Top Contenders for the 2024 Season’s Most Beloved Melody

Greetings to the It List Summer Guide edition, where our team discloses top selections for prime entertainment as temperatures rise. Discover the weekly It List right here for the freshest content we’re eager to view, stream, listen to, read, and devour.

Each season, an infectious tune earns the accolade of being the “song of summer,” reigning over radio broadcasts and playlist selections from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This melody is generally spirited, an invitation to dance, and is ubiquitous – from automobile radios to seaside outings to bustling eateries persistently for numerous weeks.

This honorific designation carries no tangible prize, simply the recognition of which musician most perfectly encapsulated the jovial essence of the sunniest period. Previous summer anthems included “As It Was” by Harry Styles and “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen.

Considering aspects such as streaming, airplay, and commercial figures, one melody will rise as the season’s most adored — and often, this can be foreseen by May. Let’s delve into which tracks are potential contenders for 2024’s summer song and reflect on the beloved tunes from prior years.

The landscape of music discovery has expanded vastly over the previous decade, making it more of a challenge to pinpoint a single track that stands out in cultural and commercial triumph. What you constantly hear on the airwaves may diverge from what tops Spotify’s charts, and the tunes that are pervasive on TikTok may not translate to robust sale figures.

With this in mind, we’ve tallied a few of the strongest contenders as we approach Memorial Day.

Dua Lipa conducts a surprise pop-up for her newest album Radical Optimism in Times Square on May 5 in New York City.Dua Lipa performs during a surprise pop-up for her new album Radical Optimism in Times Square on May 5 in New York City.
Dua Lipa delivers a performance in May. (Gotham/WireImage)

Several renowned artists known for topping charts have recently launched new albums:

  • Dua Lipa’s latest singles, “Training Season” and “Illusion,” are well-received, though a different track from her May release Radical Optimism may steal the spotlight.

  • Taylor Swift presented her followers with 31 new tracks in April — “Fortnight” is showing significant traction.

  • Billie Eilish’s latest work “Lunch” is garnering considerable buzz on the internet. While it’s premature to forecast its chart success, Eilish is known for creating viral sensations.

  • Ariana Grande’s freshest compilation emerged in March, and “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait for Your Love)” is progressively gaining popularity.

  • New works from Charli XCX and Normani, eagerly awaited by many, are slated for release in early summer, though it’s unknown which compositions will become hits.

Beyoncé graces the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles.Beyoncé at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards Los Angeles.
Beyoncé at the 2024 iHeartRadio Music Awards. (Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty Images)
  • Although Beyoncé’s “Cowboy Carter,” which dropped in March, appears to have hit its peak well ahead of summer, she could still unveil music videos capable of propelling tunes like “Texas Hold ‘Em” to renewed prominence.

  • Having made two appearances on Beyoncé’s album, Shaboozey could experience a breakout moment with “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” which is creating buzz on TikTok.

  • Post Malone, who made appearances on both Swift and Beyoncé’s recent albums, ventured into country music by releasing the track “I Had Some Help” with Morgan Wallen, which soared to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 shortly after its debut.

Musical guest Sabrina Carpenter performs on Saturday Night Live.Musical guest Sabrina Carpenter performs on Saturday Night Live.
Sabrina Carpenter performs on Saturday Night Live. (Will Heath/NBC via Getty Images)

Two highly-regarded tour support acts are currently categorized as part of pop’s developing class—much appreciated online, yet not quite filling stadiums offline. This could shift during the summer:

  • Sabrina Carpenter, already known for several hits, could ascend to true pop stardom with her fresh release “Espresso,” considering her role opening for Swift’s tour.

  • Chappell Roan, gaining significant momentum since warming up the crowd for Olivia Rodrigo’s concert tour, has a potential hit in “Good Luck, Babe!”

Rapper Kendrick Lamar appears at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2017, left, and Canadian rapper Drake  at the premiere of the series Euphoria in 2019. Rapper Kendrick Lamar appears at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2017, left, and Canadian rapper Drake  at the premiere of the series Euphoria in 2019.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2017, on the left, and Canadian rapper Drake at the Euphoria series premiere in 2019. (AP Photo)

Kendrick Lamar and Drake have been exchanging barbs in their lyrics since March. Some of their verbal skirmishes have risen to the summit of music rankings:

  • Kendrick Lamar’s lyrical contribution in “Like That,” a tune by Metro Boomin and Future, sparked a rivalry that has been brewing for nearly ten years — and it topped the charts. As we approach summer, it’s still holding a spot in the Billboard Hot 100’s upper echelons.

  • Thus far, Lamar’s most successful track from this contention is the biting “Not Like Us,” which achieved No.1. His other songs “Euphoria” and “Meet the Grahams” maintain their popularity, but “Not Like Us” secures the most airwaves, granting it the top potential for a breakthrough.

  • Drake’s retorts, namely “Push Ups” and “Family Matters,” have found favor, though they don’t match the impact seen by Lamar’s tracks. The possibility remains that the two might perpetuate their verbal sparring, giving us a soundtrack to our summer filled with musical ripostes.

Tyla attends the 2024 Met Gala.Tyla attends the 2024 Met Gala.

Tyla attends the 2024 Met Gala. (Gotham/Getty Images)

  • Mellow R&B tracks such as “Saturn” by SZA and “Jump” by Tyla are poised to feature prominently on numerous tranquil summer playlists.

  • A slew of melodic, soul-infused tracks are capturing the airwaves, counting “Too Sweet” by Hozier, “Lose Control” by Teddy Swims, and “Beautiful Things” by Benson Boone among them.

  • A single TikTok could rocket a song to instant viral success within days. A couple of notable TikTok-propelled sensations that might be in the running include “I Like The Way You Kiss Me” by Artemas and “Million Dollar Baby” by Tommy Richman.

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The idea of a quintessential summer tune gained traction many years ago, but it was during the 1990s that the term started to become widespread. In the 2000s, the search for the “song of summer” title by various media became a contest among artists.

Reflect on the peak summer track for each year over the last two decades, based on Billboard’s data, and bask in the warm glow of bygone summers:

2023: “Last Night” by Morgan Wallen

2022: “As It Was” by Harry Styles

2021: “Butter” by BTS

2020: “Rockstar” by DaBaby feat. Roddy Ricch

2019: “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus

2018: “In My Feelings” by Drake

2017: “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber

2016: “One Dance” by Drake feat. WizKid & Kyla

2015: “Cheerleader” by OMI

2014: “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX

2013: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke feat. T.I. + Pharrell

2012: “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen

2011: “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock

2010: “California Gurls” by Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg

2009: “I Gotta Feeling” by The Black Eyed Peas

2008: “I Kissed a Girl” by Katy Perry

2007: “Umbrella” by Rihanna feat. Jay-Z

2006: “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland

2005: “We Belong Together” by Mariah Carey

2004: “Confessions Part II” by Usher

2003: “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z

2002: “Hot in Herre” by Nelly

2001: “U Remind Me” by Usher

2000: “Bent” by Matchbox Twenty

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