There's Already a Strong Contender for Song of the Summer


The HOT HOT summer blueprint: Bree Runway, “HOT HOT” – Bree Runway has fucking done it again. “All Night” was perfect, “ATM” was immaculate, and “HOT HOT” is so good I’ve run out of adjectives to summarize it in one word. It’s maybe disingenuous to claim a summer jam in March, but it better be this, when clubs open this summer (god willing) and I glue my pussy to the dance floor.

The lyrical tick—“HOT HOT,” “WHAT WHAT”—is so instantly memorable. As is the rest of the song really. (“I’M A BIG DEAL YOU’RE LIKE OH MY GOD!”) It’s the best of the mid-aughts pop R&B era percussion distilled. Tell me you don’t hear Fat Joe, or Nelly, or T-Pain, Keyshia Cole, or Blu Cantrell!

The visuals, another staple of a Bree Runway joint, are also very mid-aughts to me. That’s a good thing! 2004-2006 was a highly underrated era in fashion herstory, as I’ve often screamed out at parties where everyone is in a ‘90s fit and I’m just wondering where the Raiders bras and denim booty shorts with too-big amber-tinted sunglasses are.

Bree Runway is a big deal and I’m like oh my god! –Joan Summers

You know what? Yes: Olivia Rodrigo, “deja vu” – Having a song go viral on TikTok these days can be more of a curse than a blessing, damning it to one-hit wonder status, forever tied to whatever meme your song soundtracked. 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo’s melodramatic “drivers license” has proven massively popular (it’s the first hit of 2021 to hit 1 billion global streams) but can she follow it up? Apparently she can! Her latest “deja vu” dips between sullen and sweet, a cross between Lorde’s pessimism and “Blank Space”-era Taylor Swift. I have some questions as to why teenagers are willingly listening to Billy Joel in their free time, but I’ll save those for another time. For now, Olivia has my attention. – Hazel Cills

Yes2K: Sad Night Dynamite, “Killshot (DJ Seinfeld Remix)” – The blokes of the U.K’s Sad Night Dynamite are so cheeky, you could swear they were the spawn of Blur’s Damon Albarn. Instead, they’re just highly influenced by him (his Gorillaz project in particular). They favor the kind of pre-drill, post-trip-hop boom-bappish percussion that floated a lot of early aughties pop. DJ Seinfeld gives them an ambient garage makeover, which makes their “Killshot” sound something like Burial with a serotonin adjustment. A winning equation! —Rich Juzwiak

Yep: Dry Cleaning, “Unsmart Lady” – Look, the spoken word stylings of Dry Cleaning’s Florence Shaw isn’t for everyone. There will be those of you who watch this video and just don’t Get It. Well, whatever, I think this fucks.

Yeah, the instrumentals are hot, and Shaw’s sartorial ode to Kate Bush rules, but it’s Shaw’s cryptic lyricism that really holds my attention. As with plenty of other Dry Cleaning songs, the lyrics don’t always make a lot of sense right off the bat, and “Unsmart Lady” is no different. Shaw’s drone of “Fat podgy, non make-up, unsmart lady” reads as social commentary, while the next verse—”If you like a girl, be nice, it’s not rocket science/A tanned foot squeezed hopefully into a short boot/ A Kerry Bog Pony”—comes across as an observation, scattered fragments of eavesdropped conversation. I’m not sure if I can make sense of this, but that’s the fun Dry Cleaning: I can at least try and pretend.

Plus their debut album is out. It’s solid. Give it a listen. —Ashley Reese

Someone will love this, but I do not: St. Vincent, “The Melting of the Sun” – I don’t think this new era is doing it for me. I respect St. Vincent’s dedication to the ‘70s lounge singer schtick, but I’m constantly reminded of the Instagram accounts I follow in which teen and young adult women dress like it’s 1973 because they’re deep in their 60s/70s phase. I’m getting that energy with a heaping spoonful of theater kid, and it’s fun for like, 30 seconds, but beyond that I’m exhausted. —A.R.

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