In the two weeks since we introduced our top six contenders for the Song of the Summer title, the inevitable has occurred: Katy Perry’s “California Gurls,” a saccharine confection we feared would be a problem from the moment it bubbled up, has separated from the rest of the pack, days ago darting to No. 1 on the Hot 100 a scant four weeks post its public debut. Is that the ball game? Way too early to call, but peaking now makes Perry uniquely positioned: While the other top dogs tread water — the “Alejandro” video confused more than amazed; elsewhere, Usher’s “OMG,” the most recent No. 1 before Perry and now in its tenth week on the charts, will most likely be the season’s first burnout — Perry’s picking up steam. And if “Gurls” does hold up, we’ll have gone an unfortunate three years since the last unifying SOTS, “Umbrella” — a song that, if you’ll please recall that hazy summer of 2007, we all admitted we enjoyed, whether ironically or non.
But what could take Perry down? “Billionaire,” from former Gym Class Heroes front man (and Perry’s ex-boyfriend!) Travie McCoy is making some noise, popping up to No. 5, its highest chart position to date. Here, McCoy borrows B.o.B.’s “Nothin’ on You” template down to hiring the same dude for the hook, letting Bruno Mars do the heavy lifting while he drops cheesy aspiration rap (“I’ll be playing basketball with the President/dunking on his delegates”) over a soft ska riff. There’s also Kanye’s “Power,” which we’ll certainly be doing our part to overplay this summer.
Okay, what are we missing? Some of you have been quite vocal in your distaste for the summer’s big songs. So is big-money pop not doing it for you these days? And if not, what are you rocking with this sunny season?