Now that fall has arrived, it seems obligatory to accept a challenge that few seemed confident facing one month ago: Naming the pop song that defined summer 2015.
In an era of splintered media — where listeners find music not just via old-school radio but through YouTube, streaming services and other online music purveyors — the concept of a Song of Summer almost seems archaic. By the time late July rolled around, The Huffington Post had even declared “The Song of Summer is Dead.”
This week, Forbes asked/whined, “Can Someone Please Tell Me Why We Still Care About Song of the Summer” — uh, because it’s fun — then went on to admit that it was a race between Omi’s reggae-laced “Cheerleader” and the Wiz Khalifa/Charlie Puth tribute “See You Again” from the “Fast and Furious 7” soundtrack.
The edge, Forbes noted, seems to go to “Cheerleader.”
Keke Luv, program director at Top 40 station 103.3 Kiss FM, agrees. On May 1, he helped launch “Cheerleader” in the Boise market by playing it non-stop for an hour and a half. Not all listeners were pleased — initially. Then “Cheerleader” gained traction.
The song was “very, very buzzworthy,” Luv says. “That’s always a pretty good indication of a song of summer; they have one hit and they’re gone forever.”
That said, “Cheerleader” wasn’t the most-played track at Kiss FM from June 1-Aug. 31. That honor goes to Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood.” (Shake it off, Omi).
David Jackson, assistant program director at Hot AC station My 102.7 FM, says his pick for the Song of Summer goes to Khalifa’s “See You Again.”
“We’re still playing it,” he explains, “and that movie came out April 3. That song had a lot of life in it. And I really liked it. So did our listeners.”
But what about The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face”? I’d argue that it was the best top 40 song this summer (with the possible exception of Swift’s “Shake It Off,” although many critics don’t share my fondness for that sugary single). Luv thinks “Can’t Feel My Face” deserves real consideration as the chief competitor to “Cheerleader” for the Song of Summer.
If you take into account another huge hit, “The Hills,” then “The Weeknd was artist of the summer,” Luv declares. “No doubt.”
“Can’t Feel My Face” and “The Hills” were the No. 1 and 2 most-listened-to songs at streaming service Spotify from June 1-Aug. 31.
But summer is over, kiddos. It’s time to start looking forward — and dancing.
“Fall is going to be massive,” Luv promises. “Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. Just those three alone. And Ellie Goulding. They all have new CDs coming out. Music is about to explode.”
Michael Deeds’ entertainment column runs Fridays in Scene, alternating Sundays in Explore — and occasionally on a Saturday when he is overtaken by the urge to write about the Song of Summer.