Every summer, radio DJs clamor to find the next big hit, aiming to be the first to fill your car with the sounds of the season. They throw on the most recent pop hits, and let listeners decide what they should keep spinning throughout the sweltering summer months. And while DJs are slowly being replaced by Spotify playlists, the principle remains the same: It’s all about that summer jam.
We may not have direct-to-stereo access to your Honda Civic or your smartphone, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to throw our hats in the ring. Below are our top five songs of summer 2016. It’s an uncommonly poppy list for us, but hey, we like to party too. So crank up the volume, grab a cold one, and enjoy!
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Here are our top 5 songs for summer 2016, please enjoy them responsibly.
Kiss It Better (Kaytranada Remix) — Rihanna
Whether you’re bumping and grinding to her hit Drake collaboration Work, or jamming out to one of her numerous pop classics (who can ride in a boat without listening to Pon De Replay at some point?), Rihanna is the reigning queen of summer. But this year the island popstar’s best summer cut isn’t her standard album fare, it’s a remix by rising Hatian-Canadian producer Kaytranada. This version of Kiss It Better is a four-on-the-floor powerhouse fit to propel any gathering to the next level. Complete with re-harmonized chords and a mid-jam breakdown, Kaytranada reimagines Rihanna’s original grind-laden single into a club hit fit for late nights, beach parties, and jerk chicken cookouts — all of which are key ingredients to a perfect summer.
Can’t Stop The Feeling — Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake contributes perhaps the sunniest slice of music to this year’s summer pie, a smiley bit of new music which practically forces listeners to dance from the first beat break. The clean-cut track — a theme song for upcoming animated film Trolls — Can’t Stop is fit for people of all ages, shapes, and colors — bringing the super-posi vibes to any hot weather hangout. Plus, at almost five minutes runtime, it gives listeners plenty of time to get the party started.
Am I Wrong — Anderson .Paak
Disco and R&B combine to create the perfect summer hit, courtesy of rising star singer/rapper Anderson .Paak, the heavy-hitting up and comer recently signed to Dr. Dre’s Aftermath imprint. A foot-shuffling single replete with vocal and horn interludes and a Thriller-esq beat, Am I Wrong is a song for both early mornings and late nights, a sonic bookend which is equally good at getting you out of bed as it is getting you into it.
Panda — Desiigner
If you haven’t somehow already been inundated with the sounds of up-and-coming (t)rapper Desiigner’s hyper-catchy sonic guide to the BMW X6 SUV, allow us to illuminate you: “Black X6: Phantom, White X6: look like Panda.” Maybe it’s the beat (which was purchased for $200 online), or just the rapper’s drawl of an English accent, but this is one heater which will be totally driving you bonkers by summer’s end — both because you love it, and because it will have been banging from speakers everywhere you go for months on end.
No Problem — Chance The Rapper (feat. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne)
Who knew that independent wordsmith Chance The Rapper could throw down Southern-style trap music with the best of them, but here we are. No Problem, which was released as part of his latest Coloring Book mixtape, has everything one needs in a party banger: Guest verses from Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz, a healthy dose of autotune, and an extremely dance-worthy beat. Let’s face it, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better track for the first “Cannonball!” of the year.