These Will Be the Only Songs You’ll Hear This Summer
Interestingly, April is a really exciting time for music. It marks the true kickoff of music-festival season, starting with Coachella and Stagecoach. It’s also when people start thinking about what’s going to be the Song of the Summer. But it’s especially difficult to determine which song will ultimately reign supreme by August: From glistening country-pop to retro-R&B, the Top 40 landscape is the most diverse it’s been in years. Plus, people don’t just want a catchy beat and cheeky video anymore; they crave authentic artists who create music that makes them think as well as dance. Luckily, there are several acts doing that right now—and they all have worthy new tunes. Here are 14 that we think are serious contenders for Song of the Summer.
1. “High Horse” by Kacey Musgraves
Disco and country perfectly combine on this sun-drenched song, in which Musgraves laments about an egotistical guy who can’t get off his—you guessed it—high horse. It’s a twangy, acoustic-rich stomper that gets a Top 40 boost thanks to a slick, synthy bass line. Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and, yes, Taylor Swift are all beaming with pride because someone else has finally joined the crossover club.
2. “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey
Speaking of crossover: This EDM confection that features country queen Maren Morris has been dominating radio for weeks now, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. With its zipping electronic production—complete with actual bells and whistles—and Morris’ velvety vocals at the center, “The Middle” is the living, breathing definition of a smash.
3. “Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko
From a strictly sonic perspective, “Curious” is an undeniable hit. The beat-driven, uptempo tune features breathy, urgent-sounding verses that lead to a punchy chorus. But there’s more to this song than its catchiness: A queer woman, Kiyoko, is at the helm, and she’s been quite vocal in interviews about how this song—and her whole album, for that matter—normalizes “girls loving girls.” With “Curious,” Kiyoko is etching out a place for queer women in pop that never existed before. Bop along knowing this song’s actually putting good into the world.
4. “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA
This Black Panther song expertly blends Lamar’s rapid-fire rapping and SZA’s smooth vocals over a tight, techno-infused beat. It feels simultaneously fresh and familiar—you practically feel compelled to dance while hearing it.
5. “Lemon” (The New Remix) by N.E.R.D., Rihanna, and Drake
Drake peppers some much needed oomph onto the polarizing N.E.R.D track “Lemon.” Will the addition of his verses help this song climb the charts? Only time will tell, but one thing’s certain: The tune definitely sounds sexier with him on it. Honestly, Drake and Rihanna just need to make music together from now until the end of time.
6. “No Excuses” by Meghan Trainor
Trainor established her pop brand the second she released “All About That Bass” in 2014: It’s a bizarre but incredibly addicting blend of glitter pop and doo-wop-inspired jazz. And she continues this trend on “No Excuses,” an unapologetically bouncy song stuffed with your standard empowering lyrics. “What you sippin’ on that got you talking crazy? Lookin’ at me sideways, always coming at me,” Trainor sings over a throbbing beat. A tad generic? Sure. But, hey, it’s 2018: We need all the empowerment we can get, no matter how simple it seems. Good luck getting this one out of your head.
7. “Fitness” by Lizzo
The appeal of Lizzo’s new rap track “Fitness” is immediate: It’s a scorching, in-your-face banger that doesn’t let up until the very end. That alone makes “Fitness” a fine contender for Song of the Summer, but like “Curious,” there’s some important social commentary in it as well. Peep the video for “Fitness,” below, and you’ll see women of all sizes owning their sexuality by dancing. That never happens in music—let alone for women in rap—so it’s awesome to see it here. The fact that the size inclusivity is just happening in this video, and it’s not A Thing, is important too. It’s simply representing the world as it exists, plain and simple. Hopefully, we’ll see more videos like this sooner rather than later.
8. “Me So Bad,” by Tinashe, Ty Dolla $ign, and French Montana
Tinashe lends her lighter-than-air vocals to this tropical house-inspired track, which features sharp rap verses from Ty Dolla $ign and French Montana. There’s a breezy, island vibe to this song that makes it perfect for on-the-beach dance parties—preferably with sangria. In fact, “Me So Bad,” is essentially the sonic equivalent of a summer cocktail; it’s sweet, bubbly, and goes down smooth. I’d like a refill, please.
9. “Bartier Cardi,” by Cardi B feat. 21 Savage
This now platinum single is the grimier, more sultry version of “Bodak Yellow.” Granted, the structure is a bit rap-by-numbers, but Cardi B’s singular, exuberant flow keeps “Bartier Cardi” fresh and radio-friendly. Expect to hear this even more as we go into the summer months.
10. “Mad Love,” by Sean Paul, David Guetta, Becky G
This standard EDM song blasts into pop heaven thanks to its swinging, synthy chorus that deserves to be heard at the highest volume possible. Every summer needs a DJ-crafted jam. Last year it was Calvin Harris’ “Feels,” and Guetta’s “Mad Love” might just take the crown for 2018. Becky G’s rich vocals are the highlight of the song, of course.
11. “1,2,3,” by Sofia Reyes, Jason Derulo, and De La Ghetto
Mexican singer Sofia Reyes teams up with Jason Derulo and De La Ghetto on this swirling tune that combines the best elements of Latin music and techno pop. It’s a hip-swiveling jaunt that grows sexier with every listen.
12. “Finesse,” by Bruno Mars and Cardi B.
It’d be foolish not to include “Finesse” on this list. The nineties-inspired anthem is one of the most ubiquitous songs in the country right now, and it will certainly heat up the charts this summer. Not that we’re complaining. The tune is infectious, an enviable blend of retro flair and hip-hop flavor that feels very now. Don’t be surprised if this song from January is still on top in June.
13. “My! My! My!,” by Troye Sivan
“Oh my, my, my! I die every night with you,” Sivan exclaims on the bombastic chorus of this banger, which perfectly combines elements of house, techno, and EDM into one catchy package. It’s as sleek as it is sexy, with Sivan’s vocals effortlessly gliding over the bubbly pop production.
14. “God’s Plan,” by Drake
Drake’s latest number-one single is arguably one of his most laid-back ever. The rapper’s signature flow is supported by a warm, midtempo beat that’s rhythmic without ever feeling repetitive—the ultimate chill-out track.
21 Huge Pop Songs That Were Originally Written for Other Artists
Song of the Summer 2017: 15 New Tracks by Women That Deserve the Top Honor
- 1 1. “High Horse” by Kacey Musgraves
- 2 2. “The Middle” by Zedd, Maren Morris, and Grey
- 3 3. “Curious” by Hayley Kiyoko
- 4 4. “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA
- 5 5. “Lemon” (The New Remix) by N.E.R.D., Rihanna, and Drake
- 6 6. “No Excuses” by Meghan Trainor
- 7 7. “Fitness” by Lizzo
- 8 8. “Me So Bad,” by Tinashe, Ty Dolla $ign, and French Montana
- 9 9. “Bartier Cardi,” by Cardi B feat. 21 Savage
- 10 10. “Mad Love,” by Sean Paul, David Guetta, Becky G
- 11 11. “1,2,3,” by Sofia Reyes, Jason Derulo, and De La Ghetto
- 12 12. “Finesse,” by Bruno Mars and Cardi B.
- 13 13. “My! My! My!,” by Troye Sivan
- 14 14. “God’s Plan,” by Drake