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What is this year’s song of the summer? Here are 13 Canadian contenders

What is this year’s song of the summer?  Here are 13 Canadian contenders

There are so many summer moods that finding the perfect song for the season is a big ask, but we love a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of Canadian contenders to choose from, including a dance-club hit from Nelly Furtado, a call to summer from DJ Shub, RoRo and Too Many Zooz, and a post-punk testament to friends from Ombiigizi and July Talk’s Peter Dreimanis.

Only time will tell which track will ultimately claim the lauded title, but in the meantime here are 13 Canadian song-of-the-summer possibilities that CBC Music producers think you should consider whether you’re chilling solo at home, at a cottage partying with friends or any level of socializing between.


‘Everyone Moves to LA,’ Ric Wilson, Chromeo, A-Trak, Felicia Douglass

Summer is all about strutting your stuff, and nobody knows that better than the self-styled funklordz Chromeo. Clusterfunk, the duo’s new album with Ric Wilson and A-Trak, is an eight-song treasure trove of funky grooves, and “Everyone Moves to LA” is its shiniest bijou. It’s a song about a summer romance that doesn’t survive the pair’s opposing agendas. “She moved out West, she got more stressed/ it’s hard making friends when you barely get rest,” raps Wilson before rhetorically asking, “How you go from chasin’ the dream to chasin’ a check?” Priorities intact, he cedes the stage to Felicia Douglass, who expresses the opposing view with her languid singing: “Needed a change of scene, buildin’ the best for me.” Agree to disagree, this song suggests, but if you’re going your separate way, do it with a soulful sashay. —Robert Rowat


‘Scary Hot,’ Ralph

A song of the summer needs to match the heat of the season, and there’s nothing more intense than a track called “Scary Hot.” Ralph’s latest single is a certified bop, using an animated, bouncing beat as a launching pad for feverish feelings of lust and desire. “Windows steaming up in the parking lot, body rock/ giving me a buzz when you hit the spot, soda pop,” Ralph sings, detailing a hot romance that everyone fantasizes about during the sweatiest months of the year. Whether that becomes a reality or not, we at least have this pop anthem keeping us company this season. — Melody Lau


‘Takin’ Off,’ DJ Shub feat. RoRo and Too Many Zooz

The opening seconds of “Takin’ Off” feature a sticky, warm beat so evocative of a crowded dance floor, you’re suddenly not alone. One of DJ Shub’s sonic skills is place-making: when we hear his songs, it doesn’t matter where we are, we’re bouncing, sweating, moving en masse together. Jamaican vocalist RoRo turns up the heat as her hypnotic voice alternates between a sing-song metronome and a mysterious siren’s warning as she delivers a series of pointed burns: “I’m sitting pretty, now you see me/ I have never felt this way/ always stay ready/ won’t you please accept the damages.” When NYC subway busking sensations Too Many Zooz burst in with their ecstatic horn section flares, “Takin’ Off” becomes a true call to summer. — Andrea Warner


‘Confetti,’ Charlotte Cardin

While many song-of-the-summer contenders are bangers right out of the gate, Charlotte Cardin’s self-described ode to introverts takes the slow-burn approach. Her light humming transitions to bouncy synths as the Montreal singer divulges that she doesn’t, in fact, want to go to the party, and instead she’s built a spacious, three-minute soundtrack to staying home and singing, “La-da- da-da-da” to yourself. It’s the first song Cardin has released since her Juno-sweeping 2021 album, Phoenixand it comes with a French version that keeps the same English chorus for maximum sing-along potential across languages. Whether for blasting alone or surrounded by dancing bodies on a muggy night, “Confetti” is the bop that will unexpectedly sneak up on you and settle in for the season. — Holly Gordon


‘One Hit Wonders,’ Jenn Grant feat. Ria Mae

All I want this time of year is a deliciously smooth and rich bassline to guide my feet from the kitchen dance party to the barbecue and back again. Is that too much to ask? Apparently not for the powerhouse combination of Jenn Grant and Ria Mae. Coupling what is already a strong contender for bassline of the year with strings, horns and fierce writing — including the searing lyric: “If it’s not picking me up, then I’m burning it down”this banger has already delivered me straight into the heat of summer. —Mark Macarthur


‘Eat Your Man,’ Dom Dolla, Nelly Furtado

I first heard a snippet of “Eat Your Man” when my old friend and boss Nelly Furtado started dropping clips of the song on social media. I used to tour with Furtado years ago as her backing singer, so the teasers with Dom Dolla reminded me of the days when we used to hang out backstage or on the tour bus and talk about music. She loved trying new things on tour with her music, and it was always refreshing to get progressive with songs. Now, every time she releases something new, it feels like an incarnation of a fresh style.

We finally got the full song in early June, and on it Australian house music producer Dom Dolla teams up with the Canadian global superstar for what is sure to be one of this summer’s hottest dance-club hits. The deep pump of dark and mysterious notes will edge you toward the dance floor, and the full track is the delectable treat — and trance — you’ve been waiting for from Furtado. —Jasmine Denham


‘4Eva,’ Kaytramine feat. Pharrell Williams

It’s fitting that the cover art for Katraminé’s album is bold and tropical, showing the producer-rapper duo lounging on Barbie-pink chairs — the warm imagery couldn’t better depict the summery sounds of “4Eva,” the bouncy, house-y single that easily gets bodies swaying. The song was constructed in Malibu and instantly conjures up the laid-back vibe of the city’s sandy beaches. It’s carefree, fun and vacation-ready, with Pharrell Williams’s falsetto floating in and out on the chorus like a balmy summertime breeze. “4Eva” ultimately shines because of the palpable chemistry between the duo of Montreal producer Kaytranada and American rapper Aminé. Their friendship is instantly felt, as the rapper’s cheeky wordplay goes hand-in-hand with Kaytranada’s polished beats: “This Kaytraminé, we don’t need no DJ/ not a place or a face we’ve done seen like Ciesay,” Aminé proclaims over a thumping bassline. Whether you’re soaking up some sun by the pool or getting ready to groove at the cookout, “4Eva” is a song that encapsulates the kind of unrelenting joy that thrives when the temperature rises. — Natalie Harmsen


‘Soufflé,’ King Cruff

For the people who like to spend their summers glued to a dance floor, look no further than King Cruff’s “Soufflé.” The Jamaican Canadian MC fuses riddims from his homeland with Afro-pop, R&B and a little house swing to create an infectious track about a woman who’s stolen all his attention and affection. He spits bars in patois, switching up his flow effortlessly, trying to convince the object of his desire to “come and dance for a minute.” Now it’s time for us to find a partner and let King Cruff’s summer anthem get our hips rolling and arms swaying in unison. —Kelsey Adams


‘Picture of Love,’ Sam Roberts Band

You’ll hear the song of the summer played on repeat everywhere you go, and I have a feeling the winner of that will be “Picture of Love” by Sam Roberts Band. Released a few months ago, the sunny single hit No. 1 on CBC Music’s Top 20 charts and has since gone platinum in my head. Light, catchy and ubiquitous — it’s practically tailor-made for road trips, a cottage dock or sunny park hang. A perfect track for the season of love, it’s one that you’ll likely be humming all summer long. —Ashley Catania

“Picture of Love” was made to get you in your car and drive, with the windows rolled down and the wind blowing through your hair. Or you could be dancing around the bonfire, or at a concert — this song hits all the senses for me. I love it when a band of 20 years not only endures, but makes the best music of its career. Thanks to Sam Roberts Band and “Picture of Love,” summer’s coming. — Damhnait Doyle


‘Love Money,’ Ciara Leah

Nostalgia is in! This throwback-vibed summer jam has been purified in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Toronto-based Ciara Leah will transport you back to the summer of ’84 when Prince and the sound of Minneapolis funk ruled the airwaves, and purple was the color du jour. I promise this single will put a dip in ya hip and have you looking for a dance floor. Singer-songwriter Chris Rouse, who also happens to be the frontman for the Prince and the Revolution cover band Funk Frequency, co-produced this title cut off Ciara Leah’s debut album. — JJ LaBorde


‘Back at Me,’ Ombiigizi feat. Peter Dreimanis

The best summers are the ones where you find yourself surrounded by friends. Last summer, when July Talk’s Peter Dreimanis found himself with a snippet of a song he just couldn’t get out of his head, he called on some friends to help him work it out. Those friends were Ombiigizi, the already collaborative project of Zoon’s Daniel Monkman and Status/Non-Status’s Adam Sturgeon. The result was “Back at Me,” a feverish and joyful post-punk testament to those friends who while away hot summer nights together. If piling into a van, rolling the windows down and screaming the lyrics to your favorite song is a summer moment for you, then this might just be the perfect backing track. —MM


‘Faded State,’ Home Front

Every summer soundtrack needs a cathartic sing-along, an anthem that will have you shout-singing every word, leaving you with a raspy voice and nostalgia for simpler times. Enter “Faded State,” by Edmonton’s Home Front. From the band’s first full-length album, Games of Power, “Faded State,” is the definition of anthemic. The beat is the song’s driving force, mixed with potent guitar riffs and topped off with melodic synths for a song that delivers a dopamine hit with a side of existentialism. The band melds post-punk and new wave in a way that feels familiar, like putting on your worn-in denim jacket for the first time this season, but Home Front isn’t trying to recreate the past: it stands firmly in the present with a precise multi-genre sound. The band is the convergence of worlds belonging to Graeme MacKinnon (of punk bands No Problem and Wednesday Night Heroes) and Clint Frazier (of electro-dance group Shout Out Out Out Out), with production from F–ked Up drummer Jonah Falco. With moments of irresistible synths, brooding vocals and driving drums, “Faded State” captures punk angst and new-wave levity, all rolled into an adrenaline-inducing track. — Vanessa Conley


‘Fever Dreamer,’ SG Lewis, Charlotte Day Wilson, Channel Tres

Picture this: you’re in some tropical locale, poolside with an ice-cold drink in hand and the sun beaming its life-giving rays down on you. In short, you’re in absolute bliss. This is the place I’m whisked to every time I hear “Fever Dreamer,” the collab of British producer SG Lewis, Canadian soul singer Charlotte Day Wilson and American rapper Channel Tres. When it dropped in the bleachness of January, it was a welcome reprieve, but now that the thermometer is clearing 20 degrees with no problem, the lush production reaches new heights. Lewis’s swinging house beats and scintillating synths lay the groundwork for a lusty, hazy dreamworld that Wilson’s resonant alto soars over. With the inviting promise of a summer fling, Wilson “can’t do anything but fall in love.” And don’t we all feel a little more open: to love, to adventure, to make our wildest dreams come true when the summer months grace us with their much needed presence? — KA