Time for the Tiresome Handicapping for the “Song of the Summer”

When did this “song of the summer” thing become, you know, a thing? It wasn’t that long ago when summer songs were a highly personal thing, a track that you–and you alone–came to identify with the personal and magical (or maybe not so magical) moments of a particular summer season. But for the last decade or so, industry pundits have tried to tell us what the song of the summer is based on metrics of their own making. I hate that. Still, it’s become an inescapable annual story.

Family Guy - Summer Music

And since summer doesn’t begin until America says it does–which is to say with the Memorial Day long weekend–the deluge of summer song opinions have begun. The Hollywood Reporter has these predictions culled from Shazam data. Any of the following could be artificially be awarded the “song of the summer” crowd.

  1. “One Dance,” Drake (Cancon track #1)
  2. “Panda,” Desiigner
  3. “This Is What You Came For,” Calvin Harris and Rihanna
  4. “Gold,” Kiiara
  5. “Spirits,” Strumbellas (Cancon track #2)
  6. “I Hate U, I Love U,” Gnash feat. Olivia O’Brien
  7. “If It Ain’t Love,” Jason Derulo
  8. “Hotter Than Hell,” Dua Lipa
  9. “Bonbon,” Era Istrefi
  10. “Wasted Time” Keith Urban

The list continues here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Time for the Tiresome Handicapping for the “Song of the Summer”

  • May 27, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    In Winnipeg it felt like it started in the 90s with John Mellencamp’s Wild Night. Even though it got played A LOT, people never seemed to get overplay burnout, because it really fit the mood. That might be a major criteria for song of the summer, that people don’t get burned out on it after hearing it in heavy rotation on the radio all summer.

    Of course, that may be why bands and labels care about making “songs of the summer”, because they have greater radio longevity and therefore (hopefully) better sales.


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