Sabrina Carpenter’s “Espresso” and 4 Other Retro Pop Jams You’ll Be Playing On Repeat This Summer

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a reasonably logical argument for most things in life, but the words have never rung truer for the classic retro pop summer jam. Pop music of the early 2020s is harkening back to musical eras five to six decades its senior with lush harmonies, disco-era strings, and pre-90s breakbeats.

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Sabrina Carpenter’s April 11, 2024, release “Espresso” is leading the way in bonafide vintage-inspired bops, complete with her cheeky, gold-toned beachfront music video she released on the same day. The track is everything a good summer pop song should be: fun, flirty, and something begging to be belted in a car on a sunny day. 

If you’re as enamored with “Espresso” as we were, then you’ll love this collection of retro pop jams you’ll be bumping all summer long.

“Espresso” by Sabrina Carpenter

Sabrina Carpenter has come off the heels of her Taylor Swift Eras tour collaboration with a pop track that promises to be one of the hottest retro jams of Summer 2024. “Espresso” is a tongue-in-cheek dance track complete with pop culture references (Switch it up like Nintendo and I know I Mountain Dew it for ya) and unapologetically cocky nonchalance: He’s thinkin’ bout me every night, isn’t that sweet? I guess so. All that bathing suit inspo from the music video? Well, that’s just an added bonus.

“Astral Plane” by Say She She

Are we approaching Summer 2024 or being transported back in time to a disco dancefloor in the 1970s? Listening to Say She She’s funk-centric track “Astral Plane” makes it hard to tell. The female trio-led soul and funk band from New York is making huge waves in the music industry with their sophomore LP ‘Silver.’ Featuring airtight harmonies and slap bass that make it virtually impossible not to bop along, this retro pop jam is one of many infectious tracks for which the group is developing a reputation.

“Houdini” by Dua Lipa

Dancefloor anthem queen Dua Lipa might’ve released “Houdini” in November 2023, but let’s be honest: this pop hit is a tried and true summer retro jam. With a synth tone and syncopated rhythm straight out of the 1980s, the late fall release has an undeniable spot in summer playlists from here on out. With lyrics like I come and I go, prove you got the right to please me. Everybody knows: catch me or I go Houdini, the track highlights the flippant attitude that makes the English-Albanian artist’s songs so incredibly fun to sing.

“Mr Right” by Mae Stephens and Meghan Trainor

Both Meghan Trainer and Mae Stephens had a meteoric rise to fame with their retro-inspired pop hits like “All About That Bass” and the social media viral sensation “If We Ever Broke Up,” respectively. While their musical careers certainly have notable differences, these two pop powerhouses combined forces for their August 2023 hit, “Mr Right.” Featuring punchy drums and irresistible chromaticism in the chorus, the retro pop jam oozes that timeless, sunshine-soaked pop feel we’re looking for in a playlist like this.

“Good Luck, Babe!” by Chappell Roan

It’s hard to get more 1980s than the snare reverb that opens retro pop star Chappell Roan’s April 2024 single, “Good Luck, Babe!” While the verses of this 20th-century-style jam are admittedly more lowkey than others on this list, we’d like to think it makes the harmony-laden chorus all the more impactful. Go ahead: try to resist the urge to hang your arm out of a car window on a blue-skied day while singing the lyrics, Guess I’m the fool with her arms out like an angel through the car sunroof. We’ll wait.

(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Coachella)

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