#BILLCSTop30 #570 – September 16/19

Right now I have so many favourites out there.  Just a little insider information – I have a new music playlist of about 60-70 that includes these 30, which I play regularly during the week.  To keep track of my submissions and new songs I want to hear, I have a Spotify playlist – at least for those songs on Spotify.  So I’m usually always checking something out that’s new in the week when I’m not writing!  

The new chart has a lot of smaller moves and songs holding steady that I enjoy, but in two weeks that’s likely all to change, with so many new faves waiting in the wings.

Ukrainian dance group Kazaky hold tight at #1 with the Depeche Mode-influenced “Push”.  The song doesn’t sound like much out there right now, which makes its 80’s and 90’s influences all the more refreshing.

So what is wrong with US radio?  “Higher Love” by Kygo and Whitney Houston should be one of the year’s biggest hits, as it is worldwide, particularly in England, where, like on this chart, it has reached #2.  The dance music crowd loves it though and it is topping dance charts everywhere.  Check out the recent video for the song above.

The cool synths of “Monday Blues” by Eric Sharp and Zhao allow it to continue to move up a notch to #3.

“Tough Love” by Avicii, Agnes and Vargas & Lagola climbs 9-5.  It’s both Avicii and Agnes’ second Top 5 on this chart.  Avicii got to #3 in 2013 with “Addicted To You”, while Agnes reached #1 back in 2009 with “Release Me”.

Canadians Loud Luxury lands in the Top 10 for the 4th time with “I’m Not Alright” (12-8, above) with US vocalist Bryce Vine, while Australian producer Throttle gets his first – outside of his #1 remix of Troye Sivan’s “My! My! My!”  – with the thoughtful “Dreamer” rising 13-9 (below).  Also below, you can check out Throttle’s latest release “Japan”.

 

The fastest riser on the chart belongs to US production duo Midnight Kids with “Those Were The Days”, which soars 18-10.  In the past few weeks, vocalist of the song, Jared Lee, posted a video of him singing the song live in the studio accompanied simply by piano, always a true test to find the great singers behind the complex production of many songs.  Check out the original above, and the acoustic version below.

The deep bass beats of “Give Me Love” continue to climb the chart for producers Ken Summit and Eric Kupper with vocalist Amy Douglas.  The throwback to late 90’s club music rises 16-12.

Another thoughtful song with a really terrific vocal and honest lyrics is “Graduate” by singer/songwriter/author Simon Curtis.  It moves up 17-13.  I can’t tell you how I love that Simon is back making great music after a protracted absence.

All of the previous five debuts move up steadily, and are still led by the fun OKJAMES remix of “Like Like” by UK indie singer/songwriter Lostchild.  It moves up 23-19.

Right behind it is the song that uses a Finnish acapella performance to sample and form its key hook.  It’s called “Run Wild” by L.A.-based producer PLS&TY, and it rises 24-20.

The chart had room for three debuts, and they changed a number of times when creating the chart.  While there are a slew of fantastic new songs that will help last out the year, the three that premiere have all actually been on release for a number of weeks.

First up at #27 is British singer/songwriter Benedict Cork with “Breaking Hearts”, which I have been playing for months and richly deserves more attention as the highest debut.  Benedict has one of those instantly likeable, pristine voices that can make short work of just about any song.  And this original quickly gets stuck in your head.

Next up is the first entry by TheKnocks in 2019, the fun charmer that is “Awa Ni”, featuring singer Kah-Lo, which arrives at #28.  “Awa Ni” appears to be an expression of praise in Kah-Lo’s native Nigerian.  The song’s lyrics have an interesting disconnected train of thought about them, but it all comes together as summery, festive, and joyous. It’s also The Knocks’ 7th entry since 2012.  The prolific duo have released another four singles since “Awa Ni” first appeared in July.

The last debut is a dark and progressive song for late nights that club DJ’s will totally dig.  It’s “Flicker” by NYC-based producers (and brothers) Anden at #29.  Pete and Tom previously appeared on the chart back almost three years ago as remixers of Satchmode’s “Undertow” (#12).

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 🙂

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #569 – September 2/19

September marks a big change-up on the new chart.  Not only is there a new #1 which more people need to discover, there are five new entries.  And it was a tough decision as to which songs debuted as there is quite a line-up of chart-worthy recent releases.  So while leaves will begin to tumble and the cooler air sets in where I am in Toronto, the music on the chart is free-flowing and most deserving of your attention!

It’s Ukrainian dance ensemble Kazaky who reign supreme on the chart now with “Push” and its stunning video (above).  It’s rare that you will see such physical choreography, and much of it danced in stilettos, so these guys must be so disciplined and committed.  Plus it’s a great song with early 90’s Depeche Mode all over it married with modern synths.

Kygo’s redux of Whitney Houston’s 1990 recording of “Higher Love” climbs to #2.  I must say I’m calling out radio in North America for not supporting such a great record.  The rest of the world indeed has much better taste these days, and so do dance clubs, where it’s already been a #1 hit.

“Time” is my favourite song from the Emanate album by EMAN8 (Brandyn Burnette). He’s been in my Top 10 numerous times over the last five years, but “Time” rises 9-6, his first time this high on the chart since “Run” got to #4 a little over a year ago.

Three songs climb into the Top 10, and they are Sam Dickinson’s joyous “All We Are” (11-7, above – all of Sam’s charted songs have reached the Top 10!), Avicii’s “Tough Love” (13-9, also above) and Italian musical mirth-makers Eric Zava & DJ Mirko B with “Even In Confusion” (12-10, below).

There’s lots of activity immediately below the Top 10, as the dark and mysterious deep house of “Alone Again” (above) by Mahalo and Polish producer Milkwish climbs 16-11.  Right behind is Loud Luxury and Bryce Vine with their huge Canadian radio hit that deserves to spread worldwide, “I’m Not Alright” (below), moving up 18-12.

The fastest riser on the chart is the highest debut from two weeks ago, “Dreamer” by Australian producer Throttle, which soars 22-13.  I’m hoping this is Throttle’s breakout record – dance music radio really needs to jump all over its refreshing sound.

The other debuts from the last chart also make progress.  Nashville duo Apollo LTD have one of my favourite albums of the year called Out Of Body, and their song “On The Way Up 2.0” (above) rises 24-20.  Then the unexpected dream team of Tiësto, Jonas Blue and Rita Ora move up 26-21 with “Ritual” (below).

The highest of five premieres this week belongs to England’s Lostchild with the charming and fun “Like Like” in its OKJAMES remix arriving at #23.  Lostchild reached #5 last year with the equally engaging “Blacklist”, so watch for great things for “Like Like”.  Both OKJAMES remix and the video for the original version of the song are above.

Someone else who is no stranger to this chart is Florida-born producer PLS&TY, whose latest engaging single “Run Wild” bows at #24.  Its repeated sample of a Finnish acoustic song is infectious and refreshing.  The Morgan Page of PLS&TY’s “Down For Me” got to #6 last year.

Chicago’s Win & Woo make their debut on the chart as lead performers with possibly their best single to date so far, which is the biting “Here U R”, featuring and co-written by singer Sara Skinner.  It arrives at #26.  Win & Woo’s other chart appearance was in 2016 providing a good-natured remix of Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams” (#5), which I still play a lot.

Australia’s Peter Wilson returns to the chart after getting to #2 last year with Sean Smith in the unique duet called “Verona”.  It’s the Stormby edit of “Don’t Break My Heart Again” that bows at #27 from the EP of remixes for the song.  You’ve also seen Stormby on this chart before, with one of my favourite remixes of this decade, Kaden’s “Black Light”, which got to #1 in 2013.

The fifth debut will keep the heat of the summer continuing, in music anyway.  It’s the soulful, lazy melody of “Poolside Vibe” courtesy of two gents usually known as producers, Pretty Sister (Zak Waters) and MarcLo (Marc Lomax of The Monsters & The Strangerz collective), entering at #29.

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 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #568 – August 19/19

As the ides of August pass by, a close battle for the top on this new chart did not change too much. 

For with the arrival of his new album Ascend, Illenium along with vocalist Jon Bellion once again take #1 with “Good Things Fall Apart”.  That makes it 5 appearances – 10 weeks – at the top, which has only been achieved by one other record in this decade, and that is “I Wanna Be (Free)” by Brandyn Burnette (now recording as EMAN8, and in the chart at #9 with “Time”), my #1 song of 2015.  After listening to Ascend, I am very lost for words and it needs another go through.  But it’s an outstanding record sonically, musically, and lyrically, with many fine collaborations.  

That means that “World At Our Feet” has another close call for #1 but stays at #2 for a 3rd appearance for Australia’s Timmy Trumpet.  Still, it’s a true favourite of mine for ’19.

Unless “World At Our Feet” succeeds “Good Things Fall Apart” at #1, then it should be Push by Ukrainian dance music group Kazaky that gets there next.  “Push” would sound great next to any late 80’s or early 90’s Depeche Mode song, and it climbs 8-3.  And watch the video to see what these five guys do with choreography and huge stiletto heels!

The cool, relaxed vibe of “Monday Blues” helps send this dance track up 7-5 for L.A. producer Eric Sharp and vocalist Kenny Zhao.  Play it after “Cola” by Camelphat and Elderbrook and you’ll see what I mean.

Showtek and Leon Sherman’s “Listen To Your Momma” (A-Trak remix) continues its journey into the Top 10 landing at #8.

Sam Dickinson’s beautiful and affecting “All We Are” will become the UK singer/songwriter’s fourth Top 10 entry on this chart in two weeks, but for now it climbs 14-11.  Sam has a new single coming called “Diamond Skin” and Pt. 3 of his EP trilogy From The Glass House.

Cutting loose through the middle with a lovely orchestral hook is “Tough Love” by Avicii featuring Swedish chanteuse Agnes plus Avicii’s long time collaborators Vargas and Lagola.  It rises 19-13.

It was never an issue if “Alone Again” by Mahalo and Milkwish would leave the lower 10, it was just a matter of time, amid fierce competition on the chart.  “Alone Again” rises 21-16.

Right behind “Alone Again” again is “Flying On My Own” by Celine Dion, which also makes its presence known, climbing 22-17.

The Fastest Riser on the chart is “I’m Not Alright” by Canadians Loud Luxury with vocalist Bryce Vine.  It’s one for the lazy, hazy end of summer days and moves up 26-18.

The Highest Debut belongs to Australian producer Throttle with “Dreamer” at #22.  This one’s a real grower and you pick up the sincerity in the song as you hear it more.  Plus it’s got a knockout beat to keep you grooving.  It’s also a rare appearance on this chart for Canadian dance music label Monstercat, which previously charted with Hellberg’s “Synchronize” (#8) in 2016.  “Dreamer” is Throttle’s second appearance on the chart following his playful take on Michael Bublé’s “My Kind Of Girl” (#21) in 2017, but don’t forget he also had a #1 remix with Troye Sivan’s “My! My! My!”.

The next new arrival is at #24, Nashville duo Apollo LTD’s “On The Way Up 2.0” from their wonderful album Out Of Body.  These guys know how to write songs and put together an album that flows from song to song.  The “2.0” in the title does signal a new version of a previous single that perhaps sounded initially too much like an Imagine Dragons kind of song.  Keeping the anthemic appeal intact, “2.0” takes the song down a few notches and lets us bask in its fine melody and great vocal.

The third debut will become an easy go-to record for me.  It’s “Ritual”, a collaboration of Tiësto, Jonas Blue and Rita Ora, which arrives at #26.  While Tiësto and Jonas Blue are no strangers to the chart, it is Rita Ora’s first entry and definitely one of her best vocals.  The hook in “Ritual” is just insane and had me singing along right away.

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 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #567 – August 5/19

As a bunch of Spring favourites are now on their way to departing from the chart, the big question is: Which song will succeed Illenium & Jon Bellion’s “Good Things Fall Apart” at #1?  The emotional electronic song of summer nails its 4th appearance (8th week) at the top, making it the longest running song at #1 since A-Trak & Todd Terry’s “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” at the start of the year.  And with his tour on deck, Illenium’s released two songs within the last two weeks which warrant your ears – “Takeaway” with The Chainsmokers and Canadian singer Lennon Stella, and “Blood”, with vocalist Foy Vance.  Both are below.  Illenium’s third album “Ascend” arrives on August 16.

With all songs ranking 4-11 on the rise, there are many current challengers for #1 in two weeks.  Most obviously, Timmy Trumpet’s “World At Our Feet” (above) stays at #2, while Halifax’s Famba also remains at #3 with “Swear To God” (below).

“Higher Love”, Kygo’s retake of Whitney Houston’s 1990 cover of the Steve Winwood hit that was not released in most of the world, glides 9-4, as it becomes a UK Top 10 hit as well as a dance club hit in North America.

Then, we go out of order to look at the Fastest Riser on the chart which is very #1 worthy indeed.  “Push” by Ukrainian dance music group Kazaky soars 21-8 and will appeal to anyone who enjoyed the dark electronic music of the early 90’s by the likes of Depeche Mode.

Three other songs rise into the Top 10:  Eric Sharp & Zhao’s “Monday Blues” (above) climbs 12-7 to match the peak of their song “The Thirst” about two and a half years ago.  Manila Killa’s “Atypical” (also above) steps into the #9 spot, while Showtek have their first Top 10 since 2013’s #1 “Cannonball (Earthquake)” with the A-Trak remix of “Listen To Your Momma” (14-10, below), featuring British singer Leon Sherman.

It’s easily relateable to anyone who hears it, and EMAN8’s “Time” breaks through the middle of the chart to climb 18-11, from the multi-talented singer/songwriter’s album Emanate.

Also well on their way toward the Top 10 are Italy’s Eric Zava & DJ Mirko B with singer Daniel Gorash on “Even In Confusion” (above) up 19-13, as well as Sam Dickinson’s winning and thoughtful “All We Are” (also above) climbing 20-14, and Avicii’s “Tough Love” (below), from the posthumous TIM album, rising 27-19 and featuring vocalists Agnes and Vargas & Lagola.

The three debuts are earmarked for much play throughout the rest of the summer.

Canada’s Loud Luxury returns to the chart, this time bringing fun singer Bryce Vine with them, for “I’m Not Alright”, which arrives at #26.  It’s the first appearance for Andrew and Joe since their last entry “Body” got to #2 in early 2018, and their 4th entry overall.

L.A.-based Simon Curtis follows up the #6 “Love” with more music for your heart and head, “Graduate”, which bows at #27.  It’s Simon’s SEVENTEENTH song to appear on the chart since “Delusional” (which reached #1) arrived at the end of 2009.

And at #28 is the debut entry for both producers/remixers Midnight Kids and vocalist Jared Lee with “Those Were The Days”.  Midnight Kids are Kyle Girard and Dylan Lee (son of Tommy Lee and my fellow Canadian, Pamela Anderson).

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 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #566 – July 22, 2019

Trying to get through all of the songs I hear every two weeks is always worth it because some of them ultimately become new favourites.  And while #1 is a lock again, other songs rise up to challenge perhaps for the next few charts.  There are three striking debuts, one by a veteran dance group in comeback mode.

Illenium and Jon Bellion continue to reign supreme at #1 with “Good Things Fall Apart”, making it the emotional soundtrack for an intense summer of music.  And now Illenium and The Chainsmokers are tweeting about another collaboration which this time will include my fellow Canadian Lennon Stella, who is touring with the ‘Smokers this Fall.  I’ll watch to see what becomes of these promo teases!

Timmy Trumpet’s anthem “World At Our Feet” soars 7-2 to challenge “Good Things Fall Apart” for #1.  Like many electronic dance music artists, Timmy was performing at Tomorrowland in Belgium this past weekend.

Halifax’s Famba climbs 6-3 with “Swear To God”, as the song inches towards becoming his second Top 10 radio hit in Canada.  

MAX holds for a 4th appearance (8 weeks!) at #4 with “Love Me Less” (above) featuring Quinn XCII.  This song, like “Lights Down Low”, has a lot of lasting power, and I’m hoping MAX’s light-hearted new single “Acid Dreams” (featuring hip hop performer Felly) will do similarly.  Take a listen below!

A smashing trio indeed land in the Top 10 for the first time.  Mark Ronson & YEBBA move up 11-8 with “Don’t Leave Me Lonely” (above), while Kygo & Whitney Houston have the Fastest Riser on the chart 16-9 with the timely cover of Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” (below).  And Switzerland’s Luca Hãnni moves 15-10 with his Eurovision entry that ended up fourth overall, “She Got Me” (also below).

Making short work of climbing up the chart is “Monday Blues” by L.A.’s Eric Sharp with vocalist Zhao, which sails 18-12.

“Time” is easily my favourite song on EMAN8’s debut album, also called Emanate.  It moves up 22-18 for the L.A. based singer/songwriter, also currently on release with Molly Moore as Cosmos & Creature with “The Wonder”, about which I recently wrote.

“Even In Confusion” is sophisticated European deep house from Italy’s Eric Zava and DJ Mirko B featuring singer Daniel Gorash, and climbs 23-19.

Sam Dickinson’s thoughtful and bubbly “All We Are” is well on its way to becoming the biggest release for Sam yet.  From his new EP From The Glass House Pt. 2, “All We Are” rises 26-20.

The Highest Debut on the chart belongs to comeback kids Kazaky, the Ukrainian dance group led by Artur Gaspar that has now expanded to five members.  With their big heels in full effect and amazing choreography in their new video, “Push” arrives at #21.

Bowing at #27 is the gorgeous posthumous release by Avicii featuring fellow Swedish singer Agnes as well as long time friends and producers Vargas & Lagola called “Tough Love” from the album TIM.  While it’s bittersweet to hear, TIM is a fine album that was done right and featuring all kinds of talent including Imagine Dragons, A R I Z O N A, Joe Janiak, and Bonn.  “Tough Love” is only Avicii’s second appearance on the chart, following 2013’s “Addicted To You”, while Agnes marks her third entry but her first since 2011.  Her song “Release Me” got to the top in early 2009.

Veteran producers Kenny Summit and Eric Kupper land at #28 with “Give Me Love”, a 90’s flavoured dance track for the late night club crowd featuring vocalist Amy Douglas.  Eric recently helped Parralox to #11 with his remix of “Paradise” featuring Marcella Detroit, while Amy featured on Horse Meat Disco’s “Let’s Go Dancing”, which reached #14.

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 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #533 – April 16/18

Despite so much activity on the chart, including a new #1 song and SIX debuts, this will be a shorter blog post than usual about the new chart.

The Top 10

  • It’s one of the more unusual #1 songs that I’ve had in years, but to me it’s absolutely irresistible.  Norwegian singer/songwriter/producer Dyrisk scores with “Smile” along with producer Nik Ernst.  There is so much potential and for anyone who loves dance music that’s a little left of centre, this one is for you.  In particular, it is of great interest to fans of Massive Attack and Radiohead’s 90’s output.

  • “Sick Boy” by The Chainsmokers follows “Smile” right behind, up 4 to 2, but will likely get locked out in favour of the rising “Everybody Hates Me”(up 24-15, below).

  • The fastest riser on the chart arrives in the Top 10 up 22-9.  French producer Mercer’s non-stop fun with “Satisfy” features an excellent vocal by Chicago’s Ron Carroll.
  • Also new to the Top 10 is “Baby I’m A Queen” from Sofi Tukker’s brand new album Treehouse.  “Queen” moves up 17-10 becoming their second Top 10 here after 2016’s “Drinkee” (#5).

Movin’ On Up

  • Both “Sanctify” by Years & Years (20-16) and “White Lies” by The Him (21-17) (both above) don’t move up as much due to a busy chart, but should see more upward action next week.  The Him recently released a remix to Avicii’s “Without You” – check out the busy boys’ latest below 🙂  More new music coming soon!

SIX DEBUTS

#22 is “Butterscotch” an unexpectedly funky slice of electronica by Canadians Robotaki, Jamie Fine and Falcxne – it joins Robotaki’s “I Want You” on the chart (#5).

#25 is “Better With You” by Jesse McCartney, his first entry since 2009’s “How Do You Sleep”, and co-written by Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore.

#26 is “Lost In Japan” by Shawn Mendes, a Justin Timberlake-inspired romantic throwback to songs of the pre-rock era.

#27 is “Be Like You” by Chicago’s Whethan, who performed at Coachella on the weekend, with vocals by Georgia of Broods.

#28 is “Hurt You”, a collaboration of The Weeknd and French producer Gesaffelstein, from The Weeknd’s new EP My Dear Melancholy.

#29 is “Cautious” in a remix by Halifax’s Famba, from Canadian singer Tyler Shaw, who has a national radio hit with it.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right hereClick 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 new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

@Megaphonix adds a bright house punch to “Back Where I Belong” by @OttoKnows & @Avicii

OTTO KNOWS featuring AVICII, “Back Where I Belong” (Megaphonix remix)

Who doesn’t like a pop song about finally being home?  Otto Knows is now a mainstay on the worldwide club circuit and well-established on the Swedish charts with recent songs like “Dying For You” and particularly “Million Voices” outside of his country.  He enlisted the aid of buddy Avicii to weave his magic in “Back Where I Belong”, featuring a heartfelt and convincing uncredited vocal by “LP”.  Chicago’s Megaphonix has wisely added a punchy house bounce along with minimal but ear-catching effects.  This keeps the integrity of the more pop-oriented original but allows it to be mixed with songs that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.  You can get “Back Where I Belong” as a free download above and have fun working it into your sets 🙂 

Published in: on August 9, 2016 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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BILLCS Top 75 Songs of 2014

Bill's Top 30 of 2014

2014 has been an interesting and unique year for music. I’m not sure how well the songs will stand up against others in music history, but there has been an incredible variety. What seemed to strike me most were alternately creative EDM songs or ballads that aimed straight for the heart.

I am first and foremost a music fan. I look for songs and singers that are one-of-a-kind. A great hook or chorus will get under my skin fast. The latter explains the presence of the likes of the delightfully naughty Janoskians on my year end list, as well as fellow Aussies 5 Seconds of Summer, who had a million Twitter followers before breaking out in North America and proved their chops with great performances on some televised awards shows.

The performers I listened to most, and even saw in concert, were all Brits – Sam Smith, Jessie Ware, and Bright Light Bright Light. Other North American performers who were heard pretty much on record and have played some gigs but should break out in some way are Adam Tyler, Brandyn (Burnette), Mikky Ekko, Matthew Koma, Tristan Thompson, Nick Hagelin, and Travis Garland. Overseas, look to new voices such as the UK’s Harriet, Eurielle, Sam Dickinson, and James Poole (who hasn’t even released anything officially yet!) and Sweden’s Anton Ewald to make waves. And I was really impressed with the calibre of contestants on NBC’s “The Voice” in the past few seasons. Some of these singers have real futures ahead in the business.

A terrific production helps immensely. The Sam Smith and Jessie Ware albums are pretty much flawless in this department. FrankMusik dazzled us again with his By Nicole release. But there were other individual songs whose overall sound is impressive – the Aron Friedman house-y recreation of Adam Tyler’s “I Won’t Let You Go”, the tight mesh of pop and hip hop on “Get To Know You” by Corey Niles featuring Ish, the delicateness of Eurielle’s “Gold”, and the other worldly dubstep of “Love Space” and “The Day You Left” by San Diego’s Convulsic.

And we could not escape Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, the simple, old school R&B throwback which was the best selling song of the year everywhere.

So here’s a further recap of my Top 30 Songs of 2014. You can view the full list of my Top 75 Songs of 2014 right here. Onward to 2015!!

1 SAM SMITH “STAY WITH ME”

Stay With Me the release of Sam Smith’s album In The Lonely Hour by a few months. With its Gospel influences and genuine, passionate performance, the song immediately captured public attention and was soon all over social media, being covered by You Tubers and singers on TV shows like The Voice. Stay With Me is a belwether song for any male singer to try and match, and shows what a unique singer and presence Sam Smith has commanded during 2014, which will continue into 2015 much like Adele cast her spell over 2011 and 2012.

2 SAM SMITH “MONEY ON MY MIND”

Towards the end of 2013, I wrote that Sam Smith’s Money On My Mind was one of the first great records of 2014. Continuing on the dance tip from collaborations with Naughty Boy and Disclosure, Sam combines old school soul with a high-tek arrangement, as well as some great high register and falsetto work. Who would have thought back then… or what was to follow.

3 BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT “AN OPEN HEART”

Like in 2010, Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas) has commanded my attention with his thoughtful electronic dance music, and for a second time ranks two songs in my Top 10 of the Year. I added An Open Heart to 2013’s list at #11 prematurely, the song endured for me well through January and only recently became the second single release from the album Life Is Easy. Bright Light Bright Light toured on two legs of Elton John’s tour, in both North America and Europe,and Elton even dueted with him on the single “I Wish We Were Leaving”. But An Open Heart with its larger than life lyrics has become one of my most favourite Bright Light Bright Light songs.

4 SAM SMITH “I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE”

Sam’s eloquent ways of singing about being lonely and unloved really struck a chord with people in 2014, including myself. His debut album In The Lonely Hour is hands down my favourite of 2014. I was able to watch Sam in performance at a small club date in Toronto for only $16!! And now the best seats for his shows are $100+

5 JESSIE WARE “SAY YOU LOVE ME”

UK singer Jessie Ware has one of the silkiest, gorgeous voices to arrive in pop music in years. In 2014 she released her second album Tough Love, and put on one of the finest, most intricate small club performances of the year here in Toronto. The big push for the album to start was on Say You Love Me, a song about words that anyone wants to hear from the one they love, but particularly women from men, who often don’t communicate our emotions. It’s a glorious vocal performance and Jessie is touring again in early 2015 so be sure to catch her show.

6 MARTIN GARRIX “ANIMALS”

So what made Animals by Martin Garrix stand out more than any other electronic instrumental of the last several years? It created a groundswell at raves and clubs, and then before you know it near the end of 2013 it reached #1 in the UK, and then #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart. Not bad for the then-17 year old who caught manager Scooter Braun’s attention. Since then it’s been a whirlwind for the young producer/DJ with the unique style as he collaborates with just about every other notable producer/DJ’s and performs on several huge concert bills. And it’s not going to stop just yet for Martin Garrix.

7 MIKKY EKKO “SMILE”

You already know Mikky from the Grammy-nominated Rihanna’s Stay, and “Smile” possesses one of the most unique vocal performances of 2014 along with a memorable storyline which you might think is downbeat but is actually quite a happy one that will leave you very content by the end of the song. Look for Mikky’s album Time in early 2015.

8 SHOWTEK & JUSTIN PRIME featuring MATTHEW KOMA “CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE)”

Cannonball (Earthquake) is what happens when two songs that truly belong together are mashed up. So we have European DJ’s Showtek & Justin Prime’s instrumental Cannonball mixed with US singer Matthew Koma’s Earthquake. The result is one of the most infectious electronic dance music singles of the year which ended up as a UK Top 30 hit.

9 HOUSE ROCKERZ, DAVIS REDFIELD & CARL MAN “ELECTRIFY THE NIGHT”

Electrify The Night by the collaboration of German DJ/producers House Rockerz and Davis Redfield, and UK vocalist Carl Man, is probably one of the most obscure songs I’ve ever placed in my Top 10 of any year. It was only released in Europe on a couple of electronica compilations. But the song itself is an inviting stunner, one that gets better with every listen, thanks to great songwriting pedigree from Charlie Mason and team, as well as a gem of a vocal by Carl Man.

10 BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT “I BELIEVE”

I Believe is Bright Light Bright Light’s happiest ;pop/dance single to date, from his sophomore album Life Is Easy, and it stands out as one of his finest songs so far. I adore the sad electronic dance songs always written from an interesting perspective but I Believe is simply joyous.

11 DISCLOSURE featuring SAM SMITH “LATCH”

Latch has an interesting history – it got to #11 in late 2012 in the UK. But it’s had long legs, especially after Sam Smith got to #1 in the UK in 2013 singing on Naughty Boy’s La La La. Both songs became belated hits in 2014 in North America hot on the heels of Sam’s solo success. Sam’s partnership with UK producers/songwriters/brothers Disclosure will endure though, as they were heavily involved in Mary J. Blige’s latest album The London Sessions.

12 TRISTAN THOMPSON “TIDAL WAVE”

He’s 16, Canadian, and has a silky developed voice that straddles styles of both Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake. Tristan Thompson’s debut single Tidal Wave captured a hybrid style of 80’s Hall & Oates blue-eyed soul meets 90’s heartthrobs like Backstreet Boys or 98 Degrees. With a fine debut album Here For You and a second single Burn Again receiving Canadian radio play, Tristan Thompson is off to a smashing start.

13 MARTIN GARRIX “PROXY”

Young Dutchman Martin Garrix gave away his song Proxy for free earlier in the year as a thank you for his success with his previous single Animals, and now appears on the EP Gold Skies. It’s another playful instrumental which helped establish is trap/EDM style on the DJ circuit.

14 ANTON EWALD featuring MEDINA “THIS COULD BE SOMETHING”

If there’s one record that would have you Oooh Ooohing and Ah Ahhing in 2014, it’s This Could Be Something, a slick duet between Swedish star Anton Ewald and Denmark’s Medina. It perhaps is the best song Katy Perry never got to record. The duo has a wonderful, sensual chemistry in the song, which nicely dances on the bridge between pop and electronica.

15 HARRIET “AFTERGLOW”

One of 2014’s best new arrivals is UK singer Harriet. Her warm, Karen Carpenter-meets-Rita Coolidge voice held my attention throughout the year, and particularly for several months until Afterglow saw official release in Harriet’s debut EP What’s Mine Is Yours in the summer. Afterglow is the best kind of lazy Sunday or classy dinner party music, produced by the reknown Steve Anderson of Kylie Minogue fame.

16 TRAVIS GARLAND “EASY”

Easy by Travis Garland is one of the stand out album tracks from Travis’ self-titled album. It’s essentially a Latin-flavoured disco song, quite different from the rest of his songs, and it’s easy to visualize shimmering lights glowing over beautiful people as they dance away the night. To me, anyway!

17 BRANDYN BURNETTE, “THANKS FOR NOTHING”

What can I say about L.A.-based singer Brandyn Burnette? His single for Warner Brothers, Thanks For Nothing, took a while to grow on me, but once that happened I was hooked on how he took a negative situation and turned it into a positive song with a great message. Brandyn is entering 2015 going by only his first name now as his upcoming solo album is on deck for early in the year. He’s posted a lot of new songs on Soundcloud, so be sure to check them out, and follow him on Twitter for wise posts from an old soul with a young mind.

18 ADAM TYLER “ELECTRIC VALENTINE”

Adam Tyler’s music has had frequent visits to the BILLCS Top 30 over the years. But my very favourite from him is now Electric Valentine. Adam started 2014 giving away this song for free, on Valentine’s Day of course, but the feel good vibe of the song took on a life of its own, and it ended up on his deluxe edition of Shattered Ice. There’s nary a song this year that will put you in a great mood like Electric Valentine.

19 AVICII featuring AUDRA MAE “ADDICTED TO YOU”

I can’t say I was a huge fan of Swedish DJ/producer Avicii’s mix of country music with dance music, which had already been done 20 years ago. So going deeper into his album True we find Addicted To You, immensely enhanced by a creative bluesy vocal by singer Audra Mae.

20 HANNIS “TIME HAS COME”

One of the most unusual but addictive songs of 2014 is Time Has Come by new Finnish singer Hannis. The singer’s lush europop vocals mesh well with an inventive, dub-steppy arrangement which makes it memorable for anyone who hears it.

21 NEVEREST, “TAKE COVER”

Take Cover by Toronto band Neverest started the year as a free download follow up to their BILLCS Top 30 2013 #1 Rewind. It’s an equally powerful and punchy rocking song that shows that this group can do when they are not writing stellar ballads.

22 SIRPAUL “EVERY SINGLE MOMENT”

New York dance club singer SIRPAUL has built a nation-wide reputation for creating original songs that are alternately romantic and touching, or mysterious and even a touch dirty when it comes to what goes down in the bedroom. From his album Seventh Star, Every Single Moment is dedicated to that special person you want to spend all of your time with.

23 ZEDD featuring MATTHEW KOMA & MIRIAM BRYANT “FIND YOU”

After previously collaborating on 2012’s #1 dance hit of the year “Spectrum”, Grammy-winning producer/DJ Zedd brings back go-to-guy Matthew Koma along with newcomer Miriam Bryant for more crossover emotional dance/pop with Find You. Zedd has remarkable magic with production, melody and vocalists.

24 JASON WALKER featuring BIMBO JONES “TELL IT TO MY HEART”

Jason Walker’s cover of Taylor Dayne’s Tell It To My Heart came right out of the blue with a powerhouse vocal performance that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. This NYC singer has already been to the top of the dance club play chart many times so it’s no surprise that Jason’s collaboration with UK DJ’s Bimbo Jones became yet another Top 10 dance hit for him.

25 EURIELLE, “GOLD”

Shrouded in mystery and an exotic, medieval sound, UK singer Eurielle revealed her EP The Incarnation, which included Gold, an update on renaissance-oriented song stylings brought into the pop world in the past by the likes of Enya and Loreena McKennitt.

26 ADAM TYLER “I WON’T LET YOU GO” (Aron Friedman remix)

I Won’t Let You Go was first released in 2011 and was in my Top 30 for that year too! But the house-inflected Aron Friedman remix gave the song new life again and it appears on Adam’s deluxe edition of the Shattered Ice album.

27 THE PRESETS “NO FUN”

Veteran Australian duo The Presets only released a few singles in 2014 to whet our taste for a full new album. No Fun was one of them, and fun it certainly is – a whole lot of inventive electronic wizardry that plays off of a more laid back vocal this time.

28 TRAVIS GARLAND “MOTEL POOL”

Carrying over from 2013 with his self-titled album, L.A.-based Travis Garland issued Motel Pool as its second single, a sexy and sizzling piece of R&B pop that continued to showcase the singer’s versatility and made his album one of the finest of 2013.

29 CONVULSIC “LOVE SPACE”

San Diego’s Erik Hale is also known as EDM/dubstep artist Convulsic, and he released a trio of cool songs in 2014, including Love Space. All of them actually bridge the dance and pop worlds much better than could be expected, which holds promise for new songs from Convulsic in 2015.

30 LITTLE MIX “LITTLE ME” (Steve Smart & Westfunk radio edit)

Little Mix is the all girl vocal quartet that won X-Factor in 2011, and of course went on to great success in the UK with several Top 10 placings. But it was a remix of their song Little Me that got my attention in 2014. The whirling frenzy of a remix by Steve Smart and Westfunk set the song to a new upbeat melody from its original downbeat mix which focused more on its thoughtful message for girls and young women. The combination of EDM remix and message gave “Little Me” an edge in 2014.

The Acoustic Treatment: “Hey Brother” by @Eurielle_Music and “Latch” by Nick Hagelin @NickIsTheTruth

From two terrific new talents, we have acoustic versions of songs which of course are best known as pop/dance club hits.

EURIELLE, “Hey Brother”

Hot on the heels of her enthralling “Carry Me” short film comes UK singer Eurielle showing off her piano prowess with her take on Avicii’s “Hey Brother”.  It’s a great choice to strip the busy production down to nothing and sing a song first sung by a man (Dan Tyminsky of Alison Krauss & Union Station).  It also shows what a fine song it is outside of the bluegrass-inspired original melody.  Sounding now more like a classical folk song,  it allows us to see Eurielle perform, nailing it with her outstanding voice.  And we’ll be hearing more of Eurielle when a full album or EP release comes our way later in the year.  Watch below.

NICK HAGELIN, “Latch”

“Latch” has already been covered loads of times since its original release mid-2012 as recorded by Disclosure and Sam Smith.  I love that original (which got to #1 on my personal chart) and when Nick Hagelin posted about his own acoustic guitar version, I knew it could be a perfect fit for him.  Recording another version of that song is made even more difficult by the fact that Sam Smith did his own quintessential stripped away version which first appeared on his Nirvana EP.  But Nick’s version is as solid as I would expect, performed live and outdoors, sealing the deal with his beautiful falsetto.  And Nick always lends his good humour to his videos, even when outside forces beyond his control are at play (watch below and see what I mean).  Writing about “Latch” is also a very good excuse indeed for me to refer you to Nick’s new and free EP City Lights, available from his website, featuring “Trust It” (currently #21 on my chart) and the fun “Finest Clothes In Town” (which got to #5 a while back).

BILLCS Top 30 #428 – April 7/14

Dance music rules the ascending songs on my new personal charts, while some striking new pure pop songs debut 🙂

The Top 10

All but one of our songs in the Top 10 move up, and that’s because the only song that moves down was #1 two weeks ago…

  • The irresistible house banger collaboration of Showtek & Justin Prime with Matthew Koma, a reworking of last year’s instrumental “Cannonball” with Koma vocals and lyrics on “Cannonball (Earthquake)” (video up top) grabs #1!  The rest of my active Top 10 however responds to their catch line of ‘Show us what you got / When the m***erfuckin’ beat drops’… It’s also Matthew Koma’s 4th #1 entry, following “Spectrum”, “Parachute”, and “1998”.
  • It looks like “Addicted To You” by Avicii featuring the unbilled Audra Mae is smashing it worldwide too.  It rises to #3 and watch the new video for it below.
  • Ascending into the Top 5 are “Find You” (6-4), which has cracked the Top 40 for Zedd, Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant, and Adam Tyler’s poptastic free download “Electric Valentine” (7-5), becoming the singer’s 3rd Top 5er on my chart 🙂
  • Sam Smith’s “Money On My Mind” gives way and falls from first to second place, but his entry with Disclosure, the affecting “Latch”, has its eyes on the top of the chart, moving 10-6.
  • The third and last Matthew Koma entry remains in the Top 10 – it’s Hardwell’s “Dare You” up 9-7.
  • The three new entries to the Top 10 breakaway from the log jam on the last chart:  John Newman’s “Love Me Again” climbs 13-8, with Nick Hagelin’s “Finest Clothes In Town” catching fire 14-9, and Disclosure x2, featuring Mary J. Blige on the redone “F For You” at #10.  Listen/watch the latter two below.

Also On The Rise

  • San Diego’s Convulsic brings his inventive EDM/dubstep game with “Love Space” climbing 17-12, with more to come from this talented newcomer.
  • Right behind is Martin Garrix, whose free download of  EDM/trap song “Proxy” is on fire, and packs a wallop on the chart, moving 23-13 as the fastest riser 🙂
  • Semi-Precious Weapons’ “Drink” moves 15-14 behind some heavier songs now, but the band recently released its lyric video to “Look To The Stars” as their full album is on deck for release.  Watch below.
  • Jason Derulo has apparently only teased us with his Tattoos EP, so a full album called Talk Dirty will be coming soon.  While the title song is a lot of fun and climbs 22-18, I’m hoping the new album continues along the lines of some of his pop successes too like “Whatcha Say” or “In My Head”.
  • And talking dirty and “Horny” seem to fall hand-in-hand on this chart, so Lonnie Gordon’s could-be dance club hit moves up 24-20.
  • Sandwiched rather adroitly in-between, “I Wish We Were Leaving” by Bright Light Bright Light and Elton John climb 25-19 while BLx2’s EP of the same name arrived today on iTunes with two remixes of “I Wish”.  Also give a listen to a new song on the EP “She Carves Her Desire” below.
  • FrankMusik continues with his prolific releases in anticipation of his full album called By Nicole.  His opening single “Dear Nicole” advances 28-24, while the video for a new song “These Streets”, with an interesting mix of jaunty melody and affecting lyrics, arrived this past week.  Watch below.

Debuts!!

  • I cannot get enough of Sam Smith, cannot wait to see his show on April 23, and thoroughly enjoyed his two performances on Saturday Night Live.  One of these was for the R&B-flavoured ballad “Stay With Me”, and this stunner bows at #21, from his upcoming In The Lonely Hour album, not due till June (but maybe Capitol/Universal will move it up on the sked…).
  • It’s already caused a stir online, and if you’ve been in hiding then you’ve missed the new project brought to us by Simon Curtis and Wolfy (Ro Danishei) called Wrathschild.  “Fall Into Love” is a gorgeous pure pop testament to those feelings when you’re on that cusp, and it arrives at #22.  And with the pair’s already fine chart pedigree – Simon with 5 #1’s, Wolfy with one of those plus another Top 10er – “Fall Into Love” will do very, very well.
  • It appears we’re on another roll in the boy band genre, but this time with guys who play their music as well as sing it.  England’s Rixton has “Me And My Broken Heart” at #26, and like Martin Garrix, has Scooter Braun management in their court.  Then there’s Australia’s 5 Seconds Of Summer with the extremely fun, catchy “She Looks So Perfect” nabbing #1 in the UK last week and premiering on my chart at #27.

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.

02 01 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
01 02 MONEY ON MY MIND Sam Smith
04 03 ADDICTED TO YOU Avicii featuring Audra Mae
06 04 FIND YOU Zedd featuring Matthew Koma & Miriam Bryant
07 05 ELECTRIC VALENTINE Adam Tyler
10 06 LATCH Disclosure featuring Sam Smith
09 07 DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
13 08 LOVE ME AGAIN John Newman
14 09 FINEST CLOTHES IN TOWN Nick Hagelin
12 10 F FOR YOU Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige
03 11 TAKE COVER Neverest
17 12 LOVE SPACE Convulsic
23 13 PROXY Martin Garrix
15 14 DRINK Semi-Precious Weapons
05 15 COLLIDE Jake Miller
19 16 READY FOR YOU NOW Sean O’Reilly
20 17 BACK TO CALIFORNIA Steve Grand
22 18 TALK DIRTY Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz
25 19 I WISH WE WERE LEAVING Bright Light Bright Light & Elton John
24 20 HORNY Lonnie Gordon
New 21 STAY WITH ME Sam Smith
New 22 FALL INTO LOVE Wrathschild 
11 23 INTO THE BLUE Kylie Minogue
28 24 DEAR NICOLE FrankMusik
08 25 HAPPY Pharrell Williams
New 26 ME AND MY BROKEN HEART Rixton
New 27 SHE LOOKS SO PERFECT 5 Seconds Of Summer
16 28 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
21 29 INVISIBLE U2
27 30 MANiCURE Lady GaGa