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10 Introspective Albums to Listen to While You Light Your Pumpkin Spice Candles

October 17, 2020

Isn’t it funny how we can go from blasting Cardi B and The Chainsmokers (JK on the latter) on Labor Day weekend to suddenly going solemn three weeks later? Yeah, Invasion of Privacy isn’t exactly up there with albums that feel like fall.

But anyway, when the leaves are turning and the sun’s no longer burning, music just feels different. While pool parties and backyard BBQs full of bass are surely a good time, nothing compares to cozying up with hot coffee in sweats to the sounds of moody music and the scents of pumpkin spice.

If you’re on the hunt for songs that will elicit your emotions during this time of year, keep reading for 10 introspective albums that feel like fall.

a couple walks through leaves in the woods or forest
(via Unsplash)

1. Strange Tales – Lord Huron

Strange Tales is here for all your dreamy folk desires. On the 14-song album, dark topics, including death, are intertwined with breathtaking melodies, making this melancholy collection slightly easier to digest.

2. Thank You for Today – Death Cab for Cutie

Everything about Death Cab epitomizes fall vibes, but since Plans’ iconic 2005 release, none of the band’s albums spoke to the magic of the season until 2018’s Thank You for Today. It most closely resembles the aforementioned—after all, there’s even a song called Autumn Love. Need we say more?

3. Strange Pleasures – Still Corners

If you’re going for a dreamy, ethereal vibe, this album will speak to you. Light and luminous, it’s the perfect background music for your next pumpkin carving picnic or fall-themed dinner party.

4. Nocturne – Wild Nothing

This is without question one of the best indie albums of all time. Each song is filled with beautiful, serene melodies without tearing us apart. It’s hopeful, light and timeless—and while we most classify it with fall, it’s truly suitable year-round.

5. Goddess (Deluxe) – Banks

We’re not quite sure what happened to Banks after releasing her insanely promising debut—but either way, Goddess disrupted what we considered pop norms. Her music began to define the new “alternative,” and the melodies from this album are dark as a crisp fall night.

6. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

If you want to transport your mind to an enchanted forest in the middle of nowhere, one listen to anything on this 10-track album will do just the trick. The cohesive selection of songs flow effortlessly, taking you on a spiritual journey from start to finish. And once you’re done, you can step back a few years and listen to 2008’s For Emma, Forever Ago, which, thankfully sounds every bit the same as the aforementioned.

7. Cruel Intentions Original Soundtrack – Various Artists

Much like the provocative, dark ’90s film, its alluring soundtrack still holds up today, and each track evokes curiosity and mystique. To this day, not a film or accompanying soundtrack has done what Cruel Intentions has. Both beautiful and melancholy, every song from start to finish will make you feel something.

8. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy – Sarah McLachlan

If you’re a child of the ’90s you know the massive impact Sarah McLachlan had on music. The Lilith Fair cofounder was a pioneer of making thoughtful albums that, yes, feel like fall. Her 1997 album Surfacing garnered huge mainstream success, but 1993’s lesser known Fumbling Towards Ecstasy resonates with us in a deeper way.

9. Shore – Fleet Foxes

Don’t let the title of Fleet Foxes’ new album fool you—there are no beachy vibes to found on this 15-song selection of folk-rock melodies. But that doesn’t mean they’re not uplifting. If you’re looking for a serene album with a light tone, this is your best bet.

10. Badlands (Deluxe) – Halsey

Halsey has always maintained her disposition as an angsty, brooding artist. But just on the brink of mainstream fame, she released Badlands, a raw, organic look into past relationships and mental health struggles. With no collaborations or buzzy production credits, this melancholic selection of thought-provoking tracks is not only the singer at her finest, but the closest thing to fall-sounding pop out there.

 

Now that you have plenty of albums that feel like fall, mix things up with THIS playlist of best songs from artists at Coachella 2017!

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

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

Celebrate Pride Month With 44 New Songs That Are Sure to Make You Happy!

June 5, 2017

Happy Pride month, everyone!

June is the perfect excuse to not only celebrate equality for all, but happiness, too! This is always an exciting, memorable month, so let’s kick it off with 44 fresh new tunes.

In the spirit of all things equality, I find it perfectly fitting to showcase Halsey‘s brand new album hopeless fountain kingdom, which features breakout song “Strangers,” a collab with Fifth Harmony‘s Lauren Jauregui about two female exes who no longer speak. Although the subject matter is sad, the song is pure perfection—and quite frankly, the album as a whole isn’t far from it. Obviously the tragic hit “Closer” was an unfortunate career catapult for Halsey, but if you listen to this album and her former Badlands, you will see she is actually an incredible artist.

Speaking of albums, you may recall last month’s featured song “Gimme the Highlights,” by Hortlax Cobra, (aka John Eriksson from Peter Bjorn and John). The artist just released Hortlax Cobra’s third album, which features another one of my favorites, “I’m Still Here.” If you’re a fan of mysterious, melodic electronica from one of Sweden’s most talented artists, this album is for you.

Other songs specifically on my radar are “Get Lost” by Washed Out (it’s been a while for them!), “Had to Let Me Go” by Nite Jewel (super sexy), MisterWives‘ very lively “Coloring Outside the Lines” (they are also on the new album radar with Connect the Dots), “Mind” by Slow Magic f./one of my favs Kate BoyLeon Else‘s synth-pop “What I Won’t Do” and an incredibly catchy “It’s a Vibe” by 2 Chainz f./Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz and Jhene Aiko.

For the full list of 44 new tunes, check out the playlist below!

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Music

PHOTOS: Synth-Pop Trio LANY Gets Biola University Pumped During School’s Eddy Outdoor Concert Experience

September 29, 2015

LANY_skyelyfe_3With the weather in Los Angeles still blistering hot, L.A.-based band LANY (an abbreviation of Los Angeles and New York) kept things cool when they jumped on stage with charisma Thursday night at Biola University, as part of the school’s twice-a-semester free outdoor concert experience called Eddy.

With quite a few singles and an EP out, according to their Twitter account, they’ll now be off to a “house by the ocean” to write new material.LANY_skyelyfe_1

Showcasing their signature ’80s synth-pop sound, the show definitely had a fun, jump-up-and-dance vibe. Lead singer Paul Klein put his heart and soul into the whole night. His energy was contagious during performances of “ILYSB” and “4EVER!”

lany_skyelyfe_2The trio’s tunes are catchy, but they still have raw and honest lyrics. It’s crazy to think the band, who is currently touring with Halsey, said they’ve only been performing live since February – It’s pretty hard to tell!

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