What makes a summer jam? Is it the sunniest chorus, the hottest beat, the most weeks on the charts? Do the lyrics have to be about beaches and barbecues, or is it a question of vibe? What if it’s a song on your summer playlist and no one else’s?
We believe the answer is “all of the above.” This summer, Rolling Stone’s writers will celebrate the songs that are ruling each of their worlds – from huge hits to weirder, more personal choices. Check back soon for more summer songs, and hear all our picks in the Spotify playlist at the bottom of this post.
Some folks wanna go hard in the heat. But my definition of the perfect summer song – especially in this unnerving year – is one that soundtracks chilling the fuck out, and for me, no new song has invited that vibe so much, in both sound and theme, as this one. It‘s the lead-off track to Musgraves’ excellent Golden Hour, a style-pivot-cum-brand-rejig that could itself be considered a perfect summer LP, with songs that shimmer up from the speakers like heat-haze off the interstate.
Musgravesco-wrote “Slow Burn,” like much of the album, with wingmen Ian Fitchuk and Daniel Tashian, who may be lesser-known than some of her usual A-list Music City co-writers,
but probably not for long. It comes across like classic ’70s singer-songwriter radio pop, draped in the cool linen of string arrangements and seasoned with plinking banjo. “Born in a
hurry/Always late/Haven’t been early since ’88” sings Musgraves, a preemie, on what by her own admission is one of her most autobiographical songs. It’s a meditation on pacing yourself, earning your wisdom, savoring the world’s beauty, and – figuratively, if not literally – getting tantric with it.