What is your song of the summer of 2006?

Besides fireworks and hot dogs, the start of July marks another tradition – the crowning of the song of the summer.
Like it or not, every summer some ubiquitous tune will worm its way into your brain, and blare from every apartment and iPod. And it will take you back to a summer of love, or clubbing, or hanging under the boardwalk or in Washington Square Park. It’s an instant time machine.
“A summer hit has to have a unique upfront hook, a great beat, and it has to sound great in a car,” says Jim Kaminski, who works in marketing at Tower Records. “You’ll find yourself singing along even if you hate it.”
Hate might be the case for 1996’s omnipresent “Macarena” by Los Del Rio or 2004’s polarizing “Cameltoe” from Fannypack. But so far this summer, Paris Hilton’s “Stars Go Blind” notwithstanding, most of the summer-hit contenders don’t make you want to puncture your eardrums.
Some of summer 2006’s tunes were released in the spring, but are building up steam. Take Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” for example. “It’s addictive as crack,” Kaminski says.
The just-released title track from Jessica Simpson’s new album “A Public Affair” may be a little too Madonna-esque for those who know “Holiday,” but her fans may be too young to remember the ’80s hit. And, in front of its August release, “Idlewild,” Outkast released its first single, “Mighty O,” since it held 2004 captive all year long with “Hey Ya.” It’s also Big Boi and Andre 3000’s first joint appearance on a song since 2000.
And never underestimate the power of Justin Timberlake, whose album is due in September, but whose first single, “Sexy Back,” drops Tuesday.
One tune everyone is betting will stand the test of time is Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous” (featuring Timbaland). “It’s an infectious groove crafted from fine hip-hoppery of Timbaland with a melody that’s singable by even the worst karaoke artist,” says Fuse VJ Steven. “Nelly’s hips aren’t half bad, either.”
Bartel, programming director at KTU, picks that tune and also says Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man” has chance, but he’s also behind a dance remix of “It’s Too Late” from Australian rock trio Evermore. “Clubs here and down by the shore are beginning to play it a lot,” he says.
“The summer hit is basically the song that comes on wherever you are that everyone starts singing or dancing to,” says Damien Fahey, co-host of MTV’s “TRL,” who likes “Promiscuous” and “Crazy.”
Hot 97’s Mister Cee also says to listen for Omarian’s “Entourage.”
“It’s an up-tempo banger with an Usher-Michael Jackson feel that’s easy to dance to and perfect for the summer.”
Whatever it is, it will hit the airwaves like a tidal wave, like Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” did in 2004. BeyoncÈ – with Jay-Z – is looking for a repeat, by the way, with the horns-laden single “DÈj‡.” Don’t worry if you haven’t heard it – soon you won’t be able to escape it.
The expert: Damien Fahey, “TRL”
The song: “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley
Why it’s hot: “It’s got a cool low-key sound.”
Odds are…: 3-1
The expert: Shelley Wade, Z100
The song: “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado and Timbaland
Why it’s hot: “Everyone’s shaking their booties to this one.”
Odds are…: …2-1
The expert: Bartel, KTU
The song: “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira and Wyclef Jean
Why it’s hot: “An instant recipe for a summer hit.”
Odds are…: …5-1
The expert: DÈj‡ vu, Power 105.1 deejay
The song: “DÈj‡ Vu” by Beyonce with Jay-Z
Why it’s hot: “Funky dance track and can’t get enough of ‘retired’ Jay-Z.”
Odds are…: …3-1
The expert: Darryl James, Kiss FM
The song: “Shine” by Luther Vandross
Why it’s hot: “His biggest hit since the ’80s.”
Odds are…: 6-1
The expert: Mister Cee, Hot 97
The song: “Dutty Wine” by Tony Matterhorn
Why it’s hot: “Biggest craze in Caribbean community and clubs with biggest crossover potential.”
Odds are…: 7-1
The expert: Scott Lapatine,
The song: “Smiley Faces” by Gnarls Barkley
Why it’s hot: “A fun blast of infectious soul from the unstoppable Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo.”
Odds are…: …7-1
The expert: Jim Kaminski, Tower Records
The song: “You Only Live Once” by the Strokes
Why it’s hot: “The best single they’ve ever put out.”
Odds are…: 10-1
The expert: Chuck Taylor, Billboard
The song: “A Public Affair” by Jessica Simpson
Why it’s hot: “Like cotton candy without being sticky!”
Odds are…: …4-1
The expert: Dan Aquilante, The Post
The song: “Ain’t No Other Man” by Christina Aguilera
Why it’s hot: “A show-stopping cabaret hip-hop hybrid that’s hard to resist.”
Odds are…: 8-1
The expert: Mary Huhn, The Post
The song: “Sexy Back” by Justin Timberlake
Why it’s hot: “No radio play until Tuesday, but the 16-second leaked download makes a bettor out of me.”
Odds are…: 3-1