PAPER's Top​ 19 Songs of Summer 2019

PAPER's Top​ 19 Songs of Summer 2019

With summer 2019 in full swing, you've probably already thrown it back a few times at a day rager or two, circled the drain at Pride, and bopped along on a beach trip. The season is heating up, and fast — it seems like all of our faves are coming out with new summer bangers and ballads, soundtracking the highs and lows of the steamiest time of the year.

Whether you're falling in or out of love, turning up or turning down, PAPER has ranked the Top 19 grooviest summer hits that will surely skyrocket up the charts soon, if they haven't already of course.

19. "Ratchett" by Queen Key

"Ratchett," the undeniable peak of Queen Key's 2019 album, Eat My Pussy Again, is a sub-heavy starter to turn all of your bashes up a notch. Although it clocks in at just around two minutes, that's all the time Queen Key needs to deliver verses of fatal-blow magnitude. Her flow is a crescendo of Category 5, mean-faced rhymes, fit only for blasting out of the most grating speakers as to buzz out her vocals at the hardest parts of the track. The track is energizing beyond explanation, a healthy dose of Saturday-brunch mimosa to cure your Friday night-induced hangover, jumpstarting a new day's party.

18. "Sunrise" by Merlot

Merlot is on everyone's radar right now. Their stunning beauty is matched only by their silky vocals, appearing first on their sweeping debut, "Bad For You." Now, after much teasing and fanfare, Merlot is back with a dance floor-slicking bop, fittingly about dancing all night long and called "Sunrise." Their vocals are less satiny and more filtered on "Sunrise," fuzzed out like the memories of a summer night gone awry with champagne kisses from former lovers.

17. "Stupid Horse" by 100 gecs

While bops emerging at this time of year are usually marked by laid-back beats, glittery synths, or beach-y riffs to match our moods, summers are always more chaotic than we'd like to admit. Your friend with a Hamptons house canceled on you last minute, you're two hours late for work in yesterday's clothes after attempting to reconcile with your ex over drinks the night before, and now you just want to get drunk at happy hour and make out with your boss to make up for it all. 100 gecs' "Stupid Horse" is all of that in a single, ripping track that sounds like an overheated Preakness announcer on acid. The lovechild of bass god Dylan Brady and Laura Les, "Stupid Horse" will make you twerk and head bang at the same time while you spill your poppers on bystanders and bust open your eardrums.

16. "Binz" by Solange

Despite being released in March, Solange's When I Get Home was full of sunny tracks to brighten up your morning routine and hype you up even on the slowest of days. "Binz," a particularly memorable cut, perhaps for it's accompanying Photo Booth visual, has all the verve of a cool morning commute to the city after a restful night's sleep. Solange has somehow captured a surge of self-confidence in only a series of consistent open hats, cushioning the undercurrent of low-passed synths that bump right beneath her carefree melodies. If you haven't loved yourself to this song yet, please do.

15. "Daddy AF" by Slayyyter

Slayyyter first burst onto the scene with an air of mystery surrounding her; her likeness was found only in cam girl-ified shots shared to her Instagram and Twitter, and her voice heard only over bedroom-produced beats and under-mastered, Britney-like melodies. While "Mine" was the Valentine's Day club track that seemed to launch her into the mainstream, "Daddy AF" rerouted expectations and helped usher in a new kind of hot girl summer. Just try not to drop into a split at the bridge when Slayyyter yelps, "I been fuckin' models."

14. "Like A Girl" by Lizzo

Not including Lizzo on a summer bops ranking is akin to a mortal sin with the level of musical prowess she's amassed since her new record, Cuz I Love You, started picking up speed this spring. "Like A Girl" is truly a hot girl summer heavy hitter if there ever was one; Lizzo's voice is at its most loaded in the screeching chorus ("Find me up in Magic City bustin' hundreds by the bands/ And I throw it like a girl"), a tough feat to imagine considering her weighty vocal chops on every single from the album. "Like A Girl" goes beyond being an femme empowerment anthem and busts into pure action with each of Lizzo's belts feeling like sonic patriarchal dismantling.

13. "Enjoy Your Life" by MARINA

Marina's got a song for every season on her long-awaited double record, LOVE + FEAR. Released in two parts, the LOVE portion of the two-disc soundtrack has more than a few summer anthems to wash away your steamy flings come September ("Orange Trees" and "Baby"), but "Enjoy Your Life" is a poolside kickback to revel in. The brand of optimism lacing the edges of the track's chorus is so heightened that it's nearly campy, insisting that listeners indulge in their mistakes and pains. "Enjoy Your Life" is a sonic sunscreen with of infinite SPF, protecting you from summer's woes — or at least delaying them until autumn takes hold.

12. "The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl In the World" by Snail Mail

If the Beach Boys opted for a July trip to the Catskills and then met up your ex-boyfriend's Bushwick garage band, the resulting collaboration would be Snail Mail's "The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl In the World." The song is an angsty groove, the equivalent to riding top-down along the coast and feeling the wind slap you silly. Less pop-infused than some of the other entries on this list, "The 2nd Most Beautiful Girl In the World" still holds its own as a summer anthem in the same vein of the beach rock tracks that have come before it. This is just icing on the cake considering that Lindsey Jordan, the 20-year-old powerhouse behind the song and accompanying record, Habit, has all the vocal swagger of a cooling Cape Cod sunset, effectively putting to rest a long day's festivities.

11. "Meet the Parents" by Kim Petras

Kim Petras was the queen of Summer '18 with her multicolored arsenal of bunhead singles, but her debut project, Clarity, is a year-round record of breakup bangers. "Meet the Parents" is certainly the most summery entry on the 12-track project, with its shoulder bouncing beats and poppy chorus. Hell, she even tells you that she'll take you to the beach — and when Kim Petras asks you on a date, you take the fucking offer.

10. "On a Roll" by Ashley O

Yes, Ashley O is on this list. If you have a problem with that, I can gladly direct you to an endless stream of gay bars across the country whose floors shake with excited stomps whenever the beginning chords of "On a Roll" start to drone out of the speakers. Despite being meant to fill a fallen pop star narrative in the fifth season of Netflix's Black Mirror, "On a Roll" collected a cult following of its own. When Netflix became inundated with requests for the repetitious bop to receive an official release, they kindly obliged and gave gays everywhere the gift of life.

9. "Milionària" by ROSALÍA

"Fucking money, man!" Rosalía exclaims periodically in her newest track, "Milionària." She's at her most playful on the song, and while its filled with the flamenco claps and snaps that characterize most of her releases, "Milionària" is lighter than, say, "Malamente." Dipping your feet into mid-temperature cerulean waters would give you the same feeling that hearing Rosalía slur the title of the song in the second verse does. There's something punchy-yet-kind about each syllable sung over the ringing tones in the verses, a vocal uptick to instigate self-pleasure and kickstart summer sins. Thank you for your service, "La Rosalía!"

8. "MEGATRON" by Nicki Minaj

What more can we say about Nicki Minaj's post-Queen comeback, "Megatron," that we haven't already? It's a wet dream conjured up just for the Barbz, intimately sampled, yet club-ready. Minaj's flow is fiery, biting away at her haters in the same way that her earliest rhymes on tapes, like Beam Me Up Scotty, did. Combined with the pop sensibility found on Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, "Megatron" is not a "Starships," not yet a "Good Form," but somewhere perfectly in between.

7. "Want You in My Room" by Carly Rae Jepsen

If she doesn't own summer, Carly Rae Jepsen is a board member, or at the very least a major stakeholder. "Call Me Maybe" was the 2012 community pool anthem and ever since has had the girls twirling along in bliss. "Want You in My Room" is the grown-up version of "Call Me Maybe," taking Jepsen's lyricism beyond flirtation and to a place of sexual tension. "I want you in my room/ On the bed, on the floor," Jepsen sounds off in the chorus, while each verse is backed by a stream of funky guitar plucks and percussive disco shakers. The song isn't so much for the dance floor as it is for the living room get-down of a house party, perfectly edged to turn partygoers into each others' lovers.

6. "Naked Alone" by L Devine & INDIIA

Let's talk about anthemic melodic writing, and let's talk about "Naked Alone," L Devine's horny summer hit. The chorus of "Naked Alone" is one of the most powerful I've heard from a pop artist in years, let alone one that hasn't become an instant radio hit. "No, I can't take another night on my own/ Need another body here to keep warm/ Always hated sleeping naked alone," she whines sweetly over a barrage of deep kicks and '70s riffs. The style and ease with which she approaches echoing the earworm chorus can only be found in the summer hits of yesteryear, a la "Moves Like Jagger" and "Blurred Lines," sans any overt male imposition. L Devine is plainly in control on "Naked Alone," cementing it as a musical retaliation to patriarchal notions of courtship and lovemaking. "Naked Alone" is itchy, horny, masturbatory, and honestly, just really fucking good.

5. "Bouncin (feat. Offset)" by Kiana Ledé

Kiana Ledé is entering Summer '19 with a huge potential hit on her hands. "Bouncin" is a cocky shuffle led by Ledé's melodic raps; her voice truly bounces back and forth in your headphones, teasing each ear seductively and controlling movement, from your shoulders to your feet. If you aren't dancing along by the first chorus, you're volume needs to be turned up louder. By the time the track gets to Offset's verse, you'll have gotten a healthy dose of confidence from Ledé's lovingly crafted lines and won't be able to help rapping along to the Migos member's iconic flow.

4. "Honeypie" by Johnny Utah

Johnny Utah first caught the world's attention by doing what he does best: making songs in his bedroom. His newest hit, which has truly earned its status and skyrocketed his streaming numbers, is a summer groove straight out of a voyeuristic fantasy. Hearing Utah whimper the word, "honeypie," is nothing short of orgasmic in the context of his neue-Prince riffs and tongue-in-cheek come-ons. His discography shows very clearly that this yelp is no anomaly as well, as he's a master hook maker. "Honeypie" is merely a sweet taste of what's to come. Plus, the image of honey shining in the mid-afternoon sun epitomizes the feeling one should get when listening to a summer bop — sticky, sweaty, and super sexy.

3. "OPEN UP" by Daniel Caesar

Many of the entries on this list participate in styles of summer seduction, whether forthrightly through banging drums and hip rhymes, or more casually through relaxed sonic swagger. Daniel Caesar's "Open Up," however, transcends intimacy and goes straight for the soul of a sexual encounter. "Let me plant my seed, girl/ Let me feel your needs/ Open up to me," he jazzes through the chorus, melting hearts everywhere with the beginning of each new line. On the track, Caesar is able to capture the implicit sexuality found in the most stimulating songs of more classic eras, tapping into the sprightliness of doo-wop and the sleaziness of Santana's "Smooth." It's almost difficult to keep the pace of the song as excitement builds from within for each new falsetto-dripped drone to land and probe.

2. "Pieces of Us (feat. King Princess)" by Mark Ronson

Transitioning from "Open Up" to Mark Ronson and King Princess' "Pieces of Us" might seem at first to be a slope downward in sensuality, stunting any inklings of summer love before they have time to flourish. Unfortunately, in any summer fling is an inherent downturn — an August reprise before a September finale. "Pieces of Us" is written like the feeling of the October after, when the initial shock of losing a fling has settled in the dust and left behind remnants of charm. Date locations are no longer just restaurants or cafés, but memories of a love that could have been. "Our love, our trust/ No matter which way you cut it, there's pieces of us," King Princess croons longingly once the song has played nearly halfway through. The track is a disco-pop reminder of the long days-turned-nights with someone, who for some unknown, couldn't remain in your life any longer. It's not all sadness, though — in each kick and pluck is some glimmer of sunsetting hope, a new reason to dance and move along.

1. "Cash Shit (feat. DaBaby)" by Megan Thee Stallion

It is hot girl summer, so the only rightful person to take the number one spot on this list is the hot girl herself, Megan Thee Stallion. Even the opening lines of the song are enough of a warning for other artists to delay their release dates until Megan's hits finally cool off the charts: "Real hot girl shit/ Yeah, I'm in my bag, but I'm in his too." The earsplitting kicks that creep up in the chorus, combined with the glitching effects added to the background of her verses, are thunderous reminders of her growing power in the industry. She growls through each line, taking no time with each to dwell on any one rhyme, leaving room for a metaphysical ass pop to cap off the conclusion of each read and threat.

Photo courtesy of 2020 Photography


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