2017 Song of the Summer

Story posted September 8, 2017 in Arts & Entertainment by Arts Staff.

Each and every year, as the weather changes and the summer parties begin to kick up, people begin to look for that song to define their summer experiences. The song of the summer is the soundtrack of the summer pool parties, barbecues, and general good times with your friends. These are the songs that when heard five years down the line will continue to evoke thoughts of the good times had in the summer of 2017. Here are Arts Department’s picks for the 2017 song of the summer.

“Despacito” – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee

On pure numbers alone, “Despacito” is the run away for song of the summer. Matching a record for most weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, “Despacito” was heard on the radio constantly and garnered success thanks to its international appeal. Bieber singing in Spanish brought this song to more people than would have previously heard it and now you would be hard pressed to find people who do not know all of the English, and even a lot of the Spanish. The song is infectious, bringing all the flare of reggaeton to the mainstream. It also represents a significant shift in how popular a foreign language song can be in America, potentially paving the way for more foreign language songs in the future. – David Arroyo

“Vacation” – The Dirty Heads

The Dirty Heads gave fans a new summer anthem when they released their single, “Vacation,” in late June. The track is the first off their highly anticipated album, Swim Team, which is set to be released in early October. The band from California, who is known for their hip-hop/reggae music style, takes a similar approach in “Vacation.” The upbeat song has a clear message, with lyrics such as, “I’m on vacation every single day cause I love my occupation.” The idea behind the song is to live one’s life and enjoy every moment. Even without these lyrics, the song provides a very relaxed vibe, making it an ideal summer tune. – Jenna Minnig

“Big Fish” – Vince Staples

Leave it to Vince Staples to successfully create a UK Garage inspired experimental hip-hop track that demands the respect of blowing out your car speakers. With silky smooth synths layered over snapping snare drums, Staples’s song defies the grimier and dirtier elements from his previous releases for a track that teeters on being electro-house music. Staple’s honest lyrics still make up the majority of the lyrical content, though now in a way that’s less reflective on his dark past. It’s as if Staples’s is saying “look how far I’ve come,” with Juicy J’s infectious hook further cementing this theme. “Big Fish” is a perfect example of the potential hip-hop has to mix in more electronic elements, while still defining the sound of music of summer 2017. – Chandler Copenheaver

“I’m the One” – DJ Khaled

In late April, DJ Khaled teased of a new single titled “I’m The One” with features coming from Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne. Fans were highly anticipating the star-studded release and the song more than exceeded the hype around it.

Khaled added another impressive single to his track record with “I’m The One” and owned radio airwaves as song of the summer. The instrumentals provided a fun and bouncy vibe that the lyrics exceled on.

It was the perfect song to raise the excitement for summer, the track was appropriate for every beach trip or day out by the pool.

American sweethearts Justin Bieber and Chance the Rapper helped launch the single from Khaled’s album Grateful into the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 to kick off the summer. The most exciting things for DJ Khaled fans is that this probably will not be his final summer single and has many more coming. – KJ Meade

“Redbone” - Childish Gambino

When the song was changed to fill the head-ridden silence of a summer party in 2017, it seemed like “Redbone” was almost always the groove. It has a certain vibe, a bump, a feel that is similar to Funkadelic; funk that has an emphasis on soul. It’s a vibe that makes one sink into whatever thought you’re having, which is an amazing depth for Gambino to reach compared to his usual upbeat, fast-tempo songs that most people run at the gym to. While this song was released in November of 2016, it has already starred in multiple films and television shows, including the immensely popular film, Get Out. The song has also produced a meme following on twitter, further expanding its popularity, no matter how silly the meme is. It is currently ranked in the top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 list, proving that this jam will still be bumping for a long time. – Lilly Adams


David Arroyo is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email arroyodavid01@gmail.com.

Jenna Minnig is a freshman majoring in journalism. To contact her, email jkm5756@psu.edu.

Chandler Copenheaver is a senior majoring in public relations. To contact him, email chandlercopenheaver@gmail.com.

KJ Meade is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email kym5330@psu.edu

Lilly Adams is a freshman majoring in film/video studies. To contact her, email lillyadams11@gmail.com

About the Contributors

ChandlerCopenheaver's photo


Senior / Public Relations

Chandler Copenheaver is a Production Director and Arts Director of CommRadio who has been a member of CommRadio since the spring of 2015. Chandler’s responsibilities entail managing the production department, managing the arts department, creating audio commercials for CommRadio and external organizations, scheduling commercial blocks, and writing editorial content related to the arts. Chandler Copenheaver has worked most recently at Arlington Thrive in Arlington, VA as a Development & Program Intern, WellSpan Health in South Central PA as a Public Relations & Marketing Intern and served as a teaching assistant for the Penn State course BiSci 3 Environmental Science. Chandler aims to work in the fields of Public Relations, Communications Strategy or Communications Management. Follow him on Twitter @C_Copenheaver or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Kj Meade's photo

Kj Meade

Senior /

KJ Meade is a senior from Macungie, Pa., majoring in broadcast journalism and a minor in business. KJ is a staff member for Penn State’s CommRadio. He would one day like to have his own sports show or be in the public relations field for a sports team. To contact Kj, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or follow him on his Twitter handle @AllDayKj56

David Arroyo's photo

David Arroyo

Junior / Broadcast Journalism

David Arroyo is both a social media and arts director for CommRadio and also contributes to the sports staff. He has served as a producer for multiple Penn State sports while in CommRadio, has done play by play for Penn State sporting events such as football, basketball and volleyball and co-hosted and produced his own talk show. During the fall of 2017, David was also an anchor, producer and reporter for the Centre County Report. David has interned at B94.5 (State College) and Center City Film and Video (Philadelphia). Follow him on Twitter (@_arroyodavid) or email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).