If someone asked you for 2023’s song of the summer, what would you say?
Answers will vary, but based on Billboard, Morgan Wallen’s Last Night has spent the most weeks atop the Hot 100 — despite being released in February 2023. Luke Comb’s cover of Tracy Chapman’s 1988 song “Fast Car” is hot on its heels, and Taylor Swift’s fan-favorite song “Cruel Summer” from her 2019 album Lover is a surprise contender.
A decade ago, the question wouldn’t be so complicated. Summer 2013 gave us Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, Miley Cyrus’ We Can’t Stop, Daft Punk & Pharrell’s Get Lucky, and Lorde’s Royals. And those were just some of the biggest hits.
If music in 2023 is feeling much more stagnant than in other years, you’re not the only one feeling this way. Also, there’s a good shot you’re part of the problem. A big reason music feels slow is because people just don’t want to listen to the new stuff.
What’s the tune in 2023?
If we look at the hits that have defined 2023 thus far, there are only a few new titles worth mentioning. Flowers by Miley Cyrus, Kill Bill by SZA, Boy’s a Liar by PinkPanthress and Ice Spice, and various singles released from Taylor Swift’s Midnights album. But, that’s only some of the music on the charts.
At the start of this year, thanks to Netflix’s Wednesday, Lady Gaga’s Bloody Mary debuted on the Hot 100 — nearly 12 years after it was released. Chris Brown’s Under the Influence and Miguel’s Adorn have spent months in the top 40, and The Weeknd’s Die For You hit #1 thanks to a remix with Ariana Grande, but that song was already charting in the top 10 seven years after its release.
The year has also seen some covers of older songs make their way up the charts. Metro Boomin’s Creepin with The Weeknd and 21 Savage (a cover of Mario Winan’s 2004 hit I Don’t Wanna Know) and Combs’ Fast Car both peaked in the top 10 of the Hot 100.
We also haven’t seen many artists top the Billboard 200 this year. As of the end of July, only seven artists had albums top the chart, mostly dominated by Morgan…