Tuesday, December 11, 2018
  • Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018
In this Jan. 25, 2018 file photo, Cardi B attends the Warner Music Group pre-Grammy party in New York. MTV announced Monday, July 16, that the rapper received ten nominations at this year’s MTV Video Music Award, which returns to New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on Aug. 20. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
Earwitness
Sound Waves of Summer

Okay, it’s that time.  Hear the waves crashing?  Let’s all gather ‘round the fire—I’ve got plenty of dry wood, there’s wine and beer in the cooler.  Moon is almost full, that silver light shimmering off the ocean— awesome.  Puts me in the mood for some summer music, how about you guys?  Thought so!  Whaddaya say we start with this year’s biggest summer smash?  Teri, call it out!  I mean, sing it out!  

“Um…’Despacito?’”

No, that was last year’s summer smash, dude.  I mean right now…2018!  Todd, anything?

“Yea, ‘In My Feelings’ by Drake.  Billboard Numero Uno!"

Fine…but show of hands, how many of you have even heard "In My Feelings?"  I count three…three of us know the song.  A “summer smash” is something everybody knows!  And, sure, the trap beat is pretty cool but the whole thing’s in a minor key.  So I kinda wanna dance and kill myself at the same time..

“Look, man, you said let’s start with the 'biggest summer smash,' so we gotta give it up to Drake.”

Yea, but shit…where’s the summer vibe in that?  Anybody got somethin’ else?  Ruby?

“Ok, look, the summer jam doesn’t have to be a “number one,” you know?  But it should have a thing…that makes you smile, move your body, feel good about, well, nothing, or anything.  Just feel good.  So I’m going with Cardi B’s ‘I Like It.’  Totally fun to bounce to!”

Mmm, can’t argue with that.  The trap-salsa beat is infectious as hell, Ms. Cardi’s rap is funny-cool, and the walk-ons by Bad Bunny and J Balvin totally work.  But here’s the really bankable part:  the whole song is built on a fat sample from "I Like It Like That," written by Tony Pablon and Manny Rodriguez in 1967—so it was already an ear worm 50 years ago!

“Don’t be hatin’ on Cardi, man!  I mean, 'Blurred Lines' by Robin Thicke was a huge number one in 2013, but it was first written and recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1977!”

Whoa that’s harsh, Donny.  Hey, the court battle over that song lasted more than 3 years, though the Gaye side won the final decision.  Still, both songs are awesome, can we all agree?

“Just sayin’…”

Well at least we’re talking about songs with the feel good factor.  Here’s one for you from my back-in-the-dAy list:  "Brandy (You’re A Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass.  Remember?

 

;
1972!

“Man you’re showing your age!”

Oh, like you haven’t heard this song a million times, child.  I will also submit Madonna’s "Cherish" into this campfire-side chat—the vibe is so upbeat, breezy and the video by the brilliant fashion photog Herb Ritts just makes me wanna roll in the sand. 

“Yea, that’s hot.  But ‘Cherish’ is almost 30 years old already—could we return to the present century please?!”

Okay, fine, Lani, but you gotta promise to stay with the summer vibe.

Can we agree that minor chords and downer raps are non-starters?

“Sure, whatever.  Here’s one I still Soul-Cycle to:  ‘Party Rock Anthem’ by LMFAO.  It’s just so crazy/hilarious…and you could not not hear that jam in the summer of 2011—it was everywhere!” 
 

I will give you that for sure, Lani.  Too bad the duo broke up after killing it so big!  Gimme another…Clyde, your hand’s in the air.

“Just want you to toss me a beer, beach boy…I’m happy to listen to y’all.”

No problem, here ya go.  Tony, you’re singing something to yourself over there…wanna share?

“Not really, it’s a little embarrassing.”

C’mon man, don’t be a baby.

(Everybody) “Yea, Tony, no judgments here!”

“Shit, all right:  ‘Call Me Maybe’ by Carly Rae whatshername…”

(Everybody)  “HaHaHa!!”

Hey, it’s cool.  "Call Me Maybe" was gigantic in 2012.  It took me a year to recover from it! 

And where is she now?  We may never know…

“Somewhere…over the rainbow?”

Cold!  You brought her to the party, Tony, so… Okay, moving on—I’m throwing another “oldie” in the fire:  1985, "Walking On Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves.

“Not fair, man!  That thing just kept playing…then the advertisers started licensing it—felt like it was on a loop…at a certain point, so annoying!”

True that, Teri.  They say between sales, airplay and sync licenses, "Sunshine" earned at least a million dollars a year for over a decade.  Not bad for a summer pop-rock sugar rush.  But, yea, there is such a thing as too much.  A writer for The Times interviewed Billy Joel recently and said—no lie—"I’d be ok if I never hear ‘Piano Man" again as long as I live.’  And Billy said, "I’m with you!"  But I say there are certain times of the year when it’s awesome to hear certain songs.  In December, I love hearing the holiday stuff 24/7….and then, on 12.25, it’s over!  Now it’s August, and hot as hell.  I wanna hear all this stuff, from "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas to Nelly’s "Hot In Herre," Katy Perry’s "California Gurls" to "Low Rider" by War.  Maybe some Jack Johnson…and definitely anything Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff!

“No argument here, dude.  But you started this fireside chat with ‘right now, summer of 2018.’  So with respect and love for all of the above here’s a current summer 2018 playlist, starting with the surprising and amazing ‘Girls Like You’ from Maroon5+Cardi B."  You’re welcome!

Here's the rest of the summer playlist entries:

*  "X"  Nicky Jam + J Balvin

*  "I Like It"  Cardi B w/ Bad Bunny & J Balvin

*  "I Was Jack (You Were Diane)"  Jake Owen

*  "New Light"  John Mayer

*  "Feels Like Summer"  Childish Gambino

*  "One Kiss"  Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa

*  "That Girl Is You"  Dave Matthews Band

*  "Look Back"  Diplo feat. Dram

*  "Humility"  Gorillaz

*  "Gold Rush"  Death Cab for Cutie

Below, you can see/hear all of the songs listed in the Earwitness Summer Playlist:
 

Hey, summer may have an expiration date…but good music doesn’t get stale.  Wanna send me your summer list?  lyle@bangworld.com - this fire’s gonna be burning for a while!

About the author

Lyle Greenfield is the founder of BANG Music and past president of the Association of Music Producers (AMP).  Greenfield has been a driving force behind the AMP Awards for Music and Sound, which debuted in New York City in 2013.

Contact Lyle via email

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