8 contenders for 2013 song of the summer

A look at the tracks that will (or should) dominate the airwaves

Summer songs
(Image credit: Facebook/<a href="http://on.fb.me/104fQHO" target="_blank">Miguel</a>/<a href="http://on.fb.me/10Iilzu" target="_blank">Icona Pop</a>/<a href="http://on.fb.me/17zTwgJ" target="_blank">Ciara)

It's that time again, when radio DJs pull together the soundtrack to your sun-soaked road trips, barbecues, and pool parties. While 2012 brought us Carly Rae Jepsen's ubiquitous "Call Me Maybe" and Gotye's alt-anthem "Somebody That I Used to Know," this year's song of the summer contenders have been relatively low-profile by comparison. As temperatures rise, we're sure to see some of these songs ascend the charts. Here, eight earworms that will likely be inescapable by the end of the summer:

1. Mariah Carey feat. Miguel, "#Beautiful"

Mariah's "breezy duet" with rising R&B crooner Miguel is an interesting departure for the queen diva, who usually gravitates toward a modern R&B sound over the "pure pop" production heard here, says Aisha Harris at Slate. And although the song is more of a ballad than a party banger, "#Beautiful" is a smooth track that could be well on its way to dominating the airwaves. It almost makes the hashtag in the song's title forgivable. Almost.

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It's this year's: "Thinkin' Bout You." Frank Ocean's airy, sensual single from 2012's excellent Channel Orange goes down just as easily.

2. P!nk feat. Nate Ruess, "Just Give Me A Reason"

Pop's perpetual underdog teams with fun. lead singer Nate Ruess on this catchy track, which somehow manages to simultaneously be a heartache anthem and an earworm. And not just any earworm, says Ryan Broderick at BuzzFeed. "It's an almost deadly level of earworm. We're talking 'Livin' La Vida Loca' levels here."

It's this year's: "We Are Young." "Just Give Me A Reason" may feature more emotional longing and less celebration than fun.'s smash hit, but both share stomping percussion lines and swooping choruses bound to make you feel something.

3. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams, "Get Lucky"

After a tantalizing 15-second commercial teaser and a flood of false leaks, French robo-disco duo Daft Punk released their first single from their forthcoming LP Random Access Memories in April to much fanfare. The song, which features a funky rhythm guitar from Nile Rogers and a swaggeringly smooth vocal assist from Pharrell, has that signature Daft Punk disco groove. According to most critics, "Get Lucky" doesn't disappoint: "Call off the search party," says Rachel Brodsky at MTV. "'Get Lucky' is our official song of the summer 2013."

It's this year's: In many peoples' books, Daft Punk can't be likened to anyone. So we'll just say that "Get Lucky" shares disco vibes with French duo Modjo's 2000 hit "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)."

4. Avril Lavigne, "Here's to Never Growing Up"

The punk princess may be all grown up, but her latest pop confection is a catchy ode to youthful partying. Even if you think the "Complicated" singer is past her prime, beware: This tune "will be heavily featured at your backyard BBQ this summer," says Erin Strecker at Entertainment Weekly.

It's this year's: "Party in the USA," all the way down to the name-dropping of an unlikely artist (Avril's "singin' Radiohead at the top of our lungs," echoes Miley's "and a Jay-Z song was on" lyric with an equal amount of improbability).

5. Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX, "I Love It"

While the Swedish dance duo's infectious single was technically released in 2012, "I Love It" didn't catch up on U.S. charts until 2013. The carefree electro banger, which also soundtracked a party scene in an episode of HBO's Girls, is likely to go into heavy rotation both on and off the dance floor this summer.

It's this year's: "Since U Been Gone." While this Kelly Clarkson mega-hit opts for a more guitar-heavy chorus and puts emphasis on heartbreak, both songs similarly ascend to an emotional, mosh-worthy chorus that's best when it's screamed at the top of your lungs.

6. Ciara, "Body Party"

Ciara's breathlessly sexy "Body Party" marks a strong comeback for the "1, 2 Step" singer. In this "steamy, airless ballad, the drums don't hit as much as they exhale," says Jordan Sargent at SPIN.

It's this year's: "Nice & Slow." Usher's 1998 single has that same R&B slow-jam sensuality.

7. Tegan and Sara, "Closer"

The lead single off indie sisters Tegan and Sara's mainstream crossover album Heartthrob is a glittering synthpop production that's counterbalanced by lyrics that are "earthy and carnal," says Ken Tucker at NPR. The song's "billowing choruses" and precise lyrics prove that Tegan and Sara are "doing the good work of popular music."

It's this year's: "Dancing On My Own." Robyn's 2010 freeing dance hit is equally as triumphant.

8. Chvrches, "Recover"

Scottish up-and-comers Chvrches may not be cracking the Top 40, but their warm, soaring single has been lighting up the blogosphere. "Recover" is "the sort of single that makes the group's name," says Tom Breihan at Stereogum. If this song is any indication of Chvrches' promise, we'll be hearing a lot more from them in the future.

It's this year's: "Little Secrets." Chvrches would be wise to emulate the career of indie breakthrough band Passion Pit. Their 2010 single, "Little Secrets," proved that '80s-inspired dance tunes could succeed on the radio.

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Samantha Rollins

Samantha Rollins is TheWeek.com's news editor. She has previously worked for The New York Times and TIME and is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.