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Music

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of 2016

December 22, 2016


songs-best-2016
Time to bid adieu to 2016, the year rap and hip-hop officially died.

The genre has been getting increasingly worse over the last few years, but this year really solidified its transition into an auto-tuned genre of its own called hip-pop. Yeah, I hate it. And unlike in 2015, this year we didn’t even have a Nic Nac Beats to swoop in and save the day with his supremely produced Chris Brown tracks. Whether it was rap, pop, electronic or otherwise, there definitely seemed to be more bad than good (in fact, you can check out my worst songs of 2016 list).

But, not all is atrocious. After much thought, I’ve managed to scrounge up a handful of redeeming tracks I genuinely love, and I’m sharing them below (in particular order):

20. “Champions” – Kanye West, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, 2 Chainz

Not a fan of Kanye solo, but I’ve always said that when he collabs, his songs tend to be much better—and this song is no exception. Great track-mates, great hook, great song.

19. “Might Not” – Belly f./The Weeknd

Honestly, this track may have made it higher up on the list if it weren’t for that gawd-awful 2 Chainz remix. Like if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it! Ugh

18. “Into You” – Ariana Grande

This song stands out because it is says OK, I can be sexy and I don’t even have to be trashy to do so! A rarity for this artist. Great track.

17. “Black Beatles” – Rae Sremmurd f./Gucci Mane

Mike WiLL Made-It + Gucci = no-brainer recipe for perfection

16. “Say It (Clean Bandit Mix)” – Flume f./Tove Lo

If you read my Worst Songs of 2016 post, you will see my distaste for nu-school Flume. But this track happens to be great, and might I add that Tove Lo’s Lady Wood album (though this song is not part of it) is the best of the year.

15. “Want You” – Bearson f./Cal

While Bearson definitely identifies with “electronica,” he hasn’t nailed a signature sound, which is great, because I love all of the varying tracks he sends (via airwaves) my way—and this song is no exception.

14. “Either/Or” – Mt. Si

If you dig Classix, you’ll love Mt. Si.—which makes sense, given that 1/3 of this trio is Michael David of the incredible electropop duo. Seriously, it does not get better than this sound.

13. “The Winds of Change” – St. Lucia

Granted, nothing by this artist compares to “Elevate,” but this jam is pretty darn awesome. If you like that sound, you’ll love this, too!

12. “Valley of Dreams” – Cavaliers of Fun

See No. 4

11. “Be the One” – Dua Lupa

Dua Lupa has a beautiful voice/face/hair/sound etc. That is all.

10. “Freeway Lights” – Goldroom

I’ve been listening to Goldroom since he first debuted in 2012—and while it was definitely weird (and a little hard) to see his album featured at the Interscope pop-up shop at Hollywood & Highland alongside Lady Gaga, among others, I refuse to call him a sellout, because while perhaps slightly more produced than before, his sound is overall the same, and this a very light, sweet track that should appeal to everyone.

9. “Bullet” – Chelsea Lankes

How this girl is not a household name is beyond me. Each of her songs are well-produced, well-articulated and relate to everyone. This track is super uplifting and empowering.

8. “Let Me Love You” – DJ Snake f./Justin Bieber

Personal woes aside, Justin Bieber is an incredible artist. Granted, this track goes to DJ Snake, but Bieber’s vocals are definitely an invaluable asset to this recording. This is a genuinely wonderful song from start to finish. It’s pretty, powerful and poignant.

7. “Innerbloom” – RUFUS DU SOL

This is your universally appealing track. I can’t imagine anyone not liking it.

6. “Into the Night” – Cardiknox

This track is fun and light. Do NYE makeup in your mirror to this! It will get you pumped up–promise!

5. “Goin Up” – Deorro f./DyCy

Let’s be honest—when we think of Deorro, we think “Five More Hours,” right? Welp, he’s got a catchy new little jam called “Goin Up,” and (no pun intended), it’s quite uplifting.

4. “Astral Division” – Cavaliers of Fun

Like their name suggests, these guys (guy?) are quite fun — well, at least judging by their music. Granted, I don’t know what this song means and I don’t know anything about the people (person?) on the track. They’ve done quite the job of maintaining a mysterious presence (we’re talkin’ 249 Twitter followers, folks!), but that’s what makes them all the more fun! Anyway, they are the only act to make this list twice (see No. 12), and I really hope to hear more (maybe learn more?) of them in 2017!

3. “Somebody Else” – The 1975

How this song wasn’t nominated for a Grammy is beyond me. Not only are the lyrics hard-hitting, but the melody is exceptionally beautiful. I will forever stay stumped while blasting on repeat.

2. “Kiss It Better” – Rihanna

I believe Rihanna was still dating Chris Brown when this song was in production, so it’s your guess as to whether or not he is the subject matter of this incredibly powerful song. But the highly underrated track allows you to feel both her desire and pain.

1. “In the Morning” – Kaskade/ZHU

I love this song from start to finish. I don’t think I’d ever get sick of it. It’s so reminiscent of old-school Kaskade, circa 2004. If all songs were like this, the world would be a much happier place.

**To note: “The Middle” by DJ Snake technically came out last year, so it was no. 3 on last year’s list, even though it didn’t break out until 2016. I feel the need to acknowledge that so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle 😉

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Music

Dance Your Way Through December With New Music from AlunaGeorge, Zara Larsson and 30 Additional Artists

December 1, 2016

alunageorge-blow-you-upFirst of all, yes, it really is December.

Secondly, when I think about this month, I think of either holiday tunes, Frank Sinatra or very, very mellow, stay-in-bed-all-day kinds of sounds.

Well, consider this year different, because most of the new material I’ve uncovered in the last month is pretty upbeat. So even if it’s raining outside, you can host your own dance party inside. 

AlunaGeorge and Zara Larsson bring it with fresh, upbeat electro-pop tunes, while a usual skyelyfe favorite Bearson released an equally lively “One Step at a Time” with Natalola. And if additional electronic music is what you crave, Seven Lions‘ “Cold Skin” and Marshmellow‘s “Ritual,” among others, also make up this list.

Pop lovers will dig Little Mix‘s empowering love anthem “Nothing Else Matters,” while The Weeknd, Vallis Alps, Day Wave and LIV slow things down with new songs as well. And skyelyfe’s pal Genesee released “Block Party,” featuring lolo.

Click the playlist below and get the party started:

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Music

Bearson, Mystery Skulls, Cosmic Gate, Gorgon City & 14 More Artists: New Music

March 28, 2016

It’s been a little slow (IMHO) with new music releases I’m smitten over lately, so I am especially appreciative for this week’s crop of fresh tracks.

From Norwegian electronic artist Bearson‘s melodic delight “Want You,” to Mystery Skulls‘ fun little disco-inspired number “Believe,” among others, there is a solid selection of dance-friendly songs to choice from as part of this week’s New Music Monday.

Let’s also not forget Gorgon City and Vaults‘ “All Four Walls” or old-school trance pioneers Cosmic Gate‘s “Round We Go” with Myon & Shane.

If you’re looking to take things a little slower, perk open your ears to the sounds of The War on Drugs‘ “Touch of Grey,” Frenship‘s “Carpet,” HANA‘s “White,” Astronautica‘s “Falling for You,” or Amason‘s cover of Foreigner‘s “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Click below for the playlist of 20 new tunes, also including selections by Fitz & the Tantrums, Ty Dolla $ign, Logistics, Kraak & Smaak and LISTENBEE.

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Music

Year In Music: Here’s a Playlist (with Explanations) of My Top 25 Tracks of 2015

December 28, 2015

Fav_tracks_2015_skyelyfeIt was the very beginning of 2015, and Chris Brown and Tyga‘s “Ayo” was the first new radio song I’d heard of the year. I remember driving down the 405 with so much energy, thinking, “Wow, I love this song!”

Well, nothing’s changed since that fateful January day, and the carefree club track has remained not only my favorite song of 2015, but among my top five in the last five years.

But I obviously didn’t limit my listening to just that one track, and below is my list (actual Spotify playlist at the very bottom) and explanations of the 25 songs that best managed to bring a smile to my face this year. Note: These are in no particular order (well, except for #1 of course).

1. “Ayo” – Chris Brown & Tyga

If you’ve ever been with me in an uber, house party or anywhere with an auxiliary cord or some kind of Spotify connection this year, then I’m certain you know this song from start to finish. “Ayo” was definitely my anthem of 2015, and even with the new year upon us, I am certain this will forever remain a going-out classic.

2. “All I Need” – Sneaky Sound System

This song didn’t come out until the end of this year, but it wasted no time making its rounds on my Spotify spins. Sneaky Sound System (who now apparently just goes by Sneaky) has never let me down, and this uplifting song is no exception.

3. “Middle” – DJ Snake & Bipolar Sunshine

I was surprised this incredible track never made much of the radio rounds, following the immense success of Snake’s “Lean On.” “Middle” is far superior in my opinion, but it’s probably for the better that it hasn’t been played out (yet).

4. “Bad” – Alexx Mack

Not to be confused with former Nickelodeon character Alex Mack, this young lady, who I had the pleasure of interviewing back in February, brings out edgy pop at its finest. I fell in love with her sound after hearing “Bad,” and everything she’s released since has been nothing short of fabulous fun!

5. “Talk to Myself” – Avicii

I was really impressed with Avicii’s eclectic Stories album, which pleasantly took a little detour from that strictly country sound he had been going with in his previous material. “Talk to Myself” was my favorite from his latest project, and it definitely received a high dose of my Spotify spins during the month of its October release.

6. “Zero” – Chris Brown

Not much more to say than how can you turn away from a funky, high-energy track that makes you want to dance? Well done, Breezy!

7. “Planes” – Jeremih & J. Cole

This Grammy-nominated track provided the perfect combo of a sick beat and a smooth-flowing verse by J. Cole at the end. No complaints here!

8. “Trippin (Deep Hamilton Remix”) – Hedvig & Hamilton

This sexy little electro tune resembles Kygo‘s sound and was on my regular rotation for the first three months since I’d heard it.

9. “The Less I Know the Better” – Tame Impala

Tame Impala had a breakthrough year with the release of their Grammy-nominated dream-pop album Currents. The 13-track compilation that I think was the best of the year is easy on the ears from start to finish, but “The Less I Know the Better” definitely got my attention the most.

10. “Take Me Over” – Peking Duk & SAFIA

It was a tough call between this track and Peking Duk’s “High,” but I had to give SAFIA some love after hearing this incredible Australian indie-electro band for the first time on several tracks this year.

11. “Midnight Sun” – Kate Boy

Kate Boy wows me with every song release. The Swedish synth-pop duo has a signature sound that can’t go unnoticed, and “Midnight Sun” was regularly stuck in my head since its debut.

12. “Chasing Heaven” – Bassnectar

Dark beauty at its finest, Bassnectar’s melodic dubstep is always a must-listen, and “Chasing Heaven” was the best off his “Into the Sun” release, in my opinion.

13. “Sunglasses” – Alexx Mack

Mack makes the list again with her equally catchy “Sunglasses,” which is about hitting up a party and having a good time. Nothin’ wrong with that!

14. “Pink Medicine” – Bearson

Odesza fans should give this fun track a listen because there’s a major sound similarity.

15. “Will You Dance?” – the bird and the bee

I had the pleasure of interviewing the bird and the bee’s singer Inara George this year for Billboard, and not only was she soft spoken and delightful, but her long-awaited “Will You Dance?” album was the perfect light and airy selection of songs I needed to kick off summer months. “Will You Dance?” (which was also the album’s lead single) was every bit the sweet and deliciously sappy track that perfectly complemented carefree fun in the sun.

16. “Gemini” – What So Not & George Maple

This song dominated my drive to and from Coachella this year. I saw George Maple at a small show shortly before the festival and knew immediately this song would be on my heavy rotation.

17. “The Other Boys” – NERVO, Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears, Nile Rodgers

Kylie Minogue + anyone, typically = gold, and “The Other Boys” is no exception. The dance track is perfect for getting ready to go out, driving on the freeway, or pretty much anything else.

18. “The Music” – Gigamesh

Known mainly for his electronic remixes, Gigamesh released a track of his own this year with the delightfully dance-y “The Music.”

19. “Run” – Alison Wonderland

This SXSW artist‘s own music didn’t hit it big until this year, but the moment I heard “Run,” I needed to hear more. Known for her edgy style and equally hip sound, this Australian electro artist definitely has the potential for a bright future.

20. “Where Are Ü Now” – Jack Ü, Skrillex, Diplo, Justin Bieber

Arguably one of the biggest songs of the year, this release was not only Justin Bieber’s first step toward a comeback, but it also introduced some of the most unique and cutting-edge sounds in music (especially on the radio).

21. “Been You” – Justin Bieber

This upbeat little number was by far my favorite track off of the Biebs’ successful “Purpose” album. Honorable mention goes to his earnest intro ballad “Mark My Words.”

22. “Falling Away” – Seven Lions & LIGHTS

You can’t put Seven Lions and LIGHTS together and not expect a beautiful piece of work. This melodic electro track has been on my regular rotation since its August release.

23. Want to Want Me” – Jason Derulo

File this one under guilty pleasures, but hey, it produced some pretty awesome memories (and dance routines) for me this year, so I really cannot complain!

24. “Fetty Wap” – Trap Queen

Another guilty pleasure track that I’m sure I’m not alone in listing. Although I got sick of it after probably the 100th listen, there’s no denying that this was one of the catchiest radio singles of the year.

25. “Fine By Me” – Chris Brown

Like “Zero,” this track from the just-released Royalty album makes you want to get up and dance! I’m so glad I closed out this year seeing Breezy’s concert at the Hollywood Palladium.

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