The best songs for your nostalgic “Summer of 22” playlist

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Summer 2022 is coming to an end, and even though I’m part of the Cold Weather Lover’s Club, I can’t deny that summer is one of the best times of the year for the sheer freedom from it all. Whether you’re working or not, summer is a time for the beach, music festivals, new adventures, great food, and hot sticky nights. It’s time to let go of your bad self, and you can’t do that without the best songs of the summer.

Now, I’m a bit fussy, so I can’t say that the most “popular” songs are necessarily the best of a summer. We have to consider the other things: the heart of the matter, the character of a song, how it shapes our memories and influences how we feel during the foggiest golden season. So with all that said, here are our eight picks of the best songs for summer 22. Together, they make the perfect playlist to put together when winter rolls around and you miss all your summer exploits.

“About Fucking Time” by Lizzo

Technically, this song came out just before summer, but it’s Lizzo, she’s got some perseverance. And if an artist is smart, they’ll do what she did and release an ass bomb song right before summer, so we’ll be listening to it for the rest of the year.

And honestly, Lizzo is such a brilliant musician, I thought this song was with us forever. There is this kind of magic. Do we deserve Lizzo? Probably not, but might as well be happy to have it, all the same.

“Bad Habit” by Steve Lacy

I’ve known Steve Lacy since “Dark Red” came out in 2017, when it was pretty much just for art lovers. So it was pretty surprising when Instagram, of all places, took their new song “Bad Habits” and ran with it, right into my ears.

I love that Lacy’s signature guitar sounds are still present in his new work. And damn, her outfit kills in the clip (even though it’s a song about heartbreak – I mean, I get it baby, you gotta be the cutest at the lowest).

“We Cry Together” by Kendrick Lamar

I know everyone was losing their minds over the fact that Kendrick finally released his new album, and yes, it’s always exciting to be excited about a beloved artist coming out of their creative cave to bless us. But I have to admit that I only thought a handful of songs on the album were memorable.

THAT SAID, the ones that got the rating were absolutely flawless in every way, while the others were still better than most corporate mills punching the airwaves these days. In particular, I chose “We Cry Together” because, despite its subject matter, it’s so cool and well executed. Arguments between couples are messy, intense and difficult to capture accurately, but Kendrick managed to get through it in 5 minutes – what Marriage story fumbled in over an hour. It’s a tough song to listen to, but I still find myself thinking about it regularly every week.

“Betty (Getting Money)” by Yung Gravy

I don’t know if the phrase “Quirked Up White Boy Goated With the Sauce Busting It Down Sexual Style” ever applied to anyone more than Yung Gravy. I thought the guy was just a musician meme until I heard this song and realized, Ohhh, okay, he’s one of those Magic Fingers producers.

Yeah, the lyrics are crude and superfluous, but that’s part of what makes this song so good. I also don’t know if “adorable” is what he was going for with the music video, but still, it works.

“I Love You (I Do)” by Post Malone ft. Doja Cat

Happy Posted!!! I love this man so much. Everything about this song conveys an infectious sense of joy, and the music video captures that in spades. The sounds, the environment, her OUTFITS… oh my god, it’s just pure bliss.

And listen, I know Doja Cat has become a problematic figure over the past few years, and for good reason. But everyone has at least one problematic favorite, and it has to be one of mine. Adding it to any song is like adding a little extra umami to an already good dish. You don’t have to, but you’re only doing yourself a favor by doing it.

“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush

Is a bit lame that it took stranger things attract people to Kate Bush? Hey, it depends how interested you are in that kind of stuff. Personally, I think that’s pretty cool, especially since Kate Bush is notoriously private.

Plus, the context of the scenes it’s used in is really powerful. Season 4 of stranger things is a bit of a f**k cluster, but including Kate Bush was one of the things that made it work. It’s just such a captivating song, musically and thematically, and bringing it back to the forefront of pop culture is far from the worst thing we could do.

“As It Was” by Harry Styles

I was never a manager, or even someone who had the “queer appeal” of Harry Styles, but I always appreciated him for his sense of style and what he brought to the table of mainstream music. This song turned out to be exactly the kind of thing that separated him from other mainstream artists: a collection of pop, yet soft sounds that masked a more introspective lyricism.

Is it a bit tedious, like mainstream pop can be? Yes of course. But I feel my mood lighten every time I hear it in public.

Cafune’s “Tek It”

It’s yet another one of those songs that retroactively found popularity on social media, and hey, why not! It’s a damn good song, which appeals to both pop-rock audiences and those who are still waiting for the revival of emo-rock-pop.

Moreover, who doesn’t do you like a good animated music video? This one slaps, like yeah, who IS NOT a wide-eyed little cat staring at the moon, looking for his one true lover, I mean, a bowl of milk?

(Featured Image: Republic/Mercury)

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