The best summer songs of 2016

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.

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 10th Jul 2024

2016 was a wild year. We Saw Beyoncé drop Lemonade and Frank Ocean drop Blond. '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 hits 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. 



I Took A Pill In Ibiza - Mike Posner 

Now, if you can block out the lyrics for this one, it’s easily one of the top 2016 summer songs. Lyrically, it’s pretty depressing. But the tropical house remix is just so damn summery so we had to include it.



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' effortlessly solidified itself as one of the best summer songs of 2016 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 &

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 and insanely infectious. With this tune on, any self-doubt is immediately replaced with self-confidence. And we reckon that’s what summer’s all about - feeling yourself and having a good 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. 



Too Good - Drake ft. Rihanna

We promise this is the last Drake song here. 'Too Good' is melodic, samples a dancehall track (one of the most summery sounds), and of course features Queen Rihanna. It was a recipe for success.



Cake By The Ocean - DNCE 

If you haven’t heard this song in a minute and you were young when you first heard it, we’ll prepare you now: the lyrics may not have actually been about cake. Either way, it’s a proper banger that’s overflowing with summer vibes. 



Let Me Love You - DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber 

If you came here for nostalgia, you’ve hit the jackpot with this one. One of the biggest summer hits of 2016, and probably far beyond that, Biebs and Snake really killed this one. 



Good As Hell - Lizzo

Warm, positive, and upbeat, the sound of ‘Good As Hell’ is how we all want and deserve our summer to feel.  



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, 2011, 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.