With July having just kicked off, the summer season is, in theory, in full swing. With the summer blockbuster off the table this year, we at least have one reliable cultural cornerstone to judge the summer by: the summer chart hit.
Here’s our picks for the best summer number ones of the last 10 years!
Stereo Love – 2010
A common ingredient list of the summer hit is vaguely exotic instruments, sultry female vocals, a European DJ, and possessing a vibe that whisks you away to the sun.
Edward Maya’s ‘Stereo Love’ does just that. Based around an irresistible accordion hook that will haunt your brain in the wee hours of the morning, Stereo Love is the quintessential summer song, and will turn even the most dreary Irish summer afternoon into cans by the pool in Torremolinos.
Glad You Came – 2011
Released in the heartbeat before One Direction eviscerated any hope The Wanted had of being the world’s biggest boyband, this slice of Eurodance served as the Abbey Road of The Wanted’s career before it came crashing down in the light of Niall and co.
The wordplay in this song is on a par with Wordsworth or Shakespeare, with the verse where the last word of every sentence being used as the first in the next sentence an inspired stroke of genius. The innuendo-heavy wordplay and a danceable beat makes this a summer song for the ages.
Wake Me Up! – 2013
The sign of a timeless summer song is when it appears on generic “Summer BBQ Music” compilation CD’s or playlists, and Wake Me Up! will always make an appearance.
The other big summer hit from 2013, Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’, was another contender for the list, but in hindsight, it has aged like milk left out in the sun.
Digression, remember when ‘Blurred Lines’ was the biggest song in the world for about 6 weeks before we all realised how problematic it was?Wake Me Up! avoids that, by being a timeless banger that anyone young and old can enjoy, which is the true sign of a summer hit.
Aloe Blacc’s voice underpins Avicii’s masterful production work, with the blend of folksy guitars and a big EDM drop serving as a bridge between the generations.
Lean On – 2015
The summer of 2015 was an exciting time where anything seemed possible, with the same-sex marriage referendum passing in May, the economy on the way back up, and Vine was still with us.
The biggest hit of that summer was Major Lazer’s mainstream breakthrough, Lean On, which also introduced the world to DJ Snake and Danish songstress Mo.
5 years later, Lean On sounds like it would fit right in on a radio playlist in 2020; in a lot of ways, Lean On was the prototype for the next few years of chart music.
Chopped up vocals, a beat influenced by world music, a tight 3 minutes and under, Lean On has been often copied but never mastered. Perhaps the most influential summer hit of the last 10 years, Lean On sounds as good as the day it was released.
One Kiss – 2018
The summers of 2016 and 2017 were a toxic wasteland of summer hits, with One Dance and Despacito serving as the Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhies of music; no matter how much we tried to ignore them, they wouldn’t bloody die.
Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa rescued us from our stupor – albeit temporarily – in 2018 with One Kiss, a song that is the personification of a sunny day by the pool. If you’re noticing that every song on this list is dance music orientated, you’d be right!
There’s something about dance music and the summer month that pair so well together, much like how Radiohead and winter are another perfect musical pathetic fallacy.
The summer of 2018 was one of the hottest on record, so that meant spending a lot of time outdoors with good tunes. Someone needed to step up to the mark.
Calvin and Dua duly delivered, and if you close your eyes while listening to it, you can almost taste the Prosecco and hear Love Island on television in the background.
Summer 2018 distilled in 3 and a half minutes, ‘One Kiss’ has served as the high benchmark that summer pop has yet to beat.
Did we miss out on a favourite summer hit? Let us know in the comments!
Image credit via Wikimedia Commons.