Undoubtedly, this summer was a mean one to add to the record books. It's easy to want to forget about it all, and move on, when there were temperature records broken, unaffordable global tours and strikes announced, political foolishness, new COVID strains, and egg prices. But along with the summer's chaos came some much-needed downtime and quality time with friends and family. Yes, we will remember this as a time of chaos, but we will most importantly remember this summer as a time of delight and wild abandon for years to come.
Therefore, it is only fitting that we reflect on the iconic tunes that served as the music to our sun-drenched travels before ushering in the new season. So, in no particular order, here are the top songs of the summer that kept things enjoyable despite the stifling heat.
1."On My Mama" - Victoria Monét
In June, "On My Mama" made its Billboard Hot R&B Songs debut at position No. 16. It has since risen to number seven thanks to its captivating dance-filled video, which pays homage to 2000s hip-hop/R&B. This summer anthem was first written as a song of affirmations, the ideal hype-up and full of love for oneself. In the song, Victoria Monét proclaims she is "done being the humble type" and correctly asserts herself in self-love and affirmation to attaining her goals as the song is built over a stylish sample of Chalie Boy's 2009 hit "I Look Good."
2."What It Is (Block Boy)" - Doechii ft. Kodak Black
Doechii and Kodak Black's "What It Is" track, which is a radio and social media sensation, is the ideal "fusion of nostalgia and pop vibes." This summer smash seems like a 00s hit, as it pays homage to the stereotype of wanting a bad boy at the end of the night. Alluring its audience with vintage samples of "No Scrubs" and "Some Cut" to mix in some lighthearted energy, Doechii urges all women to embrace their longing for something daring despite the inevitable drawbacks of dating a bad boy.
The exuberant and empowering song serves as a gentle reminder that there aren't enough songs in which women flaunt their endowments and demand what they want. It's more pop than we're used to from the rapper, but its playfulness creates a sentimentally enjoyable track that gives Doechii an opportunity to be much more vocally assertive than her previous hits. You may choose to listen to the song's original recording or the single she released with only her; either way, you can't help but move to the music as she smoothly questions, "What it is, hoe? What's up?"
3."Barbie World" - Nicki Minaj & Ice Spice (with Aqua)
The Barbie movie proved impervious to error throughout the course of its development and promotional tour, dominating the internet both during its production last summer and at its debut this summer. To further demonstrate how immaculate it might be, they showed that they were better than the hype when they recruited Nicki Minaj, the self-described Barbie, to participate in the lead song from their soundtrack.
Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice's "Barbie World," their second joint effort after "Princess Diana," debuted in June and included a sample of Aqua's 1997 dance-pop smash "Barbie Girl." The song strikes the ideal mix between drill and pop, as well as fun and feminine elements. It blends syncopated percussion with powerful bass drums and features aspects of Jersey club music. You can't help but sing along and find amusement in it because of the song's slithering groove and bad bitch anthem.
4."Kill Bill" - SZA
Like the Scorpio she is, SZA spent the summer weaving a tale of two extreme woes. Her first woe was detailed in the form of "Kill Bill," which is a classic example of the crazy girl cliché, telling the story of a woman who is overly committed to a former love and will do anything to win her relationship back. With the majority of cuffed women returning to the streets, "Kill Bill" created the perfect soundtrack for one's summer vengeance.
With a lullaby-like sway, it is easy to join SZA in her deadly mission as wary, but enchanted companions. Although we can all agree that SZA's murder fantasies are catastrophic, they are somewhat realistic, given the song's underlying message of doing whatever it takes for love. Praised for its honest exploration of raw, violent feelings, "Kill Bill" was perfect for one's summer playlist.
5."Snooze" - SZA
SZA's second song on this list that took the summer and listeners by storm was "Snooze." Unlike "Kill Bill," "Snooze" holds the opposite vibe and offers advice on how to deal with heartbreak. In contrast to the previous song, "Snooze" takes the time to describe how important someone has become and why desiring anybody else is impossible. As she exposes thoughts of hatred, retaliation, self-growth, self-worth, and love, SZA's voice and the unique musical style produce an emotive tune strangely perfect for the summer.
Similar to "Kill Bill," "Snooze" uses impassioned and vaguely violent language, which occasionally works against the title's intended tranquil and drowsy tone. However, it adroitly captures the wrath one feels when one really wants a relationship, and the other person makes no attempt to try.
6."Boy's a liar Pt. 2" - PinkPantheress ft. Ice Spice
"Boy's a liar Pt. 2" slid into the summer like the little engine that could after remaining stable on the charts during the winter. The song "Boy's a liar Pt. 2" by British artist PinkPantheress and current rap phenom Ice Spice is about someone who is only interested in you when you "look good." It's an incredibly catchy summer tune that is both quick and slow, old and fresh.
Like an ephemeral hallucination, this summer song has a light, floaty feel thanks to rhythms that borrow from old dance tunes, Jersey Club music, and powerful percussions. Effortlessly weaving into the hyper-pop we've come to know from the artist, there is a gentle, luxuriant vibe, which causes listeners to bob along coolly and adroitly.
7."Good Good" - Usher, Summer Walker, & 21 Savage
Like Usher said, this song is "different." Unlike the other summer songs where relationships fell apart, Usher is not trying to seek revenge or find violent ways to retaliate against his ex. Instead, he can acknowledge that they are not on the best of terms, but that the terms are nevertheless, still good. Crooning over a slick beat, he prunes out his desires like he once did on his early 00s tracks and shows his ex that he understands that though he wished for forever, it simply wasn't in their cards.
Singing in cursive and rapping matter-of-factly, Summer Walker and 21 Savage join the song to confirm matters on hand. Though Walker intended to become her ex's "missus," it is clear that she and her ex are happier apart than trying to solidify their relationship in marital hell. Meanwhile, 21 Savage reflects on his relationship and everything he provided for his ex, but in the end, he just wishes to be friends and remain a support system for his former flame.
8."One Margarita (Saucy Remix)" - That Chick Angel, Casadi Music, & Steve Terrell (ft. Saucy Santana)
You've probably heard this song a thousand and two times on Instagram this summer, and if you didn't, you certainly heard it on TikTok. Regardless of where you found the tune, this song took the summer by storm with its playful, and overtly sexual nature. A song that literally explains how many margaritas you'll need to get That Chick Angel to "open her legs," it feels like the female perspective to Miguel's "How Many Drinks?"
The song is catchy, and it certainly makes you want to dance, but the best part of its creation is how it aligned together in the first place. Never meant to truly be a song, Angel Laketa Moore created this hit after hearing a sample from Sister Cindy, which claims "If you buy her one margarita, she will spread her legs.” From there, Moore freestyled her infamous "Give me one Margarita, Imma open my legs/Give me two margaritas, Imma give you some head." Within 24 hours, Casadi Music and Steve Terrell added their twist to the track, and the rest is summer history.
9."Summer Too Hot" - Chris Brown
"Summer Too Hot" dropped in June 2023 as the lead single of Chris Brown's eleventh album, 11:11. The lively tune "Summer Too Hot" makes Brown's intentions to "wet up" the summer clear. Brown admits that whenever he finds someone who attracts his eye, it is simply too hot for both of them to resist exploring the wetter side of things. The track, which has silky vocals and a laid-back beat, quickly gained traction and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot R&B.
With its frank lyrics and explicit sexual character, the vibrant song about "getting nasty" during a summertime affair promotes the value of cooling off from the heat and appreciating the season's lack of clothes.
10."Smoke" - Victoria Monét ft. Lucky Daye
Levitating us effortlessly with its spellbinding harmonies, Lucky Daye and Victoria Monét begin "Smoke" like the ascension of a firework. However, this aural joy generates a fluid rhythm that has no business being as smooth as it is, rather than a quick-paced explosion. This summer song, which debuted five months ago and has been steadily entrancing fans with a sensuous, syrupy bassline, eventually builds to a 70s funk and reggae bop. This lighthearted dedication to the celebration of cannabis is an ode to all potheads and is pleasant and summery in feel.
"Smoke" is a refreshing, playful track that lets you float/groove to the beat, amplified by an amalgam of whistling horns, organs, and vibrant electronic effects.
11."Popular" - The Weeknd, Madonna, & Playboi Carti
Just like his HBO flop The Idol, this collaboration from The Weeknd doesn't make sense on paper. However, unlike his HBO flop The Idol--yes, I mentioned it twice, because it was that bad--this collab was something none of us knew we wanted. Sounding like another nostalgic 00s throwback, or Justin Timberlake and Timbaland song, this is the best thing to come out of the now-canceled show. With Madonna and Playboi Carti, the rap-pop group spins a tale about a lady who is yearning for fame and glory and wants nothing more than to be popular.
However, as everyone is aware, when someone seeks attention and the spotlight, they typically end up with both more and less than they expected. "Popular" is a ditty that brings the summer to a close with a lovely, crisp farewell. It is straightforward, catchy, and ends at exactly the appropriate spot.
12."AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM" - Beyoncé
This summer's music wouldn't have been half of what it was without Queen Bey herself. This summer, as her Renaissance World Tour got underway, Beyoncé found herself responsible for Sweden's highest inflation of the year and the world being put on mute via "ENERGY." With every sold-out performance and every "mute" challenge, Beyoncé further demonstrated to the world that she was deserving of their addiction.
Though she had many tracks from her latest album circulating with viral moments from her tour, the song that transformed the summer for us was "AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM." "AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM" is a song sampled from Kilo Ali's "America Has a Problem (Cocaine.)" that focuses on cocaine and happiness, and eventually the anguish it causes, via the metaphor of a woman. In this sample, Beyoncé makes a comparison between herself, her music, and the addictive qualities of cocaine.
She outlines all the qualities that make everyone fall in love with her and keeps them coming back to her time and time again, proving that she is a lady to be revered.
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Taysha Robinson is a writer and high school English teacher, based in metro-Atlanta. A self described philomath, you can find her reading books and articles of every genre, attending educational conferences, and hiking wherever the terrain will allow.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy