Every summer something strange happens. People seem to unify behind one or two songs. These will be the ones which will be played over and over again and drilled into your brain. These are the songs which will be remembered. 2013 was my first summer in New York and will forever be inextricably linked with ‘Get Lucky’. In 2017 I moved in with my fiance, and you literally couldn’t walk outside without hearing ‘Despacito’.
It’s really the radio that drives this (well, Spotify these days). ‘Call me Maybe’ was on every playlist and show over the summer of 2012 to crystallize it forever in our group conscious. And this is where it gets weird. For some reason, these summer anthems rarely get to the point where I hate them. The song feels overplayed, but I can’t help but feel compelled to put it on again and again. Maybe it’s Stockholm syndrome. Maybe Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ is catchy as fuck.
So what about this year? Leading the way is undoubtedly been ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X. There’s been remixes. There’s been controversy. Between Spotify and Youtube, the remix has been streamed ~ 1 billion times. Not bad after 6 months. For me though the thing I will remember from this year isn’t a song, but an artist. Lizzo. She has been inescapable in the best way.
For the past few years, Lizzo has been on the march from cult favorite to pop domination. With her 3rd release, this year’s album Cuz I Love You is that breakout moment. And it has been hit after hit with the singles ‘Tempo’, ‘Juice’, ‘Truth Hurts’ and the title track ‘Cuz I Love You’. She has been all over the radio.
In her songs, Lizzo champions self love and diversity of all kinds. Sometimes sincere, sometimes funny. Always truthful, powerful, and set to some irresistible music. Listening to her songs gives me a huge hit of dopamine, so I’m not surprised she has been dominating the airwaves this summer.
When I watched Glastonbury this year, it was her set and the IDLES set that stuck out. The core themes of their music as an ideology is remarkably similar, but they obviously approach music in very different ways. One thing that felt perhaps more startlingly different than the music styles, was the feeling around the set. For IDLES it seemed like this big crowning moment as a pinnacle had been achieved. For Lizzo, it felt like this was just the beginning.
2019 will be an important year for me for a number of reasons. A lot has happened this summer and I’m getting married in a month! I’m really happy that when I get to reminiscing over memories of this year, they will not be entwined with previous summer hits like Party Rock Anthem. Instead this year will be bookmarked with Lizzo absolutely destroying it.
Words by Matt Paul.