There are very few things music fans universally agree on, but each summer we’re somehow able to come to the consensus that a handful of mainstream hits will soundtrack the season in a big way. We set aside our personal tastes in pursuit of the perfect pop anthem, only to be brought to the breaking point by the sound of “Get Lucky,” “Call Me Maybe,” or “California Gurls” by the time Labor Day rolls around.
This year, we see various combinations of Iggy Azalea, Charli XCX, and Ariana Grande (“Fancy,” “Boom Clap,” “Problem”) leading the fight for the crown, with Lil Jon and DJ Snake (“Turn Down for What”) and Ed Sheeran (“Sing”) trailing closely behind. Whichever hit takes the title will be memorialized as the Song of the Summer, but there is something to be said for our own personal Songs of the Summer — the ones whose significance is rooted more in our memories than in chart history. Sometimes they match up with the handful of inescapable Summer hits, but other times, not so much. We asked 21 musicians from across all genres — some established hitmakers and old favorites, some Song of the Summer contenders, some up-and-comers we’re cosigning — to name their own Songs of the Summer 2014.