Opinion

What's this year's song of the summer?

Who'll come out on top — Lizzo, Harry Styles, or someone we didn't see coming?

It's officially June, which means it's time to discuss the song of the summer — the trending tune predicted to dominate radio waves, pool parties, and family barbecues all the way from Memorial Day through the dog days of August. Here are some of the top contenders and possible surprises that have been predicted thus far, per the experts:

Front runners

"About Damn Time," Lizzo

You're in the minority if you haven't heard and/or danced to Lizzo's glittery disco track, "About Damn Time." With its chart-topping popularity, a TikTok-dominating dance, and a blessing from the bop queen herself, the song has all the makings of a quintessential song of the summer. The Daily Beast and Cosmopolitan agree, with the latter noting this could be the start of a particularly momentous season for Lizzo, considering her next studio album, Special, will be released in July.

"As It Was," Harry Styles

Much like his good pal Lizzo, you couldn't escape Harry Styles if you tried. The former One Direction star's momentum has only grown following the release of his third album, Harry's House, the lead single off of which was the hugely successful "As It Was." On Wednesday, in fact, Styles managed to notch both the number one album and the number one song in multiple countries, including the U.S., Billboard reports. So it only makes sense that his melancholy pop track stands a strong chance at reaching coveted song of the summer status.

"We all love summer, but sometimes the blues hit. That's where Harry Styles' 'As It Was' comes in," Nylon's Steffanee Wang recently mused. And Billboard editor Jason Lipshutz agreed — speaking on the Pop Shop podcast, Lipshutz enthusiastically hitched his wagon to "As It Was," which he estimates still, somehow, has room to grow.

"Moscow Mule," Bad Bunny

If there's one thing Puerto Rican star Bad Bunny knows how to do, it's make a chart-topping album. His latest, Un Verano Sin Ti (which many tastemakers have already pointed out has the word "summer" in it), is off to a rip-roaring start in the seasonal contest, with NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour having called it a "genre-smashing summer blockbuster."

Nylon's Wang predicts "Moscow Mule" is the track best-suited to transcend the album in the coming months, and The Daily Beast has included it on its list as well (while simultaneously recognizing "Titi Me Pregunto" and "Después de la Playa"). 

"First Class," Jack Harlow

If you're not using TikTok, you might not even know who Jack Harlow is … but don't worry. The Louisville, Kentucky rapper's viral "First Class" samples Fergie's "Glamorous," meaning anyone who was conscious during the golden era of The Black Eyed Peas will recognize and identify with the infectious hit, whether they like it or not

"Considering the heavy-handed nostalgia baits that saturates all media nowadays," Wang writes for Nylon, "Jack Harlow's re-finesse of the iconic luxury anthem is master class, and it's likely the biggest reason why 'First Class' is the most obvious top runner for 2022's song of the summer."

Safe bets

"Big Energy," Latto

Billboard put some money on "Big Energy" for song of the summer back in March, when things were — as Billboard did admit — way too early to definitively nail down. But the "Fantasy"-esque "Big Energy" has had impressive cultural staying power, especially now that a Mariah Carey remix has been released in time for summer, Cosmopolitan notes.

It was such a success that Billboard predicted back in March: "The song may also gain momentum in the coming months simply by being so summer-friendly: The shimmering production and boisterous hook are ready to be deployed at dance parties, and Latto is primed for an even bigger hit."

Sleeper picks

"Potion," Calvin Harris ft. Dua Lipa and Young Thug

For Calvin Harris, also known as the reigning king of summertime anthems, one track is often all it takes. His latest, "Potion," is a vibey, sunshiney jam reminiscent of his 2017 smash "Feels," only this time featuring verified hitmaker Dua Lipa and rap star Young Thug. With Harris' Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 2 incoming, could "Potion" notch another song of the summer win for the Scottish DJ and producer?

Speaking with Pop Shop, Lipshutz wasn't as blown away by "Potion" as he was by the singles from Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, but he did concede that the song has strong seasonal energy.

"It's a great summer song," Lipshutz said. "Every time Dua Lipa does one of these kind-of over-qualified hook-singer songs, giving an assist here to Calvin Harris and Young Thug … I mean, it just comes out pretty spectacularly. … I think it's definitely going to be a summer song contender."

Anything from BTS

If K-pop supergroup BTS puts out a new song in the coming weeks, that track could completely upend any and all predictions, Lipshutz pointed out on Pop Shop.

"If BTS releases a new single in the next week or two, it could dominate June, July, August," he noted, especially given the summer success of 2021's "Butter."

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