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Songs You *Need* To Add To Your Summer 2024 Playlist For The Ultimate Vibes

Admittedly, I create a new monthly playlist on Spotify where I assemble my favorite songs for that month. Every time I hear an old favorite or listen to a song for the first time, I add it to my list. My monthly music compilations started after I made my first seasonal playlist during the summer of 2019. I had just graduated high school and was enjoying my life before everyone would head off to college in the fall (except for me! I was a spring admission student). 

I found myself replaying my “summer 2019” playlist constantly after the temperature had dropped below 70 degrees and I put away all my bikinis for the summer. Now, it’s one of my yearly traditions to try and recreate the essence of my favorite season each year with a playlist on Spotify. Even though we’ve just begun what I consider the most wonderful time of the year, I’ve already compiled a list of 20 songs that you have to add to your summer 2024 playlist.

“Lips” by Benicio Bryant 

Benicia Bryant proved he was a star on Season 14 of America’s Got Talent, and his light hasn’t dimmed since. If you told me his latest drop, “Lips,” was written for Sabrina Carpenter’s new album Short N’ Sweet, I’d absolutely believe you.

Seriously, you’re cheating yourself if you say you like pop music and you aren’t listening to Bryant. I’m obsessed with his iconic music video for “Regina” where he struts around the streets of Beverly Hills with TikTok star Mo in her adorable pink Volkswagen Beetle.

“Talk talk” by Charli xcx

This may be a controversial opinion, but “Talk Talk” is the best song off Charli xcx’s latest album, BRAT. I’m a sucker for upbeat, dancey tracks, and “Talk Talk” is that and more. Ironically, the song is about the night that Charli met her fiance, George Daniel (The 1975’s drummer), at the 2020 NME Awards.

She encapsulates that feeling of having butterflies in your stomach when you’re in the same room as your crush — which is exactly what the song is about. The best part of “Talk Talk” is the outro where Charli encourages Daniel to “talk to [her] in French” and “talk to her [her in] Spanish.” It scratches an itch in my brain I didn’t know I had!

“Spring breakers” by Charli xcx

It may be summertime, but I’m definitely going “Spring breakers” this summer. BRAT is undoubtedly the album of the summer, so expect to see a few more tracks from the project on this list.

It baffles me that this song wasn’t included on the OG version of the record, but was *officially* released to the public once Charli xcx dropped Brat and it’s the same but there’s three more songs so it’s not, AKA the extended version.

“8TEEN” by Khalid

I’m far from being 18, but there’s no denying that Khalid’s “8TEEN” instantly transports me into a summer state of mind.

As a Leo, I obviously stayed up until 12 a.m. on my 18th birthday to listen to this song, driving around the streets of my hometown on a warm summer night. 

“Realiti” by Grimes

My younger sister played “Realiti” by Grimes in the car one day when we were picking up food, and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.

The song was released in 2015, and I don’t know about you, but this summer I’m trying to emulate the vibe of summer 2014 to 2019, and this song matches that. 

“Espresso” by Sabrina Carpenter

Not to jump on the bandwagon, but “Espresso” is the song of the summer. There’s no doubt that the song has launched Sabrina Carpenter’s career into superstardom. I’ve heard “Espresso” about a million times by now, and it’s still as good as it was on my first listen.

Mark my words, I see a Grammy nomination in Carpenter’s future relating to “Espresso” and its success.

“Venice Bitch” by Lana Del Rey

Without the addition of a bunch of tracks from Normal Fucking Rockwell!, I cannot call this the perfect playlist for summer. Lana Del Rey is one of my favorite artists of all time, and NFR! may be my favorite album ever.

The album is the soundtrack to summers in Los Angeles, with each track containing so many references to the beloved landmark. In “Venice Bitch,” Del Rey is obviously talking about Venice Beach. I love turning this track on in the morning when I’m feeling extra nostalgic about my days growing up by the beach.

“National Anthem” by Lana Del Rey

I’m not sure I can add the demo version of Del Rey’s “National Anthem” to my summer Spotify playlist, but I absolutely would if I could.

Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to the song on rotation with the rest of Born to Die, but there’s just more grit in the unreleased recording that I wish Del Rey would have included in the final cut of “National Anthem.”

“Dirty Things” by Kim Petras

Even though Kim Petras already has one Grammy Award in her repertoire, the music industry slept on her surprise-dropped second studio album, Problématique. The project was actually scrapped after the tracks and album cover were leaked online in 2022.

Thank goodness Petras decided to release the album because “Dirty Things” is one of my favorite tracks by her.

“Thunder” by Lana Del Rey

As a Del Rey fan, we didn’t give Blue Banisters the accolades it rightfully deserves. The album was incredibly slept on, which meant you likely missed out on listening to “Thunder,” unless you came across the track when it started going viral on TikTok.

There’s something so inspiring about this song to me, when it actually seems like Del Rey is urging a lover to leave and “roll like thunder” if that’s what he chooses. There’s something about the chorus where she sings, “Just do it, don’t wait, I don’t wanna wait,” that I feel like she’s urging me to go after all my dreams and aspirations.

“Nasty” by Tinashe

I couldn’t create a summer 2024 playlist without including “Nasty” by Tinashe.

I used to wait for her track “2 On” to play during my middle and high school dances and was ecstatic to see her re-enter the spotlight with“Nasty,” which is now viral on TikTok

“Girl Like Me” by Slayyyter

If you haven’t heard “Girl Like Me,” you’re welcome, because you’re about to be obsessed with this track. I’ve said it once and I’ll continue to say it — Slayyyter is pop’s hidden gem.

I always turn this track on before a night out to set a fun vibe and get myself excited for what’s to come.

“Toothbrush” by DNCE

Hear me out, I know the Jonas Brothers got back togoether, but I think we moved on from Joe Jonas’ band, DNCE, way too fast. You’ve definitely heard “Cake By The Ocean,” but “Toothbrush” has to  be their best song.

DNCE had such an infectious sound blended with slightly raunchy lyrics that make this song one of my tracks of the summer.

“Love song” by Lana Del Rey

I warned y’all that I’m a diehard NFR! fan, and “Love Song” is one of the most underrated tracks from the album. This track admittedly makes me catch my breath every single time I hear it. Del Rey is so real and raw yet contained in “Love Song” that I feel like living out her lyrics when I listen.

Del Rey transports me to memories with a lover when she sings, “In the car, in the backseat, I’m your baby” and “Lying on your chest, in my party dress / I’m a f*cking mess,” because I’ve been there before.

“supernatural” by Ariana Grande

“supernatural” is one of the best songs from Eternal Sunshine, and I don’t think it’s gotten enough praise. If you can’t tell from my picks so far for this playlist, Summer 2024 is all about spreading light and love and Ariana Grande admits she’s falling in love in “supernatural.”

No, seriously, she admits this when singing, “It’s taking over me, don’t wanna fight the fall.” I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding Grande’s love life, but you can’t deny that this track is pure magic.

“B2B” by Charli xcx

Another BRAT track is more than justified on my summer playlist. “B2B” was out before Charli xcx dropped the album of the summer, and the production of the song is actually insane.

She sings about not wanting to go back to a past lover and that he can just “go back to her” instead, which I love.

“Anticipating” by Britney Spears 

Britney Spears is one of my favorite artists of all time and I’m a fan of all her music. “Anticipating” captures that quintessential pop sound present in Spears’ early career that I fell in love with when I was 9.

Now that I’m older, I appreciate the lyrics where the princess of pop yearns for her lover. 

“Ocean Man” by Ween

“Ocean Man” diverts from most of the other tracks I’ve included on this playlist, but for good reason. I’m going to be at the beach every chance I get this summer, and this song is going to encourage me to do that.

Seriously, who wouldn’t turn on “Ocean Man” in the car on the way to the beach?

“Summerboy” by Lady Gaga

If you’re in a situationship this summer, you might want to listen to “Summerboy” by Lady Gaga. She perfectly encapsulates what it’s like to have a casual, undefined relationship during the best season of the year.

Plus, the pop production of Gaga’s The Fame is all over this track, where she somehow is able to make a summer situationship sound light and romantic.

“The Next Best American Record”

As the last track of this summer playlist, I had to round out with “The Next Best American Record.” On this song, Del Rey sprinkles in more Los Angeles references, singing about how hot Topanga is and playing The Eagles while driving down to Malibu.

She sings about the stress they placed on their creative collaboration — and in return, their relationship, — by being obsessed with creating the next big hit. All the while, Del Rey professes her love in the midst of their struggle, singing, “Everything I want and do, all the things that I say / It’s you, all the roads lead to you / Like the 405 I drive through.”

McKinley Franklin is a writer and recent college graduate from East Carolina University. She was Her Campus' fall 2022 entertainment and culture intern and is a current national writer. McKinley specializes in entertainment coverage, though her favorite niche of the industry is reality television.