senior editor, @stefanmymind
Why It's the Jam: After a career that has seen Beck go from freak folkie to mixtape mastermind to Grammy-winning alt icon, it's great to see that Beck's still got enough surrealist California rascal in him to bring the spaced-out summer bounce.
Standout Lyric: "Standing on the lawn doin' jiu-jitsu / Girl in a bikini with the Lamborghini Shih Tzu"
Shots Fired: Twenty years ago, while Kanye West was still working on getting his very first production credit, and Degrassi was but a twinkle in Drake's eye, Beck was dominating the airwaves with his groundbreaking album, Odelay. And now he's still got enough magic in him to both produce hit records and get Kanye to publicly apologize after throwing an ill-advised insult his way.
Tegan and Sara, "Boyfriend"
senior editor, @re.beccabates
Why It's the Jam: This just has a really simple, '80s-inspired construction, from its synthy melody to its lyrics. The speaker is a confused lover who feels like she's trapped in a game, the rules of which she doesn't fully understand. You could probably memorize the whole thing after listening to it three times. If I lived near a suburb and owned a car, I'd get my friends together at about 10 p.m. and drive around with the windows down playing this to annoy my parents' neighbors. It's that fun.
Standout Lyric: "You call me up like you want your best friend / You turn me on like you want your boyfriend"
Shots Fired: Tegan and Sara aren't former teen pop stars incapable of sonic reinvention. This might be just a fun little pop track, but you can chart an actual trajectory in their discography, between their funky folk first single "Where Does the Good Go" and now.
Britney Spears, "Make Me…"
editorial assistant, @rebeccadecz
Why It's the Jam: Three years after the release of her last album, the O.G. pop princess is back with a track that channels the sultry attitude of "Toxic"-era Brit, paired with a mellow, synth-heavy vibe perfect for 2016.Standout Lyric: "Igniting the heat of the moment / Let the sparks fuse"
Shots Fired: Friday, November 20th, 2015: Beyoncé and Jay-Z are spotted in the audience of Britney's Las Vegas residency—if Bey is a fan, surely we should all be rooting for the comeback of the "Baby One More Time" songstress. It's Britney, bitch.
assistant editor, @chanelinezp
Why It's the Jam: Even if Jay-Z didn't cheat on you personally, the clap-back rhythm and sing-talk vocals are enough to put you in a twerking tailspin (yes, even on the train).Standout Lyric: "Stop interrupting my grinding"
Shots Fired: When a Beyoncé banger is on this list, do people like Drake, Britney, and even Beck (according to Kanye West) matter? Don't think so. #QueenBey #BowDown
Mayer Hawthorne, "Love Like That"
editorial intern, @abbeymaxbauer
Why It's the Jam: This song is the perfect combination of upbeat, catchy, and a little bit sexy. The lyrics may read as a bit scandalous, but Mayer Hawthorne's funky, Motown-influenced melody will have you singing along in no time.
Standout Lyric: "I bite my tongue, I bide my time / You lick your lips, you drink your wine"
Shots Fired: Even if you're into the oldies, this song is a reminder that there are contemporary artists who are making music that's just as good. Leave Mick Jagger behind and join the rest of us in 2016.
administrative assistant, @tallylabella
Why It's the Jam: Any song with some dancehall flavor is an automatic jam in my book. If you can listen to this without dancing a little scandalously, then you're doing something wrong.
Standout Lyric: "I need to know, where do you wanna go / Cause if you're down I'll take it slow / Make you lose control"
Shots Fired: A song can't really be the Song of the Summer without a good beat. Sorry, Beck, but you just can't keep pace with One Dance's iconic "riddim."
The Rolling Stones, "Play With Fire"
deputy editor, @mallory-rice
Why It's the Jam: This song is not new, obvs, but at the beginning of the summer, I was at a bar with some friends when it started playing, and I felt the overwhelming feeling that maybe this wasn't the song of the summer, but it was most definitely about to be my song of the summer. (See chosen lyric for more info on my #summervibe.)
Standout Lyric: "Don't play with me / 'Cause you're playing with fire"
Shots Fired: Hey, Beyoncé: This is how you threaten a shitty boyfriend. (Also: come on, girl. Just leave him already!)
Disclosure ft. Al Green, "Feel Like I Do"
associate editor, @thet_t
Why It's the Jam: Because of Al Green! Disclosure instantly wins by deftly sampling snippets of the legendary soul singer's mega-hit, "I'm Still in Love with You." The entire track is entrancingly repetitive, soulful, and just dance-y enough.
Standout Lyric: "I feel like I do / Like I do"
Shots Fired: I stand for Drake, too, but even he has to give credit where credit is due. Don't believe Drake's career could've been influenced by Al Green? Well, then you'd be majorily insulting his own family: Drake's uncle, the late Teenie Hodges, worked as a songwriter for the soul artist.
Chance the Rapper ft. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne, "No Problem"
managing editor, @cat_fuentes
Why It's The Jam: The best summer music is meant to be played loud when you're out having a good time. I dare you to listen to this anthemic track and tell me that it's not made for an epic summer party.
Standout Lyric: "This is my blessin' / This is my passion / School of hard knocks / I took night classes"
Shots Fired: Move over, Drake. Chance the Rapper deftly proves he's the future of hip-hop on his latest album, which places his beliefs in social change at the forefront. "No Problem" is about just how much major labels interfere with artistic vision, which shows that Chance is not an industry puppet—and that he has a bright future of making danceable beats with hip-hop titans like Lil Wayne for many years to come.
Maggie Rogers, "Alaska"
art director, @amh_hunt
Why It's the Jam: This song sometimes makes me a little emotional, tbh (hey, it made Pharrell cry, so it's OK). The first time I heard this, I fell in love and immediately knew it would be one I'd have on repeat all summer long. It's beautiful and relaxing, and it has a distinctive vibe that sets it apart from anything else happening right now. Summer is, after all, about taking it easy and being chill; this song is perfect for long drives with the windows down and your hair blowing in the wind, or just lying out with your toes in the sand, or the grass, or wherever your favorite spot is.
Standout Lyric: "And I walked off you / And I walked off an old me / Oh me oh my I thought it was a dream / So it seemed"
Shots Fired: Beyoncé and Drake are masterminds, but when's the last time they moved Pharrell to tears? Need I say more?
Anderson .Paak, "Come Down"
assistant editor, @chantagold
Why It's the Jam: You can be in the lowest of moods, and this song will instantly pick you up. It will pick you up so much, in fact, that Paak literally has to tell you to come down.
Standout Lyric: "Uh, so hard to be doing what you really meant for, beauty / Huh, but don't I make it look easy / Don't I make it look good"
Shots Fired: Britney Spears, Beck, Tegan and Sara, heck, even The Rolling Stones—they've had their moments. Let's make some room for new sounds and fresh talent.
Want to listen to our picks? We made a playlist! You can find it on Spotify @wearesweet.