I went to visit my sister in Newcastle last week. Newcastle is a long way north (further north than main inhabited bits of Canada, latitude fans), so this time of year it doesn’t really get properly dark. As I headed home in the early twilight of a bit past 10, I thought about how much these long days shaped my experience of summer growing up, and also that, as I vaguely kept track over the past few months of potential “summer songs”, I’d been subconsciously soundtracking this meteorology. So here’s a series of songs for long days, for when a lazy summer afternoon turns into an increasingly intensifying, and never-ending, evening.

  1. Sabi - “Cali Love (feat. Tyga)”
  2. Love Dollhouse - “Can I”
  3. Little Mix - “Move”
  4. Cher Lloyd - “M.F.P.O.T.Y”
  5. Girls’ Generation - “Beep Beep”
  6. 2NE1 - “Happy”
  7. Sky Ferreira - “You’re not the One”
  8. Shakira - “Can’t Remember to Forget You (feat. Rihanna)”
  9. Michelle Williams - “Say Yes (feat. Beyoncé & Kelly Rowland)”
  10. Cheryl Cole - “Crazy Stupid Love (feat. Tinie Tempah)”
  11. The Saturdays - “What are you Waiting For?”
  12. Little Nikki - “Right Before my Eyes (feat. DJ S.K.T)”
  13. Katy B - “Blue Eyes”
  14. Florrie - “Free Falling”
  15. Nicole Scherzinger - “Your Love”
  16. Kiesza - “Hideaway”
  17. Robyn & Röyksopp - “Do it Again”
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I know the flirtatious “guys are terrible lol/jk” thing is a trope, but the view of men in this track is so jaundiced the flirtatiousness only exists as trope, making the song rather weird (and pointing up the creepiness of the way in which men can only be criticized along with elaborate reassurances of unseriousness). I’m just going to assume it was originally titled “#killallmen” until the suits forced them to change the lyrics.


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Nicole Scherzinger’s performance of her new song, “Pretty,” on the X Factor, and Katherine St Asaph’s excellent write-up, reminded me of another recent song about not wanting to be seen as “pretty.” The Saturdays’ track is not as lyrically interesting as Nicole’s, although it’s musically more to my taste. I actually can’t quite make out what the Saturdays are saying they want to trade their ball gown for; I guess it’s LBD, as in Little Black Dress, which admittedly isn’t exactly rejecting conventional feminine beauty standards. When I first heard the song, I thought it was “LGV,” and they were singing about how they wanted to become van drivers, which to be honest would be pretty awesome.

(Source: Spotify)

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it's her factory: Schenker and “The Soar”: Modifying tonal conventions for not-really-tonal music


These non-harmonic forms of musical intensification create a sense of affective intensification: the song builds and builds, teasing listeners with an implied (and expected) payoff of some sort. This payoff, however, is not “resolution”—it’s often more of a burst or a release, after which the song drops off/down. In Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends,” the main moment of Soar is followed by silence.

Reminded of this by the new Saturdays album. The problem I’ve had with a lot of the Saturdays’ previous songs is that they take this harmonic resolution too literally, and their songs have tended to move from interesting verses to obvious, and tiresomely, uplifting choruses. Their new album largely avoids this problem by going hard with the rave-pop template and marginalizing the verse-chorus structure.

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