Started sleeping with the heavy blanket yet? Turning the fans and A/C off? Making that difficult decision to get back in the habit of starting to wear a coat to work? It's tough, we know. We rage against the dying of the light all September, but there's no getting past it—it's getting real late for summertime. However, while the temperature drops all around us, it's always sunny in the Popdust Weekend Playlist. If you don't feel like using these jams to soundtrack your BBQs and beach excursions, hey, there's still always NFL Sundays, and, uh, autumn leaf-pile-jumping parties. Life goes on.
2PAC FEAT. SHOCK G AND MONEY-B, "I GET AROUND"
This week we celebrated—well, celebrated might not exactly be the word for it—the 15th anniversary of Tupac Shakur's tragic shooting in September of 1996, easily one of the most cataclysmic events of the last quarter-century of pop music. However, one thing hasn't changed in the decade-and-a-half since 2Pac passed—the Underground still absolutely does not stop for hos, under any circumstances. Released back-to-back with the heart-rending, almost unprecedentedly thoughtful "Keep Ya Head Up," "I Get Around" was very much from the id section of Shakur's complex persona, full of narcissistic quips like "I don't know why your girl keeps paging me" and "Baby got a problem saying bye bye / Just another hazard of a fly guy." With a couple well-timed Zapp and Gang Starr samples, some satin-on-your-panties guest verses from two Digital Underground members, and an unforgettably rambunctious video, it's 2Pac's all-time best non-geographically-specific party jam.
SKRILLEX, "SCARY MONSTERS AND NICE SPRITES"
Did you know that Skrillex is on the cover of SPIN this week? Yeah, "Oh my gosh" indeed. The mag is calling him something like the future of dance music—and frankly, we're not sure that we disagree. Not that "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" is a particularly revolutionary or even particularly great track, but it just sounds like the logical confluence of so many things that have been happening in dance recently, a mix of the underground dubstep stuff that has made it all the way to Britney Spears and Watch the Throne and the rock-out breaks that punctuate all those crossover David Guetta and Afrojack singles—with a healthy dose of Jersey Shore fist-pumping (or is it headbanging now?) thrown in. Sure, we're in.
PEARL JAM, "GIVEN TO FLY"
A couple recent listens to "Given to Fly," as well as a viewing of the trailer for the upcoming Cameron Crowe-directed PJ documentary Pearl Jam 20, has brought up the question around the Popdust offices—is this the last song that Pearl Jam actually bothered to write? OK, not a very fair question—there have actually been plenty of decent-to-very-good Jam singles in the 13 years since, from "Light Years" to "I Am Mine" to "The Fixer," but it may hold that the last truly anthemic hit that the alt-rock overlords had, the last one big enough to be played over the trailer for their definitive group documentary, would be the soaring "Fly," which the years have been much kinder to than you might expect.
J. COLE FEAT. TREY SONGZ, "CAN'T GET ENOUGH"
Now that Big Sean has risen to the ranks of Rappers with Full-Length Albums, J. Cole might be the most hyped MC left still yet to officially graduate to the mix circuit. However, Cole World: The Sideline Story is finally due in just a week and a half, older single "Work Out" is finally starting to gain some traction on R&B radio, and now we have new single, "Can't Get Enough." It doesn't sound quite as radio-ready as "Work Out," but it is a breezy-as-all-hell jam, with a hot Manu Chao-esque guitar lick and "yoyoyoyo" vocal hook that makes it a subtly evil little groove. It even has a little "Big Pimpin" bounce to it—appropriate, then, that the video take place on a yacht, in Hype Williams-esque widescreen.
CAT STEVENS, "PEACE TRAIN"
NBA fans haven't heard a whole lot of good news this summer, as the sport's lockout persists with no end date anywhere near in sight. However, we were rewarded this Friday with the long-awaited announcement that Lakers defensive stopper and official crazy person Ron Artest had made his name change official, and would heretofore be known as Metta World Peace. The news reminds of Cat Stevens' surprisingly affecting 1971 hit, since Artest's new name leaves the door wide open for announcers like Marv Albert or Mike Breen (or especially Chris Berman, if he did hoops) to make all sorts of "Peace Train" puns when Artest makes a good play, like "Here comes the 'Peace' train!" or "Everyone jump on the 'Peace' train!" We can't wait.
For lots more end-of-summer jams, from Das Racist to Led Zeppelin, click NEXT.
DAS RACIST, "MICHAEL JACKSON"
It would have seemed one of pop music's safer bets to wager that Das Racist would never again come up with a hook as brilliantly stupid as "I'm at the Pizza Hut / I'm at the Taco Bell / I'm at the Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell." But after a few weeks with "Michael Jackson" in our lives, we may have to concede that "Michael Jackson / A million dollars / You feel me? / Holla" is proving itself a worthy opponent. Plus, it has a way funnier music video, probably.
NEAL SCHON & JAN HAMMER, "NO MORE LIES"
Hey, it's not every week we have a crazy news story that gives an excuse to write about Neal Schon, so we're gonna damn well take advantage of it while it's there. We're still not sure what's more surprising, though—that this video collaboration with synth whiz and Miami Vice composer Jan Hammer exists at all, or that it's really kinda fucking sorta awesome—just a really solid early '80s power pop cut, with a little more guitar noodling than you might find on an average Plimsouls jam. Tareq Salahi is probably watching this video as we speak, seething and balling his fists.
NEON INDIAN, "POLISH GIRL"
While it remains forever sad and tragic that MGMT shed their birthright destiny of writing the world's greatest weird disco-y synth-pop gems in favor of fucking around with boringly psychedelic campfire singalongs, the duo is at least lucky that folks like Neon Indian have been willing to pick up the slack some. "Polish Girl" is instantly familiar and addictive the way "Kids" and "Time to Pretend" were, with a keyboard riff that you know from the first time you hear that you're going to be replaying in your head for the rest of your life, and a verse and chorus that sounds darkly romantic and probably beautiful even though you don't have a clue what NI ringleader Alan Palomo is actually saying 85% of the time. Your move, Passion Pit.
WALE FEAT. RICK ROSS AND JEREMIH, "THAT WAY"
It should probably be the year's most awkwardly fitting hip hop single—Wale and soul samples plus Rick Ross and Lex Luger production? And what the hell is Jeremih doing there, anyway? But somehow, "That Way" is actually one of the most compelling hits on hip-hop radio right now, its odd mishmash of contributors resulting in a surprisingly singular and fascinating brew. If nothing else, it reminds us of "Break Up" from a few years back, another song with a lot of disparate voices (and unexpected tempo and tonal changes) that ended up being one of the songs you never turned the dial away from in 2009. "That Way" may never cross over in that way (hah), but we're rooting for it.
LED ZEPPELIN, "GOING TO CALIFORNIA"
All right, so the Entourage series finale was ridiculous—in like, every possible way, though that's hardly unexpected—but we gotta give it up for the use of the Zep's gorgeous ballad "Going to California" as the song to see the show out. A little too Almost Famous perhaps, and kind of the opposite of what the characters are actually doing in the show really, but just right just the same. The song usually is, come to think.