From Country Kiss-Offs To Bummer Jams, 5 Songs For Summer We can't tell you what the song of the summer will be — but here are five new songs you should put on your barbecue playlist.
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From Country Kiss-Offs To Bummer Jams, 5 Songs For Summer

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From Country Kiss-Offs To Bummer Jams, 5 Songs For Summer

From Country Kiss-Offs To Bummer Jams, 5 Songs For Summer

From Country Kiss-Offs To Bummer Jams, 5 Songs For Summer

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/484209918/484647170" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

If you're not the season's biggest fan, Weezer's "Endless Bummer" is for you. Courtesy of Weezer hide caption

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Courtesy of Weezer

If you're not the season's biggest fan, Weezer's "Endless Bummer" is for you.

Courtesy of Weezer

Every year around this time, the music world engages in a public battle to determine the Song Of The Summer. What's the one song that'll blare out of car radios, at barbecues and in sweaty clubs all season — that upbeat, inescapably catchy anthem that'll crop up in movie soundtracks years from now to set the action in the summer of 2016?

We're not in the business of answering that question. Instead, we asked five NPR Music staffers to pick their personal songs of the summer. NPR Music's Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson, Frannie Kelley, Anastasia Tsioulcas and Robin Hilton each weighed in with a favorite new song for your summer soundtrack.

NPR Music's Songs Of The Summer

  • Twenty One Pilots, 'Heathens'

    Twenty One Pilots is a duo from Columbus, Ohio, that's extremely popular with a certain set of teens and tweens. Its songs are often very deep and complex, and deal with the troubles that kids go through as they try to navigate life. "Heathens" might not sound like the sweet, delicious summer song we're all looking for — it actually has kind of a dark undertone — yet I believe this is a great song for this particular summer. Because, let's be honest, this is a summer of discontent. There seems to be a new disturbing news story every single day, and kids are trying to sort this out, too. "Heathens" is about not knowing exactly who your friends are, but having the faith to believe that you can trust who you choose to trust.

    Ann Powers

    YouTube
  • Maren Morris, 'Rich'

    Maren Morris is a 26-year-old country singer now based in Nashville. This song, "Rich," is a big kiss-off anthem for summertime. I think with summer music, you want big, bold, declarative statements. You want a song with universal emotions. You want a song that's telling a guy to shove off.

    Stephen Thompson

    YouTube
  • Young Thug and Travis Scott ft. Quavo, 'Pick Up The Phone'

    I like this song because the steel pan vibes — almost underwater, like The Little Mermaid — just sound like summer to me. It feels warm, it feels inviting. I'm charmed by the repeated pledges toward monogamy, although I don't 100 percent buy them, and I think that's kind of what summer is all about.

    Frannie Kelley

    YouTube
  • Mashrou' Leila, 'Aoede'

    Mashrou' Leila is a band from Beirut, Lebanon, that makes dark, heady music with super-literate lyrics. Its members always sing in Arabic, but even if you don't know what the words mean, you can get lost in the textures. "Aoede" references classical Greek mythology and one of the original Muses — Aoede is the Muse of song. The vocalist has this sweet, imploring quality as he asks Aoede to come console and inspire him. I can see you bringing this song to the beach or to a dance floor, but at the same time there's a really dark quality that swirls you up and sucks you in.

    Anastasia Tsioulcas

    YouTube
  • Weezer, 'Endless Bummer'

    Weezer is a veteran rock group that's been around for 20 years, but still makes brilliant pop music. The band has a new album out, a self-titled record that's being called "The White Album," and the whole thing is a tribute to The Beach Boys and to sweet, summery pop music. The record ends with "Endless Bummer," a very wistful track. To be honest, I've never really cared much for summer. I don't like the heat or the humidity or the bugs or the sun. I just stay inside and hide from it all and count the days until summer's over. So "Endless Bummer" captures how I usually feel, which is a little lethargic and lonely. It also has a great build to it — it ends with a dig at campfire songs on the beach that I can really get behind.

    Robin Hilton

    YouTube