Here are some of the biggest and best releases of the week.

It’s that time of year again! The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer, and the perennial debate is brewing: what will be the song of the summer? Last summer, a few songs stood out, like Olivia Rodrigo’s “good 4 u,” Justin Bieber’s “Peaches,” and Doja Cat’s duet wiht SZA, “Kiss Me More.” This year’s song of the summer is TBD, but expect every new song released from now until July to be vying for the title.

This week’s round-up includes a few that I think might be contenders, starting with Khalid:

“Skyline” by Khalid  

Image via RCA Records.

“Skyline” is Khalid’s most upbeat, funky song to date, a departure from the silky-smooth tunes that marked his debut album, American Teen, and made him a star. However, the change is welcome, as his powerful voice holds its own alongside the disco-pop tune: “Won’t you take my hand, hop into my skyline?/ It’s only just a rebuild, but I swear it feels real/ When you take my hand in my passenger side,” he croons on the chorus. “Skyline” comes just in time to be a contender for song of the summer. 

“Honest” by Justin Bieber ft. Don Toliver 

Image via UMG Recordings, INC.

After teasing fans with a short and…strange…song called “I Feel Funny,” Justin Bieber dropped his real song, “Honest.” Fused with both pop and R&B influences, “Honest” is classic Bieber. Strong synth beats and choppy, upbeat lyrics like “Honest / You’re modest, I like it / You stay down and you the baddest / Find you in the cut, I copped it,” make “Honest” sound similar to some of his earlier songs from Purpose and Justice. Can’t really go wrong with that. 

“JUMPSHOT!” by Dreamer Boy  

Image via UMG Recordings & slowplay.

Written and recorded mid-pandemic in 2020, “JUMPSHOT!” is an ode to friendship and freedom (and basketball). The acoustic-based song is the perfect carefree summer anthem, dripping with nostalgia from lyrics inspired by the Chicago Bulls of the ‘90s. “Jumpshot feeling pretty good/ All summer we would run the games back/ Afternoon in the sun/ Angels in the mud.” Dreamer Boy even references Michael Jordan, crooning “Twenty-three, what you mean that you’re leaving?”

“everything” by Kehlani  

Image via Atlantic Records.

The second to last track on Kehlani’s new album Blue Water Road, “everything” highlights her sugary sweet vocals, backed by a dreamlike soundtrack of harps and violin. Lyrics like “Baby, it’s the everything for me,” and “I love the way you tеach me/ Love the way you listen/ You know all my details,” make this song sound almost like a loved-up lullaby. “everything” sets the tone for the album, which is noticeably lighter and breezier than some of Kehlani’s earlier songs. 

“Sleep Tight” by Holly Humberstone  

Image via Universal Music Operations Limited.

Holly Humberstone fans have been patiently waiting for “Sleep Tight” since the 22-year-old debuted the song earlier this month at Coachella. The song, a light-hearted summer track about a friendship-turned-romance, was co-written by the 1975’s Matty Healy. “And oh my god, I’ve done it again / I almost killed our friendship and I sure hope it’s worth it” she sings on the pre-chorus, which has hints of the 1975’s signature sound. Expect Humberstone to sing this track in her opening set on Olivia Rodrigo’s SOUR tour. 

“Maybe You’re The Problem” by Ava Max 

Image via Atlantic Records Group.

Maybe you’re the problem, and maybe this is the most upbeat breakup song ever. In the first single off her highly anticipated sophomore album, Ava Max addresses an ex who caused a lot of problems: “You should take your little finger and point it in the mirror, baby/ Maybe you’re the problem.” Filled with classic ‘80s dance beats and a biting hook (where Max says, “It’s not me it’s you,”) this song was made for blasting at full volume and dancing with your girlfriends.    

“It Is What It Is” by Jamie Miller  

Image via Atlantic Recording Corporation.

Jamie Miller has been taking the music world by storm, starting with last year’s “Here’s Your Perfect,” and continuing with “It Is What It Is,” his third single from his new EP, Broken Memories. “It Is What It Is” is a head-bopping, classic upbeat pop song propelled by Miller’s smooth voice, occasional rasp, and a strong drumbeat. The chorus makes me want to jump around and dance: “I guess it is what it is/ Wrong place, wrong time/ But I couldn’t resist/ Those nighttime white lies.”  

“Gucci Bag” by MAX 

Image via Warner Records Inc.

“Gucci Bag” is as smooth and groovy as it gets. “I’m in my Gucci bag (Yeah)/ Lookin’ so damn fly/ Come and kiss me, babe (Why)/ Take me satellite high,” MAX sings, referring to feeling confident and “fly.” The song represents a new musical chapter for MAX, who is coming back after his critically acclaimed Colour Vision album, fusing his new songs with the catchy pop beats that he’s known for.  

“Love Me More” by Sam Smith 

Image via Universal Music Operations Limited.

Grammy and Oscar winner Sam Smith returns with “Love Me More,” their first song since 2020. “Love Me More” is an introspective anthem about self-discovery and finding self-worth, highlighting Smith’s powerful, unique vocals. Despite the upbeat, almost beachy tune, the lyrics can be harsh at times: “Have you ever felt like being somebody else/ Feeling like the mirror isn’t good for your health/ Every day I’m trying not to hate myself.” However, the song ends on a good note, with Smith finally deciding to “Love me more.”  

“CHAMPAGNE” by Valley  

Image via Universal Music Canada.

Alt-pop band Valley is back with “CHAMPAGNE,” a dreamy synth-pop song backed by a classic drumbeat and guitar riffs. Written over Zoom in the height of the pandemic, “CHAMPAGNE” is all about staying positive and reframing the way you view negative situations. The catchy chorus sums it up: “I’m not a dreamer, it ain’t always greener/ But I’ll turn this pain into champagne.” 

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