#BILLCSTop30 #593 – August 3/20

While 2020 may now be more than half over (and some would say thank you for that), it has been chock full of great music.  Right now, my Top 5 on this new chart would seem to be untouchable for the next several weeks, though a couple of up-and-comers may change that.  

I’ve often been asked why I don’t increase my chart to a Top 40 or a Top 50.  You’re more than welcome to weigh in on this, but the BILLCS Top 30 is a chart of my current favourite songs, and that’s all there is to it.  There’s no science to it at all.  However the chart has been online for 22 years, so it is at least known in some music circles.  If it’s meaningful for a new performer to be on someone’s chart at #40 then I can understand the interest.  But it’s probably more meaningful if I’ve written about that song than if it appears on my chart.  This blog is going into its 11th year online – over 2,400 posts about all kinds of pop music form its library!

So while Lady Gaga & Araina Grande’s “Rain On Me” (above) gets a 3rd appearance (6th week) at #1, and “Never Let Me Down” by VIZE and Tom Gregory (also above) holds at #2, I’ll throw this chart’s upper spotlight on Jessie Ware.  Her sophisticated disco/dance album What’s Your Pleasure is one of my faves of the year.  “Save A Kiss” (below) remains at #3, but the title track is now also a single so check it out, also below.

NYC-based singer/songwriter Victor Perry has one slew of new music still to come this year.  His stunning and heartfelt ballad “What I Deserve” (above, from the excellent EP Rewind), climbs to #4 and is his biggest solo song to date on my chart.  Victor has recently worked with two young Swedish producers, B3NTE and Behmer, to create a tantalizing cover of Modern Talking’s massive 80’s European hit “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul”.  My only complaint is that it’s sooo short at only 2:19, but that’s nothing that a good extended remix can’t remedy.  Take a listen to this excellent cover choice, below.

I adore the overall theme of Greyson Chance’s “Dancing Next To Me”, which soars 11-5. It’s one of those songs that sits in your gut and gets stuck in your head for a long time.

Francesco Yates’ “Bad Decisions” (up 14-7, from his EP Superbad) becomes the Canadian singer’s second Top 10 on this chart, following his first hit “Better To Be Loved”, which reached #6 5 summers ago.  Check out the top drawer song “Queen Street Blues”, also from the EP, below.

The third new entry in the Top 10 is also the Fastest Riser on the chart, which is holding at #1 in the UK for a second week.  When dance music is large and in charge you have songs like “Rain On Me” and “Head & Heart” by Joel Corry & MNEK leading the way.  “Head & Heart” flies up the chart 21-10.

Trivecta and Fagin’s electronic anthem “Leave It All Behind” cuts through the middle of the chart and moves up 19-14.

In addition to their current banger “Tragic” (featuring Amber Van Day, up 17-15), Dutch producers The Him mix it up with Yall, Royale Avenue and Jay Nebula in their new anthemic single “Believe”, below.

The remaining debuts from the last chart are stuck behind a lot of great songs and are unable to make bigger moves.  Check out the fun video for The Prince Karma’s “Superstar” (22-19), above.  You’ll see a snazzier video for “Naked” (26-21, below) which makes Jonas Blue and MAX look fabulous.  and “Carry Me” (also below) by Canadian producer Dezza and starring veteran session vocalist Mike Schmid is definitely in it for the long run, rising 27-23.

I didn’t latch on to his biggest hit, the Grammy-nominated “Losing It”, until long after it had peaked.  But I’ve been loving Aussie producer Fisher’s strut-worthy “Wanna Go Dancin'” since it came out as ‘the flip’ of his single “Freaks” a while back.  “Wanna Go Dancin'” bows on the chart at #25.  Did you all know that Paul Fisher was once one half of the well-respected production duo Cut Snake??

The masters are back!  The Swiss duo Yello (Dieter Meier and Boris Blank) produced some of the most off-kilter, wacked out, fun dance music of the 80’s.  They are most noted for “Oh Yeah”, the song that was prominently featured in the classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, and became a hit a few years after its initial release.  But their other songs are innovative and unique:  “Bostich”, “I Love You”, “Lost Again”, “The Race”, and “Goldrush I” among others.  They have a new album coming soon called Point, their first release in almost three years.  Check out their wizardry in the electronic nonsense called “Waba Duba” above.  Whatever it may be about, it arrives on the chart at #27.  It’s their first entry on my chart, though if I had one before 1998 they would have appeared many, many times.

UK singer/songwriter Jazz Mino returns to the chart at #28 with her thought-provoking lyrical pop with “Like A Drunk Girl”.  She first charted two summers ago with “Misunderstand”, which reached #15.  Yesterday I wrote about her new single “New Girlfriend”.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining Radio GTA’s new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Rummage through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

 

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #589 – June 8/20

After a two week hiatus, during which I listened to a lot of new music while reflecting and trying to better understand our current situation, the chart returns with a few changes up top as well as four debuts.  It appears that Lady Gaga’s Chromatica is the album of the summer, which sees not only the fastest riser on the chart, but the highest new entry as well.

But climbing 5-1 is the wondrous beauty in the heartfelt emotion of Gareth Emery’s “You’ll Be OK”, featuring singer Annabel to unfold the story.  I’ve mentioned it before, but Gareth wrote the song when commuting on an airplane that he thought was going to crash.  He turned that daunting premise that no one should experience into electronic bliss, captured nicely in the video above.

That leaves “All On You” by Nashville producer Super Duper at #2 for a second appearance.  This one is full of majestic effects which also revolve around some intense emotions.  I’ve also mentioned it before but the song is an unintentional cousin of Talk Talk’s 1984 hit “Life’s What You Make It”, melodically and song structure-wise.

The Brothers Macklovitch – Dave (of Chromeo) and Alain (aka A-Trak) put a whirlwind deep house remix spin on Raphael Saadiq’s “So Ready” from his album Jimmy Lee.  It climbs 7-5.

The 90’s grunge-influenced electronica of “Someone Else” by Toronto’s Rezz and Buffalo, NY’s Grabbitz slides into the Top 10, moving up 11-9.

The dynamic duo of German producer Levi and American singer/songwriter Victor Perry acquire their second Top 10 together on this chart as “Lost Boy” (above) climbs 12-10.  Check out Victor’s new solo single below called “What I Deserve” (below), which I’m featuring here before I have some words about it later in the week in a proper blog post.  All artist revenue proceeds for the song go to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund in support of Black Lives Matter!

“Rain On Me” (above) by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande soars 20-11 as the Fastest Riser on the chart, ranking as one of the best songs by either artist.  And let’s just say it already has designs on #1…  Quickly to follow it up the chart is “Sine From Above” (below), Gaga’s duet with Sir Elton John, which bows as the Highest Debut at #25.  Elton has never sounded this good in years, what a pairing!  Elton has only appeared on my chart once since its inception in 1998, and that was in another duet, with his friend and chart favourite Bright Light Bright Light on “I Wish I Was Leaving”, which got to #10 in 2014.  BLx2, of course, moves up to #7 this week with “This Was My House”.

Also faring well in its second appearance on the chart is another dynamite pairing of German producers VIZE and British singer Tom Gregory for “Never Let Me Down”, which zips up 23-17.

Canadian producers Loud Luxury are accustomed to residing in the Top 10, and they may get there yet with “Aftertaste”, featuring the soaring voice of co-writer Morgan St. Jean, climbing 25-20.  “Aftertaste” comes from the duo’s EP Nights Like This.

Following the #6 “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” is Jessie Ware with the sheer romantic delight of “Save A Kiss”, which climbs 28-21.  It’s from her album What’s Your Pleasure, which finally drops next week.

Arkansas native YEBBA returns to the chart at #26 with “Distance”, from her upcoming album for RCA/Sony.  The ultra-talented singer/songwriter has been championed by both Mark Ronson and Sam Smith in the last few years, and won a Grammy as the vocalist on PJ Morton’s cover of The Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love”.  The only way is up for YEBBA.  “Distance” is airy alt.pop at its best.  Those old enough to remember might recall what it was like to hear Sade for the first time in the midst of all of the music popular in 1984.  “Distance” gives off that same unconventional but immediately enjoyable vibe.

They are never too long away from this chart, so Dutch producers The Him are back with “Tragic” at #28, featuring British singer and co-writer Amber Van Day.  I tend to think of this and Loud Luxury’s “Aftertaste” as kindred musical bookends!  It’s The Him’s 9th chart entry since 2016!

Rounding out the debuts at #29 is “Centerfold” (above) by Toronto R&B/pop singer Tafari Anthony (whose first name is pronounced “Ta-far-eye”), whose voice sounds like a slick blend of Sydney Youngblood and Seal.  This song pointedly calls out a former lover, and the talented singer/songwriter has some words that will stick with you such as “Thinking every eyes always on ya /Boy you think you’re Beyoncé / You’re never gonna run me”.  Tafari has also recently released another new one called “Live In A Dream” , which you can hear below.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactivFacebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Want to see what I’ve been listening to and charting for the past 22 years?  Take a walk through the BILLCS Top 30 Archive (where you can click on the link within) when you have a chance!! 

 

 

 

It’s 10/10 #11!: @YEBBASmith @Kseniasolo #VIZE & Tom Gregory @tgofficialmusic @DannyDeardenuk @thehim & @ambervanday Axel Mansoor @iamaxelm @Spencermusic @Xaverius Funk @djDWaynemusic @Melyzofficial @Brigsounds

A week or after the last one and I’m back with an 11th edition of “10/10”!  

I’ve just had a week where a slew of fantastic music was released.  I’ve had to continue to be selective with what I write about since my daytime job continues to keep me busy in the home office during the week.

In 10/10 (or tenoutoften) ,  I write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I continue to write individual blog posts about certain songs.  That does not mean that songs in the 10/10 lists are any less than those featured individually, and they are not listed in any particular order. Three of the six debuts on my most recent chart were featured in the 10/10 blog feature.

Writing 10/10 posts means I can cover more songs in one shot.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about. 

  • YEBBA, “Distance”

“Distance” is a song many of us have been waiting for by YEBBA, the Grammy-award winning, rising singer from Arkansas who has already worked with Mark Ronson, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, A Tribe Called Quest, Stormzy, and Maroon 5’s P.J. Morton.  From her stunning indie solo debut in 2017 with “Evergreen” (which got to #4 on my chart), the musical red carpet was laid in waiting, and now YEBBA continues to walk that walk with “Distance”.  It’s a beautiful, laid back song, just perfect for these times in doors, that somehow fuses styles of Sade and Adele with the less likely soulful ones of long ago faves like Deniece Williams or Stephanie Mills.  And talk about an amazing vocal!! It’s also her solo major label debut for RCA, with an album coming.  Indulge in this one – I’m sure the album will be full of other gems!

  • KSENIA, “Fire With Fire”

Poised to break out with a powerful voice is Russian singer Ksenia.  Her recent single “Fire With Fire” also packs a memorable punch as a song, for what is a great vocalist without a great song?  Comparisons to JoJo or Demi Lovato are apt; her voice flows with such ease from note to note.  The acoustic moments sung over piano work as well as those with full instrumentation.  We’ll definitely be hearing much more from Ksenia in a big way!

  • VIZE and TOM GREGORY, “Never Let Me Down”

German producers VIZE have been fortunate to find major name support out of the gate since starting in 2018, with popular remixes for the likes of Sam Feldt (the much played “Post Malone”), Timmy Trumpet (last year’s excellent “World At Our Feet”), Alan Walker, Felix Jaehn, and Afrojack!  Together with British singer/songwriter they may just have an electric dance Song of the Summer of 2020 with “Never Let Me Down”.  The song is built around an insanely basic and instantly memorable hook.  The overall results are extremely polished, playful and well-sung.  “Never Let Me Down” could be a surprise breakout all over and is a must for dance music radio airplay.

  • DANNY DEARDEN, “Can’t Stop Me Now”

British singer Danny Dearden has been primarily known over the last few years as a songwriter or as a featured vocalist, working with dance producers such as Michael Calfan and Dario G.  “Can’t Stop Me Now” is a big step forward as a solo record for Danny through Sony.  And what’s fantastic is that the original co-write is such a no-brainer of an earworm, with a few undeniable hooks that leap out at you from your speakers.  The team he’s working with knows what sounds good, and at a later date I think that remixes will help this one resonate with club DJ’s.  “Can’t Stop Me Now” is a great start for a singer/songwriter with huge potential.

  • THE HIM and AMBER VAN DAY, “Tragic”

Games dramatic people play is the topic of “Tragic”, the latest release from Dutch producers The Him, following the wacked-out techno of “Freestyle Scientist”.  British singer Amber Van Day convincingly and stylishly recounts how well she saw through a previous flame before ditching him as someone who deemed himself to be “Tragic”.  It’s a fast eye-opener and perfect subject matter for the dance floor.  The Him seem to be on an appealing retro tip, once again offering up synths and effects that are cool throwback to the beginning of the last decade.

  • AXEL MANSOOR, “Cold Sweat”

“Cold Sweat” is a slightly more sultry new release from L.A.-based, Emmy Awards-nominated singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor.  It dropped a few weeks ago on the eve of his appearance as a contestant on NBC’s “Songland”, where he got to work with songwriter-to-the-stars Ester Dean (and perform for H.E.R.!) to polish up his great song “Scary”.  I’m hoping that delightful song receives a release, but in the meantime “Cold Sweat” is a fine new song with some witty lyrics recounting a tense situation in a rather calm and collected manner.  The record has a well-balanced mix of acoustic and band instrumentation, and features one of Axel’s best vocals.

  • SPENCER SUTHERLAND, “Help”

Part of watching a number of online festivals and performances over the past several weeks for me is always discovery.  Spencer Sutherland is a singer from Ohio who has performed with Ariana Grande and Zendaya, and also auditioned for the UK edition of The X-Factor a few years back.  He gave an outstanding acoustic performance in Elvis Duran’s recent online festival, and his latest release is “Help”.  It starts off as an unassuming vocal track that draws you in immediately – and then the bigger production kicks in to showcase his potent voice.  Spencer has a Sam Smith-calibre falsetto that is also a highlight in “Help”.

  • XAVERIUS FUNK, “Wicked” (D-Wayne remix)

I’m never gonna turn my back on a solid electronic banger with pop appeal.  Such is the case with the infectious 2-Dutch release “Wicked” by well-known Dutch producer Xaverius Funk, whose music has been supported by many of the biggest names in the biz including Hardwell and Steve Aoki.  “Wicked” also has the bonus of being remixed by another established Dutch producer, D-Wayne.  It’s a big and bouncy number that pulls out some retro vibes from dance music of the earlier part of the last decade that really make it work.

  • MELYZ, “Bad Together”

Could you ever be in a relationship where you’re “Bad Together”?  New British singer Melyz describes her thoughts about such an arrangement in this sly new original song.  Fortunately she places most of the could-be-lurid story up front, leaving lots of room for a dark melody, punctuated by a few well-placed effects, and deliberate rhythm to take hold.  Melyz rises above the song itself with a smart and seductive vocal delivery.

  • THE BRIG, “You Know”

“You Know” is a fun, rock-flavoured dance track from Russian producer The Brig.  He appears to have an established following in Europe over the past 5 years or so with a heavier dubstep style.  “You Know” strays from that path, and revvs you up with guitars and synths, then catches you off guard with the casual interjections of the title by a female voice throughout.  “You Know” is also a good one to play up loud in the car.