Kool & The Gang – “Summer Madness”: mp3
Yes, this is the song from the Lebron commercial. Yes, it’s, as one fellow athlete once said, as smooth as a chocolate swirl. Yes, it’s a chill-out jam that makes modern downtempo look about as cool as chicken flambe.
Regina Spektor – “Summer in the City”: mp3
Spektor is gradually becoming less of an anti-folk spitfire and more of a nuanced songwriter. “Summer in the City,” despite sharing a title with the Lovin’ Spoonful’s classic, is hardly celebratory; the final track on this year’s Begin to Hope, it provides a simple and maturely emotive conclusion to an album that sometimes veers into breakfast cereal-sugary production and Toys-R-Us Kid outbursts. This song is the sound of her learning that it’s OK to grow up.
Peter Bjorn & John – “Young Folks”: mp3
Just in case you guys don’t read Pitchfork or, uh, other blogs. Not quite twee but not so far from the influence of Sarah Records that you can’t hear the reverb, “Young Folks” happens to have the best use of shaker egg in any song I’ve heard this year.
The Rob Gordon Shuffle is a weekly Sunday rundown of fascinating songs without particular regard to genre or timeliness. It is absolutely not a top 5.