Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend"
Justin Bieber played right into the arms of his adoring fanbase with his biggest hit yet, "Boyfriend," which brilliantly offers the hypothetical situation that all Beliebers have dreamed of at least once: "If I was your boyfriend..." Instant hit. It's also teaching teens to be classy with that line about fondue
"Where Have You Been?"
The straight dance track "Where Have You Been" would have been a summer sensation on its own, but it's been significantly bolstered by the body paint Rihanna sports in its steamy music video. Wearing very little clothing continues to be a great career move for this woman.
"Beez in the Trap" feat. 2 Chainz
Nicki Minaj's "Starships" is everywhere these days, but her low key single featuring 2 Chainz better showcases her talent. The Harajuku Barbie doesn't have much room to show off her rhymes these days now that she's pumping out club bangers with David Guetta.
Though Usher's searing Diplo-produced single "Climax" is arguably his best-ever work, the Max Martin dance hit "Scream" serves up the exact brand of fist-pumping fun one expects from a syrupy summer hit .
Grouplove, one of the happiest bands in existence, actually released its joyful hit "Tongue Tied" last summer. Both the song and its party-gone-awry music video have steadily gained steam over the past several months, as the track hit No. 1 on the Alternative Songs chart in June.
"Drunk on You"
When a country music star wants to make a big summer splash, all he has to do is throw down a few alcohol and truck references. Released in February, the song really hit its stride in June thanks to lyrics like, "Hey, I'm a little drunk on you / And high on summertime."
"Let's Go" feat. Ne-Yo
Calvin Harris' current chart-climber "Let's Go" is not his best work, but no one really cares. It's just one of the better-produced examples of the Ibiza-flavored party music that's dominating mainstream radio right now. And it's great for a pool party.
Alex Clare's "Too Close"
British singer-songwriter Alex Clare was dropped from his Universal Island contract in the UK after his 2011 debut album The Lateness of the Hour failed to sell. In 2012, however, Clare's dubstep-influenced single "Too Close" was used in an Internet Explorer 9 commercial. It subsequently reached No. 9 on the UK charts.
"Look at Where We Are" (Major Lazer Remix)
Earnest dance music is shockingly rare, particularly in today's EDM-dominated pop landscape. Enter Hot Chip, champions of emotional honesty, whose single "Look at Where We Are" sounds even more remarkable with a dubby infusion courtesy of Major Lazer.
The Lumineers' "Ho Hey"One of the summer's most surprising hits belongs to Denver natives the Lumineers, whose spirited folk track "Ho Hey" caught steam after it was prominently featured in a Bing commercial in June.
Bobby Womack's "Please Forgive My Heart"
Living legend Bobby Womack won over a new generation of fans with the June 2012 release of The Bravest Man in the Universe, which features this stunningly arranged lead single produced by Damon Albarn and Richard Russell. It's got lovely flaws.
You'd think the world would be too distracted by the media blitz that is Kimye to pay attention to the music West and his G.O.O.D. Music colleagues are producing, but as is often the case with Kanye, the music somehow transcends the hype. It's some bizarro miracle.
"Let's Have a Kiki"
Though "Let's Have a Kiki" hasn't been released as an official single, it's the Scissor Sisters' biggest hit in years, thanks in part to an ultra-fabulous fan-made video comprised of snippets of the gayest moments in pop culture. For those not in the know, a "Kiki" is "a party, for calming all your nerves."
"Blow Me (One Last Kiss)"
Leave it to Pink to offer the summer's cheekiest song title with "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)." Naturally, it's packed full of dirty words, including a chorus that includes the lines, "You think I'm just too serious / I think you're full of s**t." Well said, well said.
"Thinkin Bout You"
Though Frank Ocean's "Thinkin Bout You" has been percolating on the web for over a year, the singer's untouchable falsetto reached a number of new fans when it was officially released to radio in May 2012. Ocean's debut album, channel ORANGE, is already one of the summer's biggest critical and commercial hits.
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs'
"Tapes and Money"
Chances are you haven't heard of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, aka Orlando Higginbottom, but if you're at all interested in expertly crafted, darkly romantic dance tracks, this song is a must.