• The best songs to get your summer vibes flowing

    The best songs to get your summer vibes flowing

    Summer 2020 may have turned out differently than we anticipated, but it’s not quite over yet. While there are thousands of upbeat tracks to help lift your summer mood, have you ever wondered which songs are the best of the bunch?

    We’ve analysed over 63,000 songs to reveal the ultimate records for every dreamy summer jaunt, from barbecuing with friends to falling in love. Using a special formula, we’ve also discovered the happiest and saddest songs for the summer. Explore our findings below and listen along to the blog with our specially created Spotify playlists.

    The most popular BBQ songs

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    Classic rock reigns supreme at barbecues, with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s summer anthem Sweet Home Alabama taking the top spot in our ranking of the best BBQ songs. This song appeared the most on Spotify playlists we found related to keywords like ‘BBQ’ and ‘garden party’. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison and Bryan Adams’ Summer Of ‘69 tie as the second-most popular songs on BBQ playlists, each appearing 27 times.


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    Feel-good songs for the beach

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    Ride It by Regard is the most included song on Spotify beach playlists, placing it at the top of our ranking of the 10 best tunes to blast by the sea. The chilled-out reggae track Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and The Wailers and Lose Control by MEDUZA, Becky Hill, and Goodboys tie in second place.


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    The best music for hiking

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    Indie folk tunes dominate our ranking of the top 10 most popular songs to hike to, with Old Pine by Ben Howard taking the top spot. Ophelia by American folk rock band The Lumineers and 2013 summer hit Riptide by Vance Joy rank in second and third place respectively.


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    Soundtrack your summer romance

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    Watermelon Sugar by Harry Styles is the most included song on Spotify playlists themed around summer romance. The track appears 28 times across playlists we found with keyphrases like ‘summer loving’ and ‘summer fling’. Another Harry Styles hit (Adore You) also places in our top 10 summer romance ranking.


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    We didn’t stop there, however…

    The happiest and saddest summer songs, calculated

    Music can take us on a rollercoaster of emotions, and at times even the most upbeat and summery of songs can have us reaching for the tissues (and not just for hayfever). To find the happiest and saddest summer songs, we used a formula that gave each individual track in our analysis an index score based on the following factors:

    Musical valance: a measure of how positive or negative a song sounds.

    Lyrical sentiment: the percentage of sad words in a song.

    Lyrical density: the amount of words in a song.

    High scores on the happiness index mean a song is happier, whereas a high score on the sadness index indicates a much sadder song.

    Here’s what we found…

    The happiest songs for the summer

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    Of all the top summer songs in our analysis, Lovely Day by Bill Withers is the happiest, scoring 75.46 on the happiness index. The impossibly happy pop anthem Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and The Waves comes in second place with a score of 66.26.



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    The happiest songs for summer lovin’

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    The Jonas Brothers’ 2019 hit Only Human has a higher happiness score (53.46) than any other summer romance song in our analysis. Sunkissed by khai dreams is the second-happiest (49.98) song in this ranking, and another Jonas Brothers hit (Sucker) comes in third place with a score of 49.12.


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    Songs with the summertime blues

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    Some summery songs scored highly on the sadness index. That Summer, At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy, a 2007 song by the Scottish indie rock band The Twilight Sad, tops our ranking of the saddest summer songs with a score of 49.33. July by Youth Lagoon (47.45) and Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer by Stevie Wonder (47.04) comes up next.


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    Long-distance love anthems ranked on sadness

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    Summer 2020 may have seen more long-distance romances blossom in lockdown, and with that in mind, we’ve ranked the most heart-rending songs for when two lovers are physically far apart from each other. The highest-scoring (52.28) song on the sadness index is Runnin’ (Lose It All) by Naughty Boy, Beyonce, and Arrow Benjamin. The cinematic tear-jerkers My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion and I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith also appear on our top 10 list.



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    Launch the loveholidays Spotify channel to listen to all of these rankings as playlists.


    We found the most commonly appearing songs in Spotify playlists when searching the following keywords: “bbq”, “barbecue”, “garden party”, “beach”, “seaside”, “beachside”, “ocean”, “tropical”, “hike”, “outdoors”, “hiking”, “summer romance”, “summer love”, “summer loving”, “summer fling”. Our analysis included 734 playlists and 63,754 songs in total.

    To find the happiest and saddest summer songs, we gathered a seed list of songs from various summer-themed and romance-themed playlists. Following the work of data scientists Myles Harrison and RCharlie, we found or measured each song’s: valence (how positive or negative the music is); lyrical sentiment (the percentage of sad lyrics); and lyrical density (how many lyrics are in the song). Each song was then assigned a score on the happiness and sadness indices.

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