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Sounds of Summer

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In the ongoing look back at summer 2005 let’s review the sounds of the season. There was no singular triumphant album that dominated the charts, other than Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi, which has been in the Top 5 since March spawning “We Belong Together,” still No. 1 in the singles chart and defined by some as the official song of summer. Though I may have voted for “Wait (The Whisper Song)” from the Ying Yang Twins (see below).

In terms of high profile releases, Coldplay has already gone double platinum with X&Y released in June, though it hardly seems to have set the nation on fire. They remain the butt of many a hipster’s jokes. Released in the same month, Get Behind Me Satan from the White Stripes is no longer in the Top 50 album sales. Not that The Stripes need to sell mega millions to keep their loyal fan base.

Despite star power and strong first week sales there were several major artists — Nine Inch Nails, R. Kelly, Weezer and The Foo Fighters — with releases that came and went. Perhaps follow-up singles can breathe new life into their albums. In terms of consistency, The Black Eyed Peas and The Gorillaz were able to stay Top 20 all summer. There’s something about being featured in iPod ads, just ask U2.

The Houston sound supplied the scene for cruising the summer streets with Mike Jones and Slim Thug’s Already Platinum. Chicago rapper Common had a medium-sized hit with “Go” from Be, which could go on to sell throughout the fall.

Speaking of the fall season, another Chicago talent Kanye West will dominate the September charts with Late Registration (released last week). Then it may be Sean Paul’s turn with Trinity (Sept. 27) or even, gasp, Ashlee Simpson’s second album coming out in October. Sleeper hits could emerge from Franz Ferdinand (Oct. 4) Broken Social Scene (also Oct. 4) or the newly baptized Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s ode to Americana Howl. One very safe bet will be System of a Down’s Hypnotize, the second part of a double album paired with Mezmerize released in May. Mezmerize is one of the most satisfying albums of the year, which leads to the best albums of summer.

Best Albums of the Summer
In terms of full-length albums, the summer pickings were fairly slim. By April I was already able to name four great albums, while now six months later there are only three more. Hopefully by year’s end there will be at least 10 in total.
System of a Down – Mezmerize
Royksopp – The Understanding
Billy Corgan – The Future Embrace

I know that I am the only one who likes the Billy Corgan album, but the dense futuro sound production is appealing and reminds me The Cure’s Disintegration.

Best Songs of the Summer

It was a much better summer for singles than it was for albums. Perhaps as summer is the time for light reading and popcorn movies, so goes hit radio and video singles. A light sampling across the lazy days may just work better than heavy doses of full-on albums. I make no apologies for listing the Mariah song as it was stuck in my head all July.

“Wait (The Whisper Song)” by the Ying Yang Twins
“Precious” by Depeche Mode
“Sugar, We’re Going Down” by Fall Out Boy
“White Noise” by The Vacation
“Just a Little Lovin’ (GB Remix)” by Carmen McRea
“Ups & Downs” by Snoop Dogg
“Best of You” by the Foo Fighters
“Diamonds from Sierra Leone” by Kanye West
“Feel Good Inc.” by the Gorillaz
“BYOB” by System of a Down
“Ever” by Team Sleep
“The Hand that Feeds” by Nine Inch Nails
“Attack” by 30 Seconds to Mars
“My Doorbell” by The White Stripes
“We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey
“Hollaback Girls” by Gwen Stefani

For more, check out my site Culture Drift

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About Chip Ross