Songs of the Summer Mixtape Draft, Part 1

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Intro from Dan (Feb. 2016)

As I write this, February snow falls, the heat of summer far from my mind. But the long-brewing project I’m about to share with you comes from warmer times. Last July, Colton and I came up with the idea of a summer pop fantasy draft, and spent the next couple months writing emails back and forth, drafting hits into the ultimate summer road trip mixtape. Due to various complications and distractions, summer passed, and we still hadn’t quite finished the draft. Then autumn passed. Then the New Year.

But we’re finally done. Better late than never, right? And perhaps the timing is for the better: Revisiting these summer jams (both the good and bad ones) has excited me for the warmer tempteratures and longer days that are only a few weeks on the horizon.

Colton and I decided to restrict our selections to the #1 hit of each summer of the past 30 years (from 1985-2014). I’ve collected our pool of eligible draft picks into a Spotify list below. We hope you enjoy our little competition!

Dan (Summer 2015)

Dear Colton,

It’s been a long time since we wrote an article through correspondence, and I quite enjoy opining in letter form, so I think the time is nigh for us to start again.

I approached you a few days ago with this idea: Let’s do a fantasy draft of Billboard’s official “Songs of the Summer”, each of us attempting to create the ultimate summer road trip mix tape from the #1 hits of each summer. Thirty songs from thirty years. We’ll each end up with fifteen songs, about the length of the mix CD’s I was burning on my parents’ desktop back in 2002

Radio pop, along with grilling and wheat beers, is the essence of American summer. I’m excited to revisit these hits (and misses), to debate the merits of chart-toppers with a fellow pop fan. I’m especially excited to do so in draft format which blends the fun of ridiculous rankings with strategic competition.

Let’s talk format and scoring for a moment: I used Random.org to determine that you will be picking first. We’ll take turns picking songs form Billboard’s retrospective. Only #1 hits are eligible.

Then, we’ll have some impartial graders score our resulting rosters. They’ll grade both of our “mixtapes” in five categories: energy, singalongability, relistenability, variety, and summer-ness. Of course, they’ll also consider the overall quality of the songs we each picked as they grade our selections.

So let the games begin! Any preliminary thoughts before you make you make the first choice?

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Colton

Dear Dan,

This challenge comes at a good time. It’s summer right now.

We’re actually entering a mild week, but if I know Virginia, we’re due for a hot-as-blazes Labor Day with 105% humidity. I’ll be citybound, forced to catch my rays at the pool instead of some sandy beach, but you won’t hear me complaining. It hasn’t been too long since my last road trip and I can build a mixtape with the best of them.

I’d like to clarify the phrase “Only #1 hits are eligible.” Lots of songs listed in the Billboard article reached #1 on the charts for some period of time, but we’ll just be drawing from the 30 songs, one from each year, that they have atop their mini-lists. The way Billboard built the lists has an interesting effect on our draft, by the way. There’s a difference between “popular songs that came out in the summer” and “great summer songs,” and I think we both know that. So while the draft class is reasonably deep, there are definitely some stinkers: tracks, great or awful, that simply have no business being on a summer mixtape.

At the dual risk of running long with my first message and divulging some of my secret draft strategy, I’ll go ahead and make my pick immediately and share some of the thoughts that led me to it.

Let the games begin!

With the #1 pick, Colton selects “Roll With It” by Steve Winwood (1988).

I predict there will be an overall bias toward more recent releases in the early part of our draft. Production value has increased, and songs feel more singable if they had their fifteen minutes of earworm while we were of radio-listening age. But part of building a great mixtape is having enough stylistic range to craft a flow that spans the CD. In my estimation, “Roll With It” is the least replaceable song in the pool.

As a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, though, I know the importance of “drafting for talent” rather than for need. Steve Winwood’s bluesy, brassy rocker is in the top tier of this draft class, as I’m sure you would agree. It’s not quite “Dancing in the Street” or “Celebration,” but those are the classics it calls to mind for me, and nothing from the last twenty years comes close to achieving that wild sense of a party you could invite your parents to and still have fun yourself.

Now it’s your turn. Your first pick is a valuable one and might just set the tone for your whole draft. Feeling confident?

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Dan

“Roll With It” is certainly one-of-a-kind in our thirty-song pool, and for that reason was in the upper tier of my pre-draft rankings. It’s definitely a throwback to a sound that was at least a decade out of style at the time; “Dancing in the Street” is indeed a good point of comparison, but I’d say its most obvious inspiration is Motown classic “Roadrunner” by Junior Walker. Its likeness so intense that “Roadrunner’s” songwriter received a credit for “Roll With It.”

At the risk of diving too deep into the fantasy football comparison, let me make an analogy: You chose the ultra-elite tight end: a one-of-a-kind commodity that certainly derives value, but defies convention. Perhaps this type of pick makes the most sense in a two-player draft, where scarcity at staple positions is less of a concern.

But I’m going to lean back on the tried-and-true strategy: With your first pick, take the best running back available. In this case, “running back” translates to “upbeat, singalong dance number.” And, in this case “best available” translates to…

With the #2 pick, Dan selects “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce (feat. Jay-Z) (2003).
 
The horn-fueled hook is rightfully legendary, the beat bouncy and addictive. I find it difficult to listen to this song and not blast the volume, especially when Beyonce’s authoritative pipes belt out the banging chorus. The song boasts star power and mythology, featuring Queen Bey and Hova pre-royal marriage.

Ultimately the song is about unabashed infatuation, the thrilling moment you stare into the eyes of the person you love. While many ballads have interpreted this experience as a melting, relaxing sensation, I find more truth in Ms. Knowles’ take: Romance is joy and energy, the type that makes you bounce off the walls or — in our case — push down harder on the gas pedal.

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Colton

Intrigue! Right from the start, we’ve espoused two different approaches to the draft. Though there are a lot of songs left to choose, leaving room for all sorts of maneuvering, it’s believable that our final mixtapes will live in the shadows cast by these early picks.

Here I have to goad you a bit. No way for you to know, but you could’ve stolen “Crazy in Love” several rounds deeper in. I’m sure I undervalue that song, for a couple of reasons. First, it came out right around the time my twenty-channel household started getting a free year of something that showed a lot of music videos—Much Music, or Fuse, or something. My ears hadn’t matured yet, so rather than appreciating this gem, I was scared away by its intensity. Second, even now, I find my favorite parts are horns that I can’t “sing along” to per se and verses that Beyoncé leans back on, vocally, in a way few can.

Enough about my peccadilloes. There’s a hot track I’ve gotta claim.

With the #3 pick, Colton selects “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” by Eve (feat. Gwen Stefani) (2001).

One of the most common fantasy football draft strategies is Round 1 RB, Round 2 RB. Now I’m almost counting on you to follow up your “upbeat, singalong dance number” with another, and I’m putting my faith in the depth of that category. With this pick, I add a very singable hook and verses that I would be happy to loop on a long highway drive and learn as we go. Not to mention, pre-Hollaback (post-Moby feature…) Gwen Stefani adds a spicy, if not top-shelf, bit of star power here.

And let me add, this song feels like heat. In my prep notes, I wrote “SUMMER” in all-caps next to exactly two songs, and I’ve already rostered both of them. Your mileage my vary, but for me, this has the intangible quality of hotness in its sound that I think is rare. (Yes, as I say this, I acknowledge that there’s one song hanging out on the board that has “Hot” in its title.)

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Dan

I shall counter-goad: You could have slept on “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” much like I apparently could have “Crazy in Love.” “Blow Ya Mind” is indeed a sultry R&B track with a nice chorus. I’m partial to the fire Eve spits, especially the opening lines (“Drop ya glasses / shake ya asses…”). It’s a solid pop song in my esteem. The problem is that there are greater songs still on the board, even in the subgenre of “sultry R&B.” In fact, I think I’ll grab one of those right now, one of my favorite songs in the entire pool of 30.

With the #4 pick, Dan selects “Waterfalls” by TLC (1995).
 
This song has already dated itself a bit; the AIDS scare story in the lyrics is definitely a product of a culture from a couple decades ago. And I fear the chorus is a bit of a downer, its “play it safe” note a counter to the liberation of the open road. But, damn… The music. TLC at peak powers. It’s not clear what’s most indispensible here: T-Boz’s husky croon, Left-Eye’s bouncy rap break, the fiery, colorful production, or that sensuous singalong chorus. “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” reminds me of heat radiating off the hot pavement, but “Waterfalls” reminds me of burning you feet on the concrete while you wait in line for the diving board at the community pool. Both are heat, but the latter is the kind of heat I treasure.

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Colton

Your pick makes me wonder, what matters?

Ultimately, what’s important about each song is its energy, singalongability, relistenability, variety, and summer-ness. Or rather, how our judges view these things. And in light of that, this might sound silly: I wanted to avoid “Waterfalls” at all costs because the lyrics are so depressing.

People are amazing in their ability to love well-crafted pop regardless of what the song is, lyrically, about. (Wait for it, one of us is bound to pick “Blurred Lines” sooner or later.) That’s why “Hook” is so brilliant. People love that song and have no idea what any of the words are. It’s frequently called “The Heart Brings You Back” online.

So many words to say, I wouldn’t want “Waterfalls” on my mixtape because it’s a sad song, despite the fact that the music is not sad and is, I agree, better than that of “Let Me Blow Ya Mind.” Maybe I shot myself in the foot?

Now pardon me, I’ve got a tough decision on my hands…

With the #5 pick, Colton selects “California Gurls” by Katy Perry (feat. Snoop Dogg) (2010).

I sweated this pick for a while, not because I have any doubt in “California Gurls,” but because I was worried about what you might take next. The better I can predict what you’ll do, the more value I can get. We’ll see if this was the right call.

Granted, Katy Perry is no Britney Spears, no Ariana Grande, no Rihanna—I see you there, “Umbrella”—but this track is quality. Benny Blanco comes through with an addictive beat and a chorus like a siren song. And if some manly man in the back seat doesn’t dig candy-sweet pop songs about pure sex, he’s still got to respect the D-O-double-G.

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Dan

Quick aside: In case you missed this article, here are some expanded thoughts on the cleverness of “Hook,” courtesy the AV Club.

It’s interesting that you object so strongly to the sadness of “Waterfalls” as, barring a late surge by current chart-topper “Cheerleader,” the 2015 Billboard Song of the Summer is going to be another sad song. [Ed. note: “Cheerleader” did in fact make a late surge, putting “See You Again” at #2.] I agree with you in principle that happy lyrics are better for warm weather and free spirits, but if we’re imagining a cross-country road trip, there needs to be some burn mixed with all the sun. Contrary to Barney Stinson’s opinion, a mix shouldn’t be “all rise, no fall.” We’ll see if the judges share your apprehension of songs that incite more watery eyes than fist pumps.

“California Gurls” isn’t my favorite Katy Perry song (or even my favorite Katy Perry song in our draft pool), but I am 100% on board with you citing it as a great song for a road trip mix tape. Everybody loves the beach, or even imagining the beach as AC blows on your face in an old sedan. And people also like songs about lovemakin’.

Let’s consider that for a moment, though. You call “California Gurls” a dose of “pure sex,” but I’d argue that the summer wordplay gives the song the thinnest, most transparent of veils that it’s about bumping uglies. Compare that to my next pick.

With the #6 pick, Dan selects “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot (1992).
 
It’s a song unabashedly about big butts. No pretense; no obfuscation or shame. Simply an ode to women’s voluminous derrieres.

Of course, I don’t have to tell you that. You already know that, as does every twentysomething in the United States of America. This song has gone down as a crowd-pleaser, universally loved… to the point that I think it’s a bit overrated, its cheese and familiarity mistaken for genuine craft. Nonetheless, it’s the perfect type of song for this mixtape project. Even if you don’t know the whole rap the first time the song spins, you surely know the key lines, and you’ll pick up the rest on subsequent listens. Whatever “Baby Got Back’s” flaws, it’s about as fun to rap along with as any track not containing the word “spaghetti.”

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Colton

Foiled! My decision was precisely between “California Gurls” and “Baby Got Back,” and I went back and forth several times. I applaud you on a perfect selection.

To follow up on the theme, I stand by my basic idea: for a summer mixtape, it’s better to be happy than sad. Hard to say what the judges will think—I don’t think we’ve even found judges yet—and, as I noted, this certainly lies outside the criteria we agreed on. But, gosh darn it, if I were making this mixtape for myself to listen to, I’d skip the sad songs. I never saw that episode, but I’m backing Barney on this one.

One other note before I move on: if “California Gurls” isn’t your favorite Katy Perry song in the pool, you’re insane. “I Kissed a Girl” was my introduction to Katy Perry, and I felt the same way about it then (it’s garbage) that I do now (it’s garbage). It’s garbage. You can take your trash single. I hope you two are happy together.

Yeah, that’s how I feel.

With the #7 pick, Colton selects “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen (2012).

Fortunately, when I gambled on the hope that you’d miss Sir Mix-a-Lot just one more time, I did so with a contingency plan. While you enjoy the crown jewel of summertime rap, I’ll sneak ahead in the arms race for fluffy pop songs. “Call Me Maybe” needs no introduction and no defense. In fact, it’s already stuck in your head right now.
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Dan

I guess that’s one song I can hold off on picking. We can debate “I Kissed a Girl’s” merits later in this draft.

I pulled the “Baby Got Back” rug from under you, and, in turn, you pulled the “Call Me Maybe” rug from under me. I personally prefer it to every song picked so far besides “Waterfalls,” and I’m mad you got it before me. Well done. This is the type tension and cutthroat competition that fantasy drafts are all about.

This is probably the part of the draft where I should start reviewing my roster to make sure I have proper balance and am ticking all the marks on our scoring rubric, but — the hell with it. I’m just going to pick one of my favorite songs here for fear another tune I love will be swiped.

With the #8 pick, Dan selects “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera (1999).

Xtina is one of our great teen idols of the past two decades on basically every metric you should evaluate a teen idol. “Genie” is also the sexiest track taken yet. I first heard this song when I was in the early throes of adolescence, and the evocative longing in Aguilera’s voice, accentuated by the sizzling beat, made me physically uncomfortable. It’s that overwhelming a pop song, and if you disagree with me, then… well, I probably just picked this song too early.

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Colton

Your heart hasn’t led you astray. I don’t know if I would’ve dived on “Genie in a Bottle” right now or not, but it would’ve been on the short list for sure. And since I have only echoes to add to your praise, I’ll be getting right along with this run on summer pop.

With the #9 pick, Colton selects “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO (feat. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock) (2011).

I’ve done a good deal of thinking, during this draft, about the distance between my evaluations of a song and some hypothetical judge’s. Then, headstrong, I’ve followed mine. That’s no way to win a draft, though it will give me a mind to argue and complain if I end up losing.

Here I continue that trend. I’d say there are seven or eight pieces of pure bubblegum pop left on the board, only a couple of which I consider great. Bizarre as they are, LMFAO achieved greatness with this song. I love it, I think it’s amazing, and I would probably loop the track two or three times before letting the mixtape advance. Every day, man. Every single day, I’m shufflin’.

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Dan

I’m not as smitten as you are with “Party Rock Anthem,” so you could have probably waited a couple rounds to take it, but I can’t begrudge you the choice. It has three or four great hooks, especially the squeaky one right after “everyday I’m shuffling.”

You’re right that the bubblegum is running thin thanks to these last few picks. Of the few remaining pop tracks I’m fond of, there is one in particular that I think matches our grading rubric well and complements my current roster. My mixtape needs a dose of sonic sunniness, even if it means repeating an artist already in my stable and dealing with rain-themed lyrics. Yep: The rain man is back with little miss sunshine. Rihanna, where you at?

With the #10 pick, Dan selects “Umbrella” by Rihanna (feat. Jay-Z) (2007)

As this song has aged, I’ve found its busy production to be a bit heavier than my liking. (Maybe it’s just because one of the first YouTube covers I heard is a lovely acoustic take on the song.)

But I still think it’s worthy of its status as an instant pop classic and an excellent choice for a mixtape. The chorus is a fantastic earworm; who doesn’t love elongating their pronunciation of a three-syllable word to fifteen seconds? The “I’ll be there for you” lyrics provide a nice warm-hearted contrast to my last few picks.

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Colton

I feel the same way about “Umbrella” re: aging and production. Last pick of the first third of our draft feels about right for when it should go. By the way, where has Rihanna been lately? From a remarkably young age, she was cranking out an album a year, showing the consistency of The Land Before Time entries II through XIII. After what feels like an enormous gap, Wikipedia tells me that both the rapper and the dinosaur cartoon are planning a new release in the near future. Sadly, these are two separate works, not a collaboration.

Moving forward, I’ll give you a little more insight into my draft strategy. I’ve already made clear that my preferences are guiding me more than the scoring system, for better or worse. At the same time, I’m trying to stick to the value game that my first pick signaled. I have this draft class sorted into only two tiers for quality, but split out into many different genre categories. My goal is to snap up the best songs in each category when I feel there’s a big step down to #2, or to leave you with tantalizing picks when they only edge out the runner up.

With the #11 pick, Colton selects “I Swear” by All-4-One (1994).

Much like the earlier pick where I lost out on “Baby Got Back,” this is a bit of a risk. I see several songs that are simply better and still available. “I Swear,” however, was one of two strong value picks, and I can only hope the other will be waiting for me later.

As a swoony boy-group ballad, “I Swear” doesn’t have any real secret depth to it. I think every good mixtape needs a certain number of ballads—I have a number, I just won’t share it yet—and I want to bag my first right now. Fun fact, though: this is actually a cover of a country song released the same year. That’s almost as cooky as Flo Rida sampling “Levels” in a track released two months before “Levels.”

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Dan

Dangit! You beat me to the punch by one pick again. In fact, I almost picked “I Swear” with #10. I figured you’d extend our string of upbeat picks for awhile longer, or even if you went for a ballad, you’d strike somewhere else.
I am of the opinion that gently-produced boy band ballads that emphasize dynamic, harmonizing vocal parts are basically the best kind of pop ballad. “I Swear” is my favorite ballad of our available options by a country mile, and I personally think it’s one of the best romantic ballads of the 1990’s. It’s the platonic ideal of this type of song. You’re right that it has no “secret depth”; it’s all there on the surface. Beautiful vocals, proclamations of uncomplicated love, and gushing choruses: “I Swear” perfects these and the other ingredients necessary for a boy band ballad. I’m kicking myself for letting it slip through the cracks.

You also missed the best part of the “I Swear” anecdote: All-4-One’s second biggest hit was “I Can Love You Like That,” which came out a year later and is stylistically quite similar to “I Swear” without being nearly as effective. But the strange thing? It’s also a cover… of a John Michael Montgomery country song… released earlier that year. Bonkers.

Regardless, I landed only two of my four pet favorite songs of the thirty, nabbing “Genie in a Bottle” and “Waterfalls” but letting “Call Me Maybe” and “I Swear” slip through my fingertips. 50% is a failing grade, so I’m not pleased, not pleased at all.

Now that we’ve broken the romantic ballad seal, though, I can safely ponder: What the hell, late ’80s and early ’90s? Seriously, why were people sitting on their decks, drinking beer and listening to power ballads? From 1987 through 1994, the biggest song of the summer was a slow-dance number every year except 1993 (“Baby Got Back”) and 1988 (“Roll With It”). That’s almost a decade of ballady summers! And… I risk tipping my hand here… but the majority of them aren’t all that great. I’ll say no more for now.

So, since you pulled “I Swear” from right under my nose, I had to think for a bit about my next pick. There are a few stylistic oddities that might hold value because of their uniqueness, but none of them feel quite right for a summer mix tape. Some of the best remaining songs have strengths that overlap with my previous picks. In short, I had trouble picking #12. I finally decided to further lock down the limited summer rap market.

With the #12 pick, Dan selects “Hot in Herre” by Nelly (2002).

I don’t have any strong opinions about Nelly’s biggest hit. It’s a fun song, but not particularly striking in its quality one way or the other. Nelly has solid flow, and the beat is energetic, but the background ladies singing “I am gettin’ so hot…” is more than a little cheesy. I personally prefer his signature “Country Grammar” for blending southern rap sensibility with his knack for a pop hook.

But despite my overall apathy towards “Herre,” I think it does a great job filling out my mix tape. This is a catchy one to sing/rap along with, featuring several amusing rhymes, including another great opener: “Good gracious, ass bodacious!” (Why do so many summer rap songs idolize butts?) Perhaps most importantly to the project, “Hot in Herre” very much fits the summer theme.

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Colton

Daring! “Baby Got Back,” two Jay-Z features, and now this? Let’s hope the conservative rap-heavy portfolio pays off for the rump-shakin’ investor.

For real, though, I think “Hot in Herre” is solid. It’s a fun track, and everyone who remembers it as paramountly silly needs to loosen up and let themselves love it. Plus, courtesy of Rap Genius, I finally just found out what that “Kiddin’ like Jason” line means, and now I like it even more!

I’ll play the game of guarded clues and say that, of the five songs still available from 1987–1994, (1) I think that exactly one of them is any good, (2) I think that one is great, and (3) I hope another particular one of them goes dead last in this draft. For the moment, though, I won’t be picking that good one.

With the #13 pick, Colton selects “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna (1986).

For most people, this clearly isn’t even the best pop song remaining. On the other hand, it is the top singalong hit from its decade. This is the other value pick that I was contemplating in my last message, and I’m happy to get it here.

There’s something lovable about a song being so retro, so distinctly 80’s, and it makes for a clutch inclusion in my mixtape. Madonna, the Britneyand the Christina of her time (Britney wishes her career could live up to Madonna’s), who had a top-ten hit in her 50’s and an unassisted top-ten hit (no guest stars) more than 20 years after “Like a Virgin,” is heard here in the prime of her career. “Like a Virgin” this ain’t (on multiple levels) but I’d take a Material Girl B-side over a lot of other songstresses’ best.

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Dan

I’m disappointed you took “Papa Don’t Preach,” as I was hoping to steal it in the next few rounds. I thought its lyrics (unplanned pregnancy?) might scare you off in a “Waterfalls”-fashion. I agree it’s a high value pick even if it’s not her all-time best.

You raise a good point that my roster thus far is fairly hip-hop-heavy. Only one of my picks so far features no rapping. For the sake of that “variety” score, I think I should let the lyrics of my next pick be sung, not spoken.

I could, of course, go the ballad route, but I’m not convinced that would be the best bang for my pick at this point. Instead, I’m going to double down on another category I’ve already invested heavily: sultry R&B.

It’s interesting you mention the enormity of Madonna’s Billboard success, highlighting its longevity. Because you know whose Billboard career is perhaps even more impressive?

With the #14 pick, Dan selects “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey (2005).

A few numbers for you: Mariah Carey had a number one hit eleven years in a row — the next-longest streak since the sixties is six (Lionel Richie). The only artist with more career number one hits is this popular quartet you may have heard of called The Beatles. She’s had two separate streaks of five straight #1 singles. During the ’90s, she one-upped Midas, turning everything she touched into platinum. (Between 1993 and 1999, only 3 of 11 US singles went “just” Gold, the other 8 going single- or multi-Plat.)

Perhaps the span between her two entries on our list — 15 years!! — is testament enough to her pop prowess.

But what good are sales if the music is bunk? Fortunately, Mariah has pipes and charisma. She’s made many a great ditty, and “We Belong Together” is one such. Personally, I believe this is a better song than many of the tracks either of us picked before it. The fact that I still like it ten years after I remember it playing nonstop on the radio is proof enough to me that I’m scoring great value in the “relistenability” column.

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Colton

For me, there’s a big difference between “Waterfalls” (where the singer is troubled) and “Papa Don’t Preach” (where the signer is defiant and its her parents who are troubled).

It may not actually have affected your decision process, but I made a concerted effort to blow smoke with my last message. You’ve already cornered the market on rap, and I was worried that you might close it out by grabbing “Promiscuous,” a hot club track that my playlist sorely needs. Yet I knew that taking it at #13 would give you enough time to find “Papa Don’t Preach.” By my rhetoric or by your own consideration, “Promiscuous” did stay on the board for me, which is just what I was looking for.

With the #15 pick, Colton selects “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado (feat. Timbaland) (2006).

Now, obviously, passing on this gave you an opportunity to cash in on an eternal monument to beauty and song. Mariah Carey is utter perfection. Heck, amidst all your praise, I was offended on her behalf that you described any of her songs as “ditties,” though that word does recall the opening hook in “Always Be My Baby.”

If the thirty tunes we started with were all nominated together for Record of the Year, I’d hand the award to “We Belong Together” without much thought. Every round, I’ve talked myself out of picking the best piece of music in favor of more “summery” songs or more critical genre selections. In a way, I think I always knew Carey’s best would end up in your hands. Not that it goes down any easier that way.

And with that, we’ve reached the halfway mark. Perhaps a worthy time for each of us to step back, review what we have in hand, and decide what we need most. At this point, there are only half a dozen or so options remaining that I actively want on my list. Beyond that, it’s about mitigation and avoiding the very worst.

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Draft Results, Picks #1-15

  1. Colton: “Roll With It” by Steve Winwood (1988)
  2. Dan: “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce (feat. Jay-Z) (2003)
  3. Colton: “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” by Eve (feat. Gwen Stefani) (2001)
  4. Dan: “Waterfalls” by TLC (1995)
  5. Colton: “California Gurls” by Katy Perry (feat. Snoop Dogg) (2010)
  6. Dan: “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot (1992)
  7. Colton: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen (2012)
  8. Dan: “Genie in a Bottle” by Christina Aguilera (1999)
  9. Colton: “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO (feat. Lauren Bennett, GoonRock) (2011)
  10. Dan: “Umbrella” by Rihanna (feat. Jay-Z) (2007)
  11. Colton: “I Swear” by All-4-One (1994)
  12. Dan: “Hot in Herre” by Nelly (2002)
  13. Colton: “Papa Don’t Preach” by Madonna (1986)
  14. Dan: “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey (2005)
  15. Colton: “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado (feat. Timbaland) (2006)

Colton

And tell you what—since I’m such a nice guy, why don’t you go ahead and pick first in the second half?

Read Part 2! We Debate Katy Perry And Bemoan The Worst of Summer Pop

Dan S.

Dan is the editor of Earn This. He co-founded the site in 2009.

Colton O.

Colton O.

Colton drinks straight out of coconuts and writes about music for Earn This. He joined the site in 2009.

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