It's almost the middle of August, which means that in just a few more weeks, school will be back in session, the weather will start to grow cooler, and the early days of autumn will be upon us. This summer has been an unforgettable one, especially with all the awesome new song releases that have occurred. If you run a radio station, you may have found yourself with a lot of great new options to add to your rotations.
But why were so many remarkable new tracks dropped during 2022's warmer months? Well, it's all because of that unspoken competition between artists to release the perfect anthem that is then crowned the "Song of the Summer." In 2022, we've had a lot of worthy contenders: from R&B jams to cozy pop bops, to deep rap cuts and oldies that have seemingly resurrected from the dead.
We've pored over music charts, social media trends, and album release dates to find the 10 biggest summer anthems of 2022. If you haven't added the 10 songs below to your station's rotation yet, we recommend you do so before summer is over!
1. "BREAK MY SOUL" - Beyoncé
Was "BREAK MY SOUL" the first song that popped into your head when we mentioned the "Song of the Summer"? Because it was certainly the first one that popped into ours. Anything Queen Bey releases is bound to be a smash hit. Given the long time between Lemonade's release and the unveiling of RENAISSANCE back in July, we knew fan hype would put some Beyoncé songs high up in the charts throughout the rest of the summer.
While some RENAISSANCE tracks like "CUFF IT" and "ALIEN SUPERSTAR" have performed well commercially, "BREAK MY SOUL" has undoubtedly become the biggest success off the record. It's all thanks to Beyoncé's decision to release the track early as a single. Not to mention the fact it includes an ode to Robin S.’ classic house cut “Show Me Love” and features a vocal sample of Big Freedia’s “Explode.”
2. "About Damn Time" - Lizzo
Thanks to this track's universality, grooviness, TikTok appeal, and overall good vibes, Lizzo's "About Damn Time" has steadily stayed on the charts all summer. It was released as a single back in mid-April and only landed at #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 after its debut. However, it slowly but surely picked up traction during the following warmer months: especially after Lizzo dropped Special in July.
Why does "About Damn Time" absolutely deserve a spot on our list? Because Lizzo even proclaimed this disco pop banger to be a "Song of the Summer" in an Instagram post. Her prediction came true, and "About Damn Time" managed to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the week ending July 30. It is Lizzo’s second song to reach number one.
3. "Late Night Talking" - Harry Styles
If this were a list of 2022 anthems, Harry Styles' "As It Was" would be right at the top. But since this countdown is all about summer hits and "As It Was" premiered back in the spring, we didn't feel like it was the best fit. We've found that another track from Harry's House has been making bigger strides throughout May, June, July, and August. And it's "Late Night Talking."
A cutesy romp about the joys of chatting with a lover late at night, "Late Night Talking" has followed right behind "As It Was" on the music charts. It's been getting lots of buzz lately thanks to Harry dropping a fun video for it in July, and trust us: we've been starting to hear this song everywhere when it comes to radio station airtime.
4. "Tití Me Preguntó" - Bad Bunny
Bad Bunny's had quite the year. After releasing his chart-smashing album Un Verano Sin Ti in May, the rapper became the first Latin artist to top the Billboard Artist 100 chart. Several tracks off the album have been floating around in the charts, but if we had to pick a song that suits the summer the most, it's "Tití Me Preguntó" (English: "Auntie Asked Me").
The Dembow song was inspired by Anthony “El mayimbe” Santos and is a braggadocious bop about how many girlfriends Bad Bunny has managed to court. The Puerto Rican rapper also released a cool NYC-themed music video for the track in June. You won't be able to resist shaking your groove thing in the club when "Tití Me Preguntó" blasts overhead!
5. "Jimmy Cooks (feat. 21 Savage)" - Drake
Drake released his latest album Honestly, Nevermind in June, and if we had to choose between "Jimmy Cooks," "Massive," and "Sticky" for his biggest hit this summer, we'd pick "Jimmy Cooks." Not only because the track itself is great, but also because the song received a tsunami of fan hype thanks to the 21 Savage feature.
Chock-full of name-drops, references, threats, and exclamations, the two rappers stay true to their roots when it comes to establishing dominance within the rap game. Additionally, "Jimmy Cooks" has a hard-hitting instrumental that feels like the best of old school hip-hop. No wonder why the song managed to debut at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100!
6. "First Class" - Jack Harlow
We didn't think anyone could resurrect Fergie's "Glamorous" in such a stylish way, but Jack Harlow did it this year with his track "First Class." During the week ending April 23, “First Class” debuted at #1 on the Hot 100 – thus giving it a firm head start as a contender for the Song of the Summer.
"First Class" hasn't moved on the charts much since its initial debut, and it's not hard to know why: it's got a first class sound! Putting the Fergie interpolation aside – the smooth beat and Harlow's confident rapping help make this track a perfect choice for easy listening. Thanks to a music video released in May and its popularity for TikTok videos, "First Class" has been "up in the sky" in terms of its summer success.
7. "N95" - Kendrick Lamar
If you listened to Kendrick Lamar's latest album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers this summer, you're a cool kid in our books. "N95" proved to be his biggest commercial success off the record, so we had to put it on our list.
With a poignant title that refers to N95 face masks (one of the several key tools adopted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic), Kendrick uses the track to address futile and superficial coping mechanisms, while pointing out the facades people around him have acquired. Some fans believe "N95" is also a jab at the way the United States handled the pandemic, but that message is not explicitly stated. Of all the songs on Kendrick's new album, "N95" is certainly a "big stepper."
8. "Sweetest Pie" - Dua Lipa & Megan Thee Stallion
"Sweetest Pie" was actually released back in March, but thanks to its mainstream popularity and Megan Thee Stallion placing the song on her latest album Traumazine, we predict it's about to have a second wind in August and early September.
Both Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion are two of the hottest artists in music right now, so their collaboration was bound to be a hit from the start. The track takes the shape of a catchy, upbeat, and sultry pop song, with both Megan and Dua radiating confidence and owning their sexuality via their lyrics – which make use of cheeky dessert euphemisms. This track originally debuted at #15 on the Hot 100 in March, and hasn't been knocked off charts – or radio station rotations – just yet. Don't be surprised if it makes a comeback!
9. "Bad Habit" - Steve Lacy
It may have taken until the later half of summer, but indie artist Steve Lacy managed to get a hit song on the charts! That song is his gorgeous, moody, and melancholy work "Bad Habit," which is part of his new album Gemini Rights.
In "Bad Habit", Lacy reflects on an attraction to someone, and what it could have been if he had expressed how he felt sooner. The song originally debuted at #100 on the Hot 100, becoming Lacy's first entry onto the chart. However, thanks to a video released in late July and the critical reception of Lacy's latest LP, the song has been steadily creeping up higher. As we write this, it's currently #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on Spotify's Top 50 U.S.A. chart. We're so happy to see Steve Lacy succeed!
10. "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" - Kate Bush
Last but not least...a surprise on the charts nobody saw coming! Thanks to the latest season of Stranger Things – which premiered in late May – a new generation of music lovers got introduced to the one and only Kate Bush this summer. Bush's song "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" was heavily featured in the show, thus bringing about the unexpected consequence of the song peaking at #1 on several charts.
It was a gift from heaven for Bush, as the viral success helped her break a few records: including a record for the longest-ever gap between #1 singles (Bush first hit #1 in the U.K. with "Wuthering Heights" in 1978), the longest time for a single to reach #1, and the oldest female artist ever to score a #1. And while "Running Up That Hill" isn't so much "running up" as it is "holding on" to the charts lately, it's still been everywhere thanks to its use on social media, inclusion on digital playlists, and of course, its airplay on radio stations. If we could make a deal with God, we'd wish for Bush's song "Babooshka" to become next year's Song of the Summer!
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Article Image: Beyonce at the world premiere of "The Lion King" in 2019, Harry Styles playing guitar during NBC Today's Summer Concert Series in 2022, Lizzo smiling while at the 2022 BET Awards. (PopularImages, thenews2.com, and Jean_Nelson via DepositPhotos.)