The 6 Top Contenders for the Song of the Summer

Even if you think that they're overplayed, these songs deserve major props.
August 16, 2017
8 mins read

Everyone knows the song of the summer, and that’s what makes it so popular. Speakers around the world belt the tracks on repeat, narrating road trips, barbeques and pool parties. Listed below are Billboard’s top songs for each of year of the last decade. Don’t worry, you’re guaranteed to recognize almost all ten, and maybe even start to hum the familiar beats.

2007: “Umbrella” By Rihanna, featuring Jay Z

2008: “I Kissed A Girl” Katy Perry

2009: “I Gotta Feeling” The Black Eyed Peas

2010: “California Gurls” Katy Perry, featuring Snoop Dog

2011: “Party Rock Anthem” LMAO, featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock

2012: “Call Me Maybe” Carly Rae Jebsen

2013: “Blurred Lines” Robin Thicke, featuring T.I. and Pharrell

2014: “Fancy” Iggy Azalea, featuring Charlie XCX

2015: “Cheerleader” OMI

2016: “One Dance” Drake, featuring WizKid and Kyla

Now, while 2017’s summer song hasn’t been officially chosen yet, a handful of contenders are playing repeatedly on the radio, all of which hope to take home the title of “Song of the Summer.”

While each of these bangers differs in their genre and artistry, they all share one thing in common—they’re a lot of fun to listen to. Below are the seven most likely contenders to claim the prestigious musical honor, along with descriptions and reasons why they should take home the crown.

1. “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, ft. Justin Bieber

Standing as the summer’s top contender, this song is definitely dominating both the charts and all of pop radio, even though it was released in April 2017.

The original version, though, which dropped in January 2017, lacked the Bieber feature, and critics speculate that the later addition is at least partially responsible for the song’s rapid rise in popularity. The tune now holds the distinction of being the most-streamed song on Spotify, and has sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for months.

2. “That’s What I Like” by Bruno Mars

After killing at the 2017 Grammys and then releasing the incredibly popular music video for “That’s What I Like,” Bruno Mars was able to turn the success of his single into a critically acclaimed album, “24K.” Like most of Mars’ songs, the cut includes a buoyant beat, making it hard not to dance and sing along.

While Mars is serenading girls around the world about the extravagant lifestyle that they could be living alongside him, he is also giving his fans the opportunity to vicariously indulge in the excesses that he promises. Although the song has since dropped a few spots, it currently sits at number four on the Hot 100 Chart.

3. “Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt

While most songs topping the charts are pop songs, Sam Hunt switches things up by throwing a country track in the mix. Even though listeners consider his music more pop country and Hunt himself admits to throwing a few other genres into his sound, he still manages to stay true to his hometown roots.

Inspiring the name of his current tour, “15 in a 30,” Hunt’s hit is topping both pop and country radios around the nation. The first five seconds of the song alone, which feature a lone guitar strumming a helium-high cadence backed by rhythmic finger snapping, leave listeners ready to get up and dance. Hunt’s catchy lyrics and metaphors make it hard not to scream along in the car with the windows down. The song currently sits at number ten on the Hot 100 Chart.

4. “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes

The second single from Shawn Mendes’ 2017 “Illuminate” album sounds like a classic Mendes song with his acoustic sound and charismatic voice, but throws a more rebellious tone into the album. Besides the silence of the chorus, backed by clapping and electric guitar chords, that illustrate Mendes’ vocal ability, the entirety of the melody keeps the beat with an acoustic plucking sound, similar to one of an ukulele.

The track mirrors a similar song, “Stitches,” that bombarded radios two summers ago, after Mendes made his transition from Vine star to pop star while opening for Taylor Swift on her “1989” tour. “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” is just the start for Mendes’ chart-topping songs, even though it fell to number eight on the Hot 100 Chart.

5. “I’m the One” by DJ Khaled, ft. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Little Wayne

 Along with “Despacito,” “I’m the One” is another chart topper featuring Justin Bieber; maybe that’s a sign he’s meant to acquire all the number ones. Similar to Bieber, song creator DJ Khaled claims a few tracks holding slots on the charts too.

How can this song not be a favorite, with all these prominent musicians collaborating together, creating a chilled tune backed with a tranquil base, snapping fingers and electric pull?  Each artist in the song takes a verse, with Bieber covering a majority of the repeating chorus, to boast how they’re the only one for listeners. This song sits at number three on the Hot 100 Chart.

6. “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran

 Released over six months ago in January, Ed Sheeran’s track remains on the higher end of the charts in the top ten. Unlike most of Sheeran’s typical solely acoustic melodies and love-confessing lyrics that previously dominated the radio, “Shape of You” provides listeners with sanguine electric beats and the classic Sheeran guitar, all dominated by his well-known loop pedal magic.

The magnetic rhythm starting of the song instantly brightens any mood and makes it impossible not to dance along song. After twenty-seven weeks on the Hot 100 Chart, the song currently sits at number five.

Lauren Clohessy, Northern Illinois University

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Lauren Clohessy

Northern Illinois University

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