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Today's Top 40 Spectrum: Twilight Party Traxxx*

In reference to this month's subject line, naw, I'm not saying these Top 40 joints are perfect for your Edward Cullen theme party; I'm saying imagine hearing these songs at the end of a party, in the twilight hours, when almost everybody's left minus the lingerers and the sleepover staff (whether purposeful or incidental). Once you do you will realize just how weird pop radio has gotten in the midst of summer's entrance in 2011. A couple of them are delightfully strange change-ups from the usual chart-topping fodder, even if they're not lyrically progressive for the mainstream. A couple, however, are just end-of-the-night gut-rot emblems of an era nigh with smile-plastered soullessness, which isn't exactly something new for our youth, but seem particularly empty and vile in this month's edition of the nation's biggest jams, ranked from most to least tolerable below...

"Rolling in the Deep" by Adele: Playing to a sold-out crowd at First Avenue last night, with scalped tickets going for upwards of $650 a pop, it's pretty clear that the amiable chanteuse is something anyone with even a tad of milquetoast propensity, regardless of socio-economic or racial boundaries, can agree on. She has swooped past Taylor Swift because she's not the least bit twangy and she's old enough to say something wise and she has coasted right by the plasticine pop star sheen, and somehow has managed to convince many that the phrase "soulful singer-songwriter" can mean "undeniably catchy." And yet it's super sleepy, even at its punchiest moments, and thus makes it the perfect last hurrah at the close of a regrettable evening, as everyone sings along and gather up their keys and jackets before they finally exit the scene.

"Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & Goon Rock: For that moment when you're slouched down in an over-sized recliner and, bug-eyed but not quite ready to give up the fight for the night, you hear an anachronistically pulsing techno song from the basement, where the insane are still laughing and throwing it back, and you can't help but stand up. Your body has given up on you numerous times by now, but in these twilight hours, you can't be the one that goes home or gives up; it's depressing because it basically means that you're only choosing dancing and partying because you're too alone to go to bed and too introverted to have already been straight partying, just like these guys - the nerds who try to liven up the party a bit too much, but damn if you don't admire them just as much as you find them obnoxious and derisive.

"Till the World Ends" by Britney Spears: Then there's the girl that's been trying to get your attention for years, and while you gladly flirted with her momentarily ("Toxic") years ago, when she's shown up at parties lately, it's mostly been lackluster and just a bad reminder of a shinier yet more vapid past. But of course she's a life, so she's always one of the last ones hanging around when she is present, and she'll always be there, ready to dance alone to that song that came on accidentally while the iTunes was shuffle and the DJ had long left the dance floor. And if there's a remarkably good disco light rigged up (read: production) and your mind has become numbed enough throughout the night that even the slightest hiccup in normality catches your attention, you could be enraptured in her awkwardly hypnotic twilight dance for upwards of thirty seconds until the next song comes on, she throws up, or you finally fall asleep.

"I Need a Doctor" by Dr. Dre & Eminem feat. Skylar Grey: Or sometimes there's this guy in the corner that's just been taking it all in, possibly for too long, sipping on his drink calmly but listening intensely (a little too intensely), and then out of nowhere, a passive comment about a book or an innocent story about a crazy person on the bus incites severely inappropriate levels of angst and intrusiveness for 2 a.m. on a Sunday. The guy means well, because after all, who doesn't like a random argument about nothing for the sake of passing the time and trying to break apart someone else's worldview? But there are times of the day in which this is just too much to handle, and yet you can't imagine anything like it happening at any other time, just like I couldn't imagine anyone else besides Mr. Mathers and the Doctor getting so passionate while still sounding so hollow and struggling.

"Back Seat" by New Boyz feat. The Cataracs & Dev: Most often, nothing will make being still awake in the middle of the night better. Everyone sounds like the most simultaneously annoying and lifeless person on the planet, like they're a bad computer sound rebooting over and over again, trying to do something but failing every time. And there's this wretched incessant static flicker in the back of your head that you can't quite tell is emanating from the barrage of fluorescent lights above or if it's just a figment of your imagination/conscience, punishing you for your daily misdeeds, whether as slight as pushing your body past its brink just by mere number of subsequent hours awake and active, or as drastic as surrounding yourself with giant speakers, douchebags, and dry humping. This is the sound of hating yourself, and it will get stuck in your head for days after the fact.

*This post was written from the fictional perspective of someone who actually still attends parties, mind you.

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