Song of the Summer 2015: Billboard Staff Picks

Demi Lovato Cool For The Summer 2015
Courtesy of VEVO

Demi Lovato in the video for "Cool For The Summer."

While OMI's "Cheerleader" landed on top of the Billboard Songs of the Summer pyramid, the bouncy hit was hardly the only track we were jamming to for the last three months.

OMI's 'Cheerleader' Is No. 1 Song of the Summer

Below, the staff picks their personal favorite song of the summer -- the one that might not define everyone's summer of 2015, but will certainly define ours.

Demi Lovato, "Cool for the Summer"
"With a teasing piano intro that nearly recalls John Carpenter's Halloween theme -- and one of the hardest riffs on a pop song in recent memory -- Demi's ode to illicit Sapphic desire is one of the summer's best sing-alongs. It can start the party and then soundtrack the one-on-one afterparty -- just don't tell your mother." -- Joe Lynch

"Is it cliché for my song of the summer to have the word 'summer' in the title? Whatever, I don't care. Since I spent this summer getting in touch with my inner #teen, when Demi dropped this perfect pop bomb, I was all over it. At the beach, in the car, in the shower, I played this song everywhere because it's a f---ing masterpiece." -- Trish Halpin

The Districts, "Chlorine"
"If I could, I’d pick every song off of the Districts’ 2015 release A Flourish and a Spoil, each one a perfectly saturated mix of innocence and adolescent angst. However, Chlorine stands out for the opening chorus lines: 'It’s such a shame/ Nobody’s feeling it now' which seem to easily evoke the same nostalgic boredom felt by anyone who spent their high school summers stuck in the suburbs." -- Tracy Allison

Father John Misty, “Holy Shit”
"Yes, there were thousands of peppier songs released in 2015 that better fit the idea of a summer song. Yes, it’s an album cut. And yes, I Love You, Honeybear came out in February. But it was the song I actually listened to the most in the summer of 2015. It was my perfect contemplative antidote for all the perky things blasting from everywhere else in the summer." (Runner-up: Mika, “Talk About You") -- Rena Gross

Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
"I first heard Fetty Wap’s 'Trap Queen' in early January, and while it has defined 2015 as a whole for me, the song’s momentum really took hold when the temperature started rising. I’ve enjoyed 'Trap Queen' in clubs, at karaoke bars, blasting out of passing cars on summer nights and blaring out of my earbuds on summer mornings walking to the office. 'Trap Queen' turned the summer of 2015 into the summer of 1738." -- Jason Lipshutz

"When I first heard the song, I remember being mesmerized by Fetty’s unconventional vocals. Is he singing, rapping… yodeling? Whatever he’s doing is working because he sounds like no one else in music right now. Combine that with the syncopated beat, and you have a refreshing formula for a summer jam. And I’m sure we’ve all greeted a friend with 'Hey, what’s up, hello!' by now." -- Reg Gonzales

Fetty Wap, "Again"
"Fetty Wap dominated the airwaves this summer, and it’s safe to say when I think of summer 2015, I’ll think of blasting his songs as he croons about his version of romance." -- Aggi Ashagre

Little Mix, "Black Magic"
"I will always remember summer 2015 as the time I became a Little Mix fan, for which I give full credit to their hit 'Black Magic,' my personal song of summer. Anybody else want to have a spontaneous dance party? Because I do. Every time I listen to them." -- Erin Strecker

Major Lazer, MØ and DJ Snake, "Lean On"
"After I watched MØ perform it in her Bonnaroo set, this one really struck a nerve with me -- watching this eclectic, genre-hopping alt-pop singer suddenly launch into a song that everyone knew and getting a massive response. It made me think of how top 40 is inviting itself into some wacky places this summer. The distorted whoa-uh-uh-oh definitely warmed me up for getting into Bieber's recent singles." -- Chris Payne

" Major Lazer and DJ Snake’s 'Lean On' hit the airwaves in April and soon found a place in heavy rotation on my Spotify Summer Mix. (Note: Since my decision was made, I learned that Spotify's song of the summer is also “Lean On,” and I have no problem with that.) The song stood out to me for its unique sound -- due in part to MØ's extraordinary vocals -- and the Bollywood influence brought to life in the video. (Glad it worked out with Rihanna passing on the song.) I try not to get caught up in the censored “blow a kiss... into the sun” edit, which is a somewhat extreme update dubbed into the video I watched on a recent flight. The upbeat song you can’t help moving to peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100." -- Leslie Richin

Maroon 5, "Sugar"
"Forgive the pun, but Maroon 5's 'Sugar' is such a sweet, poppy jam with a great hook that makes it a perfect summer tune. Come one, you know when Adam Levine croons 'Sugar, yes please. Won't you come and put it down on me?' you're begging right along with him." -- Denise Warner

Nicky Jam and Enrique Iglesias, "El Perdon (Forgiveness)"
"The romantic, melodic reggaeton track stuck like glue (and has spent 27 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Latin Songs chart). Irresistibly catchy, it speaks to guys and girls alike with its plaintive chorus of lost love." -- Leila Cobo

Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique, "Love Is Free"
"The official start of summer is June 21, so it's no surprise that this '90s dance throwback arrived on June 18, just in time to soundtrack every hot summer month. The 'Love Is Free' message is appropriately summery, and I love Robyn's directions on where to track down love: 'It's all over this city/ Sometimes in the ugly, sometimes in the pretty.'" -- Katie Atkinson

Skrillex and Diplo feat. Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now"
"I love everything about 'Where Are U Now' -- from the vocals to the moody soundscape. Skrillex and Diplo’s irresistible sonic canvas provided the perfect comeback for Justin Bieber. And it’s an earworm that hasn’t gotten old for me even months after first hitting. (And now, I have yet another Bieber song I can’t stop singing: 'What Do You Mean?')" -- Serena Kappes

Tame Impala, “The Less I Know the Better”
"With its funky dry bass, dreamy keys, sublime chorus and subtle touches of production magic, Kevin Parker has engineered a broken-heart classic for a new generation. Oh, and that Trevor guy isn’t welcome anywhere right now." -- Lars BrandleThundercat, "Them Changes"
"It's just a brilliantly funky breakup song that's totally current but fits in among some of the best old-school funk and soul stuff too. With Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington onboard, 'Them Changes' is a great meeting of L.A.'s most out-there musical minds while keeping it totally palatable with a bass line that moves you right in the pelvis." -- Colin Stutz

The Weeknd, "Can't Feel My Face"
"Love this song because it's got everything in it; an ominous beginning, anticipatory climb and a catchy chorus that's on fire, literally." (Runners-up: Zac Brown Band, "Loving You Is Easy" and Skrillex and Diplo ft. Justin Bieber, "Where Are U Now") -- Shira Karsen

Years & Years, "King"
"Warm summer breezes on the shore -- when a song encapsulates that feeling in its opening notes, it's magic. I was lucky enough to explore the Amalfi coast in May, and this song is forever ingrained in my memory driving around the magnificent cliffs. Couldn't ask for a better way to sum up summer than that." -- Everett Brothers

Joshua Jesse, "Heliotrop"
"This gem comes courtesy of underground Berlin imprint Katermukke. Jesse’s lush production perfectly captures the anticipation that accompanies summer sunsets ushering day into night." -- Matt Medved


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