Fourth of July means it’s the height of summer, and it’s weekends of pool parties or backyard hangs. Much of the U.S. will spend this weekend out at a barbecue of some kind, and will need the kind of summery jams that keep the good vibes going. While there are plenty of tried-and-tested classics that fit the bill — Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”! Demi Lovato’s “Cool for the Summer”! The endless joy of “Despacito (Remix)” from Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber! — we’ve put together a roundup of newer releases for a fourth of July playlist that should also stand up to summer’s party needs.
“Ice Cream,” MIKA
MIKA was once known for hits like “Lollipop,” so maybe it’s no surprise that his latest, “Ice Cream,” is another bright and joyful ode to hot weather. When he sings “I want your ice cream, I want it melting on my tongue” over a punchy funk melody, you’d be hard-pressed not to want to find your own cold treat.
“I Don’t Care,” Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber
This year, Bieber and Sheeran teamed up for a song about not particularly enjoying the party — until they settle in for the ride, thanks to being with their beloved. Luckily, its bouncy pop vibe works whether or not you’re actually enjoying yourself at an event.
“Come to Brazil,” Why Don’t We
Young boy band Why Don’t We wink at the phrase that many of their passionate superfans pepper all over their social media posts — “come to Brazil!” — with this peppy, summery tune about last-minute travel plans that hints at hot-weather flings.
“Make It Hot,” Major Lazer feat. Anitta
“Siempre hot, siempre picante,” sings Brazilian star Anitta — always hot, always spicy. The Major Lazer track mixes a sinuous flute with baile funk (funk carioca) beats and works as well as any of the latest genre-blending club tracks to get the people going.
“Sucker,” Jonas Brothers
There’s a reason the Jonas Brothers made such a big splash with their latest comeback: this song. It’s pure pop magic, and has a tendency to get people singing along. We’re all a sucker for summer, after all.
“Too Much,” Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen is the queen of pop songs that mix highs and lows — she doesn’t do emotion in small pieces, but big and bold. “Too Much” is a thesis statement to that effect, and it also works as a delightfully unbridled track to sing and dance your heart out to.
“La La Land,” Bryce Vine feat. YG
There’s something very summer about nostalgia-tinged songs about California. “La La Land” fits the bill: Bryce Vine is the epitome of low-key cool as he sing-raps about nights out, house parties and casual small-talk conversations. “Waste your time with me in California,” he suggests in the chorus — one idea for how to spend the season.
It’s hard not to start dancing and singing along to Lizzo’s “Juice,” a bold and buoyant summer hit that’s unabashedly all about the party. “If I’m shining, everybody gonna shine,” she sings, and it’s enough to bring everyone to the dance floor.
“Mojaita,” J Balvin and Bad Bunny
Bad Bunny and J Balvin are two of Latin music’s biggest stars at the moment — and they did listeners the kindness of surprise-releasing a joint album this summer. “Mojaita” kicks things off with a slinky reggaeton groove, but the rest of the album is just as worthy.
“Señorita,” Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello
Cabello follows up her “Havana” hit with “Señorita,” a sultry new duet between the two pop stars. Both lean into their most languid, elastic senses of melody, the song echoing summer nights that stretch out into dawn.
“Go Loko,” YG feat. Tyga and Jon Z
“Go Loko” is another Latin-inspired track, with a delicate Spanish guitar melody that gives it a specific flavor to set it apart from other hip-hop releases. It’s an unhurried, dark-toned track — the kind to play as the sun sets, when everyone just wants a moment to relax.
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