It seems that for the past few years there has been a bigger and bigger deal made about what the song of the summer is. Normally, I can't claim to be tuned into pop music enough to add very much to the conversation, but this year I can! That's because very important people have decided that the song of this summer comes down to just two candidates: "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk and "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke. Thankfully, I actually know them both. Let's take a look at each of them.
"Get Lucky": As someone who was a fan of Daft Punk before they got huge with this song, I can say that I am inclined to choose them over the syrupy pop of Robin Thicke. They helped to usher in the entire Electronic Dance Music (EDM) movement with both their sound and their legendary stage shows. After a long absence everyone was eagerly anticipating what the EDM godfathers were going to do with this latest offering. The duo decided to throw everyone a curve ball, releasing an album that completely eschews the aggressive sounds of current electronic artists like Skrillex, instead opting to create a disco pop album with a slew of guests. Random Access Memories is a solid, if surprising release. But even more surprising is that a couple of obscure French guys in their 40s have been able to ride this single to the top of the charts. I must admit that when I first heard the album, I never imagined that "Get Lucky" would have become such an incredible sensation. Great for Daft Punk! About time they got their due. I just wish I liked the song a little more. Don't get me wrong, legendary rhythm guitarist Nile Rodgers adds some solid disco infused guitar lines, and guest vocalist Pharrell Williams is perfectly serviceable. The main problem is that the song is just too long. Even the slimmed down radio version takes a long time to get to the duo's patented vocoder embellishments. The hook isn't catchy enough to sustain endless repetitions and even the magic of Rodgers guitar work starts to drag after a few minutes. Hopefully the success of Random Access Memories will drive people to hear some of Daft Punk's older work, but I can't say that this is the winner.
"Blurred Lines": A white male R&B vocalist. A famous guest rapper. A big time producer. I could be dishing out clues for Justin Timberlake's "Suit & Tie", released earlier this year. That tune, with its overly serious music video and exceptionally lazy verse from Jay-Z didn't quite work the way JT probably hoped it would. "Blurred Lines" doesn't make any of those missteps. Robin Thicke is well aware of some of the silliness inherit to a song like this, practically laughing as he says the line "What rhymes with hug me?" T.I. is way better than Jay-Z, keep his verse succinct and rhythmically interesting. The hooks are great, and the production details by Pharrell Williams (it has been a good summer for him) are spot on. Also a few more points are awarded to Robin because when Daft Punk recently cancelled their performance on the Colbert Report without notice, he stepped up to the plate and performed.
That's my two cents on this topic.
Until next summer...