I love summer! The sunshine, the heat, the backyard BBQs with thick watermelon slices, the sweet popsicles and luscious ice cream sandwiches, the smells of sunscreen and chlorine…and of course, the music.
For it’s not summer unless you’re driving around with your windows down, your hair blowing in the breeze, and your radio cranked to a catchy summer tune.
My first memory of this enchanting rite of summer was when I was in high school, probably not long after I got my license. I clearly remember driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic, the heat radiating in waves off the pavement that was no deterrent to barefoot surfers darting their way through the trail of cars to get to the beach, my own bikini straps peeking out of my tank top, and my portable cassette player propped beside me blaring Banarama’s Cruel Summer while my arm dangled out of my driver’s side window. Ahhh…summer!
Every year, a “song of summer” is christened: the one song that epitomizes the easy, breezy feel of summer for that year, and that also happens to be a mondo hit. Think 1982’s Eye of the Tiger by Survivor or 1999’s Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin.
After I had kids, I lost sight of the songs of summer. Instead, I became a student of The Wiggles, Laurie Berkner, and the soundtrack from Bear in the Big Blue House. They’re all fabulous children’s songs, but they don’t quite meet the criteria for a great summer song.
One day while I was out running, I stumbled across a DJ on the radio making a case for the Plain White T’s hit song Hey There, Delilah being the song of the summer for 2007. What? What? That’s not a song of the summer! It’s a poignant acoustic ballad. That would be a lovely fall song, with the crisp chill in the air offset by a warm, crackling fire. It’s something you would listen to while tucked under a cozy blanket reading a book. It is not a song you’d blare in your car while slathered in sunscreen and drinking a cherry Slurpee. What has the world come to?
As it turned out, the song of the summer remained respectable with Rhianna’s Umbrella, which I had never heard of, and which prompted me to banish all children’s CDs from my car. I am happy to report that I’m back on the summer song scene, especially since my kids are old enough to reach the dial on my car radio, rendering me hip in spite of myself.
The front runner for this year’s song of the summer is Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, which is a seriously catchy song, as exhibited by my seven-year-old singing “I’m up all night to get lucky” everywhere we go. I know, I know…I’m a bad parent, but I defy you to listen to that song and not start singing it yourself. Just don’t let your kids hear you.
Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines is getting a lot of play too. (Yes, he’s the son of Alan Thicke from that old, great TV series Growing Pains.) I’m scared to know what they’re actually singing about, but there’s no denying that this is a fun song that I cannot sit still through and I can easily picture myself blaring this one out the window as I drive the kids to soccer practice.
Our hometown band Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have a candidate too: Can’t Hold Us. This song screams summer: upbeat, exciting, good beat, and I do love that they’re locals!
I’d like to throw a late entry into the mix: One Republic’s Counting Stars. Boy, do I ever love this song. I like One Republic in general, but there’s something about this song that immediately lifts my spirits and gets my toes tapping on the accelerator.
It’s too soon to say for certain what will emerge as the Song of the Summer 2013, but with these options, I think we’re in good hands.
Curious as to what other summer songs there have been over the years? Click here for one listing, but be warned: as with all things subjective, there isn’t always a clear consensus. (For completeness, 2011 was LMFAO’s Party Rock Anthem and 2012 was Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen.)
Are any songs screaming Song of the Summer for you?