Tracking Down the Top Tunes of Summer Host Melissa Block asks what the top Summer song of 2005 will be. Several reviewers offer their picks for the season's most popular country, hip hop and alternative rock songs, from The Killers, Sugarland and Rihanna.
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Tracking Down the Top Tunes of Summer

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Tracking Down the Top Tunes of Summer

Tracking Down the Top Tunes of Summer

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

Memorial Day is the kickoff to summer and with that in mind, we're thinking about summer music. What will be the tunes of summer 2005, the ones sailing out of car windows or dancing out of radios plunked onto a beach towel? We're going to hear a few picks from radio programmers. First to Geronimo, director of hip-hop and dance programming for SIRIUS Satellite Radio in New York.

Geronimo, hi.

GERONIMO (SIRIUS Satellite Radio): Happy holiday.

BLOCK: Same to you. Have you been thinking about the music of the summer?

GERONIMO: Yes, I certainly have and there's a few different genres that are really exploding. One of them would be a genre of music which is called reggaetone, which is an influence of reggae as we know it with a Latin influence. That's going to be the big thing for the summer.

BLOCK: That sounds great.


BLOCK: And do you have something that you might be thinking this is going to be the song that everybody's going to be hearing this summer?

GERONIMO: Yes, without a doubt. There's an artist named Rihanna, who's had a couple of singles, nothing that has really exploded air play-wise over the last couple of years. She's 18, she's from Barbados and it's called "Pon de Replay." I think this is going to be an artist that we're going to be hearing a lot about at least this summer.

BLOCK: Well, our producer has this song for us here. I haven't heard it yet. Let's take a listen.

(Soundbite of "Pon de Replay")

RIHANNA: (Singing) Come, Mr. Deejay, don't let me replay, come, Mr. Deejay, won't you turn the music up? ...(Unintelligible) ever want is some more, come, Mr. Deejay, won't you turn the music up? Come, Mr. Deejay, don't let me replay, come Mr. Deejay, won't you turn the music up? ...(Unintelligible) ever want is some more, come, Mr. Deejay, won't you turn the music up? It goes one by one, even two by two, everybody on the floor let me show you how we do it. Let's go, hit below then you bring it up slow, run it up one time, run it back once more. Run.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Run.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Everybody move.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Let me see you move.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Rock it to the groove.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Shake it to till the moon becomes the sun.

Group: (Singing) Sun.

RIHANNA: (Singing) Everybody in the cubamilla(ph) run.

Group: (Singing) Run.

RIHANNA: (Singing) If you're ready to move say yeah.

Group: (Singing) Yeah.

BLOCK: You know, if you have this on in your car, you don't even need to crank the bass.

GERONIMO: Yeah, you definitely have to be dancing to that song right now.

BLOCK: Well, Geronimo, when you listen to this song, it's called "Pon de Replay," what is that you love? Why are you thinking this is it for summer 2005?

GERONIMO: Well, it definitely has that party feel to it. As a radio programmer, I think to myself, all right, what's going to keep people moving? What's going to be positive, also a great bridge between those hard-core hip-hop records that come out during the summer and the slow R&B ballads? And this is the song that bridges that gap between both.

BLOCK: Well, we'll be looking for it. Geronimo, thanks so much.

GERONIMO: Thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

BLOCK: Geronimo of SIRIUS Satellite Radio with his pick for the dance tune of summer 2005, "Pon de Replay" by Rihanna.

And how about a hot country song? Peter Tilden hosts "The Peter Tilden Show" on KZLA in Los Angeles.


Mr. PETER TILDEN (Host, "The Peter Tilden Show"): How you doing?

BLOCK: I'm just fine. What do you think we're going to be listening to? If we're listening to country music this summer, what are we going to be hearing over and over?

Mr. TILDEN: I think a hot group for the summer is Sugarland. They've already had one huge hit and they've got "Down in Mississippi." "Up To No Good" is the full title, and I think you're going to be hearing a lot of that this summer.

(Soundbite of "Up To No Good")

SUGARLAND: (Singing) Friday, pay day, Lord, I got to get away. Had it with the wife thing, living on a shoestring, what's a poor girl gotta do just to have some fun? Well, all these years without any help, guess what, honey? Clothes just don't wash themselves, neither do dishes, neither does the bathroom floor. So now if anyone asks, not that they would, I'll be down in Mississippi and up to no good.

BLOCK: OK. So they've got this sort of female emancipation thing going here.

Mr. TILDEN: Absolutely.

BLOCK: Tell us about this group Sugarland. Who are they?

Mr. TILDEN: Sugarland's fairly new. They're from Atlanta and a bunch of songwriters, and they got together and the album--it's their first album--it's already gone platinum and they've only been around for less than a year. So I think they're going to have a stellar career ahead of them because they are just so talented. One plays the mandolin, guitar and, again, all of them are singer, songwriters. So I think that's a real bonus, you know, that you're not necessarily looking for other people's songs; you're creating your own.

BLOCK: Do you figure that part of the deal of being the hot summer tune is that by the end of the summer, everybody's completely sick of hearing it?

Mr. TILDEN: Yeah, it feels like--you start summer with it, you play through summer with it and, you're right. By the end of summer, you're kind of ready for the new deal.

BLOCK: Peter Tilden, thanks so much.

Mr. TILDEN: Oh, you're very welcome.

BLOCK: And enjoy summer.

Mr. TILDEN: I am going to.

BLOCK: Peter Tilden of country station KZLA in Los Angeles with his pick for a hot summer tune, "Down in Mississippi" from the group, Sugarland.

Finally, for a taste of pop, we're joined by Jeff Ballentine, program director of WBNS, an adult contemporary station in Columbus, Ohio.


Mr. JEFF BALLENTINE (Program Director, WBNS): Hi. How you doing?

BLOCK: Just fine. And tell me about your pick for what you think we'll be listening to this summer.

Mr. BALLENTINE: I think there's a great group. They started off as the darlings of the independent side and they're crossing over into the mainstream mass appeal. And the group's name is called The Killers, and they have a great song called "Mr. Brightside."

(Soundbite of "Mr. Brightside")

THE KILLERS: (Singing) Coming out of my cage and I've been doing just fine. Gotta, gotta be down because I want it all. Started out with a kiss, how did it end up like this. It was only a kiss, it was only a kiss. Now I'm falling asleep, and she's calling a cab. While he's having a smoke and she's taking a drag. Now they're going to bed, and my stomach is sick, and it's all in my head. But she's touching his chest, now he takes off her dress. Now let me go.

And I just can't look. It's killing me. And taking control, Jealousy, turning saints into the sea, swimming through sick lullabies, choking on your alibis. But it's just the price I pay. Destiny is calling me...

BLOCK: I guess this is a love song gone bad here.

Mr. BALLENTINE: It sounds a little bit like that, but you know what it is? It's always interesting because women, number one, tend to hear lyrics and guys tend to hear melody or beat. But I think, you know, in the summertime, it's kind of like, let's brawl.

BLOCK: Yes. It's funny because I'm listening to that song and I'm thinking, `Wait, how did it go bad? Why is he jealous?,' you know.

Mr. BALLENTINE: That's it. I think the band have a really, really great vibe about them. I think they're in a breakthrough mode, and that's what makes it exciting because most of the pop stuff that's coming out, it's either coming from the "American Idol" type of stuff or, you know, white kids in the suburbs are so into hip-hop or just chino black music. You know, like, you know, Jay-Z isn't really a hip-hop artist anymore. Jay-Z is more of a pop artist. So it's more and more of those type of artists are out there in conglomeration. It's tougher for a band like The Killers to get that breakthrough momentum.

BLOCK: What do you think a song has to do to be a great summer song?

Mr. BALLENTINE: I think it's got to have a great beat to begin with, and I think that there's always something up-tempo, and that they'll always have to be, like, this is a great feel good song. Sometimes, it's just like `I want to rock out, drop my car top down and crank up the stereo and go.' And I think that that has a couple of good components right there.

BLOCK: Well, Jeff Ballentine, thanks for talking with us.

Mr. BALLENTINE: Have a good one.

BLOCK: Jeff Ballentine, program director of WBNS in Columbus, Ohio, and the song "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers. We also heard from Peter Tilden of KZLA in Los Angeles and Geronimo of SIRIUS Satellite Radio, giving us their picks for the songs of summer 2005.

(Soundbite of music)

THE KILLERS: (Singing) I never. I never.

BLOCK: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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