Jessai Flores

Still searching for those elusive songs of the summer? We’ve got you covered! From rising artists to current stars, from house to hip-hop, we’ve found 12 songs from this year that can be that classic crown jewel of your summer playlist. So buckle up for some warm chords, feel-good hooks and catchy melodies!

  • “4EVA (feat. Pharrell Williams)” | Kaytraminé 

What happens when you combine KAYTRANADA’s grooves, Aminé’s charisma and Pharell’s funk? You get not only one of the best house songs in recent memory, but one of the most potent summer songs of the year! Jam-packed with witty verses from Aminé and ending with an ethereal instrumental section, this is the perfect dance song for any playlist. It’s a victory lap for three extremely successful artists who prove why they deserve to be at the top.

  • “BESO” | ROSALÍA, Rauw Alejandro

Despite now being broken up (yikes), ROSALÍA and Rauw Alejandro’s “BESO” is still one of the best love songs of the year. With heartthrob lyrics like “te queda pequeña la luna” (the moon is too small for you) over infectious reggaeton production — it’s pure ecstasy. What’s there not to love about it?

  • “Big Steppa” | Amaarae

You may know Amaarae from her viral “SAD GIRLS LUV MONEY” collaboration with Kali Uchis. But recently, she followed that big break with her sophomore album “Fountain Baby,” jam-packed with criminally underrated dancehall, afrobeats and pop tracks! One of the many highlights is “Big Steppa,” a timeless afrobeats track laced with gorgeous horns and blissful strings.

  • “SIDEKICK (with Joyce Wrice) – BONUS” | Jordan Ward, Joyce Wrice

Another underrated track from an underrated artist! With great chemistry between Jordan Ward and Joyce Wrice, one of the funkiest and grooviest hooks of the year and sweet synth chords, this is an infectious feel-good track! Play during a lazy afternoon on Cross Campus for the best listening experience. 

  • “Booty Drop” | Doechii

Doechii is one of those artists that can simply do it all. “Booty Drop” is a song that can’t be defined by a singular genre: it straddles pop, jersey club, melodic rap and trap in just under three minutes. Between the lush keys, attitude-filled sample and effortless vocals, Doechii proves that she is not an artist to be overlooked.

  • “Barbie World (with Aqua)” | Nicki Minaj, Ice Spice, Aqua

I have never seen more pink in my life than I have this summer. And with the reign of Barbie came the reign of “Barbie World.” Ice Spice has been the it-girl ever since she hit the drill scene with “Munch (Feelin’ U).” And to continue her rise to superstardom, she teams up with rap legend Nicki Minaj to create yet another mega-hit.

  • “AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” | Beyoncé

Not being the type to spontaneously groove to a song, Beyoncé’s empowering vocal tone and Kendrick’s rhythmic flow had me shifting side to side all summer (I didn’t even roll my eyes when it came on the radio!). With hints of house, dance, R&B and soul, “AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM” is perfect for in-room dance sessions, pretending you actually made it to the Rhythmic Blue Dance team.


A revived breath to the old era of celebrity and musical girl groups, XG brings out an early 2000’s inspired R&B anthem for the “ready to make the first move” girls. Play it before you text your situationship to hype yourself up and get ready to be inspired by the equally confident members of XG. 

  • “Ant Pile” | Dominic Fike

The cover of two young (and unassuming) girls with a look of regret on their sunkissed faces and the album name “Sunburn” already qualifies this song as a summer essential, but the coming-of-age lyrics and basement-rock-band-esque chords Dominic Fike adds make its case even stronger. 

  • “Rush” | Troye Sivan

The message might be a little misinterpreted by those outside of the Troye Sivan (and by association, queer) community, but it’s a dance-pop tune with an impressive music video that embraces sexuality and masculinity. Troye Sivan captures blissful queer freedom through this tropical summer hit.

  • “Alone” | Kim Petras, Nicki Minaj

With a background instrumental that I immediately recognize from 2000’s YouTube videos, “Alone” by Kim Petras and Barbie herself transform this instantly recognizable trance-pop rhythm with clever verses of their own. With lyrics depicting the insistence of getting someone’s attention, Kim Petty and Nicki did that and gave it to us. I’d categorize it as the perfect track to imagine yourself dancing to in a European EDM club.

  • “Cruel Summer” | Taylor Swift

Whether you heard it first from a re-release edit of “The Summer I Turned Pretty”or your initial listen of Taylor Swift’s “Lover,” it’s here to make a comeback with its celebration of 1 billion streams on Spotify. Its dreamy pop base and softly pounding synth accents qualify it as the perfect embodiment of the interpretation for desperation and commitment to find reach for a summer fling.

Karla Cortes covers International Relations at Yale under the University Desk. She is a first-year in Silliman College majoring in Political Science.