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song of the summer

Song of the Summer: Rhythm and Blues

Yesterday, our picks for rock SOTS were maligned, and that’s understandable: Those were mainstream selections, and the chart toppers will not always sit well with the persnickety pop-music fan. Today’s tracks, however, coming from the world of radio R&B, should be easier to digest, as they are actually pretty good. (Except Jason Derulo — that dude’s annoying.) And today’s contenders are:

Janelle Monáe, “Tightrope”
An incessantly funky banger that's already the choice of the discerning tastemaker. Can that kind of elitist approval propel the relatively unknown Monáe into mass appeal? It's her best shot right now.

The-Dream, “Love King”
In classic The-Dream style, this one's a grower, which is a great attribute for the ruthlessly long SOTS season, where sudden overexposure has felled far greater competitors.

Rihanna, “Rude Boy”
A front-runner that's made itself nice and comfortable in the top tier of the Billboard 100. Closer analysis, however, could spell doom: The album it's from has been around since the fall, and it's already hit No. 1 (it's now at No. 9). Is a more precipitous drop in its future?

Jason Derulo, “In My Head”
This is newcomer Derulo's second hit, after "Watcha Say," and it's exactly the kind of anonymous, artless song you'd expect from a guy who hasn't yet found a defined personality. That, to us, spells longevity, but not transcendence, on the charts.

And with that, we wrap up the category-by-category SOTS rollout. We'll return shortly with regular updates on the always dynamic SOTS race (we see you, Miley!), Until next time ...


Previously
:
Song of the Summer: Fist-Pump Rock
Song of the Summer: Crossover Country
Song of the Summer: Steamroll Pop
Song of the Summer: Car-Stereo Hip-Hop
Song of the Summer: The Search Begins!

Photo: Noel Vasquez/Getty Images , Michael Loccisano/Getty Images, Samir Hussein/Getty Images