05/22/2012 10:24 am ET Updated Jul 22, 2012

Potential Summer Songs of 2012

It's that time of year again...

You can feel it when you only have to throw on a hoodie before you head outside. And every once in a while you can smell and practically taste it when the neighbors down the street decide to cook their first hot dogs and hamburgers out on the grill. And you can see it when you decide to throw on that cool pair of Ray-Bans (or Panama Jacks if, like me, you're on the Wal-Mart budget) before you walk to class or drive to work. But you can definitely hear it on the radio or Pandora or iTunes: summer.

Yes. That August time of year that means beach days, sunburns, cookouts, driving around with the windows down, just-for-fun flings, and, most importantly, out-of-this-world music that becomes the soundtrack of our lives from May until September. As a recent college graduate, the only thing preventing me from spiraling down into a pit of anxiety and despair over my career prospects is knowing that I'll be able to drive from job interview to job interview this summer listening to some great music that'll trick me into feeling more relaxed than I have any right to be. Visions of every summer (as far back as I can remember, at least) can be conjured up in my mind with the melodies and lyrics of some iconic songs:

D.J. Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince's "Summertime," TLC's "Waterfalls," Santana feat. Rob Thomas's "Smooth," Nelly's "Hot in Herre," Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love," Usher's "Yeah!," Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," The Pussycat Dolls' "Buttons," Rihanna's "Umbrella," Chris Brown's "Forever," Miley Cyrus's "Party in the U.S.A.," Katy Perry's "California Gurls," and, of course, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep."

Whether you can hear these songs now and either joyfully bask in their syrupy, pop-confection gloriousness or feel the need to stick rocks in your ears and dry-heave like you've been drinking on an empty stomach in the sun all day is up to you and your musical sensibilities. However, no matter what reactions spill forth out of you, you cannot diminish the fortitude of these season-defining tunes.


Summertime girls got it going on
Shake and wiggle to a hip-hop song
Summertime girls are the kind I like
I'll steal your honey like I stole your bike

I think we can all agree that we, as a nation, want nothing more than to forget LFO and "Summer Girls" and these lyrics, yet we simply cannot. Thus, you have the staying power of the summer song.

As for summer 2012, I have compiled a comprehensive list of songs that I predict will all be vying for the official song of summer. This title is given to the song that will still be blasting out of the speakers at the gay clubs and can always be found playing on at least one of your station presets by the time the nights start getting chilly again. Just when you're all ready to close up the coolers, put away the flip-flops, throw away the half-used bottles of sunblock, and stop drunk-texting that boy or girl from [insert name of town you had never heard of until this Adonis/Aphrodite sashayed into your life], this song will have carved out a permanent place in your memory and on your Spotify in your playlist inevitably titled, "Jump In My Hoopty Hoopty Hoop." You may be asking yourself, "Why should I trust Ryan and his 'Summer Girls' quoting ass?" And I can respect that. But at this moment, with my hand over my pop music-loving heart, I will promise you this:

Over the next four months, these songs will creep out of your car radio, or slink out of your friend's iPod, or glide out of your favorite bar's jukebox, or wriggle out of your fling's laptop. When you go through all of your Instagrams at the end of August, these songs will be playing in your head. Enjoy!

"Starships" by Nicki Minaj

"Where Have You Been" by Rihanna

"Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen

"One Thing" by One Direction

"Let's Go" by Calvin Harris feat. Ne-Yo

"Take a Walk" by Passion Pit

"Titanium" by David Guetta feat. Sia

"Whistle" by Flo Rida

"Scream" by Usher

"Let it Go" by Dragonette

"Handclaps & Guitars" by Chiddy Bang

"How We Do (Party)" by Rita Ora

"Call My Name" by Cheryl Cole