Songs of the Summer

It’s my favorite time of year! No, not back-to-school season, song-of-the-summer season! April through September is always an incredible time for music, and one thing I love to do more than anything is to reflect on the songs that shaped my summer, whether I realized or not. These are the songs that played during long work shifts, gym sessions, sunny drives, and afternoon walks. This is the soundtrack to my summer. Enjoy!

  1. 1. “Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift

    Taylor Swift’s Lover brought us some unbelievable pop songs, but “Cruel Summer” had to be my pick for the #1 spot. This song intrigues me because it explores an interesting combination of spite, animosity, and uncertainty at the beginning of a relationship. Spite and animosity may not be the first thing you think of when you think of the honeymoon phase, but in the song she compares her love interest to both a devil and an angel, and she also says that “if [she] bleeds, [he’ll] be the last to know.” Beyond the lyrics’ symbolism, the song showcases Taylor Swift’s vocals in a way that we’ve never heard them before - she comes off as feisty and sassy, but still scared. This song is a fan favorite, for good reason; it has all the traits of a classic Taylor Swift song, but shows a new side to Swift that we’d never really seen until now.

  2. 2. “Liar” by Camila Cabello

    Camila Cabello’s second solo era is underway, and the standout of the three songs she’s released so far is “Liar.” This song has all of the qualities of a good pop song, but one thing I love about Cabello and her music is how much of a point she makes in including elements of her Cuban-Mexican heritage in her music. In “Liar” we can hear handclaps, drums, and big, brassy horns alongside a deep bass and her famous voice. This song is incredibly well-done from beginning to end and it has me very excited to see what the rest of the upcoming album will sound like.

  3. 3. “All the Time” by Zara Larsson

    Zara Larsson is pop’s next big thing. I promise. She has the pop song down to a science, and her latest release, “All the Time,” is no different. Her impeccable voice soars over a heavy electronic dance beat as she sings about how she can’t stand to think of her lost love with someone else. This release makes me very curious and excited to see what her album will hold. When it comes out, give it a listen. You can thank me later.

  4. 4. “Mother’s Daughter” by Miley Cyrus

    Miley Cyrus lets her freak flag fly over a jarring beat in “Mother’s Daughter.” She hits the ground running right from the first verse and keeps the same high energy throughout the track, claiming and owning that she’s “nasty” and “evil”. This song is a wild and weird declaration of self-love and it’s one that doesn’t get sung, it gets screamed.

  5. 5. “Nightmare” by Halsey

    “Nightmare” by Halsey gave me shellshock in the absolute best way. She details her frustrations surrounding being a woman in today’s society, screaming over a punk rock backdrop in the chorus, and singing over a rolling pop beat in the verses. This song feels like an identification point for Halsey, who has been very open about her experiences as a woman, as well as a crossroads of her musical influences and identity.

  6. 6. “New Light” by John Mayer

    John Mayer has no shortage of hits under his belt and “New Light” is no exception. “New Light” shows off his insane guitar skills in the song, as well as his smooth vocals and lyrical ability in a bouncy, upbeat track. Mayer has produced a versatile and undeniably fun track which is sure to please new fans and old alike.

  7. 7.  “How Do You Sleep?” by Sam Smith

    We’ve always known Sam Smith for having an unbelievable voice and “How Do You Sleep?” is no exception to that. This song, however, has struck me more than any of his previous work because of this exploration of electronic music in his production. Sometimes when artists move away from their usual genre and venture into a more pop-electronic sound, it can feel flat, but for Sam Smith it works so well. Between “How Do You Sleep?” and his previous track with Normani, “Dancing With A Stranger,” he’s perfectly created a “dancing-with-tears-in-my-eyes” world for himself to exist in.

  8. 8. “Never Really Over” by Katy Perry

    After Katy Perry’s Witness era, I had low expectations when she announced she was releasing new music. I was pleasantly surprised when the release date rolled around and the track’s production was bright and Katy Perry’s vocals soared above the high tempo background. This song is Katy Perry at her best and brightest, and I’m very excited to see what her next album will consist of.

  9. 9. “Like A Girl” by Lizzo

    Lizzo has reigned supreme this summer with hits like “Truth Hurts,” “Juice,” and “Good As Hell,” but she has so many hidden gems on her latest album, Cuz I Love You. “Like a Girl” is one of these gems. Perfect for running, driving with the windows down, or getting ready to go out with your friends, this song is THE girl power anthem you’ve been searching for.

  10. 10. “Doin’ Time” by Lana Del Rey

    Released early in the summer and later appearing on her most recent album, Norman F*****g Rockwell!, Lana Del Rey knew exactly what she was doing with her rendition of Sublime’s 1996 track. She effortlessly croons about the girl who “treats [her] like shit” and chants that she’s “evil” over a curiously haunting hip-hop track, making this track perfect for the windows down feeling that seems to define the “California state of mind” that Lana Del Rey occupies.