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Music

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

38 New Songs to Catch Up on During Thanksgiving Break

November 21, 2018

Whether you’re traveling or simply trying to stay busy/avoid people during the few days you have free for Thanksgiving, it’s the perfect time to catch up on new music.

For the last 2.5 months, I’ve been gathering songs that’ll take me into the rest of 2o18. With a tiny lull in the year, it seems like the perfect time to put these 38 tracks into a playlist.

Allie X is definitely my artist of 2018. I’ve featured her on numerous playlists this year, and “Girl of the Year,” off her new album Super Sunset, is absolutely a standout (along with so many others on her latest compilation of tracks)—but I decided to give this month’s top spot to Hailee Steinfeld, who came through at the very end of the year with her electropop “Back to Life” from the Bumblebee soundtrack, and hands down one of the top 5 pop songs of 2018.

Scroll below for what’s about to become your Thanksgiving 2018 soundtrack (I promise you won’t be disappointed):

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Music

Tep No, Banks, Goldroom, Hailee Steinfeld & 23 More Artists: New Music Monday

July 18, 2016

tep-no-best-crew-skyelyfeLast week was a biggie for pop music: Britney Spears and Katy Perry both released their first fresh single in years. But to my dismay, I’m not particularly in awe of either tune.

So, instead, I am focusing on some new stuff that I actually dig. I mean, if we’re going on the pop route, Hailee Steinfeld‘s cutesy, Zedd-assisted “Starving” isn’t too shabby.

In general, this week’s New Music Monday has a solid crop of mellow electro and pop, so sink your teeth in, folks.

From Tep No, Banks and Goldroom, to The Naked and Famous, Transviolet and Salt Ashes, I’ve got a whopping 27 songs to start your week off right!

Click below for the full playlist. Happy Monday!

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Music Angelenos

This L.A. Pride 2016 Playlist Will Get You Stoked for the Festival!

June 7, 2016

Carly_Rae_LA_Pride_skyelyfeL.A. Pride Music Festival & Parade kicks off its three-day celebration on Friday, and this year’s lineup boasts some seriously impressive talent!

As I noted in April, Carly Rae Jepsen, Charli XCX and Krewella are headlining West Hollywood’s hotly anticipated event, which also features live performances by Trina, Timeflies, Da BratGavin Turek, Gallant, EC Twins, Hailee Steinfeld, Timeflies, Daya, Bebe Rexha and a slew of others.

Can’t wait until the weekend to catch all of the acts? Check out the playlist below to get an earful of each one!

And come back tomorrow for my interview with L.A. Pride president Chris Classen!

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Music Angelenos

Carly Rae Jepsen & Charli XCX Are Headlining L.A. Pride 2016!

April 26, 2016

Carly_Rae_LA_Pride_skyelyfeL.A. Pride‘s headlining act last year will forever be a tough one to follow (I mean, come on, it was Kesha!) – but – I will say I can’t complain about this year’s selection.

Carly Rae Jepsen will take center stage as the main act during the annual West Hollywood festival (which happens to be my favorite event of the year) from June 10-12, the organization announced on its website today. Charli XCX and Krewella are also among the headlining acts.

A slew of additional talent is slated to perform over the course of the weekend, including, Gavin Turek, Gallant, EC Twins, Hailee Steinfeld, Timeflies, Daya, Bebe Rexha and two throwback favs: Da Brat and Trina!

L.A. Pride, which celebrates love and equality for the LGBTQ community, has been home to other additional big performers in the past, including Tinashe, Demi Lovato and Jennifer Hudson.

If you’re feeling nostalgic over last year’s festival with the “Your Love Is My Drug” singer, fear not because just two hours south, you can catch my favorite pop star performing her hits at San Diego Pride on Sat., July 16 (you just might see me there!).

Music

New Music! Mutemath, Wishes, Hailee Steinfeld & Much More!

November 16, 2015

mutemath_joyrides_skyelyfeI don’t know about you, but everyone around me seems to be getting sick. Even I’m coming down with a case of the sniffles, which only happens to me once a year. That’s why I’m depending on some new music to keep me smiling even during times when I’d prefer spending the entire day in bed.

This week, I have 16 New Music Monday songs, including pop by Justin Bieber (yes, his Purpose LP is pretty awesome – and “Been You” is the one of the most energetic tracks off of the overall mellow album), Hailee Steinfeld (her four-song Haiz EP shares raw emotion with impressive vocals and catchy hooks. I included “Rock Bottom” on the list) and One Direction (their easy-on-the-ear “What a Feeling” is reminiscent of the guitar-heavy, slow pop from the ’80s).

There’s also a bit of of disco-influenced dance tracks and tropical house to share as well. I really love Mutemath‘s “Joy Rides,” along with Cheat Codes‘ “Follow You” and Matoma‘s “Find Love,” featuring Donkeyboy.

Click below for the full playlist, which also includes Chris Brown, Wishes, Pierce Fulton, Sugar Joans, Elohim and astronomyy.

And scroll to the very bottom to hear a brand new hip-hop joint “Midnight Love,” from my pal Foster, a Nashville-based artist I interviewed earlier this year. His latest features melodic vocals by Kae Kae.

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