Windows down, spirits high: songs of the summer from the last 5 years


Clockwise from the top left, Justin Bieber, the Jonas Brothers, Drake and Iggy Azalea. Photos courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

By Bella Brody

Every summer has a unique, defining soundtracksongs that blast from the radio and pop-up on Spotify recommended until we can’t stand them anymore. But to be the song of the summer, a song needs to have a windows down, volume up, summer kind of feel.

Before the summer of 2019 begins and the inevitable “song of the summer” comes with it, let’s recap the songs of the summer over the last five years.

2014: “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX

Billboard ranked “Fancy” as the number one of summer 2014. The instant the song came out in February, it exploded; the song immediately climbed the charts to the number one spot, where it remained for 14 weeks. The hype surrounding the song didn’t just last for a month—it became the summer’s anthem. “First things first, I’m the realest,” the song’s iconic opening line, quickly caught on as a popular teen catchphrase. Even my mom, who I wouldn’t call a fan of pop music, made an exception for “Fancy” because the song’s catchy rhythm and sassy chorus won her over.

2015: “Cheerleader” by OMI  

OMI released“Cheerleader” in May of 2015, and it quickly worked its way up the charts to number one. That summer, my friend Eli and I blasted the song for a two hour car ride to our dance intensives—singing as loud as we could. The same goes for the next two weeks, and honestly, I’m surprised we didn’t get sick of it.

2016: “One Dance” by Drake featuring WizKid and Kyla

In 2016, Drake released “One Dance” in his fourth studio album, “Views.” Though other outstanding tracks from the album like “Too Good” and “Hotline Bling” made for tough competition, “One Dance” still managed to supersede them all—so much that Billboard named the song “Top Song of the Summer.” “One Dance” lasted on Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for an astonishing 18 weeks, just beating out the popular “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke for the longest time the song was number one in the category.

2017: “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, Justin Bieber featuring Daddy Yankee

The 2017 song of the summer was indisputably “Despacito.” Fonsi and Bieber managed to release a song that mixed Latin and American pop—something that only a few other artists have successfully achieved. “Despacito” wasn’t just another pop song; the song was mostly in Spanish with a short verse in English, so it had an authentic Latin feel. The song’s overall ability to transport the listener to a completely different setting not only made it memorable but also put it on the top of the charts.

2018: “In my Feelings” by Drake

In 2018, Drake was back on top of the Billboard charts, with his iconic song “In my Feelings.” Soon after the song was released, Spotify gave it the title “Song of the Summer.” The song’s opening line, “Kiki, do you love me?” quickly became iconic in youth culture. Shortly after Drake released the song, the “In my Feelings Challenge” swept the internet; Comedian Shaquille Mitchell, who runs the Instagram account “theshiggyshow,” started the trend by posting a video of himself dancing wildly outside a moving car to the beat of the song. Once Mitchell posted the video, it quickly became viral and thousands of teens, celebrities and even parents imitated his dance movies and tried the challenge. The original clip of Mitchell became so popular that Drake even featured it in his music video.

We’re not quite sure what the song of summer 2019 will be, but with the jams on Tyler the Creator’s new album “IGOR” and the Jonas Brothers newly released song “Happiness Begins,” we know the competition will be fierce.