This week saw the introduction of Song of the Summer 2015 conversation. Meanwhile, the East Coast got pummeled with another snow storm. Perhaps, then, it was because critics were a little overly excited about Carly Rae Jepsen’s new single, which goes in like Cher’s “Believe” and out like Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Let’s discuss, plus add a few other future pop hits in the mix.
Carly Rae Jepsen — “I Really Like You”
Let’s get this out of the way: Even on the inevitable 1000th listen, “I Really Like You” will never be as singular as “Call Me Maybe.” Jepsen’s 2012 Song of the Year felt, in some way, like a happy accident, though with Bieber manager Scooter Braun behind her, the hit never was. “I Really Like You,” on the other hand, just sounds a bit more calculated. Still, Jepsen captures, yet again, the risk of taking the first leap when it comes to love. It’s a teenage feeling, and “I Really Like You” is undoubtedly teen-pop, albeit dressed up in Haim’s brand of ’80s cool. And like the best of Top 40, it sounds better every time you listen to it.
Meg Mac — “Roll Up Your Sleeves”
If you find yourself caught up in the personalities of pop, I highly recommend listening blindly. This morning I clicked on a new releases playlist on Spotify, and few songs later, I came upon Melbourne singer Meg Mac’s “Roll Up Your Sleeves.” She’s virtually unknown stateside, but it’s no coincidence that her soulful single — which reminds me of Adele meets Arcade Fire — is bubbling up now: Mac just recently signed to 300 Entertainment, famed music industry executive Lyor Cohen’s new indie label. If press, this would be my early answer to the question, “What should be the Song of the Summer?”
Tink — “Ratchet Commandments”
Timbaland protege Tink essentially repurposes Biggie Smalls’ “Ten Crack Commandments” for the millennial woman, and it’s downright vicious. I suppose any song that quotes Mean Girls (“you can’t sit with us”) is bound to be, and Tink’s flow here matches. Female pettiness aside, the way the 19-year-old Chicago rapper questions the misguided priorities of the digital generation is wise beyond her years, especially when she goes in on the boys: “You fake fathers never held your daughters/ Never had a conversation/ Too immature to get an occupation.”
Kelela — “A Message”
Kelela has been one to watch for a minute, but on the first single from her forthcoming EP, Hallucinogen, she delivers on the promise big time. With production from Arca and BOOTS (remember that mystery man from Beyonce’s 2013 self-titled?), “A Message” sounds a bit like FKA twigs.
Courtney Barnett — “Depreston”
Sometimes people compare Courtney Barnett to Bob Dylan. Outside of her impressive lyrical wit, I’ve never totally gotten that comparison — until now. “Depreston” is a change of pace, one that meanders more than shreds.