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Andrew Benkovic

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The Surprise Hit of the Summer

Posted: 08/05/2013 2:44 pm

With summer winding down, many in the entertainment industry have pondered what the "Song of the Summer" will be. Will it be "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke featuring T.I and Pharrell? How about "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk? There is also the possibility of "We Can't Stop" by Miley Cyrus. However there is one song that became an unexpected hit this summer and is worthy of a mention.

"Cups" has become the surprise (and awesome) hit of the summer. The song is off the Pitch Perfect soundtrack and is sung by actress and star Anna Kendrick. It is currently number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 and has also appeared on other charts. It is in heavy rotation on the radio and the video has been viewed millions of times. The "cup game" (which has been a staple at many summer camps) has been emulated as well with many on-line tutorials.

The song is known as a "sleeper hit." Kendrick didn't run around singing the song on talk shows (she promoted the movie, not the actual song itself). It took a long time to get to its current level of success. To put it in perspective it just spent its 31st week on the Billboard Charts. Compare this to Cyrus's "We Can't Stop" (eighth) and Thicke's "Blurred Lines" (15th).

The song itself isn't racy whatsoever. There is no mention of sex or drugs. The song does reference a relationship (though what that relation is, is up to the person singing it). Here's a sample:

When I'm gone
When I'm gone
You're gonna miss me when I'm gone
You're gonna miss me by my hair
You're gonna miss me everywhere,oh
You're gonna miss me when I'm gone

Then there is the music video. The video shows Kendrick in the back of a dinner in the kitchen. She goes around the dinner, singing the song collecting of course cups, while people are doing the cup game. There is a little more to it, but that is the basic plot. Shocking, right? Since YouTube (and possibly other viral video sites) started to factor in the success that music videos have with the position that the song falls on the charts, I will not be surprised if future videos will be less like Kendrick's, in order to deliver the "shock" factor and gain views.

The thing I like about the song "Cups" is the success was (and still is) unexpected. The song wasn't meant to be a hit. While the movie Pitch Perfect did very well, the movie came out in October of last year. The song itself was released as a single towards the end of March. Many songs released this far back wouldn't still be moving-up the chart today. In this case, longevity wins.

To be clear, I actually really like "Blurred Lines" which is the current number one song on many charts (actually all three songs mentioned in the first paragraph are alright). The song is catchy, without being annoying. The music video isn't that shocking (A person is choosing to watch the uncensored version, which still isn't that bad). Robin Thicke is a prime example of an artist who has worked hard in a very difficult industry. His success is far from "overnight." It is great it is finally paying-off in such a global way (plus it doesn't help that he seems like a nice guy). While the summer isn't over yet, I would say his song may win the title (though time will tell).

"Cups" may or may not be the "Song of the Summer." But, the success of the song is well deserved. While "shocking" the public will work some of the time, sometimes we just want a good song and music video we don't have to worry about watching in public. "Cups" fulfills both these things and more. If anything it deserves an honorable mention.

 

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