Saturday marks the official start of summer, and as we have every year for the last few, were here with our picks for the songs to get you through the sweaty season.
Theres a bounty of pool-ready tunes at hand this year, led by a strong contingent of female vocalists who, to varying degrees, are lighting up pop music with their own spin on the tried-and-true.
But enough chatter lets get down to our 10 favorite tracks heading into 2014s sun-scorched stretch of days.
La Roux, Uptight Downtown
The lead single from La Roux (nee Elly Jackson)s hotly anticipated sophomore LP, Trouble in Paradise (due out next month), is a scintillating, synth-laced gem straight out of the mid-80s. Riding a percolating beat and Jacksons elegantly clipped vocals, Uptight Downtown is the ne plus ultra of summer 14 jams.
Iggy Azalea, Fancy
If youve been anywhere near a radio in the last couple months, youve heard this irresistible banger and, just as likely, people shouting along to the chorus (Im so fancy ). As odes to conspicuous consumption go, Fancy which gets plenty of juice from rising star Iggy Azalea and a scorching Charli XCX cameo sets a high bar, and marks Aussie rapper Azalea as a force to be reckoned with.
Ariana Grande, Problem
Zigging when most others would zag, pop starlet Ariana Grande (hailed by some as Mariah Carey 2.0) fuses a naggingly catchy sax riff (shades of Jason Derulos Talk Dirty) with a counterintuitive, whispered chorus a la Ying Yang Twins immortal Wait. Her skyscraping vocals, contrasted nicely with guest Iggy Azaleas roundhouse contribution, make this a guilty pleasure with punch.
Pharrell, Marilyn Monroe
Happy may be the song fast wearing out its welcome, but Pharrells uneven LP Girl contains a few other pleasures, namely this tribute to screen icon Marilyn Monroe and fellow helpless romantics. More than any other cut on Girl, this tune lays bare the producer/performers time spent with Daft Punk squint a little and its not hard to imagine the robots doing wondrous things with this tune.
DJ Snake & Lil Jon, Turn Down for What
This years prime example of a little going a long way, this surprisingly spare smash hit catapults Lil Jon back into the spotlight (remember when hed turn up on a song like this like clockwork?), just as it introduces rising French star DJ Snake (aka William Grigahcine) to Stateside ears.
Sam Smith, Stay With Me
Poised to be one of the years breakout stars, British vocalist Sam Smith soars on this lead-off single from his just-released debut album, In the Lonely Hour. He was an undeniable highlight at this years South by Southwest, before wowing a national audience on Saturday Night Live earlier this year. Just trying listening to this and remaining unmoved.
Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars
Although most of the British superstars latest long-player is a downer, Ghost Stories does contain this soaring anthem, co-written with EDM giant Avicii. A throbbing throwback to the world-beating early days, A Sky Full of Stars infuses uplift with pathos, and the result is heavenly.
Rixton, Me and My Broken Heart
Sometimes, nothing satisfies like saccharine pop. Brit boy band Rixton, the latest act folded under Justin Bieber manager Scooter Brauns wing, is just beginning to gain traction in America, thanks to this totally fluffy but amazingly infectious song.
Ed Sheeran, Sing
A tender-hearted troubadour takes an intriguing left turn with the first single from his just-released album X (pronounced multiply). Sheeran embraces hip-hop rhythms even going so far as display his rapping prowess on this falsetto-fueled earworm.
Miranda Lambert, Automatic
The pride of Lindale casts a fond glance backward on an ode to a more simple time, evoking her poignant smash The House That Built Me as she pushes forward on her new album Platinum. Although shes singing about life in general, its not hard to imagine Lambert would approve of a summer spent around the swimmin hole catching fireflies.