We listened to the song of the summer contenders so you don’t have to
As summer hits the backstretch with its HAIR COMBED BACK AND SUNGLASSES ON BABYYYY, the time has come to finally face the music…literally. The local grocery store’s radio waves are aflame with the Hottest New Hits™. The party is pouring from every convertible and crop top on the block. There’s no f—king ignoring it any longer: The songs of the summer are here and shouting into your earhole like Lloyd Christmas after a Metallica show.
But don’t despair, fellow arbiter of T&A (Taste and Art, you perv), we are here to take one (or five) for the team, listening to each Top 40 top dog, quite simply, so you don’t have to. So let’s drop the beat, shove a Ticonderoga No. 2 repeatedly into our ear canals, and embrace the crushing lurch of commercial crap with open arms and open ears.
“I’m the One” - DJ Khaled
What is it? Another barf-tastic, life-affirming Snapchat banger from DJ Khaled in which DJ Khaled leaves 90% of the actual music to everyone (literally anyone) else. In this case that means Bieber (obvi), Lil Wayne (still?), and Chance the Rapper (OK, fine), all auto-crooning over summer 2K17’s six trillionth languid island beat as you nod off and drown in your pinã colada.
What you should listen to instead: Calvin Harris’s “Slide”, which drifts ashore with darker tropical vibes and a weirder supporting cast (including the likes of Migos and Frank Ocean).
“HUMBLE.” - Kendrick Lamar
What Is It? The biggest single ever from critical golden boy Kendrick Lamar—better known as everyone who doesn’t listen to hip hop’s favorite like rapper ever omg.
What you should listen to instead: Future’s “Mask Off”, a soulful look at the duality of success in hip hop that features the most badass use of flute since “Aqualung” [Rare Achievement: Complete Jethro Tull reference in a blurb about Future].
“Strangers” - Halsey
What is it? The fatally straight-faced sequel to Katy Perry’s bi-curious smash “I Kissed A Girl”, you know, plus a decade of cultural water under the bridge and minus all the fun stuff (like cherry chapstick).
What you should listen to instead: “Need to Feel Your Love”, a Thin Lizzy-worshipping, LGBTQ-positive blast of Philly punk n’ roll from Sheer Mag, one of the most hyped bands in the modern DIY scene.
“Despacito” - Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber
What is it? Numerically the song of the summer. In May, “Despacito” became the first Spanish language tune to hit #1 since “Macarena” in 1996 and hasn’t let go for nine weeks, thanks in large to part to the Justin Bieber remix, which Americanizes the track in much the same way Taco Bell Americanized Mexican food: Very f—cking poorly.
What you should listen to instead: Reggaeton makes my ears bleed, but if you’re going to listen to this thing—and chances are you’re going to have to by summer’s merciful end—at least hear it the way it was meant to be heard.
“Green Light” - Lorde
What is it? Lorde’s long-awaited return to spotlight…which just so happens to be a labored, lead-heavy breakup song with lyrics like “those Great Whites/they have big teeth/but they bite you”. Tell you what, I’d like to stick my head in Jaws’s mouth right about now…
What you should listen to instead: All-sister power trio HAIM and their unabashedly '80s anthem “Want You Back”, which provides the perfect soundtrack to your inevitable summer fling flameout.
SECRET TRACK: SONG OF THE SUMMER HALL OF FAME
"Boy of Summer" - Don Henley (see above, not gonna hyperlink Don twice in one damn article)