According to the calendar — if not the weather — it is officially summer.
That means it’s time to don the white pants, slap on the Coppertone and find out which songs will be dominating radio from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Last year, it was a toss up between two ubiquitous hits: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” But which song will be blasting on beaches, blaring at barbecues and playing at pool parties from coast to coast this summer? We have a few guesses, but want to hear from you, too. Vote in our poll (located at the bottom of this post) and help us divine this summer’s mega-hit.
Here are 14 songs vying for the title of Song of the Summer 2014:
Pharrell – “Come Get It Bae” [feat. Miley Cyrus]
The man behind two of last summer’s mega-hits —”Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky” — has a strong contender in this release from his album G I R L. It’s a funky follow-up to his omnipresent single “Happy,” which is still in the running for song of the summer status — even though it came out last year.
Iggy Azalea – “Fancy” [feat. Charli XCX]
It’s a boom-bastic, toe-tapping song that’s already everywhere, including Dancing with the Stars and Good Morning America, meaning that everyone’s mom will be ready to cut loose to it on the dance floor at summer weddings and bat mitzvahs. Featuring an infectious hook from Charli XCX (who helped pen Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” the track is already inspiring viral videos, a sure sign of a big hit.
DJ Snake and Lil Jon – “Turn Down For What”
While “Turn Down For What” was released at the end of 2013, the song screams summer anthem. The ode to party rocking is an undeniable force, still filling dance floors with trap beats and dance hooks months after it first dropped. Paired with a Daniels-directed video that manages to be both wildly inappropriate and yet completely appropriate (for the song, at least), expect the song to be featured on party playlists through Labor Day.
Ariana Grande – “Problem” [feat. Iggy Azalea]
This bubblegum summer anthem combines Grande’s Mariah Carey-lite vocals with the unlikely mash-up of a Jay Z-inspired title, En Vogue references, Big Sean vocals, Iggy Azalea’s rapping and a sexy sax solo the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the ’80s (or at least since “Mr. Saxobeat”). It’s a surprisingly winning combination that makes it a definite frontrunner in the race.
Rita Ora – “I Will Never Let You Down”
Rita Ora enters the race for song of summer with an assist from Calvin Harris, who adds some EDM-beats to the sumptuous pop love song. The summery number is the first single from her forthcoming album, which is rumored to feature production from Diplo and Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes as well as collaborations with both Prince and Macklemore. Watch out, summer 2015.
Nico & Vinz – “Am I Wrong”
This catchy song with a chilled-out vibe has been floating around for close to a year, but it may finally top the charts this summer when it soundtracks rooftop parties and backyard barbecues from Brooklyn to Bellingham. The hook-laden track by the Norwegian duo Nico & Vinz — Nico Sereba and Vincent Dery — makes it clear that Scandinavia’s pop dominance is unrivaled.
Ed Sheeran – “Sing”
While Sheeran is usually known for his morose pop songs, the singer-songwriter has teamed up with Pharrell Williams to create a surprisingly upbeat track — a bright pop number that has enough of a Justin Timberlake vibe to give it some edge and ensure that it will be blasting out of tweens’ iPods at pools across the country.
Sia – “Chandelier”
After helping David Guetta’s “Titanium” and Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” climb the charts, with “Chandelier,” in-demand topliner Sia Furler finally has a hit song to call her own. The power ballad is an ode to sad girls everywhere who want to drown their sorrows in alcohol — or exorcise their demons by trying to recreate some of the dance moves from the song’s incredible video.
Sam Smith – “Safe With Me”
The 22-year-old English export is featured on two other songs on the charts: Naughty Boy’s “La La La” and Disclosure’s “Latch.” If those songs don’t trample the summer competition, “Safe With Me” is an excellent gospel-laden back-up plan. Smith’s album In The Lonely Hour is due out in the U.S. on June 17th, so there may be another contender waiting to spring into the charts.
Betty Who – “Somebody Loves You”
Even though Betty Who’s Slow Dancing EP was packed with synth-tastic, dance-ready tracks, her breakout track “Somebody Loves You” — which is now well over a year old — still stood out as a sizzling, sparkling sensation. When it hits radio, if all is right in the world, it will explode onto playlists and dance floors.
5 Seconds of Summer – “She Looks So Perfect”
Australia’s answer to The Wanted created a song meant for blasting out the speakers on a T-Top Camaro while cruising on a summer night. With boy-bandish good looks, charming songs and power pop licks, 5 Seconds of Summer could last all year round.
Calvin Harris – “Summer”
It feels like cheating to call your song “Summer,” but the warm weather vibes in the Scottish singer/producer’s song are undeniable. Filled with Harris’ giant synth hooks and big, big beats, “Summer” feels unstoppable.
Paramore – “Ain’t It Fun”
Paramore’s pop song seems to be crafted for singing along with five of your closest girlfriends while cruising the strip on a hot night — and the song plays like a gospel-inflected soundtrack to youthful exuberance and hard-fought independence, making it perfect summer anthem material.
Clean Bandit – “Rather Be” [feat. Jess Glynne]
It’s the most Shazam-ed song in the world, which means that even though you may not recognize the artist, you have definitely heard the song. It’s insidiously catchy, impossible to avoid humming in public, and so quietly infectious, it’s tough to notice that it’s already gone viral, even though it’s hit No. 1 in five countries.