From Sabrina Carpenter to Kendrick Lamar – The race for song of the summer has begun

As the UK relishes in our first non-Baltic days of the year, we predict which tunes will soundtrack those days lounging around in the sun.

OK, we know what you’re thinking – aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves slightly? Quite possibly, yes. We’ve only had two days of notable sun so far, and summer is officially still just over a month away, after all. But you’d be lying to yourself if you weren’t conjuring up your summer playlists across the weekend, prepping the perfect musical heatwave to blast through your speakers while sipping on a lukewarm tinnie.

Of course, everyone loves the oldies, and the tracks that bring upon that wonderful high of nostalgia of years gone by. In recent years we’ve had Harry Styles’ honeyed ‘Watermelon Sugar’, Post Malone and Swae Lee’s swoonful ‘Sunflower’, a UK rap takeover in the form of Dave and Central Cee’s ‘Sprinter’ and 90% of the tracks on the Barbie soundtrack. But we’re here to talk about the future, and despite it being early doors, there’s already a number of frontrunners for this year’s song of the summer.

So, as the race for that coveted award begins to heat up to a fever pitch, let us run you through all the artists who could be set to rule the summer of 2024…

Tommy Richman – ‘Million Dollar Baby’

Who could’ve seen this coming? Prior to the release of Tommy Richman’s smash hit, ‘Million Dollar Baby’, the musician hadn’t charted with any of his prior releases, and now he’s fighting to land at number 1 in both the UK and the US. Still, when it comes to the quality of the song, it should be no surprise that everyone just can’t get enough of it. From the groovy, R&B-infused instrumental to Richman’s infectious, sugary-sweet tone, this cut is essentially a 90s Miami pool party in musical form.

Sabrina Carpenter – ‘Espresso’

Sure, Sabrina Carpenter was a huge star before this track ever took off – she was a Disney channel prodigy and opened for Taylor Swift on the Eras Tour in 2023 – but the singer and actor was still waiting on her first real hit to propel her to superstardom. Now, with ‘Espresso’ she’s managed that and then some, with the track currently sitting at number one. “I can’t relate to desperation, my ‘give a fucks’ are on vacation,” she sings on the track, which will likely act as a mantra for many this summer. Not only that, it’s probably the track that sounds most like summer on this list thanks to its glitzy, disco-ready production, which will provide the perfect backdrop for all your frolicking underneath the sun.

Artemas – ‘I like the way you kiss me’

If you’re an avid TikTok (or Reels, we don’t discriminate) user then the hook from Artemas’ hit probably just started playing in your head. It might sound like a club-ready banger thanks to its booming bass and ridiculously catchy vocal lines, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find something a little bit more melancholic. Thanks to its subtle sombreness, there’s a feeling of disassociation and detachment throughout, but not enough to completely surpass the track’s more danceable elements – don’t get it twisted, this will be played in the clubs all summer long.

Kendrick Lamar – ‘Not Like Us’

Remember when Drake reinvented the diss track model back in 2015 with ‘Back To Back’? Not only did the superstar create a scathing takedown of Meek Mill, but also a song that could be sung along to word-for-word in any scenario, which if you’re on the receiving end of, must be a living hell. Now, in some form of cruel poetic justice (excuse the pun), Kendrick Lamar has done exactly that to ‘The Boy’ himself. Lamar practically ate Drizzy alive with ‘Not Like Us’, transforming bars that you’d usually wince at into the most singable lines of the year: “Why you trollin’ like a bitch? Ain’t you tired? / Tryna strike a chord and it’s probably A minor.” Thanks to a West Coast flavoured beat by California legend DJ Mustard, wild inflexions from Lamar and devastating lyrical blows, it’s just broken the record for most streams in a day for a rap song in Spotify’s history. And while the beef may (seemingly) be over, Lamar’s track could well haunt Drake long into the summer.

Charli XCX – ‘360’

Charli XCX has already had a number of hits from her current album cycle thanks to the Y2K anthem ‘Von dutch’ and the aptly named ‘Club Classics’, but her latest release, ‘360’, might just be the one. The it girl anthem instantly went viral upon release thanks to a video that featured a number of icons including Gabbriette, Rachel Sennott, Julia Fox, Richie Shazam, Emma Chamberlain, and Chloe Cherry just to name a few. Musically, it might not be the most experimental or boundary-pushing Charli XCX track we’ve ever heard, but perhaps that added accessibility – those crisp, bouncy 808s just scream essential summer bop – will help propel the tune to the peak of the charts. To put it simply, even if it’s not crowned song of the summer, it will still go down as one of the cuntiest tracks to release this year.

WriterChris Saunders
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