13 September 2021


Another summer is officially over, people. And so we have yet again come to the time to crown our Final Eternal Champion. This artist's name will echo across the heavens, joining the immensely illustrious crew of the greatest Summer Jam Kings and Queens of this or any other lifetime:

2007: "Umbrella" by Rihanna
2008: "Bleeding in Love" by Leona Lewis
2009: "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas
2010: "California Gurls" by Katy Perry ft. Snoop Dogg
2011: "Park 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. & Pharrell
2014: "Fancy" by Iggy Azalea ft. Charle XCX
2015: "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon
2016: "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake
2017: "Despacito" by Daddy Yankee, Luis Fonsi ft. Justin Bieber
2018: "Never Be the Same" by Camila Cabello
2019: "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
2020: "Blinding Lights" by the Weeknd

Now for my critical time, I still think "Blurred Lines", "Shut Up and Dance", "Can't Stop the Feeling", "Never Be the Same", and "Blinding Lights" are weak entries that haven't held up. I especially don't think "Shut Up and Dance" is synonymous with Summer 2015 like it is supposed to be. But we are not ones to pick, merely ones to report the rock solid mathematical formulas that go into creating these lists. Who is the 2021 Champion?! Read on to find out:

#8: "Build a Bitch" by Bella Poarch

Weeks on List: 5
Peak Position: #2 on 8/12 and 8/19

"Build a Bitch" never made it to the top of the countdown, but it was a little too niche of a song to make it there. It operates in an odd zone, where the melody is so sweet, but the lyrical content is honestly dark and sardonic. Its first appearance was all the way back in May, but it held on for a few weeks in June before peaking in August. Decent legs, bigger boobs, it's all there. It worked because it was a really novel and distinctive song in just about every way. A great debut for Bella Poarch, who I hope may continue to stand out amongst a sudden influx of female artists exactly like her this summer.

#7: "Butter" by BTS

Weeks on List: 5
Peak Position: #2 on 6/10

Listen, I never really liked "Butter" although I will be the first to admit that it's catchy as hell. It also held the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for most of summer, but I never heard it on the radio, Spotify, or in general conversation that much. I don't know if BTS is actually popular or people just think they're popular. Anyway, it did well in June, and then had some sporadic appearances in August. Definitely not their biggest song, but significant enough to warrant mention here!

#6: "Deja Vu" by Olivia Rodrigo

Weeks on List: 5
Peak Position: #1 on 7/08 and 7/15

Olivia Rodrigo tapped into something big this summer, and her whole album ruled Spotify for pretty much three straight months until Kanye and Drake crowded all the spots at the very end. This is one of two (spoiler alert) big hits she had, which is a rare feat for anyone. This list is competitive as hell, and there are many many artists who try and fail to get even one song into Summer Jam relevance. This is definitely the slower, chiller jam of the two, but it's still pretty fun. In that break-up sort of way. It debuted in our first week back in May, then hit three straight in July. To be honest, though, I'm still hearing it and I'd probably throw it on a September 13th list if we had one...

#5: "Astronaut in the Ocean" by Masked Wolf

Weeks on List: 6
Peak Position: #1 on 6/24

You know, I didn't realize until today that this song came out like two years ago. Good on Masked Wolf for being patient and finding his niche in Summer 2021. Last summer was so hip-hop heavy, this was really one of the only true crossover hits, and I loved jamming on this beat when it came on. It debuted in May and appeared every month, peaking in June, but hanging around all the way to the final week of summer. I also hope he finds a good career, he has a distinctive cadence, although it's not revolutionarily distinct from contemporary Migos-style artists. It's some hard-hitting stuff, though, and I hope he sticks around.

#4: "Kiss Me More" by Doja Cat ft. SZA

Weeks on List: 7
Peak Position: #1 on 7/29

"Kiss Me More" was one of those staples of summer this season. It was one of only two songs to feature in both Week 1 and Week 16. Lyrically it's decently generic, but becomes an earworm from Doja Cat's effortless flow through singing, rapping, and rap-singing. This was a great summer for her after she's been present in the last couple years, notably "Say So." Her album was another great Spotify presence, and she had her share of other songs that would crawl up and down, but this is still a song I enjoy listening to.

#3: "Peaches" by Bieber ft. Daniel Caesar, Giveon

Weeks on List: 8
Peak Position: #1 on 5/27, 6/03, 7/22

Now we're into the really heavy hitters. I thought this was for sure the Summer of Peaches early on. No one could touch Bieber during those first few months. It spent the first six weeks in an unbroken streak, including back to back wins when no other song seemed like a real threat. It hit the #1 spot more than any other track this season. Then it dropped off, though and couldn't really sustain through July. Of course, it won a week in July, and came back once in August, but although it proved to have a great showing, it wasn't enough. No one has EVER repeated as Summer Jam champion, but Bieber came really really close. It's still a fun song and one that I think will be appropriately associated with Summer 2021.

#2: "Leave the Door Open" by Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic

Weeks on List: 11
Peak Position: #1 on 5/20 and 6/17

I struggle to get sick of this song. It didn't totally light up the charts, but I kept hearing it and it still makes me crack up as it finds that perfect zone between sexy and wacky. It was also a very strong song early out the gate, winning Week 1, and then appearing once in every other month. It was the only other song to also appear in Week 16. It "only" had a five-week streak in June and July, though, but it was in the Top 3 during eight of its eleven weeks. This was so close to claiming it all, if it had had just one or two more weeks it would have gotten it. Still, a great showing of Bruno Mars, who continues to be one of the more unique creative voices in the industry. But the undisputed #1 QUEEN OF SUMMER is...

#1: "good 4 u" by Olivia Rodrigo

Weeks on List: 13
Peak Position: #1 on 8/12 and 8/26

Yep. In the end this wasn't really a debate. This song was huge, and a bit cultural force on the Internet and in the greater real world. I was actually surprised looking back that it hit #1 crazy late in the season, and only twice. It made its butter by only taking three weeks off, Week 1, 10, and16. So basically it owned the heart of summer. We should note that "Deja Vu" was present in Week 1 and 10, so she actually only missed the final week of the season. It was in the Top Three during eight of its thirteen weeks and put together nice meaty streaks of eight and five week campaigns. It dominated Spotify for most of summer and is ultimately the kind of no brainer song that makes me proud to solidify for Eternity as THE One True Summer Jam.

Honorable Mentions:

You know I hate these but I do them anyway. We actually only tracked 39 songs this year, but we had basically cut out a lot of the riff-raff in our new system. "Levitating" deserves mention for having ridiculous legs and we had pretty much ignored it for not being a Hot Jam anymore. Same with "Girl from Rio." Lil Nas X had two pretty big songs that didn't get any radio play, insert whatever homophobia or racism you want there.

I really liked Camila Cabello's "Don't Go Yet" but it debuted too late and ran out of time. "Heat Waves" was perfect, but actually missed some of its June lyrics. Then we had a ton of great new female-led rap tracks, from "Thot Shit" to "Best Friend" to "Twerkulator" and "Whole Lotta Money." It was pretty fun that studios are actually signing and promoting these women trying to find the next Cardi B. Maybe they can just realize that there is room for all these great artists?

Alright, I know what you are thinking. Is this it? We have been cranking this out for 11 years, now, which is one more than I had planned. It is definitely taking a bit of a toll, and we're at the point where we're realizing there is no endgame. There is no exit strategy for this blog. It exists as artificial stress to complete every week. Ugh, I hate that I can't fully say no. Maybe in the way that we did it this year, without worry to hit the magic 8 number each week or talk about nothing for a while. Or maybe we just recount it in September off of feel.

I don't know if I would be able to resist the temptation to do this again next year, but these have never been popular. I like the idea of this canon of Summer Jams. Never say never, I suppose, but if so, this was a fun summer that I'd like to leave on. Better than the summer where "Blurred Lines" beat "Get Lucky."

Until May of 2022, stay honest, true believers!

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