Attempting to pick the Song of the Summer before Memorial Day is usually a fool's errand, so you can only imagine the difficulty in trying to produce one. A couple of years ago, NPR's Planet Money did an episode on the creation of what was sure to be 2011's hottest Fourth of July jam. The label started crafting it all the way back in the spring of 2010, and their efforts resulted in … Rihanna's "Man Down," which peaked at 59 on the Billboard Hot 100.
So as you can see, even the best-laid plans don't guarantee success. To figure out what is going to bubble up to the top of the pop charts this summer, let's review what has made it to the summit in the last few years.
(For consistency, I used Billboard's Hot 100 chart; here are the archives.)
2012 -- Carly Rae Jepsen, "Call Me Maybe"
This was the biggest blowout in recent memory, as nothing could touch the Canadian songstress's hit single. Getting an early endorsement (and video) from Justin Bieber and friends, Jepsen's entry gathered momentum during the spring before laying waste to competitors all summer, taking over No. 1 on June 23 and refusing to relinquish the crown until mid-August. If you listened to any radio countdown, attended a baseball game, or just went on the Internet for more than five minutes, you were 100 percent guaranteed to hear about skin showing through ripped jeans and hot, windy nights. Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" put up a valiant effort, but it simply peaked too early to have any chance at the crown, while Maroon 5's "Payphone" just couldn't close the gap late.
There was, of course, a backlash, but if you find no joy watching this video, I don't know why you're even listening to pop music:
2011 -- LMFAO, "Party Rock Anthem"
Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" (which first hit charts in December of 2010) peaked just a little too early, allowing Redfoo and SkyBlu (previously best known for an appearance on "Real World: Cancun") to slide in and wrest the crown away with "Party Rock Anthem." After "Deep" dominated May and June, the top spot became "Anthem's" for the rest of the summer, interrupted by the one-week reign of Pitbull's "Give Me Everything." If you wanted to make the case that it was really Adele who came out on top in '11, I wouldn't fight you, but considering the early release date and how Billboard's metrics went with LMFAO, I will stick with the gentlemen who gave us memorable, carefully crafted songs like "Yes," "Shots," and "La La La." (A special nod to Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)," which hung around the top of the charts for most of the season.)
2010 -- Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg, "California Gurls"
If you want a case study in how to build the perfect Read More »from Looking to the Past to Help Predict 2013′s Song of the Summer