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Tuned into summer
August 25, 2021
We all know summer doesn’t really end until pools close and pumpkin spice lattes are ordered at Starbucks, until Spotify playlists become autumn-themed and the leaves start to turn. Even though school has started and summer break has come to a close, these last few weeks of warm nights should still be enjoyed. While you’re reveling in your last few moments of warm weather, reminisce about the songs that have been the soundtrack to summertime. While it’s hard to say which tracks have defined summer ‘21, I think these five deserve a spot at the top.
“The King” by Sarah Kinsley
Don’t recognize this song by name? If you’ve heard the ethereal instrumental opening measures, Kinsley’s second single is nearly impossible to forget. By using the first bars as a TikTok sound before the track’s official release, the song earned praise and popularity before people had even heard Kinsley’s wide-ranging and vintage-sounding vocals. She details an unabashed desire to “be The King” of her love interest’s heart. The bassline and drums move the song along, but the delicate piano runs are what led this song to its TikTok trend in which users “romanticize their life” or say that the audio is “what it sounds like to be alive.” Next time you want to have that “main character” moment driving with the windows down, queue this one up on your streaming platform of choice.
“Solar Power” by Lorde
After a three-year hiatus, Lorde is back with the song to listen to when you feel like lounging by the poolside or tanning on the beach. While TikToks and Instagram posts originally criticized the song for being underwhelming and frankly, too happy, Lorde’s bright and familiar vocals bring a much-needed ray of sunshine to the world. With lyrics that encourage listeners to unplug and enjoy (I throw my cellular device in the water/Can you reach me?/No, you can’t), “Solar Power” is the perfect song to listen to when you’ve been scrolling for too long, had a long day at school or just need to be outdoors. Though different from Lorde’s usual teen anthems about growing up too fast, if you’re looking for a daytime track for all your casual sing-along needs, “Solar Power” is your song.
“MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X
Named after the first name of its author, “MONTERO” has been nothing short of controversial ever since its release. With a music video that literally depicts Lil Nas X descending into hell via stripper pole, it’s an understatement to say that the song is attention-grabbing. With a catchy melody and lyrics that reference pop-culture hit movie “Call Me By Your Name,” “MONTERO” always seems to be on the radio when you turn it on. Lil Nas X uses religious imagery throughout with lyrics like “I’m not fazed, only here to sin/If Eve ain’t in your garden, you know that you can/call me when you want, call me when you need.” The steady beat of clapping hands keeps the song moving, and is sure to get you up and moving, too.
“good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo
It felt wrong to not include Gen Z’s new queen of pop on this list. After all, Olivia Rodrigo’s third single off of her debut album “SOUR” has continued to top charts since its release in March. “good 4 u” is the classic scathing breakup song, but no matter your relationship status, it’s insanely fun to scream the words. The track builds — starting with a simple bassline and tame vocals that transition to strong drums and an electric guitar with Rodrigo’s cutting voice in the chorus. With seething lyrics like “good for you/you look happy and healthy, not me/ if you ever cared to ask,” this hit single is sure to still be stuck in your head as the months get colder.
“Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat (feat. SZA)
Doja Cat and SZA’s “Kiss Me More” was a hit from the moment it was released, thanks to TikTok getting ahold of it. With cheeky and easy-to-memorize lyrics, the duo has created the perfect upbeat song supported by a disco-like guitar. Even though this song — having been on the charts for 17 weeks now (as of press time) — should feel overplayed, something about it makes listeners never tire of SZA’s iconic verse or Doja Cat’s flirty vocals. Save this one for singing along with friends.