Teens Tell Us Definitively What the Song of the Summer Is

Everyone knows teenagers are music's great uncredited tastemakers anyway.
September 21, 2017, 11:15am
All photographs courtesy of those taking part

I don't know if you've noticed, but if you look outside, the sky resembles the colour and texture of scrambled egg if you'd found it in a pan under a student's bed where it had been left to turn grey and fester. Summer is over, lads. And it won't be back until 2018. I don't care if you've got that festival booked for the end of September, or if you're still squeezing a few shivering walks out of those denim cut offs; the earth is still turning, time is ploughing onwards and the air – in the cruel northern hemisphere that makes winter the long season – is getting colder.


So, what has this season left in its wake? People love to refer to the elusive 'song of the summer', and this year there were lots of contenders for the title, blaring out of rolled-down car windows and wafting over neighbours' fences. From "Rake It Up" by Yo Gotti and Nicki Minaj, to "Wild Thoughts" by DJ Khaled, Rihanna & Bryson Tiller, all the way up to Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber's "Despacito" or my personal fave "Bodak Yellow" by Cardi B, you could make an argument for any of them really. And, as this summer marks the first time the public was not blessed with an anthem from our boy Drake, we can't even turn to him by default.

When you think about it, teenagers are really the only ones who can definitively decide what we can crown 'song of the summer'. They actually enjoy those months properly because, for the most part, they don't have to work in white strip-lit offices yet. They're the ones who consume the most new music because they're too young to be wrapped up in nostalgia. And they're the ones who shape the culture, purely by virtue of being plugged in at all times. So, because the editors at Noisey are too old, they asked me (still a teenager! Sucks to be you!) to hit up a bunch of my equally teen friends to find out what their song of the summer was and why.

"Unsigned" by Hardy Caprio & One Acen

Jummy, 19

Noisey: Why did you pick this song as your song of the summer?
Jummy: It just gave me a really strong summer vibe. Both artists complement each other, and so do the lyrics; it's sort of relatable in a way. Like when One Acen says he's "looking for a main chick" I feel like a boy could sing that to me. Like I could be someone's main chick. It even reminds me a bit of Ja Rule.

One Acen reminds you of Ja Rule?!
Obviously not the voice, but the lyrics. For example, when he says "you know a real nigga always on time" It reminds me of "Always On Time" by Ja Rule.

"Scene" by Chip featuring Jammer, D Double E, JME and Miraa May

Dyon, 19

Noisey: So what made you pick this song?
Dyon: I think the history shown in the video, and the beginning with old school Wiley perfectly sums up the journey grime has taken and where it stands now.

So with this song, is it mainly the visuals that make it a summer anthem for you?
In a way, yes. It shows that someone like Chip could be scouted by Wiley in the legendary Jammer basement where some of the greatest clashes were performed; it really shows you can excel if you really try. Your idols can actually become your peers. But with the chorus talking about how they shaped the scene into something so many people listen to and which dedicate their lives to today, it perfectly captures why I love grime.

"Catch Me Outside" by Ski Mask the Slump God

Manveer, 19

Noisey: I can't even lie, this song almost made number one for me as well. But why have you chosen it as the song of the summer?
Manveer: It's just a popping song. Like, it makes me want to get up and do shit. Run around my room, paint, see my friends. You know, just live life just because it's so fun. It's definitely a mood flipper.

Do you think he does Missy Elliott justice?
Definitely. The lyrics aren't even that trash.

"Bodak Yellow" by Cardi B

Josiah, 19

Noisey: I'm not really surprised with your choice, this song is magnificent.
Josiah: Yeah, I can't lie it's a gangsta tune. It came out pretty late into summer but I definitely rinsed it out. It's just one of those songs you have to scream. Even though I'm not wearing Louboutins, THESE IS BLOODY SHOES.

Do you feel that songs you have to scream are the some of the best?
Yes, definitely, I've clocked it. For example, the song "If" by Davido, you have to scream "thirty billion for the account oh!!"

"Bodak Yellow" by Cardi B

Camilla, 18

Noisey: This is our second for "Bodak Yellow"!
Camilla: 100 per cent. When she came out with it, I literally was like "yasss". I really didn't think it was gonna blow up as much as it did but then again I wasn't surprised.

Why is that?
As a loyal Cardi B fan, I believe she's had all this coming for her from the beginning. I mean, she is really out here inspiring women to be what the fuck they wanna be, be proud of who they are and where they came from. I just think that "Bodak Yellow" embodies everything about what a boss ass bitch is and what a woman wants to be.


How do you feel when you listen to it?
Not necessarily summer vibes, but it gives me a vibe that says 'I am that bitch even though I already am THAT bitch.' It just makes me feel it even more than I already do. It's that song you have to listen to when you're feeling fly as fuck and you want everyone to know.

"Wild Thoughts" by DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller

Laura, 17

Noisey: "Wild Thoughts", eh? Don't you think the hype for that has died down?
Laura: Not at all! It's pure summer vibes. It's had me feeling a type of way this whole summer and puts me in a great mood no matter what.

Is that mainly because of the song or the visuals as well?
Definitely the music video as well. The colours and the energy in it had me dreaming about summer. I imagined my summer to be exactly like the video. The fact that Rihanna and Bryson even collaborated just added to the greatness.

"Best Part" by Daniel Caesar

Bowa, 19

Noisey: Ooh Daniel's been on the come-up, talk me through this.
Bowa: It just makes being in love seem so lit. It's a nice take on life.

Do you feel like it made your summer? Changed it for the better in a way?
Not in the way you'd assume but every time I listen to it, someone comes to mind and it boosts my mood. The song just came out at the right time so it kind of did improve my long summer days.

Thanks, guys.

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