[Editor’s note: Your devoted Flavorwire team is taking Memorial Day off, but we’ve left you with some of our favorite summer-related features that you may have missed the first time around. This post originally ran May 2, 2012. Enjoy!]
We can’t even begin to fathom how difficult life is for pop stars. When temperatures top 90°F, they can’t simply slip into a sundress and slurp down margaritas all the livelong day. Our beloved idols have a higher charge to answer to: creating the perfect summer dance-floor stormer. For them, dressing down and partying hard is all part and parcel to the performance art of pop. Take it from Jennifer Lopez, who, with the measured precision of a seasoned pop-ologist, has given us the summer anthem to beat with “Dance Again.”
The song contains exactly the correct amounts of dance-ability, flair, and derring-do. It isn’t aiming too high. Lyrically it doesn’t strain your brain (“I wanna dance / And love / And dance again”) and structurally, it explodes only during the bridge and into the chorus, and otherwise, it entertains a restrained synth beat. Still, you may be wary about surrendering to “Dance Again.” It isn’t the best pop song. But it is a tour de force befitting a sweltering Fourth of July rave. However, it’s not the only one. America’s entered a dance-pop renaissance, and that means we’re in for a slew of unlikely summer anthems that are at least as good as “Dance Again.” In fact, J.Lo has given us such a perfect benchmark for summer jams that we measure the following 12 potentially overlooked summer anthems on the semi-scientific scale of 1 to 5 “Dance Agains,” wherein 1 = “Sure, I’ll dance again, but I’ll need a few tequila shots first” and 5 = “What do you mean ‘again’ — I haven’t stopped dancing for the past five hours.”
Cheryl — “Call My Name”
You either know Cheryl Cole as that broad who Simon Cowell threw under a bus or — preferably — as one-fifth of Girls Aloud. Either way, she’s roped in Calvin Harris (fresh off the successes of “We Found Love,” “Let’s Go,” and “Feels So Close”) and has managed “Call My Name.” Exhibiting approximately as much lyrical and vocal versatility as J.Lo, “Call My Name” is only slightly more anthemic than “Dance Again,” thanks to that build-up at the beginning. It’s not a slight on the song, but it does make us wonder if Cheryl should’ve called up former bandmate Nicola Roberts for advice on how to make a dance tune that properly rivets.