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Best Summer Songs of 2018
Here we are in the waning days of winter, when snowstorms are still hammering the East Coast amid brief, beautiful stretches of sun, and summer feels so close—yet so far. So, what’s the best way to fight the anticipation of blue skies and the teases of spring? Well, just get your summer playlist together early. All too often, summer bangers are released early and only hit their stride by the time May or June rolls around. These are the earliest contenders for song of the summer.
Sunflower Bean – “Twentytwo”
With their sophomore album out on March 22, Sunflower Bean will arrive this year just in time to be on our ideal summer soundtrack. The New York band’s latest single has all the yearning of a high school after-prom—perfect for those wistful nights before college, or just remembering yourself in your prime.
MorMor – “Heaven’s Only Wishful”
In one of his few interviews, Toronto producer/singer MorMor told Pigeons and Planes that in school, “I kept searching for kids like me, but it never happened. In the end it gave me some good perspective.” You can hear that solitude, that self-searching in his debut song, “Heaven’s Only Wishful.” And since there’s only more to come from MorMor, it might take a few months for the hype train to really get moving.
Diplo – “Look Back”
Diplo already has shared two new tracks this year, gearing up for a pretty big 2018. And these are promising to be more thoughtful, melancholy Diplo tracks, the first of which features the immensely lovable DRAM.
SAINt JHN – “I Heard You Got Too Litt Last Night”
As hip-hop has statistically taken over as the dominant genre of popular music, it’s sometimes difficult to find the line between R&B, pop, and rap. SAINt JHN incorporates all of it, with the woozy, low-end beat and the melancholy sing-song flow so popular. But, like a hazy hangover, the Brooklyn rapper recounts a night out as if it’s a morning drained of dopamine. And hell, we’ll all have those nights at some point this summer.
Janelle Monae – “Make Me Feel”
Janelle Monae can do anything she wants. She can act in a Best Picture-winning film. She can be a pop star. She can make Afrofuturist funk. She can make elastic electro ’80s R&B like “Make Me Feel”—a song that embraces all the sexual energy of Prince that you can almost feel those mouth noises mixed into to the beat. It’s enough to warm up even the coldest late winter day.
Soccer Mommy – “Cool”
We all knew—or know—that person. The one who breaks hearts, the one who got stoned, who was so effortlessly cool he/or she was the envy of everyone in school. If summer is about anything, it’s about new chapters—the perfect time to do or go or be anything. But mostly, we’ll probably all sit around listening to music dreaming of being someone who none of us will ever be.
Migos – “Made Men”
The better part of two years has been occupied by an entirely consistent presence of Migos in pop culture. Migos didn’t hold anything back, releasing Culture II on the anniversary of their groundbreaking major label debut. It’s a massive dump of 24 songs, which means it’ll take a while for every single goddamn one of them to become hits. Maybe it’ll be summer by the time the late-album banger “Made Men” makes it to No. 1.
Post Malone – “Psycho”
Sometimes we don’t choose the song of the summer—the song of the summer chooses us. Every once in a while a track is so inescapable that we develop a sort of Stockholm syndrome with it. That’s pretty much what Post Malone’s entire career has been. It’s so bland and inoffensive, just hum-able enough that it just kind of lingers until you just accept it as a regular part of your life.
Drake – “God’s Plan”
Whether he means to or not, with every new release Drake is able to out-Drake himself. With “God’s Plan,” he played up his nice guy schtick with a truly touching philanthropic music video. And since this is Drake, fans took it and packaged the idea into the pervasive God’s Plan Starts Playing meme. He’s a genius at ensuring the longevity of his art with his own virility. And plus, this might be the most Drake line of all time: “I only love my bed and my momma, I’m sorry.” It’s impossible not to love Drake, I’m sorry.
Troye Sivan – “My My My!”
It’s truly amazing to see a pop star emerge from relatively humble beginnings independent from the machine. That’s how Troye Sivan came into 2018: an openly gay 22-year-old Australian singer who had already built a dedicated online following through LGBTQ communities before even releasing his first single. “My My My!” is the first single from his upcoming sophomore album, which hints at what could be his first mainstream success. It’s an ’80s-inspired pop exclamation full of life and synths. This is a refreshingly positive and simple message, and it’s a song that kicked off this music year on an all-around high. Things are gonna be good. Just keep this track on repeat.