A year after “As It Was,” “About Damn Time,” and everything by Bad Bunny dominated the summertime airwaves, we’re back with the most pressing question of the season: What’s this year’s song of the summer?
From “main pop girls” like Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa to global superstars like Burna Boy and Anitta, here are our predictions for the biggest, most ubiquitous, and most unshakeable hits over the next few months as the days get longer and the temps gets hotter. Check out our picks below.
The Pride Month Song of Summer: “Padam Padam” by Kylie Minogue
Praise to the pop gods: Australian icon Kylie Minogue, at age 55, is finally having the kind of capital-M moment she deserves this summer. “Padam Padam” is campy, it’s fun, and it’s everywhere, as it should be.
The Obligatory Taylor Swift Song of Summer: “Cruel Summer” by Taylor Swift
It remains one of the biggest mysteries why “ME!” was chosen as the first single off Taylor Swift’s 2019 album Lover when she had a banger like “Cruel Summer” stashed under her sequined belt, but then again, this is the same woman who relegated “New Romantics” to a bonus track on 1989, so who knows what goes on in that head of hers? Anyway, it’s better late than never when it comes to this four-year-old smash about a hush-hush summer fling, which boasts one of the biggest bridges in Swift’s oeuvre. Scream it with me now: “I LOVE YOU, AIN’T THE WORST THING YOU EVER HEARD!”
The “Everything This Guy Does Is a Contender” Song of Summer: “Tulum” by Peso Pluma and Grupo Frontera
There’s simply no denying Peso Pluma; everything he touches turns to gold. The 24-year-old has become one of the most popular Latin artists in the world, thanks to his flair for making vintage Mexican sounds relevant for younger audiences, and he’s likewise racked up an impressive batch of monster global hits. “Ella Baila Sola,” “Bye,” or “Le Bebe” could’ve easily taken this slot, but perhaps because of recency bias, we’ll go with his latest, “Tulum.”
The Global Rave Song of Summer: “Funk Rave” by Anitta
Following her 2022 breakthrough, the “Envolver” star kicks off a new chapter with a new record label by returning to her Brazilian funk roots. “Funk Rave” lives up to its name, and the only downside, as far as I’m concerned, is that it’s over too soon.
The “Built Around a Killer Sample” Song of Summer: “Sittin’ On Top of the World” by Burna Boy ft. 21 Savage
The “African Giant” strikes again. A year after his Toni Braxton-sampling hit “Last Last,” Burna Boy has returned in a rush of late ’90s nostalgia with this 21 Savage collab, which samples Brandy’s “Top of the World.” It’s only made better by the accompanying video, which oozes summertime vibes as the Nigerian superstar parties in the streets before flying to space and quite literally sitting on top of the world. As one does.
The Soundtrack Anthem Song of Summer: “Dance the Night” by Dua Lipa
Barbie is primed to be the biggest movie of the summer (our condolences to Tom Cruise and Christopher Nolan), which makes its splashy soundtrack a frontrunner for album of the summer. Leading the charge is “Dance the Night” from Dua Lipa, who takes that Future Nostalgia disco-pop sheen and dumps even more pink glitter on top.
The “Didn’t This Come Out More Than a Decade Ago?” Song of Summer: “Sure Thing” by Miguel
“Sure Thing” was the match, and TikTok was the fuse—boom. Miguel wrote this simmering R&B cut in 2007, released it in 2010 as the second single off his debut album, then watched in awe as it inexplicably became a viral hit this year and reentered the Hot 100. Sometimes fans are just the smartest A&Rs in the music biz.
The “Simply Because It’s No. 1” Song of Summer: “Last Night” by Morgan Wallen
Try as I might to resist Morgan Wallen, the country superstar has spent a whopping 12 consecutive weeks at the top of the Hot 100 chart with his Chainsmokers-lite single “Last Night,” which automatically makes it a contender. You could also apply the same logic to the current No. 2 song in the country, Luke Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” but I refuse to let that one crack this list, sorry.
The TikTok Song of Summer: “Cupid” by FIFTY FIFTY
Technically it’s the sped-up version of this song that’s taken over TikTok, but the fact remains: “Cupid” is inescapable. The unexpected hit from K-pop girl group Fifty Fifty blew up on the app after fans tinkered with the tempo, prompting Warner Records to take it to radio, and spawning a “Twin Version” in English that’s just as sparkly and sweet as the original.
The “It’s a Hit in the U.K.” Song of Summer: “Miracle” by Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding
Sometimes the Brits just know what’s up. While we in the U.S. are over here contending with yet another week of Morgan Wallen’s chokehold on the charts (more on that later), across the pond, they’re still raging to this ’90s trance throwback. “Miracle” marks the third team-up between EDM overlord Calvin Harris and unbothered pop queen Ellie Goulding—following “Outside” and “I Need Your Love”—and it’s some of their best work to date.
The Yacht Rock Song of Summer: “Summer Baby” by Jonas Brothers
The brothers Jonas packed their latest album—which is aptly (or lazily?) titled The Album—with breezy, Bee-Gees inspired ditties like “Summer in the Hamptons” and “Vacation Eyes.” The best of those sunny earworms is “Summer Baby,” which sounds like a beach day personified, despite Joe’s head-scratcher of a second verse: “Otherworld, voodoo, babe, supernatural sugarcane / Overdrive all the way, hypersonic ricochet.” I don’t know what he’s babbling on about either, but it sounds good.
The Angsty Heartbreak Song of Summer: “Vampire” by Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo is 20 years old now, but she still oozes teenage malaise—and that’s a great thing for those of us who just want to have a little scream-sing sesh every now and then, as a treat. “Vampire,” the lead single off her forthcoming sophomore album, GUTS, is a total evisceration of a “bloodsucker” and “famefucker” with a chorus that swells and swells until it reaches rock-opera heights. It’ll be everywhere this summer.
The Slow Jam Song of Summer: “Moonlight” by Kali Uchis
Kali Uchis’ excellent third album, Red Moon In Venus, boasts a suite of luxuriant R&B songs all about the cosmic power of love. A clear highlight is the bilingual sizzler “Moonlight,” helmed by an all-star trio of producers: Benny Blanco, Cashmere Cat, and Leon Michels. But it’s Kali, of course, who takes it into the stratosphere.
The Obligatory Bad Bunny Song of Summer: “Mojabi Ghost” by Tainy and Bad Bunny
You can’t have a “song of the summer” list without including the man who dominated 2022 with his blockbuster Un Verano Sin Ti album. While the Puerto Rican star’s solo Jersey club cut “Where She Goes” could’ve made this list, it’s a little too mellow and moody to be a proper contender, so we’re going with his latest release with Tainy.
The Posse Cut Song of Summer: “Pinot Noir” by IDK ft. Saucy Santana and Jucee Froot
This is the perfect kind of posse cut: A trio of rappers each bringing their own style and flow to a raunchy, summery, lightly jazz-driven track. IDK kicks things off hard, Santana and Jucee come through with unparalleled confidence, and… wait a minute, is that a Smokey Robinson vocal in the mix?! There’s layers to this one, which means you’ll just have to keep it on repeat.
The ’80s Synth-Pop Song of Summer: “One That Got Away” by MUNA
After pop trio/queer icons MUNA debuted “One That Got Away” at Coachella earlier this year, it didn’t take a genius to predict the song would become a summertime staple. Besides just being a glossy slice of ’80s synth-pop, it’s also a righteous single girl anthem as Katie Galvin gleefully taunts an ex about what they could’ve had.
The Cringey Song of Summer: “Sex” by The Dare
Much has been said and written about the indie sleaze revival, and no one’s more psyched about that than 27-year-old Harrison Patrick Smith, aka The Dare. The title track from his recent EP is all horny electro-pop that’s either the best or worst thing you’ve ever heard, depending on your appetite for cringey lyrics like, “I want to call your mom, and tell her you’re the bomb / I might even see if she’s into it.”
The Sleeper Hit From 2022 Song of Summer: “Players” by Coi Leray
“Players” first dropped last November, which was honestly just the worst and weirdest timing, considering it was always destined for poolside playlists. So after seven months, remixes with Busta Rhymes and David Guetta, and heaps of viral TikToks, Coi Leray’s hit—which flips Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message” into a reminder that “girls is players, too”—has taken its rightful place on the song of summer podium.
The Remixed Song of Summer: “Little Things (Nia Archives Remix)” by Jorja Smith
The original “Little Things” was great enough on its own, but in Nia Archives’ capable hands (get into her Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Heads Will Roll” remix if you haven’t already), it becomes a certified dancefloor filler thanks to a breakneck jungle edit.
“Sprinter” by Dave and Central Cee
“Water Slide” by Janelle Monáe
“Shy Boy” by Carly Rae Jepsen
“Vagabundo” by Sebastian Yatra ft. Manuel Turizo and Beéle
“Baby Don’t Hurt Me” by David Guetta ft. Anne-Marie and Coi Leray
“4EVA” by KAYTRAMINÉ ft. Pharrell
“Put It On Da Floor Again” by Latto ft. Cardi B
“What It Is” by Doechii
“True Babe” by Gwen Stefani
“Fly Girl” by FLO ft. Missy Elliott
“Who Told You” by J Hus ft. Drake
“Violet Chemistry” by Miley Cyrus
“Boy’s a Liar Pt. 2” by PinkPantheress and Ice Spice
“LA BABY” by Tainy, Daddy Yankee, Feid, Sech