The “Song of the Summer” sweepstakes is essentially over for the year, as Lil Nas X trots on down the “Old Town Road” and holds onto the No. 1 spot on the pop charts for the 14th week in a row. Nevertheless, there are plenty of other great possibilities that will have to settle for runner-up status. Here’s a look:
Taylor Swift, “You Need to Calm Down” (Republic): Immediately likable, endlessly quotable, with a good heart at its timely core, but that just wasn’t enough this year. Uh-oh! Of course, T.Swift will work all this out before dropping her “Lover” album later this summer.
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, “Senorita” (Island): Every touch is like, ooh-la-la-la, but they would’ve had a better shot if they both didn’t have other singles out, too, especially Cabello’s “Find U Again” with Mark Ronson. It’s true, la-la-la.
Ed Sheeran feat. Chris Stapleton and Bruno Mars, “Blow” (Atlantic): There’s a downpour of Sheeran songs this summer, but this one rocks hard.
Lizzo, “Juice” (Atlantic): Self-empowerment never sounded quite this funky. Yeah-yeah-e? Yeah-yeah-e.
Billie Eilish, “Bad Guy” (Darkroom/Interscope): The teenage phenom makes being “good at being bad” and singing through a fan sound irresistibly fun.
Carly Rae Jepsen, “Now That I Found You” (Schoolboy/Interscope): Every time this Target commercial comes on, it should be a reminder that this is even catchier than “Call Me Maybe.”
Illenium feat. Jon Bellion, “Good Things” (Astralwerks): Lake Grove native Bellion welds Long Island scene emotions to a giant, summer-ready hook.
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Tyler, The Creator, “I Think” (Columbia): Don’t let the OutKast meets Kanye groove fool you. Falling in love has never sounded quite so dangerous.
5 Seconds of Summer, “Easier” (Interscope): Angst you can dance to, from what seems like an army of Charlie Puths.
Ashley O, “On a Roll” (RCA): It doesn’t get more subversive than “Black Mirror” using Miley Cyrus to turn a dark Nine Inch Nails hit into a sunny, seemingly upbeat ode to selfish self-realization that gets played as a pop song.