The 4 Key Elements of A Summer Song
When I was a teenager I remember jamming a bunch of my friends into the car and belting to our summer song on the way to the beach. Windows down, tank topped, sunscreened, and with far more adrenaline than laying on a beach in the sun really needed- we had the world at our fingertips. We repeated, “This will be the best summer yet.” to ourselves- some shared affirmation that this was the one where it would be like the movies.
And from this beautiful little cove of #FloridaGirl energy came my love of all things summer songs. My love for this seasonal music specialty has carried me into my mid 30’s now. I still constantly chase what could be THE song of the year.
So this year I decided to break down what exactly makes a fantastic summer song. As far as I’m concerned, there are 4 key elements.
Now knowing my backstory, this probably can’t be too surprising for you. If a song doesn’t work with the windows down, blaring in a car, it’s not a true summer song. Cruisability is a perfect mesh of both “easy to listen to at a loud volume” and “not embarrassing to crank up”.
Of all the components, this is potentially the most abstract, but you can’t tell me that everyone doesn’t just instinctually know when a song is driveable. It bops, it vibes, it transcends.
Perhaps unlike other songs, we need a summer song to last an entire season which is why replayability is absolutely paramount. In fact, a true summer song, should only begin to be annoying by September.
Many songs come, but if they get annoying by mid-July, they’re not THE summer song. You’re looking for the long haulers, the ones that can take you from wedding season to July 4th to back to school shopping.
For this reason, sometimes summer songs aren’t #1 hits. Often they’ll have a more consistent #3 spot on the Billboard Top 100 and that gives them the longevity they need.
Of course, most summer songs also go to die on Adult Easy Listening Radio stations- that’s one key indicator that you’ve really made it. I’m looking at you Maroon 5.
The rhythm of a summer song is another crucial factor. They’re not high octane dance hits and they’re not ballads. They are a comfortable mid-tempo number. Something you could wiggle back and forth to at a backyard barbeque or wave your hand outside your car in the wind on a freeway.
Want to know if your summer song has the gentle bop we’re looking for? Simply look no further for the amount of times there is a “La la la” or a “Ooo Ooo” refrain. These key indicators will give you the right singability to vibe ratio you’re looking for here.
Typically a summer song will have come out in the year or so prior to the summer. However, because nostalgia is trending, that’s not always the case. So especially as you’re starting to figure out what is The Summer Song of 2022, don’t knock out some old familiars. I’m looking at you MGMT’s incessant revival of Electric Feel.
So there ya have it! 4 key components of an awesome summer song. What do you think? What are you blasting for Summer of 2022?