July 10, 2005
People, we have a TUSH
Last summer was a sad time in pop music. We got through the whole summer without a Totally Ubiquitous Summer Hit, or TUSH, surfacing and taking over. Every year, we wait for that irresistibly catchy number that we hear again and again on the street, playing from people's car stereos, in Rite Aid, on the radio, and in bars, and we find ourselves growing fond of it even if it's completely goofy and disposable. Hell, BECAUSE it's goofy and disposable.
In past years, songs like "Hot in Herre" and "Crazy in Love" weren't songs you had to seek out; they were unavoidable, and everybody you know can sing the chorus, probably including your mother. Last year, we got nothing. So over the past few weeks, I've been wondering if the era of the TUSH had come to an end. But we've got some contenders.
Through June, it was looking like that Black Eyed Peas song "Don't Phunk With My Heart" might be the 2005 TUSH. It got played like crazy, and was catchy enough to be instantly memorable. ADM heard it just about every day while traveling in Europe in May. Unfortunately, it was also an irritating little gnat of a song, and though it's still strong on the charts, it came out in May and peaked too early. This weekend, I heard it at breakfast in the West Village, but hadn't heard it for a week or two before that. And that stupid title drives me crazy.
Now it's looking like our TUSH is going to be "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani. I personally find Gwen's nasal voice a little grating, but those booming beats are fantastic, and the video with its high school cheerleaders/ Japanese marching band style fits perfectly. (Norman K. also noticed that the video is weirdly reminiscent of Matthew Barney's Cremaster movies; you half expect Gwen to dance around with some blimps or be naked apart from a diaper.) "Hollaback Girl" came out in May as a single, but it still seems to be gaining momentum. I heard it playing in a Diesel store yesterday (where the DJ mixed it in to "Get Ur Freak On", the 2001 TUSH--clearly a sign,) then today in the video store, where a 10 year-old boy was singing along with it as it played on the radio.
It's also a song that gets better with repeated listenings. I didn't like it the first time I heard it, but now when she gets to the "This shit is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S!" part, I have to admit I like it. Unfortunately, just about every other word in the song is "shit", so the radio version is so heavily edited that it mostly sounds like complete nonsense, but then again, I can't understand the unedited parts either.
We'll see if it continues to grow into total ubiquity over the next few weeks, but I think we've finally got our TUSH. Those Neptunes, who produced the song (as well as 2002's TUSH, "Hot in Herre" by Nelly,) understand how make a solid, juicy TUSH.
The thing about the TUSH is, everybody knows the song. Everybody hears it a billion times. So if think there are other contenders for the 2005 TUSH, please add a comment.
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