Slick duets, superboys and Craig David - songs to make your summer go pop!

What’s the best music to soundtrack the holidays? Why, it’s pop music, of course

Up, up and away: 5 Seconds of Summer

Up, up and away: 5 Seconds of Summer


Hello pop fans! It’s Pop Corner here, reporting from the shadier side of the beach. Yes, that’s us, wearing a large sunhat, and holding a fruity drink. We’ve been thinking, if pop in 2014 was retro (both in sound and in lyrical content), then this summer is all about postmodernism.

Fret not, it’s not all about to get big words and ponderously highbrow around Pop Corner way. But pop this summer is all about tipping a hat to the past, and playing with form. Check out MNEK’s Wrote A Song About You – in which he explains that he “wrote a song about you”, and that it has the “strangest melody”. This song he’s singing about, by the way, is the song that he’s singing. And yes, it does have quite a strange melody. Still with us?

Meanwhile, Ariana Grande puts her ponytail bounce into overdrive by flipping Jay-Z’s 99 Problems on its head, jauntily crooning “head in the clouds/ no more weight on my shoulders/ I should be wiser/ and realise that I’ve got/ one less problem without you”.

Things are more fluid than they were last summer – there are fewer four-to-the-floor bangers (see ya Avicii!) – and instead, there are references to deep house and UK garage, using skills from elsewhere to mix up the canon (hiya Clean Bandit and your classical strings!) Take for example, Pop Corner fave Sylvan Esso – an Appalachian folksy gal, mixed with a producer to create music that has a hint of Café del Mar chill-out (now that’s a 1990s reference for the books) with noughties cool.

Or, if you’d rather, the Hippie Sabotage remix of Tove Lo’s Habit, aka Stay High. The original is currently at seven million views on Youtube. The remix is at almost 20 million.

What about the video to the all-conquering Fancy by Iggy and Charli? The one that recreates Clueless shot for shot (and outfit for outfit)? Elsewhere, bucket hats, and tangerine hair dye (ahoy, Lily Allen) show that 1990s interpretations are here to stay. And if that means more TLC-vibing girl groups like Juce (Call You Out), then we’re all ears. Provenance isn’t as important as quality.

Which is a convoluted way of saying that when it comes to pop this summer, prepare to be surprised by some turnarounds. Ed Sheeran? He’s a ginger Justin Timberlake now. Have you heard Sing? He does a rap and everything. Although early Sheeran fans will always remind you that rapping was always part of the act – it just got buried beneath the soulful strumming.

In other blast from the past news, it’s only bloody Craig David with a comeback. No, but really. Cold is astonishingly good. It keeps the garage elements from Craig D’s debut, but has some nifty production, and details the traits of a girl who’s ‘cold hearted and deranged/ like a killer chick from a movie’. And there are no Bo! Selecta jokes.

But what about the ballads, you ask! How will I mourn the end of my summer crush (or Gaeltacht paramour) without a fitting soundtrack? You’re well catered for.

Begin the love affair with The Fault In Our Stars- soundtracking Boom Clap by Charli XCX, romantically noting how the heavy bass drum echoes the thudding beat of your heart. When you notice your one true love may have a flaw (for example, they always make you buy the Cornettos), spin Tough Love by Jessie Ware (“When your heart becomes a million different pieces/That’s when you won’t be able to recognise this feeling”).

And when it all ends, go out on a dramatic note with Chandelier by Sia. You could even swing from some lighting fixtures for an added visual effect. We promise your heartbreak will be done and dusted in time for the August bank holiday.

It was hard to choose only one Iggy featured-track, but we’re sticking with Problem. Maybe it’s the klezmer sax. Maybe it’s the way that Ariana makes “clouds” into three syllables. Maybe it’s the whispered bridge by a mystery man. Maybe it’s the way that Iggy says “there’s a million you’s baby boo, so don’t be dumb”. Whatever it is, we love it.

Clean Bandit are the group that we all wished we had formed in orchestra at secondary school. Around the country, parents everywhere are dusting down cellos, and crossing their fingers. This track is so wonderfully hopeful, like butterflies in your tummy, or walking along the seafront as the sun comes up.

Every single 5 Seconds of Summer song (try saying that three times fast) convinces us that they’re basically a younger McBusted. And we’re interested. In the video for Don’t Stop, they don superhero costumes and sing harmonies over power chords on top of a building. Be still our beating heart.

This track was originally written for Hilary Duff, who snubbed it for not being cool enough. More fool Hilary. Charli lays her heart on the line, vocalising the thunder and lightning of when a new crush comes close.

It’s a song about singing in the shower! It goes ‘la la la la’ in the chorus! We could just write ‘Call Me Maybe for 2014’ 10 times and be done with it. Is that possible? Actually, why not? (Apols to the Ticket Editor.) Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014. Call Me Maybe for 2014.

Did we leave anything out? Have your say below . . .

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