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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

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

Lucas Nord, PHASES, HONNE, Kaskade & 15 More Artists: New Music Monday!

April 25, 2016

lucas-nord-skyelyfeIt’s official, Coachella is over!

While some may weep (time to retire the flower crowns ’til next year!) and some may cheer (all of the Coachella pressure is finally off!), one thing holds true: We can now revert back to our regular music routines.

As much fun as it was putting together my annual playlist devoted to the two-week festival, it certainly took away from time I could have spent finding new music.

So with that, skyelyfe’s New Music Monday is back with 19 new songs. Lucas Nord, HONNE, PHASES, White Sea and Kygo are each among artists who made the cut, along with 2016 Coachella act RL Grime. Additional festival act ZHU made the list as well with “In the Morning,” featuring Kaskade, which was on repeat for me all throughout weekend one of the festival (so pretty!).

Check out the playlist, which also includes Mako, Sizzy Rocket and Selah Sue f./Childish Gambino, below!

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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

Alexx Mack, XYLØ, Mr. Little Jeans, Lane 8 & More: New Music Monday!

October 12, 2015

Alexx_Mack_Retro_Romance_skyelyfeEven though the weather is still scorching hot in L.A., you can at least get somewhat of a fall feeling from many of the songs in this week’s New Music Monday playlist.

From XYLØ‘s “L.A. Love Song,” to Lane 8‘s “Undercover,” to Selena Gomez‘s powerful ballad “Sober,” these, along with several others, are sure to give you your taste of sounds perfectly fitting for those hopefully upcoming drizzly days.

But while there are a good handful of slower songs in the mix, my favorite song on the this week’s list is Alexx Mack‘s “Red Eyes,” a playful party anthem from her just-released four-song Like We’re Famous EP. If you recall, I chatted with the edgy pop singer back in February after falling in love with her fun song “Bad,” a track I still listen to regularly. I also included “Retro Romance,” another song from the EP. Her stuff is too good to just include once.

Click on the playlist below for the list of 18 fresh tracks, which also includes Mr. Little Jeans, Autograf, Ellie Goulding, Alex Metric, Cazzette and an interesting collaboration with Zhu and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony:

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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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Beauty Music

L.A.’s DJ Lola Langusta Heads from Summer to Fall with a Sexy ‘Euphoric Transition’ Playlist Exclusive to Skyelyfe

September 9, 2015

lola-langusta-djbooth-skyelyfeIt’s hard to believe I’m actually able to write this, but fall is mere weeks away (Sept. 23 can not come sooner)! Rest assured, there will be plenty of autumn-related posts, recipes and playlists galore on this site in the weeks and few months to come, but as we are still in the transition between seasons (does it not feel like the peak of summer right now in L.A.?!), my beautiful pal Sarah Roa (DJ Lola Langusta) put together a sexy playlist (scroll to the bottom) exclusive to skyelyfe readers that tells the story of kicking off summer, falling in love and heading into fall. If you’re a fan of nu-disco or future house, this playlist is for you!

“For this playlist, I decided to not just share some favorites, but also tell a story about a summer romance – which we have all experienced,” Roa tells skyelyfe. “I wanted it to be somewhat of a euphoric transition as we fade into fall. It’s a sexy and poetic roller coaster, leaving you in somewhat of a reminiscent dream state of emotions.”

Lola-langusta-skyelyfe-2The DJ is coming off of quite the successful sunny season, having spun in the same company as Tensnake and many other notable names at Brooklyn’s Full Moon Festival at the beginning of August. She then brushed elbows with New York’s elite while spinning at the Esquire in the Hamptons event. Next up for the fashionable music aficionado? She’ll be spinning at a Daily Front Row event during New York Fashion Week!

“This summer has been filled with so many new opportunities and basically building on collaborations and projects coming this fall/winter, which are on the hush but will be revealed soon,” Roa says. “The absolute highlight was playing the Full Moon Festival in New York, alongside some of my favorite DJs/producers, including Wolf + Lamb, Pillow Talk, Tensnake and the beautiful, inspiring, badass, Yelle. It was really inspirational to be surrounded by such empowering musicians and it fueled my excitement of producing my own music as I begin production working with multi-platinum producer Jay Levine. I’m very excited for what’s to come and can’t wait to play more festivals next year.”

Get to know the sexy starlet on-the-rise with the below q + a, and then head to the bottom of this post to listen to her 35+ minute mixtape. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!
Lola-langusta-skyelyfe
skyelyfe: Where were you born and where do you primarily live now? 
Sarah Roa: I was born in Tampa, FL and I now split my time between NY (Lower East Side) and LA (West Hollywood). My schedule takes me all over and I mostly do events for large fashion brands, film and the music industry.
SL: Whose music are you loving right now?
SR: Lately I have really been drawn to Movement, Odesza, Nina Kraviz, SBTRKT and Zhu. It’s been inspiring me in the process of making my own music.
SL: Where are your favorite places to eat/sip/shop in L.A.?
SR: Eat/Sip – The little Next Door, Jones Bar, Figaro  Shop – Flea markets
SL: Where are your favorite places in L.A. to see live music? 
SR: The Greek for bands and Avalon for DJs
SL: Summer or fall?
lola-langusta-summer-love-skyelyfe
SR: I’m equally in love with both. I wish I could spend year ’round in the tropics, but I do love the feeling of fall and driving my 69 MG down the PCH with the top down. It’s my absolute favorite. I love the fashion that fall brings and cool desert nights around a fire.
SL: Who are some artists you are friendly with in the music scene?
SR: DJ Henri, The Glitch Mob, Anna Lunoe

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