1."Call Me Maybe" - Carly Rae Jepsen
Her crush may have not called her back, but fame certainly did. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was the smash hit of smash hits. Jepsen’s first go at stardom was actually meant to be a folk song until producer John Ramsay transformed it into bubblegum pop— and thank goodness he did. The Canadian Idol alumni’s flirty lyrics paired with Ramsay’s production made for a summer song so catchy that it was covered by scads of celebrities—including Cookie Monster.
2.”Payphone” - Maroon 5 feat. Wiz Khalifa
Rap-pop collaborations in the 2000s seemed to guarantee a hit, and it worked yet again with “Payphone,” a somber hit about a romance gone abruptly wrong. For the music video, Adam Levine lived out action star fantasies as a hero overtaking bank robbers while Wiz Khalifa delivered quick verses in then-stylish fingerless gloves.
3."We Are Young" - Fun. feat. Janelle Monae
Fun. frontman Nate Reuss seemed determined to land a summer hit, and a summer hit he got. After the dim success of the band’s debut album, he snagged Beyonce’s and Kanye West’s producer, Jeff Bhasker (also the guy responsible for introducing Fun. to Janelle Monae). What they all created together was an indie-leaning masterpiece with broad pop appeal.
4. "Lights" - Ellie Goulding
One of our first introductions to Ellie Goulding, “Lights” had a touch of a dark side, plus a great melody and the kind of beat you could dance to. Goulding was among the first to rock the partially-shaved head that trended in 2012, as seen in the song’s music video. We wonder if the electro-tinged melody (and hairstyle) were at all inspired by her then-boyfriend, Skrillex (aka. Sonny John Moore)?
5. "Titanium" - David Guetta feat. Sia
It was no surprise that David Guetta’s beats, joined by Sia’s songwriting and soaring voice, made for an epic club hit. The track originally featured Mary J. Blige, but Guetta chose Sia’s demo—and released it without getting her approval. We’ll just blame his impulsiveness on the summer heat.
Little did we know...
The Hunger Games wouldn’t be the only book making headlines. E.L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey became insanely popular among thrill-seeking ladies everywhere. The very, very R-rated trilogy, which began as Twilight fan fiction, sold 100 million copies. It made the summer so hot that a number of public libraries banned the book.