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song of the summer

Song of the Summer: Introducing Vulture’s Power Rankings

Fabolous, fast riser.

Last week we launched 2009’s Song of the Summer competition. Now we present our first official Song of the Summer Power Rankings, a pseudoscientific weekly breakdown of the season’s front-runners, long-shots, and scene-specific mini-hits. These mark the current mood rather than try to predict future contenders lurking on albums and the periphery of the charts. Brand new or already overplayed, a song will be ranked based on its proximity to the white-hot center — still weeks off — of summer jam ubiquity. (But let’s not forget that spring hits can last until the dog days — Estelle and Kanye West’s “American Boy,” Usher’s “Love in This Club,” Lil Wayne’s “A Milli.” And by the way, don’t dismiss Kid Cudi’s “Day-‘N’-Nite” — it was released in 2007, but cracked the Billboard top ten just last month.)

And just to make things interesting, we’ll be declaring Biggest Gainers — the tracks that display the most forward momentum. This week, the Biggest Gainer, currently at No. 6 in the Power Rankings, is “Throw It in the Bag,” from Fabolous, featuring The-Dream. It’s been around for a month, but is now picking up steam as the promotional campaign for Fabolous’s Loso’s Way (out June 30) clicks into gear. The wonderfully average Fab turns in two perfectly adequate verses about all the things he’ll buy for you, but, as could be expected, it’s The-Dream who does the heavy lifting: his mid-tempo refrain is the kind of sneakily catchy chorus that may very well slow-burn its way through summer. Also working in its favor — what was the last good song about shopping?

3. Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain, “Blame It”: Like seeing Jamie Foxx through beer goggles: We’d totally dance to him.

2. Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West and Ne-Yo, “Knock You Down”: A love triangle with a subplot: Who’s prettier, Hilson or Ne-Yo?

3. Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain, “Blame It”: Like seeing Jamie Foxx through beer goggles: We’d totally dance to him.

4. Flo Rida, “Sugar”: Try as we might, we’re not escaping this one.

5. Green Day, “Know Your Enemy”: And he is you, Billie Joe. Still, catchy!

6. Fabolous feat. The-Dream, “Throw It in the Bag”

7. Passion Pit, “The Reeling”: Getting white people to dance at a loft party near you!

8. Kelly Clarkson, “I Do Not Hook Up”: An excitable track about sex with genuine feelings — kids these days.

9. Lady Gaga, “Pokerface”: If nothing else, quite possibly the dirtiest song of the summer.

10. Jason Mraz feat. Colbie Caillat, “Lucky”: Soft-rockin’ into the summer, never better than with a sugary duet.

Photo: Getty Images