Andrew Gaug: The Shuffle: The Battle for Song of the Summer 2021

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Jul. 21—While the pandemic still storms through areas like St. Joseph, this is still widely-considered a "comeback summer" for humanity.

Since people can get back together for dances, grill outs and pool parties, they need a soundtrack to do it. But what are the new songs that have had peoples' ears this summer? That's where the battle for the Song of the Summer comes in to answer it.

Here's my personal picks:

Lorde — "Solar Power"

While this is a fun, slow, acoustic jam that's meant for a sunny season, it's basically flopped on the charts. Maybe next time, Lorde.

Doja Cat featuring SZA — "Kiss Me More"

Every summer needs some kind of sexy R&B hit. This fits firmly in that category. My two big problems with it: It's produced by an alleged creep and it doesn't do much for me. Both have done better songs that more efficiently use their singing talents and personality.

Megan Thee Stallion — "Thot S---"

Speaking of personality, rapper Megan Thee Stallion delivered another explicit, unapologetic club banger that has her bragging about graduating college, going Goth because "I'm a real hot topic," and basically trolling her detractors. It's all things Megan — funny, fast-paced and dirty.

Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar and Giveon — "Peaches"

I hesitate to give Justin Bieber any kind of praise. His music is usually so bland and middle of the road that it's no wonder why every radio station plays it. With that said, "Peaches" is a solid, laid-back ode to weed, his wife and the states of Georgia and California that it's tough to hate. I credit the soulful features of Daniel Caesar and Giveon for elevating it to something beyond a usual Bieber track. For a treat, check out the remix with Ludacris, Usher and Snoop Dogg.

BTS — "Permission to Dance"/"Butter"

Maybe it's because of the pandemic and the many depressing songs it produced, but I've enjoyed the candy-coated, bombastic songs BTS has released this summer.

"Butter" has an undeniable, soaring hook and a nice bouncing bass beat. "Permission to Dance" is a wonderful nu-disco song. They deserve all the success they've been getting.

The "Song of the Summer" is...

Olivia Rodrigo — "good 4 u"

It's tough to find any pop song on the radio that remotely channels rock music, let alone one that's topping the charts.

Olivia Rodrigo had the song of the winter with the tear-stained, Lorde-esque ballad "driver's license." Now she's found success channeling her inner Paramore and Jimmy Eat World with this pop-punk-inspired tune. After spending most of 2020, we needed a song with some kind of rage and emotion to it for the summer. This delivered that.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug

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