Skip to main content

THE BEST SUMMER SONGS OF 2016 AS CHOSEN BY EYEWEAR

THIS POET LOVES GOOD MUSIC

2016 has been more bad news than beach....

But in the midst of the worst times, popular culture, at least these past 100 years or so, in league with profit-oriented impulses, has managed to precision tool craft, emotion, structure, style, skill and pathos into a heady mix of song, dance, film, that has often seemed to surpass the moment, and ease some of the pangs and traumas.  No one in WW2, for instance, would begrudge the singers who gave the homes, bomb shelters and troop tents some measure of gladness in the dark. War is good for the entertainment business, as is economic struggle, and trouble in general.  The darker it gets, the better the songs. As if in keeping with that general idea, 2016 appears to be a masterclass in top flight popular music. Here are the 8 tracks - some top 40, others decidedly indie - that most got us dancing, toe tapping, or swooning, on the sunny sad and sifting days of this most challenging of recent years.  IN NO ORDER - IT IS ALL GOOD.

1. PILLOW TALK - ZAYN

If The Brill building boys had been writing today they would have nodded sagely at the excellence of this tune. The lyrics, clever, complex, and witty, attach to a passionate, romantic, grand song worthy of a 1950s Broadway Musical.  One of the greatest pop songs about lovemaking, and love, ever produced.

2. FLOWER OF SEX - MERCHANDISE

4AD has a way with talent spotting. Merchandise - sort of on the radar as indie pin-ups - combine the white t-shirts, lanky bodies, and short 30s-era haircuts, one associates with American Joy Division tribute bands. This song is simply the best pastiche of The Smiths, The Cure, Simple Minds, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Church and Joy DivisIon, ever assayed. It is sort of The Waste Land of 80s indie homage.  Canny, sexy, exquisite, and smart, it haunts beyond its antecedents, and opens new ways to be alternative now, belatedly.


3. SPIT IT OUT - SLAVES
There are few more rancid, angry, ugly new punk groups in the UK than Slaves, and their new single, involving someone purportedly sucking on a bitter sweet, is as good an anthem for Brexit Britain as any.


4. KISSING THE SCREEN - NITE JEWEL
Icy 80s synths a la Human League, married to a quirky pop sensibility the equal of Sia's leads to a video and song both funny, sad, and unexpectedly potent and poignant... one gets the feeling this peaen to FaceTime and other digital obsessions is going to be emblematic.


5. SLEDGEHAMMER - RIHANNA
Not since Tina Turner made a Mad Max theme song a major moment of the 80s, has a movie song been so resoundingly grand.  This makes Bond themes seem wan and lacklustre. A real showstopper, and deeply moving in a sentimental way.


6. CHEAP THRILLS - SIA

Well, here she is, herself - Sia - that genius of pop hits for our time. Working with Sean Paul was a clever move, they play off each other so well. "Worth more than diamond more than gold" is unpexpectedly moving. Combining Lady Gaga and Abba, this becomes a classic celebration of dancing, and love.  Both, in fact, which money cannot buy...

7. CAN'T STOP THE FEELING! - JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE
Continuing the disco-era celebration of summery dancing madness, here comes a track and video so upbeat and cheery it makes Fruit Loops seem colourless. A classic of its simply fun and clean-cut kind. Euphoric bliss. The Jackson 5 should maybe sue?


8. WARPAINT - NEW SONG
As if combining the dreampop indie nous of their earlier work, with the NYC influenced work of upbeat 80s New Wave (think Talking Heads) this is one of their best, and most, yes, danceable songs.

 
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

AMERICA PSYCHO

According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…

DANGER, MAN

Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…

OSCAR SMOSHCAR

The Oscars - Academy Awards officially - were once huge cultural events - in 1975, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Shirley MacLaineandBob Hope co-hosted, for example - and Best Picture noms included The Conversation and Chinatown. Godfather Part 2 won. Last two years, movies titled Birdman and Spotlight won, and the hosts and those films are retrospectively minor, trifling. This year, some important, resonant films are up for consideration - including Hidden Figures and Moonlight, two favourites of this blog. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington will hopefully win for their sterling performances in Fences. However, La La Land - the most superficial and empty Best Picture contender since Gigi in 1959 (which beat Vertigo) - could smite all comers, and render this year's awards historically trivial, even idiotic.

The Oscars often opt for safe, optimistic films, or safe, pessimistic films, that are usually about white men (less often, white women) finding their path to doing the right thin…