Labor Day’s about a week away, the Equinox isn’t until the 23rd, and you may well have an entire weekend of indolent outdoor drinking planned — but it’s the last day of August, and barring any kind of imminent Men In Black-type mass mind-erasing, we already know which song will be victorious. So congratulations, Katy Perry: “California Gurls” — your blunt, effective, inescapable mercenary of a pop single — has claimed Vulture’s 2010 Song of the Summer crown. Cue the confetti drop!
Putting aside for now the merits of the actual song (we, too, would right now do horrible, terrible, indescribable things to avoid ever having to hear it again), let us appreciate the dominance of its wire-to-wire front-runner SOTS campaign. When it premiered in early May, we wrote, “Are you ready for Katy Perry to own your summer?” And — through breast-projectile music videos, half-naked album and magazine covers, Australian prom-crashings, almost completely unveiled dick references, mind-blowingly awfulsome lyrics, about a billion YouTube parodies, and some actually great songs — that is exactly what’s happened. This is what we look for in a Song of the Summer: true domination over its field in the prescribed time period. It was never in doubt. And, for that, we salute you, Ms. Perry.
But there’s more! Which tracks bested the competition in their respective fields?
SOTS: Rhythm and Blues - Cee Lo, “Fuck You”
Cee Lo, the sentimental favorite, busted through his post-Gnarls Barkley anonymity with a delightfully profane dig at his money-grubbing ex-girlfriend and her lame new boyfriend. If Cee Lo had only had the foresight to drop it earlier in the season, we may well have had an actual race on our hands.
SOTS: Car-Stereo Hip-Hop - Kanye West, “Power”
Probably the best reason to move out of New York this summer was to relocate to a place where people actually own cars and drive around while blasting Kanye’s triumphant, unapologetic, and hard-as-hell comeback track on repeat from car stereos.
SOTS: Steamroll Pop - Katy Perry, “California Gurls”
SOTS: Fist-Pump Rock - Brandon Flowers, “Crossfire”
We almost scrapped this category on account of a paucity of legitimate contenders. But Brandon Flowers — currently waging forth solo in his honorable battle to construct credible arena rock — turned out to be a deserving recipient. Still... come on, mainstream rock music, step up your game!
SOTS: Crossover Country - Sugarland, “Stuck Like Glue”
First, note that this category has the word “crossover” in its name for a reason, meaning a smaller pool of eligible contenders. Second, Taylor Swift’s template-y “Mine” is great, but Sugarland’s equally omnipresent “Stuck Like Glue” has a video in which lead singer Jennifer Nettles attempts to commit vehicular homicide. Winner!
SOTS: Hipster Cookout - Wavves, “King of the Beach”
Worthy contenders: Deerhunter’s “Revival,” Arcade Fire’s “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains),” and Best Coast’s “Boyfriend.” But whenever a band writes a super catchy pop-punk song called “King of the Beach” that is, as far as we can tell, literally about going to the beach, that’s hard to deny in the summer.