The Brits have a quaint obsession with the Christmas No. 1 single, but here in America there's nothing that tops a summer jam. Last year the continuing dominance of "Rolling In The Deep" cemented 2011 as the year of Adele, while "Superbass" took Nicki Minaj from rapper-on-the-rise to cultural icon and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" blared from every car stereo.
Considering how having the song of the summer can transform a career — check out Rihanna's trajectory after "Umbrella" — so far 2012 seems to be anyone's game, with some of the early favorites looking a bit weak.
Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" will certainly get some airplay, but the second pairing of RiRi and producer Calvin Harris can't really match the frenetic energy of their last hit, "We Found Love." Usher's "Scream" just doesn't have much of a hook, Katy Perry is taking a break from summer song domination to sing about her divorce, and I doubt Justin Bieber's extended Justin Timberlake impression in "Boyfriend" can last through August.
So what song will the soundtrack to your summer, blasting in the car, by the pool, in every waiting room and even even your dreams? We've got 10 contenders — get ready to hear a lot of them.
Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
Justin Bieber put this Canadian popster on American's radar, and between a hella-catchy chorus and a cute music video twist, it's gone from Internet sensation to legitimate radio hit. You might as well just get on board, because this is happening.
Maroon 5 and Wiz Khalifa, "Payphone"
I don't want to hear this song 10,000 times, but I also didn't want to hear "Moves By Jagger" 10,000 times and that did not seem to have any effect on slowing it down. Adam Levine's voice seems genetically engineered to worm its way into your subconscious so that you end up singing along to all the words before you even know what's happening. Our only hope is that the teens driving single sales are too young to understand what a payphone is.
Rita Ora, "How We Do (Party)"
You've probably never heard of Rita Ora, but the Kosovo-born Brit looks a little bit like Rihanna, if Rihanna's stylist was a chola, and like Rihanna she's signed to ROC Nation. Most importantly, after one listen to "How We Do," you won't be able to stop singing "party and bullshit and party and bullshit," and with a drink in your hand you won't want to. Don't worry, we think Biggie would be proud.
Drake "HYFR (Hell Yeah Fuckin Right)"
Honestly Drake has so many songs getting airplay right now that it's hard to even pick one to be a break out hit, but despite being released in April, "HYFR" has the edge for it's singable, party-ready chorus.
Beyoncé, "End of Time"
What's that? You thought Beyoncé released all her 4 album singles last year? "End of Time" is one of the best pop anthems on the album, and the single was released last month in the UK, so it's poised for a summer splash stateside. She's already booked a four-day concert extravaganza at Atlantic City over Memorial Day — looks like mama is ready to get back to work.
Passion Pit, "Take A Walk"
Hey, 2009 called and it wants its Passion Pit back. Yeah, "Take a Walk" sounds a lot like the old singles, but you liked those old singles a lot, remember?
Nicki Minaj, "Pound The Alarm"
Nicki seems to be struggling to find the right balance between legit MC and pop-dance diva. "Starship" falls flat, and while "Beez in the Trap" and "Right By My Side" will satisfy different factions of her fanbase, I think this one could put her back on top for the second summer in a row.
Carrie Underwood, "Good Girl"
Country-pop crossovers had been a bit sad sack as of late — even Taylor Swift seems to be a bit down — but Carrie Underwood might be able to bring the energy back, since "Good Girl" covers the same DTMFA territory as her biggest previous crossover hit, "Before He Cheats." A performance at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday can't hurt it's chances either.
Cheryl, "Call My Name"
This one is a long shot, especially since the only way most Americans know Cheryl Cole is watching her get fired early in the first season of The X Factor. But of all the Calvin Harris-produced dance pop songs out right now, "Call My Name" has the catchiest beat of all. If radio gets behind it, it could be huge.
Of Monsters and Men, "Little Talks"
No one's gonna be queueing this one up in the club, but the bouncy appeal of Icelandic Of Monsters and Men could gain some ground as folksy summer counterprogramming the same way that Mumford & Sons did a couple years ago.
What do you think will be the song of the summer? Leave your picks in the comments.