If you spent any amount of time this past summer listening to the radio you're well aware of just how popular Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" was. According to the folks over at Billboard it was the "Song of the Summer" and thus the answer to the question blogs had been asking months earlier.
Whether the fascination is real or just a construct of bored writers, predicting the annual summer song has become a big deal the last few years. Everyone makes their lists and then forgets about them until mid-September.
Summer has come and gone and, although the warm temperatures remain, some of pop music's biggest names are dropping new music to get ready to cash in on the holidays. But before we get to Christmas we have to get through fall and that had me wondering- what will the "Song of the Fall" be?
Sure it's not as prestigious a season, but the fall brings cooler temps, football, and color chaining leaves- all things that are awesome. Just because it doesn't mean hot afternoons and road trips doesn't mean that we can't speculate about what's going to be a hit at Halloween parties and homecoming dances.
The last two weeks have seen some of America's favorite pop stars releasing new singles, so I gave them a listen, evaluated their strengths and weaknesses, and slotted them according to how big an impact I think they'll make. Grab your hoodie and dancing shoes and check out the tracks that will either have you nodding your head or running for cover the next few months.
5. Taylor Swift, "Begin Again"
Pros: This is already another country pop crossover success story as it delivered Swifts 9th song to debut in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. It's a well written ballad that's heavy on melodrama that will probably find its way on to a few "hey I like you but don't know how to say it" mixtapes this fall.
Cons: Swift has already released what may end up being the best song of the fall with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together".That song, which is much catchier, is still in the Top 5 so it's hard to imagine "Begin Again" having the same staying power.
Verdict: It's hard to outsell yourself, but I wouldn't count out this song having success later in the year.
4. Carly Rae Jepsen, "This Kiss"
Pros: Jepsen's third single proves, if nothing else, that she's developing a nice catalog of tracks that sound right at home on the radio. It's not "Call Me Maybe", but this ode to cheating is catchy enough to get most folks tapping their feet.
Cons: The production leaves a bit to be desired. Did they not have enough money in the budget for better string and snare samples? And while the song is serviceable it's the weakest of the three tracks that have come out in support of her album.
Verdict: It didn't make much noise upon its initial release, but may see some airplay once "Good Time" starts to fall down the chart.
3. Rihanna, "Diamonds"
Pros: When you have access to the best songwriters and producers around, it's easy to get big hits. This is a perfect fall single -- it's catchy without sounding like something that should be played at the beach. It's a welcome relief after her last couple of big dance hits.
Cons: This is the fourth year in a row that Rihanna has a new record out in November. You have to think that at some point the masses might need a break from her for a few months. When was the last time she didn't have a song dominating the radio?
Verdict: While it may be the best song on the list, it didn't sell as well as the track I have at No. 1. It could be a grower, which is why it's in the middle of this list.
2. Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"
Pros: It's kind of infuriating how this guy continues to just pop out top 10 hits. While the hook isn't as anthemic as "Grenade" or sugar sweet as "The Way You Are" it's still going to get a lot of couples out on the floor grinding up on each other. It's a nice progression of his sound- different enough to not sound like every single he's released before but still distinctly him.
Cons: The verses of the song aren't as strong as the chorus and the background vocal bits are a bit silly.
Verdict: This could have been a summer jam if released a few months earlier but I imagine it'll still do good numbers for him in the fall.
1. Ke$ha, "Die Young"
Pros: The chorus, penned by fun. frontman Nate Ruess, is super catchy and the gang vocal section near the end make it a perfect track for fall party sing-alongs. With its inherent earworminess it could get stuck in a lot of people's heads.
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Cons: It is a bit derivative, sounding like a weird mishmash of Flo Rida's "Good Feeling", Taio Cruz's "Dynamite", and every fun. song ever. The chorus, while catchy, isn't very Ke$ha-like. Wasn't this supposed to be a "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)"/cock rock album?
Verdict: Problems aside I still expect this song to be huge. It's a song people will want to sing-along with and the fact that it's not straight electro-pop might win some non-pop fans over.