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MUSIC CHEAT SHEET: Songs of the summer!

Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber are on Sarah Hanlon's best of summer song list for Despacito. GETTY

Luis Fonsi and Justin Bieber are on Sarah Hanlon's best of summer song list for Despacito. GETTY


Life truly blossoms in the summer - especially when you've got a fierce soundtrack to score all the seasonal shenanigans and memories that hopefully last forever.

To wit, last year's gorgeous summer was underscored by the likes of Drake's One Dance, Justin Timberlake's Can't Stop the Feeling and Ariana Grande's Into You. On the heels of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sharing what he's currently listening to on Spotify, below is my 2017 summer playlist, which you can also hear on my account under the user name: Sarahalexhanlon. And tweet me your playlist too!


Despacito -Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Feat. Justin Bieber

It's now official: Universal Music Latin Entertainment's Despacito has not only been crowned the song of the summer but it's also been named the most streamed tune of all time. The Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee track - which features Justin Bieber - was only released six months ago and has already scored nearly 5 million streams on all platforms. Despacito now replaces Bieber's Sorry as the most listened to song on streaming devices. Fonsi is grateful, saying, "I don't want to use the word accident because I was trying to write a hit, but I didn't plan for it to cross over. I just wanted to make people dance." He's also thrilled that his song has political undertones: "I come from Puerto Rico and I live in Miami. We're living in an interesting time right now when people want to divide us. They want to build walls. And for a song to bring people and cultures together, that's what makes me proud." Fonsi also describes this song as one of his most sensual.

You should probably know that "Tú, eres el imán y yo soy el metal" translates to "You, are the magnet and I am the metal."


Summer 17' Bops - The Ultimate Playlist

R.E.D. -A Tribe Called Red Feat. Yasiin Bey, Narcy & Black Bear

The most memorable moment of the 2017 MMVAs goes to Narcy when the rapper accepted the award for Video of the Year with A Tribe Called Red for their visually stunning video and powerful song, R.E.D. After giving a shout-out to legendary Much Music host Master T, Narcy (who is featured on the song) addressed the cheering crowd directly "to all our black, brown, immigrant, Indigenous, international kids out there, believe in your dreams, make it happen." A Tribe Called Red recently performed at the North American Indigenous Games opening ceremony to a huge crowd of excited fans. R.E.D. - an electronic anthem that hits hard with sage lyrics and strong drum rhythms - will get any crowd, big or small, amped up this summer.

Humble - Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar's new album DAMN. is pure fire. Social commentary, heavy beats and sing-able lyrics make every song powerful (Loyalty, Love, and DNA could all be on this list) but Humble is the one that gets in your head and stays there. Lamar has a lot of people talking about his latest music video for Element (another song on DAMN.), which was released this month and was inspired by the late photojournalist Gordon Parks. DAMN. is receiving critical and fan praise - deservedly so too!

Location - Khalid

Be warned: this sexy song may have you sending a 2 a.m. text message to that person on your mind: "Send me your location, let's ride the vibrations, I don't need nothing else but you." Khalid described writing the lyrics after hearing the ringtone-like hook: "It reminded me of this girl I was talking to and I wanted to impress her. She knows it's about her but we don't talk anymore" he told Genius. Location sounds like an artist singing along to an old record being played in some tropical echoing cave. It's fab!

Drew Barrymore - SZA

Warm enough for 'ya outside, baby? If not, crank up this moody SZA track and it is sure to heat you up. If you're digging Miley's Malibu - be prepared for this song to take its place on your playlist. When asked about the name of the song, which is about a toxic relationship, the artist explained it was par-tially inspired by '90s romantic comedies, like Never Been Kissed, star-ring Drew Barrymore. The famous actress makes a cameo in the music video which is unapolo-getically raw. When SZA sings "I'm sorry I'm not more attractive, I'm sorry I'm not more ladylike, I'm sorry I don't shave my legs enough," it's clear, she's not really that sorry at all. Drew Barrymore comes from SZA's album Ctrl and is already receiving huge play and kudos. If I were to recommend one album for this summer, Ctrl is it.

Want You Back - HAIM

The Wilson Phillips-like trio teased out this sin-gle ahead of the release of their brand new 11-track con-cept album, Something to Tell You, about the dissolution of a relation-ship. Skip the album and stick with the single. Don't worry, its poppy rhythm, uplifting beat and naked lyrics will make you forget Want You Back is really a breakup song. Plan-ning a road trip this summer? This is the song that everyone in the car can sing along to.

Wild Thoughts -DJ Khaled ft. Rihanna, Bryson Tiller

No, you are not listening to Carlos Santana's Maria Maria, that's just DJ Khaled "sampling" the classic track. At first, this song will make you yearn for the days of 1999 and the astounding guitar riffs played by Santana. However, thanks to RiRi's hypnotic chorus on Wild Thoughts - "when I'm with you all I get is wild thoughts" - come September, you'll be singing "Maria, Who?" It does make me wonder how Rihanna would sound like on the original Santana song, though. Make it happen!

I'm the One - DJ Khaled Feat. Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne

Let's just accept it now - it's the summer of DJ Khaled. Given the myriad talent on this project, no one will be disappointed - there's something for everyone. Even DJ Khaled's son, Asahd, is featured on the over-thetop music video and cover art for I'm the One. Chance's playful verse is strongest and balances the cartoony hook and chorus that features Bieber the most prominently. Lil Wayne is an added bonus, while Quavo's verse may leave you wondering, who's the one who wrote all these cheques? But it's a bop without question - it even has one of those "Oheh-oh-oh-oh, oh-eh-oh" type of choruses that was made for a summer concert sing-along.

That's What I Like - Bruno Mars Feat. Gucci Mane

You might be sick of this song, but have you heard ALL the remixes? The latest by Gucci Mane is giving it new life. Originally released on the album 24K Magic in November last year, That's What I Like has not lost an ounce of its golden reputation. The song mixes R&B, swing and soul in a way that recalls '70s nostalgia, while managing to break musical ground. It has been on Billboard's Hot 100 for 25 weeks and counting. While it fell from number #1 for a few weeks, recent remixes and a heavy radio rotation could be a couple reasons the track is currently on its way back up the charts.

Life's About to Get Good - Shania Twain

Move over Miley, take a seat Taylor because Shania is back. After 15 years with no new music, Shania fans'wishes have finally been granted. The 51-year-old Windsor-born beauty dropped the cheerful and twangy single, Life's About to Get Good, ahead of her new album NOW, which is set to be released September 29. Online hype paired with a helpful nudge from a friend made me hooked on the single. It reminded me of her classics: Man! I feel like an [old] woman!


Oldies but goodies - classics in need of a comeback

Golden Years - David Bowie, 1975

Let's all remember the legacy of David Bowie (who passed away January 2016) with one of his greatest and most summer-y hits. "Nothing's gonna touch you in these golden years."

Sir Duke -Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life, 1976

Chance the Rapper recently appeared on NPR's Tiny Desk Concert series and performed a new poem and a stripped-down version of the Stevie Wonder song They Won't Go When I Go that has people lit up. Since They Won't Go When I Go isn't exactly a banger - I went with a jam that anyone can enjoy.

Get it Right the First Time - Billy Joel, The Stranger, 1977

Let the Piano Man remind you that it's now or never as you listen to his '77 pop hit that will most certainly have you rolling down your windows and letting your hair fly in the wind.


Beats not worth your time

Feels - Calvin Harris Feat. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean

Katy Perry's obnoxiously robotic chorus ruins what could be a smooth, vibey tune here. Perry's popularity has been waning recently and this track will do nothing to remedy that.

iSpy - KYLE Feat. Lil Yachty

This way too catchy song gets worse once you actually listen to what is being said: "I spy with my little eye - a girlie I can get 'cause she don't get too many likes." Let's all have better romantic goals this summer shall we? Bad Liar - Selena Gomez This song only made it to the 20th spot on Billboard's Hot 100 before it started to fall. And I won't lie, that's a generous position for the off-putting single with a non-existent melody.


The future is dancing - music on the horizon

Damien Marley

After several postponed dates, Damien Marley (who appears on Jay-Z's 4:44) took to Reddit to announce that his latest album, Stony Hill, will debut on July 21. That same day he hosted the High Times Magazine + TIDAL X 420 Celebration in Hollyweed, CA and dropped Medication, a single from the highly anticipated album.


Fans waiting on her new album Rainbow, due out on August 11, are thrilled to get a sneak peek in Woman, a powerful and edgy single about female empowerment. Bring it on!

Ringo Starr

The former Beatle recently celebrated his 77th birthday by announcing a ten-track solo album, entitled Give More Love, which will be released on digital and CD format on September 15, with vinyl to follow on September 22.


The Lots of Shows in a Row American Deadmau5 tour was such a success it is coming to Canada this October with dates in Windsor (Oct. 6), Toronto (Oct. 8) and Montreal (Oct. 13).


The rapper just announced his upcoming 4:44 tour with Canadian dates in November and December. He will hit Toronto on November 22.


Albums worth buying


The latest offering from the Gorrilaz entitled Humanz sounds better on vinyl and comes with a download card.

÷ (Divide)

Skip his controversial season 7 premiere on HBO's Game of Thrones, and focus on Ed Sheeran's ÷ (Divide), which is not only topping the charts but the album is also one of the best-selling vinyls in 2017.


Scanning your local talent

Kiki Rowe

The Mississauga-born R&B artist just released a new music video for her latest single Come My Way, featuring singer, songwriter and rapper Khalil. The track, produced by Blaq Tuxedo (Selena Gomez, Chris Brown) delivers a bubbly and danceable vibe.

Dan Talevski

The Toronto singer's new song Birthday Suit is making its rounds on the radio while his older hit, Knock Me Off My Feet, was just featured on the newest season of Degrassi: Next Class.

Wanna talk music? Tweet me @flatshanlon