When all the votes were counted, the radio plays added up and the sales pocketed by greedy label executives, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” was named the Song of the Summer 2013 by no less an authority than Billboard.
Some of the greatest performers in music history have had songs recognized as champions of summers, like Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” in 1986 and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” in 2003.
But the title does not come with the guarantee of everlasting superstardom: UB40 (1993’s “(I Can’t Help) Falling in Love With You”) had mostly retreated to England by the late 1990s, and All-4-One (1994’s “I Swear”) was last seen touring small venues on the same bill as Color Me Badd (no, really).
How does Thicke’s ode to “good girls” match up with some other summer classics? We sat down with a list of past winners of the Song of the Summer title to see.
Four beach balls
The debut single for Aguilera introduced the world to the strongest-voiced Mousketeer. It also made a lot of older men feel creepy after watching the 18-year old prance around beachside in the music video.
Three beach balls
Like beach reading, maybe the best summer song is the simplest. Mix’s ode to derrières is still, 22 years later, a karaoke and wedding party go-to.
Two beach balls
If one is going to rip off a deceased artist, it might as well be Marvin Gaye. Slick and disposable, it neither portends a long career for Thicke nor prevents one.
One beach ball
Sometimes, it feels like culture fell down and hit its head.
Zero beach balls
When tempted to laugh at the preteens of today obsessing over Justin Bieber, remember that you likely, at one point, knew how to do the Macarena. A little humility, please.