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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

44 New Songs to Be Thankful for This November, Including Tracks by Ghost Loft, MØ and Bon Iver

November 7, 2017

November is without question one of the best months of the year.

The laidback feel of fall, combined with the excitement leading up to Thanksgiving, can produce a wealth of happy emotions.

While we’re in thankful mode, why not add new music to our list of necessary gratitude? As we know, music warms our soul, keeps us dancing, heightens our mood, helps us capture memories and is the soundtrack to our relationships. So, take these 44 new songs I bring you this month and embrace not only the beautiful season, but the wonderful vibe these tracks create.

Not to mention, listening to this playlist will give you something to do when your relatives get the best of you at Thanksgiving dinner!

Keep scrolling for fresh new music from Ghost Loft, , Bon Iver, Autograf, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign, The Brinks, Miranda GloryMansions on the Moon and many more:

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Music

Fall into October With Fresh Tracks by PVRIS, DJ Snake, Illenium, Tove Lo + 64 More Artists

October 3, 2017

October is officially upon us, and this just so happens to be the month that I’ve found the best songs of 2017 so far.

Sadly, though October is arguably one of the most favored months, this year’s is already an incredibly somber one, and we’ve barely just begun. With the unfathomable tragedy in Las Vegas, combined with the death of legendary Tom Petty, it’s been a slight breath of fresh fall air to stumble upon these 68 new musical gems.

I’m giving an extra special shoutout to PVRIS (and their track “Anyone Else” off their incredible new album, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell), because I recently saw them and Lights (also on this playlist) at the Novo downtown on the first night of fall, so they hold a special little place in my heart.

Also, there are a handful of releases from artists I’ve interviewed, so I’ve got to give them shoutouts, too (SomeKindaWonderful, JOEY, Little Good Bad‘s Rachel B, and Logan Henderson).

In addition, loving DJ Snake‘s newest track “A Different Way,” and I can’t get enough of Illenium‘s new album or ODESZA‘s. Also, Tove Lo recently released “Disco Tits,” and it kind of got swept under the rug (probably because of its non-radio-friendly nature), but it’s unique and fun, so I definitely recommend giving it a listen!

Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, bundle yourself up in your coziest fall getup and check out the playlist—which also features Ty Dolla $ign, Trina, DJ Dan, Above and Beyond, The War on Drugs and Gorgon City—below!

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Music

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

June 5, 2017

Happy Pride month, everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

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Music

Bearson, Mystery Skulls, Cosmic Gate, Gorgon City & 14 More Artists: New Music

March 28, 2016

It’s been a little slow (IMHO) with new music releases I’m smitten over lately, so I am especially appreciative for this week’s crop of fresh tracks.

From Norwegian electronic artist Bearson‘s melodic delight “Want You,” to Mystery Skulls‘ fun little disco-inspired number “Believe,” among others, there is a solid selection of dance-friendly songs to choice from as part of this week’s New Music Monday.

Let’s also not forget Gorgon City and Vaults‘ “All Four Walls” or old-school trance pioneers Cosmic Gate‘s “Round We Go” with Myon & Shane.

If you’re looking to take things a little slower, perk open your ears to the sounds of The War on Drugs‘ “Touch of Grey,” Frenship‘s “Carpet,” HANA‘s “White,” Astronautica‘s “Falling for You,” or Amason‘s cover of Foreigner‘s “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Click below for the playlist of 20 new tunes, also including selections by Fitz & the Tantrums, Ty Dolla $ign, Logistics, Kraak & Smaak and LISTENBEE.

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Music

New Music! Elizabeth Rose, Kate Boy, Santigold & More!

November 9, 2015

Elizabeth_Rose_skyelyfeElizabeth Rose never lets me down with her music, and “Shoulda Coulda Woulda” is no exception. This catchy, electro-pop gem is from the Aussie’s forthcoming full-length debut album Intra, and I can’t wait for its release!

This fresh track is one of 14 that are a part of this week’s New Music Monday. Also joining the list? Kate Boy‘s “Lion for Real,” which embodies every bit of the Stockholm-based electro group’s unique signature sound. The act finally released their long-awaited debut album “One,” after a handful of singles since 2012’s “Northern Lights.”

Santigold also brings us new music with the happy-go-lucky “Can’t Get Enough of Myself,” off her upcoming LP 99¢, which is her first since 2012’s Master of My Make-Believe.

Click below for the full playlist, which includes a really dope track “Working for It,” by ZHU, Skrillex and THEY, as well as Mura Masa‘s “Love for That,” Lazyboy Empire‘s tropical-inspired “Vampire,” Party Nails‘ “No Pressure,” Chelsea Lankes‘ vocally empowering “Home,” and “LA,” by Ty Dolla $ign, James Fauntleroy and Kendrick Lamar. I also couldn’t leave off “Adventure Of a Lifetime,” Coldplay‘s uptempo little step into disco.

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Music

Chris Brown, A-Trak, Zhu, Erik Hassle & 17 More Artists: New Music Monday!

September 21, 2015

chris-brown-zero-skyelyfeI have already proudly proclaimed my love for Chris Brown‘s latest track “Zero,” an upbeat, empowering breakup jam that has such a catchy beat, I can’t help but dance in the car. But if for some reason you still haven’t heard it, be sure to check it out in the playlist of 21 new songs at the bottom of this post.

Also making the list is “Love Left,” by 16 Bit Lolitas, fresh off the newly released Anjunadeep 07 compilation. Everything about anything Anjunadeep just screams fall and it puts me in the best mood. Also good for the new season is Erik Hassle‘s sexy R&B electro track “Natural Born Lovers.” But much more on fall-esque tunes later this week when I post my fall 2015 playlist.

For today, though, there seems to be more lively music than chill. A-Trak‘s “We Fall Down,” featuring Jamie Lidell is the perfect party starter. Ty Dolla $ign and Fetty Wap‘s “When I See Ya” will give you your hip-hop fix. And Ellie Goulding‘s “On My Mind” is ever the perfect electro-pop tune.

Click below for the complete list of new music, which also includes Yacht, Zhu featuring AlunaGeorge, Skylar Spence, Timeflies, tyDi and my buddies The Ruse:

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Music Angelenos

SXSW 2015 Playlist: ASTR, Dipset, Kate Boy, The Knocks, Summer Heart & 72 Other Acts Worth Seeing at the Fest!

March 13, 2015

SXSW-2015-MusicAt long last, the music portion of South by Southwest kicks off on Tuesday in Austin, Texas! It’s time for almost a week of showcasing up-and-coming musical talent, while throwing in a mix of oldies-but-goodies.

I am in awe of the lineup. For a huge old-school hip-hop/rap lover like myself, this is like a total dream come true. The list of throwback acts is seemingly endless, ranging from Dilated Peoples and Dipset, to Do or Die and Freeway, to Kurupt and Lil’ Flip, to … I can keep going and going (oh, heyyy, Twista, Mannie Fresh, Too $hort, Slim Thug, DJ Paul, Atmosphere, my buddy Kosha Dillz – ok you get the idea).

But that genre isn’t limited to just acts from the past. Newer-on-the-scene artists Mike WiLL Made-It, The Weeknd, G-Eazy, Bobby Brackins, Migos, Dej Loaf, Rae Sremmurd, Trinidad Jame$, Ty Dolla $ign, I Love Makonnen and Rich Homie Quan are just a handful of artsts who will also make appearances during the music portion of the conference and festival.

Hip-hop not your thing? Fair enough, there are hundreds of other artists from varying genres who will also be performing next week. Tons of pop/rock (Real Estate, Best Coast, Geographer, GRMLN, Future Islands, Milo Greene, Pompeya), tons of electronica of all types, including many of my ongoing favorites (ASTR, Kate Boy, Kaneholler, The Knocks, Odesza, Summer Heart, Mystery Skulls, George Maple, Amason, Avan Lava, Cazzette) and a slew of others.

After browsing through the entire SXSW music lineup, below is a playlist featuring 77 artists I recommend checking out next week. Who are you planning to see? Sound off in the comments! And click here for the entire schedule.

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