Can you believe it’s almost May? The snow has melted, the temperature is getting warmer, and summer is almost upon us, a sure sign that all of those summer singles are coming up quickly from the lower regions of the pop chart. 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 once again, I look to those pop airwaves to trying and calculate this year’s shortlist.
As I explained in last year’s post, your typical Song of The Summer enters the CHR chart as early as late March and as late as the first week or so of May, going to #1 between late June and mid-July and holding its grip on that top spot for multiple frames. Last year, that title belonged to the smash that was Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines”, a collaboration with Pharrell Williams and T.I. that spent ten weeks at the top. Not all years are this clean cut, but in most years, one single generally breaks ahead of the pack to claim the title. Some may say that’s still a little bit early, but here are the ten songs I’m thinking could take the title of Song Of The Summer, along with a few extras that could provide another interesting battle:
5 SECONDS OF SUMMER – “She Looks So Perfect”
Why It Should: If you’re a youngster or you have a daughter, then you know who these four are and their One Direction connection. The Australian band’s EP recently debuted at #2 and the title track from it is making big gains at pop radio.
Why It Shouldn’t: If this song becomes an even bigger chart hit, American Apparel can say hooroo to their undergarment department. Sure, it’s big with the tweens, but outside of their fandom, they’re just a small fish in the ocean of boy bands.
CALVIN HARRIS – “Summer”
Why It Should: I mean, a song that carries the title “Summer” has no reason not to be up for consideration. Harris remains hot on the scene and his latest is already placing as a top ten single in several countries. The U.S. should be next in line.
Why It Shouldn’t: After four main credit chart singles without him singing, does it sound odd that he’s actually singing once more? Perhaps. Notably, there’s an energy lacking in this and the repetition is a little much. It’s OK, but not fantastic.
CLEAN BANDIT featuring JESS GLYNNE – “Rather Be”
Label: Big Beat/Atlantic
Why It Should: This is just waiting to be the biggest dance record of the summer in the States. Several months ago, it was #1 all over Europe, including four weeks in the U.K.’s top spot. It’s classical meets handbag house: a winning combination.
Why It Shouldn’t: There’s a question of whether this sounds too European to be a hit on this side of the pond. I say no, but with an adds date back in March, radio’s been a little slow. We’ll see if programmers are too close-minded very soon.
ED SHEERAN – “Sing”
Why It Should: “The A Team” may have established him worldwide, but this is a career-defining single for sure. Sounding much like his older work as an independent act, a little attitude and tempo has really helped him out. It’s a huge record.
Why It Shouldn’t: Given the speed of how quickly this flew up the charts, how bad will the burn be on the way down? After all, there are Pharrell produced works all over the place today. From a longevity standpoint, it may not endure as well.
IGGY AZALEA featuring CHARLI XCX – “Fancy”
Label: Def Jam
Why It Should: “You already know.” After several failed singles in the U.S., the Australian rapper and English vocalist have a big anthem about living the high life. Plus, the homage to Clueless in its music video is hot. The teens are digging it.
Why It Shouldn’t: Though the initial iTunes results are quite promising, this is one of the more polarizing songs of the pack. Conservative and older audiences won’t get it, per se. It can also be grating at times, particularly in the production.
KATY PERRY – “Birthday”
Why It Should: What time is it? “It’s time to bring out the big balloons.” Flying into the mainstream stratosphere is another sweet confection from the pop princess, already up to two chart-toppers this era. Radio is already unwrapping this gift.
Why It Shouldn’t: “Birthday” isn’t the strongest cut from PRISM, and a recent cakeola scandal is iced all over the message boards. Yikes! Unfortunately, this one doesn’t hold a (birthday) candle to “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” on the charts.
KONGOS – “Come With Me Now”
Why It Should: Four decades after John Kongos charted on the Hot 100 with 1971’s “He’s Gonna Step On You Again”, his sons quickly rose to the top of Alternative radio with their debut hit. Who knew the accordion could be cool again?
Why It Shouldn’t: This isn’t the most conventional CHR record and it’s obvious that Rhythm-leaning outlets won’t be in on it for some time (unless the song blows up.) Plus, the release is on Epic, so they’ll inevitably find a way to screw it up.
MAGIC! – “Rude”
Why It Should: Reggae tends to do well during the summertime, and this Canadian band definitely fulfills that quota with a breezy tune about wanting to get a marriage blessing. Grab some shades and a tropical drink and feel the cool vibes.
Why It Shouldn’t: Though “Rude” has been a proven hit down under (Australia/New Zealand) and up north (Canada), three countries doesn’t equal a worldwide smash. Faceless to a U.S. audience at this point, some promotion is really needed.
NICO & VINZ – “Am I Wrong?”
Label: Warner Bros.
Why It Should: It seemingly came out of nowhere, but this duo from Norway quickly ascended up the Shazam survey and on the airplay and sales charts with this song. It may be a year old overseas, but “Wrong” is proving to be just right here.
Why It Shouldn’t: When you receive 66 adds on impact week and suddenly, a flash ad appears on the trade sites saying you got 90, well… someone needs to say something. This radio campaign feels a little overbearing for just an average song.
SAM SMITH – “Stay With Me”
Why It Should: From a much talked-about debut on Saturday Night Live to having three active singles on the air, including collaborations with Disclosure and Naughty Boy, the buzz is big on this boy. It’s only going to keep getting bigger.
Why It Shouldn’t: With melodic comparisons to Shakespear’s Sister‘s “Stay” and Tom Petty‘s “I Won’t Back Down”, it certainly sounds familiar. Since Capitol failed to secure a GRAMMY for Emeli Sandé, will they do it for Emeli Mandé?
Ten more choices for your consideration (and maybe a little wishful thinking on a few of these):
A Great Big World, “Already Home” (Epic)
AJR, “I’m Ready” (AJR/Warner Bros.)
Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea, “Problem” (Republic)
Bleachers, “I Wanna Get Better” (RCA)
HAIM, “Forever” (Columbia)
Jason Derulo featuring Snoop Dogg, “Wiggle” (Warner Bros.)
Kiesza, “Hideaway” (Island/Republic)
OneRepublic, “Love Runs Out” (Mosley/Interscope)
Sia, “Chandelier” (RCA)
Tove Lo, “Habits (Stay High)” (Island/Republic)
Let me know what song you think will come out on top in the comments or on social media – click the “Get Social!” tab above.