17 Tracks Summer '08 Mix

Mixes are like time capsules. You make them, listen to them a few times, and then let them collect dust in the center console of your car. With the rise of iTunes playlists, mixes are becoming less necessary, which is a shame. They become snapshots of our musical tastes that we can look back on with both nostalgia and disgust. This weekend I had a ten hour drive through the desert and decided that I should make a mix to sum up the past three months. It would serve as both a reminder of summer '08 and provide better sound quality than my radio station tuning iPod would. Some of these tracks are summer blockbusters and deserve a place on the mix whether you like 'em or not. Others barley made a blip on radio waves but are so good that it would be a crime not to be included. Without further adieu, I present to you, the 17 Tracks Summer '08 Mix (in no particular order).

01. "If I Never See Your Face Again"
Artists: Maroon 5 feat. Rihanna
Albums: It Won't Be Soon Before Long and Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded
Chart Placing: US #51 UK #28
Why: Rihanna had two #1's this summer and this song wasn't one of them. In fact, it is one of the few things that she touched that didn't turn to gold. Regardless, it made Rihanna more legit and it made Maroon 5 more new wave.

02. "Pork And Beans"
Artist: Weezer
Album: Weezer (The Red Album)
Chart Placing: US #64 UK #33 US Rock Chart #1
Why: The video alone makes this song a worthy candidate. However,the celebration of YouTube celebrities and culture aside, the song's remarks about Timbaland and taking pictures while looking in the mirror are so mid-to-late 00's it isn't funny.

03. "Spiralling"
Artist: Keane
Album: Perfect Symmetry
Chart Placing: UK #28
Why: "Spiralling" is hands down, the best free download of the year. It doesn't hurt that it sounds like a Killers track from the future or maybe the 80's (the future sounds like the 80's, doesn't it?) with Tom Chaplin giving his best Brandon Flowers impression. The album is due out in October featuring production from none other than Stuart Price.

04. "My Drive Thru"
Artists: Santogold, Julian Casablanca, Pharrell
Album: NA
Chart Placing: NA
Why: Another amazing free download. Each artist wrote their own track and then N.E.R.D. stitched each part together to produce the ultimate mash-up. Despite its three separate and distinct parts, "My Drive Thru" flows together flawlessly.

05. "4 Minutes"
Artists: Madonna & Justin Timberlake
Album: Hard Candy
Chart Placing: US #3 UK #1 US Dance Chart #1
Why: Let's be honest, the best part of the song is the beginning where Timbaland is mumbling about four minutes. As the anticipation reaches its climax, the rest of the song is a relative disappointment. Still, it's Madonna's biggest hit in eight years and the first time since 1989 that fourteen year olds know the words to one of her songs.

06. "Black And Gold"
Artist: Sam Sparro
Album: Sam Sparro
Chart Placing: UK #2
Why: Cool synthesizers slink along as Sparro describes looking up in wonder at the night sky. Sparro claims the song is about the very existence of God, which, if it's true, is the catchiest religious dance song of the century.

07. "Paper Planes"
Artist: M.I.A.
Album: Kala
Chart Placing: Currently US #5
Why: It took being featured on a film trailer and Rihanna's section of the Glow In The Dark tour, but M.I.A. has finally got a major hit on her hands. Like "I Kissed A Girl", this track should have angered a lot of people but for some reason didn't. Sure she was censored on Letterman, but everyone knows that all she wants to do is bang bang bang bang and take your money. (She's got more records than the KGB.)

08. "I Kissed A Girl"
Artist: Katy Perry
Album: One Of The Boys
Chart Placing: US #1 UK #1
Why: It should piss of gay rights activists because of its appropriation of homosexuality only OK if its girls and they are just playing. It should piss of conservatives because, well, it's about girls kissing girls. Somehow, no one is upset and it's a transatlantic #1 hit.

09. "L.E.S. Artistes"
Artist: Santogold
Album: Santogold
Chart Placing: US #27
Why: The L.E.S. isn't French, it stands for Lower East Side, as in the avant garde part of New York City. It comes across as an updated version of "Complicated", bashing pretentious starving artists but it's much more believable coming from someone who isn't "complicated" themselves.

10. "Dance Wiv Me"
Artist: Dizzee Rascal feat. Calvin Harris
Album: NA
Chart Placing: UK #1
Why: Great Britain has a love for disposable dance songs and this is a perfect example. How often does a black rapper feature a white pop songwriter on a track? Not often. If you find one, hold onto it tight.

11. "The Geeks Were Right"
Artist: The Faint
Album: Fasciinatiion
Chart Placing: NA
Why: In a summer of washed up sea monster sightings, rumors of Bigfoot finally being caught on the front page of Drudge Report, and fears of China on the rise, this horror song at least gave us something to dance to as we worried.

12. "Everyone Nose:
Artists: N.E.R.D. feat. Kanye West
Album: Seeing Sounds
Chart Placing: UK #41
Why: You'll never look at all the girls standing in the line for the bathroom the same way again. Sure it's about groupies using cocaine, but the beat is so sick that it doesn't matter.

13. "Bleeding Love"
Artist: Leona Lewis
Album: Spirit
Chart Placing: US #1 UK #1
Why: "Bleeding Love" is one of the few gems from a slew of sappy reality television winner songs. Written by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Jesse McCartney, the track was better than any song ever recorded by either of them. You can bet Mariah Carey's blood boiled with envy upon hearing the distorted organ and Lewis' opening coos for the first time.

14. "Viva La Vida"
Artist: Coldplay
Album: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
Chart Placing: US #1 UK #1
Why: Coldplay officially took their spot as biggest band of the decade this summer and "Viva La Vida" was the song that took them there.

15. "Mercury"
Artist: Bloc Party
Album: Intimacy
Chart Placing: UK #16
Why: If Britney Spears was a male rock star who wielded a guitar rather than a female pop star who wielded her sexuality, this would be her "Toxic". The "4 Minutes"-esque horns blare amid the remixed shouts of "my mercury's in retrograde" and it takes you too high that you can't come down.

16. "Closer"
Artist: Ne-Yo
Album: The Year Of The Gentleman
Chart Placing: Currently US #10 UK #1
Why: If Usher was concerned about reclaiming his crown as King of Pop from Timberlake, this is the song he would have made. Apparently he's more concerned about being the first Usher than the next Michael Jackson but we still have "Closer" so everyone is a winner.

17. "Yes We Can"
Artist: Will.I.Am feat. Barack Obama
Album: NA
Chart Placing: NA
Why: Even if you are voting for McCain, you have to admit that this song is inspiring. It doesn't touch on energy policies, the war in Iraq, or abortion, and after the Saddleback debate, I'm not sure that Obama talking about real issues would sound as eloquent anyways. That wasn't the point though; it was all about hope.


Bronson said...

The list is OK but where is Lollipop? I'm also a little miffed about I Kissed a Girl making the list but I guess it was a song that you couldn't get away from.

vicm said...

No, I agree with I Kissed A Girl but on my mix it would definatley be Disturbia instead of If I Never See Your Face Again.

Anonymous said...

I like the addition of "Yes We Can." A very creative pick - but a very fitting one. If this mix is supposed to define Summer '08, you've gotta have some reference to the election. Good list.

::ana zaida riquelme:: said...

who is spell-checking this? come on, guys.

Mavrick said...

I recognized about half of those. I guess I didn't have as indie of a summer as you did. I'll have to catch up with youtube.

hun*ter said...

If only we had more Gwen Stefani or Fergie songs. They always were helpful by spelling everything out for you. Bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Glamorous. G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.

Anonymous said...

you're as mainstream as they come. i was hoping for something interesting to be on here, but i could tune in to any pop station and find these songs being overplayed any day. thanks for another lame blog about crappy music that will never make a difference.

Reebs. said...

Ok...I just want to defend "4 Minutes." This song actually provides evidence that Madonna is actually literate because she quotes Dante. (The road to hell is paved with good intentions-what a great random line) This is personally comforting because if my children are going to read her lame children's books, I at least want to know that she can read.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's kind of cool that Madonna quotes Dante - but, then again, how many people know that quote is from Dante? I've heard it quoted a thousand times with being attributed to anyone. Plus, did Madonna even write the song? I agree with the sentiment, but I guess I'm just not as idealistic when it comes to Madonna's literacy.

hun*ter said...

"4 Minutes" was written by Madonna, Nate "Danja" Hills, Timbaland, & Justin Timberlake. So yeah...she wrote it...kind of.

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