The Essential Songs to Add to Your Summer Playlist This Year
Set the scene: you’re on the beach or at your local park. The sun is out, and you’re finally surrounded by friends you’ve spent the best part of 18 months apart from. You hug, and you laugh, and conversations are flowing about the post-pandemic holidays abroad you’ve already begun planning in your head and the outfits you’re going to wear on that crucial first night out. Now all that’s missing are some chilled, summery tunes: the essential soundtrack to your summer.
1. Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
It feels only fitting to kick off this playlist with a classic. If this song doesn’t have you picturing yourself driving down a long stretch of road with the top down, surrounded by friends, destination unknown, then I’m not sure what will.
2. Lost Cause – Billie Eilish
When Billie Eilish returned with Lost Cause last month, fans were quick to label it this year’s hot girl summer anthem. It’s not difficult to see why: Eilish sings about moving on from an ex, boasting independence, self-esteem, and confidence. And we are here for it. Rather than wallowing in the heartbreak, Eilish picks herself - and the rest of us – up, claiming, “I used to wish you were mine, but that was way before I realised someone like you would always be so easy to find…”
3. Deja Vu – Olivia Rodrigo
This year has belonged to Olivia Rodrigo, who has released bop, after bop, after bop. Deja Vu, one of the standout tracks on her debut Sour, is a song we can likely all relate to. Rodrigo sings about moving on from and questioning past relationships. A fun, catchy heartbreak anthem you’re going to be belting out all summer long.
4. Softly – Clairo
It would, quite frankly, be considered blasphemy not to feature Clairo on your summer playlist. She truly is chilled, summer vibes personified. The dreamy vocals and serene vibes on Softly will have you picturing yourself surrounded by your nearest and dearest on a hot, sticky summer’s day without a care in the world.
5. Marea (We’ve Lost Dancing) – Fred again.., The Blessed Madonna
Odds are you’ve heard this song on the radio and a wave of nostalgia hit you like a bus. This song is perfect for uplifting spirits and inspiring hope in all of us, especially those of us who can’t wait to be back on the dance floor with our friends, totally immersed in the music and the moment: “If I can live through this next six months, day by day, if I can live through this… what comes next, will be marvellous”.
6. Good Days – SZA
Despite being released last December, Good Days is the ideal summer anthem, giving off major laid-back, ethereal energy. On the track SZA sings about looking to the future, rather than the past; “I don’t miss no ex, I don’t miss no text, I choose not to respond”. She’s letting it all go, the vibe we should all be going for this summer.
7. Florida Kilos – Lana Del Rey
The epitome of the ‘cool girl’, Lana Del Rey is an essential feature on your summer playlist. Her famous bluesy and sultry vocals are paramount in this tune, and will really have you feeling like that bitch this summer.
8. Weekend – Mac Miller (feat. Miguel)
A feel-good collaboration between two greats, Mac Miller and Miguel, and a personal favourite of mine, Weekend has the ability to pick you up when you’re down, and perfectly encapsulates the feeling of looking forward to the weekend after a long and tiring week. Here’s to many great weekends on the horizon this summer!
9. Better Than Me – Doja Cat
Even with Doja Cat’s new album Planet Her, for me, 2019’s Hot Pink hasn’t yet lost its appeal. Better Than Me is a fun, playful and sultry track perfect for the summer season, and whether we like to admit it or not, we’ve likely all been in Doja’s position comparing ourselves to someone else.
10. Bussdown – Jorja Smith, Shaybo
There were quite a few Jorja Smith songs to pick from that would’ve made perfect additions here, but her latest Bussdown featuring Shaybo, fits best: a chilled R&B track that sees two powerful women proud of the accomplishments they’ve been afforded due to their own hard work and success.
Some other songs you might consider adding:
Gravity – Brent Faiyaz, DJ Dahi and Tyler, the Creator
Kool Aid – KIRBY
Sun is Shining – Bob Marley & The Wailers
Angel – Kali Uchis
Butterfly – UMI
Waitin’ for You – Felivand
Watermelon Sugar – Harry Styles
Shine – Cleo Sol
Whipped Cream – Ari Lennox
Girl Like Me – Jazmine Sullivan (feat. H.E.R.)
Selfish – Little Simz, Cleo Sol