Last summer, it was all about the boys of summer: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell. The boys with the beats battled it out for the biggest hit of the season, but this summer, the girls are taking over with Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX’s “Fancy” and Ariana Grande’s “Problem” (also featuring Iggy).
But if you find that these ladies’ hits are way overplayed, not to worry—there’s much more girl power to be found this season that’s equally worthy to be on your poolside playlist. And, they are…
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”: This retro-fabulous song, which is on Spotify’s Top 50 Viral Tracks playlist, is a self-empowering anthem encouraging girls to love themselves no matter what their size. The pastel-pretty video shows Trainor and her crew of non-size 0 gal pals shaking what their mommas gave them and declaring “Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size 2/But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do/’Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase.” It’s the perfect song for a summertime sleepover with the girls!
Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”: Sometimes when a cool song is all over a TV commercial, movie trailer, and soundtrack, it loses its Cool Card. Fortunately, Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” isn’t suffering that fate. The song, used in the summer’s most endearing film, The Fault In Our Stars, starring Shailene Woodley, is infectious beyond the 30 seconds we hear every time we turn on the telly. It truly stands on its own as a powerful summer love song evoking that exciting feeling of first love. The song also proves that the British singer/songwriter stands on her own two feet beyond just playing a featured role on Iggy Azalea’s mega-hit “Fancy.”
Becky G, “Shower”: After making a name for herself for penning songs for Cher Lloyd and Cody Simpson, 17-year-old Mexican-American singer/songwriter/rapper and CoverGirl model strikes gold on her own with “Shower.” The song calls to mind that summer break crush we’ve all had, complete with a fun pool-party video chock full of bathing beauties BBQing with sparklers, boys, and sunshine. Look for Becky G as the opening act for Katy Perry later this year.
Lana Del Rey, “West Coast”: To slow down your summer playlist a bit, try out this mid-tempo (with a surf-rock chorus), moody track from the singer’s critically acclaimed third studio album, Ultraviolence. Del Rey seduces the listener with breathy vocals singing about the darker side of Sunny California in a black-and-white video shot on the beach with a leather-clad bad boy as her leading man.
Kiesza, “Hideaway”: The Canadian singer/songwriter brings us back to summertime in the early ’90s with this electro-pop gem that fuses house with ’90s dance rhythms and killer hooks. The fiery redhead proves to be a true triple threat as not only does she shine as a singer and songwriter, but she also shows off her dance moves in this video shot in one take in Brooklyn amid a backdrop of graffiti. Running Man and breakdancing, anyone? The song gets you—and keeps you—moving for all 4 minutes and 35 seconds.
Sigma featuring Paloma Faith, “Changing”: We’re cheating here a bit with the “girls of summer” theme since Sigma is actually the British drum and bass duo of two guys, Cameron Edwards and Joe Lenzie. But since the song, performance, and video is truly all about the girl—Paloma Faith—we’re keeping it in. The British singer/songwriter/actress belts out a powerful ode to letting go in a colorful Miami-based video filled with palm trees, graffiti, BBQing, huge gold hoops, low-riders, and summer fun. Watch for her highly anticipated third album, A Perfect Contradiction, featuring contributions from Pharrell Williams, John Legend, and Raphael Saadiq, out October 7th.
Grimes, “Go”: Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes, might be infamously known for having Rihanna pass on “Go,” a song she wrote with Blood Diamonds for the Barbadian superstar. But after her performance of the ethereal track at the Governors Ball in June, a standout performance at this summer’s Pitchfork Music Fest, and with Jay-Z among her supporters, this Canadian producer/singer/songwriter might just possess the sleeper hit of the summer.