Songs of the Summer 2020: Billboard Picks

Harry Styles "Watermelon Sugar"
PHAM Harry Styles «Watermelon Sugar»


DaBaby and Roddy Ricch’s «Rockstar» may have been named Billboard‘s Song of the Summer after ruling the Songs of the Summer chart for 13 out of 15 weeks, but it wasn’t the only hot tune we had on repeat the last few months.

Harry Styles‘ sweet «Watermelon Sugar» was a staff favorite, as was Benee’s «Supalonely» (appropriate, considering all the social distancing and quarantining we’ve been doing). Below, find out which songs had us dancing and humming during the warm-weather months of 2020, and listen to all the tunes in our playlist.

Aminé, “Compensating” (feat. Young Thug)

«The slinky beats on this song, with Aminé’s bouncy bars and ad-libs, always got me shimmying my shoulders. But Thugger literally eating on the beat made me love it that much more.» — Heran Mamo

Benee, «Supalonely» (feat. Gus Dapperton)

«Every year there seems to be at least one song with a retro vibe that breaks through the noise and becomes a radio hit, and this one feels like it checks the boxes for 2020. For one, it’s got a paradoxically uptempo vibe, is catchy as hell, and has a random dude named Gus Dapperton on it. For another, it’s also about being, ahem, super lonely, which seems like a common enough sentiment for #PandemicLife that everyone can relate to it in one way or another. It is truly surprising it didn’t become bigger, but such is the lonely life we lead.» — Dan Rys

«This delightful tune blends classic pop/soul values with a thoroughly contemporary vibe. It joins a long line of songs with sad lyrics set to a bouncy beat. Just one problem: ‘Supalonely’ peaked at No. 39 on the Billboard Hot 100. This shoulda been a top 10 smash. « — Paul Grein

BLACKPINK, «How You Like That»

«I’m a sucker for sassy, edgy tunes, and this catchy one by BLACKPINK totally stuck with me this summer, despite the fact that K-pop is generally not my jam. Whether I was consciously hitting ‘play’ or subconsciously humming it, I couldn’t escape the song — nor did I want to.» — Anna Chan

BTS, «Dynamite»

«‘Dynamite’ is so instantly grabby and danceable, the first time I heard it I thought, ‘Is this some kind of mad genius lite-funk mind-control experiment from the disco days?'» — Gil Kaufman

Chris Brown & Young Thug, “Go Crazy”

«Fresh off his 2019 summer smash ‘No Guidance’ featuring Drake, C. Breezy etched out a new earworm with Thugger a year later. The dance-happy bop not only birthed the #GoCrazyChallenege, but solidified Breezy and Thugger’s status as summertime heavy hitters. « — Carl Lamarre

Dougie Poole, “Los Angeles”

«I like this strangely sublime song because it’s a new take on the road trip anthem, negotiating ambition and love across a cosmic cross-country journey. It’s breezy yet sophisticated, weird but surprisingly familiar (much of the guitar work feels borrowed from Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”) and perfect for staring directly into the ceiling fan while getting lost in the circular patterns.» — Dave Brooks

Dua Lipa, «Love Is Religion» (The Blessed Madonna Remix)

«Madonna made a cameo on The Blessed Madonna’s remix of Dua Lipa’s ‘Levitating.’ but the real Material Girl homage came via the producer’s Club Future Nostalgia‘s edit of ‘Love Is Religion.’ Emotionally deep and deliriously joyful, the track packs serious ‘Like a Prayer’ vibes (The Blessed Madonna called that latter track «among the most perfect records ever made») and delivered the uplift that, after a seriously hard summer, we were all in need of.» — Katie Bain

Glass Animals, “Heat Waves”

«It’s more or less in the name, but this standout track from the U.K. group’s new album Dreamland is an absolute sizzler. It’s catchy and compellancholy, which is a new word I’ve just invented that means a mix of ‘compelling’ and ‘melancholy.’ The perfect tune for ‘late nights in the middle of June’ and beyond.» — Gab Ginsberg

Gunna, «Dollaz on My Head» (feat. Young Thug)

«During a summer in which we were denied the opportunity to watch Gunna perform ‘Dollaz on My Head’ at hip-hop festivals and his own shows, I settled for head-banging to its beat a countless amount of times while driving around the New Jersey suburbs. I am certainly not cool, but Gunna is, effortlessly; his tossed-off observations have never sounded slicker than on this Mike WiLL Made-It/Myles Harris production, and Young Thug, ever the chameleon, slips into the groove on its back half, providing some bounce to balance out Gunna’s viscous flow.» — Jason Lipshutz

Harry Styles, «Watermelon Sugar»

«A sweet blast of Peter Gabriel-esque power-pop that oozed summer out of every note.» — Ian Drew

«The past few months have been extremely bad for many reasons, but tuning out for a few moments every so often and listening to Harry Styles’ fruit-filled musings has been the closest thing I’ve gotten to a true ‘summer feeling.'» — Josh Glicksman

«From the lyrics that mention summer no fewer than four times to the languid, woozy feel of the song, ‘Watermelon Sugar’ provided the perfect respite from a summer that most of us would rather forget. Add in a mouth-watering video that not only brought the beach into the viewer’s living room but took eating watermelon to a new orgiastic heights and Styles provided peak escapism when we needed it the most.» — Melinda Newman

«Mostly because I’m a sucker for Harry Styles dressed in Gucci on the beach. Who isn’t?» — Mia Nazareno

«It’s such a feel-good, carefree, and quite relaxing song.» — Quinton McMillan

«Harry Styles says ‘summer’ six times in ‘Watermelon Sugar,’ so it’s taking the crown for me. Also, the breezy melody and music video will have me wishing for berries and that summer feelin’ well into fall and winter.» — Rania Aniftos

Jayda G, «Both of Us»

«I’m convinced that this airy, blissed-out house earworm from Canadian producer-DJ Jayda G works for any occasion. I had it on loop all summer, whether I was working, working out, hanging at home in quarantine or doing what it was clearly meant for — dancing.» — Tatiana Cirisano

Jowell y Randy with J Balvin, «Anaranjado»

«Jowell y Randy are keeping perreo and old-school reggaeton alive one song at a time — and ‘Anaranjado’ is proof of that. The slowed-down contemporary urban tune in collaboration with J Balvin is both captivating and sensual, perfect for dedicating to that special someone and dancing to it all summer long.» — Jessica Roiz

Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande, «Rain on Me»

«Because no better hit could soundtrack this messy summer with a motto that reminds us to be thankful for what we do have. » — Lyndsey Havens

Morgan Wallen, «7 Summers»

«A great country track that peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100.» — Thom Duffy

Phoebe Bridgers, «Kyoto»

«‘Kyoto’ came out in April but really picked up play for me during this mess of a summer, as it was the perfect high-low combo: an upbeat rocker (with trumpet and pocket piano!) coupled with darkly funny lines like ‘I’m gonna kill you/ If you don’t beat me to it.’ It is the perfect time for a sardonic Song of the Summer.» — Christine Werthman

Renee Blair, «Heatin’ Up My Summer»

«I’ve already expressed my appreciation once on Billboard for how this ‘Carly Rae-goes-country banger’ saved me the trouble of having to pretend to engage in a traditional summer myself. Now, though, I’m also realizing that while its sound is low-stakes warm-weather, its tone is actually more Summer 2020-appropriate — frustrated, yearning, and seemingly unsure of how much of its anxiousness is based on real life and how much is just going on in Renee Blair’s own head.»
— Andrew Unterberger

Rina Sawayama, «Comme des Garcons (Like the Boys)»

«Rina Sawayama’s ‘Comme des Garcons (Like the Boys)’ was my go-to summer 2020 dance jam (and therefore, my song of the summer): With chilly Chicago house grooves, a disco veneer and a touch of electrocrash attitude, it’ll get you moving, but it’s laid-back enough that you’re not going to embarrass yourself on the tiled dance floor of Club Kitchen (where the acoustics are decent but the lighting is terrible). » — Joe Lynch

Rosalía & Travis Scott, «TKN» 

«To this day, I still don’t know what TKN stands for, but it sure stuck with me all summer long thanks to an easy-to-remember chorus and the song’s irresistible fusion of reggaeton, dembow and trap.» — Griselda Flores

Shamir, «On My Own»

«Putting aside the on-the-nose theme of isolation while living through a global pandemic, ‘On My Own’ was the hazy, guitar-filled jam that I needed this summer. Shamir’s crystal-clear vocals and deep-cutting songwriting just made for a deeply satisfying experience every time I pressed play on this song.» — Stephen Daw

Taylor Swift, «The Last Great American Dynasty»

«Despite Folklore‘s general evocation of chillier seasons, ‘The Last Great American Dynasty’ gives off a more summery-vibe. (Perhaps it’s because the famed Holiday House was the site of Swift’s Instagram-friendly Fourth of July parties.) As for why it was on repeat? I like to imagine myself having a marvelous time ruining everything.» — Denise Warner


This article is originally by Billboard