Friday, May 8, 2009

Three Songs You Need to Hear This Week: Summer Anthem Edition (By MARK BLANKENSHIP)

It's almost June, and we'll soon be looking for the perfect summer anthem. Fortunately, we've already got a few contenders for the crown. Take a listen to these...

(1) "Rock and Roll" by Eric Hutchinson --- Okay, so technically this song has been around since late 2008, but it's just catching on now. Like everything else on his ludicrously enjoyable album Sounds Like This, "Rock and Roll" has an effortless, Elton-John-meets-mid-career-Rolling-Stones vibe that makes it impossible not to tap your foot. Think of Hutchinson as Jason Mraz (of "I'm Yours" fame) with a bit more edge, and then go buy his album. I swear, every song is killer.

(2) "Fire Burning" by Sean Kingston --- A few years ago, pop-reggae performer Sean Kingston released "Beautiful Girls," one of my least favorite songs of the decade. Really, it's one of my ten most-hated songs of all time. But never say I hold a grudge, because I have capitulated to the trance-dance beats of Kingston's new single, "Fire Burning." The title refers to a woman who's burning up the dance floor, which is the perfect subject for a summer anthem, and thanks to the track's thumping rhythm, you may not be able to stay off the floor yourself.

(3) "Dead Flowers" by Miranda Lambert --- Because every summer needs at least one song for rainy days and lonely nights, I'm presenting this gem from country singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert as the anti-anthem of the season. With some of the best lyrics of the year---about a woman so devastated by her failing relationship that everything she sees looks gray---and a sweeping instrumental track that builds to a serious drum explosion, this is a unique and captivating hit. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Miranda Lambert is the Merle Haggard of contemporary country. She refuses to be polite, which results in rough-edged, bare-hearted music that always leaves a mark.

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