“4 Real" by Body Language
We just ended a brief cold spell in Chicago, meaning that - unlike every other July in memory - I didn’t reach the subway covered in sweat, then sweat some more while I stand on the airless platform waiting for the train. And I’m going to use this break to call for a reset of the “song of the summer” debate, which has escalated to the point that I think we could all be happier if we just stopped listening to/talking about the Iggys and Smiths and came up with some new, more interesting candidates.
"4 Real" is one, a breezy love song that maybe doesn’t hit quite hard enough to compete with the typical summer song (though then again, wasn’t too long ago we were all flipping out over "Call Me Maybe.") And that’s what makes it an ideal choice, as the weather reverts to crushing humidity and punishing sun: Body Language sound like a light breeze, and the best possible alternative to the heavy drops and maximal emotion that dominate the typical choices for summer songs. The hook is an instant sing-along, and while the synths are warm and the vocal warmer, the overall vibe is like skipping gracefully along a sidewalk, not letting the heat hold you down. "4 Real" is the song to cue up when you don’t just want to feel cool, you want to feel cooler.
The song of the summer is not a critical dictation, so I’m consistently baffled by the impulse to offer suggestions and alternatives as though the summer’s single isn’t going to whatever tops the charts for the majority of July. It’s a popularity contest and accordingly, expect your personal preferences to be flattened by Clear Channel’s wallet. With our high temperature and daily sunlight waning, it’s settled that “Fancy” spoke to the majority this year, but “4 Real” fits perfectly with the seasonal shedding of layers. Your sleeves creep up until they disappear, you stop wearing any cosmetic that gets smudgy before 9 AM, and your pint of stout is now a pint of kolsch. Suitably, this song is bubbly and refreshing, but not satisfying beyond its runtime. Whether clattering or kittenish, the song of the summer is always catchy and hooky. “4 Real” missed the ballot, but it also lacks the blunt force required for cultural submission.