As pop music’s cultural capital has diminished, the conversation about summer jams has skyrocketed. In the same way that Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” ruled the airwaves last summer, these are the songs that Grantland says will define the summer of 2014 — whether you like them or not:
“Fancy” by Iggy Azalea - “Fancy” is the already the #1 song in the country going on five weeks and is likely to stay at the upper reaches of the Hot 100 well into July and probably beyond.
“Problem” by Ariana Grande (feat. Iggy Azalea) - This track may just feature Azalea, but it’s her role as the personality in this song that makes the Grande-led track so memorable.
“Stay With Me” by Sam Smith - Smith serves as this year’s downbeat king and his quivering vocals provide the sad, emotional soundtrack to summer romance.
“Latch” by Disclosure (feat. Sam Smith) - This track also features Smith but provides a more upbeat, erotic version of summer love.
“Summer” by Calvin Harris - The most obvious summer jam, this one is equal parts romantic and party-oriented which makes results in exactly what a summer song need to be: personal and universal.
“Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake & Lil Jon - The summer’s meme-iest song is DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down for What,” a sucker punch of a song that you probably heard quoted about 1,000 times before hearing the actual song.
“This Is How We Roll” by Florida Georgia Line - This track replicates the formula of last summer’s “Cruise,” pairing banjo licks and Hank Williams references with fats rhymes rhymes and hip-hop flavor.
“Rude” by MAGIC! - This track from Canadian pop-reggae outfit Magic! is to 2014 what Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” was to summer 2009: a feel good chart-climber that will likely end up in regular rotation on adult-contemporary radio for years.
“Am I Wrong” by Nico & Vinz - This track’s subtle guitar licks and subtle brass accents provide for an inoffensive track you can, and will, listen to again and again.
“Sing” by Ed Sheeran - In a sort of tribute to everything summer represents, this track is about a sex-and-drug-fueled night fueled by a very catchy, acoustic chorus.