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Music

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of 2016

December 22, 2016


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

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

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

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

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

19. “Might Not” – Belly f./The Weeknd

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

18. “Into You” – Ariana Grande

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

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

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

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

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

15. “Want You” – Bearson f./Cal

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

14. “Either/Or” – Mt. Si

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

13. “The Winds of Change” – St. Lucia

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

12. “Valley of Dreams” – Cavaliers of Fun

See No. 4

11. “Be the One” – Dua Lupa

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

10. “Freeway Lights” – Goldroom

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

9. “Bullet” – Chelsea Lankes

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

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

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

7. “Innerbloom” – RUFUS DU SOL

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

6. “Into the Night” – Cardiknox

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

5. “Goin Up” – Deorro f./DyCy

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

4. “Astral Division” – Cavaliers of Fun

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

3. “Somebody Else” – The 1975

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

2. “Kiss It Better” – Rihanna

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

1. “In the Morning” – Kaskade/ZHU

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

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

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Music

5 Must-See Acts at Outside Lands This Weekend

August 3, 2016

Outside-lands-skyelyfeThe thought of Outside Lands is a breath of fresh air compared to other 2016 music festivals.

Lacking the sweltering heat and EDM-heavy, hip-hop-pop-filled lineups that so many of these other three-day events provide to their thousands of music and party-loving consumers, San Francisco-based Outside Lands brings a slew of folk, dream pop and low-key alternative acts (Radiohead, Lana Del ReyRyan Adams, Sufjan Stevens, Beach House, Lord Huron, Foals, Diiv, to name a few) to its stages, with additional performers who also bring on a much “softer” vibe.

The festival has always boasted a much mellower ambiance–with the exception of 2014’s Kanye West-headlining year.

I haven’t been to Outside Lands since 2012, so it will be interesting to see if it still remains living up to the hype of this post. While I anticipate this year’s experience, I figure I may as well pull up my picks of five acts I absolutely must see at the festival (in no particular order):

1. Radiohead

Radiohead is among the few truly iconic acts on the bill this year (can’t discredit Lionel Richie and Duran Duran). Fresh from their latest May album release A Moon Shaped Pool, the brooding band is likely to perform new material, while bringing on all of the nostalgia attached to their collection of melodic classics.

Must-Hear Song: “High & Dry”

2. Miike Snow

I’d be lying if I said that I’m particularly fond of Miike Snow’s last two albums (iii and Happy to You), but perhaps that’s because the Swedish electronic trio set the bar so incredibly high with their 2009 self-titled debut. Their biggest fans resonate most with that first set of songs, so there’s no doubt in my mind that a strong selection of throwback sounds will make their way to the stage.

Must-Hear Song: “In Search Of”

3. Third Eye Blind

If you attended high school in the late ’90s or watched pretty much any high school-based film or TV show during that time period, you are most definitely familiar with TEB. To this day, their self-titled debut album is one of my absolute favorites of all time. Sure, they had five chart-topping singles from the 14-track compilation, but the emotionally charged album is incredible all the way from start to finish. Even following that release, their further releases continued to be enjoyable, and I’ve always admired how they never changed their sound over the years.

Must-Hear Song: “Motorcycle Drive By”

4. The Knocks

Three words to describe this NYC-based duo: disco-infused deliciousness. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this electro act live a handful of times, and their music has the most upbeat energy. I’m obsessed with pretty much everything they’ve put out there from day one until now, and I’ve got no doubt that they will get the mellow festival-goers on their feet!

Must-Hear Song: “Dreaming”

5. St. Lucia

Jean-Philip Grobler (St. Lucia) was pretty much my 2015 soundtrack to that oh-so-lovely, long walk from the Uber drop-off to the Coachella entrance. Yes, it was unfortunate that I wasn’t front and center to watch such an incredible act perform, but I definitely got an earful (in the best way possible) regardless. It will certainly be exciting to see him live this time, even though I’ve already heard him live in the past.

Must-Hear Song: “Elevate”

Music

Fire Up Your February with 15 New Tracks: St. Lucia, Mt. Si, Betablock3r & More!

February 1, 2016

St_Lucia_skyelyfeHappy February, everyone!

It’s the month of the Grammy Awards, so an especially good time for music lovers to celebrate their passion!

St. Lucia just launched their latest album Matter, which has received glowing reviews. My favorite song from their new selection is “The Winds of Change,” so I’ve included that on this week’s New Music Monday playlist. I am also totally enamored with W. Darling‘s “Dizzy.” You may most recognize her name from being featured on Bassnectar‘s “You and Me.” And if you are a fan of Classixx, Superhumanoids and/or Kisses, you are sure to enjoy “Either/Or,” the marvelously melodic track from Mt. Si, a joint effort from the aforementioned groups’ members Michael David, Sarah Chernoff and Jesse Kivel (respectively).

Click on the playlist below for 15 new songs, which also include a little disco dance from Me & My Toothbrush, some major melodic chill from Wet (who just released their debut full-length album Don’t You) and some upbeat electro from Amtrac:

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Music

Niki & the Dove, JES, Chet Faker, SOPHIE, St. Lucia & More: New Music Monday!

October 26, 2015

At long last, Niki & the Dove released new music!

The Swedish duo’s dreamy indie-pop track “Play It On My Radio” is their first single since 2012, and it’s one of 14 songs featured on this week’s New Music Monday playlist.

The list also features “Call Me Crazy,” an indie-pop-rock track by Josh Stevens, who I interviewed a few months ago and saw live last week at his EP release party in Hollywood.

There’s a good handful of dance music this week. Cassian‘s “Feel It,” Pegboard Nerds‘ “Just Like That” and Chet Faker and Marcus Marr‘s “The Trouble with Us” are among the new electronic tracks to start your week off with a kick.

Click below for the full list of fresh tunes, which also includes Ellie Goulding, Justin Bieber, Powers, St. LuciaLISTENBEE, JES – and SOPHIE, who I saw at Rhonda in L.A. over the weekend as part of Future Classic‘s U.S. tour.

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Music

Coachella 2015: This 64-Song Festival Playlist Will Keep You Busy While Venturing Through Desert-Bound Traffic!

April 8, 2015

CoachellaDid it take far too much effort to rummage through the seemingly endless list of Coachella performers to weed out who you want to see live, aside from the obvious (I’m looking at you, Drake, RAC, St. Lucia, Tycho, , Odesza)?

Well, rest assured, I have a good grasp on the acts this year and I’ve got your must-sees covered. From my newer discoveries Alison Wonderland and Coyote Kisses, to some longtime favorites Kaskade and Nero, there is a slew of solid music options between Friday and Sunday for your listening pleasure.

So, whether you’re packing your bags for the big weekend that lies ahead, or you’re getting in your car to head to the festival, sit back, relax, and listen to this playlist of 64 artists worth seeing at Coachella!

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