10 Alternative Contenders for This Year’s Song of the Summer

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With the arrival of summer comes that tireless music industry debate: what’s gonna be the Official Song of the Summer™? The folk at Stereogum are taking votes on this very subject at the moment, but really, the answer for 2013 is pretty clear: Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” will surely be the consensus vote, and the song you’re most likely to hear blasting at beach parties/rooftop parties/every other sort of party all summer. Are you sick of it yet? At least it’s not that Julian Casablancas track, eh? Anyway, if you fancy looking beyond the helmeted ones and the rest of the somewhat incongruous selections on Stereogum’s shortlist (“Black Skinhead”? Really?), here are some alternative contenders for the prize.

Janelle Monáe feat. Erykah Badu — “Q.U.E.E.N.”

If I were gonna pick one song, it’d most likely be this glorious piece of superstar collaboration. Is it unusual that she twerk in the mirror? Why, no. Not at all. (Also, how awesome is that video?)

Kurt Vile — “Wakin’ on a Pretty Day”

The sound of waking up pleasantly late on a Sunday when you didn’t go out the night before, and you’re not hung over, and the sun is shining, and it occurs to you that, hey, everything might just be OK.

Kanye West — “Bound 2”

Seriously, if we’re gonna pick one song off Yeezus, then this is the one. Its laid-back vibe and old-school soul sample make it perfect for lazing in the sun, and it even discusses being on vacation (rhyming the word with “Jamaicans,” because Kanye is Kanye). Who the hell is rocking out at beach parties to “Black Skinhead”?

Jai Paul — “Straight Outta Mumbai”

Is this actually Jai Paul? And is it a leaked album track, or a demo, or a hoax? Ultimately, who cares? Whatever the provenance of this track, it’s a pretty awesome summer jam.

Dirty Beaches — “Casino Lisboa”

Summer isn’t all just party tunes, though. The entire new Dirty Beaches double record has a sort of dissipated heat to it, the sound of stumbling around the wrong part of town in search of action on a night when it’s too hot to sleep. If there’s a track that sums up the slightly menacing appeal of both Drifters and Love Is the Devil, it’s this first single from the former.

Standish/Carlyon — “Nono/Yoyo”

Standish/Carlyon’s excellent Deleted Scenes album does a fine job of evoking a similar atmosphere, and pretty much any of its ten tracks would fit here. “Nono/Yoyo” is perhaps its most melodic moment, capturing the sort of yearning that comes with being alone and randy on a hot summer night.

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding — “Fakin’ NYC”

Flavorwire favorites Scott & Charlene’s Wedding are due to release their second full-length record next month, and this is its first single — a breezily wistful tale of moving to a new city and trying to work out what the hell you’re doing there. It’s an anthem for the legions of people who descend on NYC during the summer, and a mini-masterpiece of melodic DIY pop.

Secret Circuit — “Rogue Unit”

If your summer listening tends more toward the electronic side of the spectrum, then this is your song of the summer right here (especially if you’re in any way inclined toward the consumption of psychedelics). We couldn’t possibly endorse dropping acid in your friend’s back yard and spending an entire sunny Saturday having in-depth conversations with the trees, but if one was hypothetically to do such a thing, then…

Foals — “Inhaler”

Kinda old, perhaps, but this was released after last summer so it deserves a nomination for this year’s season. It’s Foals at their most catchy and radio-friendly — even if it does skate close to being sonically overwhelming at times — and would work beautifully just as the sun’s starting to dip below the horizon and the party is about to start in earnest.

Kelis — “Jerk Ribs”

And finally, this hasn’t commanded anywhere the attention of “Q.U.E.E.N.”, but it’s arguably just as good, a horn-driven Motown-esque jam that should do a fine job of soundtracking any number of backyard parties this summer. Crack a cold beer, fire up the grill and rejoice in the fact that you’ll never have to listen to Daft Punk again!