2012 Summer Yearbook: Songs of the Summer

Music editor Keo Nozari on the pros and cons of this summer’s most popular gay anthems.
August 31, 2012

(Carly Rae Jepsen)

1. “Call Me Maybe” - Carly Rae Jepsen

There was no “maybe” about it: 26-year-old Carly Rae Jepsen had without question the song of the summer. It spent the most weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 of any song so far this year (ten weeks at press time) and sold more than 7 million digital copies (making it one of the best-selling digital songs ever). But what’s more impressive is how viral the song became, spawning countless online parodies, from the USA Olympic Swim Team (including Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte) to Sesame Street to James Franco to Katy Perry. Plus, the song’s video—where Jepsen offers a surprise twist: the guy she wants to call her ends up being gay—undoubtedly added to her gay fan base.

PROS: Unabashedly joyful and playful, it’s pure pop escapism at its best!
CONS: DJs who love darker sounds were calling never. Became the unintended calling card for girls with low self-esteem. Call me maybe? No bitch, call me now!

2. "Let’s Have a Kiki” - Scissor Sisters

PROS: A gorgeous slice of New York nostalgia dipping into 1990s ballroom culture for inspiration. This runner-up was undoubtedly the gay summer soundtrack song, a perfect combo of revelatory and celebratory.
CONS: An expression that’s been kicking around New York for decades, it found a lot of people tardy for the party. Madonna is pissed she didn’t think of this in 1990 as a sequel to “Vogue”!

3. “Somebody That I Used to Know” - Gotye

PRO: Following last year’s trend of sad-song-as-summer-song (Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”), it was the unexpected and refreshing breakout, breakup song of not just the summer, but the entire calendar year.
CON: Depressing as fuck, it caused people to cry their eyes out at the beach, over-salting their margaritas.

4. “What Makes You Beautiful” - One Direction

PRO: Boy bands are back with these cute London lads leading the way.
CON: Boy bands are back.

5. “Titanium” - David Guetta Feat. Sia

PRO: Former Song-of-Summer champ with “When Love Takes Over,” Guetta proves to be indestructible.
CON: Seriously, we find it disconcerting that Sia—who is the featured vocalist here—didn’t appear in this video or the video for her other summer hit, “Wild Ones” with Flo Rida. Was this her choice or was the 36-year-old bisexual shut out by record companies being ageist, homophobic and obsessed with bikini-clad bods?

6. “Starships” - Nicki Minaj

PRO: Certified triple platinum, it’s Minaj’s second solo Top 10 single (after “Super Bass”).
CON: A video so awful, all copies need to be rounded up and blasted into the deep reaches of space!

7. “We Are Young” - Fun.

PRO: Exuberant Brooklyn-based band’s ode to youth, joy and setting the world on fire.
CON: Unintended young arsonists’ marching music.

8. “Payphone” - Maroon 5

PRO: Catchy melody and Adam Levine’s renewed visibility as a sex symbol had fans calling him (not maybe).
CON: In a 2012 word of cellphones, the concept of a payphone feels crazy-dated. Get off that payphone, Adam; it’s covered in germs!

9. “Wide Awake” - Katy Perry

PRO: Buoyed by her 3D movie Part of Me, this makes three summers in a row Perry has coaxed a smash from her mega album, Teenage Dream.
CON: All that 3D tittie action left us a little too wide awake.

10. “Timebomb” - Kylie Minogue

PRO: Became Minogue’s ninth No. 1 on the Billboard dance chart and proved her as explosive a pop vixen as ever.
CON: We have to wait until next year for her new album?


Honorable Mentions:

• “Where Have You Been,” Rihanna

• “Dance Again,” Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull

• “Lights,” Ellie Goulding

• Usher with “Scream” and as featured on David Guetta’s “Without You.”