Check out the best summer songs in the year that Harambe dominated the internet, Pokémon Go was all the rage, and we said goodbye to two huge music legends.
Date published: 18th Aug 2022
2016 was a wild year. We Saw Beyoncé drop Lemonade and Frank Ocean drop Blonde. Closer by The Chainsmokers was terrorising us all, Harambe memes flooded our feeds, and dozens of people nearly got hit by cars because they needed to capture a Charizard in the middle of the road.
It was also one of the most heart-breaking years for music as we suffered the loss of the icons David Bowie and Prince.
But we also had some proper bangers on the air, some unforgettable summer tunes that will no doubt stretch a smile across your face within the first few notes. So here are the best summer songs of 2016 to add to your playlist.
This Is What You Came For - Calvin Harris ft. Rihanna
Now with over 2.5 billion views on YouTube, This Is What You Came For is easily one of the most memorable summer songs of 2016. It’s perfect for just about any scenario. It would pair beautifully with poolside cocktails, soaking up the sun on the beach, in the club, boozy barbecues, late-night summer drives where you stick your head out the sunroof, you name it.
Can't Stop the Feeling! - Justin Timberlake
How can you not feel good listening to this? We’d say it’s up there with some of the most “feel good” songs ever written. And the music video, with everyone dancing and being all smiley, just boosts the happiness level of the charts.
Charlemagne - Blossoms
Indie kids had a ball back in 2016 when Blossoms hit the scene. Charlemagne was everywhere and constantly blasted on Radio X. You'd get in the car to get some ice or food for the barbecue and it’d be playing. You’d sit with your sunglasses on, arm hanging out the window like a trucker, and the light, ethereal guitar lines would flood over you along with the sunshine. It was stunning.
One Dance - Drake ft. Wizkid and Kyla
Remarkably, Drake never made a music video for One Dance and it still managed to top charts worldwide and get a crazy amount of airplay. One Dance solidified itself as one of the most memorable summer songs of 2016 effortlessly thanks to its afrobeat and dancehall inspiration. It instantly gives it a summer vibe.
Girls Like - Tinie Tempah ft. Zara Larsson
Playful, light-hearted, and with a buoyant catchy bass, Girls Like was definitely one of the best and most popular summer songs of 2016. They couldn’t have recruited a better singer for a feature. Zara Larsson was the perfect choice thanks to her sweet, high vocals to contrast Tinie’s rapping.
Cold Water - Major Lazer ft. Justin Bieber & MØ
Say what you will about Justin Bieber, but he snapped on this one. Although most of the credit goes to Major Lazer for creating a super danceable, euphoric tune that soundtracked our summer. MØ’s contribution was subtle but definitely didn’t go unnoticed. And she was a natural choice after penning a few summery jams herself, such as Final Song and Kamikaze.
24K Magic - Bruno Mars
24K Magic saw Bruno kick his game up another notch. It's cocky, overly confident and insanely infectious. With this tune on, any self-doubt is immediately replaced with self-confidence. You instantly adopt Bruno’s confidence as your own. And we reckon that’s what summer’s all about - feeling yourself and having a time.
Threat Of Joy - The Strokes
Cheery, at least in the instrumental, Threat Of Joy saw The Strokes flirt with the sound of their first (and insanely iconic) album, Is This It. Every melody is sublime, as is to be expected with any song by The Strokes, but the instrumental, light and joyful, is where the summer vibes shine through. It’s simply an excellent tune.
Perfect Strangers - Jonas Blue, JP Cooper
We doubt we need to elaborate much here. Literally everything - the vocals, the horns, the percussion, the bass, melodies, everything - radiates pure sunshine. It’s a holiday song if ever there was one.
Hopefully our favourite summer songs of 2016 helped take your summer playlist up a notch. But if it’s still a bit on the short side, check out the other summer songs we couldn’t get enough of from 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, and more.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.