Our picks for the songs of summer 2023

boygenius stands in front of the ocean, as the sun sets

Photo: Chuff Media

What is the summertime without a soundtrack to enjoy it? Sure, it’s a bazillion degrees outside, but good music can help cool things off a bit, and give you a soundtrack for lazy pool days, backyard barbecues or epic road trips with your friends.

Rather than leave you to sweat the details of building out a playlist for the summer, we pulled together five songs (in no particular order) to help get you started. Share some of your songs of the summer of 2023 with us on KXT.org’s social media pages!

boygenius, “$20”

The supergroup boygenius has been one of 2023’s biggest pleasures, as the combined singing and songwriting prowess of Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, and Lucy Dacus creates one of the best records in recent memory, full of propulsive, anxious and melodic songs like this track.

SZA, “Kill Bill”

While this addictive track clocks in at less than three minutes, the singer-songwriter SZA packs an enormous amount into that time, chiefly a bizarre, disturbing meditation on the lengths a woman might go to in order to keep a relationship. It’s one of the most bleak, off-kilter hit singles of the last decade, and one of the year’s best songs.

Kylie Minogue, “Padam Padam”

If you’ve gone … well, anywhere … in the last six months or so, chances are pretty good you’ve heard this song in passing. Australian pop superstar Minogue continues her streak of success with this sleek, alluring single, which, as a recent Top 10 hit, means she’s had a Top 10 hit in five consecutive decades.

Luke Combs, “Fast Car”

It’s not a new song — singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman’s original version first dropped back in the waning days of the George H.W. Bush administration — but it’s still a very, very good one. Country star Combs pays noble homage to Chapman’s indelibly sketched yearning for a better life — which might resonate even more now.

Lil Yachty, “Running Out of Time”

Georgia rapper Lil Yachty’s latest LP, Let’s Start Here, is an acid-soaked, funky freak-out, a profound left turn and, incredibly, one of the year’s most engaging releases. “Running Out of Time” is one of the more mellow cuts, riding an engaging bass line, Lil Yachty’s murky vocals and glittering melodies to make a lasting impression.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.