“Earfquake”—Tyler, the Creator
This is the song on Tyler, the Creator’s new No. 1 album that he originally wanted to give to Rihanna or Justin Bieber. And you can see why: it’s feel-good and soulful and perfect for a day at the beach or an Uber ride en route to a night out. Tyler—who is rocking a new blond wig these days—is enjoying a sweet sort of cultural moment, with his first show at Madison Square Garden set for later this year. Spotify feels bullish about his song-of-summer prospects as well, placing the song at No. 8 on its list.
“Truth Hurts”—Lizzo / “Blame It On Your Love”—Lizzo & Charli XCX
Lizzo is everywhere: her tweets going viral, her lyrics on every other Instagram post, her songs used in seemingly every movie trailer, and her music blasting out of every car that passes by. Right now her most viable song-of-summer candidate would be the infectious “Truth Hurts,” which Spotify places as the No. 3 contender. We also are major fans of her collaboration with Charli XCX—“Blame It on Your Love”—which, while it may not be destined for song-of-summer-dom, should still definitely find a place on your summer barbecue playlist.
“If I Can’t Have You”—Shawn Mendes
Mendes’s song feels like it was created in a lab for pop music success. It is the sort of song that makes you feel like you’re 16 again, listening to the radio in your friend’s parents’ car as you sip a sugary Starbucks drink in the back seat (we mean this in a good way). It’s syrupy and inoffensive and also bolstered by the likability of Mendes. The song has been a bit slow to catch on on the charts, now at No. 14 after initially debuting at number 2, but we wouldn’t count this one out just yet. (Spotify puts it at No. 17 on its list.)
“On a Roll”—Ashley O (a.k.a. Miley Cyrus) / “Mother’s Daughter”—Miley Cyrus
Okay, we’re half-joking here, but hear us out. Miley Cyrus stars in one of the new Black Mirror episodes this season (“Jack, Rachel, and Ashley Too”), playing a pop star who puts out frothy, empowering pop hits, while harboring dreams of releasing edgier, darker fare. The song that Cyrus’s character—Ashley O—performs over and over in the episode is the sort of mindless pop jam that is great for treadmill playlists and rosé-fueled happy hours. It’s actually a pop version of Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole,” which is a fun fact you can share when you put it on in the car and someone asks you what song is playing. (The song has not been released on streaming platforms yet, though Cyrus has indicated on Twitter that it will be.) Also a contender: the actual Cyrus’s new anthem “Mother’s Daughter,” a standout on her recently released E.P.
Perhaps the song of the summer is something that hasn’t been released yet! If Drake, or Rihanna, or Beyoncé, or Lady Gaga, or Adele, or Ariana Grande decide this year’s field could use an added jolt, perhaps one of them will rush-release an upcoming single.