[mix tape] Poptimal’s Summer mixtape
The year was 2007. I was just starting a position as a hot-shot young intern with a local TV news affiliate. The world was my oyster. As long as I had the mini van back by 8 pm so that Dad could get to his dulcimer lesson, it was obviously going to be one hell of a popular, sexy summer.
Driving the family van on my first day at the station, I started howling along to Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani. In mid-song, I carelessly tore through the entrance and almost slammed into a news van coming the opposite direction.
As I passed the news van’s driver, I tried to salvage a professional smile out of the incident, but it was far too late. My internship would be forever marred by the undeniable Stefani-fueled car accident that almost was.
I mention this because I want everyone to know that the writers and editors of Poptimal have included a song on their mixtape so catchy that it almost got me killed.
I also mention this because 2007 is the same year that Zuberi Williams, a Washington D.C.-based lawyer, entrepreneur, and fellow pop culture aficionado, launched an innovative platform – a user-based pop culture site called Poptimal.com. Williams understood the frantic activity of staying abreast of all the new releases, episodes, and finales hitting the airwaves. He set out to make it easier for ravenous fans to navigate pop culture’s wilderness.
Rather than the same spew of buzzwords and backwash that had left him shaking his head on other pop culture networks, Poptimal’s reviews were going to have personalities behind them, not just a number rating or one of two varying thumb positions. Williams recruited a roster of writers with unique voices and thoughts to engage a multitude of diverse readers. He also made sure they stayed focused and delivered on a consistent schedule. And, so far, it’s worked; the sundry personas of Poptimal’s writing staff gives a fresh take, tone, or perspective on media.
Take, if you will, the words Poptimal staffers had for Everybody’s Fine:
“Speaking of character flaws, almost all of the characters in this movie are boring,” Keshaunta Moton replies.
No doubt their playlist, which was composed with summer on the brain, reflects the wide range of mindsets consistently filling their site with cultural reviews; we’ve got a little Hall and Oates, and a little Fresh Prince. We’ve got contemporary sounds of The Roots a few slots away from the classic warbles of Bryan Adams.
The mix that lies before you is the work of a colorful team, clashing over the necessity of amputated body parts in The Wolfman and gauging the “wonky”-ness of the last episode of “The Office,” (even giving away free passes for a Sex and the City 2 screening, if you were planning on spending money on that sort of thing). Now, they are a united front, all for the sake of flushing any lingering memories of winter out of your ears.
Pick one as your anthem, but for god’s sake, buckle your seat belt.
Here is the mix tape that Keith Robinson, managing editor of Poptimal, compiled from the submissions he received from our writers and editors:
1. Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – Summertime is one of those songs that you don’t realize you know all the lyrics to until it comes on the radio. It is one of those rare timeless rap songs that everybody loves.
3. La Isla Bonita Live from Sticky and Sweet Tour by Madonna – This classic Madonna song got an updated spin on her recent tour and the result is a stunning tune that is perfect for cruising through a beautiful summer location with the top down.
4. All Summer Long by Kid Rock- This is one of those songs you can blast on the radio and sing AS LOUD AS YOU WANT!!! And that freedom is what summer is all about. Album only.
6. Coming to Break You Off by The Roots – once you hear the opening beats of this song you can’t help but start wanting to move your head to the music. This is one of the best songs off their Phrenology album.
7. Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69 is such a fun, feel good song that everyone can relate to. We all have our own special summer that we look back on and relish the memories of fun, friends and love.
9. All Summer Long by Kid Rock – Any song that gets a marijuana reference in on mainstream radio is awesome by me. Plus, it improves on an already catchy song, “Sweet Home Alabama.” What’s not to love? Album only.
10. Good Life by OneRepublic – I have no idea where my sudden affinity for OneRepublic is coming from, but I’m really into them right now. This makes for a perfect song to drive to with the windows down.