There's really no better time to listen to music than in the summertime. Warm weather, outdoor activities, Bluetooth speakers and bass turned up in the car on long roadtrips–summer demands a playlist that equals the vitamin D soaking into our skin.
Over the next three weeks, our editorial team will break down songs in Pop, Worship and Rap/Urban that should be on your playlist. And if you don't want to bother making one, we did it for you.
Elbow bump us on the beach. Enjoy!
Colton Dixon "Miracles"
We’ve been waiting for Colton Dixon to release new music, and we finally got it. It definitely was worth the wait. He released an amazing new song called “Miracles,” which is part of his new self-titled EP. I love Colton’s music, but I really love this song; it has a fresh, exciting new pop sound. "Miracles" is a great effort–everything from Colton’s vocals to the way the song was produced. It has a pop/upbeat tune to it. But, don’t just take my word for it, go listen to it. It's definitely a cool song for this hot season. –Grace Chaves
Switchfoot "Lights Up"
Switchfoot covered mainstream pop artist Harry Styles? Yes, you read that right. The boys from San Diego spent their quarantine time wisely, and it shows. Always up for a unique cover at their shows, Styles' "Lights Up" is an absolutely Switchfoot-ed version of an already catchy song. The funky bass line? Still there. It has just the right amount of grit. The smooth vocals? Still there, but less auto-tuned and smooth like only Jon could make them smooth. The pop sensibilities that make the original stand out? Still there, but given the kind of rock n' roll finish that Switchfoot does as well as anyone. This is one cover tune that's worth your time, as is the rest of the Switchfoot Covers EP. –John Hisel
Sarah Reeves "Heart First"
Sarah Reeves quickly became one of my favorite artists after her stellar release "Easy Never Needed You" in 2018. Following a more mainstream direction, Sarah's new single "Heart First" is one of the catchiest songs released this summer. Her beautifully sung vocals paired with this upbeat track give it a standout summer vibe. Like it says in Proverbs 3:5, we need to always keep our hearts pure and true to where God leads us. Not driven by feelings of the flesh, but the heart of God that changes us from within. –Bradden Ford
Cape Lions "The Valley"
As someone who usually has a hard time enjoying the hip hop side of pop music, I was pleasantly surprised by "The Valley." I enjoyed how Cape Lions loaded it with so many messages and truths, but still brought it back to the important title, time and time again. The band sings about how they don't want to be stressed out in life. That they can trust God because He is in their heart. I especially loved how the band emphasized the fact that God has a plan and that it's "bigger than me." Psalm 23:4: "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me," has been referenced in many songs over the years. I appreciated this new take on it and I know this will not be the last time I listen to this song. –Selena Schulz
GAWVI "Not Too Far"
This was the first single from GAWVI’s latest album, Heathen. The track breaks all genre boxes as it has components of worship, pop, electronic, and hip-hop. “Not Too Far” was birthed during a time of anguish when the coronavirus hit America full force. The idea was to provide hope and reassurance that God is never too far from our sides during difficult seasons. The hook nearly brings tears from my eyes in reverence of God and how amazing His reach is personally when there are over seven billion humans on earth. He cares for the least of these and GAWVI’s heart and words express that beautifully. –Joshua Galla
Roy Tosh (feat. GIDI) "When I'm Gone (Remix)"
Roy Tosh has found his lane and been comfortable in it for some time now. When I'm Gone is the latest example of Roy having fun with pop sounds mixed with some hip hop influenced cadences The song sonically feels like a summer breeze blowing over the ocean with the sun shining. Meanwhile, the content is actually heavy as Tosh urges his family to hold on to hope and to remember the good times they had once he passes on to be with the Lord. –Marqus Anthony
The New Nature "Electric"
This techno house banger from The New Nature focuses the listener on the spoken word and a declaration of how big God is in our lives. It is the “electric” presence of God and in turn, the Holy Spirit that is the focus of this uplifting record. While providing an avenue for memory verse recitals, the track hits hard with a concussive bassline and a techno melody. This is your hype track for pre-church activities this summer–munching on quarantine sourdough waffles before jumping into your online service. –Mark Ryan
Jordan Feliz (feat. TobyMac & Terrian) "Glorify (Remix)"
The energy and infectious enthusiasm of the musical feel and celebratory message of Jordan Feliz’s new song “Glorify” featuring TobyMac & Terrian causes me to worship along loudly in spirit and in truth. The combination of the stellar vocals, up-tempo melody and R&B-tinged musical inflection really brings home the solid gospel message. Glorify means to praise and worship and this song allows us to celebrate God’s goodness in this difficult time. You’ll be lifting your hands and your voice as you sing, “that’s why we came/yeah we were made/to lift Your name.” Amen to that. –Kevin Davis
Jesus Loves Electro (feat. Mitch Wong) "Infinity"
Casper and Ole Jose from Jesus Loves Electro give us a new record just in time for summer. Even though COVID may have us feeling down and out, this upbeat progressive house track reminds us that God’s love is bigger than anything we’re facing and that His love is infinity. The bass line is persistent, the drops come with authority and the melody contains just enough variation to keep things interesting. Grab your face masks and some friends and have a summer dance party with this one. –Mark Ryan
Assembled from the four corners of North America and beyond, the NRTeam is comprised of staffers whose energy is equally dispersed towards loving music and writing about the music they love.
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