Happy Friday, cats and kittens! You made it… the countdown to the weekend is officially on…and I’m here to celebrate with you in this week’s Friday Open Thread. I’m excited to hear about all the dragons you slayed this week and what you’ve got planned for the weekend so I can live vicariously through you.
We’re over a month into Summer 2018 and for all the madness – the oppressive heat and humidity, most notably – there’s something amazingly freeing about this time of year. You can let your hair down, roll down the windows of your car, turn up your stereo and sing as loud as you want to your favorite song. Or you’re walking down a city street with your headphones turned all the way up, swaying to the beat, so lost in the rhythms that you forget that you’re on your way to work. That’s summer, in a nutshell: you living your best life, with a great song to accompany it. But that begs the question: what’s the song that’s soundtracking your life in the summer of 20GAYTeen?
For me, the song of the summer is usually (but not always) a bop…a song that you can’t resist moving to. Oddly enough, it is usually released in the winter or spring, long enough for the lyrics to gain enough ubiquity that crowds can sing along in the summer. Here are a few of the tracks getting a lot of play for me this summer:
Beyoncé and Mr. Knowles – APES**T
Album: Everything is Love
If Beyoncé decided to give up singing tomorrow and just focus solely on rapping, she’d be one of the top five rappers in the game right now. After years of singing and dancing, Bey has mastered the art of breath control and can spit swaggerific rhymes with reckless abandon.
Cardi B – I Like It (ft. Bad Bunny and J Balvin)
Album: Invasion of Privacy
Picking up where last year’s song of the summer, “Despacito,” left off, Cardi B delivered us a true bop with “I Like It,” mixing her unique brand of hip-hop with boogalo, salsa and reggaeton. You put this song on when you’re trapped in your office cubicle and you’re magically transported to Miami Beach, rolling down Ocean Drive with the top down or sipping a tropical drink poolside….and that’s a quintessential part of a true song of summer.
Hayley Kiyoko – What I Need (ft. Kehlani)
We can’t have a true song of summer debate without Lesbian Jesus herself, Hayley Kiyoko, blessing us. Nothing says summer like the blossoming of a romance so “What I Need” is the perfect soundtrack to that “what are we really doing here?” question that permeates all your summertime outings with your crush.
Janelle Monáe – PYNK
Album: Dirty Computer
It’s hard to pick one single from Janelle Monáe’s latest album to represent it in the “song of summer” competition. So many bops, so little time. Ultimately, though, I had to go with “PYNK” which a Monáe herself describes as “a brash celebration of creation. self love. sexuality. and pussy power!” If there’s ever been a better description about what summer should be about, I have not heard it.
(Also? Did you see Janelle perform “Americans” on The Late Show earlier this week? So, so good and with a bonus guest appearance by Pose star, MJ Rodriguez.)
Jennifer Lopez – Dinero (ft. Cardi B and DJ Khaled)
Album: Por Primera Vez (Forthcoming)
Listen, if we’re going to be friends, here’s a thing you need to know about me: I love Jennifer Lopez. Her work, which includes executive producing The Fosters and giving us some true bops, is criminally underappreciated. “Dinero” is the latest single from J.Lo’s forthcoming bilingual album, Por Primera Vez, and it takes her back to the pop/rap collaborations that made her a mainstay on the charts in the early 2000s.
Kacey Musgraves – Slow Burn
Album: Golden Hour
I feel like country music always gives us at least one artist every few years that lets people say, “I don’t really like country music but I do like _______________” and right now, the artist filling in that blank is Kacey Musgraves. “Slow Burn” is not a bop, like so many of the others on this list, but it is the perfect song to sit out on the porch or balcony, smoke and chill the fuck out to. Plus, I am absolutely certain that it’s about to be the soundtrack to so many lesbian fanvids, so you should definitely get familiar.
The Internet – Come Over
Album: Hive Mind
Like “Slow Burn,” this smooth R&B song from The Internet isn’t a bop, but it’s definitely the perfect song to play when you’re relaxing at home — in the air conditioning — with your summertime boo.
So those are some of my nominees for “Song of the Summer”…what music has been soundtracking your summer adventures? Pick your favorite from the nominees or feel free to suggest your own. Lobby for your favorites in the comments section and I’ll make sure the winner is included in next week’s edition of Pop Culture Fix.
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