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Music

Skyelyfe’s 17 Favorite Songs of 2017

December 21, 2017

Photo Credit: Unsplash / Alice Moore

Each year, I do two separate lists: one that features my top songs of the year, and one that features my least liked songs of the year.

Welp, this year proved a challenge because the songs were overall so bad and so homogenized, that I truly could not break down my 17 most despised. Whether it was anything touched by DJ Khaled or Selena Gomez (sorry, y’all—wasn’t feeling either of them this year, and I used to be the biggest Khaled fan back in the day), or “Bad and Boujee,” “Congratulations,” “Despacito,” “Location,” “Redbone,” those crappy, blink-and-you-missed-’em Katy Perry singles, and obviously anything Chainsmokers, etc., etc., etc., this year was musically rough.

That said, I did manage to hear 17 tracks that brought a smile to my face, and they definitely deserve mad recognition.

Below, in order from the bottom, my 17 favorite tracks of 2017:

17. “Winter” – PVRIS

I only got into PVRIS this year, but it was most definitely love at first listen. Their hard, melodic, dark rock brings an incredibly unique sound, but lead singer Lynn Gunn‘s vocals are a standout on every track. I saw them in concert earlier this year, and it only intensified my adoration for this rising band. “Winter” is just one of the many songs that truly represents this group’s signature sound.

16. “Gimme the Highlights” – Hortlax Cobra f./ Sibille Attar

If you love electronic music, but not all the crap that sounds the same, I’ve been raving about Hortlax Cobra (aka John Eriksson from Peter Bjorn and John) for years, and how HC has managed to still fly under the radar is beyond me. He released a full-length album this year, and “Gimme the Highlights” is my favorite—mysterious and melodic, this song just can’t go wrong.

15. “You Got Me” – SNBRN, BLU J, Cara Frew

Sexy, dark, progressive and melodic, this song epitomizes the formula to success. And in an era where everything in this “EDM/Dance” genre sounds the same, this song miraculously manages to stand out.

14. “Clap Your Hands” – Le Youth f./ Ava Max

Lively and upbeat, this track is what Billboard describes as “infectious funk,” and I’ve got to say I agree. Ava Max brings beautiful vocals, while Le Youth brings his signature delicious dance vibes.

13. “Falls” – ODESZA f./ Sasha Sloan

Appropriately and coincidentally released just before fall, this chillwave track was the perfect calm that the season needed. Whether on in the background while hosting guests, or as the soundtrack to my lengthy drive to and from work, this song epitomizes ODESZA‘s way of working their musical magic.

12. Kaleidoscopes – Transviolet f./ Reo Cragun

There’s something bittersweet about this this melodic gem. Expressing both love and heartbreak, this is an emotional track, but easy on the ears.

11. “Don’t You Feel It” – Sub Focus f./ALMA

I definitely had this one on regular rotation early in the year. Whether getting through a day at the office or while getting ready for a night out, this uplifting electro tune kept me in good spirits.

10. “Plain Jane” – A$AP Ferg

This song came through in the clutch at the very end of 2017, and there’s no doubt it will fly high up the charts in the year to follow. I can’t imagine anyone hearing this and not getting up to dance in the middle of the club, in their car or in their living room, as this is the ultimate banger!

9. “I Get the Bag” – Gucci Mane f./ Migos

When I heard “Bad and Boujee,” I was like hell no with these Migos guys (btw, I still wouldn’t be able to point them out in a crowd, and it took me months to learn Quavo is a part of Migos and not a separate entity altogether), but I’ve gotta say a few of their songs grew on me. “T-shirt” isn’t bad, “Motorsport” is good (that Cardi B again!), and “I Get the Bag” is a legit banger. Ok, to be fair, my boy Gucci definitely adds a lot to this track, but overall, slick flow, love the dark melody, I’m into it.

8. “No Limit” – G-Eazy, A$AP Rocky, Cardi B

It pains me to put G-Eazy on a top-anything list, but alas, here we are. That said, the real star of the track (and of the year) is obviously Cardi B, and I knew this would be a hit the second I first heard it. It’s getting mad radio play, and you know what? I say play away. I don’t see myself getting sick of this one any time soon.

7. “Bodies” – Wafia

This came in towards the end of the year, and has been playing on my rotation ever since. It’s super light, Wafia’s voice is incredible, and it’s just an all-around solid song.

6. “Devil in Me” – Halsey

Consider Halsey my unexpected breakout star of 2017. Had you told me a year ago that she’d make my Top 17 (No. 6, for that matter), that I’d pay to see her in concert and that I would speak very openly and frequently about her songwriting and skill, I would have said you were clearly joking. But after spending seriously the entire year listening to hopeless. fountain. kingdom. and BADLANDS, I’ve gotta say, I’m a wholehearted fan. Do I think the whole G-Eazy relationship is trashy? Yep. Do I think her radio singles get super old? Yep. But overall, Halsey’s music was basically the soundtrack to my year, so here’s to that. “Devil in Me” is my favorite track she released this year (“Strangers” in close second). This song is raw and powerful, a definite must-listen!

5. “Don’t Take the Money” – Bleachers

I found out Lorde is a co-writer on this song, which I never would have expected, but that said, right up there with “Sit Next to Me,” this song’s melody is an instant jolt of happiness. It also reminds of a particularly upward point in 2017, so many positive associations there!

4. “Sit Next to Me” – Foster the People

This song sparked immediate excitement in me when I heard it for the first time, and has continued to do so every play thereafter. This is without question my second favorite FTP track of all-time (“I Would Do Anything for You” being the first). It’s oddly difficult for me to listen to music when I’m not in the best mood, but this song is an exception. I can listen to it any time, any place, as an instant mood-booster.

3. “Reminder” – The Weeknd

This one’s a rare Weeknd radio single that didn’t get overplayed—which may be why it reigned supreme in my book. No, but really though, the melody on this track is A+. And hearing The Weeknd’s soothing vocals on anything is icing on the cake!

2. “Nirvana” – Ryder

Like the title suggests, this song is heavenly. It is so incredibly beautiful from start to finish, I feel like I’m floating on a cloud as I hear it. It came out at the very beginning of the year, so it’s been a minute since I’ve had it on heavy rotation, but listening to it again brings back all sorts of fond memories and happiness. This track will never get old.

1. “Privacy” – Chris Brown

Breezy has reclaimed his throne after a lackluster 2016. “Privacy”—which led up to the release of his hotly anticipated double-album Heartbreak on a Full Moon—was my jam, and Spotify seemed to agree, listing it as my most listened to song of 2017. While this sexy, dirty little ditty doesn’t even come close to my love for “Ayo,” this is for sure a banger and I’ll most definitely be listening for years to come.

Listen to all the favorites below:

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Music

Pompeya, RAC, SomeKindaWonderful, DWNTWN + 23 More Artists: New Music August!

August 3, 2017

I don’t know about you, but musically speaking, to me, August signifies the arrival of Kesha‘s hotly anticipated Aug. 11 comeback album Rainbow.

But while we eagerly await the 14-song selection, let’s get into some recently released tunes, shall we?

Some of my regularly rotating favorites (Foster the People, RAC, DWNTWN) each released new albums within the last couple of weeks and they are so good! I commend FTP for sticking true to their original sound with each new release. Their new album brings so much happiness to my heart—especially the song “Sit Next to Me,” which I’ve included in this month’s new music playlist. In addition, you must check out RAC’s “Unusual” and DWNTWN’s “Love Someone.”

But the song I’m featuring in the forefront this month is indie new wave act Pompeya‘s “Somebody Else,” off their new four-track EP Domino. Anyone who’s been following skyelyfe knows the Moscow natives have been been on my radar for years. I always get excited when they release new material because they’re one of the few acts to never let me down.

I also advise checking out SomeKindaWonderful‘s “Wheels Up,” a bit of a different sounding venture for the alt-rock band, who collabed with Casey Veggies on this mellow hip-hop electro track.

Scroll below to check out the playlist of 27 new tracks worth listening to this month, which also includes Don Diablo, Rhye, Decco, Bryce Vine, Snakehips, Body Language and Grabbitz!

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Music

New Music May: Hortlax Cobra, Little Dragon, SNBRN, Foster the People & 35 More Artists!

May 9, 2017

While I’m sad to see those April showers go, entering a new month means another selection of fresh music—and this month we’ve got some quality sounds from artists we haven’t heard much of lately.

Little Dragon released their latest full-length album Season High, and I’m loving the song High in particular. Our beloved Foster the People are back as well! And while not with an entire album, we at least get a three-track EP, oh-so-appropriately called III. They sound significantly different from how they’ve ever sounded in the past, but the new material is great nonetheless! Speaking of new sounds and names we haven’t heard in a while, do you guys remember David Archuleta from American Idol? He’s back with Up All Night, and it’s clear his sound has matured a bit. I really like the song!

But my favorite new tune this month is definitely Hortlax Cobra’s “Gimme the Highlights.” I’ve been a fan of HC for quite some time, and enjoy being able to rely on their distinct sound.

The rest of the playlist is a big smorgasbord of electronic (SNBRN, Laidback Luke, Pat Lok, Seven Lions), hip-hop (Kendrick Lamar, Mannywellz, D.R.A.M., Omarion) and everything in-between (Goldroom, Future Islands, RAC, Stalking Gia, Grace Mitchell and more!).

I just went through the whole list, and I’ve gotta say, this is one of my favorite compilations of songs in quite some time. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Music

It’s Summertime! Celebrate the New Season with Fresh Music, Including Beck, Dragonette, Roosevelt & Much More!

June 22, 2015

beck-dreams-skyelyfeIs it just me or has this year gone by faster than any year prior? New Year’s Eve feels like last month, and now here we are already at the end of June!

That said, yesterday marked the first official day of summer, which also marks the season closest to my favorite one of all – fall! With that, I bring you 21 new songs with which you can kick off the next three months of sunny poolside frolics.

Nothing feels like summer quite like Beck‘s new track “Dreams.” With somewhat of a Foster the People flare, this song is sure to get you smiling as you cruise down PCH.

Dragonette is back with “Let the Night Fall,” her first single since 2012. In typical form, the synthpop starlet’s new track with have you on your feet!

Also along the lines of dance, Girogio Moroder is sure to get the discotheque poppin’ with “4 U with Love,” while Little Boots will also have you grooving with “No Pressure,” Colour Vision brings the tropical house with “Haus Party” and Robert DeLong remixed The Bird and the Bee‘s adorable “Will You Dance?”

For some poppy pleasure, Hilary Duff‘s “One in a Million” is a total ladies anthem and I’m loving it! I’m also digging Powers‘ “Loved by You” – and Adam Lambert‘s Tove Lo collabo on “Rumors” is a must-listen.

Stay hydrated, everyone!

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Music Featured

Indie-Pop Artist Bean Releases Lyric Video for Empowering New Single “Wildfire” and Talks to Skyelyfe About Life As an Inner-Hippie Living in the Heart of Hollywood

May 20, 2015
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Photo credit: Chase Johnson

Fresh from a smashing recent Wango Tango  Village pre-show performance and yesterday’s release of catchy new empowering single “Wildfire” (be sure to scroll to the bottom for its lyric video), indie-pop artist Noelle Bean – whose stage name is simply just Bean – is floating on a sound cloud, but she didn’t envision musical stardom in her cards growing up.

Unlike so many other artists who dropped everything to pursue a career in music at a young age, the 23-year-old – who didn’t even pick up a guitar until she was almost 19 – was your average teenage girl, living in the south and going to church.

“I wasn’t planning on any of this happening.” the West Hollywood resident told skyelyfe of her current reality. “I wasn’t meaning to move out to L.A. and have this kind of life or anything, but I fell in love with music and it led me here, you know? It’s awesome.”

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Photo credit: Chase Johnson

After learning how to play different chords, “I eventually started putting all these poems that I had in a big compilation of journals and I was like, maybe I can make songs out of these,” she explained. “And so that’s what I did. I put the words with the chords and I put a melody over it. I put it up on YouTube and I’m signed to an indie label out here in L.A. now.”

Last week I met up with Bean for the first time to discuss the release of her new single, among other things. She greeted me with a big hug and the most engaging “hi!” I knew right away, this would be like catching up with an old friend.

The first thing I noticed were her uniquely manicured gels, popping with this incredible purple shade, adorned with these tiny gold triangles at the cuticles (take a peek at them on my Instagram). She informed me they were done at Tomoka Nails in West Hollywood. After discussing her expert Yelping skills that led her to this gem of a salon, we got to the reaction to that Wango Tango pre-show performance.

“It was amazing!” she said of L.A.’s KIIS-FM radio concert experience. “It’s been one of the biggest performances I’ve done. It was interesting for my set because everybody else was playing a track and was super poppy and then I get up there with my guitar player and my drummer and we did a little acoustic set kind of thing. The response was so much better than I thought it was going to be.”

As Bean pointed out, her vibe doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of most of the concert’s other participants, which included Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Meghan Trainor, Kanye West, Fifth Harmony and Ne-Yo, who were main stage performers.

“As far as my whole take on mainstream music and what’s popular on top 40 radio goes, it’s undeniable that yeah, I jam out to Taylor Swift tunes every now and again,” she said. “But my go-to music is super alternative, like The 1975 meets Foster the People. I listen to a ton of Ed Sheeran – just really alternative, indie band kind of stuff.”

Her true persona and musical influences shine through in “Wildfire,” a song she called “an anthem for all the other crazy, randoms out there.”

The track is a much-welcome change for the pop star-on-the-rise, who laughably rolled her eyes at the thought of last year’s single “Rollercoaster.”

She said excitedly, ” ‘Wildfire’ is really different and I’m so glad about that because ‘Rollercoaster’ was so poppy and I’m just like, thank god I’m past that stage!”

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Photo credit: Chase Johnson

Bean describes her new release as “a compilation of all these different people and their opinions of me. It’s everybody in the music business basically saying, like, ‘Are you sure that you know who you are as an artist and do you know what genre you are? And you keep changing your look every week. You’re wearing red lipstick one day, the next day you’re wearing a flower crown and Free People clothes.’ “

Referring to herself as “a wildfire,” Bean goes on to say, “I’m random, spontaneous and I love everything about the 1970s – just the hippie lifestyle movement.”

So, what’s life like as a self-proclaimed inner-hippie living in the heart of Tinseltown? There’s something for everyone out here, she believes, noting that in particular, she’s a huge fan of (first and foremost) her nail salon (see above), Pita Bar and Grill on Fairfax, Fox You boutique and none other than the Starbucks on Robertson and Beverly Blvd.

Check out the lyric video to Bean’s new single “Wildfire” below and download the track FREE on iTunes ALL WEEK LONG!:

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Beauty Music Food Angelenos Featured

From Lolla to the Taste LA: Reliving 5 Summer Highlights as We Say Sayonara to the Sunniest Season!

June 1, 2014

It’s no secret that my favorite season is fall. It makes me unconditionally at ease. So I guess it goes without saying that although there were some surefire highlights of the summer, I am beyond excited for the three-month falliday! But even while basking in the joys of the new season upon us, it would be unfair to discredit some fond memories of the past few months.

Here are five memorable moments from the sunniest season (in no particular order):

1. LOLLAPALOOZA 

Talk about a trip of spontaneity! While talks of heading to the Windy City for Lolla weekend had been going on for some time, the trip wasn’t officially booked until less than a week beforehand. The flight was far from inexpensive at this point, but at least my friend and I had a place to stay when we arrived (thank you for your hospitality, Elizabeth!). A handful of other close friends from L.A. were also in town for the festivities, so it was great to explore Chicago (for the very first time) with some of my favorite people. Oddly enough, after all was said and done, my Lolla group and I only made it to two shows out of the entire festival. But we definitely maximized our experience, making the two shows among the best options. Foster the People never disappoints, and Cut Copy‘s performance was so intimate and just perfect for a number of reasons. CC at Lolla was definitely one of the best live experiences I have ever had. When we weren’t at the festival, frolicking around the city or pre-partying at one of our friend’s amazing condos, we were pretty much stationed at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago for their weekend-long Lolla afterparty, where we caught incredible performances by ASTR and Betty Who (always perfection). The weekend was pretty much flawless, except for how quickly it went by.

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2. GETTING IN THE SPIRIT OF SIPPING SPIRITS

It’s not like you have to twist my arm to try a new flavor of vodka or celebrate a spirit, and this summer was no exception when it came to doing just that. While Svedka kicked off the season in June with a pool party to celebrate the launch of their mango pineapple and strawberry lemonade flavors, VEEV concluded summer with a huge nighttime pool party as well, to spread the word about their new 70 proof VEEV 2.0. Complete with aerial dancers and a beautiful view of Beverly Hills, the #cheatonvodka-themed fete was at capacity in no time. Meanwhile, Grey Goose had a launch of its own this summer. I was on hand at the now-infamous 1oak night club in West Hollywood (thankfully no shootings on this particular outing), where I sipped the brand’s new Le Melon flavor all night, as the crowd toasted Swizz Beatz and Kehinde Wiley. Cheers!

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3. FESTIVAL OF ARTS/PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS

On a mid-July Saturday, I took a little drive just south of L.A. to Orange County with my dad. We attended the Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. The annual event is California’s premier fine arts show and this was my first time attending. The exhibits were seemingly endless and so diverse. After the festival, we grabbed dinner and then it was off to the spectacular display of living art. Yes, two hours are devoted to live people recreating historical pieces of artwork on a stage in front of hundreds of audience members. It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t seen it in person, but it is really interesting and I recommend checking it out to get a better idea.

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4. CRUSTACEAN’S REDHOUR SUMMER MUSIC SERIES

The summer heat had fully kicked in on this early Thursday evening in June and all I wanted was to be social in an air-conditioned space that provided wine. Well, luckily I managed to find that (and a sampling of an entire food menu) at the RedHour summer music series kick-off at Crustacean restaurant in Beverly Hills. My friend and I received the royal treatment sitting at a VIP table, while schmoozing with the eatery’s owner and some of the night’s lovely performers, who included American Idol alums Jessica Sanchez and Pia Toscano – along with Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield‘s equally talented sister Nikola Rachelle, who was definitely the highlight of my night.

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5. THE TASTE LA

I wanted one final hurrah before kicking off my month of #Sobtember, so before ditching booze and carb-rich foods for 30 days, I went out with a bang at the Los Angeles TimesTaste L.A. event. I don’t really know what else to say here except I could barely fit any of the array of beverages inside of me because I ate so much. The line for Ramen burgers dominated the whole event. I steered clear, but was sure to get my hands on churros, chicken & waffles, huevos rancheros, vegan cheeseburgers and who knows what else! All I know is it was worth every bite and I could barely move after my consumption. Thank you Food Flaunt for bringing me along, even if indeed it was one of the sweatiest days of the year.

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