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Sizing up the Songs of Summer for 2013

Posted 3:05pm on Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2013

This time of year, as the thermometer begins to register triple digits, thoughts turn to summer soundtracks.

Finding just the right song — or mix of songs — to play at your next barbecue, pool party or other outdoor gathering can be a challenge.

To help out, DFW.com has pulled together its annual Songs of Summer playlist, with five gotta-hear tracks that will have you humming all the way to Labor Day — and beyond.

‘Blurred Lines,’ by Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell and T.I.

Just try to listen to this track once and not immediately hit the repeat button. (We’ll wait.) Riding a sublimely funky backbeat (more cowbell!) courtesy of producer Pharrell Williams, R&B lothario Robin Thicke deploys his lady-killing falsetto with aplomb, goosing this neo-disco joint with plenty of heat and risqué lyrics. Add in a roller-coaster guest verse from T.I. (who excels at this sort of cameo role), and you’ve got a strong contender for not only song of the summer, but maybe the year.

‘Get Lucky,’ Daft Punk

The mysterious, helmet-clad French electro-pop pioneers struck gold by revisiting disco’s heyday, bringing with them Pharrell Williams (he’s everywhere this summer) and a small army of top-shelf studio musicians. This infectious single, taken from the duo’s new LP, Random Access Memories, evokes late nights at Studio 54 even as it feels utterly contemporary. Daft Punk’s deft blend of old and new makes for an earworm you can’t get rid of.

‘I Love It,’ Icona Pop

This Swedish duo has an effervescent smash hit on its hands, built around a pounding electro beat and lyrics that will resonate with anyone who has ever escaped a bad relationship — or just wants to cut loose for two-and-a-half minutes. Earlier this year, at Taylor Swift’s sold-out Cowboys Stadium show, this tune came on over the house PA during an intermission and the effect was immediate: A roar went up from the audience, and bodies began moving about with glee. Case closed.

‘Q.U.E.E.N.,’ Janelle Monae featuring Erykah Badu

The lead single from Monae’s hotly anticipated album The Electric Lady, this gloriously odd, enticingly rhythmic piece of future-shock funk celebrates individuality (“Am I a freak for getting down?” Monae asks) and elicits a little help from Dallas’ own queen of neo-soul, Erykah Badu. Are we freaks for listening to this on a loop all day?

‘Closer,’ Tegan and Sara

Up until this sibling duo’s latest album, Heartthrob, Tegan and Sara Quin had trafficked mostly in plaintive acoustic ditties centered on love and loss. Eager for a change of sonic scenery, the sisters hooked up with producer Greg Kurstin, who splattered Day-Glo paint on smart, sleek tracks like this one, which hits like a sugar rush. Tegan and Sara didn’t forsake their skills of observation — “It’s not just all physical/I’m the type who won’t get oh so critical” — making Closer as capable of stirring emotions as it is of moving your feet.

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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