Dark & Sinful: Played out

This year, take back your brain and claim your own summer jams.

Summer anthem n: the song DJs play constantly all summer; the song in the car, at the pool, on satellite radio at the day spa which should be playing Enya, in the mind of the guy crowding you in the self-checkout line at Walmart...

You want to take over all radio stations and spin anything else. Anything. In the summer of 1991, when people, including myself, played The Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” to death, I was more than happy to go back to December’s Home Alone soundtrack and sing all the sleigh bell parts.

This past weekend, I was at Bahama Breeze, wondering what song will become this summer’s jam. It’s hard for me to know; I rarely listen to new music or the radio these days. Hoping to hear something new, I started paying attention to the performers onstage, guys working the bongos or barely playing guitar along with a recorded guitar track. I got Ben E. King’s “Stand by Me,” Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister,” Bob Marley’s “Exodus,” and Wyclef’s “Guantanamera.” Not good. And definitely not helpful.

We should do away with the summer anthem altogether. Speaking of Wyclef, lord knows we don’t need another incident like 1996’s “Killing Me Softly” by the Fugees, an earworm looped so many times the record company actually removed it from any new copies of The Score so people would pay attention to the other songs on the album.

We should just get rid of radio stations, too. Instead, we should all have our own personal rotation of empowering theme songs for the dog days. And not on a device — just in our minds. No one has to know what we’re hearing at any given moment. Not iTunes. Not Pandora.

When I’m walking to my office, for instance, in my ear, I hear Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money.” While driving home, Snoop’s “Gin and Juice.” Putting on makeup before partying, Bell Biv Devoe’s “Do Me.”

The word “anthem” comes from the Greek antiphona, meaning “verse response,” and related to the term “antiphon,” which denotes a performance where two independent singers (or choirs) interact with each other. Think Positive K’s “I Got a Man.” When mentally revisiting all my past summer anthems, I realized that I didn’t really have a response to any of them, at least nothing more than, when listening to Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy,” me yelling out “Ha! I ain’t in class, bitch!” 

So, this summer, I’m going to strut around in my own musically driven world. I’m responding to the songs; and, so is everyone else. I’ll be something like Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream — all the power gone straight to my head. The next time I’m at Bahama Breeze and Bob (his name is always Bob) in his mid-50s comes over, smelling like a raspberry mojito, I’ll just sit there with Tupac’s “Ain’t Nothin but a Gangsta Party” streaming through my head. And good ol’ Bob, magically, will get up and leave.

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