#BILLCSTop30 #576 – December 9/19

It’s the second last BILLCS Top 30 of 2019 already!  Unlike others I don’t tally up my year end chart until after my last chart is published.  In the meantime, I have a new chart that is chock full of debuts… in fact, there are six of ’em, with another lineup of songs waiting to join them in two weeks.  So this blog post will be focused on the newcomers!

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog will be 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 driving Russ Horton crazy each week by sending him lots of new music from the blog and chart to join the mix too!

It’s amazing how pop music can cause you to shift styles and genres at the drop of a hat.  So while I’ve been caught up with Illenium’s music these past few months – and he’s still on the chart with “Broken Ones” joining the Top 10, and another collaboration, this time with Canada’s own Ekali, on deck in two weeks – all ears are now on Harry Styles as “Lights Up” (above) continues at #1.  Not only that, but “Watermelon Sugar” debuts at #25, and the third single from Fine Line, “Adore You” (below, if you haven’t seen it yet) has arrived with a triumph of a video and is also in waiting for the chart for two weeks from now.  

Talk about staying power!  Lostchild’s “Like Like” in its OKJAMES remix gets a fourth appearance at #2 (that’s eight weeks).

Slow-burners “Breaking Hearts” by Benedict Cork (4-3, above) and “Flicker” by Anden (6-4, below) both move up to new peaks.

The remaining new arrival in the Top 10 is also the Fastest Riser on the chart.  It’s the intense, provocative, and joyous banger “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark, which soars 21-9, with designs on the top of the chart!

There are several songs waiting to make their big moves mid-chart, but the ones making the most noise on their own are Sam Smith’s jolting cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” (17-13, above); Peter Foldy’s pensive and positive ode to today with “Toxic World” (19-15, also above); and John.k’s delightful “if we never met” (27-21, below).

And I have to get a quick word in about Sam Fender, who is selling out shows across the UK thanks to the success of his album Hypersonic Missiles.  “Will We Talk” is from that album and climbs 20-17.  And one of the happiest moments on Twitter that you will see this week is Sam greeting a really young fan backstage.  That’s what magic moments are made of!

Leading the six debuts at an impressive #20 is “Flames” by R3HAB, Zayn and Jungleboi.  Dutch legend R3HAB is having a monster year, with one of his biggest club hits being the cover of the A*Teens’ “All Around The World”.  And on “Flames”, his second chart entry here following “All Into Nothing” with Mokita (#15), he and Jungleboi manage to pull out what I believe is Zayn’s best vocal to date.  “Flames” isn’t really a dance song, it’s definitely more pop radio friendly, and a nice follow up on Zayn’s underrated Icarus Falls album.

It seems that it’s time for alt.rock and dance music to become friends again, and I’m hearing more successful blends of these genres for the first time in many years.  Is it the ‘new’ new wave when songs like “The Best” by Los Angeles group AWOLNATION start to get my attention?  It’s the band’s first appearance on the chart, bowing in at #22.

The Weeknd is back and has been listening to a lot of 80’s new wave, if the keyboard riffing in “Blinding Lights” is any indication.  The song arrives at #26 – a far cry from his other single “Heartless”, which I don’t care for at all – becoming my Scarborough neighbourhood boy Abel Tesfaye’s 6th chart entry.  The Weeknd got to #1 on the chart in 2016 with “Starboy”.

Battling it out for the last two positions on the chart are:  “Dirty Mirrors” by Scotland’s Ben Davidson and England’s Sean Smith in a smashing duet that lands at #29 in its Matt Pop edit (above).  It’s Ben’s debut on the chart, while Sean has got to the Top 10 twice, with the Andy Sikorski remix of “Magic” in 2017, and last year with Peter Wilson in another duet called “Verona”; and at #30 is “Ain’t Deep Enough” (below), slick Chicago house from production duo Autograf featuring a fine vocal by Jared Lee, who just left the chart with Midnight Kids on “Those Were The Days” (#5).

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 🙂

 

Let the good times roll with @BDavidsonmusic and @SeanSmithsolo scoring with “Dirty Mirrors”

BEN DAVIDSON and SEAN SMITH, “Dirty Mirrors”

“Dirty Mirrors” positively sizzles with all kinds of energy and chemistry, courtesy of Scotland’s Ben Davidson and England’s Sean Smith, both of whom you’ve read about a number of times in this blog.  It’s actually featured on Ben’s 2018 album No One Knows, but has graduated to its own EP release featuring remixes by Matt Pop and Tmac.  It is in fact the Matt Pop edit (above) that to me takes the song to the next level with a euphoric tropical vibe that is so suited to the song, and it warrants being promoted to dance clubs.  Both singers show off their versatile voices and how well they go together.  In fact, you can check out the guys singing in live performance in the video below, with Ben ever the low key charmer while Sean works up the song with the audience.

 

Published in: on November 29, 2019 at 10:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The voice of Scotland’s Ben Davidson @bdavidsonmusic shines on both the @HandbagHouse remix of “Anything” and @DSMmusic’s ballad “In The Rain”

BEN DAVIDSON, “Anything” (Handbag House remix)

DSM and BEN DAVIDSON, “In The Rain”

Scotland’s Ben Davidson has one of those captivating voices that will alternately make an uptempo song more vibrant or let a softer song make you melt.  

Ben recently released the single “Anything” for Energise Records, but in its original mix I find his vocal doesn’t so much go hand-in-hand with the production’s additional layers of sparkle.  In its remix by Handbag House, “Anything” is so well suited for the deep house genre that you would think it was the original mix.  Like with Sam Dickinson’s “Wild Sun” last year, Handbag House offers a solid alternative for dance clubs to relish.

While Ben co-wrote “Anything”, it and “In The Rain” were co-written by Dan Scholes, a veteran British producer who also records as DSM.  Instead of Ben, “In The Rain” was co-written with Canadian Kim Williams, and it’s an independent release that puts Ben into more-than-comfortable ballad territory, which invokes a story of a past relationship and being constantly haunted by the anguish some memories can cause.  DSM and Ben are so in tune together, making “In The Rain” a stylish and memorable treat for those who like softer music with a great voice to lead the way.

Introducing “10/10″#01: @bDavidsonmusic @missMollyMoore @RadCatmusic @itsDylanMatthew @SleepyTom @Lights @Saxity @Cookin3burners @HenriPurnell @Revelriesmusic @FinalDJs @BrightLightx2 @TheDriverEra @Fambamusic @itsLostBoy

Introducing… 10/10 #01

10/10 (or tenoutoften) is the name of my new feature when I will write about 10 hot and fresh songs in no particular order, for your kind consideration and attention.

I will also 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. 

Writing 10/10 features means I will be able to cover more songs in one shot than I’ve been able to do recently.  So you get to learn about more new music that I hear but don’t always get a chance to write about.  I think that’s pretty fair 🙂

So let’s move on to #01:

 

tenoutoften

tenoutoften 01

 

  • BEN DAVIDSON, “No One Knows”

Scottish singer Ben Davidson has a beautiful, rich tone to his voice that could make an encyclopedia sound melodic.  “No One Knows” is the title song from Ben’s album from last Fall which followed attractive singles “The Chain”, “Fallin’ In” and “Learning To Let You Go”.  But “No One Knows” bests them all with a warm story of dedication to a special person. The song just gets better as it moves along, leaving with a finish that resonates like fine cognac after a good meal.

  • MOLLY MOORE featuring KEENAN CHARLES, “Vibes”

Continuing to stretch the boundaries between pop, rock and dance music, L.A.-based singer/songwriter Molly Moore follows up “Be Here Now” with something completely different.  “Vibes” captures the cool of L.A. with an edgy, soulful sound that is accentuated by the flowing emcee work of Keenan Charles. It’s not every day that you reacquaint yourself with your high school prom date and ask him to contribute to your record but Molly has done just that and it’s an indelible if sometimes subdued release.

  • RAD CAT and DYLAN MATTHEW, “Show Off”

It’s been a while since I wrote about Christian Ariza, the San Diego producer otherwise known as Rad Cat.  “Show Off” is a bouncy, familiar-sounding feel good track with hip hop vibes marrying happily with electronica and a catchy vocal from Dylan Matthew.  I’ll pitch this one to fans of The Knocks who will enjoy the funky rhythm.

  • SLEEPY TOM and LIGHTS, ” Amateur”

Vancouver’s Sleepy Tom has steadily released top notch dance music since his breakout hit “Be Right There” with Diplo.  This time he takes a cue from fellow Canadian producer Felix Cartal and enlists another Canuck, Lights, for her vocal on “Amateur”.  As with Felix’s “Love Me”, Lights is definitely the star of the show, perhaps even more so here, as her tones fill the loud speakers easily at chorus time.   Sleepy Tom’s slick synths and production will help keep you glued to “Amateur”.  And then there’s the Sleepy Tom video game, a clip of which you can check out below.

  • SAXITY, “Weekend”

Mr. Stan Sax and Koni, the saxophonist/guitarist/producers behind Saxity, return to help make Springtime brim with enthusiasm for the good weather and partying when it’s all about the “Weekend”.  Stellar musicianship helps make this new dance anthem go down really smooth, making it an easy add for club DJ’s.  Unleash this one on the dance floor and watch people move!

  • COOKIN ON 3 BURNERS with HENRI PURNELL and REVELRIES, “Force Of Nature”

Taking its cue from “This Girl”, the monstrous worldwide hit a few years back by Kungs and Cookin on 3 Burners which is still heard positively everywhere, “Force Of Nature” is a wicked blend of old school soul and house music.  For it was the unique sound of Australian trio Cookin on 3 Burners that anchored “This Girl” (a variation of a song they recorded about 10 years ago), and that retro 60’s lounge style from that song pervades “Force Of Nature”.  Partnering in the mix are Germany’s Henri Purnell and Emirati/Netherlands-based duo Revelries, who have both acquitted themselves well with Top 5 songs on my personal chart (“Silent Games” and the current “Don’t Think Twice”, respectively).

  • FINAL DJs and BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT, “Wild”

Its wonderful to see the pairing of Germany’s Sebastian Stuetz, aka Final DJs, and long time fave Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas) continue with their latest single together called “Wild”.  It’s got a classic house groove that will simply command you to move and convince you to go as “Wild” as the title says. Very rarely does Rod make an appearance on another record and he flourishes beautifully here as in his own songs like “New York Pretty” or “Love Part II”.  The duo’s earlier single “Lost In Feelings” landed at #11 on my chart during its release.

  • THE DRIVER ERA, “Feel You Now”

The Driver Era is the alt.rock offshoot of popular family band R5 that consists of brothers Rocky and Ross Lynch.  Ross, of course, is a current star of Netflix’s “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”.  The L.A. based, Colorado-born duo fit easily into these rock trappings, possibly much better than you think.  I saw R5 perform in concert two years consecutively and there’s no denying the talent, which also led to Ross being heard in other songs like electronic duo Tritonal’s “Feel The Love”.  “Feel You Now” is powerful and anthemic, reminiscent of music from yesteryear such as by INXS or even Grand Funk Railroad (take a listen to “Closer To Home” for example).

  • FAMBA, “Swear To God”

After emerging on the dance music scene about three years ago with songs like the fun ‘n funky “Right Here Right Now” (for Armada Deep) and “Vibe” (for Tipsy/Epic Norway), Halifax’s Famba signed to Sony Canada and got attention with remixes such as for fellow Canadians like Tyler Shaw.  Currently, you can hear Famba’s “Wish You Well” (featuring vocalist Trove) on every single pop music station in Canada, and I think its next stop will be to conquer the USA. Following that song up in the meantime is “Swear To God”, a powerful electronic release that steers away from the pop of “Wish You Well” for a memorable house track that is more apt to follow up Loud Luxury’s “Body” as the next big dance hit from Canada.

  • LOST BOY, “Help”

California singer/songwriter/musician Lost Boy (aka Dillon Deskin) returns with an endearing song with a gritty rhythm called “Help”.  Strange things happen to our hero in his video (above) for the song so if the lyrics aren’t convincing enough to give him a hand or three, then the video will definitely do it.  “Help” is a rare breed, wanting to connect with you and make you dance at the same time.  This sends Lost Boy in more of a direction that currently works for fellow artists like Bryce Vine and will definitely work well in a club setting.

 

 

 

 

Scotland’s Ben Davidson @BDavidsonmusic returns with the pure pop of “Learning To Let You Go”

BEN DAVIDSON, “Learning To Let You Go”

Ben Davidson is someone who can sing just about any pop song and bestow a crisp, shiny quality on the song that is a tribute to his effortless style.  The Scottish singer, also known for his Broadway roles in the UK, is back with “Learning To Let You Go”.  Like recent predecessor singles “The Chain” and “Fallin’ In”, which will also be featured on his upcoming album, “Learning To Let You Go” tells a familiar story that is part of most people’s lives.  Ben’s crystalline performance makes it all fresh, and the production throws back to a simpler time when pop music was less about dazzle and effects and more focused on a relatable story, melody and rhythm.  “Learning To Let You Go” is solid and appealing, and I’ll look forward to hearing more new music from Ben in the coming year!  Add “Learning To Let You Go” to your Thoughtful Pop playlist using the Spotify link above.

Published in: on September 3, 2018 at 1:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Lost in the moment: UK singer Ben Davidson @BDavidsonmusic returns with “Fallin’ In”

BEN DAVIDSON, “Fallin’ In”

You never know who was once in a boy band, and British pop music fans know Ben Davidson from his time in Most Wanted years ago.  But one thing is for sure – having that experience often generates fine singers, even if not necessarily in the style of that band.  Ben is a true pop/rock balladeer with “Fallin’ In”, another Daniel Volpe production for Energise that captures the essence of being lost in the moment where you really don’t know where you’ll be heading next.  Ben’s crisp voice leads a sublime undercurrent of classic guitar, piano and drum work.  “Fallin’ In” has many tender moments as well as a bright, anthemic quality that pervaded his previous single “The Chain”.  Watch for the remixes of “Fallin’ In” later in the week.  In the meantime add “Fallin’ In” to your favourite rock-flavoured love songs playlist on Spotify using the link above.

Published in: on March 27, 2018 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Honest-to-goodness Pop is delivered by Ben Davidson @bdavidsonmusic with “The Chain”

BEN DAVIDSON, “The Chain”

Every now and then, we just get a taste for pure pop music, nothing more – and someone like Sam Smith or Adele has that down in spades.  Ben Davidson is a new UK singer whose debut single out today for Energise, “The Chain”, albeit with an electronic backdrop, holds similar pop promise.  It’s written by that dynamic trio of Charlie Mason, Daniel Volpe, and Thomas Lipp, whose songs have graced these blog pages many times.  It’s a fine song choice to show off Ben’s range without going over the top.  Although it has punch, the arrangement could use a few extra wow moments to take it that much further but nonetheless it’s really all about Ben’s voice and “The Chain” succeeds overall.  Listen and add it to your playlist using the Spotify link above.  The EP contains another new song (“Letting You Go”) as well as several remixes of “The Chain”.

Published in: on October 13, 2017 at 9:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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