(VEVO | Hollywood Records)As anyone who's turned on their radio in the past three months knows, it was a good summer for Pharrell. The multi-talented producer played a major role in both of the summer's monstrously successful smash singles. It was also a big summer for ex-child stars, all of whom took very different approaches to launching their post-family programming careers. And as always, it was a great season for ridiculously good looking people who know their way around a hook.
1. "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell and T.I.
Never underestimate the power of a controversial video – or breasts, for that matter. Robin Thicke's reigning summer anthem had a relatively slow ascent to the top of the charts after its release in March 2013, but saw a surge in popularity thanks to a NSFW clip of Thicke surrounded by completely naked models. You know the one. Sure, Thicke caught some flack for the outright objectification of ladies coupled with uncomfortably aggressive lyrics ("I know you want it"), but it's unlikely he cared too much since the song topped the charts in almost 20 countries.
2. "Get Lucky," Daft Punk
The summer's biggest critical and commercial hit was indubitably Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," which was heralded as the joyful second coming of disco almost immediately after its release in April and eventually certified platinum several times over in Australia, Denmark, Italy, and the United States. It also reminded everyone that in addition to being an all-star producer, rapper, fashion designer, and tastemaker, Pharrell has a lovely voice, too. Behold: Pharrell's moment.
3. "#Beautiful," Mariah Carey feat. Miguel
It's easy to forgive the embarrassing hashtag title once you actually listen to "#Beautiful," Mariah Carey's light-as-air single off her much-delayed upcoming release The Art of Letting Go. With its breezy guitar licks and breathy vocals, the song was clearly written with the lazy days of summer in mind.
4. "I Love It," Icona Pop
Unabashed brattiness makes for ridiculous catchiness on this Charli XCX-penned track, which was actually released in May 2012 in Icona Pop's native Sweden. Choice placement in a number of advertisements and a couple of key festival performances propelled the fetching lady duo into the major leagues almost a full year later.
5. "Come and Get It," Selena Gomez
The child star-to-pop princess transition is a notoriously difficult one, but Selena Gomez managed to make it look effortless with her breakout single "Come and Get It." Sexually suggestive but certainly not obscene, the song provided Selena an elegant means of establishing herself in the music industry sans Disney. Too bad about those bindis, though.
6. "We Can't Stop," Miley Cyrus
Yes, Miley Cyrus' ongoing bid to prove she's "'bout that life" falls flat from time to time, and she's doing herself no favors with those grills (not to mention her tongue problem), but there's something brilliant about her first Big Girl single, "We Can't Stop." Put it in context, if you will: Miley has spent her entire life under the critical glare of the spotlight; Each and every aspect of her life has, until now, been either managed or dissected, or both. So let her be wholly and unrepentantly defiant — especially if it means she'll be working with better beats from now on.
7. "Clarity," Zedd feat. Foxes
The summer's biggest house song was actually released months ago, but prime placement on both Glee and The Voice helped to propel it into the upper ranks of the Billboard Hot 100. The sweet pop vocals are delivered by British singer Foxes, aka Louisa Rose Allen, who is due for a breakout single of her own any day now.
8. "Best Song Ever," One Direction
It may not actually live up to its title, but "Best Song Ever" is definitely One Direction's best ever song. Sure, it sounds a little too much like "Baba O'Riley" for any Who fan with half a brain, but very few 13-year-old girls are Who fans and the video is super cute.
9. "The Way," Ariana Grande feat. Mac Miller
The best Mariah Carey throwback single this summer was, unfortunately for Mariah, not sung by Carey herself, but by Nickelodeon star Ariana Grande. The whistle register just got a breath of fresh air! If only we didn't get creepy vibes watching her flirt with Mac Miller, who is actually only a year older than she is.
10. "Summertime Sadness," Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey's moody 2012 release became an unlikely club hit a full year after it dropped, thanks to Cedric Gervais' frantic house remix. It's a lovely summer anthem for those of us who get the blues even in the sunshine.
See the rest of Zimbio's Songs of Summer here.