The Last Ever Song of the Summer

THE FAST LANE FROM LA TO TOKYOWhere is the song of the summer? American music writers have been asking this question every week since summer began, usually with Iggy Azalea playing in the background:

We Deserve a Better Song of Summer
What’s The Song Of The Summer?
What’s Our Anthem? Searching For the Song of The Summer of 2014
The Summer Without a Song

This transitioned to rationalization:

Changing habits make it tough to identify top summer songs
Can anything truly be called “song of the summer” anymore?

Then grieving:

Flashback: Seven Memorable Songs of Summers Past

This situation is somewhat grim. “Happy,” which was initially released on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack album, arrived a little too soon and was instantly torn into a thousand little royalty-licensed pieces. “Rude” is shameful. Nobody wants to let “Fancy” win by default.

Here, then, is a late-stage possibility, a final chance to understand why this is happening. Is it possible that there was no song of the summer this year because there was no summer?

One “polar vortex” after the other, it seems like this summer is really just an extension of spring. The cool temps are causing people who live east of the Rockies to wonder if 2014 will go down as the year without a summer.

It’s easy to agree with this hunch from an East Coast vantage; New York’s summer has so far been strange and uneven, lacking many days where playing a Song of the Summer would even feel appropriate, much less imperative. But just as the data stubbornly contradicts our denial that Iggy Azalea has already won, the data doesn’t neatly confirm the no-summer-no-song hypothesis. The Atlantic summer hasn’t been that cool, the Pacific summer has been fairly hot, and everything in between has been, in aggregate, seasonally appropriate.

At most the data suggests a weirdness or a spikiness, and a slight overall coolness. But maybe the perception of the summer’s weather as either extreme or unseasonable, through countless daily stories about record heat or record cool as well as a general sense of creeping climate apocalypse, is enough to disturb the delicate psychology needed to indulge the concept of a single triumphant seasonal song? Better to look for the Song of the Draught, the Song of the Fire, the Song of the Storm, the many Songs of the End.

Also maybe we don’t actually want a song of the summer. We had one last year, indisputably. It was called “Blurred Lines.”