15 Throwback 'Songs of Summer' That Are Still Our Jam Today

Anne Meadows | Aug 10, 2016 Celebrities

Despite there being several hopefuls, according to the Washington Post, there has yet to be a definitive song of summer 2016. You know, the one song that seemingly has an unofficial crowning as the "it" anthem of the season --- the one everyone knows and hears practically everywhere. True, there's still plenty of time for a song to be crowned before summer officially ends -- but what defines a "song of the summer" anyway? And why should we care?

New York magazine once claimed there are three key ingredients to your classic summer jam recipe: It has to be released during the summer; it should be as mindless as possible; and it must be relentlessly catchy -- an unforgettable earworm. 

So, essentially, it's an infectious pop song that's as carefree and light as a beachball. 

Since there's no perfect candidate this summer (political pun unintended), we've curated a playlist of Songs of Summers Past for your windows-rolled-down cruisin' pleasure. 

Our favorites don't completely match with the Billboard list of the top summer songs of all time (and we had a pretty tough time choosing just one song that played on repeat each year) -- but we've picked the hits from recent years that still bring back strong memories of sunshine and seaspray (even if we only really listen to them nowadays while sweating it out at the gym).

 

Image via iStock.com/Anterovium

  • Crazy in Love

    1

    The undeniable song of the summer in 2003 was Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" featuring Jay Z. Its joyful horn line and sashay-able beat make it a classic soundtrack for summer.

  • I Gotta Feeling

    2

    The Black Eyed Peas' summer hit "I Gotta Feeling" is persistently optimistic in a way that only a song about hard-core alcohol bingeing and clubbing can be. Even though we don't realistically have the budget (or the liver) to actually "party every day," we can still rock out to this banger from 2009.

  • Get Lucky

    3

    Technically speaking, 2013's song of the summer was Robin Thicke's somewhat rape-y single "Blurred Lines." Let's forget that cringeworthy song instead by bopping our heads to "Get Lucky" from Daft Punk, which repeatedly celebrates everyone's shared goals of "good fun."

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  • See You Again

    4

    2015's song of the summer strayed a bit from the classic definition of the term, instead banking on the emotional paydirt of missing a lost loved one. We all felt Vin Diesel's pain at the loss of his BFF Paul Walker, and this song by Wiz Khalifa (featuring Charlie Puth) is powerful enough to make us sing along, even though it gets us misty every time. 

  • Fancy

    5

    Iggy Izalea's 2014 song "Fancy" is a perfect example of a "song of summer" -- it's super catchy, nonsensical, and easy to imitate. It's wonderfully forgettable fun. 

  • Hot in Herre

    6

    We can't remember back this far (or we'd like to think), but apparently back in 2002 our only option when it got too "Hot in Herre" was to strip naked, even in the presence of mixed company. We have Nelly to thank for that advice.

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  • Call Me Maybe

    7

    Seriously, don't hit play on this 2012 song unless you are okay with its being still stuck in your head later tonight when you're fixing dinner. Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" is the flirty, vapid, crafted-for-radio summer jam that WILL OUTLIVE US ALL. 

  • Party Rock Anthem

    8

    Truly great summer songs leave us with quippy one-liners we can mine for puns for months -- or even years -- after the song is no longer airing on the radio with regularity. LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" gifted us in 2011 with the interpret-as-you-will phrase "Every day I'm shufflin'" -- and Dads all over the land are grateful. 

  • Waterfalls

    9

    Its hard to believe that "Waterfalls" was released in 1994, because it's still heard on radios today. The video had a budget of a million dollars and helped propel the song into our eardrums, where it has remained lodged for 20 years. 

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  • California Gurls

    10

    Katy Perry's pastel-painted video for "California Gurls" knowingly expressed the song's fluffy, sugary, and puerile nature. 2010's song of the summer was everything we wanted in a summer hit -- upbeat, overly simplistic, and ultimately very singable. Valley girls in a nutshell. 

  • Promiscuous

    11

    Nelly Furtado teamed up with Timbaland in 2006 on "Promiscuous" for a "verbal Ping-Pong game" that would become the song of the summer. The fact that the majority of the lyrics in the song would make for some pretty flirty sexts wasn't lost on her. The strong, powerful woman in charge of her own sexuality was what Nelly was going for. We'd say she made it!

  • Let Me Blow Ya Mind

    12

    Another great matchup of pop and rap talents was Eve and Gwen Stefani on 2001's "Let Me Blow Ya Mind." The effortlessly catchy song arguably played a large part in launching Stefani's solo career and is a delightful time capsule of early 2000s popular musical style.  

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  • We Can't Stop

    13

    Miley Cyrus solidified her transition away from her good-girl Hannah Montana image with the video for "We Can't Stop," which showed the singer and her friends partying and (*gasp*) twerking. From the appopriately titled Bangerz, this carefree song is a summer anthem (another from 2013) worth hitting "replay."

  • Titanium

    14

    Sia's supernaturally beautiful voice is what lifts David Guetta's "Titanium" from an ordinary club track to something truly magical. It was released in August 2011, so while it wasn't around the entire summer, its explosive chorus ensures that we'll be straining ourselves to sing along for years to come. 

  • The Boy Is Mine

    15

    The love triangle rivalry that is the core of Brandy and Monica's "The Boy Is Mine" makes for a playful duet. The 1998 song of the summer is now a bona fide karaoke classic -- even if neither of the singers are still dominating the airwaves. 

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