In the words of certain philosophers from our favorite 2006 high school movie, “What time is it? Summertime.” But if you don’t have the energy to say that out loud like most vacation flicks picture it out to be, just let your playlist do the job for you—whatever your idealized summer actually is.
Whether you’re feeling bright, feisty, or chill, some fresh releases from the past two weeks are waiting to be put on loop. Check out these tracks from the local and international scene (and some neat collabs, too).
“Open a Window” – Rex Orange County feat. Tyler, the Creator
Feelin’ existential? Two of the most admired songwriters today decided to reunite after their brainchild for Tyler’s 2017 album “Flowerboy,” and did not disappoint. With lingering ethereal and groovy elements seemingly pulled out from the ’70s, “Open a Window” exudes melancholic imagery and carefree introspection, making it a justified muscle in Rex Orange County’s diaristic “Who Cares?” album.
“Alon” – 8 Ballin’
If you’re not in the mood for tower-high water slides and spontaneous diving, “Alon” might just be your perfect time-out. This love letter to low-maintenance friendship by the Filipino 10-member crew puts the listener in a laid-back disposition, drowning out noise with its breezy hooks.
“Hello 2.0 Legends Only” – James Reid feat. Jay B and Øzi
Yup, this is a core memory waiting to be actualized. The retro-esque single of Careless Music’s and Transparent Arts’ James Reid transforms into a much more hypnotizing dance floor go-to with GOT7’s Jay B and rapper Øzi hopping in. Suddenly, we don’t feel held back at throwing random “hellos” anymore—especially with the featured legends in its music video.
“Sweetest Pie” – Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa
The most Hot Girl Summer thing right now? Probably these two powerhouse artists’ sultry “Sweetest Pie” agenda. Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa take over the trippy wonderland with euphemistic lyrics, bouncy beats, and irresistible vocals that prove their star performer status. Definitely the new Hansel & Gretel story in our book.
“Routine” – Jolianne
The Careless artist herself said it: Touch down, sad girl era. Convenience is a curse in the story of “Routine,” an R&B track packaged with a goosebumps-inducing vocal performance, a memorable slow dance soundscape, and an overall narrative that tugs the heartstrings.
“Maniac” – Stray Kids
Aggressively deep vocals paired with heavy trap beats? The famed K-Pop group’s comeback sounds like a chunk from our secret hyperspecific villain playlist, but it’s much more confident than that. Here, the boys declare their commitment to break out of the norm, with a dash of groove and synths to keep us in the zone.
“Fair” – Normani
Normani reminds us why she remains one of our top soulful artists with “Fair,” a vulnerable confession on lost love (and the feeling of betrayal brewing post-breakup). Characterized by intimately strong vocals and a dreamy production, it’s only fair that we’ll play this track without warning at 2 a.m.
“Naninigurado” – Huhsmile
Hold on, it’s still Feels o’clock. This visual artist-slash-TikTok gem further proves her many facets with “Naninigurado,” an earnest anthem on seeking assurance. Both catharsis and confrontation, this song has the relatability to make it a potential local radio classic.
“Candy” – Rosalía
The Spanish singer-songwriter provides us a nostalgic snapshot in “Candy,” which hazily rewinds memories with a lover-turned-stranger. It’s ghostly in its production and lyricism, but never forgets the poppy hooks and mysterious layers the artist has to offer. To witness her versatility for yourself, check out her full album “Motomami,” where she tapped artists like The Weeknd and Tokischa for a wild, wild ride.
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Stills (L to R) from “Hello 2.0 Legends Only,” “Sweetest Pie” and “Maniac” music videos