Are your favorite May and June jams starting to melt in the sun? We update your BBQ soundtrack with 10 fresh picks which you can listen to.
1. FRANK OCEAN, “Sweet Life” L.A. rich-kid oblivion never sounded so seductive. In his silky Stevie Wonder croon, the R&B wunderkind chronicles a “domesticated paradise” of palm trees, pills, and ever-replenishing exotic-fruit bowls: “Whatever feels good, whatever takes you mountain high.”
2. THE KILLERS, “Runaways” Between Brandon Flowers’ Boss-y conviction, that surreal Las Vegas shimmer, and a chorus that flies high enough to make Icarus jealous, the opening salvo from the band’s September album is an oasis in the radio-rock desert.
3. FUTURE, “Same Damn Time” Summer presents a lot of choices: Hot dogs or hamburgers? Sandy beach or country-club pool? Shorts or short shorts? With its booming beat and Godzilla-size trap-star swagger, the white-hot rap anthem of these multitasking times says you can have them all.
4. USHER FEAT. PHARRELL, “Twisted” The typically super-modern R&B maestro goes retro, enlisting the Neptunes beat king to stir a little James Brown funk peanut butter into his Stax-style soul jam. And guess what? It’s delicious.
5. CARLY RAE JEPSEN AND OWL CITY, “Good Time” Soaring cheerleader-pop melody? Flirty boy-girl chorus? Magic pixie dust left over from Jepsen’s smash “Call Me Maybe”? Yes, yes, and… Wait, what did you say? We couldn’t hear you with our face pressed up against the speakers.
6. TANLINES, “All of Me” The Brooklyn electro duo’s name says, “Oh! You missed a spot with the Coppertone.” But their airy synths-and-handclaps ’80s throwback sighs, “Actually, I’m too busy watching Pretty in Pink for the 93rd time to go outside.”
7. JEFF THE BROTHERHOOD, “Sixpack” Nashville stoner-rock bros Jake and Jamin Orrall know that all you need this weekend is a massively buzzed-out guitar, a few PBRs, and a choice mantra to shout at your rooftop pool party: “I wanna cool out/And get wasted!”
8. DEMI LOVATO, “Give Your Heart a Break” Don’t be frightened by Demi’s stalker intensity. Like all the best guilt-free summer flings, this unshakable single—all seesawing violins, pretty synths, and sweet pleas—simply wants you to put a Ring Pop on it.
9. MATT & KIM, “Let’s Go” Their buoyant indie-pop gem comes complete with instructions: Sing along to its bright hooks and softly crooned ooh-ooohs with your “windows rolled down.” With a decent stereo and a broken air conditioner, you’ll have no trouble obliging.
10. CAT POWER, “Ruin” You may not be leaving your zip code this summer, but indie rock’s recently returned siren will stamp your mental passport with her far-flung travelogue (Soweto, Calcutta, Chile, Mozambique). Just take care to listen to the cautionary message beneath the song’s tropical piano and gorgeous echo-chamber vocals.
Give our picks a spin with the Spotify playlist below!