From Drake to Lorde, these are the songs guaranteed to soundtrack the next few months.
Forget for a moment that British summertime tends to last a couple of weeks. Ignore the fact that in those two weeks, you find yourself sweating buckets on public transport; plastering suncream on your already red nose; necking cans of warm beer and falling asleep in a park at 3pm, eating your entire bodyweight in crisps because it’s summer and – fuck it – why not. Forget all that. Because for at least a few hours, you will find yourself at the absolute apex of summer 2017. Everything will fall into place. You will reach peak zen. And a song will be playing that will forever transport you right back there.
By this point, pretty much every contender for 2017’s sound of the summer has been released. These songs are boiling up, settling into preemptive ‘Summer 2k17’ playlists, lodging themselves into the collective consciousness. They’re ready to define the season ahead. Here are the songs likely to take over:
Drake – ‘Passionfruit’
Passionfruit, a song by Drake on Spotify
Drake’s ‘More Life‘ album / mixtape / project is the sound of a star making the absolute most of his chart-bothering reputation. There are at least half a dozen summer-ready giants to be discovered, from the Jorja Smith-featuring glaze of ‘Get it Together’ to the flutetastic ‘Portland’. But ‘Passionfruit’ is the obvious standout, a song so tailored for summer it practically turns up in a dodgy Hawaiian shirt with a four-pack of Corona in one hand, beachball in the other.
Calvin Harris ft. Frank Ocean & Migos – ‘Slide’
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2017’s already seen a couple of plot twists: Frank Ocean’s started making direct, chart-ready hits instead of pensive slowburners. And Calvin Harris has switched from EDM bangers to timeless pop songs. The two team up on the brilliant ‘Slide’, which also features a trusty Migos guest spot.
Lorde – ‘Green Light’
A gutsy, daring comeback single and the lead track from her second album, Lorde’s ‘Green Light‘ is capable of soundtracking every summer heartbreak. On this giant, sprawling track, the New Zealand star somehow captures the weird post-breakup dichotomy of feeling utterly broken and completely free, offered a new lease of life.
- Read more: NME’s best songs of 2017 so far
Gorillaz – ‘Andromeda’
Gorillaz’ ‘Humanz‘ is a grand-scoped, wild trip about the end of the universe. Nestled inside the madness is one of the sweetest songs Damon Albarn’s ever written – a track about losing loved ones as the world continues to spin on its axis.
Future – ‘Mask Off’
Flutes are the fashion, and Future knows how to use them. His sample of Tommy Butler’s ‘Prison Song’ has fast become one of 2017’s ubiquitous sounds, and nothing says it’s summer like the rapper’s tale of honesty, loyalty and pride.
Kendrick Lamar – ‘LOYALTY. (FEAT. RIHANNA.)’
LOYALTY. FEAT. RIHANNA., a song by Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna on Spotify
Kendrick’s platinum-selling ‘DAMN.’ is everywhere, and you could handpick half its songs for a perfect summer soundtrack. The hazy ‘PRIDE.’ would do the trick, the gigantic ‘HUMBLE.’ too. But there’s something about ‘LOYALTY.’ that stands out. The skewed Bruno Mars sample, Rihanna’s effortless verses, the palm tree-lined aesthetic – it just works.
Ed Sheeran – ‘Shape of You’
‘Castle on the Hill’ is Sheeran’s festival anthem – tailor-made for this year’s Glastonbury headline set – but ‘Shape of You’ is here for the whole summer. It’s already racked up over 800 million Spotify plays at the time of writing. Finding a mate who hasn’t heard it would prove a task.
J Hus – ‘Did You See’
East London MC J Hus is ready to take over. After guesting on Stormzy (‘Bad Boy’) and Dave (‘Samantha’) tracks, ‘Did You See’ sees him making a big statement of his own. It’s a free-spirited ode to Stratford streets and Benz cars, topped by a melody that won’t quit.
Paramore – ‘Hard Times’
Paramore’s glossier but no-less-emo sound, led by the gigantic ‘Hard Times‘, couldn’t be better-suited to the summer. And in these dark, uncertain days, Hayley Williams counters fears of Trump-inspired armageddon with bright, shiny bangers.
Mura Masa ft. Charli XCX – ‘1 Night’
There’s the small chance we haven’t yet heard the sound of summer 2017, and that it could easily be hidden away in producer Mura Masa’s debut album, out this July. Alex Crossan’s first work has an all-star cast of guests, from Christine & the Queens to Desiigner. But it’s going to be hard to top the Charli XCX-featuring ‘1 Night’.
Steve Lacy – ‘Dark Red’
The Internet member and Kendrick Lamar collaborator Steve Lacy has made summer’s most low-key triumph. ‘Dark Red’ is a scrappy, paranoid, hook-crammed delight, recorded on nothing but a four-track.
DJ Khaled – ‘I’m the One’
Snapchat sensation DJ Khaled’s pulled in all the favours for his latest single. Justin Bieber, Quavo from Migos, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne all star on ‘I’m the One’, a box-ticking but undeniably massive #majorkey smash.
Sigird – ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’
Scandipop star Sigrid’s ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ is a defiant, supremely confident introduction to the 20-year-old Norwegian. It came out back in February, and it’s remain rooted to the spotlight ever since.
Zayn – ‘Still Got Time’
Yes, you can find a dozen sad topical bangers like ‘Still Got Time’ in every New Music Friday playlist this side of 2015, but few come sharper than Zayn and PARTYNEXTDOOR’s slick party cruiser.
Phoenix – ‘J-Boy’
On their new album ‘Ti Amo’, French wizards Phoenix say they’re offering a “colourful” celebration of everything that makes Europe great – just in time for the 1 year anniversary of Brexit! So forget the country’s on its knees and embrace ‘J-Boy’, a glistening dose of pro-Europe pop.
Mac DeMarco – ‘My Old Man’
If tropical R&B, guest-heavy rap and shiny pop isn’t your bag, and you prefer summer days to roll by in a sedated haze, look no further than Mac DeMarco’s ‘My Old Man’. The Canadian troubadour’s songwriting gets slicker by the day, but latest album ‘This Old Dog’ still carries the strung out, stoned appeal DeMarco specialises in.