Yea or Neigh: Is 'Old Town Road' 2019's Song of the Summer?

Jul 3, 2019

Amid prep for Fourth of July cookouts, pool parties and parades, the On Second Thought team is also cooking up summer playlists – and this year, no playlist would be complete without "Old Town Road."

Months back, Billboard yanked 'Old Town Road' from its Hot Country chart, after hearing complaints that, essentially, Atlanta native Lil Nas X and his music weren't country enough. Georgia Tech professor and music journalist Joycelyn Wilson begs to differ.

"Black people, blues music, is very much a part of the development of what we get as country," Wilson told On Second Thought. "That storytelling, that sound, and the role of black musicians in creating those stories and those sounds is very much indigenous to the music and the culture but maybe not the genre so much at this point."

Still, the removal of his song from the country charts set Lil Nas X up for a remix with Billy Ray Cyrus, a record-breaking 13 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 – and widespread recognition as a summer anthem, if not 2019's Song of the Summer. Lil Nas X has held off two singles from Taylor Swift, a new Katy Perry song, a Justin Bieber-Ed Sheeran collaboration and even a Beyoncé cover. 

So, just what is it that propels a song from catchy single to the singular summertime sound? We asked Alan Light, a music journalist, author and host of Sirius XM's Debatable. Floyd Hall, an Atlanta-based writer, producer and documentarian, also chimed in with his picks for summer playlists.

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