song of the summer ‘011: party rock, a history

this has already been a great summer in terms of music.  there are quite a few contenders for what will be known as the summer jam of ‘011.  today while i was listening to one of them, i found so many layers that i had to blog about it.  (this is gonna be one of those pop philosophy posts)

lmfao came onto the scene a few years ago with ‘i’m in miami, bitch’ which not only became the safe-for-radio hit ‘i’m in miami, trick’ but eventually became the only song i can think of that quickly became a geo-centric hit.  ‘i’m in la, trick.’ ‘i’m in nyc, trick’ and the doubly funny ‘i’m in the bay, trick.’  but i digress, they had a hit, and then defied the odds to come out with another hit ‘shots’ which once again made it cool to quote lil jon in a bar.  (seriously, who can say the word ‘shots’ anymore without repeating it?  ‘shots! shots! shots! shots, shots, shots!’)

i, like many others was totally ready to chalk it up to them being a two-hit wonder.  and then this spring i started to hear a song that i now know heralded in the reign of ‘party rockin.’

lmfao party rock anthem

now i’m not entirely sure what party rockin’ is, but from what i can tell from the video, it involves shufflin’ everyday, fake glasses, real fros, positive attitudes and a new breed of jeans that are equal parts cotton, spandex and leopard.  now this is a movement i can get behind.

now my favorite aspect of this song is the ways in which it unabashedly draws from it’s own history.  if you’re like me and loved this song from the start then i’m sure you also felt like it was vaguely reminiscent of another song.  you know the song it’s sampling..

rick ross hustlin’

no, not ‘hustlin’ tho i do dig how they evolved that sample.  no i’m talking about a dance song that helped dance music find its rightful place in the hearts and playlists of the young in 04.  that’s right i’m talking about ‘call on me’ by eric prydz

eric prydz call on me

‘call on me’ no doubt evokes a great nostalgia in any fan.  not only does the beat remind one of scantily clad jazzercisers, but of that fantastic time where we, as americans had money in our pockets, hope in our hearts and an idea as to why we were in a war.  the song was an underground powerhouse that had frat boys dressing in unitards for multiple years.

but what many people don’t know is that this song was itself a sample of an early hit by steven winwood  called ‘valerie’

as you can tell, this is a song you know you’ve heard before but most likely wouldn’t be able to name with a gun to your head.

so why am i talking about all of this?

creativity is standing on the shoulders of giants.  everything we as artists, we as humans experience touches us, changes us, influences us in our future endeavors.  this is a concept that is rarely as evident as with the hit ‘party rockin’ so i felt it worth noting.  you can very easily see the influences that created the song and to be honest, the song is a lot better for it.  would i like this song nearly as much if it used a different sample?  no, because it wouldn’t be the same song.

sometimes i think that the only difference between pop culture and plagiarism is showing your sources.  what do you think?  does this song deserve to be ‘summer jam ‘011’?  stay tuned as i talk about my other favorites from this summer..

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