The funny thing about summer hits is that it’s always hard to pinpoint the moment when you first heard them. They’re the songs that slowly creep up on us as temperatures rise. And they usually end up surrounding us – when we’re shopping, when we’re out for a drink, when we’re dancing until sunrise.
In a summer when these activities are limited – or restarting timidly – in many parts of the world, it’s hard to know what the songs of the season will be. Sure, we can study the charts on Spotify – or its recently released Songs of Summer 2020 playlist – but the principle of on-demand music is the antithesis of the very idea of the summer hit. In Italy, my home country, we call these types of songs tormentoni: a tune that torments you. You can’t get away from it, even if you wanted to.
All of which makes the role of radio even more important this year – the job of the ever-optimistic DJ is fundamental in keeping the rituals of summer in place. Give up your free will, tune in to the cheesiest station you know and listen as a pattern emerges. For me, all it took was a long roadtrip to realise that “Mediterranea” by Irama (pictured) is a good contender for the title in Italy this summer. Judging by its reggaeton-inspired rhythms and lyrics invoking wild dancing, summer is alive and well on the airwaves.