I don’t normally write about huge name stars or huge records, but I don’t want to miss saying something about the out-of-the-box success of JIMIN’s “Like Crazy” (English version). For those of you not familiar with him, he’s one of the seven members of BTS, who all seem to be creating their own solo work right now. JIMIN’s “Like Crazy” is simply a beautiful pop song with a great vocal, and it’s completely unlike the songs of BTS. This deservedly debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and JIMIN is the first South Korean solo act to do so. Radio should jump all over it within the next few weeks. Check it out above.
Among the other features, you can check out my pick of the week, along with one from the host of “Top 40 Timeline”, “Big Daddy” Russ Horton, plus Hunter Wilbur’s “Bop of the Week”. “The Musicman” James Rogers has his Classic Five pop hits feature, citing five going back to 1972/1973 for this bunch. Plus I have the songs that were at the top of the BILLCS Top 30 for each of these past 25 years!
The BILLCS New Music Report is a work-in-progress and I welcome your suggestions so feel free to contact me @billcs on Twitter @thebillcs on Instagram or @BILLCSMusicProjects on Facebook.
REMINDER: Click the photo above the artist’s name and song title to hear the song or watch the video.
AMANDA MARSHALL, “I Hope She Cheats”
Many years of trying to get out of deals with your record label and your management had to be so self-defeating that you would never want to record new music again. Fortunately that’s not the case with Amanda Marshall, who returns with new music for the first time in over 20 years for Coalition Music, with her long-awaited fourth album on the way called Heavy Lifting, which has been in progress for the last 10 years. Her new single is a cover of a song by ex-Floetry member Marsha Ambrosius called “I Hope She Cheats”, whose original title is “I Hope She Cheats on You with a Basketball Player”. And it’s like time stood still in the music world for those 20+ years, with Amanda sounding in great form, invested and compelling in her soulful interpretation. “I Hope She Cheats”, with its forthright and biting contemporary message, should be a no brainer for Adult Top 40 radio, since her many fans (judging from social media reaction) have missed her, and she can continue make her presence as one of Canada’s finest vocalists. A Canadian tour has also been announced, so 2023 could indeed be Amanda Marshall’s year.
SLEEPY BENJAMIN, “Stuck”
I’ve got to hand it to Australia’s Ben Beamish for putting a lot of personal mental health cards on the table with his new release under his Sleepy Benjamin moniker called “Stuck”. The song seems to be rooted in a folk-storytelling mood, which gives it a whimsical feel as in recent releases that I’ve enjoyed by Jason Mraz and The Boy From The South. So the melody makes the song really easy to groove along to, while some of the more direct lyrics get to stand out or make their points clear and Ben sings one of his best vocals. It’s not easy for anyone to deal with ongoing issues often outside of their control every day, and the song could be quite helpful. Sleepy Benjamin’s “Stuck” is out there to let those affected know through song that you’re not alone, plus that it’s one cool song which even features some lyrics sung in Japanese (Sleepy Benjamin is set to play in Japan throughout May).
MATOMA, H. KENNETH, “Deeper”
Coming off of a very successful several months of touring throughout North America, Norway’s Matoma follows up his smashing house track “The Power” with the soulful and edgy “Deeper”, featuring vocals by co-writer, Nashville’s H. Kenneth. It’s a worthy follow up to “The Power”, with a similar, taut arrangement but H. Kenneth’s soaring and urgent vocal turns it into something equally special. You can feel the festival and late night club vibes just oozing from “Deeper”, which continues a series of terrific releases from Matoma.
AMNES, artemis orion, “Stamina”
“Stamina” makes a great case for creating a song that would be called “future house” in these days where that style isn’t necessarily at the tip of people’s tongues. This invigorating song (as the title suggests) is brought to you by Belgian producer AMNES (also a part of the production collective Hooders) and L.A. singer/songwriter artemis orion, a new name on the scene who has already got over 10 million streams with just a handful of pop/electronic releases. “Stamina” straddles the edge of progressive electronic music with interesting synth effects but quickly comes back into full dance mode with walloping, bouncing house rhythms. The song will be included in AMNES’ upcoming debut EP.
Those zany British twin DJ’s of boundless energy, ALTÉGO, are back with the short but fun “Bling Bling”. Riding the current trend of producers having lyrics put to familiar instrumental tracks – usually their own, but ALTÉGO are still new, so… – the lads (Lukas and Michael Fernandes-Pendse) take some liberty with the hook from 80’s smash “Axel F” (from “Beverly Hills Cop”), add a solid uncredited female vocalist and new lyrics around it, and BOOM it’s stuck in your ears! What’s best is that the production isn’t overdone with effects, allowing that instrumental hook to be the focal point, to the general amusement of those not young enough to remember or recognize it. With release by Arista/Sony, you may just be hearing “Bling Bling” all summer long.
MARTIN LUKE BROWN, “**it gets better”
Leicester-born Martin Luke Brown returned to the recording scene last Fall with the soulful and gritty “grateful”. He has a new EP coming in May called “damn, look at the view!”, which sounds like it could be a lot of fun if new single “**it gets better” is any indication. It’s taken a few years of being away from performing and concentrating on songwriting – he co-wrote “134340” with alt.pop favourite Orla Gartland for BTS’ Love Yourself: Tear album, and has co-writes with Yungblud and Galantis coming this year too – for him to find his groove again, and “**it gets better” finds him coming back on a high note. It’s no-nonsense pop/rock – guitar, bass, keys, drums – that takes a Coldplay-ish sound and scales it back a few notches. Plus, the song is guaranteed to put you in a great mood, and we need much more of that in 2023!
JJ BRAVES, “The High Dive”
JJ Braves records pop/rock music that are heavily inspired by songs of the 80’s and 90’s. The great thing is that he doesn’t sound like anyone in particular, though artists like Bon Jovi, Van Halen, and Kenny Loggins come to mind. “The High Dive” is about the need to getaway when you’re spinning your wheels. Though the song is spawned by the difficulties musicians face in the industry, its urgency in its message is universal – to do what you need to do to support your well-being. “The High Dive” is solid and JJ’s vocals are personable and have an authenticity that will grab you at key points in the song.
bexx is a new British singer (aka Becky Pinnington) with an energetic electronic pop sound that would fit right alongside songs by one of her inspirations, Carly Rae Jepsen. She takes on a lover who doesn’t miss her in “Stupid”, which conveys many of the thoughts that we all have when we’ve encountered this kind of situation – suddenly everything about them is just “stupid”. The song comes from bexx’s new EP Sucker, which is full of anti-love songs that will appeal greatly to those who are tired of getting into a rut while dating. “Stupid” is refreshing and upfront, which will make you want to hear more from bexx.
BILL’S NEW MUSIC PICK OF THE WEEK
My New Music Pick of the Week is a 5-7 minute radio segment that airs more than 25 times/week on online radio stations around the world.
Singapore-born, Australia-based singer/songwriter St Humain with “Memento”
“BIG DADDY” RUSS HORTON’S PICK OF THE WEEK
“Big Daddy” Russ Horton is host of the “Top 40 Timeline” radio show and the owner of online stations Radio GTA, Halton Hills Radio Online, & FM108.ca.
Canadian supergroup Feel Out Loud – featuring Serena Ryder, Tyler Shaw, Preston Pablo, Fefe Dobson and many others – with “What I Wouldn’t Do/North Star Calling” advocating for mental health care
HUNTER J. WILBUR’S BOP OF THE WEEK
Hunter J. Wilbur is the host of the online radio shows “Modern Hype” and “Addictive Energy” which can be heard on several online stations including Classic Hits Canada.
Welsh pop singer/songwriter/guitarist Ben Ellis with “Ed’s House”
“THE MUSICMAN” JAMES ROGERS’ CLASSIC FIVE
“The Musicman” James Rogers is the owner and host of The 3D Variety Show heard Tuesdays on Planet Radio Canada. The Classic Five is “pop music 101” of the post-Beatles era – classics you need to know! Each title is linked to a Spotify stream of the song.
Don McLean – American Pie
Nilsson – Without You
America – A Horse With No Name
Tony Orlando & Dawn – Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree
Jim Croce – Bad Bad Leroy Brown
25 YEARS OF BILLCS TOP 30 #1’s
Songs that rocked my personal chart at this time during the last 25 years.
1998 HEAVEN Jai
1999 MILLENNIUM Robbie Williams
2000 THERE YOU GO Pink
2001 HANGING BY A MOMENT Lifehouse
2002 TAKE A MESSAGE Remy Shand
2003 ROCK YOUR BODY Justin Timberlake
2004 THIS LOVE Maroon 5
2005 COLLIDE Howie Day
2006 WATCHIN’ Freemasons featuring Amanda Wilson
2007 RUBY The Kaiser Chiefs
2008 NO AIR Jordin Sparks featuring Chris Brown
2009 RUN AWAY Sam Taylor & The BBC Orchestra
2010 BEAT DROP Simon Curtis
2011 LOVE 2 BABY Christian TV
2012 SOMEDAY River Tiber
2013 LIFTED Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni
2014 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
2015 KING Years & Years
2016 KISS THE SKY The Knocks featuring Wyclef Jean
2017 SOMETHING JUST LIKE THAT The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
2018 BREATHE Mako
2019 i’m so tired… Lauv & Troye Sivan
2020 ALL IN MY HEAD Whethan featuring grandson
2021 NOT WATCHING ANYMORE Mahalo
2022 THE LAST GOODBYE Odesza featuring Bettye LaVette
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