#BILLCSTop86Songsof2016

Trying to find time to write everything I want is always an issue.  I present to you my Top 86 Songs of 2016, with this blog post based on the radio program which aired on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂  Here’s my commentary on my Top 30 Songs with the complete list following.  Links to my Top 10 Songs are featured further down…

#30:  Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams”, the title song from his first EP, and the first of four songs by or featuring him on this year end list. The song was greatly enhanced by a feel-good tropical mix from Chicago remix duo Win & Woo collaborating with Kiso Armic, also from Chicago.

#29 – L.A.-based singer/songwriter Simon Curtis with “Super Psycho Love” from his album Super 8bit Heart, first of two songs from that album in this list. That album was a 2016 reimagining of Simon’s 2010 free online mixtape still available from his website called 8bit Heart, which to me is one of the most endearing recordings of the decade. “Super Psycho Love” benefited most from an update and appeared on my chart for the first time.

#28 – courtesy of Canadian duo Young Bombs, who also have two remixes in my list. They brought the bounce to a fine record out of Norway from a young newcomer named Jesper Jenset called “High”.

#27 – belonging to Canadian brothers Chris and Alex from Orangeville Ontario – DVBBS! They’ve been on this list before (in 2015 and 2014), but this year they included Toronto’s Dante Leon on vocal for the toe-tapper “Angel”.

#26 – a taste of 80’s flavoured funk courtesy of NYC producer/remixer Jenaux with the rollicking original “Get It On”. Jenaux also partnered with Texas duo Tritonal for the song “Broken” (#45), and has another remix in this list.  

#25 – more Canadians 🙂 with a creative and funky remix by Chicago’s Snøwmass of a song by Montreal production duo Sterling Grove who are paired with Toronto pop/jazz vocalist Ellyn Woods for the mysterious “Sound Of Home”.

#24 – one of the most provocative and surprising albums of 2016 was Blue Neighbourhood by South Africa-born, Australia-based singer Troye Sivan, who had a world-wide following on You Tube before making records. It consists of beautifully crafted, poignant songs which meant a lot particularly to many teens, and scored the Top 20 hit “Youth”. I dove deeper into the album for the evocative “Talk Me Down”.  My bigger list also includes “Wild” (#35)  and “Fools” (#40), all BILLCS Top 30 Top 10 songs.

#23 – belongs to California duo Mako with their dance radio hit “Smoke Filled Room”. As remixed by Elephante, who appears two more times in this list, “Smoke Filled Room” set the stage for a crush of a now-grown up woman.

#22 – on the rise in 2016 was L.A. producer and singer Mi Disguise (aka Louie Garcia), and with his pal Rouse created a wonderful dance mix EP called NGHT LFE for summer clubbing. Their song “Her And Him” is an inspiring song for late night romance.

#21 – the song I liked best on Adele’s album 25 next to last year’s “Hello”, “All I Ask” is another knockout performance and stood out from the rest of the songs on the album.

#20 – if there was any song in 2016 that would instantly make you feel good it’s one by veteran producer Tony Moran and singer Jason Walker and his amazing range. “So Happy” was a deserved #1 Billboard club hit.

#19 – I was wowed by MAX when I saw him perform in October 2015, and since then he has been a steady presence on the BILLCS Top 30. Singer and actor Max Schneider brought us a full album called Hell’s Kitchen Angel. The album contained a sweet ballad called “Lights Down Low”, but it was the smashing uptempo remix by L.A. duo Two Friends that took it to new heights. It’s the first of two in this list by MAX.

#18 – producer/remixer Tim Wu calls himself Elephante and from his EP I Am The Elephante recorded “Plans” featuring BILLCS favourite Brandyn Burnette on vocals, and I hope the pair will repeat this collaboration soon.

#17 – back and as grand as ever in 2016 was the classic dance duo Pet Shop Boys from their album Super with the lead off single “The Pop Kids”, which got club goers out onto the dance floor in the Spring.

#16 – a very distinct song that found its way out of its native Norway to become a worldwide pop and dance club hit. Featuring a unique vocal by a singer named Iselin Solheim, it’s “Faded” by newcomer Alan Walker.

#15 – Dutch duo The Him released an irresistible deep house club hit “Balance”, which features L.A. based Dutch singer/songwriter Oktavian. Watch for more great music from The Him in 2017 as they wrapped up the year opening for The Chainsmokers on their European tour.

#14 – one of the most poignant songs of 2016 is based on a coincidence of real-life events of loss, by Brandyn Burnette called “Lost” from his EP Made Of Dreams. Brandyn auditioned for American Idol at the top of the year and took a risk by performing this original, which the judges loved, though Brandyn chose not to continue on the show. “Lost” is the third of four songs in the Top 30 by or featuring Brandyn.

#13 – preceding Hell’s Kitchen Angel in 2016 was MAX’s EP Wrong. The title song is a hip hop flavoured rave up featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert who scored with his own album and songs in 2016 as well. A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#12 – featuring an incredible gritty vocal by American singer Brayton Bowman is “Shy” by Belgian producer The Magician, who released “Shy” and songs by others in 2016 on his own label Potion Records. Watch for more of this incredible music from The Magician and his stable of artists in 2017.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#11 – “Kiss The Sky” by NYC duo The Knocks featuring none other than The Fugees’ Wyclef Jean on vocals. The Knocks created a grand party when I saw their show in January, proving themselves to be slick entertainers as well as producers. Their album 55 continued the dance party, and they found themselves opening for Justin Bieber on his European tour in the latter part of 2016. “Kiss The Sky” is sheer dance music escapism at its best.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#10 – the third entry on the list by Elephante is “Closer”, which became his signature song after being heard in many remixes which included worthy ones by the likes of producers Aash Mehta and Speaker Of The House. The vocalist on “Closer” is Portland, Oregon’s Bishøp and it’s one of the best of 2016. 

#9 – “Dreamin’” by British producer/remixer Embody featuring fellow Brit vocalist Camden Cox. It’s somewhat hard to believe that the song that could transport you most to a hot beach party in 2016 was brought to us from two talented Brits. “Dreamin’” is 2016’s best tropical mix.

Songs 8 through 1 all were BILLCS Top 30 #1’s 🙂

#8 – belonging to my fellow Canadian The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, and Abel grew up not far from where I grew up, but in a community of 90’s Ethiopean immigrants, which makes his success all the more formidable. The Weeknd collaborated with the award-winning French duo Daft Punk for “Starboy”, from the diverse album of the same name, which also gave him his first Billboard #1 hit. 

#7 – Brandyn Burnette has his final song of 4 in the Top 30 (and 8 on the full list, plus one by his duo Cosmos & Creature with his gal Molly Moore) from his special EP Made Of Dreams with “Nothing At All”. It’s a sparse production that brings out the progressive soul vibe of the song, which made the Made Of Dreams EP all the more listenable. Brandyn’s putting finishing touches on his third release due in January.

#6 – one of the most emotional songs of the year, the second one on the list called “Lost”, this one by British Columbia native Connor Phillips. In its original version, the song is a short acoustic ballad, but Canadian remix duo Young Bombs once again gave their redux an extra wow factor by washing it in enough synths to make your eyes wet. If you find yourself wanting to hug someone, blame it on the power of music.

free download:

#5 – the second song from Super 8bit Heart on this list is “8bit Heart”, a personal favourite of mine from 2010 that was redone for 2016. “8bit Heart” is a song like none other to me, it’s a song full of love and heart that totally captivated me 6 years ago in its original version, and was my #4 song of that year. Simon kept it real in 2016 and made the redux of “8bit Heart” the lead companion song for his book Boy Robot. 

#4 – released in late July, it was hard to believe that “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey would become one of the biggest hits of the decade, with 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Chainsmokers, who are the NYC duo of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, appeared on my list last year but more than any act in 2016 outdid themselves with their relentless performing and recording schedules. But the best of it all, is that they remained truly down-to-earth and supportive of other breaking acts in the dance community. “Closer” resonated with me too.

#3 – this song really kicked a funky butt into the proceedings in 2016, being the song that followed The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” at #1 on my regular chart of the BILLCS Top 30. It’s “Native Son Prequel” by producer/remixer Gramatik featuring London-born American vocalist Leo Napier. It’s a song told from the perspective of a pimp, and aside from that odd story angle, NYC remixer Jenaux gave it a spirited 70’s funk flavour that could only make you think of the character Huggy Bear from TV’s Starsky & Hutch 😛 

#2 – Toronto duo Dzeko & Torres collaborated with Sweden’s Hellberg for their free download release of “Care For Me”, which is my #2 song of 2016. While the performers may have considered “Care For Me” to be a great free promotional vehicle for their music in 2016, it was in fact a fabulous arrangement featuring an uncredited vocal, whose lyrics also struck an emotional nerve with me. Dzeko & Torres have since decided to pursue other efforts, with Julian Dzeko continuing to record while Luis Torres ventures into the production side of things, and I’m glad I caught their show in Toronto in April. Jon Hellberg on the other hand featured prominently on the BILLCS Top 30 in 2016 with both “Synchronize” and “All The Way”.

#1 – my favourite song of 2016 was brought to my attention courtesy of an excellent innovative remix, one of the best of the year, by relative newcomers EDWYNN x TIKAL (also known as Swedes Thor Lundberg and Leonard Palmberg) and Spirix (who is American producer/remixer Devain Doolaramini). The song is “So Bad” by L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Skeie, who didn’t release more than a handful of songs in 2016 but is set out to conquer 2017. A protege of Semi-Precious Weapons frontman and noted songwriter Justin Tranter, who co-wrote Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” among others, Brandon has an amazing high register, which helped send “So Bad” into the history books for me. It’s one of the best songs ever about longing for someone who you may or may not get to have in your life. 

Original:

Remix (free download):  

The full list, web version:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

Spotify playlist of most of the songs:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

#BILLCSTop30 #477 – February 22, 2016

I’m humbled by the amount of new visitors I’ve had recently to this blog and Twitter.  The BILLCS Top 30 is my personal chart of favourites which started out online in 1998 as the monthly Tuned-On! Top 10 and quickly grew into a bi-weekly Top 30 on a web page hosted by Geocities (remember them?).  Its focus over the years has shifted depending on what styles of music I’ve been drawn to the most.  It largely focuses on singles but album tracks are included.  Songs can only appear on the chart for 10 appearances (20 weeks) which keeps the new songs flowing.  In 2003, music was becoming much more globally in sync and I allowed songs to appear on the chart providing they were released … somewhere.  In 2009, a free download hit #1 for the first time.  A song must be ‘released’ (for pay or for free) in order to qualify to appear on the chart – a You Tube or Soundcloud post that is not consumable does not qualify.  Official remixes may chart instead of the original if that’s the version I prefer.

With that update provided, on to the new chart 🙂

simoncurtis_boyrobot

The Top 10

 

 

 

  • The ongoing revival of Simon Curtis “8bit Heart” continues to grow as the cover to his upcoming book “Boy Robot” (cover above) was premiered by Just Jared Jr.  The book would not be forthcoming without Simon’s original 2010 mixtape (still available for free at http://www.simon-curtis.com) which has recently been re-recorded as Super 8bit Heart and now available everywhere for purchase.  “8bit Heart” is still so much of a personal favourite, and continues at #1 for a second appearance in its delightful redux version.  The new version of “Super Psycho Love” joins “8bit Heart” in the Top 10, rising 16-10.
  • MAX (Schneider) holds at #2 with “Wrong”.  Do check out the infectious remix recently unleashed online by RyanEXOE featuring Taylor Bennett, above.

  • Before my next chart, the album 55 by The Knocks will finally be on release and should be the soundtrack to the first part of 2016, given that I heard most of the songs at their Toronto concert in January.  “Kiss The Sky”, featuring a fantastic vocal by Wyclef Jean, climbs 7-4 and is definitely eyeing #1.

  • Coincidentally, The Knocks are back-to-back with their own label signees, Sofi Tukker.  The NYC duo holds steady at #5 with the irresistible “Drinkee”.  Yeah it’s all in Portuguese, but no matter!

  • This chart marks the mini-invasion of the Top 10 by songs by the latest boy wunderkind, Troye Sivan.  The glorious “Talk Me Down” advances 12-7 while the heart-wringer “Wild” climbs 14-9 (both above).  And Troye’s “Fools” (below, rounding out the Blue Neighbourhood trilogy of videos) is the fastest riser, movin’ on up a few notches below 26-17.  This only means one thing: If you haven’t heard Troye’s Blue Neighbourhood, you are missing out.  Troye is playing a sold out show at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto next week.

More Songs Movin’ On Up

  • Brandyn Burnette’s hip hop flavoured “Down” from his Made Of Dreams EP rises 15-12.  He and his gal Molly Moore (sitting pretty at #8 with “Blood. Sweat. Tears.”) have joined forces as Cosmos & Creature and will appear as the featured voices in an upcoming song by dance music performer Vicetone called “Brightside”!  Watch for it!

  • Elephante’s original “Age Of Innocence” (featuring Trouze and Damon Sharpe) is one pumped up slice of emotional EDM with a melody that stays with you for days.  It moves up 18-15.

  • Like “Hello”, it looks like Adele’s “When We Were Young” is about to dominate the dance charts in its remixed version.  But the still stunning original from the 25 album climbs 21-16.

  • Calvo’s “Vicious Girl” continues to be embraced by DJs throughout the world thanks to a memorable keyboard melody and an odd vocal that works quite well.  It jumps 27-20 and is well on its way.  It’s also a co-write by the talented Daniel Volpe (who as a performer is none other than Zorro Blakk).

Debuts

  • It may be their best song yet.  Canadian bros DVBBS feature a Torontonian singer Dante Leon on “Angel”, which bows at #23.  DVBBS have previously charted with MOTi with “This Is Dirty” (#9) and with Sander van Doorn and Martin Garrix on “Gold Skies” (#3).
  • A bit of summer is upon us courtesy of the driving beat of the Cloudchord remix of “Loud Places”, an alternative hit last year for Jamie xx featuring Romy, from Jamie’s Grammy-nominated album In Colour.  This tropical anthemic remix stands on its own and arrives at #24.

  • Sweden will simply have to share its current #1 with us.  That song is “Faded” by Norwegian producer/DJ Alan Walker, which originally started as an instrumental called “Fade”.  It premieres at #25.
  • And at #27 is “u suck” by Minnesota rapper/producer Call Me Karizma (aka Morgan Parriott).  Its clever featured chorus from the song “Why Don’t You Do Right” is sung by UK vocalist Bev Lee Harling.  “u suck” is a wonderful slice of what sounds like ‘new era rap’.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Although it will not air this week, you can usually hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 9:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear, and then again every Thursday in a rebroadcast at 7:00 a.m. EST on WROCK http://www.wlor.net!

 

#BILLCSTop30 #474 – January 11, 2016

It’s a new year, beginning with a new #1 by a performer who holds both #1 and #2 spots, and six debuts make their presence known.  Some recent EP’s and albums are causing multiple appearances by the same performers, after a year like last year where multiple entries by the same performers didn’t occur too often.

The Top 10

  • As I’ve been tweeting the past few days, if you missed Brandyn Burnette’s one-of-a-kind audition on American Idol last Thursday, you need to see it so go to the link right here.  So while Brandyn got his golden ticket, he also starts off 2016 with a bang on this chart, with the alternative old soul of “Nothing At All” ascending to the top, while the song he performed in his audition, “Lost (Stripped)”, advances 5-2.  2016 shows every sign of being a great year for Brandyn, and he has one other entry further down on the chart, though his fourth from two weeks ago, “Life’s A Beach” drops off.  A video for “Nothing At All” will arrive very soon!

  • “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” by The Knocks and Matthew Koma stays put at #3, and a third New Yorker, Penguin Prison, has remixed the song in his own inimitable style, stripping away the SoCal vibe of the song and turning it into something more NYC club ready.  Give a listen above.  I’m very happy to be seeing The Knocks on January 22 in my city 🙂

  • I was beginning to feel lonely in my enjoyment of Mako’s “Smoke Filled Room”, but in fact the song soared into Billboard’s Dance Radio Airplay Top 5 over the holidays, so the cat is out of the bag.  Members Alex and Logan have a standout beauty here with this song, particularly in the Elephante remix, and it climbs 6-4.  A new video for the song is coming too!

  • MAX Schneider is working double-duty on the chart this week with songs from each of his recent EP’s.  Not only does his collaboration with Jared Evan, “Ms Anonymous” (above) rise 7 to 6, but his new club-banger-in-waiting “Wrong” (below), featuring Lil Uzi Vert, is the fastest riser on the chart, zooming 22-13 and is set to close in on the upper reaches in a few weeks.

  • The only new entry to the Top 10 belongs to the crazy vibe and Portuguese lyrics of “Drinkee” by NYC duo Sofi Tukker, climbing 12-9.  The duo will also be on that January 22 bill for The Knocks I mentioned above.

Movin’ On Up

There’s so much activity below the Top 10 besides MAX’s “Wrong” as the fastest riser that I won’t be able to write about all this week.

  • Suffice it to say, one’s feet can continue dancing past New Year’s Eve.  The songs to do just that for you as they eye the Top 10 in two weeks?  “The Shadows Of The Moon” (above) by the venerable veteran Rozalla along with producers/DJs House Of Virus, advancing 14-11, along with German DJ/producer Final DJS wisely working with Bright Light Bright Light on vocals for the free download of “Lost In Feelings” (below), which moves up 16-12.

  • My dream team of Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore appropriately have songs side-by-side on the chart.  Molly’s touching and incisive “Blood. Sweat. Tears.” (above) could be a Jessie Ware song in disguise from her EP Shadow Of The Sun and rises 25-20, while her beau Brandyn’s third song from his Made Of Dreams EP, “Down” (below), jumps 28-21.

Six Debuts!

I’ve had to save most of the space in this post for our six stunning debuts, one of which sneaked onto the chart after only being released on Thursday at midnight.

  • Wither “Hello”, slipping from 1 to 5 after 4 appearances (8 weeks) at #1, but certainly not forgetting about other songs from the knockout album that is 25.  “All I Ask” (above) is almost equally as beautiful and touching, with another amazing vocal… can’t seem to find enough adjectives for this one!  It bows at #17, while subsequent single “When We Were Young” (below) also has no trouble finding its way onto the chart at #25.  Any performer signed to a major label with access to funds should aim to create as wonderful a record as this, style and genre notwithstanding.  25 is a once-in-a-long-time album experience for anyone.

  • Crashing onto all platforms on Thursday at midnight was the immense surprise that is Super 8bit Heart, the album redux of 2010’s 8bit Heart, one of my favourite releases of the decade by Simon Curtis (read my blog post from yesterday right here).  It’s not at all the same as the original and has its own highlights, but I’m so glad that “8bit Heart” was remade with the same warm touches as the original.  “8bit Heart” already reached #1 here in 2010 and remained on the chart for its maximum 10 appearances (20 weeks).  But I’m treating this new recording as a brand new entry and I sincerely hope it becomes the focus song for promotion of the new album.  So the redux of “8bit Heart” arrives at #19.

  • After listening to its initial singles, an album that I’ve grown to enjoy thoroughly over the holidays is South Africa-born, Australia-raised singer Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood.  Not only are the songs compelling, but the boy-next-door performance with so much improved vocals by Troye make them so unique next to what’s on the radio.  It’s no wonder listeners are flocking to his sold out shows and that people like Betty Who worked with him on the album.  I’m currently wrapped up in both “Talk Me Down” (above) and “Wild” (below), so each arrives on the chart, at #23 and #26 respectively.  Never did I think that Troye would grow so much after his You Tube performances.  He is indeed a talent to watch!

  • The last debut is “Age Of Innocence” by L.A.-based DJ/producer Elephante featuring Trouze and Damon Sharpe, which I wrote about not long ago and lands on the chart at #27.  Club DJ’s are totally on board with this one, currently in Billboard’s Dance Club Play Top 25.  The song is actually still available as a free download on Soundcloud too (below).  Elephante is one of those talented guys with great ears who we will see playing huge venues with superstar talent in the next year.

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 chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!

Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 9:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear, and then again every Tuesday in a rebroadcast at 7:00 a.m. EST on WROCK http://www.wlor.net!

#BILLCSTop75Songsof2015

Onward and upward to 2016!  However the music in 2015 was really strong compared to other recent years.

Chart: BILLCS Top 75 Songs of 2015

01 BRANDYN BURNETTE I Wanna Be (Free)
02 YEARS & YEARS Shine
03 ADELE Hello
04 COREY NILES F/ ALEX LACASSE Chasing Stars
05 YEARS & YEARS King
06 RIVER TIBER Let You Go
07 BRANDYN BURNETTE Sleeve
08 RIVER TIBER No Talk
09 COLOR THEORY Headphones (Matt Mancid Retro Crossover Mix)
10 DAN TALEVSKI Guilty As Sin
11 DENIZ KOYU VS TWOLOUD Goin’ Down
12 THE CHAINSMOKERS F/ GREAT GOOD FINE OK Let You Go (Tiesto Remix)
13 REIGEN Come Back To Me
14 ERIK HASSLE No Words
15 DNCE Cake By The Ocean
16 NATHAN SYKES Kiss Me Quick
17 CHRIS JAMISON Velvet
18 BRANDYN BURNETTE Life’s A Beach
19 THE KNOCKS & MATTHEW KOMA I Wish (My Taylor Swift)
20 TRIBE SOCIETY F/ KIESZA Pain Told Love
21 JESSIE WARE Pieces
22 SMASHING SATELLITES Waterfall
23 ADAM LAMBERT Ghost Town
24 ERASURE Sacred
25 SANDER VAN DOORN, MARTIN GARRIX & DVBBS F/ ALEESIA Gold Skies
26 JESSIE WARE Champagne Kisses
27 ANTONIO GIACCA Sensation
28 PARRALOX Aeronaut
29 DAN TALEVSKI My Religion
30 PENGUIN PRISON Show Me The Way
31 ERIC SAADE Sting
32 GREAT GOOD FINE OK F/ ST. LUCIA Something To Believe In
33 ELI LIEB Lightning In A Bottle
34 BRANDON FLOWERS Can’t Deny My Love
35 CHIC F/ NILE RODGERS I’ll Be There
36 GRAHAM ALEXANDER She’S A Chameleon
37 BOJANA STAMENOV Beauty Never Lies
38 NERVO F/ KYLIE MINOGUE, JAKE SHEARS & NILE RODGERS The Other Boys
39 LUCIEN DANTE Black Water
40 FRANCESCO YATES Better To Be Loved
41 GIORGIO MORODER F/ SIA Deja Vu
42 ERASURE Reason
43 TYLER SHAW Dizzy
44 FALL OUT BOY Uma Thurman
45 YEARS & YEARS Desire
46 GIORGIO MORODER F/ KYLIE MINOGUE Right Here, Right Now
47 MIKKY EKKO Riot
48 CHARLIE PUTH F/ MEGHAN TRAINOR Marvin Gaye
49 LIFEHOUSE Hurricane
50 DATABOY F/ NIKO THE KID When It Rains, It Pours
51 SHIFT K3Y I Know
52 ANTONIO GIACCA Ignited
53 NEW ORDER Plastic
54 SAM SMITH Writing’s On The Wall
55 KRISTINE W. Love Come Home
56 MARTIN LUKE BROWN Take Out Of Me
57 ANTON EWALD Save The Last Dance
58 DISCLOSURE F/ SAM SMITH Omen
59 JULLY BLACK Fever
60 THE WEEKND I Can’T Feel My Face
61 SAM SMITH Lay Me Down
62 SMASHING SATELLITES What It’s All About
63 GIORGIO MORODER F/ FOXES Wildstar
64 STEVE GRAND Time
65 ELEVEN PAST ONE There’s Nothing Wrong
66 THE WEEKND Earned It
67 BOYCODE It’s A Mistake
68 JAMES BAY Hold Back The River
69 MATTHEW KOMA So F**Kin’ Romantic
70 ADAM LAMBERT The Light
71 LAWSON Roads
72 SAM SMITH Like I Can
73 DANIEL ROBINSON Moonmolt
74 TRISTAN THOMPSON Burn Again
75 MI DISGUISE East Side Bay

#BILLCSTop30 #473 – December 28/15

It’s my last chart of 2015, and the chart has been flooded regularly with many fine songs which makes creating a year end Top 75 Songs list difficult, not so much for the top part of the list but the rest of it.

The Top 10

  • Adele’s “Hello” holds at the top for a fourth (and likely final) appearance as we are all moving on to listen to the deeper songs on her album 25.  Adele and her team have given the world a new template for how to create a mass appeal album, unfortunately you need loads of money to do it.  Those performers who get signed to a major label need to strive for their own variation of what “their” 25 might be regardless of genre or sub-genre.

  • 2016 looks very bright indeed for L.A.-based singer/songwriter Brandyn Burnette.  First, make sure you tune into American Idol on January 6 to see our Brandyn perform and compete!!  Second, from his rewarding Made Of Dreams EP, “Nothing At All” advances to #2 and the pensive “Lost (Stripped)” climbs to #5.  Third, the determination of “Down” debuts at #28, featuring a striking new video with animated flourishes that will keep you watching!  Three of Brandyn’s songs will appear in my year end Top 30 Songs too.

  • NY producers/DJ’s The Knocks are playing in my city at The Mod Club on January 22, and wouldn’t it be nice if Matthew Koma could make a cameo appearance to sing “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” – pretty please??  The song holds at #3.

  • Mako’s “Smoke Filled Room” just soared up the Billboard Dance Mix Show Airplay chart 19-5 – I was beginning to wonder who else was championing this winning song!  Like only a handful of performers associated with EDM or dance music, L.A.-based duo Mako home in on the emotional part of songs, both lyrically, melodically and vocally.  “Smoke Filled Room” deserves to be a dance club smash as well, particularly in the Elephante remix 🙂  It rises 9-6.

  • Max Schneider and team are on the right path to many great things.  Not only does the title song from Ms Anonymous (featuring Jared Evan) zip into the Top 10 at #7, his stunning but rhythmically dirty title song from his new EP Wrong is the highest new entry at #22!  2016 promises to be a great year for all things MAX!

  • The Voice contestant Clinton Washington’s beautiful “Hearts Beat Loud” climbs into the Top 10 at #9.  To me it’s still a perfect companion song to Adele’s “Hello” when you’re in the mood for something touching and heart-warming.

  • The last new entry into the Top 10 is the long-lasting “Over” by Chicago’s Goldhouse at #10, which still has the potential to me to break into dance clubs and/or dance and/or pop radio too!

Movin’ on Up

  • It’s so perfectly timed that NYC duo Sofi Tukker have been added to the Toronto show by The Knocks at the Mod Club on January 22 that I will likely grab a ticket very soon!  The incredibly infectuous – even sung all in Portuguese – “Drinkee” is the fastest riser on the chart, climbing 20-12.

  • Dance-hit-in-waiting “The Shadows In The Moon” by classic dance voice Rozalla with DJs/producers House Of Virus advances 19-14 – dance club DJ’s should be all over this one for an immediate dance floor draw!

  • Another sure fire dance club hit, albeit currently available as a free download, is the gorgeous “Lost In Feelings” by Final DJS featuring none other than Bright Light Bright Light on vocals.  The song moves up 23-16 – do check it out!
  • Toronto’s River Tiber has given me two of my favourite songs of 2015 – “No Talk” and the #1 “Let You Go” (currently at #13) from the EP When The Time Is Right.  The great songs from that EP continue with “Waves” crashing into the Top 20 at #19.
  • Right behind is more Canadian talent moving up to #20, Kendal Thompson with “Secret”, a track from her fine EP One.  Call it enjoyable 90’s flavoured pop/R&B with influences from Rihanna and Beyoncé!!  Click right here to hear all of the songs on One!

And the Third Debut Belongs to…

  • Molly Moore!  After notching up a #14 appearance for “Natural Disaster” earlier in the year, the L.A. based singer/songwriter recently released a moody, captivating alt.pop EP called Shadow Of The Sun.  It features “Blood. Sweat. Tears”, which arrives on the chart at #25.  Watch the beautiful acoustic performance of the song below with her beau Brandyn Burnette – it’s so scary how talented these two are either separate or together!  

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 chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!

Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Planet Radio Canada is back!  You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 9:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #472 – December 14/15

Two weeks sometimes goes by in a flash when life keeps you busy… and so we have a busy new chart as well!

The Top 10

  • So North America wasn’t being left out after all, as Adele announced tour dates, including 4 in my city Toronto – next October!  So it should come as no surprise that Adele’s “Hello” remains on top for a third appearance (that’s 6 weeks).  Have you got any money on who might succeed her at the top either in two or four weeks?

  • While Adele calls out from the other side for her former flame somewhere in California, DNCE party it up by the waves with “Cake By The Ocean” being one of 2015’s sheer delights for entertainment value alone, as it holds at #2 for Joe Jonas and company, from the EP Swaay.

  • Cali has it all wrapped up in spades with the Top 3 as it’s summertime in Los Angeles when Matthew Koma and The Knocks search for dream girl in “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” (video up top), up a notch to #3.
  • Brandyn Burnette’s “Nothing At All” cruises 7-4 to give the chart some edgy, blues-rooted progressive soul for the mind and body 🙂

  • “Black Water” by Lucien Dante lands at #5 just in time for the release of a cool, sometimes head-scratching animated lyric video that definitely helps you understand the song much more.  But it’s Lucien’s vocal that’s one-of-a-kind – alternately forlorn and sexy with bursts of joy and energy.

  • The Top 10 was cleaned out a bit with four new arrivals:
    • There’s no time in a day when the honest emotion of “Lost (Stripped)” by Brandyn Burnette doesn’t strike you.  No matter how you’re feeling or what you’re doing, the song will affect you differently, and that’s part of its beauty.  It soars 12-7.
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    • I still haven’t seen “Spectre”, but I continue to revel in the amazing vocal by Sam Smith in “Writing’s On The Wall”, which rises 11-8.
  •  
    • The wonder of the vocal and lyrics in Mako’s “Smoke Filled Room” always catch my attention, and in its Elephante remix the song climbs 13-9.
  •  
    • New Order acquires its first Top 10 song on my chart since 2005 with “Plastic” from the top notch Music Complete album jumping 14-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • MAX (Schneider) has another EP on deck this month called Wrong, available for pre-order on iTunes.  His pairing with rapper Jared Evan on “Ms Anonymous” climbs 15-11.

  • Clinton Washington’s soaring vocal on “Heart Beats Loud” leaps out of the speakers whenever it’s played, and moves up 19-13 for “The Voice” season 7 contestant.

  • Right behind is the would-be-bitter taste of revenge of “Over” by Goldhouse that’s set to a slamming dance rhythm.  It rises 20-14.

  • Get yourself high with “A Higher High” courtesy of pop singer Nathalie Archangel.  The Billboard Dance Club Play hit climbs 23-18.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is a song that I believe should be played everywhere and anywhere in dance clubs throughout the world.  “The Shadow Of The Moon” by Rozalla and House of Virus has great lyrics with an unbeatable hook, which is why it moves 29-19 🙂

  • Uh-oh… Matt and Kim are now on Snapchat, which can only mean many snippets of fun and mayhem, M&K style.  The frenetic 2:11 of “Make A Mess” climbs 28-21.

  • The gorgeous retro 90’s dance music rhythm and melody blessed with a Bright Light Bright Light vocal spells great things for “Lost In Feelings” by Final DJS, moving 30-23.

Premieres

  • It’s an insane mix of Portuguese lyrics (based on poetry!), an irrefutable guitar hook, and a slinky beat that will draw you on to the dance floor.  By all rights “Drinkee” by New York duo Sofi Tukker should be the talk of clubs, and I’m going to help out with that by premiering it at #20.

  • It wasn’t my most favourite song from River Tiber’s When The Time Is Right EP when it dropped this past Fall, but the hip hop/soul anchor of “Waves” and its graceful flow are completely compelling.  While former #1 “Let You Go” now sits at #6, “Waves” bows at #24 for the Toronto band.

  • Kendal Thompson appeared on this chart last year with the very catchy “Be Mine”.  The Toronto singer is back again at #26 with a soulful slice of pop that would be right up Rihanna’s alley called “Secret” from Kendal’s new EP One.  Give a listen right here.

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 chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!

Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Planet Radio Canada is back!  You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 #471 – November 30, 2015

The new chart is crammed with new music on the rise that is deserving of your attention!  Three debuts add to the fun 🙂

The Top 10

  • Yes, I am in Camp “Hello”.  Adele gets a second appearance at the top.  I’m not sure when she will give it up or to whom, always fun to wait and see.

  • Joe Jonas and DNCE get a personal best on my chart with “Cake By The Ocean” rising to #2.  It tops Joe’s own “Make You Mine” from 2012, which peaked at #3.  The band was a wild party in Toronto a couple of weeks back (photo below).  I’m waiting for their new song “Naked” to surface on an upcoming release.

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  • It’s one of those clever songs that you just want to learn the lyrics so that you can sing along.  “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” by The Knocks & Matthew Koma rises 6-4.

  • While Dan Talevski’s “My Religion” appears to have peaked at #5, I didn’t want to go without highlighting his beautiful, completely on-point recent acoustic cover of Adele’s “Hello”.  Pretty flawless and the best I’ve heard of several.  Available for free download at Dan’s Soundcloud page too!

  • Chicago’s Lucien Dante has held a steady pace in the Top 10 as the unique sound of “Black Water” climbs to #6, from his album Our Of We.  “Black Water” is still available as a free download.

  • There’s plenty of competition ahead but Brandyn Burnette’s “Nothing At All” from his Made Of Dreams EP is a force to be reckoned with on the chart as it soars 14-7.

Movin’ On Up

  • It’s been more traditional fare than ever for Sam Smith so it hasn’t really captured the hearts of radio listeners, but you cannot deny his supurb performance on the “Spectre” theme “Writing’s On The Wall”, which moves up to #11.

  • I’m going to take advantage of a live acoustic clip that Brandyn Burnette posted of “Lost (Stripped)”, which rises 20-12.  It features his talented gal Molly Moore (who co-wrote it) – completely honest, earnest talent at work here.  The original appears on Brandyn’s Made Of Dreams EP.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is the joyous Elephante remix of Mako’s “Smoke Filled Room” which vaults 26-13.  It’s one of those unassuming songs in its original mix that benefits from this killer remix, which is also a free download below.

  • Ms Anonymous is the title song from the recent EP by MAX (Schneider) featuring Jared Evan that shoots right up through the middle of the chart, landing at #15 from #25.  MAX is touring throughout the USA in various cities in December.

  • Their new album Astoria definitely harkens back to the Masterpiece Theatre days, full of great songwriting and Josh Ramsay powerhouse vocals.  “One Love” is the single release and it rises 19-16.

  • There’s already a new single coming from Nathalie Archangel, after peaking within the Top 25 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart with “A Higher High”, which continues to climb here 27-23.

Debuts

  • I have to recall the fun concert in May by Matt and Kim, who always put on a fine high energy show.  It’s only 2:11 but “Make A Mess” is a bubbly, jazzy, almost ska-sounding bit of fun from their New Glow album, and it arrives at #28.

  • I’m hoping club DJ’s will latch on to Rozalla’s “The Shadows Of The Moon” in the same way they did “If You Say It Again” earlier this year, which got to #3.  This pairing with producer/DJ’s House Of Virus is irresistible for the dance floor, and bows at #29 (from the same songwriting team of Nathalie Archangel’s “A Higher High” too!).

  • The last debut would not have sounded out of place at all on either of Bright Light Bright Light’s album releases to date.  As a featured artist, Rod Thomas teams up with German producer/DJ Final DJS for “Lost In Feelings” at #30.  And it’s a free download too!

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 chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!

Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Planet Radio Canada is back!  You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 10:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear!

#BILLCSTop30 – #469 – November 2, 2015

The Top 10 is log-jammed with fine songs and new peak positions, but some will need to give way within the next few weeks to make room for all of the newcomers on the rise.  The highest debut has undoubtedly got #1 to contend with, while the other three have enormous potential and debut a little lower than usual because of the songs with which they are currently competing.

The Top 10

  • River Tiber’s “Let You Go” has a comfortable lock on #1 – for now – despite the incredible activity below.  The song’s stellar performance and rich, soulful vibe help define it!  Other songs from the EP When The Time Is Right are also sinking in, such as “Waves”.

  • It’s been a steady pace for songs that are totally different but have been bookends these past few weeks.  Continue to dance your a** off to “Let You Go” by The Chainsmokers & Great Good Fine OK, which arrives at #2, while the beautiful and thoughtful “Pain Told Love” by Tribe Society & Kiesza moves up to #3 (ironically where Tribe Society’s predecessor band Gentlemen Hall peaked in 2013 with “Sail Into The Sun”).

  • And here’s Brooklyn’s Great Good Fine OK again in the Top 5 in a great pairing with St. Lucia on “Something To Believe In”, which climbs to #4.

  • I was very early on “The Other Boys” by NERVO featuring Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears, and Nile Rodgers.  It holds at #5 here but in better news has reached #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart.  I like it when my ears ring early on a song and this happens 🙂  Watch the new video above!

  • Brandyn Burnette’s enduring “I Wanna Be (Free)” leaves the chart after a mandatory 10 appearances (20 weeks), but until his new Made Of Dreams EP (which I will continue to preview) arrives in two weeks, the heartfelt “Life’s A Beach” will keep your attention at #9.  It’s available for free from Brandyn’s website from his mixtape called The Bright Side.

  • Can you say Food Fight? 😛 The second new entry to the top 10 is the rollicking “Cake By The Ocean” by DNCE, led by one Joe Jonas.  It soars 17-10.  Pleased to say I got a ticket to their Toronto show on November 18 🙂 “Cake” is culled from the new EP Swaay.

Movin’ on Up

  • It’s Koma Koma time!  Now a Top 10 Billboard Dance Club Play hit – I’m another early adopter on this one too! – “So F**kin’ Romantic” by Matthew Koma continues to climb up to #11.

  • And three places below, we find talented Matthew again, in a pairing with talented production duo The Knocks, with the rhythmic and dreamy “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)”.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, charging up 24-14.

  • Toronto singer Diego Gomes has a new EP called The Beginning due this month.  Until this new music arrives, we have the chipper and winning single “Bow Tie”, which climbs 21-17.

  • New Order is definitely on a roll with new single “Plastic”, which I anticipate will arrive on international dance charts very soon.  It moves up 25-19.  The enduring band has charted four times on this chart since its inception in 1998 – “Crystal” got to #2 in 2001, followed by Get Ready album tracks “Rock The Shack” (#12) and “Turn My Way” (#16), and then “Krafty” reached #5 in 2005.

  • Marianas Trench’s latest album Astoria is now on release and “One Love” is a delightful change of pace for them, recalling the diversity of 2009’s similarly conceptual Masterpiece Theatre.  “One Love” climbs 23-20.

Those 4 Debuts

  • It should be no surprise that “Hello” by Adele is at the top of the debuts, crashing in at #15 with #1 high on its radar.  Adele’s pristine vocal leads a song that anyone can identify with and should garner her a Grammy.  This bodes extremely well for the upcoming album called 25.  This is one song that will continue to sound grand over and over again.

  • At #25 is the bitter but danceable “Over” by Chicago-based EDM performer Goldhouse, which I wrote about not long ago.  You’re guaranteed to be singing this one after one listen!  Pick up the “Over” EP on iTunes.

  • At #26, is a song that I think is a perfect companion to Adele’s “Hello”.  “The Voice” contestant Clinton Washington will make you swoon with his soaring vocal on his independent release “Hearts Beat Loud”.

  • The last debut at #27 is from an EP that I’m enjoying a whole lot.  I was fortunate to see MAX (Schneider) recently in concert, and he’s a ball of energy who is extremely well-connected with his fans, even jumping into the audience to perform in the centre of the crowd.  The title track from his EP Ms Anonymous also features a nice break by talented rapper Jared Evan.

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 chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!

Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

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.

Newcomers:

  • 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.

75 CHARLIE BROWN On My Way
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
67 OSVALDO SUPINO Ma Radio
66 ARIANA GRANDE featuring MAC MILLER The Way
65 MATTHEW KOMA One Night
64 CONOR MAYNARD featuring NE-YO Turn Around
63 SIMON CURTIS Berlin Wall
62 SEMI-PRECIOUS WEAPONS Aviation High
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
56 FRANKMUSIK Fast As I Can
55 DANIEL BEDINGFIELD   O.V.E.R. U.
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
47 THE PRESETS A.O.
46 PASSION PIT Take A Walk
45 JARELL PERRY 9 2 5
44 CHRIS WALLACE Keep Me Crazy
43 WILLY MOON My Girl
42 ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD Dirty Floors
41 ADELE Skyfall

morecoolclevercovers: Adaku (@muzikizoxygen), @CaseyStratton, @CleoSol, and Steve (Starchild) aka @SteveGrandMusic

I’ve said it before, but I rarely find a cover version of a song that I like better than the original.  One of the songs I’ve chosen about I DO like better than the original.  With others, I admire creativity and interpretation, and two choices today are smart mashups.

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ADAKU, “Is This Love Song”

I’ve introduced you to Nigerian-born American alternative R&B singer Adaku before, with her two classy originals “Or You Can” (and its lovely video) and the provocative “Silent Treatment”.  This time the singer shifts to her sparkling high register for “Is This Love Song” – which is two parts The Cure’s biggest hit “Lovesong” (though youngin’s will know it better as recorded by Adele on 21) and one part Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”.  Set to the melody of the former, the mashup is simply killer, and we get to see Adaku singing as herself this time in the accompanying video.  Expect the unexpected for this well thought out winner.  Watch below and you can download it for free right here.  Adaku’s debut album, titled PLASMA, is anticipated later this year.

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CASEY STRATTON, “Crossfire”

Casey Stratton is a wonderful singer/songwriter with a huge, prolific repertoire.  So it was a pleasant surprise for him to dig back into his own archive, from just a few years back, to offer us his rendition of Brandon Flowers’ solo hit “Crossfire” as a free download right here.  Casey pretty much leaves well enough alone and lets the song bask in its own glory (the original got to #1 on my personal chart too in 2010), but he delves into the emotional side, making the chorus and other parts of the song much more affecting than the original.  Be sure to check out what else Casey has to offer in his body of work in his online store right here.  “Crossfire” is a terrific choice – listen below c/o Popservations blog.

cleosol

CLEO SOL, “Teardrop”

Cleo Sol is a relatively new British singer of Serbian, Spanish, and Jamaican heritage, which makes for a huge jumping off point stylistically for her songs.  She’s had some success in her native country with her fusion of R&B, rap, jazz and funk, so “Teardrop” takes a few steps away from all of that to showcase her singing in a slightly different way.  It’s a slick adaptation of Massive Attack’s classic chilled-out 90’s song that gets interpolated with verses and melody of The Verve’s 1997 worldwide hit “Bittersweet Symphony”.  Hardly what you might expect, but it gels beautifully.  It’s also a free download which you can hear and save below.

stevegrand

STEVE (STARCHILD), “You And I”

The world has recently got to know Steve (Starchild) much better as Country singer Steve Grand with his viral hit “All American Boy”, which essentially was his coming out song/video.  I don’t gravitate very well to country music, so “All American Boy” has not resonated with me, though I’m thrilled that the singer has got some well-deserved new fans, and he seems like a genuinely thankful and earnest guy.  A fellow music buff (and major Steve Grand fan) posted Steve’s video for his cover of Lady GaGa’s “You And I” on a message board where I am an administrator that is just pre-Steve Grand.  All you need to do is watch this explosive performance to hear the oodles of talent that Steve obviously has.  I don’t just like it better than GaGa’s original (not one of her better songs, to me), I LOVE IT and am so glad I get to hear another side of Steve Grand even if it is in the recent past.  Judge for yourself, but “All American Boy” is only Steve Grand’s ticket into the game; now that he’s there I’m gonna watch and see how this talent gets unleashed.  And if he can stay as earthy and true to his fans, there is no limit 🙂