It might not be officially “summer” until June 21, but that’s not stopping us from starting our 2011 Song of the Summer Countdown. All day today, we’ll be highlighting Song of the Summer contenders as chosen by people who not only work here, but those that live and breathe music. Up first, we’ve got three picks from Jim Shearer, host of the VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, which airs each and every Saturday morning. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!
NOMINATION: Beastie Boys feat. Santigold, “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”
EXPLANATION: To the naked ear it sounds like a Santigold song featuring the Beastie Boys, but don’t be fooled. When MCA, Mike D, and Ad-Rock were crafting the instrumental for this beachside-reggae delight, they were having trouble piecing it into a proper song until they got on the bat-phone and rang Santigold. “Don’t Play No Game” is pop enough for mainstream radio, but will Katy Perry, Beyoncé, and Ke$ha fans open their ears to listen?
NOMINATION:Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
EXPLANATION: This music video doesn’t scream summer —Adele sitting on a chair while dishes smash against a wall— but the song hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down since it was released in the dead of winter. Though Adele’s lyrics aren’t blatantly vying for your summertime attention like last year’s “California Gurls” from Katy Perry, breakup songs can strike a chord during any season. I’m predicting “Rolling In The Deep’s” popularity will roll deep into barbecue season.
NOMINATION: Jack Johnson, “From The Clouds”
EXPLANATION: This is almost like cheating, since most of Jack Johnson’s catalog was meant to be played on the beach. Johnson’s latest single, “From The Clouds,” is a perfect length for a summertime jam (3 minutes), a perfect time to release a summer single (weeks leading up to Memorial Day), and the title of the song and album it originates from—To The Sea— seem ideal, too. I don’t own a pair of sandals, don’t surf, and Jack Johnson has never been on heavy rotation in my iPod, but when I heard this song in the grocery store last week, it got me excited for summer.