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The latest music releases to add to your summer playlist



Beyonce has a new album called "Renaissance." And like a lot of things Beyonce does, it's like a solar eclipse.


BEYONCE: (Singing) I've been up. I've been down. Felt like I move mountains. Got friends that cried fountains, oh.

RASCOE: But there is a lot of other good music out this summer, so we want to take time to talk about the iconic Beyonce and also do right by other hardworking artists also worthy of your eardrums. So we've called Reanna Cruz, who's with Vulture's music podcast "Switched On Pop" in Los Angeles. Welcome to the program.

REANNA CRUZ: Very happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

RASCOE: First of all, I think we really need to give some space to Beyonce because it is a sound of the summer. It's a project. It's all the songs - like, they have transitions into each other. I didn't even know you could do that anymore. And then the other thing is it made me feel like I was almost, like, at a rave. And I've never been to a rave, but, like, I had glow sticks. And I was dancing, you know, with the arms.

CRUZ: With the gloves that have the lights on the end, and people kind of move them around?


RASCOE: Yeah, that's what I felt. I just felt like I was in a hot, sweaty club, even though I'm just sitting here at my desk doing, you know, interviews.

CRUZ: Yeah, I mean, as an avid clubgoer, I feel like you hearing it as if you're in a hot, sweaty club is the perfect mindset to be at. It's what Beyonce was intending, I assume, especially with the seamless transitions, which make me think of a house or a disco mix. Like you're in the club, everything blends together, kind of goes from one track to another. It's really interesting.

RASCOE: Another person who has some really great dance songs, really upbeat up-tempo - you have "About Damn Time" by Lizzo.


LIZZO: (Singing) Turn up the music, turn down the lights. I got a feelin' I'm gon' be alright. OK, OK, all right. It's about damn time.

RASCOE: She is on your list of must-haves this summer. What do you think about that song, and how does it rank in Lizzo's body of work?

CRUZ: Well, the song currently is No. 1 on Billboard during the heat of the summer, so I feel like that's inherently a qualification for it to be in song of the summer discussion. And I think a lot of what we hear in Lizzo is sort of similar to what we're hearing in Beyonce - the sort of disco revival, a lot of syncopation. There's a bright summery sound, on Lizzo specifically, between "About Damn Time's" guitar, like thinking of, like, Nile Rodgers, Chic, Prince, that sort of vibe. There's flutes on it. There's that breakdown in the middle, which I've seen a lot on, like, TikTok and Instagram. The part where she's like, Balenci-ussies (ph), you know.


LIZZO: (Singing) In a minute, I'ma need a sentimental man or woman to pump me up. Feeling fussy, walkin' in my Balenci-ussies, tryna bring out the fabulous.

CRUZ: Lizzo does a really great job at capturing the public consciousness through her music and kind of making it this omnipresent event.

RASCOE: I mean - and part of this is this is a summer where people are trying to, you know, be back outside, you know?

CRUZ: We outside. exactly.

RASCOE: So you're also bringing us some heat from Puerto Rico, right?

CRUZ: Wepa, baby. I think the album of the summer comes from none other than Bad Bunny because it sort of speaks to that zeitgeist. And the song for me that is my personal song of the summer is "El apagon" off of "Un verano sin ti."

BAD BUNNY: (Rapping in Spanish).


CRUZ: It's indicative of a particular energy that comes with tropical temperatures. And me personally - I'm Puerto Rican, so I like listening to it because it's an ode to Puerto Rico, and it makes me think of my culture.


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing in Spanish).

RASCOE: So give us something to wrap up with here.

CRUZ: I think song of the summer contenders - something that I think is really interesting about them is that they sort of cater to the queer community. And I say that off of Beyonce's album, which is clearly a dedication to gay, Black and brown communities through the use of ballroom music. And I think you can look to a lot of gay clubs, and you can look to a lot of the queer and trans population specifically on what songs become song of the summer because I feel like those communities have a tune to the sort of saccharine popness that we need in an effective song of the summer. So something that I've been tuned into and a lot of my friends I've been tuned into is the song "2 Die 4" by Tove Lo, which very recently came out. But I could totally see it as something that will stick with us for a few weeks at least to get us through the end of the summer.


TOVE LO: (Singing) Look alive and come with me. You're to die for every day. Drag you out at midnight to dance in headlights and making out in the rain.

RASCOE: And so what is it about this song that stands out to you?

CRUZ: It's catchy. I mean, you got to have a good beat. You got to have replayability, right? Because the song of the summer you hear all the time, and this does it for me. I finished the three minutes of the song, and I'm like, oh, I need to hear this again immediately, and I need - I just need it everywhere.


LO: (Singing) You're to die for every day. When I think about you, the world go less blue. Let's do it over again.

RASCOE: That's Reanna Cruz. They produce Vulture's music podcast "Switched On Pop". Reanna, thank you so very much.

CRUZ: Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed being here.

(SOUNDBITE OF TOVE LO SONG, "2 DIE 4") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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