Sherman Ave's Slapper of the Summer 2016
Music is in the same category as brews, good times, and BBQs when it comes to things that make summer special. Now that the summer is kicking into high gear, some Sherman Ave writers make their pick for Slapper of the Summer. What’s a slapper, you may ask? It’s a song that fucking SLAPS. All of the slappers discussed by our writers are in this Spotify playlist.
“Never Be Like You” - Flume
If the title of “Slapper of the Summer” is a delicious brownie, then “Never Be Like You” is the recipe on the side of the brownie mix box. Will they be the best brownies you’ve ever had? No, probably not. But damn, it will get the job done well enough to stuff your face. Go down the slapper checklist: an unknown female singer with an unusually high register? Check. A chorus that you can’t understand the words to? Check. An awesome drop that only gets meh as it goes along? You’d better believe that any Flume song has got it in spades. The “Slapper of the Summer” isn’t the best song of the summer- it’s the one that’s consistent enough to be played at every pool party and barbeque within a three month span, and every time people hear it they go “Oh, I love this song,” but then don’t actually dance to it. And that’s “Never Be Like You.” - Doopy
“One Dance” - Drake
Drake’s Summer ‘15 was all about his feud with Meek Mill. He stayed busy buffing criticisms but never approached what “One Dance” has in Summer ‘16. A current of afrobeat in Drake’s music over the past few years finds its outlet in “One Dance”: hypnotic, tropical guitar riffs float over the muted dancehall beat, both scoring and generating the pulsating club scene. Drake croons about the one-mindedness of Summer, being able to get lost in a night or with a person. Views might not have the staying power as Drake’s previous efforts, but, at least until September, “One Dance” is slappin’. - Sparky Brownwhistle
"Toothbrush" – DNCE
While we are all still trying to forget that Joe Jonas’ solo album from 2011 ever existed, here is a panty-wetter for any self-conscious, female-identifying “Millennial” looking for their slam piece to commit, or a homeless person looking for a place to crash, such as myself. When my hotline blings with “Toothbrush,” I know I’ll be off the cold, dark streets for the night. Whether your Snatch-chat has just been successfully answered by your man on his burner phone telling you to come over, you are a “side chick” looking to be promoted to “allowed to sleep in the bed” chick, or even if you are a panhandling street urchin tired of breaking into warehouses, “Toothbrush” is the song for you.
Coming from a band that named themselves after being too drunk to spell the word “dance”, this up and coming musical quartet is led by Joe, the second-most fuckable Jonas brother; Kevin we always be first. In the aftermath of the song being labeled as a “disco,” the outcry from new followers on Spotify’s Disco Forever playlist has resounded the grievance that DNCE is nowhere on it. The only song they seem to recognize is “Funky Town” from the Shrek 2 soundtrack.
Props to the band for including a plus size model as Jonas’ love interest in the music video. It has received praise for its progressive body-positive image, and praise from girls like me that look in the mirror and want to trim their problem areas with a Swiss Army Knife. It gives us “over size 4’s” the hope that maybe one day we can make out with a celebrity on a music video. - Leprosy St. James
“Cake By The Ocean” - DNCE
How many of you have thought on one of these hot summer days, “You know what today would be great for? I’m going to pack a nice slice of cake and head down to the beach. Then I’ll be having cake by the ocean, just like that song suggests!” I, too, thought Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe must be even better by a body of water because the sugar mixes with the salty air as you eat it, providing the classic salty-sweet combo we all love so much. I also thought the beach would allow my friends and me a lot more space to hang afterward without disturbing neighbors or passersby when we get that inevitable sugar rush and lose our minds and go fucking crazy.
I hurriedly added “eat cake by the ocean” to my summer bucket list because I thought the DNCE made it sound so fun. But boy, was I in for a shock when I discovered the truth. The whole song is actually one big metaphor for SEXUAL INTERCOURSE! “Cake” is referring to a certain part of the body. Of course now you might be thinking, “That makes sense. The JBS is grown up now, trying to get away from that wholesome Disney image like many of their child star predecessors did.” But think again! This song isn’t even by the Jonas Brothers -- it’s by a new band called DNCE formed by some other boys, and Joe is the only Jonas to be found! Joe?! What?! He doesn’t even seem comfortable in his sexuality yet! Well, I don’t know what to tell you, I don’t know the guy, I don’t sit with him at lunch, but all I can say is he certainly is comfortable now. - Xerxes the Moose
"Reaper" - Sia
Do you have that s-s-s-summertime, summertime sadness? S-s-s-same (sorry, I have a stutter). Anyway, it’s not always as sexy as Lana del Ray makes it sound, and can be pretty hard to kick. But from experience, the most effective, non-pharmaceutical solution for the summer blues is cathartic female vocal pop power anthems. So relieved I was to discover Sia’s “Reaper,” off her latest album This is Acting. The first time I listened to it, I cried. The second time, I cried again and then exercised for the first time. I died from a foot cramp, but in purgatory (I’m catholic) I listened to it a third time and then woke up in a bath of diamonds, Sia’s novelty wig-headed figure towering over me. “They came to take you away, so close you were to Heaven’s gates,” she belted, two thousand harmonies accompanying her. “But no baby, no baby, not today.” – Bosco Feldstein
"The Summer Drones" - Inter Arma
Oh shit, everybody. Roll up a fatty J and break out those kaleidoscope glasses, because Richmond-based blackened doom/psychedelic sludge/fat noises band Inter Arma is back with a brand new music video for “The Summer Drones”, the fifth track off of their new record “Paradise Gallows”. Released July 8th on metal label Relapse Records, this vat of boiling lava lamp goo arrived just in time to melt down your eardrums, delivering a sonic blast as sweltering and humid as Southern Virginia itself. The song begins by sailing in on a dense, dripping riff in triple meter, decorated by spectral ride cymbal hits and an ethereal verse of spoken word. As we slowly build into the chorus, the drums pick up their pace and billowing layers of atmospheric guitar flow out into space like clouds of hot fudge rolling across a desert sky. This carries on with increasing intensity for several minutes, as Inter Arma demonstrate their characteristic knack for mind-bending long-form sludge masterpieces, sending us deeper and deeper into their soupy, hellish world of emotion. Finally, as the song draws to a close, we are assaulted by a doom-tastic riff as vocalist Mike Paparo, with an apocalyptic roar, assures us that the summer does, in fact, drone. Clocking in at six minutes and 46 seconds, The Summer Drones is a fantastically psyched-out addition to the greater lexicon of extreme metal presented by the fabulously talented Inter Arma, proving once again that they are without a doubt a band to watch. - Queef Erikson
"Ice Cream and Sunscreen" - Martha
There were many contenders for “Slapper of the Summer.” Initially, I was taken by Drake’s infectious and instagram captioned gold mine “Pop Style.” Anything off of Ariana Grande’s dance party start kit Dangerous Woman could have been represented. Then, YG’s straight up jam “Why You Always Hating” almost graced this spot. But, who am I kidding? I’m a sucker for guitars. And boy oh boy does Martha's "Ice Cream and Sunscreen" got guitars. Add some insane harmonies and a whole lot of tasty drums and we got a certified slapper on our hands. Titled with two buzzwords, the second single from Martha's Blisters In The Pit of My Heart was destined to be the song I put on when I get passed the aux chords at house parties this summer.
I define a slapper as a song that I consider to be at jam (a song you can light up a solo blunt to and vibe to), a banger (a song you can turn up to), and a hit (a marquee song from an artist). It’s the highest classification a song can receive from me. Now maybe I’m not the best at categorizing slappers (I consider every song from Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel a certified slapper), but you’ll be a fool if you don’t consider “Ice Cream and Sunscreen” as Martha’s premiere slapper.
Honorable Mention: "Shut Up Kiss Me" - Angel Olsen - Clint Taurus
"CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!" - Justin Timberlake
An infectious, bubbly beat, and exuberant drop just makes you feel like dancing, the perfect slapper for your summer jams – I’ve been told. Unfortunately, the only entities capable of hearing this song are trolls, from the new DreamWorks movie, TROLLS. For trolls, this song has special significance – each time a troll listens to “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING,” it reminds them of the time before times during which they were subjugated by our prehistoric ancestors and condemned to live in the underworld, spurring their reptilian brains to initiate an uprising. And it reminds them of how much they love JT’s fedoras! What else would you want to listen to at your barbeque?
“CAN’T STOP THE FEELING” is perfect for blasting at the beach or grooving out in the car during the morning commute, and also for inciting the inevitable troll rebellion! Keep dance-dance-dancing; that’s exactly what JT’s troll overlords want to lull you into submission so your human form will be easily overtaken. What is the “feeling,” exactly? It’s the feeling of the summer, and the regret of handing humanity over to a mutant troll overlord. A small price to pay to make us all forget about the disaster that was The 2020 Experience Part II. - Probability the Rapper
“Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales” - Car Seat Headrest
There are a few reasons why “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales,” my favorite track off the terrific new Car Seat Headrest album Teens of Denial, isn’t a traditional song of the summer. For one thing, it isn’t by Jamie XX (feat. Young Thug and Popcaan). For another, it’s pretty fucking depressing. The lyrics—written by the band’s front man and resident ball of angst Will Toledo—are replete with ruminations on alcohol-induced shame, existential dread, and the mistreatment of aquatic wildlife.
Yet somehow, “Drunk Drivers” feels like the optimal soundtrack for a listless summer. This is partially due to the song’s breezy, guitar-driven first half, which does a nice job of concealing the very real despair of Toledo’s lyrics. But much like your friend who defaulted to consulting, Toledo’s wails aren’t so much full of despair as they are uncertainty. He knows that life “doesn’t have to be like this,” but he can’t quite figure out how it would look otherwise. It’s tough to think of a more perfect articulation of a twenty-something’s mid-summer malaise: a gnawing desire for something more, coupled with the unnerving realization that this might be as good as it gets. - L'Shawnatova Brown
"Moondance" - Van Morrison
As the sweat begins to bead on your upper lip, you sip red wine from a glass and think lusty thoughts about your paramour. You muse upon the taste of your lover's lips as they gently caress your own, that sordid tango of tongues. Your phone pings- But it's only a notification that your sophomore year lab partner is on Instagram as OzzyLovesCats27. Alas. You sigh, and take another sip of wine. The balmy night air drapes itself around your shoulders like a shawl. You long for your darling, their fingers cupping your cheek, their breath on your neck- Another ping! "Wyd rn?" your inquisitive angel inquires. Your fingers flit across the keyboard as you formulate your response: "Well, it's a marvelous night for a moondance..." - Urethra Franklin
[Editor's Note: "Moondance" is probably the Ultimate All Time Summer Slapper. -CT]