Summer '07, had me a blast
Hot singles crowd under 'Umbrella'Booming from cars, leaking from store stereos, backlit on the iPods of passersby — every year when the weather gets hot, a handful of songs go viral on the populace. A grandmother in a drug store humming along to "Buy U a Drank"? That's ubiquity. Billboard.com editor Jessica Letkemann celebrates this summer's batch by picking out the 10 most inescapable hits.
1. "Umbrella" Rihanna feat. Jay-Z
Apparently most of America has taken Rihanna up on her offer to "stand under her umbrella (ella, ella, eh, eh, eh)." The stutter got in people's heads, and the ubiquitous single inched up to No. 1, staying there for seven weeks. But the ode to rain gear is unarguably one of the catchiest vocal tics, er, hooks in recent memory. And maybe the song wasn't meant so metaphorically after all; it's now literally possible to stand under Rihanna's umbrella: She has lent her name to a line of Isotoner umbrellas. Really.
2. "Girlfriend" Avril Lavigne
The Canadian rocker abandons her usual sound for the pop style of "Girlfriend," whose lyrics snarl along atop a cheerleader-ey melody. The catchy chorus, "Hey, hey, you, you, I don't like your girlfriend," was subject to a lawsuit by the Rubinoos, who claim that their '70s single "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend" is eerily similar. Despite the copyright controversy, "Girlfriend" became the punk princess' biggest U.S. hit, hitting the top of the chart after debuting at No. 1. A remix with rapper Lil Mama was released in June.
3. "Rehab" Amy Winehouse
There's nothing else like Amy Winehouse's retro-soul growl on the radio this summer, and with the backdrop of Paris, Britney and Lindsay's recent shenanigans, it's little wonder that a unique, catchy song about refusing to go be a good girl has found its way into the zeitgeist — and the top 10. The rail-thin, kohl-eyed Brit with the messy raven beehive has been signed to Island Records since 2000, but it's her 2006 sophomore album "Back to Black" that has made her a sensation in the States.
4. "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" T-Pain feat. Yung Joc
Singer-rapper-producer T-Pain's smooth "Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin')" — which, as advertised, leans heavily on finger snapping (and a voice-modulated chorus) — is his first No. 1 single. "Drank" is all the more contagious because of how many other hits it name-checks, from "Money in the Bank," "Snap Yo Fingers" and "Walk It Out" to "Just a Lil Bit." The R&B club smash, with its undeniably catchy lyrics, continued to reign through the summer.
5. "Makes Me Wonder" Maroon 5
Maroon 5 is no stranger to the Hot 100. "This Love" and "She Will Be Loved" both reached No. 5, while "Harder to Breathe" topped out at 18. But "Makes Me Wonder," the lead single from sophomore album "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" is the band's first track to top the chart. With Talking Heads-like guitar licks and singer Adam Levine belting it out Prince-style, "Makes Me Wonder" has gone in a much funkier direction than the more straight-ahead songs on their debut, "Songs About Jane."
6. "The Sweet Escape," Gwen Stefani feat. Akon
After she got her yodel on last fall with "Wind It Up," Gwen Stefani rounded up popular guest star Akon for this bouncy, Madonna-esque (think "Cherish") romp, the title track from Stefani's second solo album. Her sun-drenched vocals paired with Akon's "wee-oh!" hook have made the song Stefani's most successful single worldwide. It has spent 15 weeks in the top 10 of the Hot 100 chart, peaking at No. 2.
7. "Summer Love," Justin Timberlake
"LoveStoned" was the song Justin Timberlake planned to release before "Summer Love" found its way onto the radio. This summery fourth single from the album "FutureSex/LoveSounds" went on to land in the top 10. "SummerLove" finds Timberlake crooning to his — you guessed it — summer love over Timbaland's recognizable production work.
8. "Hey There Delilah," Plain White T's
The Chicago-based quintet blew up this summer and, after a 16-week climb, made it all the way to No. 1 with this wistful acoustic-guitar-and-harmonies number. Taken from the band's fourth album "Every Second Counts," the little single that could overcame Rihanna's "Umbrella," which was on a seven-week streak.
9. "Beautiful Girls," Sean Kingston
Built on the instantly identifiably bass line and chord progression from Ben E. King's 1961 hit "Stand by Me," Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls" soared to No. 1 following its digital release, before the reggae-influenced singer's self-titled album was released. The track has a light, upbeat doo-wop-era feel until you consider the lyrics about doing time and feeling suicidal when a good-looking woman dumps him.
10. "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs," Fall Out Boy
The track held its own in the top 20 this summer, peaking at No. 11. Leaning away from the band's emo roots, "Thnks" is a three-minute pop rocker, complete with strings. It likely won't just be a summer fling either; FOB began a world tour Aug. 7, rocking fans from Japan to Australia.
Taylor Grimes contributed to this report.