As Labor Day passes and we cling to summer temperatures and outings to the beach, it is time to debate the best songs of the summer. Some considered Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” last summer’s biggest hit, prior to her onslaught of negative press which shows how quickly the music landscape can change. Whether you would hear these songs while blasting the radio and air conditioning in your car, dancing at a bar or club or playing on your phone by the pool, they are undeniably the sizzling soundtrack to our summer. There is a great combination of recent releases from established hit-makers like Maroon 5 and Drake to newcomers like WALK THE MOON, Fetty Wap and Tori Kelly.
Skrillex & Diplo with Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now”: Even for those who are not the biggest fans of EDM (myself included), it is hard not to enjoy this song. It is the perfect summer song to hear at a bar or club, from the cool dance beat to Bieber’s sultry vocals.
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen” and “My Way” Remix: It was near impossible to choose between these two tracks. The 2015 VMA award winner for Best New Artist has quickly made a name for himself in hip-hop, even though he has yet to release an album. You cannot help singing along to “Trap Queen,” with its catchy hook. “My Way” is more slowed down compared to “Trap Queen,” blending contemporary R&B and rap. The remix featuring Drake boosted the track’s reception.
WALK THE MOON, “Shut Up and Dance”: Although this would not be considered a new release, it has the perfect carefree summer vibe that you can sing along to in a car with friends or enjoy at a bar.
The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”: Along with “Earned It,” that was featured in Fifty Shades of Grey, Abel Tesfaye has effortlessly transitioned from brooding, sensual R&B to a full-blown mainstream presence. The melody of “Can’t Feel My Face” is reminiscent of retro pop and any Michael Jackson fan would love its vibe.
Calvin Harris, “How Deep Is Your Love”: This slow-burning house track features the stunning vocals of Norwegian songwriter Ina Wroldsen. In this single, Harris abandons the onslaught of synthesizers he went to in his last studio album Motion.
Drake, “Back to Back”: In what has been undeniably the most viral, meme-worthy rap feud, Drake won the battle and silenced his critics (Meek Mill included) with “Back to Back.” It was all over the radio and online following its late-July Soundcloud release.
Jason Derulo, “Want to Want Me”: Derulo shows off his strong falsetto in this catchy pop track that sticks with his dance pop style. Most of his fans would definitely enjoy this track.
Tori Kelly, “Should’ve Been Us”: This is the perfect track for any fan of pop that misses the days of early 2000s pop music. The California native’s vocal abilities and range mirror Kelly Clarkson and Jessie J. At the 2015 VMAs Kelly performed this single, and showed off her stunning live vocals, even ending the song a cappella, which is uncommon for award show performances.
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth “See You Again”: Khalifa and Puth make a fitting tribute to Fast and Furious 7’s deceased star Paul Walker. The pop and hip-hop blended track attracted many music fans, as well as fans of the movie franchise.
Maroon 5, “Sugar”: For the first single from V (Deluxe), Maroon 5 departs from its electro-funk style from Overexposed, which perturbed a good amount of its fans. “Sugar” is a catchy radio single that is a culmination of the band’s progression and different stylistic choices.
Andy Grammer, “Honey, I’m Good”: Grammer’s single off of his recent album Magazines or Novels is of his biggest hits, following “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me.” This pop tune with a country twang will definitely have you singing along.
For every summer hit there was a summer flop from some of your favorite artists who have done better before.
Taylor Swift, “Bad Blood” feat. Kendrick Lamar: Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video features a variety of her famous best friends like Mariska Hargitay, Lena Dunham and Gigi Hadid in a strong display of girl power. With that being said, the splashy presentation masks the fact that is definitely not one of Swift’s stronger tracks. Lamar’s verse was needed to break up the repetitive lyrics and melody.
Demi Lovato, “Cool for the Summer”: Lovato’s career has been characterized by a mix of inspirational and fun songs, like her latest release “Cool for the Summer.” However, the fact that she is blatantly gunning for the top summer track is a turn-off.
Charlie Puth featuring Meghan Trainor “Let’s Marvin Gaye and Get It On”: How can this track not be considered copyright? In addition to the title, that same phrase is used repeatedly in the chorus. Since Gaye’s family won a lawsuit for Robin Thicke’s single “Blurred Lines,” they should call their lawyer and move onto this track that probably has the famed R&B crooner rolling in his grave.
Rihanna, “B—ch Better Have My Money”: Rihanna looks to show her boldness and control in this track, but instead her voice is grating and the overall production value is poor. Also, from a logical standpoint, why does someone owe her money? Did she lend it to a friend or is she a drug dealer? Even though pop music is not always meaningful, the entire concept is unclear.
Meek Mill, “Wanna Know”: After his Twitter rant Mill took some time to come up with his response to Drake’s diss track “Charged Up,” giving the Toronto rapper time to release the follow-up “Back to Back.” However, the wait was certainly not worth it. Most of the track’s lyrics were unintelligible, as if he was multi-tasking tweeting about Drake while recording the song. A ghostwriter would have been helpful.