About America’s Sweetheart and “Sugar Sugar Summertime”

Jersey City is rapidly becoming iconic in the Garden State. It’s got the tall buildings, the bands, the buzz, the theaters, the creative energy that’s a hallmark of all emerging cultural centers. What it hasn’t had is a theme song — until now. The pop-rockers in America’s Sweetheart certainly know their way around the streets of Hudson County, and their excitement about Jersey City mirrors the town’s current (and wholly justified) optimism. “Sugar Sugar Summertime,” their delirious new single, lets you know exactly where they’re at: Ninth and Coles, right in the middle of the historic Downtown.

And that’s hardly the extent of their expression of Jersey pride. By the end of the track, they’re roaring out a refrain about Jersey City — and it’s fair to say that few bands in the New York metropolitan area can match their enthusiasm or their way with a hook. The result? A summer song that doubles as a celebration of New Jersey and works well as an anthem for a unique, growing city that deserves one.

They’ve done it the way they always do it: with winsome tunes, clever lyrics, close harmonies, and a mega blast of kinetic energy. Singers Valerie Germain and Anastasia Kinsella were born to sing together — their voices fit like a handshake — and they trade lines with a kind of glee that’s simultaneously conversational and inspirational. The song’s seasonal theme demands some coastal sunshine, and “Sugar Sugar Summertime” delivers with surf-rock effervescence and boardwalk-punk attitude. But it’s also a reminder that the waves are just as thrilling on the Jersey Shore as they are in Southern California.

About the video

America’s Sweetheart has paired the song with a Polaroid-colored clip that’s pure summer, and pure Jersey, too. Slow-motion shots of waves crashing on crowded beaches, beautiful people skateboarding, high sun, Ferris wheels, and fairgrounds on piers, boats, and boomboxes: it’s all here. Anybody who knows the Garden State will recognize the landmarks: Jersey City’s famous Colgate clock and the White Mana burger stand, the legendary Schellenger’s Restaurant and Curley’s Fries in Wildwood, the stately Convention Hall in Asbury Park, and images of the Pulaski Skyway. Valerie  Germain and Anastasia Kinsella crash through these frames on a motorcycle and kick up sand on the beach as they walk together. But they never look any more possessed by the spirit of the Garden State summer than they do when they’re in the vocal booth, singing their hearts out about the places they love and their favorite time of the year.  When they are joined in the booth by their long standing producer, Godfrey Diamond, the song takes on the grittiness inherent in the Jersey Shore. Germain and Kinsella’s musicianship is rounded out by Robbie (Seahag) Mangano on guitar and Johnny Markowski on drums.

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