Songs of the Summer 2015: Demi Lovato’s #CoolForTheSummer Tops the List

Posted on July 2, 2015

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The summer song is the one you hear when you run out to buy ice and hamburger buns just before the barbecue. The one you crank up after you roll out of bed on a breezy Saturday morning. The one you turn to when everyone’s hanging out on the porch and someone asks, “What should we listen to next?” The proper summer song refuses to get old no matter how many times you hear it, no matter what coast you’re on, no matter what state you’re in (geographic or mental). The right summer song sounds as good on a beach vacation as it does staring at the back of your friend’s head on a long, sweaty road trip. It’s a song that reminds you that summer is different from the other seasons, that this brief period of time is unlike the rest of your year. That there’s more to life than work and stress. More than Netflix. More than scrolling through your phone wishing you were somewhere else. The right summer song makes you feel like yourself again.

Below are TOP 10 best songs released this year to have on your radar for summer 2015. You won’t like them all, and that’s okay. But no matter your age nor what sort of music fan you are, there’s something on this list for you. Compiled by Adam MS and Alex JS as our editors’ pick:

1. Demi Lovato – Cool for the Summer

Love it or hate it, Demi Lovato’s “Cool For The Summer” is undeniably the pop star’s most self-assured statement to date. The new single shoves the listener into blissful submission, as the former Disney star swaps out the breathy flirtatiousness of “Heart Attack” with imperative sentences and not-too-subtle bi-curious cheekiness. The lyrical assertiveness is impressively matched by the forceful production flourishes courtesy of Max Martin and Wolf Cousins: the chorus employs an orotund electric guitar riff that recalls the showiness of Ariana Grande’s “Problem” horn stabs, and even the piano melody features in the song’s quieter corners gets a healthy accompaniment of thundering synthesizer. “Cool For The Summer” is a bulldozer of a single, pushing Lovato’s arena-ready pop-rock sound is cranked up to 11.

2. Fifth Harmony – Worth It ft. Kid Ink

Starting off with some funky saxophone in the vein of Jason Derulo‘s “Talk Dirty,” “Worth It” leans toward the R&B side of Fifth Harmony’s musicality. Strong snare drums, and whooshing sound effects back this song when there isn’t a sax leading things along.

After being soft and sweet and achieving their best chart success to date with “Sledgehammer,” “Worth It” shows that Fifth Harmony can still get hard at the end of the day. It also fits that much needed girl group message of female empowerment, which is never a bad thing.

3. Alesso – Cool ft. Roy English

Presumably taken from the “Tear the Roof Up” producer’s album on Def Jam Recordings, “Cool” has the same hallmarks of “Heroes” with its catchy vocal and well-crafted melody that fuses pop with the dance world, epitomizing the sudden convergence of the two at one point different worlds. The opening melody samples Kylie Minogue’s instant classic track “Get Outta My Way” from her 2010 album Aphrodite.

4. Taylor Swift – Bad Blood ft. Kendrick Lamar

“Bad Blood” is the fourth single released from the pop singer’s 1989 album.The remix track feature rap verses from Lamar, with the chorus sung by Swift. The action-packed music video shows all of the pop star’s celebrity posse donning black leather ensembles and gearing up for a battle against Swift’s nemesis, played by Gomez.

The star-studded music video is Directed by Joseph Kahn (who was also behind Swift’s “Black Space”), the Sin City-esque video stars Lily Aldrige (as FrostByte), Zendaya (as Cut-Throat), Paramore’s Hayley Williams (as The Crimson Curse), Gigi Hadid (as Slay-Z), Ellie Goulding (as Destructa X), Hailee Steinfeld (as The Trinity), Lena Dunham (as Lucky Fiori), Kendrick Lamar (as Welvin Da Great), Karlie Kloss (as Knockout), Serayah (as Dilemma), Jessica Alba (as Domino), Martha Hunt (as HomeSlice), Ellen Pompeo (as Luna), Mariska Hargitay (as Justice), Cara Delevingne (as Mother Chucker), Cindy Crawford (as Headmistress) and Selena Gomez (as Arsyn).

5. Hilary Duff – Breathe in Breathe out

This is Taylor Swift’s most favorite song of Hilary’s album, and for the most part, Breathe In Breathe Out compliment’s Duff sugary-sweet, if not limited vocal ability. (She might be known for many things, but being a powerhouse chanteuse is not one of them.) The whistlin’ “Picture This,” co-written with Oh Honey’s Mitchell Collins, is the lone exception, as Duff stretches her voice beyond comfort to reach a chorus clearly not within her range on the grating, folk-y dud.

6. Echosmith – Bright

What does young love sound like? Well, it sounds like Echosmith’s “Bright.” And what does “Bright” sound like? It’s the kind of song that harkens back to Taylor Swift’s first blush-filled songs about romance. Perhaps that’s because Echosmith’s lead singer, Sydney Sierota, is herself just a little older now (at 18) than Taylor Swift was when she got her start.

Indeed, it’s almost impossible not to think about Taylor Swift while listening to “Bright.” Sydney’s voice sounds a lot like Swift’s, and her wide-eyed twitterpation is every bit as earnest as Taylor’s was early on. Meanwhile, the stripped-down acoustic accompaniment by Sydney’s three brothers almost sounds like a folksy country song—in stark contrast to the band’s polished synth-pop sounds on previous hit “Cool Kids.”

7. Jason Derulo – “Want To Want Me”

Jason Derulo’s Want to Want Me begins with a beat that could have come from some mid-’80s dance classic. But it’s a falsetto that follows in the tradition of soul men like Smokey Robinson, Philip Bailey and Prince that makes the first single from Derulo’s forthcoming summer album so irresistible.

It also doesn’t hurt that the synth stabs sound as though they come straight from Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me). Of course, like those other ’80s favorites, Shalamar, Derulo’s doing his dancing in the sheets.

8. Tove Lo – Talking Body

“Talking Body” is an uplifting and fun vocal performance by Tove Lo. One of the biggest snubs in this year’s Grammy awards was the failure to nominate Tove Lo for “Best New Artist,” which she deserved for “Habits (Stay High).” “Talking Body” deserves an A rating.

9. Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On (feat. MØ)

In their new single, “Lean On,” Major Lazer throw a dancehall party straight out of 1993 featuring Danish vocalist Mø and French producer DJ Snake, who you’ll probably know from “Turn Down For What.” The tune was released on March 2, and finds the producers stepping away from the predictable weighty bass drops and wild synths in favor of a mellowed, tropical-flavored sound. With bright vocals from Danish singer MØ and wonky electronic effects, “Lean On” is a refreshing reminder during this year’s winter that Spring was just around the corner.

10. Natalie La Rose – Somebody ft. Jeremih

Whitney 2.0: With her toothy grin, curly mane and lithe figure, Natalie La Rose may call to mind a young Whitney Houston — but the resemblance isn’t merely physical. La Rose gives Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) a sexy, modern update on her breakout single Somebody, which samples the 1987 smash. Since she released the throwback dance track with Jeremih in January, Somebody has shot up to No. 24 on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart, selling 240,000 downloads to date with more than 12 million Spotify streams.

Honorable Mentions:

1. Britney Spears, Iggy Azalea – Pretty Girls

While Spears and Azalea dutifully share the spotlight for the track, the song’s real stars might be the Invisible Men, the production trio that helped Iggy break through in the U.S. with “Fancy.” “Pretty Girls” boasts the same deep synth stabs as “Fancy” (with an admittedly less memorable progression), and Spears’ gleefully snotty delivery on the chorus recalls Charli XCX’s from-L.A.-to-Tokyo refrain. However, the structure of “Pretty Girls” differs just enough from “Fancy” that the new song evokes last year’s song of the summer without coming across as an exact replica. The Invisible Men have bestowed Azalea with another stylish banger — and this time, she has a very famous copilot helping her stick the landing.

2. Nicki Minaj – The Night Is Still Young

The song has a pulse, a good beat to dance to. Bridge and chorus are the catchiest thing she could possibly create – which doesn’t necessarily mean they are of good quality. I prefer the verses, in which she shows her undeniable ability as a rapper, even though these are just two faces of the same coin, just like hip-hop and contemporary R&B. The lyrics aren’t that big deal – “The night is still young/ And so are we/ How dare we sit quietly/ And watch the world pass us by/ We’re just getting’ started/Cant’ you see the night’s still early/ And we gon’ get wild and crazy”. Basically a simple and quiet predictable invite to enjoy life, have fun, seize the day, with an inclusive “we” that surely helps Minaj gain consent. Anyway, I think that in this album you can definitely find better (and more innovative) songs.

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