There is always that one song that defines the summer. More so than any other season, really. There are never many hit songs of the fall, or the winter, but there is always a number one summer song. That one anthem that everyone learns eventually, sometimes reluctantly. The song that little kids sing to themselves on the playground. The song that your grandma asks you about on the phone. I’m sure you are thinking about one right now. It is hard to say what the number one song of this summer is going to be (we have our guesses though) but thanks to the internet (and Billboard Charts) it is pretty easy to see that the top summer songs of the 2000’s have been. So let’s take a look, shall we?

2000: Aaliyah “Try Again”

The first top summer song of the new century. This song was on the soundtrack to the film Romeo Must Die, which is the film that Aaliyah made her acting debut in. It is no mystery as to why this was the hottest song of the summer in 2000. It oozes 2000’s pop. It sounds a little 90’s but edgy enough to fit into the new millenium. It is sad to think that just a year later, we would lose Aaliyah and her catchy pop songs to the tragic plane crash that ended her life. She is still missed by the music world.

2001: Lifehouse “Hanging By a Moment”

2001 saw a slower jam for its hottest summer song. “Hanging By a Moment” was the breakout song for Christian rock band Lifehouse, but man did it rule that summer. Lead singer Jason Wade’s gravelly voice still haunts our memories of that summer. They would take over a few years later with that song “You and Me” that every guy with a guitar seemed to learn right away in hopes that it would help them seduce girls in coffee shops. But none of their voices were gravelly enough. So sad.

2002: Nelly “Hot in Herre”

In 2002, not only did we get a new anthem for the warm weather, but school dances everywhere got a new song to close out the night with. It is such a simple concept and Nelly expressed it so well. It didn’t matter that middle schoolers should not have known every word to this song, it was too catchy to not sing along to. And that extra “r” in “herre”? Man, that was classic. Thank you Nelly.

2003: Beyoncé (feat. Jay-Z) “Crazy in Love”

Who doesn’t know this song? If you were awake for any second of 2003 than you have to remember this song. Five years before the couple would secretly get married in New York City, Beyoncé and Jay-Z collaborated on Beyoncé’s first single as a solo artist. 2003 was the first year that the world succumbed to Mrs. Knowles-Carter and realized that she was going to be around for a while. Hey, America is still crazy in love with her, and it has been ten years since this song came out!

2004: Usher “Confessions Pt. II”

Oh Usher. Who knew that a song about how awful of a boyfriend you are would do so well? Not only that, but this is part two of his confessions. The summer of 2004 must have been a little heavy with everyone cruising down the 101 singing along to how his girl on the side is pregnant. Sure, the song is catchy, but listen to the words. It is such a sad song. The video is a bit weird too. But hey, who can’t resist Usher? Obviously 2004 couldn’t.

2005: Mariah Carey “We Belong Together”

Four years after America tried to forget about Glitter and three years before she would marry Nick Cannon, Mariah Carey took over another season. Since 1994, Carey has basically owned winter with “All I Want for Christmas is You” but she owned summer in 2005 with “We Belong Together.” It was quite the comeback after the travesty that was Glitter and its accompanying soundtrack. Although Mariah Carey really hasn’t been truly relevant since the 1990’s, for one summer she had her glory back.

2006: Nelly Furtado (feat. Timbaland) “Promiscuous”

In 2000, Nelly Furtado released her debut album Whoa, Nelly! to moderate success. The world was given poppy, slightly folky songs “I’m Like a Bird” and “Turn Off the Light” and it seemed as though we were all content. Apparently Miss. Furtado felt as though she had a different side to show the world and she teamed up with Timbaland to completely change her sound. “Promiscuous” was born and the world sort of just blinked their eyes for a while. “Is this the same Nelly Furtado?” people who ask in confusion. Yes, yes it is the same Nelly Furtado. She flew away like a bird and came back…like this.

2007: Fergie “Big Girls Don’t Cry”

In 2006 Fergie (no, not the Dutchess) decided to take a break from the band The Black Eyed Peas to start a solo career. Her solo career was successful. She had a lot of hits, including 2007’s summer anthem “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” First off, that is not true. But whatever, people liked it. Personally, we are glad the world moved on after that summer, but we do admit the song becomes hilarious if you imagine that she is singing it to the guys in The Black Eyed Peas.

2008: Katy Perry “I Kissed a Girl”

People seem to forget that before Katy Perry found fame from kissing girls, she had a song on the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants soundtrack. Now that we have reminded you though, we will also remind you how this song completely took over the summer of 2008. We haven’t found documented proof, but it is probably not a wild guess to say that cherry Chapstick sales went up. Round of applause for Katy Perry too – this was definitely an effective way of breaking into the charts.

2009: Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling”

Fergie is back with The Black Eyed Peas, so they of course had to release a song to remind everyone that they’re back. During the summer of 2009, you could not escape this song if you tried. Most people just didn’t try because it was basically impossible. There was no escape. It was everywhere. No other songs existed. It was just us, Black Eyed Peas and this…feeling. Every night was potentially an awesome night during the summer of 2009. Everyone just had this feeling.

2010: Katy Perry “California Gurls”

And Katy is back. This time accompanied by Snoop Dogg (he wasn’t Snoop Lion yet) and with a message to spread: that California girls are unforgettable. Despite how much people may have wanted to forget this song. Gurl please, there is no forgetting this song. It played so much during those warm 2010 months that it is forever ingrained into our collective subconscious that we will never forget that California girls have skin so high in temperature they will ruin your delightful frozen treats.

2011: Pitbull “Give Me Everything”

Has anyone heard from Pitbull lately? Has he been doing anything? The cover of this in Pitch Perfect doesn’t count. This song is pretty much the perfect song to jump up and down fist pumping to. And that is all anyone did the summer of 2011. Whether you were out at a bar or club or in your parents basement, everyone was giving their everything and fist pumping to Pitbull. Sometimes reluctantly, but you just had to do it.

2012: Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe”

Despite being released in 2011, it took a little hype from Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez and the Harvard Baseball team dancing in a van to make this song an international sensation. There is no mystery as to why this song became so popular. It’s catchy. Hauntingly, perfectly catchy. And the music video has the best twist ending since “Sugar We’re Going Down.” You can belt this song while driving. You can dance along in any venue. Your grandma and your dad both know the words. People can try and pretend that they do not know the words to this song but they are only fooling themselves.

2013: Prediction

It is too early to tell which song will become the 2013 summer anthem. At mid-June it could really be taken by anyone. Heck, it might not even be released yet. There are, however, some good contenders. Icona Pop’s “I Love It” has the make-up to be a summer anthem. Macklemore is certainly popular enough that one of his tracks could do it. However, we think it will be Daft Punk with “Get Lucky”. There is just something about the track that screams summer. Plus, Daft Punk are classic. It’s about time they ruled the summer!

What do you think will be the hottest track of summer 2013?

Featured photo credit: Otis Yang via photopin cc

Erin Browne is a Colorado State University graduate with a degree in Journalism and Technical Communication. She loves to travel, especially if there is a concert involved and she tries to write about music as much as possible. She feels personally victimized that The Social Network lost the Oscar to The King's Speech in 2011. Where most people are water, she is latte and she liked goats before Buzzfeed thought they were cool. She is also wildly hilarious on Twitter.