Continuing the weeklong Songs of Summer 16 rollout, today (August 23) we look at the promising records that were built to "f—k the summer up," but couldn’t match their built-up potential. Clearly, these records… #DidntStandAChance.
Justin Timberlake "Can’t Stop the Feeling"
Nothing felt more try-hard this summer than JT's "Can't Stop the Feeling." It felt G-rated. Like a song on a sugar rush. Like it'd been commissioned for a Sandals commercial. Like Pharrell's "Happy," but for other folks. The music videos — that's right, there were unfortunately two — didn't help; if it wasn't fellow celebrity Anna Kendrick singing into a hairbrush-turned-mock microphone (as if anyone above the age of 11 actually does this), it was good ol' civilians like you and me busting their best moves mid-shift "at work" and acting as if they hadn't been told to "be quirky" by the crew. Basically, "Can't Stop the Feeling" felt like forced fun. And that's the worst kind.
ScHoolboy Q ft. Kanye West "THat Part"
When ScHoolboy Q dropped this banger out of nowhere this past spring, it sounded and felt like a surefire hit. Between Kanye’s ridiculously catchy verse (“Okay, okay, okay, okay!”) and Q’s infectious hook (“THat Part”), this groove possessed the kind of uniqueness that, as Will Smith once rhymed, provided “a bit of a break from the norm.” Sonically, it was a record destined to stretch from the spring through the summer. But even though it did pull through, thanks to the festival circuits and radio play, the Blank Face LP single couldn’t attract the kind of ubiquitousness that typically comes with summer anthems. It lived on the Hot 100 chart for 10 weeks and peaked at No. 40. Over on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, it currently sits at No. 13. It may not be Song of the Summer, but “THat Part” is still a strong enough contender for collaboration of the year. Soon come.
DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber, "Let Me Love You"
Having recently released their own respective smashes — see: DJ Snake's inescapable, record-breaking hit "Lean On" from last year (how could you forget?) and Justin Bieber's new Major Lazer-hosted chart-riser "Cold Water" — listeners had pretty high hopes upon seeing the two men's names side by side on a new collaboration. But that was kind of the problem: "Let Me Love You" wasn't nearly as good as either of those songs. It wasn't as uncontrollably grandiose as "Lean On" or as melodious as the mid-tempo "Cold Water." And so, in comparison, the song felt unfinished, like it lacked both charm and character. And it didn't help that it was released during the last weeks of summer's hottest month. Plus, if DJ Snake uses that cartoon quack of a kazoo one more time…
Calvin Harris & Rihanna "This Is What You Came For"
The audio for this song first dropped in April, way ahead of the summer season. But Calvin Harris and Rihanna are sure bets separately; together it was a foregone conclusion that the song would debut at No. 1 on the Dance/Electronic Digital Songs chart. Sixteen weeks later it’s still going strong, sitting at No. 2, but its time of dominance in everyday life has come and gone. It was played just enough since spring to be played out, and it doesn’t help that it’s so repetitive in nature. How many times can one sing, "You-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh?"... Should have kept this one in the cannon a little longer before firing it off.
DJ Khaled feat. Jay Z & Future "I Got the Keys"
In early July, DJ Khaled secured the bag and blessed the summer with extra special cloth talk courtesy of the monstrous single, “I Got the Keys.” As if scoring a rare two verses from Jay Z weren’t big time enough, Khaled enlisted rap’s clean up man Future for the hook and hyped this up to be a song that would “f—k the summer up.” While it succeeded in being a certified streetsweeper, which as of this writing continues to climb the charts, Khaled’s other single, "For Free," eclipsed it. On the Hot 100, "I Got the Keys" peaked at No. 30, which is far behind the No. 13 spot that hosts Khaled and Drake’s "For Free." Over on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, it sits at No. 9, while the latter is perched up at the No. 4 slot. These are two great songs, but we can't help it if Khaled/Drake and the summer go together like Nike Airs and white tees (See "I'm On One" and "No New Friends").
**On Monday, REVOLT presented the Songs of Summer '16 that #PeakedTooEarly. Go here to get caught up, and stick with us all week long as we announce the official Song of the Summer.**