Some of these throwback songs are really a step back in time, while some are more modern. But all of these tunes belong on your summer playlists, whether you’re having a party, barbecue or going on a road trip.
Move Your Feet – Junior Senior
This tune by the Danish pop duo was their biggest hit – and perhaps the only one we can remember! But that’s okay because it’s one of the best pop songs of the 21st century. A fun, summery dance-pop tune, it was released all the way back in July 2002, and reminds me of playing outside on hot summer days with my friends and being happy that school was out.
Summertime – Will Smith
The clue is in the name with this tune. Will Smith’s hit ‘Miami’ was also a contender for this list, but ‘Summertime’ just wins with its breezy beat and lyrics about hot weather, chilling in your car and enjoying late afternoon BBQs. It’s a laid back tune yet you can still dance to it.
Havana – Camila Cabello
Okay, this one is not really one of the throwback songs. It only came out in 2017, but Camila’s hit ‘Havana’ had to make the list for its catchy chorus, pop and Latin infused melodies and salsa vibes to instantly transport you to a salsa club in Cuba. It’s so difficult not to move your hips as you hear that opening piano riff!
Miss California – Dante Thomas feat. Pras
This almost forgotten single by Damon Thomas featuring former Fugees rapper Pras is a summer anthem for any mood. It tells the classic story of a guy who wants a girl who is far too good for him, but its smooth chorus and guitar riffs exude summer vibes. Also, pretty much any song that mentions California conjures images of sun, palm trees and summer.
Sunny Afternoon – The Kinks
The oldest song on this list, this instantly recognisable hit from the Kinks was released in 1966. It was inspired by tensions over Britain’s government at the time, and its problems with tax, but you can easily forget the political undertones with its catchy tune.
How Deep Is Your Love – Calvin Harris feat. Disciples
This club hit by one of the world’s finest DJs was released in July 2015, and was arguably the song of the summer that year. But it’s one of those rare pop songs of this century that has become timeless, and is still played at clubs. Plus, who can forget that video with Gigi Hadid.
All Summer Long – Kid Rock
This 2008 hit by American rapper Kid Rock features a sample from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and is a rap-pop-country mash-up that works. Its punchy verses tell the story of a summer romance, featuring romantic campfires, wading in the lake and drinking whiskey straight from the bottle.
Video Games – Lana Del Rey
You could also have ‘Summertime Sadness’ on this list, but American singer Lana Del Rey’s debut hit from 2011 is just as summery, with Lana’s sultry voice singing romantic lyrics over an entrancing harp and simple piano. This track would be perfect for chilling on a late summer night looking at the stars.
Let’s Get Blown – Pharrell Williams & Snoop Dogg
This tune was released in December 2004, but its funky vibes make it perfect for a summer party to dance the night away. A hip hop classic merged with 70s inspired funk, ‘Let’s Get Blown’ is a perfect mix of genres with Snoop’s smooth rap verses and Pharrell’s soulful chorus lines.
I’m Not A Girl (Not Yet A Woman) – Britney Spears
Who can forget this beautiful ballad by the princess of pop? Britney looked amazing in the music video, which takes place in a desert. The video reminds us of summer heat, while the song reminds us of changing as a person, the inevitable end of summer and going back to normality. It’s also about growing up and becoming who we are today.