It’s time for edition #23 of “10/10”, my blog feature in which 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. Writing “10/10” posts means I can just cover more songs in one shot with a few sentences about each. So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but I sometimes don’t get a chance to write about. Three songs featured in the last edition of “10/10” are currently on my chart: “Bad Things” by Louis Pax, “In My Head” by Paraleven and Fractures, and “Gracie” by Gabe James.
- BENEDICT CORK, “Miracle”
The sound of British singer/songwriter Benedict Cork continues to evolve with “Miracle”. It’s an uplifting and entertaining song that moves at a deliberate pace, so you need to stick with it, and revel in Ben’s vocals and the harmonies which help make “Miracle” stand out. It’s especially well-written and absorbing, and follows up Ben’s well-received EP from last year called Secrets I’ll Never Tell.
- VASSY and GT_OFICE, “Tuff”
In the dance music world, you can never go wrong giving a release by VASSY a spin. The veteran Aussie singer, songwriter and producer broke out in Australia and North America with her smash “We Are Young” in 2013, a #1 on Billboard’s dance club play chart, which was followed in subsequent years by 6 other #1’s – that is pretty amazing unto itself – gold and platinum certifications, and collaborations with David Guetta, Showtek, Dave Audé, KSHMR, Sultan + Shepard, Tiësto, The Disco Fries, and others. “Tuff”, in collaboration with Miami-based producer/DJ Gt_Ofice (aka “Caine”), will knock your socks off with its vibrant vocal and slick production that doesn’t hold back, guaranteed to stand out from any other dance tracks with which it’s played. VASSY’s winning streak continues with “Tuff”.
- BIG GIGANTIC and PARTY PUPILS, “Renegade”
“Renegade” is one tight musical ball of fun that will leave you breathless after 3 minutes. Brought to you by the intriguing pairing of Colorado-based producers Big Gigantic and NYC’s Party Pupils – who are also all musicians, hence the big presence of real drums and saxophone here – “Renegade” is actually a house rework of late 90’s hyper-trance dance favourite “Renegade Master” by Wildchild, which was a Top 5 UK pop hit. Confession: “Renegade Master” drove me batty back in the day, so this tempered house take on the song is much appreciated. Both artists have the flair for making top notch tracks full of bounce to make you forget about everything else for a while, and Party Pupils’ biggest release thus far, with MAX and Oliver Heldens on “Set Me Free”, got to #8 on my chart in 2021. I’m hoping “Renegade” will catch the attention of some huge DJ’s. With late 90’s trance and techno very in vogue right now, crowds will go nuts for it if it’s played at a festival.
- SHADOWKEY and JORDAN JANE, “Prisoner”
“Prisoner” has actually been on release for a while now but it’s one of those songs that needs to swim a bit in the huge sea of music before finding its believers. It’s an infectious tune with great vocals as brought to you by British producer Shadowkey – a behind-the-scenes music guy turned producer – and Cornwall, England singer/songwriter Jordan Jane. It’s another example of a song that doesn’t quite sound like anything else out there, but has enough polish and power behind it to pop out from the rest. “Prisoner” instantly caught my attention while listening to online radio station Mix88.ca, which airs my new music pick of the week each week, and online radio is definitely where it’s at for the best choices for new music. It’s a house track that has edgy rock elements to it, and it all goes down easy.
- MEDII and CASEY COOK, “Don’t You Worry Child”
You’re probably wondering, just by looking at the title, if there is room for another cover of Swedish House Mafia’s essential “Don’t You Worry Child” (which reached #1 on my chart in 2012). The answer is a resounding YES, with this rendition by US/UK producers Medii and L.A.-based singer Casey Cook being a stripped back, emotional ballad version of the dance classic. The production is amazingly balanced, with a gorgeous vocal by Casey given full attention. Casey has sung before with Medii, and with artists like Wooli. She’s had her songs recorded by Tritonal, William Black, and others, and she was also a contestant on TV’s “Songland” who got to advance in the show to write with Ester Dean, Ryan Tedder and Shane McAnally. Medii is a well-respected duo who have released for Lowly Palace and Strange Fruits, as well as independently, with an album on the way this year . “Don’t You Worry Child” is a striking cover, equally as heart-warming as the original, that’s most deserving of your attention.
- SHIRLEY EIKHARD, “Good News”
Shirley Eikhard is a Juno Award-winning Canadian pop-folk-country singer/songwriter most noted for writing Bonnie Raitt’s 90’s smash “Something To Talk About”. Her career began however as a teenager when she wrote “It Takes Time”, which was subsequently recorded by Anne Murray. She also had a domestic hit with “Say You Love Me”, a cover of the Fleetwood Mac song, which was released ahead of the Fleetwood Mac single and they ended up charting concurrently in the Top 40 in Canada. She has released many albums independently over the years and On My Way To You is her first in almost 10 years. It’s a refreshing and moody album that won’t disappoint her fans. The song that stands out for me is “Good News”, a jazz club piano ballad which seems to be well-timed as we come out of pandemic restrictions. Her voice is deeper now, richer sounding and in beautiful tone on “Good News”, which is a fine pick-me-up for you to enjoy.
- SABRIEL, “Pulse”
Sabriel (pronounced shä brē el) is a unique voice on the new music scene hailing from Las Vegas. Her gentle neo-soul style is an interesting draw for her highly personal lyrics which often draw from past heartbreak and look towards the unknown as an open opportunity. According to the press release, “Pulse”, which is the title track from her recent EP, sings of “conditional love received in an abusive relationship”. That’s a very dark place for a songwriter to go to find not only positives out of the relationship, but also for it to be part of the healing process. The theme is all kind of hidden by her highly unique vocal, which might draw as much from Lana Del Rey and alternative pop as it does Billie Holiday and progressive jazz, and Sabriel leaves it up to the listener to connect with the song however they wish. Check out the video for “Pulse” above.
- ALESSANDRA BOLDRINI, “What You Wanted”
Alessandra Boldrini is a new pop talent born and raised in Italy but based out of London. “What You Wanted” follows up the dance-pop of last year’s “Never Going Back” with a jazzier, more staccato melody and some cutting lyrics. Alessandra sings of a past lover with whom she had an invested relationship, who returns after having a “new life” as if nothing has changed. But this is where the tables get turned and he no longer returns to the comfort zone he once had. Along with the melody, Alessandra’s knowing and confident vocal sets the tone, and it’s left for the listener to use their imagination. “What You Wanted” is an above average and compelling release that’s waiting for you to hear.
- JOHNNY STIMSON, “The Way It Was Before”
“The Way It Was Before” is a stripped-back new single by Dallas-born singer/songwriter Johnny Stimson, who follows up two recent EP’s, Flower, and Butterflies. The song is a quiet reflection on getting older, and how time flies when you really put your mind to it. Try as you might want to recreate them, some things just never will be the same again. It looks like “The Way It Was Before” is the start of a new string of story songs for Johnny, as the video above is identified as episode one with “to be continued” at the end. “The Way It Was Before” soaks in easily and Johnny’s vocal is warm with a simple, natural charm. The music of Johnny Stimson is something to keep your ears open for as it is unveiled.
- AVA KAY, “Go”
Toronto’s Ava Kay returns with “Go”, a quietly uplifting new song about moving forward and leaving the past behind, without being afraid and keeping things on good terms. Ava’s beautiful voice was also showcased in last year’s “Wild Again”. She’s also a talented songwriter whose songs have been used in TV and film, and she’s worked with the likes of Afrojack, ATB, Raghav, and Tyler Shaw among others. The emotive melody of “Go” might make the song seem melancholy, but once you dig deeper into the lyrics you’ll hear how whatever sadness remains is turned into encouragement. Change is never easy and “Go” supports doing the right thing and starting a new chapter.