The Top Six Contenders For 2012’s Song Of The Summer


Now that the calendar has flipped to May, and the schedules for the area’s big sheds have been announced, and the Hot 97 Summer Jam lineup is on the verge of being made public, it’s time to think of other musical concerns related to the year’s hottest months. Today, let’s wonder about what song will be the year’s official Song Of The Summer—that jam rendered inescapable by blaring bodega radios, cruising cars with the sound turned up, and people gleefully singing along to it when it comes on the sound systems at parties. Previous winners of the title: Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” (2011); Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” (2009—hey, I didn’t say everyone had to like the song for it to count); Rihanna’s “Umbrella” (2007-09). Six contenders for the imminent summer’s top musical dog below.

6. Lissy Trullie, “It’s Only You, Isn’t It?”

Sure, it’ll probably only be a “summer jam” in those markets where modern rock stations allow women into their playlists’ ranks, but it’s too good to ignore. Nervy and spiky, this song (which had a hand from TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek) sounds great in a car late at night that’s zooming down a road toward a vague destinations.

5. Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo, “Let’s Go”

The cramming of one of the best R&B songwriters of the past 10 years into Calvin Harris’s “We Found Love” template is a development that distresses me to no end, but the way that the loop-de-loop build of this track mimicks that of Rihanna’s monster hit ensures that this will be massive on radio. At least his voice—his honey-like voice—hasn’t been messed with by Harris’s knob-twiddling.

4. Kay, “My Name Is Kay”

Take some Ke$ha-style bluster, add incessant reminders of the artist’s name, and sprinkle in a recipe for a charming summer cooler (am I the only person who’d never thought to pair rum and lemonade?) and you have a recipe for a sweaty dance party. (Please, please, please, let this triumph over the scourge that is Karmin.)

3. Santigold feat. Karen O, “GO!”

This anxious bounce—from Santi’s stellar new album Master Of My Make-Believe, out today—might have lyrics that are too celebratory of power at the current moment, but it’s catchy enough to allow listeners to reclaim that power in an excited way.

2. Usher feat. Rick Ross, “Lemme See”

This track off the R&B crooner’s forthcoming album Looking For Myself—is pretty much the “Lollipop” of 2012. (It’s even produced by “Lollipop” co-mastermind Jim Jonsin.) Although Rick Ross’s somewhat gauche Trayvon Martin reference (“Chanel hoodie on/ looking like Trayvon Martin/ George Zimmerman don’t want it”) might have people squirming in their seats when this is blasting out of Hot 97’s frequency.

1. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe”