My 10/10 feature returns with edition #17. I can’t believe it’s been six months since I wrote the last one. But the time has come where very good songs for consideration for this blog are overwhelming the weaker ones, so I want to make sure the good ones get their due. And as usual, the choices are a global cornucopia of releases.
For those not familiar with10/10, I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.
I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs. That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually, and they are not listed in any particular order.
Writing 10/10 posts means I can cover more songs in one shot. So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about.
- NUELA CHARLES, “Space”
Singer/songwriter Nuela Charles has been prominent in her native Canada, conquering the Adult Contemporary genre with Juno Awards nominations three years in a row for that category. “Space” is a welcome change of pace for her, showcasing her effortless classic R&B-influenced voice with a sassy and funky backdrop. While “Space” was written as a response to the pandemic, it’s clear that we all need space from each other, even those closest to it. “Space” sails away with that idea and Nuela flourishes in this setting.
- KISLAW and VICTOR PERRY, “Slip Away”
NYC singer/songwriter Victor Perry continues to be one of the most prolific independent performers, releasing new music every week where possible and showcasing it with different collaborators. “Slip Away” is a unique partnership with new Africa-born French producer Kislaw, who embraces a sophisticated backdrop where you’ll hear the underutilized flute among other sounds. And a funky edge allows Victor’s brilliant vocal – which reminds me of when either Michael or Janet Jackson are at their most playful – to lilt through the story and soar in the ad libs too. Released by Bonfire Records, this one is very deserving of a follow up soon.
- ANZANO and ROBBIE ROSEN, “Waves”
Like Victor Perry, “American Idol” Top 16 contestant Robbie Rosen is on a mission to release music every week right now (yes, it’s no surprise with similar ideals that the two collaborate as well). Robbie’s recent songs and performances are so consistently strong it’s hard to pick out what are the strongest ones. “Waves” finds Robbie working with Belgian producer Anzano for a chipper-sounding song that recognizes when you’ve lost a friend or partner to a better relationship or situation (“forever you’ll be one with the waves”). It’s a quick mix of classic pop and bright, friendly electropop that goes down easily.
- CRASH ADAMS, “Symphony”
Your friendly neighbourhood Toronto pop/rock duo Crash Adams are back with another song to make you think while putting a smile on your face. “Symphony” is about that instant state of attraction when all of the vibes and conversation just seem oh so right. It’s another tight production with a winning vocal, and another cool video (above) to boot. Crash Adams continue to release quality songs, and their talent and flair for spot-on visuals will take them far.
- THE PRIZM, “Darkness Is A Friend”
“Darkness Is A Friend” is the centerpiece song of L.A.-based producer The Prizm’s latest album New Beginnings. In fact the album is a third chapter to a complex story, but focuses on new beginnings for anyone who’s experienced recent hard times, whether they be through relationships, the pandemic, and more. The uplifting melody and vocal will help you realize that there is a way out of the darkness if you embrace it and move on. The album is a significant progressive stretch when looking back on last year’s catchy electronic dance single “I Don’t Wanna Go Home” (with ARTFCAL), but The Prizm (Gabriel Garcia) is taking his time to create stories and atmosphere that will have a deeper effect on the listener.
- KEN BAUER, “Free”
Sweden’s Ken Bauer is hardly a new name to the electronic dance music scene, releasing regular music since 2016. Though he’s had support from big names like David Guetta, Sam Feldt, and Nicky Romero, all it takes is one song that could open more doors internationally. “Free” has that potential, with complex synths surrounding a basic but infectious hook. The uncredited vocal helps the song soar, and “Free” would go over very well indeed at festivals.
- FEB & LEXIE, “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life”
Though it’s a far cry from the funky classic grooves of the 1982 Indeep classic, Italian producer Feb and British vocalist Lexie spin “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life” into a slick Eurohouse track. Lexie’s alluring vocal makes it perfectly pronounced that she’s moved on and looking for someone else who won’t break her heart. Feb’s production captures the essence of the song, making it a fitting surprise that works well.
- DEGA, “Bad Burn”
Italy’s Dega brings us some dreamy, trance-soaked Europop with “Bad Burn”. The song effectively mixes in thoughtful vocals, an underlying and very catchy melody, and a build up to a swell drop for cohesive results. “Bad Burn” is definitely one of those songs where you might not know the artist, but the song solidly stands steadfast on its own and has festival anthem potential.
- TOMMY NEWPORT and EARTHGANG, “Stargazer”
“Stargazer” is a cool slice of alternative rock that’s laced with hip hop that is out to challenge listeners while sublimely drawing them in with its warm hook. At only 20 years old, Manchester-born singer/guitarist Tommy Newport has already acquired fans through not only his music, but appearances on TV and internet shows as well as movies. His voice has a soulful undercurrent beneath a weary, journeyman kind of approach. His collaborators on “Stargazer” are recent Grammy Awards nominees for Best R&B Song, Atlanta’s EARTHGANG, who continue to show why hip hop and soul are so welcome in an alternative rock-oriented release, and how much more pliable the genre walls need to become.
- CHRISTOPHER DAMAS, “Tekila”
Get that big plate of nachos ready because some “Tekila” is about to infiltrate the mix! It’s a tidy and spicy song that should easily fit into sets next to “Despacito” and “Mi Gente”, but there is a twist. The “k” in “Tekila” might give it away, but it’s brought to you by veteran Russian electronic dance producer Christopher Damas, which continues to prove that the boundaries within dance music itself are extremely limited. My only gripe about “Tekila” is that it’s way too short at only 2:10, making it a bit of a novelty. It flies by so quickly that listeners will be begging to know what that “Tekila” song is!