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Music

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 Featured

Skyelyfe’s Quarantine Soundtrack, Featuring All New Songs Since Lockdown

July 7, 2020

Since lockdown, there’s clearly been much more spare time to dig through new music press releases and Spotify playlists. So, naturally, I’ve been adding and subtracting to my “April 2020” ever since.

As of today, I decided to officially change the name to “Quarantine Turn-Up” and post this overdue list of songs. This has literally been the soundtrack to everything I’ve done in the last four months.

If this song is on the list, that means it made it through all the ups and downs leading to this publish date. I will continue to update the list as the months of quarantine continue, so feel free to continue checking back for new tunes.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CB-hqDGoY25/

For now, here are almost 30 brand new songs that make up the soundtrack to my quarantine experience. From The Magician and Aluna, to Kaskade and even some Migos and Tyga, scroll below for your listening pleasure.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3fBzMt2QAo9PjVgLErqJWq?si=mo1o3qyvQgic-zqSlsvp6A

 

Music

Celebrate Spring Solo With the Help of 22 New Uplifting Tunes

March 19, 2020

Spring—a season typically synonymous with freshly cut grass, florals, spring break and Coachella—is off to a very uncharacteristic start.

As today marks the first day of this part of the year, Angelenos aren’t out basking in the sunshine (well, that’s also because it’s raining—which excites me), but rather quarantining themselves due to the rapidly growing Coronavirus.

As many people scramble to stay employed, keep their business afloat, or even to keep their shelves stocked with what used to be simple household items, it doesn’t exactly put the brightest aura around the season.

That said, music never hurt anyone—and whether you’re working remotely, taking care of your kids or using this time as an opportunity to perfect your cooking, we can all use some fresh background music to liven our spirits.

Scroll down for 22 new, uplifting tunes to help you celebrate the first day of spring, solo. From Niall Horan and Cash Cash to Wild Nothing and 3LAU, you’re sure to find a fresh sound you love!

Music

Skyelyfe’s Top 20 Honorable Mention Songs of the 2010s

December 25, 2019

(via YouTube)

Last week, I brought you my list of what I consider the 20 best songs of the 2010s (ranked), because I wanted to specifically recognize my absolute favorite tunes of the time. But you can’t sum up an entire decade of music with just a couple dozen tracks.

That’s why, in a separate post, I’m bringing you my top 20 honorable mentions (unranked), to give some additional ditties the love they deserve.

From Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber, to Lady Gaga, Bon Iver and more, scroll through the playlist below for skyelyfe’s top 20 honorable mention songs of the 2010s (and don’t forget to follow the link above for my ranking of the absolute best)!

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Music Featured

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of the 2010s, Ranked

December 11, 2019

(via Unsplash)

When it comes to selecting a personal “best” song, there’s so much more that goes into it than how far it charted on the Billboard Top 40. In fact, that doesn’t play a role to me at all.

What matters is how I felt about the song during its prime, if I feel the same way about the song now, if it had a legitimate “moment” in my life and if it brought some kind of unique sound or formula to the table. With each of these factors in mind, I’ve spent literally all of 2019 jotting down all my most monumental songs of the decade in a notebook as I thought of them.

With 10 years to account for, obviously a slew of songs came to mind. And while I’d have to say music basically died after 2014, the earlier years of the decade brought some of the most iconic songs of all time. Keep reading for skyelyfe’s 20 best songs of the 2010s, ranked. *Note: I left out all remixes even though some were absolutely amazing.

20. ‘Wide Awake’ – Katy Perry (2012)

While probably the last single you think of when you look back on Katy Perry’s iconic Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection album, “Wide Awake” was not only a powerful ballad from the characteristically gimmicky singer, but also one that came out during a trying time in my personal life when I felt like the world was crashing down on me and I was trying to recover from a rough patch. I found the song to be therapeutic in many ways, and I highly respect that this is a detour from much of the singer’s other work.

19. ‘Ice Tray’ – Quality Control, Quavo, Lil Yachty (2017)

This is simply the quintessential song you want to hear on a night out. I can’t tell you how many times I danced to this after-hours. The dark, pulsating track even managed to make Joe Budden relevant again for a hot sec. Had the song come out earlier in the decade, it would have made an even bigger impact, but it definitely holds a special place as one of the best of the latter years.

(via YouTube)

18. ‘I Met You’ – Anna Lunoe + Flume (2012)

2012 was such a year for electronic music. The genre expanded in so many ways, and I was absolutely obsessed with this track. I remember playing this and No. 17 interchangeably nonstop all throughout my work days that year. I very much miss this musical moment.

17. ‘All My Life’ – Gigamesh f./ Jana Nyberg (2012)

Much like the aforementioned track, this was on my Spotify rotation nonstop in 2012—so much so that the app listed it as my most listened to song of that year (not shocking!). Still when I hear it to this day, I don’t like it any less.

(via YouTube)

16. ‘The North’ – Summer Heart (2011)

Summer Heart seemingly came out of nowhere, and this song is hands down one of the most beautifully melodic tracks I’ve ever heard. Not to be fooled by the artist’s name, this song had every bit of a solemn fall vibe, accompanying the season swimmingly that year.

15. ‘Dreaming’ – The Knocks (2014)

The Knocks stole my heart in 2014, and I’ve seen them live countless times since. Their infectious energy lights up a stage, and I truly can’t think of a livelier duo. “Dreaming” is every bit the upbeat track that got me on my feet in 2014 (even when the year got me down).

(via YouTube)

14. ‘Nocturne’ – Wild Nothing (2012)

Seriously bless Wild Nothing. They were my most listened to act of 2012 on Spotify, and have truly never let me down since. They encapsulate everything I could possibly want in a band, with their light, dreamy alt. rock melodies. I can seriously listen to “Nocturne” (and its album of the same name) forever. Just thinking about it makes me happy.

13. ‘Silhouettes’ – Avicii (2012)

Avicii’s tragic death last year was by far one of the most impactful and saddening. Not only a legendary trendsetter in electronic music, the Swedish DJ didn’t seem to have a bad bone in his body (at least from what we know). On top of it all, he created some forever memorable tracks, including what I consider his most underrated, “Silhouettes.” This song takes me back to his then-signature sound when he first hit the scene with “Levels” in 2011. RIP, Avicii.

(via YouTube)

12. ‘Operate’ – ASTR (2013)

Short-lived electronic R&B duo ASTR was an act I found from my old-school favorite indie music blog BitCandy, and I instantly fell in love with them. They disbanded after 2015, but in their time together, Zoe Silverman and Adam Pallin released two insanely outstanding EPs that will forever hold a place in my heart. “Operate” was the first single they released, and therefore the most legendary. I got my entire group of friends hooked, and therefore they definitely made a large dent in my musical memories of the decade.

11. ‘L.A. Lights’ – Grum (2010)

There’s no song like this one (or like the album Heartbeats) on this list. In a shocking move, Grum (aka Graeme Shepherd) went from a retro synth sound to joining the Anjunabeats label going full-force trance. Prior to his musical transition, he released “L.A. Lights,” a beautiful melody that felt ever so fitting to my many late nights under the… L.A. lights.

10. ‘I Get the Bag’ – Gucci Mane f./ Migos (2017)

Out of what was one of the most atrocious years in hip-hop (hip-pop?) came “I Get the Bag,” the Metro Boomin-produced track that made me give Migos a fair chance (I wasn’t big on “Bad and Boujee”). As a longtime fan of Gucci, he absolutely delivers here, on what was one of the best rap songs of the latter part of the decade.

9. ‘Your Love Is My Drug’ – Ke$ha (2010)

And this is where we cue the tears! 2010 was such a magical year for music, and Ke$ha (with then-dollar sign) was a huge proponent of that. Her album Animal came out on the very first day of the decade, setting the precedent for what was probably the best year of my life. This song, album, era brings back so many memories. I know the singer’s in a much healthier, better place now, following her horrifying experience with Dr. Luke, but there’s no denying her songs from the early 2010s will never compare to anything present.

(via YouTube)

8. ‘In the Morning’ – ZHU + Kaskade (2016)

This was my No. 1 song of 2016, and there’s no doubt in my mind why. I only knew like one song by ZHU at this point, but the collab with Kaskade was perfectly executed into melodic bliss, setting the tone for not just my Coachella vibe that year, but for the year as a whole.

7. ‘Slow Love’ – MØ (2014)

I found MØ on the brink of her No Mythologies to Follow album release, and it was a game changer. The unique style of songs is solid from head to toe, and Slow Love sounds like nothing else I’ve heard from her (or any other artist for that matter). According to Spotify, it was my most listened to song of 2014, and according to my blog, the song and the album were both my No. 1 picks of that year.

6. ‘Skin’ – Rihanna (2010)

Name a sexier song of this decade—I’ll wait. Rihanna took her provocative nature to new heights with this dark, alluring melody and bold lyrics to match. While definitely one of her most underrated songs of all-time, it’s hands down one of the best (especially if you were around to improvise an accompanying music video with my group of friends).

5. ‘Loyal’ – Chris Brown f./ Lil Wayne + Tyga (2013)

This classic came out at the very end of 2013, but definitely made its mark the following year. Between the video and Nic Nac beats’ music production, this trio of artists nailed it on what became the party anthem of 2014, in an otherwise lackluster year of hip-hop.

(via YouTube)

4. ‘What’s My Name?’ – Rihanna f./ Drake (2010)

Whenever these 2010 songs come up, I get super nostalgic. I literally remember exactly where I was and how I felt at the peak of these tracks. Rihanna’s Loud album was a surefire favorite of that year, and this was without question the best song that came from it. Major fall/winter vibes I will absolutely never forget.

3. ‘Super Bass’ – Nicki Minaj (2011)

Ah, simpler times. “Super Bass” epitomizes the old-school, inspiring, happy-go-lucky vibe Nicki Minaj’s music brought the world when she first stepped on the scene. Her Pink Friday album felt so pure, and to this day, no “love song” in the hip-hop genre has topped “Super Bass.” Every bit upbeat and sweet, even in my crazy year known as 2011, this song helped keep me sane.

(via YouTube)

2. ‘Ayo’ – Chris Brown f./ Tyga (2015)

This song needs no introduction. If you’ve ever been in an Uber with me, at a house party or in my living room, then you’re no stranger to this Nic Nac beats-produced track. As my most-played song of the whole decade, it absolutely deserves this No. 2 ranking.

1. ‘Teenage Dream’ – Katy Perry (2010)

And now, for the ultimate tearjerker… talk about the good ol’ days! “Teenage Dream” epitomizes carefree bliss and everything light that pop represented early in the decade. It’s easy to forget Katy Perry released one of the best pop albums of all-time, and I think I speak for everyone reading this that no pop song (or Katy Perry song, for that matter) will ever compare to this one.

(via YouTube)

Listen to the entire playlist below (and come back next week for my top 20 honorable mentions of the decade):

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Music

Embrace Magical Fall Months with Blissful New Music by Astrid S, Tove Lo and 15 More Artists

October 16, 2019

cozy socks embrace fall weather with pumpkins and coffee

(via Unsplash / Alex Geerts)

Whether you unabashedly gulp down PSLs like they’re water, you live for Halloween, or cooler temps are totally your thing, there’s no denying fall has something for everyone.

Even if we disagree on the best part of this cozy season, I think we can all say it isn’t complete without just the right music to set the tone.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of fresh new tunes just waiting to be on your fall playlist rotation. While summer 2019 brought on some dance party anthems, we’re switching gears with some mellow music that’ll help you ease effortlessly into the slower-paced weeks ahead.

Embrace magical fall months with blissful new music by 17 artists, including Astrid S, Tove Lo, Lane 8, Adventure Club and The Knocks!

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Music

Live Up the Rest of the Season With the Only Summer 2019 Playlist That Matters

August 21, 2019

(via Unsplash)

Whoever says summer’s already over is probably just too eager for fall.

Usually I’m that person, but seeing how most of my friends are just now leaving for their extravagant seasonal getaways, it definitely still feels like summer.

That’s probably why I don’t feel like it’s too late to post the ultimate summer playlist, full of the best releases in the last three months.

Let it be known that I spent the entire season—leading up to literally today—going through every press release I received, rummaging through all my Spotify new music playlists and Shazaming every new song on that struck a chord (pun intended) with me on Sirius radio.

After months of adding new songs and deleting others, I came to my finalized 37-song, ultimate summer 2019 playlist. This includes everyone from PNAU, Kelsey Lu, E-40 and Flux Pavilion (earlier in the summer), to PVRIS, Phantoms and Shallou (later in the summer).

Give it a go below:

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Music

May Flowers—and Music! 21 New Tracks by Olivia O’Brien, A-Trak, Goldroom and More

May 1, 2019

It’s officially May—which means Coachella is a thing of the past, people are slowly slipping into their swimsuits and your workout classes are filling up faster than ever.

While not quite yet summer, May marks the peak of Spring, when people are showing a little more skin and embracing the time change. That said, everyone needs just the right playlist to help them get into the spirit, and we’ve got just that.

A nice departure from the more somber songs of months past, May’s playlist is an upbeat transition into sunnier seasons. Kicking things off is “Just a Boy,” the breakout track from Olivia O’Brien‘s debut album, Was It Even Real?. She describes the bop to Paper as “one of the most fun and empowering songs I have ever made,” and that makes perfect sense, seeing as it’s a big F-U to guys who have screwed her over, but the melody just makes us want to dance. Summer anthem, anyone? We’ve spotted it!

Following are some upbeat electronic tracks by A-Trak, Goldroom, Eden xo, Lipless, LUXXURY and more. If these don’t scream springtime frolics, then I just don’t know what does.

Scroll through the playlist below of 21 new songs you need to listen to this month!

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Music

No April Fools Here! Just New Music by Felix Cartal, Alesso, Bonnie McKee and 25 More Artists

April 1, 2019

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it seems like there are way more April Fools’ Day pranks and jokes circulating the web today than any year prior—and some of them, while silly, are especially amusing to Angelenos.

But as much as I’d like to say I came up with the time to get all sorts of creative for April 1, all I got down to was coming up with a list of 28 new tracks—many of which are the perfect kickoff to festival season (no kidding!).

With the sun shining brightly and spring break in clear view, it’s time to put away the solemn melodies and bust out the songs that make us want to dance.

Felix Cartal teamed up with Lights for the upbeat track “Love Me” in Feb., but it (shockingly) hasn’t picked up much traction yet, so I’m including it in this list of new songs. I’m also loving Alesso’s “TIME,” Armin Van Buuren and Bonnie McKee‘s “Lonely for You,” Vicetone‘s “Feel Like,” Audien‘s “Favorite Song,” featuring Echosmith, and lots more!

Keep scrolling for all the tunes you need to get you through Coachella prep and beyond!

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Music

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with 28 New Songs You’re Going to Love

February 8, 2019

Aside from the fact that I had to drive an hour in a torrential downpour this morning, I’ve gotta say, my Valentine’s Day gift is rain in L.A. It’s pretty relaxing and I simply just love a drizzly (and windy!) day.

In addition to my new brakes, the other thing that helped me make it through my stormy little ride is new music! Bag Raiders teamed up with The Kite String Tangle to bring you the infectiously catchy “Lightning,” which is the debut single off their album Horizons, coming out later this year.

While the vibe outside may keep you indoors this holiday, the playlist below will have you feeling otherwise, with additional dance-worthy tracks by Cassian, R3HAB, Icona Pop, Peking Duk, Alison Wonderland and a handful of other upbeat artists.

Whether you’re celebrating V-Day with a significant other or only with Ben & Jerry’s, at least you’ve got a slew of new songs to keep you occupied tonight, and all through the three-day weekend!

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Music

Beat the Winter Blues With 24 New Tunes by Kim Petras, Le Youth and More

January 4, 2019

The Christmas lights have come down, the new year’s resolutions have likely already been broken. We’re now in the thick of winter, folks—with nothing groundbreaking on the immediate horizon (unless, of course, you’re nominated for a Grammy).

Grammy or not, we luckily all have music to turn to—and while this exact time isn’t exactly known for bringing us the bangers, I’ve managed to dig up some songs worth listening to while we wait for things to pick up again.

Scroll through the playlist below for 24 new tracks by Cheat Codes, Kim Petras, Le Youth, Years & Years, Touch Sensitive, NERO, Tycho and more:

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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

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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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

Kick off the Best Season of the Year With New Music by Wild Nothing, Allie X and 29 More Artists

September 6, 2018

Two things of major importance here: Fall officially starts on Sat., Sept. 22, and every day this week has felt like the season is already in full swing.

This never happens in L.A. I mean, last year it was 90-degrees in mid-December. So, anyway, yeah, I’m super excited. And what better way to welcome the best season of the year than with some amazing music? Lots of chill stuff here for your ears to consume.

Let’s start with Wild Nothing‘s fourth album Indigo, released last week. The 11-track, mellow dream pop playlist somewhat resembles their second album Nocturne, which is pure music to my ears—and perfect for setting the fall mood.

Another album standout is Death Cab for Cutie‘s Thank You for Today, their best full-length release since 2005’s Plans. Though Plans is pretty untoppable, this album is pretty amazing, not to mention there’s a song called “Autumn Love” (come on now!).

For all of this and much more (including new music by Emma Blackery, Allie X, Seven Lions, Troye Sivan, Bassnectar, and A R I Z O N A), scroll through the 32-song playlist below:

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Music

Robyn Releases First Single in 8 Years (Plus 26 Other Songs to Know in August)

August 1, 2018

If the quality of this playlist is any indication of how this month is going to go, then it’s going to be a good one!

Subdued and sultry, most of the songs that make up August’s new music selection don’t really fall into the sound of a typical summer month—but that’s ok, because this is one of my favorite playlists in a long time.

Before I get into everything else, I must acknowledge one very important tidbit of musical information: Robyn just released (as in an hour ago) her first single in eight years! Titled “Missing U,” fans of the Swedish electropop legend will be delighted to know nothing (as far as her sound is concerned) has changed since 2010’s Body Talk Pt. 2.

Now that I’ve got out of the way, the rest of the playlist is comprised of mostly moody melodies that may not kick up your dance party, but will certainly evoke emotion. Sizzy Rocket‘s “High,” Allie X‘s “Focus” and Cannons‘ “Round and Round” are pure beauties, as are Transviolet‘s “Undo” and Eli & Fur‘s “Something Is Real.”

If indeed you need a little pick-me-up, scroll down the list for Dillon Francis‘ “Never Let You Go,” Cosmo’s Midnight‘s “Polarised” and ARIZONA‘s “Freaking Out.”

For the full playlist of 27 fresh tracks, scroll below!

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Music

Have a Magical May with New Music By Rusko, FRENSHIP, Heather Brave and 26 More Artists

May 8, 2018

Spring has sprung (aka it’s starting to get really hot outside), which means you’ll probably be driving around and going out a lot more—which also means you need a whole new set of songs to accompany your adventures!

For the month of May, we found 29 fresh tracks to spice up those sunny days ahead.

We’re especially loving Rusko‘s “High,” off the Dubstep guru’s newly released EP, Has Made Five More Songs. But as usual, we’re delivering a little something for everyone—whether it’s pop by Jake Miller, R&B by Bazzi and Mya (yes, that Mya!) and pretty much everything else.

Listen to the playlist below, and enjoy the rest of the month!

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Music

Skyelyfe’s Definitive Ranking of Avicii’s 5 Best Songs

April 21, 2018

Instagram / @DahviShira

Yesterday, my musical world was turned upside-down, following a Billboard push notification I received on my phone with the heartbreaking news that Avicii died at the shocking age of 28—news that clearly rocked the entire music industry.

If, like me, you’ve recently taken a deep dive into the electronic DJ and producer’s lengthy discography to relive some of his highlights, you’ve probably been mentally transported to a Vegas hotel with a Sirius EDM station blasting from your room, toasting to your wild day that lies ahead.

That’s where his music takes me. His earlier sound epitomizes that feeling of fun, freedom and no cares in the world.

But whether physically in Vegas or simply sitting here in front of my laptop from my West Hollywood apartment, there’s no doubt the artist (born Tim Bergling) has a happy association for me.

While I certainly commend all of the artist’s creative vision—he was one music’s all-time biggest innovators—I’m definitely partial to his songs 2009-2013.

With that, I’ve selected my five all-time favorite Avicii songs (and yes, I did throw in a newer one), and ranked them in order. Happy listening!

5. “Talk to Myself” (Stories, 2015)

Following Avicii’s country-inspired detour, I was pleasantly surprised by Stories, which included a bit of what we’d been hearing from him lately, but also some of what caused us to fall in love with him in the first place. Included in his throwback sound was “Talk to Myself,” which I listed as my 5th favorite song of 2015. And now I’m also listing it as my 5th favorite song of his altogether.

4. “Street Dancer (Radio Edit)” (single, 2011)

One of Avicii’s much lesser-known tracks, this song takes me back to my pre-Spotify iPod era, when I would spend countless hours discovering music on YouTube and then have to use this special website to convert each song into .MP3 format (ah, the good ol’ days). While this song never took off, it will forever be a mainstay in the playlists I associate with a very particular time in my life. The music was so good back then, and this song is no exception.

3. “I Could Be the One [Avicii vs Nicky Romero]” (single, 2012)

The hilariously motivational music video easily draws my attention to this song, but the track itself is filled with Avicii’s signature sound of this era, making it a surefire classic from his repertoire.

2. “Levels (Radio Edit)” (single, 2011)

Not only is this the song that put Avicii on the map, but it’s also a track that defined a fresh generation of music. If there’s one thing I hope to come of his passing, I hope it brings on the resurgence of this iconic gem.

1. “Silhouettes” (single, 2012)

How this beautiful song, about leaving the past behind, didn’t get more play is beyond me. This melodic masterpiece is not only my favorite Avicii song, but by far my favorite electronic song of this decade.

For all five songs in a handy playlist, scroll below!

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Music

March Into Spring With Incredible New Music by Penguin Prison, 3LAU, ASTR and 33 More!

March 23, 2018

It’s still a wee bit chilly (aka torrential downpour) in L.A., but as of March 20, we officially welcomed one of the sunniest seasons.

Though Spring is not my favorite, I’ve gotta say, the playlist ringing it in this year is definitely one of my favorite in a long time.

We’ve got upbeat, characteristic-to-the-season sounds by Penguin Prison with “On Your Side,” sexy electronic with 3LAU‘s “Touch,” a comeback track by longtime skyelyfe fave ASTR and 33 additional songs that will definitely brighten your spring day (if that’s what you’re going for).

From Youngblood Hawke and Vance Joy, to BAUM, Coma Pony, Sleeplust and much more, scroll through the playlist below for 36 tracks that are sure to keep you feeling the freshness of spring, regardless of what you’re in the mood to hear!

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Music

Frolic Thru February With Fresh Tracks from Peking Duk, Skott, Troye Sivan and More!

February 7, 2018

With Valentine’s Day just a week away, why not honor the special date (or month!) with what you love most: music?

This February, I’ve got 39 new tracks from a slew of varying artists. Let’s start with electro duo Peking Duk, who I was supposed to see live at The Roxy last week, but to my dismay, the show was postponed ’til June (WTH?!). That said, I still love them no matter what, and their song “Wasted” is my favorite new track of the moment.

I’m also loving “Russian Soul,” by Skott, a newer artist who has a sound reminiscent of Zella Day. Skott’s entire four-track EP “Stay Off My Mind” has been in my regular rotation, and I definitely recommend giving it a listen.

Additionally, I’m enjoying the upbeat “My My My!” by Troye Sivan, which is a depart from his characteristically slower sound.

To hear all the fresh tracks for yourself, check out the playlist below, which also includes The Neighborhood, Migos, Lane 8, Keep Shelly in Athens, Emilie Brandt, Captain Kidd, Mt. Si, Mannywellz and more!

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Music

New Year, New Music: 13 Fresh Tracks from The Neighbourhood, Win and Woo, Jeezy and More!

January 5, 2018

It’s officially 2018, which means it’s time to let go of last year—and time to regain faith in good music (because we all know there wasn’t much of it in 2017).

While I don’t have a whole lot to kick off January with, there’s so far quite a bit on the horizon with upcoming album releases, including Camila Cabello (Jan. 12), Craig David (Jan. 19), Fickle Friends (March 16), and a bunch of TBDs. Sadly, after just hearing “Filthy,” the debut single off of Justin Timberlake‘s Feb. 2 Man of the Woods album, that’s one release I’m not looking forward to, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

In the meantime, let’s appreciate the 13 songs we’ve got in this month’s New Music January playlist, shall we?

The Neighbourhood just released “Stuck with Me,” the perfectly mellow tune to help you relax during those cold winter nights. If you want to stay on that chill path, Captain Kidd‘s “Wild” is the way to go. But if you want to kick things up a few notches, keep your ears perked up to electro tracks “In Love Again,” by Win and Woo and “Embrace” by Manics. And we can’t not give love to Jeezy FKA Young Jeezy, who teamed up with J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar on his latest single “American Dream.”

Scroll below for the full playlist, which also includes Party Nails, Scavenger Hunt, Allies for Everyone and POWERS:

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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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