The end of the sunny season can be heartbreaking. Luckily, the balmy days leave behind a plethora of tunes in their wake that will always throw us back to chilling in backyards or beaches for (cooler) months to come. And this year was no different.
There’s been a diverse selection of beats breaking into the Billboard Top 100 over the past few months and with late contenders crashing into the race right before sunset, (We see you, Robyn!) it’ll be a close run for the top spot this year. With Labor Day fast approaching, EW put it to the vote and decided who we think deserves to be crowned the Official EW Song of Summer 2018.
Here’s where the contenders placed when the interoffice poll closed:
16. Juice WRLD, “Lucid Dreams”
Sampling Sting’s “Shape Of My Heart” is apparently a surefire way to summer success. Juice WRLD’s agonized breakup song might not sound like an obvious choice for a sunny, fun beat, but the rapper’s pain proved to be plenty popular, landing him his first top 10 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
15. DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Quavo, and Chance the Rapper, “No Brainer”
Is it a no-brainer this one made the list? Maybe not since it only scored the 15th position on our chart, but DJ Khaled yelling “we the best music” at the top of the song is a sure fire way to do pretty well commercially. Bieber, Quavo, Chance, and Khaled reunited for this late entry and, while it’s not as catchy as their number one collaboration “I’m the One,” it’s still a solid attempt.
14. Ella Mai, “Boo’d Up”
We’re “so deep in feelings” for English singer Ella Mai’s first commercial single. The swoony R&B beat has late-night summer jam written all over it. The newcomer’s success this summer is partly due to DJ Big Von, who played the track at a Bay Area-club one night to an overwhelming response and proceeded to play it on repeat on his radio show the next day.
13. Cher, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”
As if Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again wasn’t enough of a summer treat (along with its OST), Queen Cher graced fans with a cover of ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” a couple of weeks later — and there’s an album of Cher’s versions of the Swedish pop band’s songs to come. Crank it up and pretend you’re on a Greek Island.
12. Bebe Rexha feat. Florida Georgia Line, “Meant To Be”
What’s summer without a little country twang? Don’t lie, we know you rolled the windows down while driving in the heat to this one. We’re sure it came as a nice summer surprise to pop singer Bebe Rexha when the experimental track ended up surpassing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” as the longest-running number one song on the Hot Country Songs chart for a lead female artist.
11. Post Malone, “Better Now”
Post Malone probably thinks that he’s better (than five other people on this countdown) now. Narrowly missing out on the top 10, the angsty beat about missing an ex. landed in top tens around the globe and no. 5 in the U.S.
10. Anne-Marie, “2002”
The Britney Spears, *NSYNC and Jay-Z inspired tune might always remind Anne-Marie of the summer of 2002 but “2002” will always remind us of summer 2018. “That music was my time of music,” the English singer told EW. “I was constantly listening to it after school, when I got home and on the way home on the bus or whatever. We wanted people to reminisce, and other people to think it’s just a catchy chorus as well.”
9. Nicki Minaj, “Barbie Dreams”
From Minaj’s new album Queen, “Barbie Dreams” sees Minaj playfully insult most of the rappers out there right now — apart from the ones who appear on the album (Eminem and Future). It’s still a summer smash, disses and all.
8. Kacey Musgraves, “High Horse”
How could the merging of country and disco music produce anything but a banging song of the summer contender? This made-for-the-dance-floor track does more than just inspire you to bust a move, it delivers some no-nonsense lyrics too, “Everyone knows someone that kills the buzz/Every time they open up their mouth,” she sings. Luckily, Musgraves is not one of those people.
7. Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, “One Kiss”
Pretty much everything Harris
gives one kiss to puts his DJ skills to becomes a massive hit, and his collaboration with Dua Lipa was no exception. If you were in a club this summer and didn’t hear this jam…Well, you sure you were even in a club?
6. Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B, “Girls Like You”
With a video that stars a whole bunch of influential women in pop culture (Jennifer Lopez! Ellen DeGeneres! Tiffany Haddish!) and a verse rapped by Cardi B, “Girls Like You” brought Maroon 5 back into the conversation after some lackluster attempts.
5. Zedd, Maren Morris and Grey, “The Middle”
Proving that the title of a song doesn’t dictate where it lands in the countdown, the ridiculously catchy tune from Russian-German producer Zedd alongside Maren Morris and Grey kicks off our top 5. It may have first popped up in January during a commercial break of the 2018 Grammys in a Target ad, but “The Middle” has shown it has staying power, remaining a constant on playlists six months later.
4. Robyn, “Missing You”
The Swedish singer’s first single in eight years was well worth the wait. As always Robyn mixes heartbreak with a synth sounds and produces yet another bittersweet beat to play on repeat until her (too-)long-awaited album comes out.
3. Ariana Grande, “No Tears Left to Cry”
The lead single from the pint-sized singer’s fourth album Sweetener showed a new “Vibin'” side to Grande and won her the no. 3 spot on the Hot 100 and no. 1 on the mainstream Top 40. After the horrors of the bombing at her Manchester concert, “No Tears” proved Grande was back, ready to push forward and break boundaries.
2. Drake, “In my Feelings”
From his fifth studio album Scorpion, Drake’s summer track “In My Feelings” bounced right into the Billboard Hot 100, debuting at number 6. For many, it was the highlight of his double album and it seems enough people had good feelings about it to make it a strong contender for song of the summer, even if it just narrowly missed out on EW’s top spot.
1. Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin, “I Like It”
Alright, *drumroll please.* Here it is, EW’s official Song of the Summer 2018…Did you guess it’d be Cardi? Probably. The boogaloo beat has been played nonstop for months now and with such a bright, colorful video to accompany it, it seemed like a good bet. Cardi runs the summer music scene “like cardio” and fully deserves the top honor. At least we know Pete Rodriguez — OG singer of “I Like It Like That,” (the song you hear sampled on Cardio’s track) — will be happy. “We had such a blast at the recording studio with it,” he told EW. “We had a party and knew it was going to be big at that time, but this? This is crazy. I never thought it was going to last for 50 years. It’s certainly my song of the summer.”