Songs of the summer are, in fact, much like summer itself — starry-eyed and full of promise at first, before the months pass and everything starts to feel sticky, stale and oppressively heavy.
Earlier this summer, USA TODAY ranked every official song of the summer from the past 20 years. And with Labor Day marking the unofficial end of the season on Monday, it’s time to look back at the hits that dominated summer 2017 — and pit them against each other for a definitive ranking.
Wondering why some summertime hits didn’t make the list? The 20 songs listed below had the longest reigns on Billboard’s songs of summer chart, which left out favorites like Cardi B’s Bodak Yellow and new songs like Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do.
20. Say You Won’t Let Go, James Arthur
Perhaps you were among the many listeners touched by Arthur’s British accent and acoustic-guitar strumming. We, on the other hand, couldn’t get past his mildly creepy opening verse where the object of Arthur’s affections pukes, smiles and asks him to stay over.
19. That’s What I Like, Bruno Mars
At this point, most songs-of-summer contenders have been overplayed to the point of delirium. But few tracks feel as weary as That’s What I Like, the sonic equivalent of massaging your brain with a cheese grater.
18. Believer, Imagine Dragons
Not only are we subjected to hearing an Imagine Dragons song in seemingly every single movie trailer, but Believer also turned into a radio hit this summer, the latest ploddingly rousing track from a band whose songs continue to be near-indistinguishable from one another.
17. There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back, Shawn Mendes
Another faceless pop hit that could’ve been performed by any number of other artists on this list, Mendes’ Energizer Bunny of a track is earnest to the point of embarrassing, destined to live on via upbeat commercials and spin class soundtracks.
16. Issues, Julia Michaels
Michaels is legitimately an artist to root for, a pop songwriter who stepped out of the shadows and landed a breakout solo hit. Despite its sugar-headache sweetness, Issues is a promising start for Michaels, even if the track has, er, problems.
15. Shape Of You, Ed Sheeran
There’s something annoyingly hypnotic about Shape of You, the kind of song you’ll be absentmindedly humming for days before…