11 Songs You Need in Your Summer Playlist

11 Songs You Need in Your Summer Playlist

Pop Culture

August 12, 2021

Whether it be the soundtrack to a party, vibes to underscore your summer homework, or tunes to blast out the windows of a summer drive; your summer playlist needs to be special. Here are 11 songs that'll make your summer playlist hit the charts.

1. Steal My Sunshine by Len

This fun, jumpy alt-rock hip-hop song feels like summer. It's chill but simultaneously upbeat; a song you can relax with as much as you can dance to.

I would recommend the single version of the song for new listeners as the original album version has snippets of conversation woven into the music. Both versions drip summertime though; I mean just with the title alone!

2. LOVE. FEAT. ZACARI. By Kendrick Lamar

This song captures a chill summer night in its near dream-pop-esque vocals, atmospheric trills, and rap lines. It's a classic song for a summer playlist; one that I've certainly heard on a couple of them, including mine.

3. Momentary Bliss (feat. slowthai and Slaves) by Gorillaz

From the first season of their 'Song Machine' project, Gorillaz's 'Momentary Bliss' contrasts rap lines with mellow guitar riffs and frantic drum-crashing chorus lines. The song feels like the mutant of several genres and is perfect for blasting out the car speakers on a windows-down summer drive.

4. Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations

Let's take it back to 1968 with this song. This song belongs in a feel-good montage in a coming-of-age film, I'm telling you. In every line you can feel the warmth The Foundations have woven into the song. Fun fact: This was probably intentional as this summer-sounding beat was actually released in November.

5. Jamming by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Of course, you can't have a summer playlist without some reggae to jam out with, so what's better than Bob Marley & The Wailers? This song is a summer classic and a perfect song for whatever your summer activity may be.

6. Introspective by Oliver Tree

A song of Oliver Tree's 2020 album, 'Ugly is Beautiful', 'Introspective', is clean-cut and pushed by its rhythm. It's one of Oliver Tree's most underrated songs, possibly because it doesn't include some of his more signature “shout-y” lines, but it's a great listen.

7. It Was A Good Day by Ice Cube

This song is driven by a groove to inspire others. Part of the 90s hip-hop empire, this song is of Ice Cube's 'The Predator' studio album, released two years before The Notorious B.I.G.'s debut album and one year after 2Pac's '2Pacalypse Now'. This made-for-summer song will either cheer up a bad day or make a good day better.

8. Industry Baby (feat. Jack Harlow) by Lil Nas X

No summer playlist is complete without a summer release. 'Industry Baby' is arguably one of Lil Nas X's best tracks and is effortlessly produced. I've been hoping someone will tuck this song into a movie score, so while we're waiting, let's add it to your summer score.

9. Out Of My League by Fitz and the Tantrums

If there was ever a song made for a warm, firefly-filled summer night, 'Out of My League' would be it. Similar to our 'LOVE. FEAT. ZACARI.', although not the same genre, this song has those muted, reverb-covered vocals that give the song a dream-like, upbeat feeling.

10. 19-2000 by Gorillaz

This list would not be complete without a second Gorillaz song, so here it is. '19-2000' is off the band's debut album and was made for a summer road trip. It's got a groove that never dies and is peppered with lines like “get the cool/get the cool shoeshine” and other bizarre, yet fun lyrics. The music video is a lot of fun and I strongly recommend both the song and video for any beginner Gorillaz listeners.

11. The Summer Ends by American Football

Last but not least, a well-titled end to the summer track list and that's 'The Summer Ends'. This is from American Football's debut and self-titled album from 1999, an album meant for summer. It's calm and relaxing with simple percussion, gentle guitar, and melancholy horn lines. Truly an ode to the season.

Whether it be for relaxing before school starts up, or the playlist for a party, these songs are a must for your summer playlist! Happy listening.

Zanzy Rice-Reeves
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Writer since Jul, 2021 · 1 published articles

Zanzy Rice-Reeves is a 17-year-old from New York. She loves film, television, books, and music, and has a passion for creating all four. In her spare time she likes making mixtapes and biking.