Sweetest Day, Record Store Day, Small Business Saturday and the Summer Movie splurge are all made-up events produced by industries to get you to spend money. While all seem silly at first, after as much pummeling, we all eventually buy into them, somehow making them legit. Much like the UK's "Christmas #1," documented in the legendary Love Actually, we seemed to have been conned/coerced into believing "The Summer Single" is a thing. In the past five years or so, debate arises annually in radio and print music press over what will be the song that best defines summer with hopes of being iconic. Past examples include "California Girls" by Katy Perry, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" or LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem." All are cemented into our noggins as summer jams that will be spun at every wedding until long after you're gone, which means ongoing cash for labels and artists. 2016's cropwith many pop stars going sultrier and down-temposeems a bit shallow, but not without its charms.
A song doesn't have to be released in summeror even springto be a song of the summer. "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson came out in November 2014, but stayed in the top 10 for a staggering 31 weeks, finally dropping below 10 in July 2015. So it's not an impossibility that DNCE's "Cake By the Ocean," released in November of last year, and to radio in January, could do it. Try to get through a day where his ode to getting ass at sea isn't misplayed on the Food Network or Today Show in reference to cake or oceans. It's still ubiquitous and in the Top 20, right above Jonas Brother Nick's "Close" ( with Tove Lo ), which, while a bit too sexy, also has legs.
When it hit the web a few weeks ago, Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling" lit up the world and was crowned immediately, but now, languishing at #3, the song already feels overly simplistic and tired, if you ask the general population. Blocking JT from the top of the singles chart is Panda's "Designer" ( every summer has one oddball hip hop/reggae novelty that shouldn't be taken seriously: Harlem Shake; Cheerleader; etc. ) and Drake's "One Dance." While not as catchy as "Hotline Bling," "One Dance" is undeniably great and catchy. I wouldn't say no to this one, or to Drake in a bath towel at my front door, right ladies?!
But my pick for the summer is Ariana Grande's single ( that's not even a single, per se ), "Into You." With the dull "Dangerous Woman" still being worked for radio, the far catchier "Into You" has been making the rounds as her second offering off the new album, with a super sexy concept video in tow. If you'd asked me a month ago about what was the ladies' best bet, I'd have said the "Work From Home" earworm by Fifth Harmony or Britney's new ( now delayed ) new single. "Work From Home" can't hold up to the pop hooks of "Into You" and Britney pushed her single back until summer itself, so that's out. That leaves one pony-tailed Disney brat to take the summer song crown. We're so, so into it.