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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Best Songs of Summer 2012

Your selections include “Call Me Maybe,” “We Are Young” and “Gold On the Ceiling”

black keys adam lambert carly rae jepsen summer

Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images; Neil Lupin/Redferns via Getty Images; Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Determining the song of the summer is an inexact science. There are often at least three or four songs that top the charts and go into heavy rotation on Top 40 radio stations, and that's not even factoring in the actual quality of the track. Sometimes a song is indisputably the song of the summer (like Rihanna's "Umbrella" in 2007) but most years, it's an open question. This year, "Call Me Maybe" and "We Are Young" were hard to escape, but rock fans might point to "Burn It Down" by Linkin Park or "Gold on the Ceiling" by the Black Keys.

We asked our readers to vote for the song of the summer last weekend, and here are the results. (Note: it's quite clear from the numbers that fans of Adam Lambert and the Killers stuffed the ballot box. Not much we can do about that.)

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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10. Linkin Park, ‘Burn It Down’

Rap-rock isn't exactly burning up the charts these days. In many ways, Linkin Park are the genre's sole survivors, largely because they've been willing to evolve and grow with every album. Their newest disc Living Things landed this summer and debuted at the top of the charts with 223,000 sales in the first week. Their first single, "Burn It Down," peaked at Number 30 on the Hot 100, but it's done very well on what's left of modern rock radio. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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9. Foo Fighters, ‘Bridge Burning’

Back in 1996, when "Big Me" first hit radio, it was hard to imagine that this band would be one of the biggest groups on the planet in 2012. When's the last time a drummer stepped out from behind the kit with this much success? Phil Collins? Foo Fighters cut their latest LP, Wasting Light, in Dave Grohl's garage with producer Butch Vig, and it's been a huge success. It hit shelves over a year ago and is still landing songs on the radio. The fifth single, "Bridge Burning," came out in March and is still doing very well on radio. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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8. The Offspring, ‘Days Go By’

The Offspring didn't transition out of the 1990s as smoothly as Green Day, Foo Fighters or a handful of other groups from their era. Sales have been down since the release of their 1998 mega-hit Americana, and their singles just haven't really been connecting. It's not for lack of trying, though. They spent years polishing their new album, Days Go By, with Metallica and Motley Crue producer Bob Rock. Lead-off single "Days Go By" does manage to capture some of their old-school vibe and has been a big hit with the fans. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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7. Best Coast, ‘The Only Place’

California garage-pop duo Best Coast teamed up with producer Jon Brion for their second LP – a decidedly less lo-fi effort than their 2010 debut, Crazy for You, though no less catchy. The title track from The Only Place is a loving ode to California that could have almost been written by the Beach Boys. It's been featured on a number of TV shows (including The Real World) and if there's any justice in the world, it will become the biggest song of the whole year. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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6. Fun, ‘We Are Young’

"We Are Young" was released last September, but it took an appearance on Glee and a Chevrolet commercial during the Super Bowl to start connecting with people. This past March, it reached Number One on the Hot 100 and has been absolutely inescapable ever since. It's fallen to Number Eight this week and is now only on the radio four times an hour, as opposed to the roughly 15 times per hour a few weeks ago. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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5. Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Call Me Maybe’

When Canadian singer-songwriter Carly Rae Jepsen came in third place on Canadian Idol in 2007, many people probably imagined they'd never hear from her again. But those people didn't count on her writing a crazily catchy hit, and they especially didn't count on Justin Bieber Tweeting his love for it to his 25 million fans. Before she knew it, Jepsen was singing the song with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots and watching her song shoot to Number One on the Hot 100, where it currently sits. When all is said and done, this may be the song ultimately remembered as the 2012 song of the summer. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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4. The Gaslight Anthem, ’45’

New Jersey rockers the Gaslight Anthem dropped their newest single "45" in late April. "This song felt to us like we still had something to say in this long line of rock & roll tradition," frontman Brian Fallon told Rolling Stone. "It made the path clear as to what we should do next. Sometimes you just have to leave things behind… turn the record over." The retro-sounding song has been a huge hit with their fan base, and their new album Handwritten (produced by Brendan O'Brien) comes out next week. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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3. The Black Keys, ‘Gold on the Ceiling’

There's not much rock radio these days, but the few channels left play a lot of the Black Keys. Their new single, "Gold on the Ceiling," is currently Number Two on the Billboard Rock Songs chart. It's also been featured in numerous TV commercials, video games and movie trailers. Twenty years ago, that was seen as a sell-out move but nowadays, it's basically the best way to expose your music to a vast audience. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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2. Adam Lambert, ‘Never Close Our Eyes’

Adam Lambert didn't win American Idol, but he manages to get about 50 times more attention than the last few winners combined. (Can you even name the last winner?) He's spent the summer doing overseas gigs with Queen and promoting his second LP, Trespassing. He's also rumored to be in the running to be a new judge on American Idol and that Queen tour may actually come to America someday. In the meantime, his new single "Never Close Our Eyes" has charted all around the world. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist:

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1. The Killers, ‘Runaways’

We last heard from the Killers back in 2008 when they released their polarizing third album, Day and Age. Since then, singer Brandon Flowers has focused on his solo career, and some feared the Killers may be finished. However, they regrouped last year to begin recording their new album, Battle Born, with a murderers row of all-star producers, including Brendan O'Brien, Daniel Lanois, Stuart Price and Steve Lillywhite. The album doesn't hit until September 18th, but the first single, "Runaways," has been doing very well on radio and has been seen as a return to form by critics. 

Listen to the top 10 while you read with this Spotify playlist: