15 Best Summer Songs 2018
© Bruno Destombes
These are the songs you need in your playlist to soundtrack your summer.
It’s already July, but there’s plenty of summer left, which means you're surely in need of a soundtrack for your backyard BBQs, park hangouts, and roadtrips. From hip-hop to synth-pop, here’s our pick for 15 songs that you need to hear right now.
Bernice - “St. Lucia"
Toronto band Bernice’s music defies easy categorizations, but “St. Lucia” is effervescent, heart-on-sleeve synth-pop with enough twists and turns to keep listeners on their toes.
The Carters - “APES**T"
This highlight from the couple’s surprise joint album has everything you could ever want from a summer blockbuster. Beyoncé proving why she’s a better rapper than your favourite rapper? Check. JAY-Z calling himself “Chief Keef meets Rafiki”? Yep. Ridiculously fun ad-libs courtesy of Migos’ Quavo and Offset? Naturally. An incredibly lavish music video shot in the friggin’ Louvre? Like you even have to ask.
Ebhoni - “Opps”
While she only has a handful of songs to her name, Toronto R&B singer Ebhoni is quickly establishing herself as an artist to watch, and “Opps” deserves to be blaring out of car windows from Weston Road to Australia. Don’t let the song’s bright synth-pop beat and airy vocals fool you — she means business.
Gorillaz feat. George Benson - “Humility”
After last year’s guest-heavy Humanz, which Damon Albarn described as a “party at the end of the world,” Gorillaz’s forthcoming sixth album The Now Now is comparatively lighter on features. One notable exception is legendary jazz guitarist George Benson, who’s right at home on the upbeat and funky “Humility.”
Iceage feat. Sky Ferreira - “Pain Killer”
For those who prefer to wear all-black clothing no matter how hot it gets, there’s Danish punk princes Iceage’s swaggering, horn-heavy “Pain Killer,” which features cooler-than-thou backup vocals from Sky Ferreira.
The Internet - “Roll (Burbank Funk) (Kaytranada Remix)"
Los Angeles neo-soul/R&B band The Internet and Montreal producer Kaytranada have a winning track record of collaborations, and the latter’s dancefloor-geared take on “Roll (Burbank Funk)” is no exception.
Kornél Kovács - “Metropolis”
Sweden might currently be battling in the infamous “Group of Death” at this year’s World Cup, but there’s nothing grim about this euphoric house cut from the Stockholm producer, which may or may not sample Paris Hilton’s 2006 hit “Stars Are Blind.” That’s hot indeed.
DJ Koze - “Pick Up”
Everybody’s favourite German electronic trickster returned this spring with Knock Knock, his first album since 2013’s Amygdala. With cameos from the likes of Róisín Murphy, José González and Mano Le Tough, you can’t go wrong putting any of the 16 tracks on your summer playlist, but we’re giving the edge to the Gladys Knight-sampling “Pick Up” for its soulful disco grooves.
Matty - “I’ll Gladly Place Myself Below You”
Matty is Matthew Tavares, who’s best known as the co-founder and keyboardist of Toronto experimental jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD. His solo debut Déjàvu is nine tracks of shimmering, psychedelic soft-rock, which will fit perfectly between The Beatles and Tame Impala on your playlist.
Mura Masa feat. Octavian - “Move Me”
An expertly mixed cocktail of afropop, grime and electronic music, this team-up between the UK producer with the Midas Touch and London’s hottest MC is guaranteed to set off your next block party right.
Nicki Minaj - “Chun-Li (Leonce New Orleans Bounce Remix)”
If you’ve heard either of Atlanta producer Leonce’s two HEATWAVE mixtapes, which features his bounce edits of rap and R&B hits past and present, than you know how the Fade To Mind affilate can make the biggest anthems sound even bigger. His unofficial remix of Nicki Minaj’s Street Fighter-referencing single pulls no punches (pun intended) and feels designed for peak-time DJ sets.
Rico Nasty - “Countin’ Up”
Tacobella. Trap Lavigne. Maryland rapper Rico Nasty has a handful of aliases, but regardless of what she calls herself, she’s responsible for some of the most thrilling mixtapes of the past two years. Her latest release, simply titled Nasty, throbs with in-your-face punk energy and tougher-than-nails bars. Bonus points for interpolating N.O.R.E.’s “Superthug” too.
SOPHIE - “Immaterial”
Her long-awaited debut album, OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES, confirms what PC Music fans have known since day one — SOPHIE might not be the popstar we deserve, but she’s definitely the popstar we need. “Immaterial” is a stadium-sized anthem. Think Madonna’s “Material Girl” reflected through funhouse mirrors, and best enjoyed turned up to 11.
swim good now feat. Daniela Andrade, Ryan Hemsworth, Lontalius & olli - “Daylight”
Released on Toronto-via-Halifax producer Ryan Hemsworth’s Secret Songs label, swim good now’s full-length LP Daylight is the perfect soundtrack for lying in a field with a summer fling à la Call Me By Your Name, or listening to hungover in bed the morning after a party.
Valee feat. Jeremih - “Womp Womp”
Kanye, Pusha-T, Kid Cudi, and Nas might have made all the headlines, but its G.O.O.D. Music’s latest signee and Chicago native Valee who dropped a darkhorse contender for Song of the Summer in May with “Womp Womp.” Featuring a key assist from R&B lothario Jeremih, it’s chock-full of gleefully blue raps and a minimalist-but-sinister beat that burrows itself in your brain and stays there.