Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ten On Tuesdays: Ten Great Non-Canonical Summer Songs

Hey everyone. In what has been typical of this blog, long stretches of time pass between posts, but today is a new era people. In order to keep some sort of consistency, I will be doing a new feature called on Ten on Tuesdays, which I want to start off as bi-weekly at first, but hopefully when I get in the swing of things, it will become weekly. Ten on Tuesdays is basically a top ten list where the category is different everytime and will try to be as inventive as possible. The inaguaral category for Ten on Tuesdays will be "Ten Great Non-Canonical Summer Song", where I try to delve a bit deeper than typical vaunted and legendary summer fare like "I Get Around" or "School's Out For Summer" which is used in montages or even contemporary faves like "Nuthin' Like A G Thang" or "Crazy In Love." Those are great songs, but here are ten that deserve another shot at summertime immortality.

"Another Summer" by 213 (can be found on The Hard Way, 2004, TVT)

Eddie Kendricks' "Intimate Friends" is one of those songs that gets sampled about a few times every decade, from Sweet Sable's "Old Time's Sake" to more recently, Alicia Keys' "Unbreakable," but it's Snoop, Nate Dogg and Warren G's take on it that sticks closest to the breezy laid back vibe of the original. We all know the members of 213 are in their comfort zone rapping over a soul sample, so it's given they're gonna sound good, but instead of reverting to their classic G-funk personas, we get a more positive and dare I say, joyful approach as they describe summer scenes filled with family and fun. Perfect for a backyard barbeque.

"Why Don't We Fall In Love" by Amerie, (can be found on All I Have, 2002, Columbia)

History will look back on Amerie's "1 Thing" as a breakthrough point and one of her artistic heights, but it's scary to think that the lead single from her debut may largely go unnoticed. While it did peak at #23 on the Hot 100, it failed to capture the attention of a nation the way that "1 Thing" did. A damn shame since "Why Don't We Fall In Love" is just as good. It's perfect block party music that harkens back to the days before Mary J. Blige discovered drama. Amerie's request in the song is simple enough: hey you, why don't we fall in love? Sure, she's gorgeous and the chorus soars, so the answer may be easier than you think at first, but it's really producer/songwriter's Rich Harrison edgy but radiant use of a Dave Grusin sample over a classic early 90's drum pattern that brings out the aural sun rays and convinces you to accept Amerie's plea.

"Girls Dem Sugar" by Beenie Man featuring Mya (Art Of Life, 2000, Virgin)

Before The Neptunes literally took over all of radio, they delivered this gem of a dancehall tune to Beenie Man, which became a modest hit. Dancehall and summer time go hand in hand with each other, but out of the dozens of songs from this genre that could have made the list, I think "Girls Dem Sugar" typifies the emotions of summer the best. Mya's delicate delivery of the chorus is like a soft refreshing breeze rolling against your face and provides the perfect complement to the blazing heat of the production and Beenie Man's flow.