Friday, July 20, 2007

The Disposable Fantastic

Prompted by this article, I have been, amidst an unseasonable chill, been contemplating the Summer Song, its nature and purpose. But mostly, yes, I’ve been in search of the song to stand emblematic of the Summer of Oh Seven! That platter which will hereafter call to mind, as vividly as any crisp digital photo, these summer days, the road trips, the colours, the smells.

As Kelefa Sanneh suggests, the Summer Song used to be decided by the masses – it was the song we all recognized from its incessant rotation on the one or two radio stations we had to choose from. It appeared on mixtapes, played in grocery stores and shopping malls and blared from passing cars. Nowadays, of course, that “broad cultural consensus” is elusive, if it’s even possible. In the ongoing fractal division of modern life, unanimity is no longer a factor in the crowning of such old mass cultural capstones. Those carefree beach blanket bingo days are long gone, and now the summer song, like virtually everything else, is a matter of personal choice. There are as many nominees for “The Song of the Summer of 2007” as there are earbud-wearing riders on the world’s public transit systems.

So my song of this summer? Spoon’s “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (jeez, how many column inches am I going to devote to this album?). The song is the point on Ga Ga etc. where, as before, Spoon leaven their appealing angularity with a moment of reverent pop sweetness (the Gimme Fiction corollary being “Sister Jack”). Like a good summer song, “Cherry Bomb” is brief, breezy, more or less nonsensical, and inspires handclapping and 120 km/hour sing-alongs.

[Question: would it be possible to fill up a standard 80 minute CDR with songs whose titles or choruses contain the term “Cherry Bomb”?]

So, what’s yours? And what are your all-time summer songs?

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