It’s been an unusual year for the Song of Summer race, right? For most of June and July, the smart money was on Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” which dominated the “Hot 100” No. 1 spot despite the fact that it was released in February (and also that it’s a bummer). Then, things got murkier: LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” briefly dethroned Adele, with its on-point message about, well, partying, before getting kicked out of the top spot by former SoS Champion Katy Perry. “Last Friday Night” is your current No. 1, but frankly, it just doesn’t feel like a Song of Summer; remember when you couldn’t go to the drugstore or turn on the TV without hearing “California Gurls”? Have you caught your local barista rocking out to “T.G.I.F.” yet? Vulture hasn’t either. And the late-breaking high-profile contenders haven’t quite had the necessary juice either: “Lift Off,” the most promising track off Watch the Throne, hasn’t really caught on outside of the NASA control room, and Gaga’s attempt to push “You and I” with a self-make-out came too late in the competition (she may yet take the fall). In the grand scheme of things, then, maybe it’s not so crazy that a 2010 indie jam about a school shooting is making a late run at the title.
Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” is, technically, even older than “Rolling in the Deep”; it was released in September 2010 and first started making its way around music sites in February. But it’s been a slow burn: It made the blog and MTV rounds, then won Stereogum’s “Indie Song of Summer” poll back in June, then got some crucial Weezer support (in the form of a cover) earlier this month. Plus, the video is up for a Best New Artist award at this Sunday’s VMAs.
“Pumped Up Kicks” is still only No. 7 on the “Hot 100” (its highest position yet), but you probably know it: It’s that song with the pretty robot voice, the sing-along bass line, and, of course, the whistling. You may have been at a party this summer where someone requested “the new Peter Bjorn and John song,” only to hear this. It may soon replace “Young Folks” as the top Google result for “that hipster song with the whistling.” Also of note: “Pumped Up Kicks” is legitimately enjoyable! It meets several of our ideal Song of Summer requirements: breezy, barbecue-ready, and imminently sing-alongable. The subject matter is a little troubling, sure, but in that secretly fun “happy songs about fucked-up things” way (see: “Rehab,” “Suicide Is Painless”). And most important, it now has the coveted Jersey Shore Endorsement. Take it away, Vinny:
One week left to nail those moves, everyone. Guido-approved!