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Who will have the 2024 song of the summer? We offer some predictions

These are the earworms that lodge deep into the brain, pushing past genre preferences and reminding listeners: A hit is a hit.
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(AP Illustration)

NEW YORK (AP) — Since the beginning of time or, at least, pop music, only a few have earned the designation of “song of the summer.”

These are the earworms that lodge deep into the brain, pushing past genre preferences and reminding listeners: A hit is a hit. With so much variety, though, it's getting harder to crown a single song of the summer. So The Associated Press is offering 2024 predictions across categories — with past winners for reference.

Find your song of the summer and then listen to our Spotify playlist, here.

Song of the summer for the caffeinated: “Espresso,” Sabrina Carpenter

We’re a few decades removed from the Y2K era of off-kilter pop songs with nonsensical lyrics atop sunny productions. But no one told Sabrina Carpenter, whose hit “Espresso” is a shot of wake-up juice, equal parts clever and totally unserious. “Espresso” makes a one-woman argument for disco-informed radio pop's endurance.

Past champion: “Wide Awake,” Katy Perry (2012)

Country crossover song of the summer: “I Had Some Help,” Post Malone feat. Morgan Wallen

Before it even released, it seemed likely a Post Malone team-up with Morgan Wallen would result in a No. 1 record. “I Had Some Help” introduced Post Malone’s foray into country and, with some help indeed from the biggest name in contemporary country music, was an instant success. There’s no denying that honkytonk hook, Malone’s autotuned vibrato or the singalong chorus.

Past champion: “You’re Still the One,” Shania Twain (1998)

Diss song of the summer: “Not Like Us,” Kendrick Lamar

Drake and Kendrick Lamar reignited a once-dormant feud earlier this year, launching diss track after diss track. None hit quite like Lamar’s ferocious “Not Like Us,” which became Lamar’s fourth No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The messaging — all West Coast fire in an “us vs. them” anthem — really works.

Past champion: “Obsessed,” Mariah Carey (2009)

Viral hit of the summer: “A Bar Song (Tipsy),” Shaboozey

In an ideal world, every country station would play Shaboozey’s “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” once an hour, on the hour. Until then, its social media virality will have to do the trick. With its inspired interpolation of J-Kwon’s “Tipsy,” the song has all the makings of a modern classic, with an easy-to-rally-around narrative following a hardworking protagonist easing his troubles on a bar stool.

Past champion: “Trap Queen,” Fetty Wap (2015)

Song of the summer for the yearners: “Lunch,” Billie Eilish

“Lunch,” from Billie Eilish’s new album, “Hit Me Hard and Soft,” is a PG-13 ode to same-sex infatuation. The once-in-a-generation performer has come a long way from the macabre humor, off-kilter beats and Invisalign slurps that made her a star. Instead, “Lunch” is a delicious, sapphic anthem.

Past champion: “Nineteen,” Tegan and Sara (2007)

Club song of the summer: “Get It Sexyy,” Sexyy Red

It's in the title. Sexyy Red, with her distinctive flow and quotable bars not exactly safe for work, has taken over. “Get It Sexyy” is a theme song for her dominance and a confident mantra for everyone planning to hit the dance floor.

Past champion: “Lose Control,” Missy Elliott feat. Ciara & Fat Man Scoop (2005)

Song for singles ready to mingle this summer: “Bellakeo,” Peso Pluma feat. Anitta

Take one of the biggest names in regional Mexican music, Peso Pluma, bring in one of the biggest Brazilian pop-funk stars, Anitta, and you’ve got yourself a sweaty reggaetón banger. “Bellakeo” is a song for both the club and corner store, oozing with flirtation.

Past champion: “Where the Party At,” Jagged Edge and Nelly (2001)

Song of the summer from your favorite artist’s favorite artist: “Good Luck, Babe!”, Chappell Roan

Chappell Roan has long had a knack for candor in her theatrical, cheeky songwriting, emphasized by sometimes-yodeling vocals. But she’s only recently started receiving mainstream attention for her full-throated, big-hearted queer love anthems. “Good Luck, Babe!” is a kiss-off-and-a-half — perfect for screaming along to while driving down an empty street in Roan's native Midwest or getting ready with the girls for the drag club.

Past champion: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” Stevie Wonder (1970)

Song of the summer for people seriously considering buying a harmonica: “Pink Skies,” Zach Bryan

Every song of the summer list requires a real tearjerker. Within the first few seconds of Zach Bryan’s “Pink Skies,” the acoustic guitar, harmonica, and raspy narrative will have you breaking out the tissues. “The kids are in town for a funeral,” he sings. “So pack the car and dry your eyes.” He’s an expert at writing a novel in few words, a song so good it charts without traditional support.

Past champion: “Run-Around,” Blues Traveler (1995)

Song of the summer that shares a title with a film: “Million Dollar Baby,” Tommy Richman

“Million Dollar Baby” feels like it came out of nowhere — as so many TikTok smashes do — but its continued endurance since April is notable. Plus, it shares a title with a very famous film, and that’s always fun.

Past champion: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Deep Blue Something (1995)

Song of the summer that inexplicably came out in January: “Beautiful Things,” Benson Boone

If Zach Bryan’s “Pink Skies” is a little too raw for you, Benson Boone’s “Beautiful Things” offers a glossy alternative. There isn’t a hint of edge in his soft pop-rock, but there is a lot of love.

Past champion: “Boy’s a Liar PT. 2,” PinkPantheress, Ice Spice (2023)

Swifties' song of the summer: “Fortnight,” Taylor Swift and Post Malone

Every summer, Taylor Swift's fans anoint their own pick. This time around, it has to be “Fortnight” from “The Tortured Poets Department.” Enter “I love you / It’s ruining my life,” into the pantheon of Swiftisms that would make for an amazing AOL away message (R.I.P.).

Past champion: “Karma,” Taylor Swift (2023)

Song of the summer revolutionizing genre: “Texas Hold ’Em,” Beyoncé

Beyoncé released “Act ll: Cowboy Carter” with the declaration: “This ain’t a Country album. This is a ‘Beyoncé’ album.” But she certainly wove the genre in, reclaiming country music as a Black woman. The first taste came in the form of “Texas Hold ’Em” — ideal listening, whether you’re headed to the beach or rodeo.

Past champion: “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” Tina Turner (1984)

The post-ironic, TikTok-heavy, too online, micro-hit song of the summer: “The Spark,” Kabin Crew & Lisdoonvarna Crew

There's always one song that's part joke, full hit. Enter “The Spark,” an Irish collaboration between some remarkably talented kids from Cork and Lisdoonvarna, written for Cruinniú na nÓg, a day meant to celebrate children’s creativity. These kids have produced an empowering electro-club banger for all ages.

Past champion: “The Margarita Song,” That Chick Angel, Casa Di & Steve Terrell (2023)

Song of the summer for Swedish pop lovers: “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love),” Ariana Grande

Of all the songs on Ariana Grande’s “eternal sunshine,” “We Can’t Be Friends (Wait For Your Love)” is the Europop exemplar. It explodes into a string crescendo, electronic sounds effortlessly blending into organic ones, lyrically highlighting a relationship on the outs. It’s a gorgeous and devastating listen in the tradition of another queen of summertime sadness bangers, Robyn.

Past champion: “Call Your Girlfriend,” Robyn (2010)

Song of the summer for it girls: “360,” Charli XCX

Charli XCX's latest album, “Brat,” oscillates between hedonism and anxiety. “360” is a hot girl club classic squarely in the first category — all sexy showboating and futuristic production.

Past champion: “Stars Are Blind,” Paris Hilton (2006)

Maria Sherman, The Associated Press