Ever since Katy Perry kissed a girl in 2008, the pop singer has been the one to beat when it comes to infectious summer anthems.
A summer anthem, or song of the summer, is that one inescapable tune that rings out throughout the season, booming everywhere from radio and iTunes to advertisements and TV shows.
Think Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” last year, or jump back more than 50 years to the Beach Boys’ “Surfin’ U.S.A.”
“I Kissed a Girl” – from Perry’s second album, “One of the Boys” – was the soundtrack for summer 2008. The song topped Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for nearly two months – and for good reason.
The ditty was undeniably catchy and memorable, and its zippy melody was hard to shake:
I kissed a girl and I liked it.
The taste of her cherry ChapStick.
I kissed a girl just to try it.
I hope my boyfriend don’t mind it.
Since then, Perry has shown up regularly as a summer staple, with “Waking Up in Vegas,” a hit in 2009, “California Gurls” featuring Snoop Dogg taking over the following summer, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” in 2011 and “Wide Awake” in 2012.
But Perry, on the road now with her “Prismatic” tour is facing some of her toughest competition for summer supremacy.
Her tour -- which makes a stop at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City -- is doing just fine.
But her “Prism” album, released last year, peaked long ago and doesn’t boast the same set of strong legs as her previous blockbuster releases.
None of the songs from “Prism” are on this week’s Billboard’s Songs of the Summer chart. The album has some bona fide hits – “Roar,” “Dark Horse” and “Unconditionally” – but those songs have run their course.
A new queen appears to be ruling our ears this summer: Iggy Azalea. Her song “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, is the leading contender for the top summer song of 2014, currently occupying the top Songs of the Summer slot. In second place is Ariana Grande – featuring Azelea.
Other big songs this summer include Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s “Turn Down for What,” Calvin Harris’ “Summer” and strong winter holdovers such as John Legend’s “All of Me” and Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” – a sunny song if ever there was one.
Perry may be out of the running for 2014, but don’t fret: She’s still roaring in a lane all her own. She recently was named the top digital act in the history of gold and platinum awards.
That’s pretty fancy. (Sorry, Iggy.)