Summer is around the corner, but it’s a selection of mainly slower songs that are currently playing nonstop for PEOPLE music critic Chuck Arnold.
Feeling a little nostalgic, he’s been opting for some old-school Cyndi Lauper, Diana Ross and Hall and Oates. But when it comes to the newer stuff, tracks by Coldplay, Justin Timberlake, London Grammar and Dierks Bentley are on regular rotation.
Check out nine essential songs to have on repeat right now:
1. Cyndi Lauper – “Money Changes Everything”
The opener of her classic debut, She’s So Unusual, still struts and stomps on the new 30th-anniversary reissue.
2. Dierks Bentley – “Drunk on a Plane”
Riser‘s new single provides a surefire country buzz, with Bentley playing the jilted groom on this rowdy, alcohol-fueled flight.
3. The Hold Steady – “I Hope This Whole Thing Didn’t Frighten You”
Kicking off Teeth Dreams, these indie dudes cut their choppers into this Replacements-esque rocker.
4. London Grammar – “Flickers”
This slow-burning standout off their debut, If You Wait, puts you in a trip-hop trance.
5. Coldplay – “Magic”
Chris Martin may be going through a breakup, but damn, the man can still make you believe in love’s bewitching powers on the haunting first single from Ghost Stories, due May 19.
6. Jhene Aiko – “The Worst”
The bitter sweetest of kiss-offs, this nuzzles up to your neck as it cuts you deep, making it the smoothest slow jam on the R&B charts now.
7. Justin Timberlake – “Not a Bad Thing”
This time last year it was “Mirrors.” Now JT is back with another perfect theme for spring romance from his 20/20 Experience opus.
8. Hall and Oates – “Sara Smile”
Since these blue-eyed-soul men got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 10, I’ve been digging into their oldies, best of all, this sad-eyed 1976 ballad.
9. Diana Ross – “Love Hangover”
Having recently turned 70, Miss Ross was never better than on this 1976 soul-disco hit that I’ll never get over.