All the 2024 Song of the Summer Contenders, From ‘Espresso’ to ‘Lunch’

Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Getty
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Crowning the song of the summer used to be easy: “Hot in Herre,” “Crazy in Love,” “Umbrella,” “Call Me Maybe,” “Despacito,” and “Old Town Road” were all incontestable champions of their time. As the monoculture has crumbled in recent years, determining a winner has gotten harder—but we’ll be damned if we don’t try, so we’re back to debate: What is this year’s song of the summer?

Sure, the season is young and anything could happen—hot-weather king Calvin Harris has been teasing a new song with Miley Cyrus, and we still have albums from Peso Pluma and Normani on deck for June. But from chart-friendly superstars like Post Malone and Ariana Grande, to up-and-comers like Shaboozey and Chappell Roan, there are still plenty of contenders to choose from. See our picks below.

“Espresso” by Sabrina Carpenter

Never has there ever been a more eloquent phrase than “that’s that me espresso”; Shakespeare is shaking. It’s rivaled only by “I’m working late, ’cause I’m a singerrrrrr,” a lyric that everyone from Adele to Katy Perry has enthusiastically co-signed. Lyrical gems like those—coupled with a glacé disco groove that just sounds like summer—have shot Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso” to frontrunner status for the biggest song of the season. The caffeine high isn’t stopping anytime soon.

“I Had Some Help” by Post Malone ft. Morgan Wallen

Raise a Bud Light to Post Malone. After landing features on two of the spring’s biggest blockbuster albums—Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter and Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department—Posty has launched his country music takeover with a little help from the genre’s reigning king: Morgan Wallen. “I Had Some Help” is the No. 1 song in the country as of this writing, and don’t be surprised if it stays on top of the charts all summer long.

Shut Up and Listen to Sabrina Carpenter’s ‘Espresso’ Right Now

“A Bar Song (Tipsy)” by Shaboozey

If Beyoncé taught us anything this spring, it’s that genres don’t mean squat—and no one knows that better than Shaboozey, who coincidentally appears not once but twice on Cowboy Carter. Riding that momentum and keeping the yee-haw agenda in full swing, the Virginia-based artist has scored a crossover smash with “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” a mindless singalong that borrows its hook from the 2004 club anthem “Tipsy.” Who knew that adding some violins to a J-Kwon joint would sound so good?

Ariana Grande - “The Boy Is Mine”

With all due respect to “Yes, And?” and “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love),” this summer should belong to “The Boy Is Mine,” the upcoming third single from Ariana Grande’s Eternal Sunshine. On an album littered with divorce musings and therapy speak, “The Boy Is Mine” stands out as a bad-bitch, trap-Brandy moment that deserves some shine. The way the song slows down right as Ari slithers into the hook is just *chef’s kiss* irresistible.

“Not Like Us” by Kendrick Lamar

Who could’ve predicted that one of the biggest songs of the summer would include multiple call-and-response moments where we’re encouraged to call one of music’s most dominant stars a pedophile? Kendrick Lamar’s four-plus-minute takedown of Drake—featuring one of the hardest beats Mustard has ever mustered up—cleverly doubles as a statement of West Coast pride with shout-outs to Tupac and Serena Williams, but it’s also just a damn good diss track. And while this beef may be over, “Not Like Us” will live forever.

Drake and Kendrick Lamar’s Beef Has Dragged Us All to Meme Hell

“Million Dollar Baby” by Tommy Richman

It takes a special kind of song to cut through the noise of the Kendrick-Drake feud and a Taylor Swift album drop. “Million Dollar Baby” did just that, debuting at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in April after catching fire on TikTok. It’s remained a steady chart presence since then, and since its bouncy beat and syrupy vocals are tailor-made for sweltering beach days and rowdy nights out alike, it’ll probably stay there all season long.

“Jump” by Tyla ft. Gunna and Skillibeng

After ruling last summer with her sweaty breakout single “Water,” Tyla has struck again. Everything the 22-year-old does lately screams “summer,” from her sandy Met Gala look to her latest music video for “Jump,” in which she takes us to her hometown of Johannesburg and literally stops traffic with her moves. “Miss her with the drama,” but don’t miss her with the song of summer potential.

“I Like the Way You Kiss Me” by Artemas

If you’ve scrolled TikTok in the past month or so, you’ve definitely heard this propulsive darkwave banger by UK artist Artemas, which feels like the sonic equivalent of staying out too late and calling that ex you should’ve blocked a long time ago. It’s currently bigger overseas than it is in the U.S., but as it keeps racking up streams and YouTube views, its song of the summer potential only grows.

“Illusion” by Dua Lipa

Poor Dua Lipa’s Radical Optimism has been overshadowed this spring by the likes of Taylor and Billie, but since the jet-setting pop star is still the living embodiment of beach season (seriously, the woman is always on vacation somewhere), she simply can’t be left off this list. “Illusion” is her best challenger in this race, with a music video that’ll get you properly jazzed for the Summer Olympics (so many divers and synchronized swimmers!) and a downright mesmerizing way of singing the word “illusion” (more like “illuUuUuUuUusion”).

This Viral ‘Song of the Summer’ Was a TikTok Joke No One Got

“After Hours” by Kehlani

Kehlani’s music career has at times been overshadowed by less flattering headlines and scandals, so it’s nice to see the Bay Area star letting loose and having a damn good time with “After Hours.” The video almost makes you want to brave the anxiety of jetting off to Las Vegas; there’s Kehlani twerking in a pool, twerking in the club, and twerking in a hotel room, pleading with you to keep the party rolling all night. When she makes it look this fun, how can you say no?

“Austin” by Dasha

“Austin” is perhaps a little too angsty to be a true song of summer contender, but like “Before He Cheats” before it, it’s a bitter kiss-off anthem that’s too brash to resist. Dasha’s viral hit has been boosted by recent performances at Stagecoach and the CMT Music Awards, along with a video that features line-dancing and rageful fight scenes in equal measure. Get his ass, Dasha!

“Cinderella” by Remi Wolf

Remi Wolf makes consistently fun and funky pop music, and “Cinderella”—an appetizer for her second album, out July 12—is no exception. Not only does it make excellent use of horns, bells, and whistles, but it also lodges an irresistible, sing-song-y lyric into your head: “me and the boys in the hotel lobby.”

“Nasty” by Tinashe

Tinashe has had quite the topsy-turvy career ever since her breakout single “2 On,” whose success she’s never been able to recapture. (Though not without lack of trying; real ones know “All Hands on Deck” is criminally underrated.) She did, however, get an unexpectedly viral hit on her hands this month, thanks to a video of a nerdy-looking British dancer whose freaky moves became instant meme fodder. That clip was soundtracked by Tinashe’s recent single “Nasty,” in which she asks the question that may end up defining the summer: “Is somebody gonna match my freak?”

“Lunch” by Billie Eilish

Like Harry Styles and Chappell Roan before her, Billie Eilish has put her insatiable appetite for oral sex on wax. And while it may be jarring to hear people sing “I could eat that girl for lunch,” all summer long, that’s likely what we’re in for—”Lunch” is undeniably lusty and catchy, bolstered by new-wave guitars, hand claps, and little sonic jolts that make it oh-so-appetizing. This is what JoJo Siwa wishes she sounded like.

“Get It Sexyy” by Sexyy Red

“Get It Sexyy” started climbing the charts back in March, thanks to its shout-along hook and a (pre-Kendrick beef) Drake cameo in the video. And while the song’s momentum has stalled a little since then, Sexyy Red is about to have a big summer: She linked up with Lana Del Rey at Hangout Festival last weekend, she dropped a new EP (In Sexxy We Trust) on Friday, and she’s appearing on WWE’s NXT this upcoming week. In other words, we’re so not done getting it sexyy this summer.

“He Knows” by Camila Cabello

In case you missed it, Camila has gone hyperpop. And while not everyone is buying her new indie-sleaze rebrand, I’d argue it’s giving us her most exciting music in years. First there was the quirky, era-launching “I Luv It,” and now, CC’s hooked up with Lil Nas X for “He Knows,” which doubles down on Miami messiness and tantalizing looped vocals. Maybe blondes really do have more fun.

Nobody’s Buying Camila Cabello’s Rebrand

“Bodyguard” by Beyoncé

There are at least five other potential summertime smashes from Cowboy Carter besides “Texas Hold ‘Em,” including the raucous party-starter “Ya Ya,” the Miley Cyrus collab “II Most Wanted,” and the scorching “Tyrant.” My pick, however, is the shimmering, lightly nostalgic-sounding “Bodyguard,” which begs to be played while driving in a convertible on a palm tree-lined street.

“Good Luck, Babe” by Chappell Roan

Fresh off a touring stint with Olivia Rodrigo and with Pride Month around the corner, Chappell Roan saturation is about to peak. And it’s about damn time—she has no shortage of brash pop ear worms, like “Red Wine Supernova” and “Super Graphic Ultra Modern Girl,” and you can add this latest single to their ranks. Good luck, babe, trying to resist Chappell Roan fever this summer.

“Boa” by Megan Thee Stallion

Our reptilian rap queen strikes again. After previous serpentine singles “Cobra” and “Hiss,” Megan Thee Stallion has returned with “Boa,” which brilliantly samples a 20-year-old Gwen Stefani song, and which came alongside a totally batshit video inspired by anime and video games. The Houston rapper is headlining an arena tour this summer (aptly titled the Hot Girl Summer Tour), and “Boa” will definitely be a live highlight. Also, Meg pulls off at least three outfits in this video that would kill at Halloween parties, so we might want to keep this one on rotation until the fall. Just sayin’.

Honorable Mentions:

Beautiful Things” by Benson Boone

Magnetic” by ILLIT

4eva” by Shygirl ft. Empress Of & Kingdom

360” by Charli XCX

Gata Only” by FloyyMenor and Cris MJ

Too Sweet” by Hozier

Igual Que Un Ángel” by Kali Uchis and Peso Pluma

Love Bites” by Nelly Furtado, Tove Lo, and SG Lewis

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