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Music

Skyelyfe’s 20 Best Songs of 2016

December 22, 2016


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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

Coachella 2016: This 52-Song Playlist Is Your Guide to Must-See Festival Performers!

April 12, 2016

CoachellaImageWe all know the Empire Polo Fields are a destination we can rely upon yearly to bring music aficionados performances from their favorite artists – big and small.

2016 is no exception, as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival kicks off its first of two weekends in Indio, CA, on Friday, April 15 with Calvin Harris as a headliner, along with Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem – who are both coming together (separately) for reunion performances.

My excitement particularly lies in a few of the other highly touted acts (Flume, Miike Snow, The 1975), a handful of my standard under-the-radar go-tos (Goldroom, Tensnake, Miami Horror, Rhye) and a couple of on-the-risers (Zella Day, SOPHIE).

But festival goodness isn’t limited to just the artists listed above. Click the playlist below for 52 songs by acts skyelyfe suggests lending an ear to at the annual event! (And if you’re feeling especially nostalgic for last year’s dance party in the desert, check out my Coachella 2015 playlist.)

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Be sure to check back next week, as I will be hitting the hottest parties in the heat this weekend and giving you the lowdown on everything you need to know about what you may have missed!

Music

The 1975, Florrie, Midi Matilda & More: 34 Fresh Tracks!

February 22, 2016

The_1975_Somebody_Else_skyelyfeI usually can’t put the words “happy” and “Monday” in the same sentence, but when I can start my week with 34 brand new songs that I’m actually fond of, I can’t complain, right?

This week’s New Music Monday brings you fresh material from The 1975 (absolutely loving “Somebody Else”), Florrie, Midi Matilda, Satin Jackets, Miike Snow, Gypsy & the Cat and so many more!

There are not many full-length albums in this week’s roundup, but Wild Nothing just released their 11-track “Life of Pause,” which is every bit their signature dream-pop sound. We also have Foxes‘ 12-track “All I Need,” which includes the perfect blend of emotional ballads and sexy uplifting tracks.

Click the playlist below for all of the new music, which also includes HEARTWATCH, Cardiknox, FKA Twigs and more!

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Music

Cardiknox, Chairlift, AlunaGeorge & More: 40 New Songs!

January 25, 2016

Cardiknox_into_the_night_skyelyfeKick that case of the Monday blues with some new tunes!

I have 40 fresh tracks for you today from a slew of fun favorites, including The Knocks, Flume, Adventure Club, The 1975, Tep No and Lincoln Jesser.

But what I am loving most right now is Cardinox‘s “Into the Night,” Chairlift‘s “Moth to a Flame” and AlunaGeorge‘s “I’m In Control.”

And if you’re a disco house lover like myself, you will be obsessed with Louis La Roche‘s “Don’t Break My Heart.” So good!

Click on the playlist below for the full selection of new music, which also includes Cheat Codes, Weekender, Tourist and Destructo.

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Music

ICYMI: The 1975 Make Colorful Return to L.A. Stage

December 21, 2015

IMG_9692The lights shined bright as alt-rock group The 1975 took the stage last week at L.A. Live‘s Club Nokia in downtown to the sounds of thunderous cheering and applause.

Opening the show with their latest hit single “Love Me,” the band’s new stage aesthetic burst into life. What was once black, white and boxy had transformed into shades of pinks and purples.

The band broke into some of their greatest hits including “Heart Out,” “So Far It’s Alright,” “The City,” and later fan favorites “Chocolate” and “Sex.”

Not only did they crush the stage with those, but they also gave us a preview of some new material, including infectious pop anthems “She’s American” and “Somebody Else.”

The band’s next album drops in February titled (brace yourself) I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. If you happened to miss out on the group’s new aesthetic, Matthew Healy’s dance moves and their incredible live sound, you’ll have another opportunity this spring when the band tours once again for their new album! Gone are the dark days of black and white, they’re now in screaming Technicolor.

Music Featured

Indie-Pop Artist Bean Releases Lyric Video for Empowering New Single “Wildfire” and Talks to Skyelyfe About Life As an Inner-Hippie Living in the Heart of Hollywood

May 20, 2015
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Photo credit: Chase Johnson

Fresh from a smashing recent Wango Tango  Village pre-show performance and yesterday’s release of catchy new empowering single “Wildfire” (be sure to scroll to the bottom for its lyric video), indie-pop artist Noelle Bean – whose stage name is simply just Bean – is floating on a sound cloud, but she didn’t envision musical stardom in her cards growing up.

Unlike so many other artists who dropped everything to pursue a career in music at a young age, the 23-year-old – who didn’t even pick up a guitar until she was almost 19 – was your average teenage girl, living in the south and going to church.

“I wasn’t planning on any of this happening.” the West Hollywood resident told skyelyfe of her current reality. “I wasn’t meaning to move out to L.A. and have this kind of life or anything, but I fell in love with music and it led me here, you know? It’s awesome.”

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Photo credit: Chase Johnson

After learning how to play different chords, “I eventually started putting all these poems that I had in a big compilation of journals and I was like, maybe I can make songs out of these,” she explained. “And so that’s what I did. I put the words with the chords and I put a melody over it. I put it up on YouTube and I’m signed to an indie label out here in L.A. now.”

Last week I met up with Bean for the first time to discuss the release of her new single, among other things. She greeted me with a big hug and the most engaging “hi!” I knew right away, this would be like catching up with an old friend.

The first thing I noticed were her uniquely manicured gels, popping with this incredible purple shade, adorned with these tiny gold triangles at the cuticles (take a peek at them on my Instagram). She informed me they were done at Tomoka Nails in West Hollywood. After discussing her expert Yelping skills that led her to this gem of a salon, we got to the reaction to that Wango Tango pre-show performance.

“It was amazing!” she said of L.A.’s KIIS-FM radio concert experience. “It’s been one of the biggest performances I’ve done. It was interesting for my set because everybody else was playing a track and was super poppy and then I get up there with my guitar player and my drummer and we did a little acoustic set kind of thing. The response was so much better than I thought it was going to be.”

As Bean pointed out, her vibe doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of most of the concert’s other participants, which included Justin Bieber, David Guetta, Meghan Trainor, Kanye West, Fifth Harmony and Ne-Yo, who were main stage performers.

“As far as my whole take on mainstream music and what’s popular on top 40 radio goes, it’s undeniable that yeah, I jam out to Taylor Swift tunes every now and again,” she said. “But my go-to music is super alternative, like The 1975 meets Foster the People. I listen to a ton of Ed Sheeran – just really alternative, indie band kind of stuff.”

Her true persona and musical influences shine through in “Wildfire,” a song she called “an anthem for all the other crazy, randoms out there.”

The track is a much-welcome change for the pop star-on-the-rise, who laughably rolled her eyes at the thought of last year’s single “Rollercoaster.”

She said excitedly, ” ‘Wildfire’ is really different and I’m so glad about that because ‘Rollercoaster’ was so poppy and I’m just like, thank god I’m past that stage!”

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Photo credit: Chase Johnson

Bean describes her new release as “a compilation of all these different people and their opinions of me. It’s everybody in the music business basically saying, like, ‘Are you sure that you know who you are as an artist and do you know what genre you are? And you keep changing your look every week. You’re wearing red lipstick one day, the next day you’re wearing a flower crown and Free People clothes.’ “

Referring to herself as “a wildfire,” Bean goes on to say, “I’m random, spontaneous and I love everything about the 1970s – just the hippie lifestyle movement.”

So, what’s life like as a self-proclaimed inner-hippie living in the heart of Tinseltown? There’s something for everyone out here, she believes, noting that in particular, she’s a huge fan of (first and foremost) her nail salon (see above), Pita Bar and Grill on Fairfax, Fox You boutique and none other than the Starbucks on Robertson and Beverly Blvd.

Check out the lyric video to Bean’s new single “Wildfire” below and download the track FREE on iTunes ALL WEEK LONG!:

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