)
POWER - KANYE WEST
After an absence instigated by his mic-checking Taylor Swift at the MTV Music Video Awards, the wild, wild West returns with a monster single that confirms his talent and (once again) showcases his ego. Is it a march, is it a rock song or a rap song? Who cares! Kanye, can do.