Rooting for Kelly Rowland

Unless a particular song comes racing out of the gates and absolutely defines a musical moment, I've always thought it was a little silly to scramble to identify a Song of the Summer. Pop songs aren't genuinely huge, they don't instantly transport you back to a three-month slice of your life just because critics say they do. Unless it's something like Rihanna's "Umbrella," with its sweet allusions to the Hollies' "Bus Stop," its Silver Surfer-like role as the Herald of Auto-Tune, and its status as the marker its singer planted to stake her claim to superstardom, Songs of the Summer are merely going to be successful, rather than iconic.


That said, if a pick's got to be made for 2010, I kind of hope it's Kelly Rowland's "Commander."

The video itself is relatively dopey, dancing from the Matrix reloaded with guys who forgot to wash the home dye out of their hair:



That nonsense aside, it's a pretty decent slice of pop. The chorus is absolutely gigantic, way bigger than any of the verses, and more important than David Guetta's minor lyrical interventions. It's a high-concept understanding of the dance floor, even if it's not my preferred interpretation of that space. If love and shaking it are war, Kelly seems like she'd be a pretty decent person to have boss you around in both.

And the truth is, I'd really like to see Rowland succeed on her own, much in the same way I root for Solange Knowles. I genuinely don't have anything against Beyonce, I just think that she shines so bright and hot that sometimes I want to see what's obscured by that stardom. And other than "Dilemma," Rowland's extremely amiable 2002 duet with Nelly (speaking of folks I'd like to make a compelling return), she hasn't really had a significant hit on her own:


 

 And if "Commander" doesn't get the job done, maybe "Rose Colored Glasses" will. It's a sadder song, but it's still got some serious lift to it:
 
Presented by

Alyssa Rosenberg is a culture writer with The Washington Post.

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This wildly inventive short film takes you on a whirling, spinning tour of the Big Apple

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Entertainment

Just In