Our highly analytical breakdown of the most likely Song Of The Summer finalist for 2016

What’s Going to be The Song Of The Summer 2016?

June 13, 2016 / by / 1 Comment

A few weeks ago as I sat my desk, hunched over my computer, a young child came up to me and exclaimed,“April showers bring May flowers!”

“Very good, and what do May flowers bring?” I responded.

“Genocide and centuries of colonial atrocities?” the child asked.

“No, you woke little toddler — June Song of the Summer predictions,” I said as I turned back to my computer and began typing away.

And thus began my second annual “What’s The Song Of The Summer Going To Be?” column. Last year, depending on what you believe was the true SOTS2015, I either:

  • Nailed the prediction that “Trap Queen” would show staying power and claim its throne
  • Completely missed The Weeknd’s ability to drop an album in June and take the title by July
  • Wrote off OMI’s ear-worm “Cheerleader” way too early
  • Got it right when I said “Shut Up And Dance” had the legs to win it all


  • So with that stunning 50% success rate, I’ve decided to try it once more (back at it again, as the middle-aged parents of #teens say) with my analysis of the 2016 SOTS standings.

    But first, let’s talk about what could have been. Kanye, Beyonce and Chance all released new music in a three month period and yet they’re barely even accounted for on this list. Hell, even Drake’s and Rihanna’s new albums are underrepresented here. (In fairness, Drake has to live with the fact that he released “Summer Sixteen” in goddamn February). So I gotta ask, where are our collective heads even at?

    Chance’s “All Night” absolutely deserves it’s summer in the sun, as does Drake’s “Too Good,” about half of Pablo (“Waves” anyone?) and the entirety of Lemonade. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m not mad, just disappointed. And also mad as hell.

    Regardless, on to the contenders:

      The Frontrunners

    One Dance, Drake ft. WizKid and Kyla: God dammit, guys. Views was a good album! There were lots of good songs! Why this one? I mean, it’s fine. It’s very, very fine and very, very Drake. And yet it continues to sit atop the charts in prime position to reign for the rest of the summer. There’s not much to this one, and its laid-back vibe could keep it from achieving SOTS status. But as for right now, Drizzy looks to be in good shape — and not just because of “One Dance” (more on that later).
    Likelihood: 8/10

    Panda, Desiigner: Doing a little better here. Desiigner’s breakout hit is, uh, not laid back. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s lit, it’s got a great beat and if we’re being entirely honest it sounds like what Future wishes he sounded like (don’t @ me). Plus, it’s always nice when a new artist gets Song of the Summer. If I was putting money on the race, I’d probably take “Panda.”
    Likelihood: 9/10

    Can’t Stop The Feeling!, Justin Timberlake: I love JT. You love JT. We he she love JT. JTology, the study of loving JT! It’s first grade, Spongebob! But what if (and I’m just spitballing here) we didn’t choose a song from the soundtrack of the movie Trolls? I get that Justin Timberlake has somehow gone 16 years without a Song of the Summer, and I get that this shit is catchy and upbeat. But seriously, it’s got a damn exclamation point in the name. We can do better. (ed. note: I like this song tho?)
    Likelihood: 8.5/10

    Work from Home, Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign: I probably listen to this song 20 times a week, and I don’t even like it. Seriously, I will actively choose to put it on and then go “oh for fuck’s sake, not this shit again.” And that’s my entire theory into how this song got so big and why it could be primed for a SOTS run. We are a self-loathing bunch with a thing for catchy jams. On the plus side, it’d be the first winner by a group comprised only of women since TLC went chasing waterfalls (#blackgirlmagic) unless you count Lady Marmalade and are a garbage person.
    Likelihood: 7.5/10

    This Is What You Came For, Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna: FINALLY some Rihanna. And no, I don’t care that it’s technically Taylor’s Ex ft. Rihanna, it still counts. This song is straight fire and I continue to be stoked to hear RiRi bringing her good girl voice back from time to time. It may have come out a bit too late, but I don’t think it’s hard to imagine this one reigning supreme at some point.
    Likelihood: 7.5/10

      Second Tier

    Dangerous Woman, Ariana Grande: I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bigger star release an album with less fanfare than Ariana Grande did, which seems like it’s hampered the success of her titular (ed. note: lol tits) single. Still, the song continues to gain steam, moving up in the top 10 for consecutive weeks, and it’s got that big-beat-bigger-vocals vibe that’s worked plenty of times in the past. This one’s a borderline frontrunner (seriously, don’t u dare @ me) and it just seems hard for me to imagine that Ariana won’t have a big hit in the next few months.
    Likelihood: 6/10

    Needed Me, Rihanna: MORE RIHANNA. Probably the best song on Anti, I’m glad “Needed Me” is finally getting a push as a single, but it doesn’t quite have SOTS written all over it. There’s no big chorus and few memorable one-liners. Instead, it resonates because it’s Rihanna doing Rihanna and allowing us to listen in.
    Likelihood: 7/10

    I Took A Pill In Ibiza, Mike Posner: Mikey Posner made a strong play at the Song of the January, but sadly blogs don’t give out awards for that. This had all the elements of a summer jam (Ibiza’s in the title! Party!) but probably peaked too early.
    Likelihood: 5.5/10

    Just Like Fire, P!nk: Oh no. Ohhhh no. She’s back! P!nk is doing things again, and while I admit that I don’t quite get her whole schtick, she certainly can belt it out and her fans love it. I question whether we really need another movie soundtrack hit racing up the charts, but honestly, if Katy Perry had recorded this same song I’d be clamoring to name it a frontrunner. It’s already done well in a short period of time, and in a relatively soft year like 2016, this could be a sleeper pick.
    Likelihood: 5.5/10

    Don’t Let Me Down, The Chainsmokers ft. Daya: The Chainsmokers deserve a SOTS at some point. Maybe not for this one (though it is having some well-deserved success) but “Roses” was probably the most underrated song of summer 2015. This one has the EDM vibes to shake things up a bit and we’ve seen other songs take the title with the combo of soaring female vocals and that #sickbeat (taylor can @ me).
    Likelihood: 6.5/10

    Don’t Mind, Kent Jones: OMI’s returns!! Kidding (mostly), but this song does have much of the same feel that powered “Cheerleader” to the top last year. It gets a bit repetitive and tiresome, and doesn’t have the energy of OMI’s hit, but there are lots of nice messages about equality and diversity so who knows.
    Likelihood: 5/10

      The Long Shots

    Too Good, Drake ft. Rihanna: I. Fuckin. Wish. This is best song on Views, and it combines the best of “This Is What You Came For” and “One Dance.” It’s had some traction in the weeks since Views came out, but unless Drake opts for an all-out SOTS push on this one, I don’t see it happening. And with “One Dance” in prime position, he doesn’t have much reason to do so.
    Likelihood: 3/10

    No Problem, Chance The Rapper ft. Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz: In a fair and just world, this or “All Night” would be our new national anthem. Instead, Trump is the nominee and this instant classic from Chance is left scratching and clawing it’s way up. Maybe if Chance had a label (and if you listen closely, you’ll hear some references to that in the song) but alas, it looks unlikely to happen for him.
    Likelihood: 2/10

    Uber Everywhere, Madeintyo: This song’s a killer idea (you better believe if you gimme the aux in an ubez this shit is coming one) with mediocre execution. It’s fun enough and hip enough to get some radio play, but it doesn’t seem infectious enough to actually claim the title.
    Likelihood: 3/10

    Into You, Ariana Grande: Yeah this song is better than “Dangerous Woman” and it’s gonna be a hit at some point. But as with the rest of Ariana’s newest songs, it didn’t make a big splash upon release and probably needs some ramp-up time. It’s a bit disappointing because it sounds tailor-made for a SOTS hit.
    Likelihood: 4/10

    Controlla, Drake: More Drizzy, cause making hits is all he does. This one’s another goddamn jam (told you there were better options than “One Dance”) with Jamaican dancehall-infused summer vibes. I’m not really sure why this hasn’t been a bigger hit yet, but it’s not sitting in terribly strong position to win the summer.
    Likelihood: 3/10

    Send My Love (To Your New Lover), Adele: If Adele released a song that was just seven minutes of her saying “summer is terrible, long live winter, and also ISIS isn’t that bad” I’d put it in the SOTS discussion. Fortunately, she’s chosen to make a push on this up-tempo, catchy af number instead. It’s wonderful, she’s wonderful and I’d bet this will be a top-20 song in the next few months.
    Likelihood: 5/10