Guilty Pleasures

Hottest Summer Songs: Anthems for 2011

In 2010, it was Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.” But take a look at who’s heating up the charts this year.

“Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”- Katy Perry

Friday was easily the most highly anticipated day of the week long before aspiring tween singer and YouTube sensation Rebecca Black entered our consciousness. But her unintentional hit about how “fun, fun, fun” it is to choose a seat in a car on Fridays cemented the day’s place as the ideal of the week. Last summer’s “California Gurls” chart dominator Katy Perry capitalized on the Friday frenzy with her latest song about a debaucherous evening of boozing, skinny-dipping, and arrest-warrant issuing. The music video features Perry’s nerdy, brace-faced alter ego, Kathy Beth Terry, and some serious pop culture heavyweights of the ‘80s, ‘90s and today—including two Glee stars, Hanson, Corey Feldman, Debbie Gibson, and even Rebecca Black herself. “We so excited,” indeed.

“Give Me Everything”- Pitbull featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer

Considering Pitbull has been featured on tracks from nearly every rapper and R&B singer imaginable at the moment (Jennifer Lopez, Usher, T-Pain, Lil Jon and Enrique Iglesias, to name a few), it was about time he got some of the credit. The Cuban-American rapper takes the spotlight on this summer’s hit “Give Me Everything.” Its clap-inducing beats and simplistic message (“Tonight, let’s enjoy life”) are the perfect recipe for a pop hit. Pitbull is sitting pretty at No. 1 on the Billboard 100 this week.

“The Lazy Song”- Bruno Mars

Old-school romantic Bruno Mars caught the country’s attention in recent years with “Just the Way You Are” and “Grenade.” But the Hawaii-raised singer-songwriter is apparently tired of the all the wooing, as his current smash “The Lazy Song” describes. In the song, Mars poetically croons about kicking his feet up, watching TV, walking around naked, and getting laid. Combining his coach-potato themes with references to the Snuggie and the dougie, the 25-year-old Grammy-nominated artist proves his relatability and provides the perfect background music for a weekend road trip or a happy-hour meetup.

“Party Rock Anthem”- LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock

This electro hip-hop uncle-nephew duo hasn’t tried to disguise their intentions—their songs (notably ““I’m in Miami Bitch” and “Shots”) are unapologetically about girls, drinks, and more girls, just as their moniker—which stands for Laughing My F---ing Ass Off— would indicate. LMFAO’s latest, “Party Rock Anthem,” is perhaps the most blatant club song the group has released yet—and the most successful, according to Billboard. One lyric states: “Yo, I’m runnin’ through these ho’s like Drano. I got that devilish flow, rock ‘n’ roll, no halo.” It’s as catchy as their fros are big and pants are tight.

“Super Bass”- Nicki Minaj featuring Ester Dean

Refreshingly off-beat rapper Nicki Minaj has carved out her own unique position in the music industry, but her current single “Super Bass” is easily her most commercial thus far. That “boom badoom boom, boom badoom boom” bass in the chorus will be truly challenging to get out of your head, but the song’s rapping portions are just as witty as they are on any of the other tracks off Minaj’s debut album, Pink Friday. (i.e. “He always in the air, but he never fly coach.”) It’s easy to picture a top-down convertible full of girls at a red light unabashedly car-dancing to “Super Bass.” And even if you don’t have those wheels or fit in the demographic, there’s no denying the young rapper has a big hit on her hands here. “You can’t help but fantasize about how much fun you’ll be having to this thing over the coming months,” Pitchfork reviewed.

“Tonight Tonight”- Hot Chelle Rae

We haven’t heard this type of straightforward, pop punk rock for a few years now, since groups like Simple Plan and Good Charlotte ruled the airwaves. But pseudo-moshing is back this summer with Tennessee-based Hot Chelle Rae. Their “la, la, la, whatever” tone is perfect for the sluggish days of summer and besides, who doesn’t love a reference to The Hangover’s resident bushy-faced funnyman Zach Galifianakis?

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“The Edge of Glory”- Lady Gaga

Her LGBT anthem “Born This Way” and lackluster followup “Judas” may have hinted that Lady Gaga’s pop domination was coming to an end with her second album. But her most recent single, “The Edge of Glory,” is a bright spot on Gaga’s sophomore effort Born This Way, despite its dismal beginnings. She wrote the song after her grandfather died, focusing on his last moment. Plus, “The Edge of Glory” also incorporates a saxophone solo from Clarence Clemons, who died in June after suffering a stroke. Despite the somber undertones, “The Edge of Glory” is catchy, inspirational, and genuine. It channels the great ‘80s power ballads that topped charts before Gaga was even born and it proves she can still say she’s at the top.

“Good Life”- One Republic

Five years ago, Colorado-based soft-rock band One Republic exploded onto the pop scene with their hit “Apologize.” Though they’ve continued to put out songs since, none have proved as successful as their first single; but that may all soon change. Their current track “Good Life” is climbing the charts after its inclusion in many film projects, including Eat Pray Love, Easy A, and the upcoming One Day. Its driving drum beat and whistle-featuring hook has led to much toe-tapping, even if it’s not exactly “Me and Julio Down By the School Yard” quality. Plus, its message about enjoying the moment (i.e. “When you’re happy like a fool/Let it take you over”) is sure to put smiles on many faces—whether it’s a sunny summer afternoon or seasonal thunderstorm.

“I Wanna Go”- Britney Spears

Pop princess-turned-entertainment robot Britney Spears released her seventh album Femme Fatale in March. Its first two singles, “Hold It Against Me” and “’Til the World Ends,” were huge successes and Spears’ third song “I Wanna Go” is also charming audiences, particularly thanks to its self-mocking music video. As Spears sings “I I I wanna go oh oh,” she flashes a ginger-haired prepubescent boy, shoots paparazzi cyborgs, and even pokes fun at her feature-film debut Crossroads. Whether it’s manufactured or not, Spears’ ability to joke at her own expense helps fans overlook her digitally manipulated vocals. “The weirdness seems very calculated, but that doesn’t make the video any less delightful,” Rolling Stone reviewed.

“The Show Goes On”- Lupe Fiasco

Sometimes, ear candy is the best way to go. Hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco has been attempting to break into the music industry for the past decade and though he’s had tastes of success, “The Show Goes On” has surpassed his previous singles. The melody of the song was taken from Modest Mouse’s 2004 hit “Float On,” which was a huge smash in its own right. And apparently, the public isn’t sick of it yet—Fiasco’s single went platinum in May. “I was literally told for ‘The Show Goes On’ that I shouldn’t rap too deep. I shouldn’t be too lyrical. It just needs to be something easy on the eyes,” Fiasco told the Chicago Tribune. Sometimes, we all need something pretty to look at… or listen to.

“Rolling in the Deep”- Adele

No one does angry and heartbroken better than Adele, whose bluesy rock sound has come to define a voice for those under the age of 25, as well as a new type of pop music. The Grammy winner’s sophomore album 21 has dominated the charts, as has its debut single “Rolling in the Deep” about a scorned lover seeking revenge. The Sun called the track “an epic, foot-stomper of a pop anthem with thumping piano and a vocal you would expect from a veteran of 20 years on the road.” So if and when your summer romance turns sour, cranking up this track from the English singer-songwriter is an excellent initial antidote.

“Don’t Wanna Go Home”- Jason Derulo

No one is a bigger fan of Jason Derulo than the singer himself—every track he’s released as a single starts with him serenading listeners with his own name. But the fact of the matter is, not even his cockiness can take away from the catchiness of his music. Derulo’s “Don’t Wanna Go Home” samples from Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and the early ‘90s hit “Show Me Love”—their combined power in this track makes it easy to envision crowds of hot summer bodies jumping up and down to this song into the wee hours of the morning. “In the midst of all the turmoil in the world, I wanted to create a song that made you forget your problems,” Derulo said in a press release. “So escape home, forget reality, and live it up!”