Summer is almost upon us and things are just heating up on the music charts. There are so many fresh sounds on the radio and at retail, but some of them will succeed, while others will fade, never to be heard from again. Only one can be the Song Of The Summer, and the list is the endless this year.
Your typical Song of The Summer would debut in the CHR top 40/50 sometime between mid-April and early May and go to #1 between late June and mid-July, holding its grip on that top spot for at least five or six weeks, sometimes eight, sometimes more. Some classics include *NSYNC‘s “It’s Gonna Be Me” (2000), Mariah Carey‘s “We Belong Together” (2005) and Katy Perry/Snoop Dogg‘s “California Gurls” (2010). Not all years are this clean-cut, but this is just your average situation. With the rapid pace of the CHR format now, including number-one songs that don’t have long runs at the top, anything can happen. Some of these songs made the top 50 in late March; others may not peak until August. Who knows? It’s still early, but here are ten songs I’m thinking could take the title of Song Of The Summer (and why they should and shouldn’t be it) and a few others I considered:
ANNA KENDRICK – “Cups (When I’m Gone)”
Current Position: #27 (CHR) / #41 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s catchy. Plus, don’t you want to brag to your friends about how you can do the clap-slap routine from the Pitch Perfect movie when they can’t? They’ll get pitch slapped.
Why It Shouldn’t: Pitch Perfect was out in October of last year. That seven-month long wait has cost it some valuable time. Plus, the new folky sounding instrumental just makes the song sound juvenile. Eh.
ARIANA GRANDE featuring MAC MILLER – “The Way”
Current Position: #15 (CHR) / #14 iTunes
Why It Should: She’s being touted as the next Mariah Carey and she’s got the chops to prove it. Grande’s first chart hit is a winner with teens, especially those who know her from Nickelodeon’s Victorious.
Why It Shouldn’t: Will she weather the storm of other young singers like Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez? The Disney girls have a leg up on her. Miller as a guest rapper probably wasn’t the best selection.
BRUNO MARS – “Treasure”
Current Position: #31 (CHR) / #119 iTunes
Why It Should: Ahoy, mateys! Cap’n Mars is sailing his soulful ship into treacherous waters, but his retro feel and lyric about finding a female first mate should guide his crew as they charter this hot charter.
Why It Shouldn’t: The last third single by Mars, “The Lazy Song”, broke his streak of #1 singles. Will history repeat itself? Download sales are a bit low at this point, with the song ranking below the top 100.
DAFT PUNK featuring PHARRELL WILLIAMS – “Get Lucky”
Current Position: #21 (CHR) / #9 iTunes
Why It Should: If you wanna funk things up, then this is your song. It’s a groovy gem that brings the French duo and American producer/singer together. The clubs love it and so does the mainstream audience.
Why It Shouldn’t: We suddenly care about Daft Punk now? The 70’s influence may not appeal to a younger audience. Plus, Pharrell Williams, though hot again, will be played out by the end of the summer.
FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE featuring NELLY – “Cruise”
Current Position: #14 (CHR) / #8 and #25 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s going to be everybody’s new driving song. You’ll be rolling your windows down in no time. Oh, and you know you want to imitate their thick Southern accents. “Baby, you a sawng.” Exactly.
Why It Shouldn’t: To a Country audience, this was their “Song Of The Winter”. It peaked at #1 in December. “Cruise” is one of the more polarizing records of the bunch; you either love that twang or despise it.
IMAGINE DRAGONS – “Radioactive”
Current Position: #23 (CHR) / #6 iTunes
Why It Should: It’s part rock, part dubstep and wholly a hit. It spent three months at the top of the Alternative chart and is moving fast at the CHR format. It’s been a pretty consistent top ten seller as well.
Why It Shouldn’t: “Radioactive” doesn’t feel like a CHR #1 in the making. Plus, did we all forget that Alex Clare‘s “Too Close” came out year and is essentially the same song? It may be too brash for some ears.
JENNIFER LOPEZ featuring PITBULL – “Live It Up”
Current Position: #30 (CHR) / #27 iTunes
Why It Should: After a hot performance on American Idol, it looks like Lopez is back in the spotlight. It’s a dance-pop anthem about being carefree and seems to be catching on alright. Make love, don’t fight.
Why It Shouldn’t: RedOne’s sound is tired, and this is the third top-40 single for both artists together. Also, your typical CHR teenager isn’t going to understand at least half of Pitbull‘s rap for being in Spanish.
MARIAH CAREY featuring MIGUEL – “#Beautiful”
Current Position: #19 (CHR) / #13 iTunes
Why It Should: This is probably the most understated song out of the bunch. The modern-day equivalent of a Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell duet, it’s got every social media site and music world buzzing.
Why It Shouldn’t: Now the American Idol is done for the year, Carey has lost a large platform to promote her material. Plus, on a format that is ageist, wouldn’t a younger artist easily be able to take the title?
ROBIN THICKE featuring PHARRELL WILLIAMS and T.I. – “Blurred Lines”
Current Position: #41 (CHR) / #3 iTunes
Why It Should: “Blurred” is Thicke’s most pop-friendly single to date and with a viral video approaching 20 million views, its audience keeps growing. A performance on The Voice recently helped substantially.
Why It Shouldn’t: Thicke’s only had one minor top 40 entry before at the format and that was a ballad. The T.I. features skews the track to an Urban audience, which may turn off a more conservative station.
SELENA GOMEZ – “Come And Get It”
Current Position: #8 (CHR) / #4 iTunes
Why It Should: Oh, hello there. This is the highest of all the songs on the list, sliding into the top ten just over a month into its chart run. Jelena may be on and off, but this Indian-influenced song is definitely on.
Why It Shouldn’t: It’s trying too hard to be a Rihanna song (and music video as well.) While staying vague lyrically, it is a little more provocative for her; younger fans (and all of their parents) may not approve.
Other choices considered:
Avril Lavigne, “Here’s To Never Growing Up”
If you’re going to be singing Radiohead at the top of your lungs, make sure you don’t auto-tune it like Lavigne has. Radio, for the most part, gave up on this one quickly, but its sales are still moderately well.
Calvin Harris featuring Ellie Goulding, “I Need Your Love”
“Lights” took forever to reach #1 on this format and radio hasn’t wanted anything from her since it. “Anything Could Happen” tanked; this collaboration with Harris could go top 20 before its chart run ends.
Jason Derülo, “The Other Side”
Doesn’t stray from his core sound, but the success of the single seems forced: a lot of label investment without substantial digital sales. Plus, the song is disposable. It won’t be remembered by the end of the year.
Maroon 5, “Love Somebody”
Though radio has recently picked up the song, its sales haven’t caught up to it yet. It follows three consecutive number-ones from the same album, but this one may not be so lucky in continuing that streak.
will.i.am featuring Justin Bieber, “#thatpower”
The hashtag hit is still going strong on the airwaves, but it seems to have peak digitally. will.i.am‘s album is also a dud. It’s loaded with other collaborations; something could easily replace this song.
Zedd featuring Foxes, “Clarity”
It’s a breakthrough single for Zedd and the EDM genre in general, but it appears that “Get Lucky” is going to be the dominant dance single this summer. This song’s also been around for several months now.
You’ll also be hearing new songs from Britney Spears, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Pitbull, and Rihanna on your radio this summer, but they’ll likely all be too late to be the biggest song of the season. It’s competitive out there! Let me know what song you think will come out on top in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.