Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj's 'Hot Girl Summer' Is Here to Save Us


Yes, praise the lord: Megan Thee Stallion, “Hot Girl Summer,” feat. Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign – On paper, a duet between Megan Thee Stallion and Nicki Minaj (with the trifecta of Ty Dolla $ign) is an obvious fantasy, though not quite foolproof—Minaj has been off her game in the post-Queen era. But this song, as they say, goes off, in practice as it does in theory. We needed an anthem that involves neither nor roads nor horses (well, one Stallion), to ease the horrific part of summer, and this it it. And now we must drop it low and bruise our knees in response. —Clover Hope

Yes, I say with a tear running down my face: Lana Del Rey, “Looking For America” – Americana imagery is Lana Del Rey’s bread and butter; playing Jackie O in the video for “National Anthem” and crooning Pepsi-Cola pussy and cherry pie eyes on the track “Cola.” But Lana moves outside of her comfort zone on her new track “Looking for America.” Lana’s rumination about Americana expand beyond blue jeans and moneyed men into the nation’s most unique ill: gun violence. On Instagram, Lana said she wrote the song in response to the back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, which she said affected her on a “cellular level.”

And it manages not to feel hackneyed. While watching children play in the park, she muses, “We  used to only worry for them after dark.” She reminisces about the times when she could go to see a movie or a live show without a second thought, but now: “So many things that I think twice about before I do.” In the chorus she sings, “I’m  still looking for my own version of America/One without the gun, where the flag can freely fly/No  bombs in the sky, only fireworks when you and I collide/It’s just a dream I had in mind.” “Looking For America” is short and sweet, a lullaby that speaks to our collective PTSD. It’s worth the listen. —Ashley Reese

Sure: Katy Perry, “Small Talk” – I, like most of the world, have been pretty uninterested in Katy Perry’s music over the last few years. Even this year: her collaboration with Zedd, the robot Stepford Wives-ian “365,” is unmemorable at best, but “Never Really Over” is an ear worm I don’t mind wiggling to at the grocery store. “Small Talk” is in the latter’s company. It’s a fine, fun song—not her anthemic hits from yesteryear, but a decently good time nonetheless. Charlie Puth co-wrote it, and he’s a decently good songwriter. All around: sure. —Maria Sherman

Absolutely, yes: Chastity Belt, “Elena” – Chastity Belt’s latest track is for fans of novelist Elena Ferrante, and for fans of bass-driven, harmony heavy dream-pop with a uniquely Pacific Northwest identity. Ideally, you’re a fan of both. This shit’s relaxing. —MS

Y: Jay Som, “Nighttime Drive” – My favorite Jay Som screams about liking the bus, but now that her band has graduated to endless touring and the ever-frequent “Nighttime Drive,” I’m still on board. Jay Som, specifically the woman behind the moniker, Melina Duterte, excels at writing expansive dream-pop in the confines of whatever small space she’s in—this track, and, hopefully, her forthcoming sophomore album Anak Ko, she breaks free and sounds as limitless like the open road. Also: The X-Files inspired music video rules. —MS

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