Chris Richards: YC, "Racks (Remix)"
Two summers back, experimental musician C. Spencer Yeh made a sprawling version of Jamie Foxx's "Blame It" that stitched all of the song's remixes into one disorienting 30-minute summer jam. This summer, rapper YC has taken matters into his own hands with a 12-minute version of his street anthem "Racks." It features verses from — deep breath — Young Jeezy, Wiz Khalifa, Waka Flocka Flame, CyHi Da Prynce, Bun B, B.o.B., Yo Gotti, Wale, Cory Gunz, Dose, Cory Mo, Nelly, Twista, Big Sean, Trae Tha Truth, Ace Hood and are you still paying attention? Like summer itself, the tune is a thriller that seems like it'll never end. Then it does.
David Malitz: Eleanor Friedberger, “My Mistakes”
Eleanor Friedberger named her solo debut "Last Summer," so clearly she had the season on her mind. The album's first song, "My Mistakes," has been my most-listened to track of the last couple months, the one I invariably turn to when I step out of the office and into the heat at the end of the work day. Musically, it's breezy and zippy, as any good summer jam should be, but as is always the case with Friedberger, it's the lyrics that grab you. Summer always goes by too fast and this song is so jam packed with detail-oriented stories of summer in the city, all in delivered in a speedy speak-sing, as if she's trying to squeeze it all in before Labor Day. Also, the video is pretty cool. There's even back-in-the-day footage of Friedberger making out with Spoon's Britt Daniel.
Allison Stewart: Foster the People, “Pumped Up Kicks”
My vote goes to Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks," which fits all the Summer Jam criteria, and more: It's catchy but not shameless, smart but not ostentatiously so, and it's colonized too many genres to count, including indie and pop. And like any self-respecting Summer Jam, it has spawned a host of solid remixes and cover versions, which is a great way to measure its overall cultural absorption.