Like sipping water or applying sunscreen, the hunt for the Summer Jam is a tedious, but necessary seasonal ritual. We heard several contenders compete for the coveted title – sizzling Top 40 insta-hits like Bad Blood, Cool for the Summer, Trap Queen, and Cheerleader, for example, are still dominating the radio.

Summer won’t last forever, though, and neither will your amusement with these overplayed chart-toppers. Inevitably, there will come a time when you tire of Taylor’s catchy revenge anthem (made infinitely catchier by Kendrick’s rap feature), Demi’s bi-curious, club-ready dance track (she’s back, ya’ll!), Fetty Wap’s viral tribute to a financially savvy former lover, and OMI’s sun-soaked, Jamaican electro-ska remix. So throw a few of these newer releases on your August playlist. Because when that time comes, you’ll be glad you did.

 

1. What You Don’t Do // Lianne La Havas

Call this my end-of-summer jam. Call this my jam of the year. "What You Don't Do" is that good, and I plan to continue strutting to this beat well into fall. UK darling Lianne La Havas nailed it with this standout number on her new album, Blood, an appallingly good follow-up to her sterling 2012 debut record, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” 

 

2. Babe Ruthless // Angel Haze

I’ve been an avowed Angel Haze disciple since first hearing her 2012 mixtape, now a permanent fixture in my iTunes library.  The pansexual, agender rapper unleashed two full-length records in 2013 and 2014 (one of which she intentionally leaked early because screw manipulative music labels and their formal dates! ) but now it’s Haze’s upcoming mixtape, Back to the Woods, that has me all hot and bothered. The complete EP doesn’t drop until Sept. 14, but Haze is letting us snack on a few songs while we’re waiting – one of which is “Babe Ruthless,” a three-minute effort that will convince you of your ability to punch through a brick wall in a feat of empowered, norm-defying badassery. 

3. Cry Baby // Melanie Martinez

I don’t watch The Voice, so I didn’t know 19-year-old Long Island alt-pop ingénue Melanie Martinez was a contestant on the third season in 2012. But I do know her first record is going to be fire. Actual fire, keeping me warm as the winter months approach. Several songs on the forthcoming album are pulled from the Dollhouse EP Martinez released last year, but the older cuts are a perfect compliment to newcomers like title track “Cry Baby.” The LP drops this Friday, August 14, but you stream the whole thing for free riiiiiight here.

4. High By the Beach // Lana Del Rey

Katy Perry never surfaced, but summer music queen Lana Del Rey did not leave us hanging. Del Rey’s public persona is a case study in soft, dreamlike pop and Old Hollywood glamour, making her synth-heavy yet still airy new single “High By The Beach” a female stoner’s delight as well as a precursor to her fourth studio album, Honeymoon

 

Images via Atlantic Records, Warner Brothers, UMG Recordings

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