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A beach, awaiting summer songs (Photo: Desiree Martin/Getty Images)

Everyone has different expectations from their summer. Some people like to sunbathe, others prefer a spot of relaxing reading under a shady tree. Some look forward to late night parties, and others prefer a quiet drink on a warm evening. Finding a single fresh new song that can suit all eventualities is a fool’s errand, but luckily, we have just the fool for the job (hello!).

So, let’s just agree that what we need is a song that can take you out of yourself, allow a spot of bright sunshine or dabbled shade into your otherwise stress-addled and busy schedule, and generally act as a musical vacation. We need a song that works equally well when played by a pool, next to a barbecue, while packing for your holidays or as a reminder of a perfect rest once the daily grind has reasserted itself.

Here are some suggestions:

Corinne Bailey Rae – “The Skies Will Break”

Corinne already has form in the summer song department. Her first album in particular is riddled with vitamin D, so this naggingly woozy (and slightly tense) song already has a head start. But what pushes it ahead is that, with the astute use of acoustic instruments, wafty harmonies and celestial harps, it sounds like the kind of music the heavenly choir would play, if they ever had a rave in heaven.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 7/10

Radiohead – “Daydreaming”

And if all of that seems a bit lively for your plans, here’s something altogether more tranquil from Radiohead. One of the band’s least tense songs (if you can say such a thing about any song that features Thom Yorke’s perpetually terrified bleat), “Daydreaming” also channels a sense dreamy bliss, with a contemplative piano sending squeaks and sparks spiraling up into the clouds. This would be the perfect soundtrack to that magical horror novel you’ve been saving for a poolside read.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 5/10

Kygo ft. Kodaline – “Raging”

Kygo has clearly put some thought into what makes a crossover summer anthem, in that his song begins soft and acoustically, like the first rays of sun, then launches into a lilting synth refrain of the sort that brings communities together in one big dance party. It’s not too fast or frenetic, as one might expect of a song with that title. It’s the kind of song to put on at a beach party when everyone is a bit tired and soppy, but not ready to pack up and go home just yet.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 8/10

Tegan and Sara – “Boyfriend”

At the other end of that party, here’s the song you put on while you’re getting ready, the one with the ’80s perkiness and the score-settling lyric, saturated with optimism and confidence. It’s the song you put on when you’re putting your best foot forward, leaving any emotional unpleasantness behind and getting stuck into the time of your life, because you deserve it.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 6/10

Sigma ft. Take That – “Cry”

Fast forward a couple of hours, and we’re in the middle of a heaving rave, Sigma has kicked the tempo up a considerable notch and then brought in Gary Barlow‘s voice, a plummy affair that contains not one speck of raunch, to give the whole affair a pleasing tone of musical theater. Ever wanted to rave like the cast of Annie on a night off? Now’s your chance.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 7/10

Ariana Grande ft. Lil Wayne – “Let Me Love You”

And once the night has wound its way right the way into the early morning and the party is starting to wind down, here’s something for a romantic moment, with the dying heat of a blazing hot day still hanging palpably in the air. And Lil Wayne’s larynx is an extra delight, a reminder for everyone not to inhale too much smoke from the beach bonfire.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 6/10

The Stone Roses – “All For One”

Because dads like holidays too and mowing the lawn with headphones on playing classic rock with real guitars in it. The return of the Stone Roses to active duty has been one of the year’s more unlikely musical tales (given they actually reformed four years ago), and this bouncy number recaptures some of their elusive groove. Yes, the lyric pinches the motto of The Three Musketeers and adds a line about a wall that sounds like the punchline to a satirical gag about hippies, but keep your ears peeled for that rowdy guitar break in the middle.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 4/10

James Blake – I Need A Forest Fire (ft. Bon Iver)

The soundtrack to those mornings when a combination of early sun and dawn chorus wakes just you, and no one else, and you find a quiet spot to just sit and enjoy the world as it gets itself together. For late night ragers, this will soothe sore heads and bathe bleary eyes, and for everyone else, it’s just a moment of peace, an inward breath, before the day begins in earnest.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 4/10

Laura Mvula – “Phenomenal Woman”

Naturally Laura means her song title to be a universal thing, a tribute to the power of womanhood, and it is that. It’s just that she is, also, a phenomenal woman herself, still mixing Nina Simone‘s stentorian authority with the harmonic imagination of the Beach Boys, only now she’s brought in a disco pulse too, with the expert help of Nile Rodgers, because in music, there’s no such thing as too much sunshine.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 8/10

Martin Solvieg – “Do It Right”

In which Martin discovers that the best thing to warm up the chilly grooves of old school electro is a steel drum patch, thereby creating a bridge between early ’80s New York and the Caribbean. So it’s not just a good song to get your backyard barbecue going with a swing, it’s a musical metaphor for leaving the behind the urban grind, or just remembering to take things a little slower.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 7/10

Reggie N Bollie – “New Girl”

Speaking of which, how about this exceptionally sunny affair from a pair of Ghanaian runners-up on the British The X Factor. It’s got the optimism and anthemic glee of other songs on this list, a Caribbean lilt, and has been expertly crafted to bring people together to bellow the chorus in the middle of the night. Granted, it’s no use for reading to, but in every other respect, I think we’ve found a winner.

Chances of being The Song of the Summer: 11/10

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By Fraser McAlpine