(RNN) - Summer means barbecues, beach days, big screen blockbusters and the inevitable guilty pleasure song that defines the season.
Pharrell Williams pretty much was the summer hitmaker in 2013, with Blurred Lines and Get Lucky, both of which he produced, going head-to-head for the song of the summer.
Who might dominate radio this year? It's a tossup at this point, but here are some contenders.
John Legend - All of Me
Ed Sheeran - Sing
Calvin Harris – Summer
Paramore – Ain't it Fun
Ariana Grande featuring Iggy Azalea – Problem
Luke Bryan - Play it Again
Michael Jackson featuring Justin Timberlake - Love Never Felt So Good
Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong
Iggy Azalea featuring Charlie XCX - Fancy (Explicit)
Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne - Rather Be
Which song is your pick for song of the summer? Take our poll and let us know.
We're sure you've heard about President Barack Obama's surprise visit to Afghanistan over Memorial Day weekend, but did you hear a country superstar made the trip with him?
Brad Paisley joined the president on Air Force One in order to perform for the 3,000 troops stationed at Bagram Airfield.
"He had to juggle a lot of stuff and had to figure out how to explain it to people without explaining it to people," Obama told the troops about the Paisley's trip. "Without going into details, this was a big sacrifice for him. And he did it because he cares so deeply about the military."
Even though he was scheduled to perform at the Tree Town festival in Iowa on Saturday, Paisley had festival organizers reorganize his schedule so that he could make the trip, according to NPR. He performed at the festival on Friday and then booked it to Washington, DC on Saturday in order to hitch a ride with the president.
Here's the lowdown on a few popular singles that were recently released.
Sam Smith - Leave Your Lover
If you haven't had a chance to listen to Sam Smith, let us introduce you to one heck of a soul singer - or as Katy Perry says, "a male Adele." Leave Your Lover is off his debut album In the Lonely Hour which drops June 17.
Lana Del Rey - Shades of Cool
First it was West Coast, and now Lana Del Rey has given us Shades of Cool ahead of the release of her new album Ultraviolence. As the title eludes, Shades of Cool slows things down a bit from West Coast, but it's still just as euphonic. Del Rey also debuted title track Ultraviolence live over the weekend. Check it out here.
Nicki Minaj - Pills N Potions
Nicki Minaj finally unleashed the first of two lyric videos to be released for Pills N Potions, the single from her third album, The Pink Print. The video features the song lyrics along with ... wait for it ... images of pills and alcoholic potions. Minaj won't be winning any creativity awards for this one, but the song itself isn't too shabby and continues to climb music charts.
John Mayer - XO
Yes, XO is a Beyonce song, but this cover by John Mayer was too good not to share. Although it's very different from the original, you've got to give Mayer credit for taking a Bey song on and making it his own.
And if that isn't enough, just keep reading.
Four years after leaving Paramore, drummer Zac Farro has found a new sound and a new creativity.
Farro said he decided to try his hand at writing, retreating to New Zealand to experience a new place and immerse himself in a different culture. The result is his new project, HalfNoise.
Slightly synth-driven and definitely not the punk pop he was known for in Paramore, Mountain, the first single off the forth-coming album Volcano Crowne, stands on its own as a compelling piece of artistry, featuring Farro's sick drum skills.
And we personally want to hear more.
Music has always been a blank canvas for David Crowder, who like an abstract artist mixing colors, has spent his career dabbling in - and mashing up - genres that on the surface might not seem to go together.
On his own after years in the David Crowder Band, the experimental art continues with the release of his solo effort, Neon Steeple.
Branded as folktronica, the album features a heavy dose of banjo-tinged dubstep, electronic dance with traces of bluegrass – sometimes all on the same track.
Emmylou Harris makes an appearance on My Sweet Lord, a folksy kind of song that would be at home in your grandmother's country church, while Come Alive borders on club turner.
Crowder has never been content to paint by the numbers – and that's why so many appreciate him as an artist.
Neon Steeple is out now.
It's hard to believe in three-plus decades in music, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders – a verifiable first lady of rock - has never released a solo album.
Her first effort, an 11-track album titled Stockholm, drops June 10.
So why put out a solo album now?
"I never meant to go solo, in fact I swore I wouldn't. But after 30 years, you've pretty much done everything you ever wanted to do," she told the Huffington Post.
"Then you have to do stuff you didn't want to do, you start sorting through the dregs."
The single, You or No One, is a catchy little number with a little '80s sheen/pop appeal.
Miles Davis' legacy will now live on forever in New York City, both in spirit and in writing.
Hundreds gathered on New York's Upper West Side on Monday for the unveiling ceremony of Miles Davis Way.
The neighborhood that houses the street is the very neighborhood where Davis lived for nearly 25 years.
Neighbors told the New York Times that Davis often hung out on his porch and greeted passers-by, even leading jam sessions from time to time.
Davis passed away in 1991 at the age of 65. Monday would have been his 88th birthday.
Mariah Carey: Me. I Am Mariah ... The Elusive Chanteuse - May 27
Neil Young: A Letter Home - May 27
Sharon Van Etten: Are We There - May 27
Coldplay: Ghost Stories - May 19
Miranda Lambert: Platinum - June 3
Matisyahu: Akeda - June 3
Jack White: Lazaretto - June 10
Jason Mraz: Yes! - July 15
Lana Del Rey: Ultraviolence - June 17
Ivan & Alyosha: Running For Cover
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