Every summer has an anthem. The typically overplayed, yet undoubtedly-catchy song can usually sum up those summertime memories.
For example, Gwen Stefani had everyone shouting “Hollaback Girl” in 2005. Natasha Bedingfield told us to release our inhibitions in last year’s “Unwritten.”
And then there was the summer of 2007. There have always been those overplayed songs on the radio that make you change the presets the second you hear them. But in my commute this summer that put me in a car for hours each week, I found myself scouring my six presets too often.
The preset shuffle started with Rihanna.
I do have respect for her; it’s fascinating to me when artists take the track of a previously-recorded song and put a new melody to it, a la Rihanna’s “S.O.S. (Rescue Me)” from Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love.”
But the first summer annoyance became her “Umbrella.” Ella. Ella. Eh. Eh. Eh. The unnecessary repetition of that rubbish after the word ‘umbrella’ was almost as obnoxious as the coverage of Paris Hilton’s jail time. In an unofficial count, I heard 24 “ella”s and 51 “eh”s.
It’s clear Rihanna wants listeners to remember the last word of every song. Not only did this happen in “Umbrella,” but also in her follow-up hit “Shut Up and Drive.” Drive. Drive. I didn’t have the patience to count all the times she used that word.
Then comes Justin Timberlake, one of the biggest excuses for a celebrity, with his “SummerLove.” When I’m driving and I cringe from hearing his nasally voice, I should be able to sue him for any accident I get myself into. Like he can’t cover the damages.
But my biggest complaint of this summer is Fergie, the not-so-talented ex-Black Eyed Pea who piggy-backed off the “Let’s Get It Started” success. The elementary lyrics of her “Big Girls Don’t Cry” literally made me tear up.
“And I’m gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket,” Fergie sang. Let’s get more up to date. I’m a big fan of the “Peanuts” comic strip, but there aren’t too many Linuses running around with their blankets anymore. What bothered me more is when I did a Google search of “‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ Lyrics,” the first eight results
were Fergie’s version. Not until No. 9 did Frankie Valli’s classic hit show up.
But the summer wasn’t filled with all horrible hits. Maroon 5 returned from their too-long hiatus with two hits from their latest release “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long.” Bon Jovi found success with its new album “Lost Highway.”
And though they need a spelling lesson from Fergie, Fall Out Boy had a good run with “Thnks fr th Mmrs [Thanks for the Memories].”
Midway through the summer, I did find a solution to my preset problem. I rediscovered a classic radio station, one that’s been in the Philadelphia area for decades. I always knew what would be on at what time. Sure, it made for some predictable radio, but I feel like I got to know the talent personally.
My choice for the summer: KYW Newsradio 1060.
I came to love the soothing voices of anchors Carol MacKenzie, Suzanne Monaghan and Brandon Brooks. Don Lancer and Temple professor Vince Hill gave me the business reports at :25 and :55 after every hour (or anytime at kyw1060.com). And, of course, I’d be stuck for hours in the Interstate-95 construction without their “Traffic and Transit on the 2s” reports.
Musically, this summer was a bust. I was disappointed I couldn’t listen to my favorite radio stations of yesteryear. But all was not lost as I was constantly kept up to date about the latest news, sports and weather.And as an added bonus, I always knew when to carry my umbrella. Ella. Ella. Eh. Eh. Eh.
Chris Stover can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.