Usually by this time in the week, you’d be seeing the latest edition of Vulture’s Song of the Summer Power Rankings, our tireless, months-long pursuit to track, as precisely as humanly possible, the movements of all will-be, would-be, and are-to-be summer anthems. But August is just about up, meaning that — as hard as it is to believe — it’s time to call this thing! Our ultimate pick has been made (!!!), but we're keeping it locked up in the maximum-security Vulture Vault until Monday. In the meantime, we're throwing this up one last time. All summer long you guys haven’t hesitated to point out how moronic we are for missing Song X from Obscure Artist Y, and we love you for it. How else would we have heard Phonat’s “uncannily great” “Set Me Free” (via The Culture of Me), Jason Aldean’s “non-shitty, summery country-chart-topper” Big Green Tractor” (via Lockhart), or any number of awesome MJ oddities?
We’ve also consulted some other people we trust — our esteemed New York Magazine colleagues, online division — and their varied, excellent picks are below. Oh, and because you’re dying to know, here are the personal favorites from your Song of the Summer editors: Nick Catucci has been riding with Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” and Amos Barshad has been tucking himself in at night to the sound of Young Money’s “Every Girl.”
Libby Gery, Information Architect:
Cicada, "Psycho Thrills": "While listening, I suggest you dance your way into your eighties aerobics attire (including lipstick) and hit the streets in roller skates. (P.S. The real answer is MJ’s 'PYT.' But I know that’s probably not acceptable. I mean, you can spend hours memorizing his inflections. Which I did all summer.)"
Sharon Clott, Assistant Fashion Editor, nymag.com:
Chris Cornell, “Part of Me”: "It didn’t really get much attention, but the beat is catchy, probably because it's produced by Timbaland. It's little bit pop and rock, so it's kinda corny — but that's what summer songs are, anyway. Chris Cornell perfects the sweaty-dude look in the video (Method Man also makes a cameo), and it even sounds like he's sweating when he's singing. Now it's on my iPod at least twice a day."
Jon Steinberg, Senior Editor:
Passion Pit, “Little Secrets”: "Best use of a kids' chorus since 'Another Brick in the Wall.'"
Carolyn Murnick, Senior Editor, nymag.com:
Sunset Rubdown, “You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)”: "Because I heard it for the first time live at Studio B (R.I.P.) a few weeks before it closed, because it consistently pops up on shuffle at the best part of my morning bike ride over the Williamsburg Bridge, and because it’s got the thumping, stripped down, slightly pissed off but magical quality that to me means summer in the city."
Jared Kanter, UX Engineer:
Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling”: "I don’t think I’ve gone anywhere this summer without hearing that song and dancing to it."
Joe DeLessio, Assistant Editor, nymag.com:
Pearl Jam, “The Fixer”: "Since my vinyl 45 of it just came in the mail today, I'll go with 'The Fixer.' Really good song, and should sound really good live. Full disclosure: I'm a card-carrying member of the Ten Club, and thus won't deny being biased."
Mark Graham, Vulture Editor:
Shakira, "She Wolf": "Shakira's cautionary tale to her lover about the dangers of leaving her anything short of sexually fulfilled contains an impossibly funky bassline, on top of which sits an irresistible, disco-ready guitar lick that compels anyone who hears it to put down their drink and head out to the dance floor. Now THIS is lycanthropy!"
Lane Brown, Vulture Editor:
Atlas Sound feat. Panda Bear, “Walkabout”: "The world probably didn't need another song about Panda Bear's fear of becoming a tax-paying adult, but this one's pretty great."
Kevin Barnett, UX Development Manager:
Major Lazer feat. Mr. Vegas and Jovi Rockwell, “Can’t Stop Now”: "This dub track stood out to me from an otherwise delicious, noisy dancehall record, representing what summer should always be: chill, laid-back and all about love. I ‘can’t stop’ listening to it."
Chris Rovzar, Daily Intel Editor:
Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling": "Just speaking for the gays, it started out as 'Poker Face' by Lady Gaga, but now it's definitely 'I Gotta Feeling.' Though, to be fair, 'Forever' by Chris Brown was a surprise contender, because of that wedding video, and the Glee version of 'Don't Stop Believin'' also made a good showing."
Jill Weiskopf, Public Relations Manager:
Drake, “Best I Ever Had”: "Because I can’t believe Jimmy Brooks has a single! And it’s catchy."
Lauren Salazar, Producer:
Friendly Fires, “Kiss of Life”: "Was my ‘it’s a Friday afternoon and I have a whole summer weekend of sunshine, beaches, bike rides, and outdoor drinking ahead of me to be psyched for if I can just finish these last couple things’ happy song. Well, that was until I broke my foot. Now I hate it. (Kidding.)"
Hadley Tomicki, Grub Street Los Angeles:
Andres Landero, "La Pava Congona": "It is not current, but after years of wondering how anyone likes accordion playing in their music, this one did it for me. Not only does it show a master's skill in playing a clunky instrument, it is hot like the summer."
Ian Adelman, Design Director, nymag.com:
Michael Jackson, “Dirty Diana”: "While I’ll still pull for any number of tracks off the Major Lazer record, I gotta say that MJ, in death, clinched the Song of the Summer race. For me, Michael Jackson was only three things: Jackson Five, Off the Wall, and Thriller. When Bad came out, my 16-year-old self saw it as representative of all that was wrong with popular music — mainly that it was cheesy, top-40 crap. Though I came around to 'Smooth Criminal' long ago, and I have a certain appreciation for tracks like 'Man in the Mirror' and 'The Way You Make Me Feel,' it wasn’t until this visit to the catalogue that I stopped overlooking the awesome 'Dirty Diana.'"