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Skyelyfe’s Definitive Ranking of the 18 Best Songs of 2018

December 30, 2018

When it comes to music, 2018 was an interesting year… to say the least.

You had the bad (the emergence of SoundCloud “rappers”); the surprising (Pusha T had a resurgence seemingly out of nowhere—and in a major way); the consistent (Cardi B just kept the hits comin’!); the classics (Death Cab for Cutie reverted back to their Plans-era sound with the release of Thank You for Today).

And while this was the first year in a very long time that there wasn’t a song I was consistently obsessed with, I will say there were still indeed some gems.

Keep reading for skyelyfe’s definitive ranking of the 18 best songs of 2018 (and scroll to the very bottom for the full playlist):

18. ‘Northern Lights’ by Death Cab for Cutie

I had to give this song a few listens before accepting this was actually from 2018, and not 2005—but this is meant in the best way possible. DCFC’s entire Thank You for Today was a much-appreciated time warp back to their Plans and Transatlanticism-era days—ones they’ve diverted from slightly in recent years. “Northern Lights” is the perfect uplifting melody, with the story-filled lyrics the band has maintained consistently. But seriously, this entire album is so good. It’s a reminder that “real” music still exists in this day and age.

17. ‘Back to Life’ by Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld has certainly had some catchy hits, but this gem from the Bumblebee soundtrack is without question her best. It’s uplifting, easy on the ears and really showcases her vocal talent. It’s truly an instant dose of happiness.

16. ‘Tease’ by Ralph

Canadian indie pop artist Ralph’s music is a wonderful reprieve from everything going in the world. Not only does her sound take you back to another era, but her lyrics are light, and her melodies are easy on the ears. And I guess it’s an added bonus that she’s adorable and sounds even better live. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform at The Moroccan Lounge during a rainy night in DTLA a few months ago, and it was a wonderful experience.

15. ‘OTW’ by Khalid, 6LACK, Ty Dolla $ign

Following the release of last year’s “Location,” I didn’t know if I could ever grow to like Khalid, as that song made a terrible first impression on me. “OTW” was the second song I’d heard by him (and the first by 6LACK), making me willing to give Khalid another chance. The dark, melodic jam produced by Nineteen85 (and with some additional vocals by Ty Dolla $ign) gives off those sexy ’90s R&B vibes in a way I haven’t heard in a long time.

14. ‘Science’ by Allie X

Allie X was definitely my artist of the year. The Canadian synthpop princess consistently churned out bop after bop, and that was pretty evident when it came down to the tough decision of picking just one song for my Top 18—it was between “Science,” “Focus” and “Girl of the Year.” While I only chose one track to be on this list, Super Sunset deserves its fair recognition as one of the best albums of the year.

13. ‘God is a woman’ by Ariana Grande

When I first saw the title to this song, I thought it was going to be a feminist ballad—and while it was certainly written in a way to empower women, it’s much more sexy before it is girl power. While most fans and critics hail “thank u, next” as Ariana’s song of the year, I have to say “God is a woman” never gets old, and when holiday season passes, I have a feeling the Christmas jingle-esque novelty of “thank u, next” will eventually fade as well.

12. ‘Walk It Talk It’ by Migos f./ Drake

Following their 2017 breakout year, Migos continued to churn out the hits in 2018. While “Walk It Talk It” is no “Motorsport” or “I Get the Bag,” it was a radio hit that I couldn’t quit, and even Drake’s verse impressed me.

11. ‘Young and Reckless’ by Charlotte Lawrence

One listen to Charlotte Lawrence’s well-developed vocals, mature lyrics (“Let’s just get undressin’,
get arrested, it’s fine”) and impressive production, you wouldn’t believe (just as I didn’t) that she’s only 18. The daughter of actress Christa Miller and behind-the-scenes Hollywood extraordinaire Bill Lawrence, the beautiful budding indie pop singer proves she has all the talent in the world to make it—established parents or not.

10. ‘Drop’ by G-Eazy f./ Blac Youngsta & BlocBoy JB

This song has all the components of a potential hit, but where did it go? This was definitely my early July anthem. I expected it to be huge, but it never took off. Either way, it deserves recognition, as it has one of the catchiest beats I’ve heard all year, and G-Eazy actually flows nicely on the track. And while I am totally anti-SoundCloud rappers, BlocBoy JB proved to be my one exception throughout the whole year.

9. ‘Under’ by Transviolet

Much like Allie X, selecting just one Transviolet song to make my Top 18 is no easy feat. With captivating melodies and lyrics that are equal parts heartbreaking and empowering, it’s hard to ignore this L.A.-based indie group’s appeal. “Under” is an expression of resilience and keeping your head high when you feel like you’re sinking.

8. ‘High’ by Sizzy Rocket

Alluring and mysterious, “High” is a diversion from Sizzy Rocket’s more angsty, girl-power productions of years past. Whether you’re in fact getting high or simply just lounging around in the house, this is the perfect track to keep you in a mellow state of mind.

7. ‘Powerglide’ by Rae Sremmurd

“Powerglide” was one of the first new hip-hop singles I heard on the radio in 2018—and it’s certainly one of the most underrated. While I thought for sure this would take over airwaves and set the precedence for a year of blast-worthy bops, I was indeed in for disappointment when the track barely got any love. Either way, this is a surefire jam, and even if it didn’t get as much mainstream love as it deserves, I’m giving it its fair acknowledgment right here.

6. ‘On Your Side’ by Penguin Prison

In a year full of either really crappy music or music that made us think way too much, Penguin Prison brought us this upbeat, carefree tune that evokes 100% good vibes. There are not enough wonderful things to say about this little gem right here.

5. ‘MI Amore’ by FRENSHIP

Much like the song that precedes it, “MI Amore” is all things upbeat and lively. According to what the duo told Billboard, the track is about “when you love something and truly care about it, chase after it with every ounce of your being and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way.” Amen!

4. ‘Without Me’ by Halsey

Raw and well-produced, it would take a heartless person to not feel an ounce of bittersweet emotion upon hearing this song. Not only is the track itself well-done overall, but it completely showcases Halsey as a true artist, in case anyone had their doubts.

3. ‘Let Me Know’ by LeyeT

I was unfamiliar with LeyeT (pronounced “light”) prior to hearing this song, but the indie pop tune has me very intrigued about this artist moving forward. The incredibly soothing melody accompanies lyrics that beg the question so many of us wonder: Are we more than just friends?

2. ‘Yes Indeed’ by Lil Baby & Drake

Because this song came out in the middle of the year, I can’t quite call it my 2018 anthem, but, once it dropped, it was on regular rotation nonstop. The only reason it didn’t make it to the No. 1 spot is because it’s a whopping 2:20 minutes long. So, while I wish there’d been a little more effort, I will never say no to this track.

1. ‘My Life’ by ZHU f./ Tame Impala

This isn’t the first time ZHU’s fallen into the No. 1 slot of my top songs of the year. His collaborations are key, and “My Life” by Tame Impala exemplifies just that. Easy on the ears, mellow on the mind, I could listen to this for hours and never get bored.

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Music

Skyelyfe’s Definitive Ranking of the 18 Worst Songs of 2018

December 28, 2018

Each year I write the exact same thing: Today’s music can’t get any worse…

And then 2018 comes around and SoundCloud “rappers”—aka professional autotuned whiners—emerge on the scene. Luckily, their lasting power doesn’t seem too strong, as in the span of a year, a chunk have either overdosed, gotten locked up, gone to rehab or gotten murdered.

Anyway, not going to waste much more time talking about these artists who bring absolutely nothing to the table… well, except to call them—and a few others—out directly for some not-so-stellar “contributions” to music this year.

Sometimes a bad song has nothing to do with the lyrics, but is more about the melody. Other times, the melody may be super catchy, but the lyrics are just too dumb to ignore. Either way, there were definitely a few handfuls of tracks I’d very much like to leave behind when the ball drops.

Keep reading for skyelyfe’s definitive ranking of the 18 worst songs of 2018 (full playlist at the bottom):

18. ‘Psycho’ by Post Malone

Some of Post Malone’s songs are catchy—others even heartbreaking; this one is just straight-up pointless.

via Republic Records

17. ‘High Hopes’ by Panic! at the Disco

The lyrics to this song are certainly motivational, and the beat is lively, but Brendon Urie sounds like he’s yelling at me, and therefore this song gives me much more of a headache than high hopes.

16. ‘Freaky Friday’ by Chris Brown & Lil Dicky

If you know me at all, you’re aware that Chris Brown rarely makes my “worst of” lists, as I think his music (not his personal life) is almost consistently top-tier. That said, “Freaky Friday” was gimmicky and really, really dumb. Luckily, it fizzled out from radio waves a few months into the year, so it didn’t have much of an impact, but my gosh, what was the point of this?!

via Dirty Burd

15. ‘Africa’ by Weezer

I’m all for Toto’s “Africa,” but if you’re going to cover it, can you please make it sound just a smidge different than the original? Otherwise, what’s the point?

14. ‘Better Now’ by Post Malone

Just a typical played-out Post Malone song that I found myself changing at every chance I got.

13. ‘Beautiful’ by Bazzi and Camila Cabello

Bazzi has some solid tracks under his belt—and while the message of this one is special, I feel like the melody takes me nowhere, therefore causing me to ignore the song’s meaning as a whole.

12. ‘Call Out My Name’ by The Weeknd

It’s not that this is the worst song, but it definitely shouldn’t have been a radio single. Had this just been a track on an album, I wouldn’t have had as much of a problem. I like that we can feel The Weeknd’s pain, but this is absolutely way too slow for top 40 airwaves.

11. ‘Chun-Li’ by Nicki Minaj

Where do I even begin? Nicki Minaj gets The Biggest Hater of 2018 award. She threw an epic tantrum when Astroworld went to No. 1 instead of Queen, but it’s because her music and attitude majorly sucked this year. Team Cardi all the way.

via Young Money Entertainment, Cash Money Records and Republic Records

10. ‘Barbie Dreams’ by Nicki Minaj

Sampled from a Notorious B.I.G. song that I was never a big fan of to begin with (no disrespect to Biggie overall), the added dose of Nicki’s angry voice in her contemporary version just makes me like it less.

9. ‘broken’ by lovelytheband

No. Just no.

via lovelytheband / Another Century

8. ‘I Love It’ by Kanye West & Lil Pump

Kanye West has done everything from flaunt a MAGA hat, to senselessly Tweet about who knows what—so it should really come as no surprise that he’d team up with a SoundCloud rapper (and sadly, this wasn’t the only instance) for a shitaeous collab.

via Warner Bros Records / Tha Lights Global & Def Jam Music Group

7. ‘Can’t Dance’ by Meghan Trainor

Can’t dance, can’t create a solid bop… what else?

via Epic Records

6. ‘Make Me Feel’ by Janelle Monáe

No disrespect to Janelle Monáe’s voice, as the singer is clearly talented (and beautiful to boot!), but I just can’t get past the melody of this song. It drives me nuts, and I therefore cannot listen to it.

via Bad Boy Records

5. ‘Finesse’ by Bruno Mars and Cardi B

I’m all for some throwback-era jams, but this just just did not do it for me.

via Atlantic Records

4. ‘Hello’ by 1takejay

If you want to dance to the sound of your alarm clock in the club, look no further than this crafty piece of work, which has a melody set to that generic iPhone ringer sound on your phone. Oh, and as an added bonus, the lyrics are somethin’ else.

3. ‘Girls Like You’ by Maroon 5 f./ Cardi B

I get it, Cardi B is the artist of the moment—and rightfully so. She’s a dope rapper, she’s quite pretty and she’s got remarkable confidence. That said, she doesn’t belong on every track. It makes sense everyone wants to work with her, but this song was just not a fit. It was like when Kanye was suddenly rapping on the updated version of Katy Perry’s “E.T.” It just didn’t make sense, and “Girls Like You” feels far less fitting. Also, I just really don’t like this song, period.

via Interscope Records

2. ‘SAD!’ by XXXTENTACION

It’s mind-boggling how much radio play this song got. It’s not melodic, it’s not catchy, it’s not deeply lyrical, it’s not good.

1. ‘Lucid Dreams’ by Juice WRLD

Where do I even begin with this one? The woe-is-me lyrics, horrible autotune, melody (taken from a Sting song, but tweaked terribly)… Funny enough, Billboard included it on their “Best of 2018” list, but for mild reasons, explaining, “The formula for ‘Lucid Dreams’ isn’t anything new—it pairs hazy production underlined by an acoustic guitar (borrowed from Sting’s ‘Shape of My Heart’) with dark lyrics about coping with a broken heart. What is new, though, is that a SoundCloud rapper found his way to top 40 radio.” Womp.

via Grade A Productions / Interscope Records

Need a quick refresher on these atrocious tracks? Look no further than the handy playlist below:

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