As the Olympics continue over in London, we've found ourselves asking several questions: "Why is Gabby Douglas so awesome?" "The U.S. is good at judo?" and, perhaps most important, "How much more swimming can we watch?"
We're not gonna lie, we're over the pool. And we suspect the rest of the world is too, which is why we're focusing on a competition that is anything but all wet (see what we did there?!?), MTV's Summer Jam Games, the race to determine just who had the hottest songs of the summer.
All week, we've been giving you updates on the ultra-close battles going on in Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B and EDM ... and today, we're wrapping up our coverage by taking a look at the Rock category, which features plenty of upset-minded upstarts, not to mention returning champions, each battling it out for summer-jam gold.
Voting in all Summer Jam Games categories closes Sunday (August 5) at midnight E.T., so there's still plenty of time to help guide your favorite acts to the medal stand. And here are the 10 hopefuls going head-to-head in Rock.
Alex Clare's "Too Close": Also known as "that awesome song in the Internet Explorer commercial," it's become a hit both here in the States and back home in Clare's native England, where its success must be particularly sweet for the 26-year-old singer/songwriter. After all, not long after he released his debut album, The Lateness of the Hour (which features "Too Close"), he was dropped by his record label. Oops.
Fun.'s "Some Nights": The title track off their breakout album, and the follow-up to their smash "We Are Young," "Some Nights" has helped assure that Fun. will never be known as one-hit wonders. With its breezy beat and easy harmonies (reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecilia"), it's a perfect summer jam, and fans seem to agree ... the song is poised to break in to the top 10 Billboard Hot 100 as early as this week.
The Gaslight Anthem's "45": A bruising blast of blue-collar bop from New Jersey's latest crop of Springsteen acolytes, "45" doesn't seem like a traditional summer jam ... after all, with its bleeding guitars and frontman Brian Fallon's trademark growl, it's not exactly beach-approved. But hey, we guarantee you this is what the Boss listens to when he tans, and that's good enough for us.
Green Day's "Oh Love": At this point in their careers, about the only thing Green Day haven't done is win a summer jam sweepstakes. That might change with "Oh Love," the first single off their upcoming trio of new albums, and the current leader in our rock category. We can't blame folks for voting for it ... after all, like all great summer jams, this one came from "the crotch area."
Grouplove's "Tongue Tied": The latest in a long stream of Apple-approved indie hits (it was featured in an iPod Touch ad last year), "Tongue Tied" has blasted to the top of Billboard's Alternative charts, and has made unlikely stars out of this L.A. act.
And thanks to this song — and their blissed-out live performances — they could be the surprise winners of our Summer Jam Games, too.
Jack White's "Freedom at 21": It's entirely possible Jack White never even ventures outside during daylight hours, which makes the prospect of him winning the Summer Jam Games all the more amazing. But with "21" (and its oddball, Hype-Williams directed video), he's got a legitimate shot. Not bad for a guy so pale he's practically translucent.
JEFF the Brotherhood's "Sixpack": Rip-roaring single from Nashville bashers (and actual brothers) Jake and Jamin Orrall, otherwise known as JEFF the Brotherhood. They've already earned the praise of critics and fans like Jack White, but now, with the beery, cheery "Sixpack," they might also take home Summer Jam gold. And then probably celebrate by drinking several sixers.
The Killers' "Runaways": It's a classic Killers tune, all wide-screen choruses and huge guitars, but can it also be a classic summer jam? Well, given that newly humble frontman Brandon Flowers isn't going to talk smack about any of his competitors, it's gonna be up to the Killers' fans to guide them to the gold. Still, there's just about nothing this band hasn't accomplished, so we wouldn't bet against them here.
Neon Trees' "Everybody Talks": Utah probably isn't the first place you'd think of when listing potential summer-jam hotbeds, but thanks to Neon Trees (who hail from Provo) and their fantastic new single (currently crossing over at radio and inspiring people to buy Buicks), that's about to change. Can they upset the big boys and really put the Beehive State on the map? We'll just have to wait and see!
No Doubt's "Settle Down": They've shaken off the rust that comes with a decade out of the game, and, as "Settle Down" proves, they haven't lost a step, either. Funky, fun and lilting on a dancehall beat that's custom-built for the club, the song is classic No Doubt, and now, if the votes hold, it may also take home summer-jam gold in the rock category, too.
Vote now in MTV's Summer Jam Games! Polls in all categories close Sunday (August 5) at midnight E.T., so there's still time to guide your favorites to the gold!