Sanneh does his characteristically elegant job describing the song “We belong together,” the artist’s return to grace, the state of the music industry, and one or two trends shaping contemporary taste (e.g., the “thug love duet”). The song of summer is expertly contextualized, and the Times manages, for once, to get this right: to take contemporary culture seriously and help us see what it is and why it is…while it still is (active and extant).
The song of summer is a telling cultural institution. I am pretty sure no such thing existed in 12th century France or even 19th century America. And I believe I can say with some confidence that nothing of this kind exists in contemporary North Korea. (Though I understand there is a large and active Kelly Clarkson contingent there.)
Any song of summer is a little miracle of consensus. Somehow we choose, in our mysterious way, that this is the song of summer. And this is no mere popularity contest, a simple designation of “the song we like best.”
No, the song of summer will have many responsibilities heaped upon it. It must be the sound that, on early hearing, manages to communicate the impossible riches of the summer to come, and, by August, it must be the song that is already giving off a “world we have lost” nostalgia. And twenty years hence this song must be capable of allowing today’s 14 year old to recall with archival perfection her favorite blouse, what her sun tan lotion smelled like, and a general “sense impression” of the world that was the summer of 2005.
This is a lot to ask of a tune. But “We Belong Together” is that cultural operator that will make this summer a “culture of the moment” within a larger cultural system that so streams with change and discontinuity that the very idea of consensus and compartment is implausible. (And we think divas are paid too well!)
So I started wondering if there was somewhere in blog land, a post that would capture the power of the song of the moment for someone who was 14. I didn’t quite find anything, but I did find this. It was written yesterday by a teenager in Lubbock, Texas.
Ok so ONCE again…SO many people are demanding another blog…well A person but it still counts. And so i figured i would do a little sumation of the summer. Let’s see i arrived in Lubbock the day after graduation so basically ive been here for eternity and at first i seriously thought i would die from being so bored. Like i havent seen my parents all year or whatever, but really after the first week being here i felt pretty caught up!! I love em and all and im glad i get to see them now..but seriously its been ALL summer.
but THANKfully ashley came and stayed with me a week! I was so happy!!!! WE had so much fun…so many things happened like everyday. For example, getting trapped in a dimly lit, sketchy (love that word!) hastings parking lot at 12;30 am by this hispanic stalker guy. he completely blocked the exit with his car and I was so close to hitting him. I braked really hard and Ashley and i both look at each other and scram(past of scream). And being the stalker that he is…stares us down like pieces of meat. And finally when I realize i need to reverse (after being so traumatized) he follows us out the other way…tailgaitng us for a mile down the road. My house was only like 2 blocks away but i knew i couldnt go home b/c then he would know where i live!! (those lifetime movies taught me well ;-]) I dont know how but we lost him…WOW what a relief that was the scariest thing ever.
Yes, this girl can write. It is prose straight out of speech, but this is harder than it looks. Let us close this glass-bottom glimpse of someone’s summer and the kind of thing that is going to return from memory with Proust like perfection, when in 2025, our blogger hears “We Belong Together.”
And so just as we are leaving at like 10pm we walk to the car and i see this guy with his hood up..so you know you HAVE to ask if he needs help. And he was like "i could use some plyers" SO i was like plyers…plyers.. I had this roadside kit my grandpa gave me that i never opened. But I proceed to look for the plyers he needs and I reach for what appears to be plyers. I said "OH here they are! But why does these have a rope connected to them???" He said "those are jumper cables."