Can there be a “Song of the Summer” if summer is basically canceled? For the sake of this annual tradition of a column, I’m going to say yes.
There aren’t as many contenders this year, but it’s a strong slate for those going for the gold.
Here’s my personal picks:
Megan Thee Stallion and Beyonce — ‘Savage’
The song that took over dances on the Tik Tok app has been a force to behold. Beyonce sings, raps and empathizes with people who have to jump up to put on their jeans, while Megan Thee Stallion matches her energy and swagger with ease. The beat is super basic, but they make it work. It’s not my “Song of the Summer,” but certainly one that has gotten many through this dark time.
Harry Styles — ‘Watermelon Sugar’
Taking a page from the Lizzo playbook, Styles re-released this breezy pop tune that’s way more suited for sweltering weather and swimming pools than the winter, when it originally dropped. It’s a fun song, but not worthy of the crown.
Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande — ‘Stuck With You’
The only thing nice thing I can say about this COVID-related slow jam is that it raised money for charity. Otherwise, throw it in the trash.
The Weeknd — ‘Blinding Lights’
If this ‘80s throwback was any more of that decade, it would be accompanied by a Ronald Reagan speech. The Weeknd’s smooth voice just melts on the track and the chorus is stuck in your head for days. It’s also inescapable, so good luck ever getting it to leave.
While that’s not quite enough to get it to the finish line, it gets close. My “Song of the Summer” is...
Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande — ‘Rain on Me’
There’s probably no more prescient of a line in a pre-COVID-written pop song right now than the chorus to this — “I’d rather be dry, but at least I’m alive.”
This is Lady Gaga at full force with a surprisingly restrained Grande complementing the track nicely. It’s fun, acknowledges the bad time that we’re in while also remaining optimistic that we’ll get out of it. You can’t ask for anything better than that this summer.