What is it about the summer season that has created this illustrious hype around releasing the perfect summer song? Each year people start predicting the “song of the summer” earlier and earlier. Singles released in April or May are immediately judged by critics and bloggers as to whether they are worthy of being on your summer soundtrack.
This year, there are two main contenders for song of the summer. The front runner is from “rap god” Drake. After taking over the airwaves in the spring with “God’s Plan,” he quickly followed up with “Nice For What” which occupied the culture’s collective consciousness just as quickly. “Nice For What” is a great song. It’s a new type of production for Drake, heavily relying on a Lauryn Hill sample and interjections from Big Freedia that make the track really pop.
As with many songs of the summer, it’s more about how the song sounds than what it is actually saying. I have heard “Nice For What” at least 50 times. If you were to ask me what the song was actually about, I wouldn’t have an answer. You get so lost in the sample and the great one-liners that you don’t pick up on the fact that there isn’t really a big picture, and that’s okay.
The other rap song trying to make its mark is “I Like It” by Cardi B, featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin. After steadily climbing the charts since the release of Cardi B’s album “Invasion of Privacy,” the track finally made it to the peak of the Billboard Hot 100 last week. This chart feat made Cardi B the first female rapper to earn two number one singles on the chart.
“I Like It” picks up where Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber left us last summer. It brings a heavy Latin influence to the mainstream and features extended Spanish verses. It’s encouraging to see this follow “Despacito” in becoming so popular. Much like “Nice for What,” “I Like It” relies heavily on a sample. The song “I Like It Like That” by Pete Rodriguez is prominently used in the call-and-response chorus. “I Like It” is a three minute tropical vacation sure to get you dancing.
As we watch these two songs battle it out, it is a confirmation that rap is taking over as the leading genre. Of course, not everyone is satiated by a rap song. Below are some different new tracks I’m really digging this summer. Pump up these jams outside on a nice sunny day or from the comfort of your air conditioned apartment while studying for midterms.
‘Sway’ by Tove Styrke
This is for the electropop fan and those who know that something magical happens when the Swedes make pop music. “Sway” paints the beautiful picture of the unspoken chemistry between two people who may just fall in love.
‘Solo (feat. Demi Lovato)’ by Clean Bandit
This track is for the electronic dance music fan and those who are freshly single. Demi Lovato sings about longing for an ex over another slick production from Clean Bandit.
‘What I Need (feat. Kehlani)’ by Hayley Kiyoko
This song is for the fan of R&B/pop crossovers and those who want to support LGBTQ artists. Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani make a beautiful duet about commitment and expressing your feelings into a fun song you can dance around on the beach to.
‘Pink Lemonade’ by James Bay
This song is for the rock fan and those who prefer to spend summer indoors. James Bay keeps it cool and casual over the driving beat and insistent guitars in “Pink Lemonade.” Stay tuned for the bridge where Bay plans out a whole summer day for you.
‘Heard About Us’ by The Carters
This one is for the R&B fan and those who pledge their allegiance to the Beyhive. The Carters blessed us with a surprise album this summer and it’s fit for the season. The funky bass line on “Heard About Us” is begging to be blasted through car speakers with the windows down.
‘High Horse’ by Kacey Musgraves
This goes out to the country fan and people who are looking to recalibrate their squad for the season. Put this one on at your summer barbeque and maybe square dance a little.
‘On My Way’ by PrettyMuch
This song is for the boy-band fan and those who are looking to right some wrongs. This track is a standout on PrettyMuch’s debut EP. Put this track on as you text your friends you’ll be there in 5 minutes, when in reality you haven’t even gotten dressed yet.
‘Fast Slow Disco’ by St. Vincent
This is for the fan of disco and those that love a good gospel backing chorus. Alternative musician St. Vincent has pushed her sound in lots of new directions with her latest album “Masseduction,” but this remix of “Slow Disco” is perhaps the most experimental for her.
‘Almost Love’ by Sabrina Carpenter
This bop is for the mainstream pop fans and those looking to shoot their shot this summer. Pregame for a night out with this song or just dance alone in your room to it.
‘Night Time’ by Superorganism
This song is for the alternative music fans and those who plan to stay out all night. Superorganism take you through a whole night and right in to the next morning on this fun track. Play this at your campfire while roasting marshmallows and hot dogs on sticks.