By Steven Cisowski in Philly, with A. Sebastian Fortino in FTL
Summer is finally here, and you all know what that means. No, I'm not talking about beach diets and sexy little swimsuits, although we love boys in them! I'm talking about the hottest songs for summer. If you're looking for some great new tunes for your next barbecue, pool party, or your own personal playlist, look no further.
Here are the top 10 jams that will provide you a memorable soundtrack for summer 2010.
10. N*E*R*D feat. Nelly Furtado – "Hot and Fun"
There's not much to say about our #10 pick other than what the title suggests—it’s hot and fun. This track is a sweaty joint that requires dancing, whether it’s sexual, aggressive, or drunk. The official video features something unique, footage shot entirely when the band visited Philadelphia’s Temple University for a recent concert.
9. M.I.A. – "XXXO"
Maya Arulpragasam, otherwise known as M.I.A., achieved commercial success last year with her single "Paper Planes." The edgy, political and often outspoken artist is set to release her third album “/\/\/\Y/\,” which has already generated some buzz after the graphically violent 9-minute video for the opening single "Born Free" premiered online. The first official single, "XXXO," on the other hand, is a danceable electro-pop number that might actually get some airplay this summer.
8. Janelle Monae feat. Big Boi – "Tightrope"
Janelle Monae is an artist unlike many you know. This Kansas City girl, who is one-part robot and one-part James Brown, has just released her first full-length album, The ArchAndroid. The album, released under Sean "Diddy" Combs' Bad Boy Records, flows like an epic motion picture, telling the story of her android persona Cindi Mayweather in the futuristic community of Metropolis, from outlaw on the run to society's Messiah. Sounds like a science fiction story, right? You're not completely wrong, but it's worth mentioning that Monae's voice could easily work on Broadway, and the story she weaves with her voice is nothing short of a potential Album of the Year candidate. She is without a doubt this year's breakout star.
7. Shanell – "Hair Down My Back"
Multi-talented artist Shanell has a lot to offer. This singer/songwriter/professional dancer, signed to Lil' Wayne's Young Money record label, is serving up the summer's sassiest dance floor anthem for all of the ladies—and some of the boys—who are proud of their long, natural hair. Even if you don't have long hair, you will likely find something to boast about as you hear this song come on over the speakers. With an attention grabbing chorus—"I got hair down my back, bitch"—how can you not?
6. Kanye West feat. Dwele – "Power"
Kanye West has had one hell of a year. After his infamous hijacking of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at last year's MTV Video Music Awards, he received much public chagrin, canceled his co-headlining tour with Lady Gaga, and went into hiding. He went behind the scenes to lend production skills to Drake's debut album, but for the most part, he remained removed from the public eye. This track, the lead-off single to his new album, is a re-emergence for the artist. Kanye is back on top of his game, letting his ego do most of the talking, posing the question of exactly how much power one person's actions can have on the public, and surprisingly expressing a tiny bit of remorse for "acting a fool."
5. Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg – "California Gurls"
Speaking of Katy Perry, the release of her new single "California Gurls" comes at the perfect time of the year, since it is essentially a summertime anthem about—and for—West Coast girls. The lyrics are a bit juvenile, even for Katy, but they match the simple pop arrangement. This song is so deliciously dumb that it is almost perfect for Ke$ha, who also happens to be from California. Coincidence? Maybe not. She did after all appear in Perry's video for "I Kissed a Girl."
4. Timbaland feat. Katy Perry – "If We Ever Meet Again"
Acclaimed hip-hop producer Timbaland, who has helped launch the career of Missy Elliott and urbanized Justin Timberlake, has admittedly "sold out" and decided to focus on making pop music that caters to the female 30-something demographic. However, as long as he has an audience to produce music for—we’re very happy! Tim's latest album, Shock Value 2, is a collection of tracks featuring unlikely pairings with a handful of rockers and pop acts, including Daughtry and Miley Cyrus, among others. This track, which is making its way around the airwaves, weaves together a club beat, a nice hook, and a breezy aura of summertime romance.
3. Lil' Wayne feat. Nicki Minaj – "Knockout"
Lil' Wayne and Nicki Minaj are arguably the hottest male and female rappers in the game right now, so why is it that they sound so good doing a pop-rock record? This duet, off of Wayne's Rebirth rock album, tells the story of two high-school sweethearts, played out in the locker room scenes of the video. The clip itself is a low-budget endeavor shot entirely on a green screen. This was most likely done in a hurry before Wayne entered prison to serve his one-year jail sentence for attempted criminal weapon possession. However, the song itself is so simple and catchy that it's almost genius.
2. Kelis – "Acapella"
David Guetta, who penned the dance-floor hit "When Love Takes Over," is the producer of our #2 pick, "Acapella" by Kelis. This multi-faceted singer, who is no stranger to reinvention over the duration of her 11-year singing career, has reemerged as a new club-music goddess with this pulsing, tribal house-anthem. Her new album Fleshtone is a 9-track progression of non-stop dance music that channels Madonna's Confessions on a Dancefloor.
And lastly, our top pick for the summer is well…the title says it all! You’ve heard it—and seen the video—at bars and nightclubs from Key West to San Francisco, and probably still can’t get enough of it!
1. La Roux – "Bulletproof"
This is our absolute top pick for the summer! You probably first heard La Roux on the radio last summer. "Bulletproof" contradicts itself a little bit, though, because once you get into La Roux you won’t be bulletproof against her, as the London-based La Roux finally begins to make waves in the U.S.! The video is hipster meets Ace of Base, with fun—yet cheesy—early ‘90s-esque animation. It’s our favorite song for the summer, and we can only hope more and more people get into her electro-pop grooves!
Well, hope you enjoy! While we love the Gaga, she has not appeared on this list because it goes without saying that she’ll be on our—and your—playlists. Have a safe, crazy, dance-filled summer!
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