Will 'Despacito' Be the Song of the Summer?

Our forecast for the summer’s biggest hits also includes Jason Derulo's 'Swalla,' Selena Gomez's 'Bad Liar' and a truly Israeli pop sensation

Luis Fonsi performs at Wango Tango at StubHub Center on Saturday, May 13, 2017, in Carson, Calif.
Chris Pizzello/AP

‘Swalla’

Jason Derulo, featuring Nicki Minaj & Ty Dolla $ign

A mildly sweet smoothie that combines all of today’s hottest trends: Caribbean-Latin vibes, hip-hop, a minimalistic production and a beat that flips when you least expect it. By the numbers: The incredibly sexist video was viewed 325 million times since its March 17 debut, while the song landed fourth place on Shazam’s ranking of the 100 most-searched-for songs in Israel. Why it works: Derulo has made a career out of catchy, sexy hits that remain fresh even after you’ve heard them a thousand times. “Swalla” takes things a step forward, with an irresistible beat and great features by the powerful Nicki Minaj and the super-cool Ty Dolla $ign.

‘Bad Liar’

Selena Gomez

Gomez’s unexpected hit is a crisp, velvety song that pays a nice homage to Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer.” The mellow vocals reveal Gomez as an excellent storyteller, while the anti-chorus is the perfect soundtrack for a weird dance session in your living room. By the numbers: The video was viewed 25.6 million times since May 17. Why it works: Because Gomez is the obvious underdog in this sweaty race. “Bad Liar’ sneaks up on you and makes you crave a summer fling with a bittersweet ending. 

‘Tudo Bom’

Static and Ben El Tavori

After leaving their mark on Reggaeton, the local superstars are out to conquer Brazil’s Baile Funk. The two continue to generate extremely catchy phrases, and this time it’s the optimistic “Tudo Bom” (“Everything’s fine” in Portuguese). By the numbers: The video gained 6.6 million views since June 4, including breaking a local record with over a million on just one day. “Tudo Bom” didn’t rank on the Shazam Top 100 chart, which could be a good sign – no one needs to look it up. Why it works: Static (Liraz Russo), Ben El Tavori and producer Jordi took the Israeli pop scene by storm. Now they continue to break rules and shatter boundaries with a hyperactive song that fires off 10 references per second without actually saying anything at all. But most of all, “Tudo Bom” offers Israelis the ultimate summer treat: repression. Everything’s fine. Tudo Bom.

Tudo Bom by Static and Ben El Tavori

‘Despacito’

Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Bieber

An infectious Reggaeton hit that cleverly zigzags between tenderness and intensity. The title means “slowly” in Spanish – a perfect name for a song that stretches out like gum, with no clear beginning or end. By the numbers: 1.8 billion views for the original version that came out on January 12, plus 291 million views for the remix, featuring Justin Bieber. “Despacito” conquered Shazam’s Israeli chart, with more than 8 million searches. Why it works: Because Latin America is Israel’s spirit animal and when it gets too hot to handle, many Israelis wish they were sweating over at the other side of the globe. “Despacito” flatters almost every situation – from pool parties to weddings and hipster bars – which makes it the clear frontrunner for this race.