Lana Del Rey, Monica Beverly HIlls, and Troye Sivan Source: EDGE composite image

From Big Bops to Hidden Gems: 15 Songs – Old & New – You Need to be Blasting this Summer

Jason St. Amand READ TIME: 7 MIN.

We're at the peak of summer – the long, sweltering days and unpredictable nights are finally here. If you're looking for some music to soundtrack summer 23, EDGE has curated a list of anthems both old and new; popular chart-topping bops as well as hidden gems that will be staples in your summer listening. Below are 15 (plus a few more) song that you can lose yourself to and fall in love (or rediscover) with over the next few months.

Madonna - "Hollywood (Oakenfold 12" Full Remix)"

Two decades ago, Madonna released "American Life," an album and era that was not well-received at the time. Not long after 9/11 and during the Invasion of Iraq, Madonna busted down the door and literally gave the middle finger to America, offering (sometimes tone-deaf) political pop music and a critique of the U.S.A. that some audiences weren't ready to hear. Her second single from the album, "Hollywood," didn't chart Billboard's Hot 100 – the first time since 1983 a Madonna single failed to do so. Nevertheless, the bop came with a number of killer remixes that were recently put on streaming services. The best among them is legendary producer Paul Oakenfold's 12" remix, clocking in at 7 minutes, which turns the pop song into a propulsive house epic.

Troye Sivan - "Rush"

Out pop star Troye Sivan's long awaited comeback single was worth the wait: "Rush" is a sweaty and addictive song that is poised to dominate the summer soundscape – at least in certain spaces. It's a club-ready bop that that evokes queerness through electronic and dance music and is the musical equivalent of a popper.

NewJeans - "Super Shy"

K-pop seems to be entering a new (post-Blackpink) era, with the rise of new girl groups who are embracing elements of Jersey club, Baltimore club, U.K. garage, and other hallmarks of queer dance music. Among the best of the crop of newer acts to pop up over the last few years is NewJeans, who is readying a new EP this month and have recently shared the single "Super Shy." The song's simple but effective lyrics have already popped up in captions for thirst traps ("I'm super shy, super shy / But wait a minute while I make you mine, make you mine") around social media and its infectious Jersey club beat elevates the song from a run-of-the-mill pop track to something remarkable.

Kylie Minogue - "Padam Padam" / Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding - "Miracle" / Peggy Gou - "(It Goes Like) Nanana"

It's not a summer 2023 playlist without Kylie Minogue's world-dominating gay anthem "Padam Padam." Much has been said about the song already but it's a shame it hasn't made a deep impact in America (yet). Nevertheless, in the U.K., where Kylie is properly respected as a Main Pop Girl, the song peaked at no. 8 on the charts – along with similar gay club-ready bangers. Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding scored a no. 1 hit with "Miracle," a heavy trance song guided by Goulding's etherial vocals. Similarly, South Korean DJ Peggy Gou's song "(It Goes Like) Nanana," which samples a song from iconic German DJ ATB and found top 10 chart success as well, thanks to the track's undeniable Eurodance power.

Romy - "Loveher"

Out singer and member of the influential band The xx, Romy is finally going solo. With an album out later this year, the musician dropped a string of singles since 2020. Romy's output peaks with "Loveher," produced by rising musician Fred again.. It's a lovely and moody dance song that never lets up; perfect to dance to on your own.

Miquel Brown - "So Many Men, So Little Time"

Canadian singer and actress Miquel Brown's 1983 song "So Many Men – So Little Time" is a delightful campy bop released during the peak when the sounds of disco and hi-NRG were colliding. Sounding like it was engineered to play in every gay club in the 80s, it's energized by Giorgio Moroder-esque synths and its accompanying music video – full of muscle men – is brilliantly hilarious. It's an incredibly fun song with a fearless spirit that today's disco girls can't seem to recapture.

Donna Lewis -"Love Him"

Welsh singer Donna Lewis is best known for her 1996 pop-rock hit "I Love You Always Forever" but it is a single from her 1998 album "Blue Planet" that is worth highlighting here. The album found the singer-songwriter pushing her boundaries into a few dance tracks, with the crown jewel being "Love Him" – a groovy house song with a club ready beat, lively piano, and Lewis's textured voice adding a soft quality to the song. "Love Him" is full of rhythmic twists and turns, and it's surprising it didn't take off on the charts at the time.

Charli XCX - "Speed Drive"

This list wouldn't be complete without including one of the many excellent songs from the "Barbie" movie soundtrack. Truly any song could fit here but Charli XCX's car chase anthem "Speed Drive" serves best for summer – we all need a jam to blast on the car sound system during late night drives. "Speed Drive" finds Charli doing what she does best – straddling the line between top 40 shiny pop (she samples Toni Basil's iconic 1981 cheerleader anthem "Mickey") and electronic dance music (she also samples Robyn's forgotten 2007 gem "Cobrastyle"). But "Speed Drive" is fully Charli – an energetic dance song that's slightly punk and modern; doing everything it sets out to do in under 2 minutes.

Towa Tea - "GBI (German Bold Italic)" featuring Kylie Minogue and Haruomi Hosono

With Kylie Minogue currently capturing the zeitgeist, it's definitely worth mentioning another song featuring the Australian pop queen. With her long career, it's easy to forget some of Kylie's most legendary moments – especially if it's from 25 years ago. "GBI (German Bold Italic)" comes from producer and Deee-Lite member Towa Tei, who enlists Kylie and legendary Japanese musician Haruomi Hosono of Yellow Magic Orchestra for vocals on the futuristic tongue-and-cheek song. With a prominent belly dancing sample, Tei twists and blends genres of dance music like house and techno and Kylie's vocals into something captivating. Part dance song and part artistic statement, it's a wildly mesmerizing song that you can also dance to.

Amber - "One More Night (Hani Remix)"

Dutch singer Amber has made a number of classic gay club anthems but today we're celebrating the Europop delight "One More Night." The Hani remix is perhaps a bit more popular than the original version due to its rush of early 00s ecstasy.

Ava Max - "EveryTime I Cry"

Pop singer Ava Max released her excellent sophomore album "Diamonds & Dancefloors" earlier this year but it's her one-off single "EveryTime I Cry" from 2021 that's making the cut here. It's a pure-pop dance song with Ava's strong vocals center stage. Though she's proven to be the queen of samples, "EveryTime" thrives because it authentically sounds like the Y2K era she's evoking on her own terms.

Shygirl - "Playboy / Positions"

Rising U.K. musician Shygirl released a remix/b-sides version of her 2022 debut album "Nymph" earlier this year. One of the standouts is the super sexy (and definitely not shy) banger "Playboy / Positions." You'll need to break out the stripper polls for this one; the track's synths are sticky sweet and Shygirl's flow is fire making it one of the best songs in the singer's catalogue.

Club Eat - "Clothes"

One of the best tracks from Club Eat's new album "Start" is "Clothes." It's a brilliant blend of a lot of queer touchstones, somehow sounding like a Kesha song produced by Space Cowboy, mixed with "RuPaul's Drag Race" Season 2 pop but with a dash of Gwen Stefani. With its infectious pre-chorus, "Got a closet full of clothes but not a single thing to wear / You just want to see me naked so don't act like you care," the song explodes into a SOPHIE-esque chorus. It's a hilarious song but a serious well-crafted earworm.

Neggy Gemmy - "On the Floor"

Pop singer Neggy Gemmy's excellent new album "CBD Reiki Moonbeam" closes with one of her best tracks. "On the Floor" is the closest any other musician has gotten to creating a Kylie Minogue song without Kylie Minogue herself being involved. It's a soaring dance song that feels like it was recorded in 2001 as the singer's etherial voice softly chants, "On the floor, come on / making my adrenaline can turn the music up!" It's a magical song that could be all over the radio and in the clubs.

Lana Del Rey - "Say Yes to Heave"

Every summer playlist needs a good ballad and Lana Del Rey is here to serve. "Say Yes To Heaven" isn't on her stunning 2023 album "Did You Know That There's a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd." but a one-off single she released shortly after that LP dropped. It's a recording of a fan-favorite song that leaked early in her career and was at one point going to be on her sophomore studio album "Ultraviolence." It's a simply produced song – strumming guitars and light percussion glide over Lana's haunting vocals as she sings, "Say yes to heaven / Say yes to me." But everything totally works where Lana's delivery is incredibly powerful, thanks to the proper production.

Bonus track: Monica Beverly Hillz - "MBH is Back (Not a Soul Can Clock)"

Though not officially released (just yet), "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" Season 8 queen Monica Beverly Hillz recently made a splash during the show's talent show episode with her song "MBH is Back (Not a Soul Can Clock)." The song quickly made its way online with Gay Twitter embracing its fierce chorus.

Edit: Monica has officially released "Not a Soul Can Clock" on streaming services. Check it out below.

by Jason St. Amand , National News Editor

Read These Next