Yes, your summer playlist has “Trap Queen,” “Want To Want Me” and “Bad Blood” (as well it should!). But what about these sneaky-great tracks that aren’t currently heating up the Hot 100? Discover some of the best summer pop songs that you might not necessarily hear on pop radio, from Adam Lambert, Alessia Cara, Brandon Flowers and more:
Summer Music Preview: 25 Albums We Can’t Wait to Hear
1. Sam Bruno, “Search Party”
Remember how The Fault In Our Stars helped Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” become a hit last year? Sam Bruno’s debut stunner “Search Party” is the lead single from Paper Towns, the film adaptation of another novel from TFIOS author John Green.
2. Elliphant, “Love Me Badder”
Following last year’s triumphant MØ collaboration “One More,” Elliphant drops a electro-dance grenade just in time for the dog days. The enigmatic Swede will issue her new album this fall.
3. Jason Derulo, “Get Ugly”
Linking back up with “Talk Dirty” producer Ricky Reed, Derulo flicks off his best LMFAO impression in the verses before cruising through a joyfully wobbly chorus. The logical crowd-pleaser to follow “Want To Want Me.”
Jason Derulo Interview: ‘Everything Is 4,’ Stevie Wonder & Tour Plans
4. Zella Day, “High”
Hungry for some Lana Del Rey vibes one year after Ultraviolence? Explore the hazy world of newcomer Zella Day, whose track “High” adds a pop sensibility to Lana’s femme fatale persona.
5. Holychild, “Money All Around”
New Glassnote duo Holychild recently dropped one of the year’s best pop albums, and new single “Money All Around” sports one of the disc’s most magnetic hooks (plus a nostalgia-inducing Pop-Up Video visual!).
6. Bea Miller, “Force of Nature”
Like Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato? Learn to love pop-rock teen prodigy Bea Miller, whose debut album Not An Apology will feature a lot of the impressive songwriting that you hear on latest track “Force of Nature.”
Bea Miller Studio Session: Watch ‘Fire N Gold’ & ‘Young Blood’ Performances
7. Alessia Cara, “Here”
Def Jam’s latest signee is now the coolest kid at the pop party… thanks to a song about feeling withdrawn at overcrowded parties. Based on “Here,” Alessia Cara has an very bright future ahead.
8. Hilary Duff, “Sparks”
Hilary Duff may not possess the Top 40 heat of a decade ago, but “Sparks” is the latest indication that her comeback album Breathe In. Breathe Out. is worth paying attention to. Keep whistling, Hilary! Never stop whistling!
9. Adam Lambert, “Ghost Town”
Lambert’s lead single from The Original High is a slow-grower that casual fans will embrace upon the fifth or sixth listen. Plus, “Ghost Town” marks another dazzling display of those American Idol-approved vocals.
Pop Shop Podcast: Adam Lambert on ‘Ghost Town,’ New Album & Why He Rejected a Covers Project
10. Halsey, “Hold Me Down”
Ashley Frangipane, the New York-based songwriter better known as Halsey, shows off her vocal intensity on “Hold Me Down,” the latest release from her awesome forthcoming LP Badlands.
11. The Knocks feat. Alex Newell, “Collect My Love”
Alex Newell is shaping up to be a major player in the disco revival (if that even becomes a thing), and the former Glee star sounds remarkably assured on the Knocks’ latest jam, “Collect My Love.”
12. Phoebe Ryan, “Dead”
Phoebe Ryan’s single “Mine” alerted the blogosphere to an enchanting new voice, and the singer-songwriter has kept the winning streak alive with the charming follow-up “Dead.”
13. Icona Pop, “Emergency”
“You wanna get higher? Shake that ass!” Icona Pop succinctly commands on the swinging new single “Emergency.” Two years removed from the “I Love It” U.S. takeover, the pop duo is back with another likable banger.
14. Kacey Musgraves, “Biscuits”
Bless you, Kacey Musgraves, for blowing up on a national level but keeping the simple charm of your song craft intact. Fans of “Follow Your Arrow” should lap up this feel-good preview of sophomore LP Pageant Material.
15. Brandon Flowers, “I Can Change”
Hey, that’s the voice of Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant — recorded via voicemail — on Brandon Flowers’ new track “I Can Change”! Even without that spoken-word interlude, the Killers frontman nails this house track, which samples Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy.”
16. Alesso feat. Roy English, “Cool”
It’s been around a few months as a single, but Alesso’s collaboration with Roy English is the type of thoughtful, inclusive EDM track that should be ruling pop radio this summer. Kick-ass music video, by the way.
17. Little Boots, “Better in the Morning”
Little Boots may have finally found a producer that can magnify her sleek pop sensibilities. Ariel Rechtshaid (Haim, Charli XCX) concocts a knockout with “Better In The Morning,” which hums along with an effervescent collection of hip-hop beats.
18. Lindstrøm feat. Grace Hall, “Home Tonight” (radio edit)
Norwegian producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm recently delivered arguably his coolest single since “I Feel Space,” with Grace Hall of Skin Town assisting on vocals. The radio edit soars, but the nine-minute extended version is worth jamming to as well.
19. Years & Years, “Shine”
Years & Years’ single “King” is on the shortlist for best single of 2015, but with its equally explosive hook and more subtly drawn verses, new offering “Shine” makes for a worthy follow-up. The U.K. group’s debut album will include both tracks, and should be a monster.
20. Frankie, “New Obsession”
Has any chorus released this year flashed a more fun opening line than “I’ve got the tricks if you wanna lock lips”? The Oakland native released her debut EP in April, and “New Obsession” is its slick, wildly engaging highight.