Going deeper: “Underneath” by @BrandynBurnette


It’s been nary a blink since Brandyn Burnette’s EP Made Of Dreams dropped last November, and the prolific Brandyn already has a bunch of new songs to spring on you in the form of another upcoming EP titled State I’m In. Brandyn’s faithful fans can guess that “Underneath” is another winner, which contains a similar progressive soul vibe as “Nothing At All” from the Dreams EP, and also recalls at times the low-fi demo that Brandyn put online last year called “1,000 Degrees of Separation”. While the lyrics are personal and touching as always, “Underneath” has a lot of contemporary style seemingly rooted in rock and roll and R&B of the past – think Hall & Oates meet Tom Waits meets John Mayer meets Allen Stone….. to start.  Win & Woo (the pair who made that sunny remix of “Made Of Dreams” which is climbing the BILLCS Top 30) get to the heart of what Brandyn’s song is all about with their attentive production.

BILLCS Top 30 #429 – April 21/14

If it’s one performer that this edition of my new personal chart is all about, it’s UK pop/soul singer Sam Smith.  There are 4 Sam Smith entries, including a former #1 (now at #8) and another debut!  Plus, I get to see him in concert on Wednesday April 23 at the Virgin Mod Club in Toronto 🙂

 The Top 10:

  • The killer dance tune that is “Cannonball (Earthquake)” holds #1 down handily for Showtek, Justin Prime & Matthew Koma, as the song debuts at #29 in the UK 🙂
  • We may be a touch late on it in North America, but “Latch” by Disclosure and Sam Smith vaults to #2 to challenge for the top in two weeks.
  • Martin Garrix may have a say as to who succeeds “Cannonball (Earthquake)” at #1.  His free download of “Proxy” soars 13-3 to tie for the fastest riser on the chart.  And Martin has plenty in store for us over the next few months to keep us busy!
  • All of this activity has left “Find You” by Zedd, Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant at #4, and free download “Electric Valentine” by Adam Tyler at #5, each holding for a second appearance.
  • It looks like Nick Hagelin’s long-awaited EP City Lights will see release in the first week of May.  His fun and ace pop/soul/hip hop song with an old school sample or two “Finest Clothes In Town” (available again as a free download) moves up 9-6 🙂
  • “Love Me Again” by John Newman continues to climb, moving 8-7 on the new chart.
  • The only other new Top 10 entry is a zinger for San Diego’s EDM/dubstep rising star Convulsic.  “Love Space” jumps 12-9 while another of his songs debuts below…

Onward and Upward:

  • It’s a stellar week for Sam Smith, two songs in the Top 10, and the soul ballad “Stay With Me” ties with “Proxy” as the fastest riser, soaring 21-11.
  • It’s release week for the Aviation album for Semi-Precious Weapons amid shows throughout the U.S.!  “Drink” continues to climb my chart at #12.
  • May and June will be important months for Steve Grand as his All American Boy album will see release and then he will be touring the blazes out of it, appearing at numerous Gay Pride events in North America.  The pensive “Back To California” jumps 17-13 on my chart.
  • This past week Rod Thomas (aka Bright Light Bright Light) will in fact be opening for Elton John on some dates on his European tour!  That’s an amazing feat for an independent performer and Elton has shown great interest in new acts this past year.  Their marvellous duet on “I Wish We Were Leaving” moves up 19-14.
  • The engaging and colourful video for Wrathschild’s “Fall Into Love” continues to attract new fans.  The song rises 22-15 as the duo of Simon Curtis and Wolfy record another new song.
  • Rixton’s “Me And My Broken Heart” is one of those songs that has you reeled in from its first note, very remiscent of Maroon 5 meets Lawson for the UK band.  It moves up 26-17 – let’s get these boys over here in North American for shows!
  • FrankMusik announced that his By Nicole album will be issued on Monday, April 28.  So many releases to look forward to over the next few weeks!  In the meantime, “Dear Nicole”, which features one of the singer’s most powerful vocals just past the half way mark, moves up 24-18.
  • I suppose over 2 million Twitter followers might signal a sell out, which indeed 5 Seconds Of Summer had with their Toronto show last Saturday.  The song with that underwear video, “She Looks So Perfect”, rises 27-21.

 New to the Chart:

  • Not to sound like a broken record, but leading the way once again on the new chart is another beautiful Sam Smith song, this time it’s “Not In That Way” from his upcoming album In The Lonely Hour, which is slated for a June release, which seems a long way off, though you can get “Not In That Way” on iTunes already.  Check out the live performance of the song at the top of this blog post.  “Not In That Way” bows at #22.
  • Next up is “The Day You Left”, another infectious EDM single from Convulsic, which has a steadier female vocal than “Love Space” and is full of powerful drops that will make your eardrums pop.  It arrives at #24 and is available on iTunes.
  • Andy Grammer’s positive vibe of “Keep Your Head Up” sent the song to #9 on my chart back in 2011, and after one album and an EP, the heartwarming “Back Home” leads the way for a new album.  The song debuts at #28.
  • Toronto-based singer Kendal Thompson dropped “Be Mine” as a free ‘thank you’ download on Valentine’s Day, along with a mysterious and eye-catching video.  “Be Mine” enters the chart at #29.

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart.


01 01 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
06 02 LATCH Disclosure featuring Sam Smith
13 03 PROXY Martin Garrix
04 04 FIND YOU Zedd featuring Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant
08 07 LOVE ME AGAIN John Newman
02 08 MONEY ON MY MIND Sam Smith
12 09 LOVE SPACE Convulsic
03 10 ADDICTED TO YOU Avicii featuring Audra Mae
21 11 STAY WITH ME Sam Smith
14 12 DRINK Semi-Precious Weapons
17 13 BACK TO CALIFORNIA Steve Grand
19 14 I WISH WE WERE LEAVING Bright Light Bright Light & Elton John
22 15 FALL INTO LOVE Wrathschild
16 16 READY FOR YOU NOW Sean O’Reilly
24 18 DEAR NICOLE Frankmusik
20 19 HORNY Lonnie Gordon
07 20 DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
27 21 SHE LOOKS SO PERFECT 5 Seconds Of Summer
New 22 NOT IN THAT WAY Sam Smith
18 23 TALK DIRTY Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz
New 24 THE DAY YOU LEFT Convulsic
10 25 F FOR YOU Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige
11 26 TAKE COVER Neverest
15 27 COLLIDE Jake Miller
New 28 BACK HOME Andy Grammer
New 29 BE MINE Kendal Thompson
25 30 HAPPY Pharrell Williams


BILLCS Top 30 #427 – March 24/14

Spring has sprung and more great new music seems to be out there than ever.  If I didn’t have a 10 appearance (20 week) chart rule, songs would never leave!  And so, three favourites will be departing after the current chart.  But there are so many songs on the rise that a number get stuck on this chart, which will make the chart in two weeks that much more interesting!  The strong debuts in the 20’s would have normally bowed even higher…

The Top 10

  • All things Sam Smith are happening in pop music right now!  Our boy got a gig on March 29 on Saturday Night Live no less.  Now that meant that he had to postpone the show I was supposed to go to the day before, but fortunately I don’t have to repurchase tickets and it’s at the same venue on April 23.  So Sam stays at #1 with “Money On My Mind”, but bounds into the Top 10 at #10 with Disclosure on “Latch”, which has its sights set much higher than #10…
  • “Cannonball (Earthquake)” by Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma holds strong at #2 as the song is gradually getting release around the world, so check your iTunes!
  • Neverest’s rollicking change of pace “Take Cover” climbs to #3.  The group is currently down to a trio as drummer Mykey Thomas found a must-take gig in the States, but I know they’ll find a successor who will make an equally great anchor to their sound 🙂  “Take Cover” is still available as a free download through Neverest’s Facebook page.

  • I cannot resist Audra Mae’s vocal on Avicii’s “Addicted To You”, which not only climbs to #4 on my chart, but it’s in the Top 20 on the UK Singles Chart.  North America, what are you waiting for?  SMASH.

  • The rest of the songs featuring the amazing Matthew Koma still climb up within the Top 10, so we see “Find You” by Zedd and also featuring Miriam Bryant up 8-6, bound to be a huge hit by summer, while Hardwell’s “Dare You” is #9.   The new video for “Find You” is above.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is one of the year’s most pleasing surprises so far, and still available for free download!  That it’s by Adam Tyler is even better… “Electric Valentine” zips up the chart 14-7!

Movin’ On Up

  • Nick Hagelin’s “City Lights” EP is coming to you in early April, in the meantime do listen to the snappy song rooted in old R&B, “Finest Clothes In Town”, which rises 15-14.
  • Semi-Precious Weapons also have their album on deck for next month, but until then the party-hardy “Drink” moves up 19-15.
  • I’m absolutely loving the creative EDM by San Diego’s Convulsic – particularly on the car stereo 🙂 – and “Love Space” makes its presence known by climbing 23-17.  Video to follow soon!

  • Sean O’Reilly’s video for “Ready For You Now” was shot as Hurricane Sandy was coming, and the intensity of inviting something big to happen prevails in the song too.  It moves up 22-19.

  • Steve Grand’s campaign to raise funds for his “All American Boy” album is way past doubled right now, which means more great things to embellish the album or accompany it will be in store for fans.  The lovely story of “Back To California” takes the song to #20 on my chart this week.
  • It’s a club smash in the making, and Lonnie Gordon’s “Horny” is now available on iTunes.  It rises 29-24.  Check out the Paul Goodyear radio edit video below.

New to the Chart

I’ve written about all three of these stellar songs and I expect big moves in the coming weeks…

  • As “Animals” is about to leave the chart, “Proxy” by Martin Garrix debuts at #23.  It’s still available as a free download and quite honestly I’m loving this one more than his other projects.  It’s Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” meets early Tiesto… and that’s all powerful stuff for this 17 year old Dutchman.  Love the official video at the top of this post.
  • “I Wish We Were Leaving” (#25) could be one of Bright Light Bright Light’s most downbeat sounding songs, until the powerful and hopeful message is revealed.  Having Elton John’s vocal as the other side of the story is just mind-blowing and impressive.  The video (at the top of this post) is going to make you tear up when you feel happy or sad throughout (my only critique is that the turning point happens too abruptly).  Brilliant.  Bright Light Bright Light’s new album Life Is Easy is coming, with the EP of “I Wish We Were Leaving” due April 7.

  • We finish up with “Dear Nicole” by FrankMusik from his upcoming fourth album By Nicole at #28.  This song pulls you in with its story and Vincent Frank’s build up to a positively ferocious vocal.  As always FrankMusik’s songs make you want more and more, and that’s exactly what’s to come!

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart.

01 01 MONEY ON MY MIND Sam Smith
02 02 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
04 03 TAKE COVER Neverest
07 04 ADDICTED TO YOU Avicii featuring Audra Mae
05 05 COLLIDE Jake Miller
08 06 FIND YOU Zedd featuring Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant
09 08 HAPPY Pharrell Williams
10 09 DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
16 10 LATCH Disclosure featuring Sam Smith
11 11 INTO THE BLUE Kylie Minogue
12 12 F FOR YOU Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige
13 13 LOVE ME AGAIN John Newman
19 15 DRINK Semi-Precious Weapons
03 16 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
23 17 LOVE SPACE Convulsic
06 18 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
22 19 READY FOR YOU NOW Sean O’Reilly
26 20 BACK TO CALIFORNIA Steve Grand
24 22 TALK DIRTY Jason Derulo featuring 2Chainz
New 23 PROXY Martin Garrix
29 24 HORNY Lonnie Gordon
New 25 I WISH WE WERE LEAVING Bright Light Bright Light & Elton John
20 26 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
18 27 MANiCURE Lady Gaga
New 28 DEAR NICOLE FrankMusik
17 29 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
25 30 GOLD Eurielle

BILLCS Top 30 #423 – January 27/14

The end of January sees a cold, cold winter continuing… but with extra hot EDM/dance music, if our three debuts (with thanks to Matthew Koma on two of them 🙂 ) and the new #1 song – which you may not have expected – have any say in the matter.


The New Number One

  • “Animals” by Martin Garrix!!  Surprised??  The song has grown immensely on me during the month, and the young Dutchman already seems to have a signature sound of his own, judging by his subsequent collabo “Wizard” and a newer song which you’ll find under the extras below.  But will “Animals” get more than one appearance at #1?  Find out in two weeks!  Love the above photo!  Martin is in my city (Toronto) in a sold out show on February 7 at Uniun.

The Rest of the Top 10

  • “Easy” by Travis Garland continues its climb to #2 in its 8th appearance on the chart, while “Motel Pool” sits comfortably at #6.
  • Bright Light Bright Light gives up #1 with “An Open Heart” and moves to #3, while the equally pensive “In Your Care” moves up 13-10!
  • Singles holding steady:  SIRPAUL’s “Every Single Moment” at #4 and “Breathe Me”, the thoughtful Sia cover by Carlos Nóbrega at #7 🙂
  • Into the Top 5 she goes!  New UK singer Eurielle’s gorgeous “Gold” (video below) moves up 6-5!
  • The last new Top 10 entry is Adam Lambert’s highest on the chart thus far, the “Glee” take on “Marry The Night” at #9.

On The Rise

  • Canadian quartet Neverest is at it again, after the #1 success of “Rewind”, almost in the Top 10 a few weeks after “Take Cover” (video above) appeared on their Facebook page as a free download.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, climbing 21-11!
  • And speaking of “Rewind”, its songwriter Corey Niles and pal Dru continue to rise up the chart with a fine slice of pop/hip hop, “Rollercoaster” at #12.
  • New L.A. resident Jake Miller is fresh out of the Grammys and zipping up my chart 22-13 with a fun pre-summer anthem “Collide”.
  • While “Do What U Want” has slowed down at #14, Lady GaGa’s rollicking “MANiCURE” jumps 18-15.
  • He’s got an Oscar nomination, won a Grammy as Producer of the Year, provided vocals on Record of the Year “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk (which got to #2 on my chart and was #16 for 2013) – Pharrell Williams oughta be “Happy”, as the former UK #1 climbs 27-21.
  • Lastly, the eclectic and most listenable “Talking To The Walls” (video below) has an outstanding vocal by its singer, newcomer Své, and it moves up 25-22.  It’s available on iTunes.

The Debuts – Power EDM Trio!

  • Storming the chart at #17 is the irresistible and indefatiguable “Cannonball (Earthquake)” by Dutch producers/DJs Showtek & Justin Prime, which started life as an instrumental two years ago, but has been transformed into an incredible vocal anthem courtesy of singer/songwriter Matthew Koma.  This needs a worldwide release!!

  • I got so tired of Wake Me Up soooo fast that I went silent on Avicii’s album True.  That has all changed with the arrival of “Addicted To You” at #20, featuring a unique standout vocal performance by American singer Audra Mae.  A short song at 2:28, it has all the boom you need to make you want much more!

  • Lastly, we have more Matthew Koma vocalizing and songwriting courtesy of the UK Top 20 hit “Dare You” by another well-established Dutch producer/DJ, Robbert Hardwell.  This gorgeously melodic EDM song arrives at #25 and I’m looking forward to the official remixes 🙂

Extra! Extra!

Several songs are on deck or are awaiting official release before they arrive on my chart.

Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige, “F For You”

Kylie Minogue, “Into The Blue”

People Like You, “Have Some Pride” (teaser video!! – official release is February 3)

Bassjackers, “Crackin'” (Martin Garrix edit)

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart.

05 01 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
03 02 EASY Travis Garland
01 03 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
06 05 GOLD Eurielle
09 06 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
07 07 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
02 08 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E
11 09 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast featuring Adam Lambert
13 10 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
21 11 TAKE COVER Neverest
15 12 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles featuring Dru
22 13 COLLIDE Jake Miller
14 14 DO WHAT U WANT Lady GaGa featuring R. Kelly
18 15 MANiCURE Lady GaGa
17 16 I CAN’T HELP IT Dangerous Muse
New 17 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
20 18 COME A LITTLE CLOSER Cage The Elephant
08 19 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
New 20 ADDICTED TO YOU Avicii featuring Audra Mae
27 21 HAPPY Pharrell Williams
10 23 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
12 24 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
New 25 DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
16 26 KEEP ME RUNNING Andy Suzuki & The Method
19 27 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
24 29 JULIET Lawson 
26 30 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis

BILLCS Top 30 #422 – January 13/14

There’s a limited amount of big movement on my new personal chart, as one might expect for the first chart of January.  The next few weeks will bring plenty of new songs for 2014 as last year’s faves exit the chart.

  • It looks like our Top 2 songs might give way to new ones, but “An Open Heart” by Bright Light Bright Light has had 4 appearances at the top and “What’s Going On” by Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E has held runner up for 5 appearances, which are stories unto themselves 🙂
  • The big news in the Top 10 belongs (surprise, surprise) to Travis Garland!  Two of the sexiest songs on his self-titled debut are moving up, first at #3 with the album track “Easy” (above), which could slide up to #1 – or could “Motel Pool” (below) do that instead, soaring 22-9 in its second appearance?  You can’t lose with either song!
  • One of the songs I’ve enjoyed most over the winter break and beyond is “Every Single Moment” by SIRPAUL, which advances 5-4.  Gets cranked in the car every time 🙂
  • “Animals” by Martin Garrix is a huge surprise, and should by all rights be a top pop hit around the world and not just in Europe.  It moves up 6-5.
  • UK singer Eurielle has big things coming for 2014, the start of which is her 3 song EP The Incarnation, featuring the stunning “Gold”, rising 7-6.
  • “Breathe Me” is Carlos Nóbrega’s poignant take on the Sia song, and it jumps 10-7 and looks to be Top 5 bound 🙂
  • Rounding out the risers within the Top 10 is another sad and beautifully sung tune, Jarell Perry’s “4th of July” (below), still available as a free download.
  • The rest of the chart finds several recent additions caught in the middle, waiting for other songs to fall.  The fastest risers of the bunch belong to Bright Light Bright Light’s “In My Care” (16-13), “Come A Little Closer” by Cage The Elephant (23-20) (below), and Své’s alt.pop beauty “Talking To The Walls” (28-25).   And the “Glee”/Adam Lambert version of “Marry The Night” climbs to #11, one spot higher than Lady GaGa’s original – but does that make it better? Maybe!
  • Our first of three newcomers arrived almost exactly two weeks ago as a free download, which made it to the chart blog post as an ‘extra’.  Well Neverest’s anthemic and danceable “Take Cover” bows at #21 – can it get to #1 like last year’s “Rewind”?  Watch the performance video above to give you a taste of the impact of a Neverest show 🙂

  • Next up at #22 is what could be the “It Guy” of early 2014 😉  Jake Miller has a certain kind of charm with his mix of pop and rap that is definitely turning heads with his debut album Us Against Them.  “Collide” is the lead single and it’s simply a winner to which North American radio is warming up.
  • The song really didn’t need minions to become a hit, but certainly having two non-consecutive weeks at the top in the UK has helped it immensely.  “Happy” (from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack) also happens to be by Pharrell Williams who is more than everywhere than he’s ever been (if you follow that 😛 ).  It arrives on my chart at #27.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart.

01 01 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
02 02 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E
04 03 EASY Travis Garland
06 05 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
07 06 GOLD Eurielle
10 07 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
03 08 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
22 09 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
12 10 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
13 11 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast featuring Adam Lambert
09 12 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
16 13 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
15 14 DO WHAT U WANT Lady Gaga featuring R. Kelly
17 15 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles featuring Dru
18 16 KEEP ME RUNNING Andy Suzuki & The Method
19 17 I CAN’T HELP IT Dangerous Muse
21 18 MANiCURE Lady Gaga
08 19 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
23 20 COME A LITTLE CLOSER Cage The Elephant
New 21 TAKE COVER Neverest
New 22 COLLIDE Jake Miller
14 24 JULIET Lawson 
20 26 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis
New 27 HAPPY Pharrell Williams
25 28 ADORN Miguel featuring Jessie Ware
27 29 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
29 30 HEADHUNTER Parralox 

Published in: on January 13, 2014 at 11:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

BILLCS Top 30 #421 – December 30/13 – Plus, New Songs by Neverest, Remy Shand, and Matt Blue

The last chart of 2013 is also my first chart of 2014, when last year’s favourites start to fade a bit and new ones start to take charge.

  • The Top 4 are exactly the same as two weeks ago:  Bright Light Bright Light’s “An Open Heart” (#11 for 2013) and “What’s Going On” by Monsieur Adi & A*M*E (#17 for 2013) are still too hard to dislodge, with Anton Ewald’s “Can’t Hold Back” (#21 for 2013) about to give way to Travis Garland’s “Easy”.

  • SIRPAUL busts a move right into the Top 5 with “Every Single Moment” (8-5), which not only can swirl you out onto the dance floor but dazzle you with its excellent lyrics.  It’s a grower, but a winner!
  • I am by no means nowhere near done with Martin Garrix’s “Animals” as it continually lodges itself inside my head.  It would have made for some appropriate party music in last night’s festivities.  “Animals” moves up 11-6.

  • “Gold” by UK singer Eurielle vaults into the Top 10 at #7, from her compelling 3 song EP The Incarnation.  Watch the tantalizing video above.

  • “Breathe Me” is a poignant and minimal cover of the Sia song by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, climbing 15-10 and becoming his second Top 10 placing on my chart.
  • The middle of the chart finds songs still on the rise from Jarell Perry, “Glee”/Adam Lambert, Lady GaGa & R. Kelly and Corey Niles & Dru.

  • Debuts from the last chart are all taking off smoothly.  Bright Light Bright Light’s “In Your Care” is the fastest riser, up 24-16, making this a double whammy week for Rod Thomas who also has the #1 song.  Lady GaGa’s “MANiCURE” and Cage The Elephant’s “Come A Little Closer” (coming closer to becoming a pop hit, I think) climb 28-21 and 29-23.

  • I’ve written about both of our newcomers.  It’s no surprise that “Motel Pool” by Travis Garland bows at #22 complete with its damn proper sexy video.  Travis’ self-titled album is my go-to when I don’t know what to listen to.  The song is also from the new Motel Pool EP available on iTunes.  “Talking To The Walls” got a flood of attention right away when I wrote about it in October, but it’s gone a little too quiet.  I’ve not forgotten about this hypnotic song from new singer Své.  Watch the video below, which has some strange twists and a cameo from “Go For Gold” and former Click Five singer Kyle Patrick.  It debuts on my chart at #28.



  • If you thought Neverest might go back to a ballad for their next single, you might not be prepared for the techno/dubsteppy power in “Take Cover”, which was released today as a free download from their Facebook page (you have to “like” it of course) right here.  Like “Rewind” (my #13 song of 2013), “Take Cover” is an ambitious and tight record that will slide into their set list rather neatly.  Can’t wait to hear it in concert!  There’s no link yet for me to provide – just take my word on this one folks!


  • Juno Award winning Canadian R&B/pop singer Remy Shand has eased back into the music scene this year after being away from it for a decade.  He’s very active on Twitter, often providing many links to some great obscure and not-so-obscure songs which obviously shape his styles of music.  His new song released today on Bandcamp, “The Best In Me”, starts off with a low vocal register introduction, but doesn’t venture much beyond what he gave us in the past, which is not a bad thing at all.  Slick production and some amazing guitar work that rounds out the end of the song make it more than worthwhile.  You can hear and purchase the song right here.


  • Dutch singer Matt Blue keeps issuing fine singles that hopefully one day will make an EP or album.  Released on You Tube just before the New Year is “Fireworks”, a bit slighter than past efforts “Can’t Help Myself” and last year’s #32 song “Outta My Mind”, but still in a positive and upbeat vein.  And when there’s such a fine voice singing the song you can’t help but be impressed.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

01 01 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
02 02 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi F/ A*M*E
03 03 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
04 04 EASY Travis Garland
11 06 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
13 07 GOLD Eurielle
05 08 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
07 09 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
15 10 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
14 12 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
18 13 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast F/ Adam Lambert
09 14 JULIET Lawson
19 15 DO WHAT U WANT Lady Gaga F/ R. Kelly
24 16 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
22 17 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles F/ Dru
20 18 KEEP ME RUNNING Andy Suzuki & The Method
21 19 I CAN’T HELP IT Dangerous Muse
10 20 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis
28 21 MANiCURE Lady Gaga
New 22 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
29 23 COME A LITTLE CLOSER Cage The Elephant
16 25 ADORN Miguel F/ Jessie Ware
17 26 APPLAUSE Lady Gaga
23 27 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
25 29 HEADHUNTER Parralox
26 30 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino


BILLCS Top 75 of 2013 – The Top 20

Songs 20 through 1 put a wrap on the music of 2013 for me.  In 2014, I hope to find more time to dedicate to blog writing, as life too often got in the way during the past year.  The full pretty web edition of my Top 75 of 2013 is available right here.

20. BETTY WHO  Somebody Loves You (PP#3)

“Somebody Loves You” is simply one of the most joyous songs of 2013.  It’s akin to having someone wrap you up in a snuggly blanket and mess with you in all fun ways possible.  Australian-to-NYC transplant Betty Who has bloggers like me eating out of her hands with songs from her debut free download release The Movement as well as remixes of “Somebody Loves You”.  Big things are in store for you, Betty Who, mark my words!

19. LADY GAGA  Applause (PP#2)

I was a little worried at the pre-release hype for “Applause” and ARTPOP – that I was going to be let down big time, or that I might just love it all.  Well, “Applause” is the grand preview of ARTPOP that ended up being the best song on the record.  “Applause” is what it’s all about, it’s what keeps performers like Lady GaGa coming back for more and more.  That it’s as powerful it is musically as it is lyrically is a huge win for her.  It is a song that makes you stand up and clap, it’s almost impossible not to do so.  ARTPOP is a fine if highly uneven effort with many top notch songs (vocally and instrumentally, particularly) mixed with some of GaGa’s worst ones, particularly lots of hard to listen to lyrics.  But she is her own machine and having seen her earlier this year in concert, she does what many performers aspire to do quite well, warts and all.

18.  GENTLEMEN HALL  Sail Into The Sun (PP#3)

Boston sextet Gentlemen Hall tested the waters with us many times this year by revealing new songs on Soundcloud or You Tube for our listening and/or downloading pleasure.  It started to change up a big in the Spring with “Sail Into The Sun”.  I knew something was up when I was in Austin, TX in March and walked into a Target store.  As I slowly made my way back, I began to hear this familiar song….. which became used regularly in Target commercials in the US.  Plus, “Sail Into The Sun” also got Samsung’s attention for their smart camera commercials.  So it wasn’t long before a record company came-a-courting and Island Records not only released “Sail” but a rework of last year’s “All Our Love” as well.  Here’s hoping that all of this continues for Gentlemen Hall into 2014 towards an EP or album – they are more than ready and we are more than anxious!!

17. MONSIEUR ADI featuring A*M*E  What’s Going On (PP#2)

One item in my musical rule book is that if a performer is going to tackle a cover version of one of my very favourite songs, it has to be outstanding.  After following the oh-so-creative work of French producer/DJ Monsieur Adi these last four years, I was pleased that he would be the one to rework Soul II Soul & Caron Wheeler’s 1989 classic “Back To Life” as “What’s Going On”.  I had heard of British vocalist A*M*E through various dance collaborations such as with MNEK, but I had never thought she might be a substitute for Caron Wheeler’s amazing vocal.  But boy does this record deliver, with its slick ‘n smooth production which also allows A*M*E to take complete ownership over the vocal.  Plus we get to actually see le Monsieur on camera! 🙂 It was one of the few moments in 2013 where I was so excited about a record that I jumped all over it and charted it months before its official release in November (I withdrew it from my chart allowing it to re-enter in the Top 5).   So if you’re going to think about covering one of my personal faves, folks, this is the way to do it 😀


Though Random Access Memories was a conceptual hot mess, full of great weird things happening that never gel, there was no better time to revive the Chic model of funky disco and Daft Punk did just that with “Get Lucky”.  That sinewy Nile Rodgers guitar riff and an outstanding vocal from Pharrell gave a lot of people happy feet throughout 2013.  It seemed a bit tame after the almost experimental Daft Punk dance music from the last decade, but the success of the French duo in 2013 will allow them to offer us more of their unusual creativity in the years to come.  And if Nile Rodgers wants to lend his funky riffing and expertise to anyone’s projects – oh please do let him!

15.  WILLY MOON  Yeah Yeah (PP#2)

One performer to keep an ear out for in 2014 – he is recording a follow up album – is New Zealand-to-London transplant Willy Moon.  You first heard “Yeah Yeah” in a colourful commercial for the iPod.This is one 24 year old who seems to know exactly what he wants, borrowing musical elements from across the decades, mashing it up with contemporary and sometimes experimental-sounding production, led by bold vocals that sound different on every song yet recognizable as Willy Moon.  He’s a dapper enigma with fashion and enjoys his billiards and gin.  I got to hear one of his SXSW performances standing outside of a club in Austin at midnight while I was full of pneumonia.  He’s the real deal who’s going to happen in a big way.  Willy also scored in 2013 with “My Girl” at #43 on my list, with both songs from his debut album Here’s Willy Moon, one of a handful of albums I would recommend highly from this past year.

14.  RYAN ADAMES  As Long As You Love Me (PP#2)

Another item in my musical rule book is that if a performer chooses to tackle a song that I don’t like, it has to be outstanding.  So forgive me for being dubious about yet another cover version of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me”.  But because L.A. based singer Ryan Adamés was already on my radar with his vocal contribution to Parralox’s “Silent Morning”, I decided to put aside my reservations.  And boy does this young man deliver!  The song narrowly missed out at #1 on my chart.  It’s a slight-sounding acoustic version that is filled not only with depth but lots of emotional warmth, that brings out everything good about the song (its warm and fuzzy video also helped).  I figure that if Ryan can possess this kind of vocal prowess (which took a backseat on some of his earlier dance records), he is one to watch.  So what does he record next?  An acoustic cover of Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch”.  It doesn’t work as well, but it did make me look forward to hearing Ryan Adamés’ new songs that are forthcoming in 2014.

13.  NEVEREST  Rewind (PP#1)

Toronto quartet Neverest had an interesting year, losing two members early on, and recruiting two new ones (drummer Mikey Thomas and guitarist Greg Keyes, joining bassist Paul Loduca and vocalist/guitarist Spee Chalkiotis) who fit like well warn shoes.  It was appropriate because the sound of Neverest is evolving, from Backstreet Boys-inspired balladeers to tight rockers.  And “Rewind”  was the ticket to get it started this past summer, followed by an engaging video full of intrigue.  The song itself lyrically is a departure for Neverest allowing them to explore slightly darker material.  So this one single has us all wanting more from Neverest in 2014.  These are four great musicians, extremely nice guys to boot (after seeing their shows – with Lawson – and meeting them twice), and nice guys always deserve to finish first.

12.  ANTON EWALD  Begging (PP#2)

Sweden’s Melodifestivalen is always a great source for new talent, I’ve seen stellar starmaking performances on that show from Mans Zelmerlow and Eric Saade over the years.  Joining them this year is Anton Ewald’s absolutely infectious performance of “Begging”, which garnered second place at the festival and rose to #2 on the Swedish pop charts.  Anton is one of those young ladies’ men, loaded with big smile, personality and talent (he sings, he dances, he choreographs!).  At 20 he has it in spades; I just wish his music would be better promoted outside of the Nordic countries as “Begging” could have been a huge worldwide hit.


One of the things I absolutely needed to do in 2013 was to see Bright Light Bright Light in concert.  When I found out that Rod Thomas was performing a show while I was going to be in NYC in October, I scored one of the last tickets.  The small club setting was perfect, it was like being in Rod’s own private disco where his slew of hits which have often graced the top of my chart were all played.  “An Open Heart” is the lead off single to BLx2’s EP In Your Care.  Rod’s carefully crafted and emotional lyrics blend beautifully with the high register synths which make the song glow.  Even though it officially ranks #11 for 2013, count it as an honourary part of my Top 10 for the year.

10.  ZEDD featuring FOXES  Clarity (PP#2)

No song from the early part of 2013 resonated with me lyrically more than “Clarity”.  Led by a stunner of a vocal from new UK singer Foxes (who got her own record deal as a result), and a great follow up to Zedd’s collaboration with Matthew Koma on 2012’s “Spectrum”, it’s that unforgettable chorus that anchors the song:

‘Cause you are the piece of me I wish I didn’t need
Chasing relentlessly, still fight and I don’t know why

If our love is tragedy, why are you my remedy?
If our love’s insanity, why are you my clarity?


I was already very aware of Danny Voicu (aka Kwik Fiks) from his remix work with Toronto’s River Tiber, but when his collaboration with fellow Montrealer Victor Bongiovanni came to my attention I had no idea what I was getting into.  “Lifted” is in fact a most excellent slice of deep house which is a rework of Baby Bash & Frankie J’s 2003 hit “Suga Suga”.  It simply takes the chorus of “Suga Suga” and loops it with a deep bass rhythm, to hypnotic effect.  It captured the top of my chart for 6 weeks early in 2013.

8.  MATTHEW KOMA  Parachute (PP#1)

At the end of 2012, I could not get enough of Matthew Koma’s EP Parachute after being tantalized by his vocals on various dance hits in 2012, most notably of course Zedd’s “Spectrum”.  “Parachute” is a lovely, carefree, and romantic slice of life, with perfect emphasis on Matthew’s high notes.  It was the first of back to back #1’s for Matthew on my chart where he basically owned January 2013.

Cut me loose, my parachute won’t let me fly
I’ll survive cuz we got love

7.  RIVER TIBER  The City (PP#1)

If there’s any local performer for whom I have the greatest hope for some success in the next few years, it’s River Tiber.  Spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist and producer Tommy Paxton-Beasley, River Tiber is both a studio effort, focusing most recently on many things electronic, while it is also a tight functioning live band.  The start of 2013 kicked off with a free download of an album called Synapses, which no longer appears to be available, in favour of what is likely to come in early 2014, which seemed to have been kickstarted by a feature in SPIN magazine in late summer.  The year ended with the release of a new EP called The Star Falls, featuring songs such as the experimental “What Are You Afraid Of” (#57 on this list), the title song, and “The City”, all of which appeared on Synapses, plus two new songs.  “The City” isn’t a classic song meant for radio or anything.  It’s a beautifully moody piece of music, which is supported by the video, which shows all of the forlorn emptiness in a nice big city like Toronto.  The music of performers like River Tiber is what helps keep me writing 🙂

6.  TRAVIS GARLAND  Blue Electric Roses (PP#1)

It started late last year when I found out that Travis Garland was releasing new music for free download in the form of two EP’s, Fashionably Late and Fashionably Late II.  These were the records that shaped his debut self-titled album, which is one of my most played records of the year.  The second EP outdid the first for its songwriting and vocals, and I’m so glad “Blue Electric Roses” – one of the most romantic songs of this or any recent year – made the cut for the album.  It didn’t take long for the song to find itself at the top of my chart for a month.  I had bought a ticket to see Travis perform in my city in November but was too ill to go.  There will be a next time!!

5.  MATTHEW KOMA  1998  (PP#1)

Sometimes EP’s are better showcases for albums because they can display the versatility of a performer over the course of 5 or 6 songs.  Matthew Koma had already conquered the dance world, and so his Parachute EP was more of an outlet for his pop/rock.  “1998” is the grittiest of all of his songs, drawing from a lot of late 70’s and early 80’s influences like Elvis Costello.  I’m still not sure what “1998” is all about – Matthew would have been much too young to be part of what he’s writing at the time (as was Bryan Adams for “Summer of ’69”).  But it’s a whole lot of fun and impossible not to join in and sing.  Hopefully 2014 will see the release of Matthew’s long-awaited album, which was to be titled Arcadia.

Time to walk on candle wax / The smell of her perfume takes me back / To all the crooked tracks we’ve laid / Locked in 1998

4.  MIGUEL featuring JESSIE WARE  Adorn (PP#1)

Although I had probably heard it well before Miguel’s performance at this year’s Grammy Awards, I never connected with “Adorn” until I saw that performance.  It was magnetic and Miguel won the Best R&B Song Grammy.  A lot of people of pooh-poohed the song for being a knock off of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”, but even if that was inspiration, it took a whole lot more to shape “Adorn”, including Miguel’s excellent vocal.  Because I was such a latehead on the song, it missed appearing on my chart early in the year, and it wasn’t until a rework intended to help it chart in the UK featuring outstanding singer Jessie Ware that it landed at the top of my chart late in the year.  Always better late than not at all!  Miguel’s album Kaleidoscope Dream is also a gem!


FrankMusik scored his third #1 song on my chart with the bitter yet danceable “Map”.  It’s about making a decision to do something about a relationship and then follow through, which is extremely important, and sometimes that means striking that person ‘off your map’.  Again, I admire Vincent Frank for taking heartbreaking lyrics and setting them to complex, electronic rhythms.  For those of you who have been through significant breakups, this is one song you must hear for all of these reasons.  And if you’re bold enough, head over to FrankMusik’s acoustic Between Us album where you will hear “Map” stripped away to just its lyrics and emotions.  It’s incredibly touching, with a supurb vocal from Vince, but can be a hard listen.  FrankMusik’s 2013 chapter is now closed – onward and upward!

2.  KADEN  Black Light (Stormby’s mix) (PP#1)

Sometimes being predisposed to a song that you really like, not knowing if it will actually see release, can be a little unnerving (and you can imagine how the performer, writers, and producers feel too!).  I have a handful of songs in my library that I play regularly that never saw release.  One that took a little while longer than usual is “Black Light” by L.A. based singer Kaden James, which finally did see release in the summer, complete with all kinds of colourful remixes.  But it’s the mysterious and dramatic Stormby’s mix that is the winner, upping the dance rhythm to make it fit in with anything that clubs are playing, all in a tidy 3 minute mix.  Kaden’s boy-next-door vocals add to the intrigue put forth by the same ace songwriting team that gave us Osvaldo Supino’s #38 “I Have A Name” (Charlie Mason/Daniel Volpe/Thomas Lipp).  “Black Light” takes you to that invisible quiet place that we all know where we can truly be ourselves.  It looks like we will see a full release from Kaden on January 14 as he is publicizing it through his Facebook page.

1.  PET SHOP BOYS  Vocal (PP#1)

I’ve always had a keen interest in the music of Pet Shop Boys since their classic 80’s period when I was fortunate enough to meet and interview them.  But that was long ago now, and there was no way that I anticipated that they would have my #1 song of 2013.  Leaving Parlophone/EMI seemed to be the best thing for Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, who gave us their best album in 20 years with Electric after perhaps their weakest one, Elysium.  Electric is a dance floor killer, brimming with so many classic PSB melodies and some of their best lyrics ever on songs like “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct”, “Thursday”, and “Fluorescent”.  But it’s “Vocal” that trumps them all.  This is really a tip of the hat to the fans who love their music and go to their concerts for the experience.  But to me it’s also general enough to stretch to any music fan who loves their particular style of music.  Not only does the 6 minute album version strike a chord with me with its triumphant danceable melody, it hits an emotional nerve with these specific lyrics, and they get to me every time I listen to the song:

And everything about tonight feels right and so young
And anything I wanna say out loud will be sung
This is my kind of music
They play it all night long

Long may the Pet Shop Boys continue to make records like Electric and “Vocal” because fans like me will always be there to listen to them 🙂

Published in: on December 30, 2013 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bill’s Top 75 of 2013 – Songs 40 to 421

My year end countdown continues with songs #40 through 21 🙂

40.  DATABOY  We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness (PP #6)

Among their many projects amid preparations for their sophomore album, Austin TX duo DATABOY (aka Cameron Maxwell and Adam Bailey) dropped one of the biggest surprises of 2013 – not just a mashup of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey, but one that pretty much stands alone as a song itself.  It’s a supurb end of summer song, combining the invincibility of “We Can’t Stop” and the defeat of “Summertime Sadness”.  Plus, as is the theme of this year’s songs, the guys gave one of their best ever vocals, and showed themselves at last in the accompanying video.  Available for free download too.

39.  THE WALLFLOWERS featuring MICK JONES Reboot The Mission (PP #6)

“Reboot The Mission” served as a classy homage to The Clash, what with reference to “the mighty Joe Strummer” in the lyrics as well as supporting vocal from Clash member Mick Jones.  It’s probably one of The Wallflowers’ funkiest numbers too, a real throwback to how The Clash incorporated funk and R&B into their songs like “This Is Radio Clash”, “Rock The Casbah”, and “The Magnificent Seven”.  Jakob Dylan also has never sounded so fine, an enthusiastic yet sultry vocal.

38. OSVALDO SUPINO I Have A Name (PP #5)

“I Have A Name” became the standout song from the blissful dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume 2 as the year went on.  It’s as different from Italian singer Osvaldo Supino’s more outrageous songs as it is from his other charting song (the incredibly playful “Ma Radio” at #67).  His vocal here is extremely touching and the beautiful lyrics – the song was written by ace team Charlie Mason, Daniel Volpe, and Thomas Lipp – to me could also serve as a theme of sorts against bullying.

37. ROBIN THICKE featuring T.I. & PHARRELL WILLIAMS  Blurred Lines (PP #4)

There is no denying that “Blurred Lines” is one of the catchiest pieces of business that 2013 offered.  I’m not about to debate the lyrics; to me this is all just fun and other songs have been targeted in the past for their words, yet it didn’t stop radio from playing them either.  Robin Thicke is no stranger to making songs about sex, they comprise pretty much most of his repertoire (and he’s been married for over 20 years too).  It’s great to have him back with some friendly rivalry, he last appeared on my Best of 2008 with “Magic” (in duet form with Mary J. Blige) after first appearing on my chart back in 2002 with his “A Fifth Of Beethoven” mashup, “When I Get You Alone” (billed under his last name only).

36. DAVIS REDFIELD  A World Apart (PP #4)

Davis Redfield is a German DJ/producer who appears to be well-established in Europe.  His song “A World Apart” came to my attention through its impeccable songwriting pedigree (Charlie Mason/Mans Ek/Johan Aberg and Redfield).  It also has a bit of bizarre history to itself as the fantastic (and hitherto unknown) session vocalist bailed from the project after it was recorded, and that’s not her in the accompanying video.  Nevertheless it’s one of the year’s very best dance recordings that should not be disregarded! 🙂

35.  BONGIOVANNI  I Think I Love You (Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni remix) (PP #6)

It’s Montrealer Victor Bongiovanni’s second entry (the other is much higher up!) on this list, a deep house rework of rapper Dwele’s song that emphasizes over the full song an irresistibly oversized bass sound and atmosphere featuring minimal vocals.  Eventually the full lyrics come along about half way through but by then you are sold entirely.  I heard no other song that was quite like this one in 2013, and look forward to Bongiovanni’s upcoming projects (usually with partner-in-crime Kwik Fiks).

34. ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring TREVOR GUTHRIE  This Is What It Feels Like (PP #6)

Dutch DJ/producer has been no stranger to my chart over the past 10 years and in fact has scored two #1’s, 2003’s “Yet Another Day” and 2008’s “Going Wrong”.  This time though, “This Is What It Feels Like” crossed over to pop radio around the world thanks to inclusion of the instantly recognizable voice of former soulDecision vocalist, Canadian singer Trevor Guthrie.  It’s garnered the pair a deserving Grammy nod for Best Dance Recording amid a lot of competition.

33. PARRALOX featuring RYAN ADAMES  Silent Morning (PP #5)

It literally took months for me to buy into this song – a return of the Freestyle sound amid so much techno and dubstep through a cover of Noel’s seminal 80’s hit “Silent Morning”??  And the first recorded version of “Silent Morning” by the Australian duo led by John von Ahlen, simply featuring former member Amii Jackson on vocal duty, was just fine.  Then came the brilliant idea of adding rising L.A.-based singer/actor/dancer Ryan Adamés to the mix, and suddenly the record was transformed into something immediately more contemporary, with a video showcasing Amii and Ryan that added a little intrigue to the story.  Many mixes followed, including a rock-inflected one by Cherry Cherry Boom Boom which still turns my head.  “Silent Morning” is also one of the showcase songs from This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume 2.  Parralox also features at #59 with their out-of-the-blue cover of Front 242’s “Headhunter”, sung by John, from their ambitious album of cover songs, Recovery.

32.  MATT BLUE  Outta My Mind (PP #3)

He doesn’t do it very often, but when 21 year old Dutch singer Matt Blue releases something, it’s generally pretty ear-catching and danceable.  Such is the case with “Outta My Mind”, guaranteed to make you smile and give you happy feet, in follow up to his late 2011 #1 on my chart “Can’t Help Myself”.  He’s just released a new song called “Fireworks” and I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it very soon!  But I’m selfishly looking forward to a full EP or album from the talented Mr. Blue.

31.  LAWSON  Learn To Love Again (PP #5)

UK quartet Lawson was one of my bands of the year, even though they haven’t released more than two singles in North America.  I saw them twice in concert this year (along with Canadians Neverest), and they put on a stadium-worthy show for a smallish (350-400) club audience.  Almost all of their songs (ironically except “Learn To Love Again”) have garnered Top 10 status in the UK, and their albums Chapman Square and Chapman Square Part II, have also sold well.  North America has to be their next destination, right Universal Music?? 🙂  “Learn To Love Again” is one of those emotional pop songs that instantly sticks in your head, and it was followed this year by the rocking duet with B.o.B. “Brokenhearted” (#52) and the Bruno Mars-ish ska-inflected “Juliet” (#60).

30. TRAVIS GARLAND  Homewrecker (PP #6)

L.A. based, Texas-bred singer Travis Garland ultimately recorded my favourite album of 2013, his self-titled debut.  Produced along with The Stereotypes, the album offers a diverse R&B/pop sound like no other (no, not even close to Justin Timberlake or Robin Thicke).  Its songs ranged from out-and-out dance, through to sexy balladeering, and then to something as offbeat as “Homewrecker”, a dark tale with production effects that would not have sounded out of place on JMSN’s 2012 album Priscilla.  Nonetheless it’s a captivating song that shows Travis Garland’s versatility and deservedly ranks highly at year’s end.  Travis has one more song, much higher up, on this list 🙂

29. BASTILLE  Pompeii (PP #6)

After hearing “Pompeii” at the time of its UK release and seeing it soar to #2 for the British band Bastille, I was hooked thanks to its unforgettable refrain:

“And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?”

These are some of the best lyrics of the year.  And by year’s end, the rest of the world was catching on as “Pompeii” moved towards the Top 20 in North America.

28. BLAKE LEWIS  Your Touch (PP #5)

“Your Touch” is another song with a memorable refrain, combined with an urgent performance by Blake Lewis, which was a most welcome return for the singer/songwriter whose “Heartbreak On Vinyl” was one of the more touching songs of 2009.

“I’m thinking you and I
Should roll the dice, get lost in love forever
Cause I’m feeling intoxicated
I wanna taste the air that you’ve been breathing

So haunt me, and feel me
I’ve been waiting for your touch”

We’re still waiting for the album Portrait Of A Chameleon to surface, so I’m hoping it’s not buried in record company tape.  “Your Touch” became a Top 40 hit in the UK.

27. KYLIE MINOGUE  Skirt (PP #4)

A gal’s just gotta have some fun, right?  The Aussies got it, dance clubs got it, but very few others did.  “Skirt” is one of Kylie’s more uninhibited numbers (“and then my skirt came down…. down…. down….”), and one of my most favourite, particularly after last year’s glistening “Timebomb”.  And while “Skirt” may have been unjustly ignored, Warner Music decided to add her to their roster, so we should have new Kylie to look forward to in 2014.

26. CHRIS WALLACE  Time Bomb (Walk Away) (PP#4)

“Time Bomb” is Chris Wallace’s 2nd entry on this list, following #44 (and current single/video “Keep Me Crazy) and of course my last year’s #2 favourite “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.  “Time Bomb” is another equally thoughtful and energetic song, which, who knows (and hint, hint) could be the third single from his long-lasting Push Rewind album.  Chris has been performing relentlessly across the USA this year, which has resulted in “Keep Me Crazy” receiving enough airplay to rank in the Top 40 radio songs.  This is helped by the power of an indie label (Think Say) with one or two strong performers on their roster.  More power to Chris and all of them for 2014!  Hope Canada’s on your radar for next year!

25.  TAO HYPAH  Play The Girl (PP#4)

Early 2013 started off with “Play The Girl”, a most danceable and ear-catching song from young Dutch singer Tao Hypah, who graced last year’s list with the memorable “Celeb”.  The video is a great piece of eye-candy with some decent choreography.  Tao Hypah has the intriguing looks and the voice to match, and was willing to take a risk with a song that could be perceived from its title to be about more than what it actually is.  In mid-2013, Tao Hypah auditioned for The Voice of Holland and made it through under his own persona, Darren Van Der Lek (pic below).  He got to the first battle round before being eliminated.  Tao Hypah/Darren definitely has the voice to be successful however he wants to be, and I look forward to more in 2014.


24.  ELI ESCOBAR featuring NOMI RUIZ  Somebody To Love Me (PP #4)

I fell in love with “Somebody To Love Me” at first listen, thanks to the breathtaking vocals of Nomi Ruiz from NYC trio Jessica 6, but had no idea that it was a rework/cover.  The original was performed by Mark Ronson featuring Boy George and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt back in 2010 from Ronson’s album at the time.  I only found this out because I was curious why Nomi was singing the song as if she was a boy and figured it must be a cover.  Nonetheless, Eli Escobar fashioned the better version as a showcase for Nomi – probably one of the best dance records of the year that you didn’t hear.

23. FRANKMUSIK  Captain (PP #4)

Oh what a year for FrankMusik, who has already placed three other songs (out of 5 – still one more to go!) in my Top 75.  I remember him posting a clip of the instrumental track for “Captain” before it was released, and I was wondering how he could possibly write a lyric to overlay on top of such a frenetic melody.  But he did, and “Captain” is one of the key songs from the Between album, it is the storm that’s raging while you are in the throes of trying to salvage a relationship.  You want someone to steer it for you, but the two of you are the only ones to do that.  It’s such a difficult subject, and part of the amazement of hearing the Between and Between Us projects is to live through the painful, sad lyrics with Vince, often set to unbridled and happier-sounding melodies.  “Captain” is one crazy story and tune – listen to the bare-bones acoustic version on Between Us for full effect.

22.  DAN BLACK featuring KELIS  Hearts (PP#3)

After his smashing debut album UN from 2009, and a few guest appearances here and there since, Dan Black quietly resurfaced (after starting a family) with “Hearts” this past Spring.  It was accompanied by a very creative video which used time lapse photography having been shot over 24 hours.  Incorporated into the mix is an appropriately dry vocal by Kelis that acts as a perfect foil to Dan’s ideas.  It’s such a shame that this was all we heard and saw in 2013 and 2014 could use more  Dan Black on the music scene 🙂

21.  ANTON EWALD  Can’t Hold Back (PP#3)

While Sweden’s reigning king of pop, Eric Saade, delved into quieter, personal pop rather than continue with dance-oriented, synth-heavy songs, his young friend Anton Ewald surfaced at Melodifestivalen and won over Swedish audiences with his TV-ready personality and some slick dance moves (he’s also a choreographer).  This led to the release of his EP called A, and every song within hits the same places that Eric found with his Saade Volumes 1 & 2 albums.  “Can’t Hold Back” should have done better as a second single with its snappy melody and singalong chorus.  It’s also strange how his music is released internationally yet we in North America are unable to see some of his videos.  I’d love for Eric Saade and Anton Ewald to tour outside of the Nordic countries on a double bill!  What exposure! 🙂

Bill’s Top 75 Songs of 2013 – Part I – 75-41

It Was All About The Great Voices

More than any other year that I can think of in recent memory, 2013’s best songs were all about terrific vocal performances.  Of course, any song with an insanely catchy rhythm can win you over on that alone, with vocals and lyrics coming in distant second and third.  I think what I hear is great singers who really should be receiving far more recognition than they are getting.  They can’t tour much, have dedicated fan bases, and spend a lot of time cultivating their path online.  It’s too expensive for performers to travel great distances to play for 150 people unless they can get a break with the costs involved.

In the commentary that follows, I’m not talking about all of the songs between 75 and 41, particularly those where performers also had songs higher up.  So consider what follows to be some highlights of the year 🙂

  • One performer who set the tone from the beginning to the end of 2013 is FrankMusik.  Granted Vincent Frank does have some moderate success behind him, but to do what he achieved in 2013 stretched his resources.  And achieve he did – two albums, Between and Between Us, an EP Far From Over, as well as two tours in the US and shows in the UK.  I was happy to ride the FrankMusik train in 2013 even though I didn’t get to see him perform this time because you never knew what to expect next.  Plus there’s his unbridled enthusiasm in creating his music, which ranged from frenetic to pensive.  And the stories he told, mainly so very sad but cathartic at the same time.  Two more FrankMusik songs appear higher up on my list. “Chasing Shadows” #72; “Life (Is My Revenge)” #69; “Fast As I Can” #56.
  • Another performer who had a great year, but with all of the bells and whistles possible, is Justin Timberlake.  He hinted that he would release his first album since 2006 at the end of last year, which was quickly followed by his single “Suit & Tie”, featuring Jay-Z (#73).  The powerful R&B/pop album The 20/20 Experience arrived soon after, the best selling album of 2013 no less, full of a varied set of songs that averaged in the 7 minute range, kind of risky in itself, but definitely a whole lot of fun when they weren’t too ambitious like the raucous “Let The Groove Get In” (#53).  By the time second single “Mirrors” arrived, it was already known that The 20/20 Experience Part II was on deck, and the very 80’s and Michael Jackson-influenced single “Take Back The Night” (#49) was upon us.  And with Jay-Z’s Holy Grail album, we were pretty much assured of hearing new Justin Timberlake music every day in 2013.  But even with all of the money behind this project, was it a total success?  I would say Part I achieved what it should have, and more.  I think there were missteps with Part II arriving so soon after Part I even though many of its songs were stronger than those on Part I.  But unlike recordings by independent artists, Parts I and II will pay for each other over time.  It was great to have Justin Timberlake back though as his voice was in fine, fine form.


  • UK soul singer Charlie Brown had been featured on many songs and mixtapes over the last five years, but broke into the UK Top 10 with his uplifting “On My Way” (#75).
  • 17 year old New Zealand singer Lorde topped charts worldwide with her lyrically and melodically clever “Royals” (#68).  I couldn’t get enough of it for the first several weeks before it ran its course and peaked at #11.
  • New York dance duo Ghost Beach arrived on my chart with a unique sound that bridges punk and dance in the Penguin Prison remix of “Too Young”, which is #70 for 2013.
  • 20 year old Florida-born Ariana Grande was already well known to the teen set for her roles on “Victorious” and “Sam and Cat” as Cat Valentine.  But her stunning vocal range came to prominence over the last few years, and her debut album Yours Truly saw release in late summer.  It was however preceded by a winning single called “The Way”, featuring rapper Mac Miller, which got to #8 on my chart and is #66 for 2013.
  • UK pop singer James William has established himself with his Olly Murs tribute shows, but is also quite the astute songwriter as well.  His bright and shiny “Lay Your Love On Me” ranks #54 for 2013.
  • Another UK pop singer draws more from classic R&B influences to arrive at a contemporary sound that recalls Simply Red a lot of the time.  Sam Dickinson released his debut album The Stories That Occurred and “Learn To Wait”, its second single, is #50 for 2013.
  • L.A.-based Jarell Perry released one of the most sensational albums for free download in early 2013, Simple Things.  It’s full of powerful songs that make a really cohesive listening party as an album as a whole, which is unusual considering most performers are opting for EP’s.  The song that stuck with me most throughout 2013 was “9 2 5”, which tells why it’s so important to break out of a regular routine and experience life.  “9 2 5” is #45 for 2013.  Expect great things from Jarell in 2014, starting with the EP White.
  • NYC trio Andy Suzuki & The Method built on their existing east coast following (as well as a dedicated one in Brunei!) by releasing a full album, Born Out Of Mischief, which transcends rock, pop, jazz and country styles, led by fine vocals by Andy Suzuki.  The impressive “Dirty Floors”, which could be the theme song for any indie musician, got to #7 on my chart and is #42 for 2013.

Continuing from 2012…

  • UK duo Bim released their Lifelines EP in late 2012, and one of its best and lyrically most powerful songs was turned into a video featuring comic book images.  “Burn” is #74 for 2013.
  • UK teen favourite Conor Maynard paired up with Ne-Yo for the dance hit “Turn Around”, which is #64, while Ne-Yo himself brought some emotionally-charged R&B/dance to charts with “Let Me Love You (Till You Can Learn To Love Yourself)”, which is #61 for the year.
  • Daniel Bedingfield found much online success with his Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik EP and the award-winning video for last year’s “Secret Fear”, which he also directed.  More good things are coming from Daniel in 2014!  Joining the class of 2013 from that project is “O.V.E.R. U.” at #55.
  • Cambridge, MA quartet Passion Pit continued with singles from their 2012 album Gossamer, which often seemed to offer emotionally loaded lyrics over slight and bright melodies.  “Take A Walk” is a little different and stands out from the rest of the songs on the album.  It reached #6 on my chart and is #46 for 2013.
  • Australian dance duo The Presets offer synth-drenched otherworldly dance music which sounds like nothing else.  Their album Pacifica wasn’t always successful but the focal point to me was the intense album track “A.O.” (which stands for ‘adults only’), which is an unmade science fiction movie unto itself.  It’s #47 for 2013.

Returning Favourites:

  • At end of 2012, US quartet One Republic issued the single “If I Lose Myself”, which was eventually included on the band’s first album in 3 years, Native.  The single signaled a more synth-led sound than usual which I found to be very appealing, though it wasn’t until later in the year with “Counting Stars” that the group once again achieved massive success, reaching #1 in the UK and Top 5 in the US.  “If I Lose Myself” is #71 for 2013 – it may be re-released to follow up “Counting Stars”.
  • 2012 was absent of music from our favourite boy robot, Simon Curtis.  So the singer gifted us with an EP of songs written for others, called WWW, full of the expected electronic pop and dance bliss but somewhat different from what we had heard in RA and 8bit Heart previously.  But “Berlin Wall” (#63) is an unforgettable singalong anthem paired alongside the likes of “Laser Guns Up”, while “Do I Have To Dance” (#48) is a shattering dance epic as the singer pleads “notice me” but alternately screams “how long do I have to dance?” as if it’s the worst thing in the world.  Simon has a new song and dance video funded by fans which will appear in 2014.
  • Adam Tyler has been busy writing and recording his follow up to 2011’s Shattered Ice album after spending a lot of 2012 touring.  He gave us a taste of what he’s working on with the dubstep-influenced “Fade Into The Light” at #58.  The song was also featured on the essential dance compilation This Beat Is Poptronik… Volume 2… along with three others on this list!
  • L.A.-based Semi-Precious Weapons toned down their rowdy rock style a few notches for the anthemic ballad “Aviation High” early in 2013, which also serves as a lead-in to their upcoming release in early 2014.  Can’t wait to hear what these boys have to offer us!  Of note:  Jarell Perry also recorded a spot-on soulful cover of “Aviation High”, proving the song’s instant versatility.
  • And at #41 for 2013 is the Oscar-winning “Skyfall” from Adele, which got to #7 at the top of the year.

SONGS 75 to 41

The prettier web version should be online by the end of Sunday.

74 BIM Burn
73 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE featuring Jay-Z Suit & Tie
72 FRANKMUSIK Chasing Shadows
71 ONE REPUBLIC If I Lose Myself
70 GHOST BEACH Too Young (Penguin Prison Remix)
69 FRANKMUSIK Life (Is My Revenge)
68 LORDE Royals
64 CONOR MAYNARD featuring NE-YO Turn Around
63 SIMON CURTIS Berlin Wall
61 NE-YO Let Me Love You (Till You Learn To Love Yourself)
60 LAWSON Juliet
59 PARRALOX Headhunter
58 ADAM TYLER Fade Into The Light
57 RIVER TIBER What Are You Afraid Of
54 JAMES WILLIAM Lay Your Love On Me
53 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Let The Groove Get In
52 LAWSON featuring B.o.B. Brokenhearted
51 PET SHOP BOYS Love Is A Bourgeois Construct
50 SAM DICKINSON Learn To Wait
49 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Take Back The Night
48 SIMON CURTIS Do I Have To Dance
46 PASSION PIT Take A Walk
44 CHRIS WALLACE Keep Me Crazy
41 ADELE Skyfall

BILLCS Top 30 #420 – December 16/13

Edition #420 is my last chart of 2013, and my Best 75 Songs of 2013 will be posted on the weekend of December 28, before the next chart.  Any songs that are expected to rise after this chart will appear on next year’s Best Of list.

Much of the top of the chart stays the same as two weeks ago, with locks on 1, 2, and 3,  so I’ll focus on movement, debuts, and two ‘extras’ 😀

The Top 10:

  • Travis Garland is a name you will get to know more in 2014.  I wrote about the video to his new EP “Motel Pool” this past weekend.  But right now, the classy and rhythmic “Easy” soars 9-4 on my chart.  Live clip is above.
  • “Berlin Wall” by Simon Curtis joins “Do I Have To Dance” in the Top 10 as we anxiously await news of his upcoming video and more new music.
  • Also debuting in the Top 10, and looking mighty mighty 😉 is “Every Single Moment” by SIRPAUL, which crashes in at #8.  Remixes coming soon!
  • The last debut is Lawson, who’ve had a splendid year in these parts, charting with both “Learn To Love Again” and “Brokenhearted” in my Top 10.  “Juliet” makes it a triple play at #9.  Top notch live clip is below.

Movin’ On Up:

  • “Animals” ultimately did get to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart after hovering in the Top 10 for a while.  Martin Garrix has the fastest riser on this chart as it moves 18-11.  More to come from this new whiz kid 🙂

  • That stunning new singer from England, Eurielle, has some cool stuff brewing in the background which will make 2014 most interesting for her.  The seductive and catchy single “Gold” climbs 19-13, from her debut EP The Incarnation.
  • Mid-chart emotions strike big time with Jarell Perry’s breathtaking “4th of July” at #14, as well as “Breathe Me”, the minimalist cover of the Sia song by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, bounding 21-15.  It’s looking to become Carlos’ second Top 10er.
  • Last week’s premieres all had the number 6 waiting for them, as they each move up 6 places:  “Marry The Night”as vocalized by Adam Lambert (#18) via “Glee”; “Do What U Want”  right on his monster boot heels by Lady GaGa & R. Kelly (#19); and Corey Niles & Dru with “Rollercoaster” (#22), which is pretty damn difficult to get out of your head.

New to the Chart:

  • Catch Bright Light Bright Light on the west coast if you can!  The wistful title track from his latest EP In Your Care arrives on the chart at #24.

  • I like ARTPOP.  It’s not the great album that it could have been.  It sounds terrific but there are too many songs that I pass on to hear again.  Joining “Applause” and “Do What U Want” on the chart is the rocking “MANiCURE” at #28.  This is Lady GaGa emulating Annie Lennox circa 1986/87 – think of “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” and “I Need A Man”.  It’s one of the songs that draws me in to ARTPOP every time!

  • Lastly, “Come A Little Closer” by Cage The Elephant is an uncharacteristic alt.rock entry (#29) – at least lately, my chart was full of it at the turn of the century.  Both the concert video and animated one will make you go ‘wow’, I promise!


  • You couldn’t go a blog post from summer 2012 to winter 2013 without me talking about Indiana native Chris Wallace.  He’s been touring the States backwards and forwards, and seems to be having such a great time of it all.  His #1 on my chart “Remember When (Push Rewind)”, was my #2 song of 2012.  He has two songs this year in my year end list, and one is his new single “Keep Me Crazy”.  If it might seem a little late to you, remember about momentum and radio play, which have guided this song into the Top 40 radio songs.  That great time touring has rubbed off in the video, which is a whole lot of fun, starting off with Oscar nominee Eric Roberts as Chris’ psychiatrist, who makes him dream of crazy situations… or does he?  I suppose it would have been nice if Eric’s character could have evolved into Julia Roberts, but the makers are shy of a few million for that 😉  Anyway have a good time with “Keep Me Crazy” below.

  • My other extra is hot off the presses today, and is so different, you need to give it a watch/listen.  I raved about L.A. based singer Ryan Adamés’ acoustic and thoroughly enchanting cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me”, which was #2 for six weeks on my chart and has just exited after a maximum of 10 appearances (20 weeks).  He’s back with another acoustic rendition, but this time it’s Britney Spears’ “Work Bitch”, accompanied by singer Todrick Hall.  I don’t like the original; so Ryan provides a fine vocal, sometimes in sing-along mode, over the lyrics which for the most part were spoken or shouted by Britney.  While you admire how Ryan smolders again in the video, you really have to get to the 3 minute mark for Todrick’s break and after which the vocals harmonize so, so beautifully that you’ve almost forgotten that it’s “Work Bitch”.  Mucho points for creativity, excellent harmonies, and for Ryan (as a Britney fan) making the song his own.  Watch below and download for free from Ryan’s Facebook page (you must ‘like’ it first).

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

Here’s the full BILLCS Top 30 :)

01 01 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
02 02 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi F/ A*M*E
03 03 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
09 04 EASY Travis Garland
05 05 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
07 07 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
11 09 JULIET Lawson 
12 10 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis
18 11 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
19 13 GOLD Eurielle
16 14 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
21 15 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
08 16 ADORN Miguel F/ Jessie Ware
10 17 APPLAUSE Lady GaGa
24 18 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast F/ Adam Lambert
25 19 DO WHAT U WANT Lady GaGa F/ R. Kelly
22 20 KEEP ME RUNNING Andy Suzuki & The Method
23 21 I CAN’T HELP IT Dangerous Muse
28 22 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles F/ Dru
15 23 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
New 24 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
14 25 HEADHUNTER Parralox 
17 26 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino
20 27 REWIND Neverest
New 28 MANiCURE Lady GaGa
New 29 COME A LITTLE CLOSER Cage The Elephant
27 30 BLACK LIGHT (Stormby remix) Kaden

Published in: on December 17, 2013 at 10:42 pm  Leave a Comment