Song: Converse’s “All Summer”

A few years ago Converse tried to put together a genre-hopping enterprise to produce music and sell shoes by putting Julian Casablancas, Santigold, and Pharrell together for the track “My Drive Thru.” I barely remember this song, but to Converse’s credit, it was an intriguing group to put together.

Well Converse has done it again with the release of “All Summer,” a collaboration between Kid Cudi, Best Coast, and Rostam Batmanglij, that surprisingly lives up to expectations and could possibly be seen as a song of summer by some. The greatest part of this song is that it successfully melds together three distinctive styles by three distinctive personalities that are recognizable to nearly all facets of the music world.

The distinct personalities present in this track are the first thing that struck my eye. Kid Cudi. Best Coast. Rostam. A quick look at each shows that this song can pop up on nearly every person’s radar as the summer rolls on. Kid Cudi found mainstream success based on his album Man on the Moon: The End of Day which was released in September 2009. The tracks “Day ‘n’ Nite” and “Pursuit of Happiness,” which featured MGMT and Ratatat, thrust Cudi into the mainstream eyes, especially during LeBron James’ one-hour ESPN special “The Decision” when “Pursuit of Happiness” was used on a VitaminWater commercial I saw countless times. But I digress. Cudi carries name recognition to bring both rap connoisseurs and casual listeners into the listening pool.

Kid Cudi performs at Sasquatch! Music Festival. (photo by Daniel)

Best Coast obviously brings in the lo-fi and indie contingent. We all know Best Coast loves summer, her cat, weed, and her boyfriend Nathan Williams aka Wavves, so it only makes sense that she is the one to sing a song titled “All Summer.” When I saw the artist lineup for this release I was most intrigued by the addition of Best Coast because it just seemed weird to have her and Cudi on the same track. But it works, more on which I’ll get to later.

Rostam fills out the lineup and brings the most to the table in my opinion. The casual fan’s reaction will be, “Oh the dude that’s not Ezra from Vampire Weekend is in this song.” Even then, many people are going to be intrigued just by the weight the name Vampire Weekend carries in the music world these days. But at the same time, diehard indie music fans know what Rostam can do outside of the typical band scenario based on his work with Ra Ra Riot’s Wes Miles in the electronic side project Discovery. What will Rostam bring to the table in “All Summer”? His Vampire Weekend guitar chops? Or his electronic alter-ego from Discovery?

Rostam Batmanglij performs at Sasquatch! Music Festival with Vampire Weekend. (photo by Daniel)

What is created is something unexpectedly great. Cudi, Best Coast, and Rostam all make their mark on the song without overshadowing one another in any way. Cudi’s rapping is at its best, his low vocal patterns never slowing down while still being able to enunciate most of the words in his raps. Best Coast retains her lo-fi style with backing vocals that are ripped from a Best Coast or Wavves track. And the church bells during Best Coast’s part are exactly the type of addition that would be expected from Rostam. The drums in the track have the tribal feel that Vampire Weekend has made popular while they pound along almost like Contra hit “Giving Up The Gun” with a guitar part that is Best Coast.

While the musicality and blending of styles is perfect for summer, and given the title of the song being “All Summer,” it really is a song for summer, which diminishes its ability to become timeless in my mind. As soon as the first cold snap hits this September or October, this song will be off my playlist. Sure, I might give it a go in the depths of December for a little nostalgia trip, but the shelf-life of this track does not go that far beyond the end of August. But given the capabilities of the collaborative parts, this song exceeds my expectations greatly.

8/10

Download “All Summer” over at Converse.com.

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