Entertainment

A Power Ranking Of 2024's Top Song Of The Summer Contenders

The year’s biggest music battle has begun.

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As any critic will tell you in 2024, monoculture is, and has been, dead, and that includes the concept of a song of the summer, or the singular tune that’ll reign supreme during the year’s hottest months. It’s true: The song of the summer is no longer a static, non-fungible title, but a fluid and cyclical one that shifts with time and the public’s general mood.

But by Labor Day, there generally are a handful of tracks that we can effectively say became the soundtrack of the nation, even if just for a moment. For example, in the past 24 hours alone, I’ve encountered Sabrina Carpenter’s “That’s that me espresso,” and “I’m working late ‘cause I’m a singer” no less than 20 times from just texting my friends and opening the NYT Cooking Instagram — which sounds like an early frontrunner to me.

This summer, we’ll be tracking the moves of the top SOTS contenders power-ranking-style — moving things up, knocking things down, and bringing new power players into the fold every week until Labor Day. Factors that’ll be taken into consideration: chart stats (including what’s hot on the Billboard Hot 100), online buzz, and what we hear out in the wild from the windows of passing cars to block parties and barbecues. Dive into our most up-to-date standing, below.

1

“Not Like Us” - Kendrick Lamar

Current position: 1 (New)

Last position: N/A

Our prediction: There are diss tracks, and then there are diss tracks that are so culture-shifting they transcend the original beef to be played at weddings, nightclubs, political rallies, and darties, all real-life places that have blasted Kendrick Lamar’s DJ-Mustard-produced Drake diss, “Not Like Us” over the past month. For its sheer unprecedentedness, this deserves the No. 1 spot.

2

“Espresso” - Sabrina Carpenter

Current position: 2 (-1)

Last position: 1

Our prediction: A dip for Carpenter’s now-ubiquitous hit “Espresso” was inevitable, but then she gave an utterly charming performance of the track on SNL on May 18 that made us think, actually, this song is in it for the long haul.

3

“I Had Some Help” - Post Malone & Morgan Wallen

Current position: 3 (New)

Last position: N/A

Our prediction: What’s the “Last Night” of 2024? We’ll hedge our bets on “I Had Some Help,” Post Malone’s scorned, bro-country ditty about how breakups are a two-person tango, featuring Morgan Wallen and Jo Tyler. Since its release on May 10, it’s shot to No. 1 on the charts and captivated one of my non-country-listening friends, who texted me she’s in her “Post Malone era.”

4

“Nasty” - Tinashe

Current position: 4 (New)

Last position: N/A

Our prediction: The two genders of summer 2024 are “I’m working late, cause I’m a singer” daughter or “I’ve been a nasty girl” son. Just kidding... unless? Either way, TikTok has made the robotic intro of Tinashe’s “Nasty” famous — and for Nashe’s sake, we hope it stays that way!

5

“Family Matters” - Drake

Current position: 5 (New)

Last position: N/A

Our prediction: While Drake’s “Family Matters” enjoys a brief moment in the sun (read: on this list and on the Billboard charts), to the pop cultural jury, Drake lost the beef. It’s only a matter of time he’ll lose this relevancy, too.

6

“Million Dollar Baby” - Tommy Richman

Current position: 6 (New)

Last position: N/A

Our prediction: My colleague Kelly Reed, NYLON’s senior social editor, says she heard “Million Dollar Baby,” another TikTok entry, at least 3-4 times at multiple bars in NYC’s Lower East Side over the past week. The pop-trap hit is reigning on the charts for now, but we’re on the fence of whether that momentum will last.

7

“Good Luck, Babe!” - Chappell Roan

Current position: 7 (-1)

Last position: 6

Our prediction: NYC’s nightlife ecosystem hasn’t had enough of Chappell Roan’s “Good Luck, Babe,” a song heard in Ubers and gay bars by multiple people on staff. With Pride month on the brink, this statistic will only shoot through the roof.

8

“Fortnight (feat. Post Malone)” - Taylor Swift

Current position: 8 (-6)

Last position: 2

Our prediction: It’s been a precipitous drop for “Fortnight,” a song that continues to be just fine. But that might not matter much to Taylor Swift, whose “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart” is hot on its tail, sitting at No. 14 on the Hot 100 (and still climbing). This fortnight might have finally run its course.

9

“Brutalizer (from the Challengers soundtrack)” - Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Current position: 9 (New)

Last position: N/A

Our prediction: Everyone from Shygirl to SNL played this Challengers soundtrack standout in the last month, which means one thing: The straight culture and gay club venn diagrams have overlapped. This may be the closest we’re getting to monoculture in 2024.

10

“Lobster Telephone” - Peggy Gou

Current position: 10 (New)

Last position: N/A

Our prediction: Sometimes, you’re only exposed to certain songs of the summer through travel, and god know how much Europe loves Peggy Gou. The house giant will be dropping her debut album in June, and there’s no doubt the radio is already preparing to butter up its standout, “Lobster Telephone.”

Previous song of the summer contenders:

“4eva” - Shygirl; “Back Outside” - Anycia; “We Can’t Be Friends” - Ariana Grande; “Illusion” - Dua Lipa; “Texas Hold ‘Em” - Beyoncé; “Beautiful Things” - Benson Boone; “Bubble Gum” - NewJeans

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