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10 Songs that you need to add to your Summer Playlist

SPF stock is going through the roof, England shirts are becoming more common, and the pollen count is on the rise. That can mean only one thing – summer is just around the corner, and it’s time to meticulously craft your playlist for those sunny walks, warm evenings, visits to beer gardens, holidays abroad, and pre-Euro celebrations. Below are ten songs that I believe everyone needs to add to their Summer Playlist – some new, some old, but all of them are guaranteed to make this summer one to remember.

‘MILLION DOLLAR BABY’ – Tommy Richman (2024)

At the time of writing, this song has only been out for two weeks, yet has already been touted by some as odds-on to achieve the coveted status of ‘Song of the Summer’. At a time when Kendrick Lamar and Drake are feuding, and Taylor Swift has just dropped a new album, this song has somehow made it to Number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it does not look like its popularity is waning anytime soon. With its infectious falsetto vocals, funky synthesis of R&B, and trap influences and catchy bassline, I have only one complaint about ‘MILLION DOLLAR BABY’, I wish it was longer than 2:35.

‘Could You Be Loved’ – Bob Marley and The Wailers (1980)

One of the greatest and most influential reggae songs of all time, ‘Could You Be Loved’ is a staple track from Bob Marley and The Wailers, with the message of the importance of being true to yourself without asking what others may think. Being the first reggae song to achieve prominence on American radio stations, the song blends a disco beat with more traditional reggae elements to produce a unique and iconic sound that is just as calm and joyful as it was 44 years ago. It Never Rains in Southern

‘It Never Rains in Southern California’ – Albert Hammond (1972)

Although the lyrics of this 70s classic paint a rather miserable picture of a failed entertainer who is concealing his bleak reality from those around him, the pairing of an upbeat piano and acoustic guitar make ‘It Never Rains in Southern California’ a must-have for those evening summer drives. By taking a fear that many people are likely to have – that of not being successful in life, and turning it into a song, Albert Hammond leaves listeners with a burning, yet cautious optimism about the uncertainty of the future.

‘Chiquitita’ – ABBA (1979)

You knew it was coming. It would be naive of you to start reading an article about summery songs and not expect at least one from ABBA, and it would be remiss of me not to put one on this list. Whilst the popularity of the Mamma Mia! stage production and films made summer synonymous with the Swedish pop legends, it is ‘Chiquitita’ that truly embodies this. With lyrics depicting the necessity of healing and ‘sing[ing] a new song’ in times of sadness, and arguably the most iconic piano outro of all time coupled with a joyous guitar riff, if you don’t listen to this song at least once every summer, what have you been doing? If you find ABBA corny, this song is perfect for you.

‘Roses’ – OutKast (2004)

With one of the greatest musical intros of all time, scathing (and borderline offensive) lyrics about the superficiality of relationships, and funky jazz-inspired production, ‘Roses’ is sadly often overshadowed by ‘Hey Ya!’, its fellow single for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below when OutKast is concerned. Nevertheless, ‘Roses’ revels in its eccentricity, with André3000’s catchy and bizarre vocals being one of the standouts of the song, accompanying an array of synthesised keyboards and pianos to produce a song that is as bitter as it is brilliant.

‘The Suburbs’ – Arcade Fire (2010)

Yes, I had to include an Arcade Fire song in this list, and no, it’s not the one that you expected. Whilst ‘Wake Up’ is undeniably a staple summer anthem for many people, it is ‘The Suburbs’ that really stands out to me as necessary for a summer playlist. Again, the lyrics are not the most optimistic in the world, painting a picture of mundanity that quickly turns darker as a haunting narrative of conflict and martial law takes over. A masterfully composed song with a refreshingly heavy emphasis on its percussion, ‘The Suburbs’ is a lyrically impressive, alternative rock ballad that is worthy of being played at any time of the year, but seems to be most poignant in summer.

‘Rockstar’ – Nickelback (2005)

‘Dad rock’ is, in my view, a necessity for summer, and who is a more iconic dad rock band than Nickelback? Yes, ‘Rockstar’ is an incredibly corny song about the extreme indulgences of the ultra-wealthy, but it embodies a unique and nostalgic charm that would make anyone want to sing along with Chad Kroeger’s iconic growl. Balancing biting satire about the debauchery of rockstars with an instantly catchy melody, ‘Rockstar’ is a Marmite-esque song in its divisiveness. But, like the yeasty spread, whether you love it, or hate it, you just need to try it.

‘Rich Girl’ – Daryl Hall and John Oates (1976)

Hall and Oates were one of the most influential duos of the 20th century, with ‘Rich Girl’ embodying their success whilst telling the toe-tapping story of a spoiled girl who is not burdened with the anxieties of those less fortunate than her. At a time when it was rare for American music to be centred around the importance of class divisions, ‘Rich Girl’ manages to marry social commentary in its lyricism with one of the catchiest melodies of the 1970s. Ultimately, it is a relatively short yet soulful song that is ceaseless in its ability to turn financial frustration into a cathartic and upbeat listening experience.

‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)’ – Marvin Gaye (1964)

One of the greatest songs from one of the greatest artists of all time. Soulful piano, Marvin Gaye’s iconic vocals, upbeat percussion and lyrics depicting the optimism of true love – what more is needed for a summer song? ‘How Sweet It Is’ simply oozes romance and joy, setting it apart from the legendary countercultural discography of Gaye’s more notable discography. A wonderful and successful re-recording was released by James Taylor in 1975, but it is Gaye’s original version that truly stands the test of time.

‘American Pie’ – Don McClean (1971)

There really is no explanation needed here. Eight and a half minutes of pure joy. If this song isn’t already on your summer playlist, now’s your chance, because music doesn’t get much better than this.


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