July 18, 2006
It's mid-July, and you know what that means. Time to start paying attention to the songs playing in Old Navy, in delis, at the gym, and on Jeep stereos to identify that one song that has seeped into your unconscious to become our nation's Totally Ubiquitous Summer Hit!
So what songs have we been hearing again and again this summer? In May, there was still a lot of treacly whine-rock floating around, and everybody in the world heard that damn "Bad Day" one million times. But one of the most important qualities of a true TUSH, apart from its total ubiquity, is that is has to be an upbeat, positive, fun song that you (or a teenage version of you) could conceivably dance to. The prime example of the TUSH is probably "La Macarena" from 1996, and also "Crazy in Love" from 2003.
Many music fans were hoping that "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley would achieve TUSH-level widespread popularity. During the 15 seconds that I hear KTU every morning when my alarm goes off I sometimes hear "Crazy", and many people have seen it performed on the MTV Movie Awards and Conan. And it's still at #2 on the Billboard charts. But ubiquitous? Sadly, I don't think so.
I've been hearing a lot about this new Nelly Furtado "Promiscuous" song, which appears to be gaining some popularity. But here's the thing: I hated this song about one minute into the video with its unsuccessful attempts to look sexy by Ms. Furtado, who looks to me like she's trying too hard. And please, "Promiscuous"? Just keep your shirt on there, Nelly.
I don't usually like to suggest a TUSH that was released during the mid-spring, but in this case, there's no denying it. Rihanna's "S.O.S.", which came out in April, is still absolutely everywhere. I hear this song several times every single week being played on car radios, in Duane Reade, at the video store--it's unavoidable. It's not the most captivating song, but that "Tainted Love" sample makes it instantly recognizable, and I like Rihanna's relaxed delivery and deep, sexy voice. It first hit #1 on the charts at the beginning of May, but this song has not faded away at all as the summer moves on. There are definitely newer and cooler summer hits out there, but have you heard any of them as many times as you've heard "S.O.S."?
The Post weighed in on the TUSH issues a few weeks ago, and many of their "experts" support either "Hips Don't Lie" by Shakira (which came out in March) and this "Promiscuous" garbage. Some think Justin Timberlake's new single "Sexy Back" may yet emerge as a late-summer TUSH (but it won't, it sucks), and I'm also interested to see if Paris Hilton's surprisingly not-loathsome "Stars Are Blind" goes anywhere. We'll see what happens in the next few weeks. But for the moment, it looks like 18 year-old Rihanna has it. If I'm just wildly out of touch and have missed a more ubiquitous tune, please leave a comment.
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