With the sun’s full force on the top of our heads, it’s time to discuss an annual phenomenon known as the “summer hit”. Every year, there is one. It pops up somewhere in between new year’s eve and June, and sticks around for decades sometimes. But what make a summer hit? Here are the three quintessential ingredients.
[ Daft Punk - Get Lucky, 2013 ]
When Vivaldi released his Summer in 1725, he did’t play it by the rules. A solid summer banger consists of a repetitive melody over a maximum of four chords. Is has to be sing-alongable (whether it’s Korean, Swedish, or Moldavian), and revolves around a “hook” - the melodic motive often audible in the intro and reused throughout the song.
[ O-Zone - Dragostea din tei, 2004 ]
Several summer hits over the past decades came with a little dance that proved easy enough to learn for a broad audience. Simple arm movements like in the Macarena, or imitating horseback riding as with Psy’s Gangnam Style go a long way in making a simple song compelling and interactive. Also, let’s not forget the Ketchup Song, of which the music video scenery perfectly depicts a summer somewhere in the 2000s.
[ Las Ketchup - The Ketchup Song (Aserejé), 2002 ]
This last part is a bit if a tricky one since there are no fixed indicators of what makes a “summer vibe”. Musically, it mirrors the lightness of a summer breeze while facilitating a flirty dance after four Corona’s. Lyrics-wise, there are references to the beach, sun, dancing outside, or simply to the season itself. Commercially, it’s as popular as gelato on a sweaty summer day.
[ Guru Josh Project - Infinity 2008 ]