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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

Year In Music: Here’s a Playlist (with Explanations) of My Top 25 Tracks of 2015

December 28, 2015

Fav_tracks_2015_skyelyfeIt was the very beginning of 2015, and Chris Brown and Tyga‘s “Ayo” was the first new radio song I’d heard of the year. I remember driving down the 405 with so much energy, thinking, “Wow, I love this song!”

Well, nothing’s changed since that fateful January day, and the carefree club track has remained not only my favorite song of 2015, but among my top five in the last five years.

But I obviously didn’t limit my listening to just that one track, and below is my list (actual Spotify playlist at the very bottom) and explanations of the 25 songs that best managed to bring a smile to my face this year. Note: These are in no particular order (well, except for #1 of course).

1. “Ayo” – Chris Brown & Tyga

If you’ve ever been with me in an uber, house party or anywhere with an auxiliary cord or some kind of Spotify connection this year, then I’m certain you know this song from start to finish. “Ayo” was definitely my anthem of 2015, and even with the new year upon us, I am certain this will forever remain a going-out classic.

2. “All I Need” – Sneaky Sound System

This song didn’t come out until the end of this year, but it wasted no time making its rounds on my Spotify spins. Sneaky Sound System (who now apparently just goes by Sneaky) has never let me down, and this uplifting song is no exception.

3. “Middle” – DJ Snake & Bipolar Sunshine

I was surprised this incredible track never made much of the radio rounds, following the immense success of Snake’s “Lean On.” “Middle” is far superior in my opinion, but it’s probably for the better that it hasn’t been played out (yet).

4. “Bad” – Alexx Mack

Not to be confused with former Nickelodeon character Alex Mack, this young lady, who I had the pleasure of interviewing back in February, brings out edgy pop at its finest. I fell in love with her sound after hearing “Bad,” and everything she’s released since has been nothing short of fabulous fun!

5. “Talk to Myself” – Avicii

I was really impressed with Avicii’s eclectic Stories album, which pleasantly took a little detour from that strictly country sound he had been going with in his previous material. “Talk to Myself” was my favorite from his latest project, and it definitely received a high dose of my Spotify spins during the month of its October release.

6. “Zero” – Chris Brown

Not much more to say than how can you turn away from a funky, high-energy track that makes you want to dance? Well done, Breezy!

7. “Planes” – Jeremih & J. Cole

This Grammy-nominated track provided the perfect combo of a sick beat and a smooth-flowing verse by J. Cole at the end. No complaints here!

8. “Trippin (Deep Hamilton Remix”) – Hedvig & Hamilton

This sexy little electro tune resembles Kygo‘s sound and was on my regular rotation for the first three months since I’d heard it.

9. “The Less I Know the Better” – Tame Impala

Tame Impala had a breakthrough year with the release of their Grammy-nominated dream-pop album Currents. The 13-track compilation that I think was the best of the year is easy on the ears from start to finish, but “The Less I Know the Better” definitely got my attention the most.

10. “Take Me Over” – Peking Duk & SAFIA

It was a tough call between this track and Peking Duk’s “High,” but I had to give SAFIA some love after hearing this incredible Australian indie-electro band for the first time on several tracks this year.

11. “Midnight Sun” – Kate Boy

Kate Boy wows me with every song release. The Swedish synth-pop duo has a signature sound that can’t go unnoticed, and “Midnight Sun” was regularly stuck in my head since its debut.

12. “Chasing Heaven” – Bassnectar

Dark beauty at its finest, Bassnectar’s melodic dubstep is always a must-listen, and “Chasing Heaven” was the best off his “Into the Sun” release, in my opinion.

13. “Sunglasses” – Alexx Mack

Mack makes the list again with her equally catchy “Sunglasses,” which is about hitting up a party and having a good time. Nothin’ wrong with that!

14. “Pink Medicine” – Bearson

Odesza fans should give this fun track a listen because there’s a major sound similarity.

15. “Will You Dance?” – the bird and the bee

I had the pleasure of interviewing the bird and the bee’s singer Inara George this year for Billboard, and not only was she soft spoken and delightful, but her long-awaited “Will You Dance?” album was the perfect light and airy selection of songs I needed to kick off summer months. “Will You Dance?” (which was also the album’s lead single) was every bit the sweet and deliciously sappy track that perfectly complemented carefree fun in the sun.

16. “Gemini” – What So Not & George Maple

This song dominated my drive to and from Coachella this year. I saw George Maple at a small show shortly before the festival and knew immediately this song would be on my heavy rotation.

17. “The Other Boys” – NERVO, Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears, Nile Rodgers

Kylie Minogue + anyone, typically = gold, and “The Other Boys” is no exception. The dance track is perfect for getting ready to go out, driving on the freeway, or pretty much anything else.

18. “The Music” – Gigamesh

Known mainly for his electronic remixes, Gigamesh released a track of his own this year with the delightfully dance-y “The Music.”

19. “Run” – Alison Wonderland

This SXSW artist‘s own music didn’t hit it big until this year, but the moment I heard “Run,” I needed to hear more. Known for her edgy style and equally hip sound, this Australian electro artist definitely has the potential for a bright future.

20. “Where Are Ü Now” – Jack Ü, Skrillex, Diplo, Justin Bieber

Arguably one of the biggest songs of the year, this release was not only Justin Bieber’s first step toward a comeback, but it also introduced some of the most unique and cutting-edge sounds in music (especially on the radio).

21. “Been You” – Justin Bieber

This upbeat little number was by far my favorite track off of the Biebs’ successful “Purpose” album. Honorable mention goes to his earnest intro ballad “Mark My Words.”

22. “Falling Away” – Seven Lions & LIGHTS

You can’t put Seven Lions and LIGHTS together and not expect a beautiful piece of work. This melodic electro track has been on my regular rotation since its August release.

23. Want to Want Me” – Jason Derulo

File this one under guilty pleasures, but hey, it produced some pretty awesome memories (and dance routines) for me this year, so I really cannot complain!

24. “Fetty Wap” – Trap Queen

Another guilty pleasure track that I’m sure I’m not alone in listing. Although I got sick of it after probably the 100th listen, there’s no denying that this was one of the catchiest radio singles of the year.

25. “Fine By Me” – Chris Brown

Like “Zero,” this track from the just-released Royalty album makes you want to get up and dance! I’m so glad I closed out this year seeing Breezy’s concert at the Hollywood Palladium.

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Music

Savoy, St. Lucia, Skrillex, The Knocks & 27 More Artists: New Music Monday!

December 7, 2015

Savoy_-_1000_Years_EP_skyelyfeObviously, the internet is abuzz today with news of the 2016 Grammy Nominations (woohoo, Tame Impala!) – and snubs (where was “Ayo“‘s nom?!).

But in the midst of anticipating the results of the big Feb. 15 awards show, let’s take a look at some new music. Heck, some of these could make 2017’s nominations list – who knows?

This week, I have 31 new songs, ranging from dubstep by Savoy and Skrillex, to lots and lots of chill stuff to ease you into the thick of December by Paperwhite, Retro Culture, Cinnamon Chasers, Geographer, Brothertiger, Aquilo and so much more! And who can leave out the new stuff by consistent skyelyfe favorites Miike Snow, St. Lucia – and The Knocks (featuring Cam’Ron, of all people! Does it get any better than this?!)

Check out the playlist below. I promise you will not be disappointed!

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Music

Tame Impala, Carly Rae Jepsen, Hermitude & More: New Music Monday!

July 20, 2015

tame-impala-currentsI can’t speak for the rest of you, but I am loving L.A.’s midsummer rainy weather over the last few days. It’s been quite the unexpected surprise, and it has also given me the perfect opportunity to sit inside my apartment and casually enjoy new music.

This week, I have eleven new songs that are (hopefully) sure to kick your week off just right!

If you’re looking for something mellow to complement the overcast weather outside, give a listen to Tame Impala‘s “The Less I Know the Better,” which is definitely the best song I have yet to hear by them. I also recommend “Shaded In,” by Filous, and the very pretty “Indecision,” by Shura.

Carly Rae Jepsen is back with another one of her signature infectious poppy love songs: “Run Away with Me.”

And for a little more lively sound, I’ve included Bobby Burns‘ “Satellites” and Hermitude‘s “The Buzz.” And the vocal mix of Etienne de Crecy‘s “Smile” is just divine.

Click below for this week’s full New Music Monday playlist:

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Music

In Recovery Mode from Memorial Day Weekend Festivities? Relax with These 13 New Tracks!

May 26, 2015

ASTR-Activate-Me-SkyelyfeWhether you went to Lightning In a Bottle festival or simply spent the weekend BBQing with friends, chances are you’re a little worn out after the weekend that honors those who have died fighting for our country. And hey, I don’t blame you. Hitting up Rhonda‘s #RHONDESIA disco party at the Mondrian in West Hollywood could not have been a better way to enjoy my Sunday, but it definitely took a lot out of me.

So, what better way to decompress after a wild holiday weekend than with some new music to sort through on the day back to work?

Luckily, two of my absolute favorite acts Goldroom and ASTR each have some new material, while Troye Sivan makes a little cameo on Zedd‘s new album with “Papercut” and Birdee‘s “B-Love” takes me back to the vibe of this weekend’s dance party.

Check out the playlist of 13 new songs below, which also include songs by Rico Love, Tame Impala and Kraak & Smaak :

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Music

Mark Ronson, Henry Saiz & More: New Music Monday, 1.5.15

January 5, 2015

Mark-Ronson-DaffodilsHere’s hoping all of you had a delightful kickoff to 2015!

Musicians must still be in holiday season recovery mode, because it’s a pretty slow week for New Music Monday. That said, what better way to start off the year than with a fresh tune by one of the UK’s most handsome gems? Mark Ronson teamed up with Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker for “Daffodils.”

In addition, there are four other songs, including “Haunted Girl Canyon” by Henry Saiz and “Pray” by The Erised that are sure to jumpstart your week just right. While winter is still in full swing, each of these super chill tracks are perfect for turning up the heater, warming up the hot cocoa (or maybe tea is more fitting for that new year diet!) and getting cozy under a thick blanket.

It’s exciting to think about what could be in store for music this year. Let’s just hope the selections are an improvement from the previous one! :X

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