06 September 2016

SUMMER JAM 2016: THE CROWNLESS AGAIN IS KING!!!!

We've finally wrapped up another Season of Summer Jams and it's with a heavy lopsided heart that we bury our hope and love for another long Winter. We've been tracking Summer Jams in general since 2007, and pretty in-depth (that is - week by week since 2010). In that time through a tricky combination of radio play, Billboard success, and general "what-I-feel-like-talking-about-ness" I've recounted the hottest of the hottest jams each week. Before we dig into the greatest jams this summer, let's again recount previous winners:

2007: "Umbrella" by Rihanna
2008: "Bleeding in Love" by Leona Lewis
2009: "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas
2010: "California Gurls" by Katy Perry
2011: "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock
2012: "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen
2013: "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke ft. T.I. and Pharrell
2014: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea ft. Charlie XCX
2015: "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon

These tracks aren't without controversy. "Blurred Lines" is a pretty awful mar and I'd rather remember 2013 for "Get Lucky." 2014 will always be a debate between Iggy's "Fancy" or "Problem" with Ariana Grande. Finally, last year Walk the Moon really nabbed the title but felt so much more like a Spring Song. It was kind of an April to July thing, and I still feel like Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" as more indicative of the season and zeitgeist. It'll make you happy to hear that we're really not without controversy this year, either. First, let's talk all the songs we tracked this year:

At some point or another we discussed 47 different songs, which is actually somehow ten less than last year. We can break this up into many different tiers, but there's only a few worth talking about. Let's start with Jams 18-9:

"Bored to Death" by Blink 182
"All in My Head" by Fifth Harmony
"Dangerous Woman" by Ariana Grande
"Cold Water" by Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber, MO
"Closer" by The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey
"Love Yourself" by Justin Bieber
"Don't Mind" by Kent Jones
"Work From Home" by Fifth Harmony
"Make Me..." by Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy
"7 Years" by Lukas Graham

So let's now jump into the REAL list - the TOP EIGHT FINAL SUMMER JAMS!!!

#8: "Don't Let Me Down" by The Chainsmokers ft. Daya



Weeks on the List: 4
Peak: #2 on 06/20

This track never really went away, appearing during Week 1 and Week 14, with some spots in between. While it was ubiquitous, it wasn't really that good or interesting of a song, and seemed largely relegated to background noise rather than something to really get pumped up about. Still, it broke through once each in May, June, July, and August, which is a damn impressive feat.

#7: "Ophelia" by The Lumineers



Weeks on the List: 5
Peak: #1 on 05/30

A sane person probably wouldn't have touted this track so loudly, but for some reason I just kept hearing it, and I still dig the tune quite a bit, so it wormed itself in my life this summer. I can only assume it did the same for you, loyal reader. It had a nice streak of three weeks in a row very early on, then fell off for a bit before returning in the middle of July. The track was catchy as hell and one reason why it kept crawling back is because it's the kind of jam you hum all day, even if it didn't really blow up in any sort of big pop-y way.

#6: "This is What You Came For" by Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna



Weeks on the List: 5
Peak: #1 on 08/22

This should have really been the Summer of Rihanna (a whopping nine years after she already won with "Umbrella"), but despite dropping three different singles that we tracked, nothing seemed to be that sticky. Still, this cookie cutter Calvin Harris track proved to be an outlet for her voice, even if it's more innocuous and expected than her work off of ANTI, which is admittedly and decidedly non-commercial anyway. This was sort of like a partner to "Don't Let Me Down" in the sense that it was just another random EDM hit without much to set it apart that just always felt in the background this summer. It did some damage in July, fell off, then came back in a big way near the end of August.

#5: "Panda" by Desiigner



Weeks on the List: 5
Peak: #1 on 06/13

For a while there it looked like "Panda" would be THE song to beat ,but after a very strong five consecutive weeks in May and June it fell off a bit. It's still a pretty fun song, and although it may not have become the "Trap Queen" I can bet Desiigner wanted it to be, it's still got a little legacy going for it. There were many other weeks I just barely left it off the List, but we obviously needed room for "Dance Off" and "Milk $."

#4: "Send My Love (To Your New Lover)" by Adele



Weeks on List: 6
Peak: #1 on 08/08

This is possibly an odd bedfellow to pair with "Panda" but they actually had the exact same score this Summer when all was tallied up and done. Its best streak was only three weeks in a row, but it ascended each week when it shot to #1 in early August. It made other appearances from June to mid-August, and although it didn't quite match up with some of Adele's other efforts, namely 2011's "Rolling in the Deep" that earned a strong #2 overall, or last Autumn's "Hello" which dominated about everything, this ended up a somewhat unlikely contender that got lost in the shuffle more than over the hump.

#3: "One Dance" by Drake ft. WizKid, Kyla



Weeks on List: 8
Peak: #1 on 06/20, 07/04 - 07/11

Seven consecutive weeks on the List was the longest streak of any song this Summer and for much of the first half appeared to be dueling hard with or eventual winner. While it ruled July, though, it fell off by the mid-point and couldn't ever really recover, despite being close a few times. It ultimately just broke a little too early. I'm also curious why it was such a short song, never really had a music video that caught on, and had such a good verse out of Kyla without much from Drake. Kind of like Adele, he crushed the Fall with "Hotline Bling" and this just never hit that same culture-ruling hot point.

#2: "Cheap Thrills" by Sia ft. Sean Paul



Weeks on List: 9
Peak: #1 on 07/25 - 08/01, 09/05

"Cheap Thrills" broke late, not appearing until seven weeks into Summer, but after that appeared on nine out of the remaining eleven weeks, not really even slowing down for Labor Day. It's my pick for personal favourite summer song and I'll freely ooze bias to say that I wish it had clinched victory. This will be like "Bad Blood" was last year - just a song that's way more indicative of 2016 than the actual winner and one that I'll give a spiritual victory for years and years from now.

#1: "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake



Weeks on List: 9
Peak: #1 on 06/06, 06/27, and 07/18

Listen, I'm glad JT finally has a Summer Jam under his belt and he's really the first established artist to win since Katy Perry in 2010. Still, among JT songs, where does this rank? Like, can you even call it Top 10? After all the points were tallied, it edged "Cheap Thrills" by two points, which isn't all that significant, but a win's a win. It certainly peaked while dueling "One Dance" in the first half of the Season, but unlike Drake, JT never really went away, appearing nine times over a thirteen-week period, all the way until late August. I knew it had won sometime in mid-July when it was still crushing weeks after Drake dropped out, but no part of me feels particularly great about that, especially considering how likely Trolls (2016) is going to bomb. I mean, do you honestly really think of "Can't Stop the Feeling" when you think Summer 2016? I struggled to remember the title even today. After this and Walk the Moon I may have to reevaluate my shoddy haphazard counting method. Maybe.

So that's it for Summer 2016! What do you think? Which jams did we snub? "Dark Necessities"? "Ride"? "Heathens"? "Pill in Ibiza"? Let us know below!

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