It’s Time to begin: “Set Me Free” is the summery introduction to @CarlosDNobrega’s upcoming “The Art Of Making Love”

CARLOS NÓBREGA, “Set Me Free”

He told us earlier in the decade that “Music Makes You Lose Control”, and now comes “Set Me Free”, by Portugal-born, Spain-based singer/actor Carlos Nóbrega, from his upcoming first of two albums, The Art Of Making Love, due on August 4.  Years in the making, “Set Me Free” is warm and inviting electro-dance/pop that promises to take you on an interesting adventure.  For Carlos is definitely a lover, not a fighter, it’s all about joy and beauty, and having fun together and letting go.  “Set Me Free” has rich production to accompany its beach-ready vibe and celebration of both personal connection and freedom.  It there might be too many effects on Carlos’ voice, they serve in conjunction to part of the song’s message, that love is one-of-a-kind, and never boring but heavily reliant on the spices of life!  There’s much more to come each week from Carlos, so keep both of your eyes on his You Tube channel, where you can also check out the introductory video to his intriguing projects below.

Published in: on July 8, 2017 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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@CarlosdNobrega puts his own unique spins into @JohnLegend’s “All Of Me” (free DL)

CARLOS NOBREGA, “All Of Me” (free download)

It’s hard sometimes to write about a cover of a song that has been recorded to death, but fortunately John Legend’s “All Of Me” is timeless and when the right voice invests in it, then the rendition works well.  Such is the case with Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, who has released his cover as part of a free download collection called Songs I Wish I Wrote (Piano Sessions).  This of course is in anticipation of Carlos’ long-awaited album, which I expect will be much more of a rousing dance party 🙂  You can’t really stray too much from the original of a song like “All Of Me” or it won’t work.  The key here is Carlos’ emotional vocal.  This talented singer and actor is a lover, not a fighter, and he puts a few beautiful vocal spins into the mix to make his own interpretation stand out.  Download it for free at the link above, along with the accompanying and equally lovely covers of Sia’s “Breathe Me” and A Great Big World’s “Say Something”.

Published in: on November 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Crucial cover: “Say Something” by @AGreatBigWorld as interpreted by @CarlosDNobrega

CARLOS NOBREGA, “Say Something”

Readers of this blog will know that I’m not big on cover versions.  There has to be something special that stands out about them or I move on.  And there’s a proliferation of viral covers online.  Since its release, the Grammy-winning performance of “Say Something” by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera has been often performed.  And it’s been a while since we’ve heard from Portugal’s always busy singer and actor Carlos Nóbrega – in fact it was with his winning rendition of Sia’s “Breathe Me” (below).  So “Say Something” gets treated quite properly here.  Carlos’ genuinely sincere and affecting interpretation shows in the subtler moments of the song, while giving it power at the appropriate times.  While he’s been busy with other projects in the interim, it’s great to hear a really strong resonance in his voice, which only makes me want to hear new music from him more.  And he promises that new songs are on the way.  “Say Something” is also a great opportunity to introduce new listeners to Carlos’ many talents.  The 2015 ride is only beginning!  “Say Something” is a free download right here.

BILLCS Top 30 #423 – January 27/14

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

martingarrix2

The New Number One

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

The Rest of the Top 10

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

On The Rise

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

The Debuts – Power EDM Trio!

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

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

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

Extra! Extra!

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

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

Kylie Minogue, “Into The Blue”

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

Bassjackers, “Crackin'” (Martin Garrix edit)

The Full Chart

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

05 01 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
03 02 EASY Travis Garland
01 03 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
04 04 EVERY SINGLE MOMENT SIRPAUL
06 05 GOLD Eurielle
09 06 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
07 07 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
02 08 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E
11 09 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast featuring Adam Lambert
13 10 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
21 11 TAKE COVER Neverest
15 12 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles featuring Dru
22 13 COLLIDE Jake Miller
14 14 DO WHAT U WANT Lady GaGa featuring R. Kelly
18 15 MANiCURE Lady GaGa
17 16 I CAN’T HELP IT Dangerous Muse
New 17 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
20 18 COME A LITTLE CLOSER Cage The Elephant
08 19 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
New 20 ADDICTED TO YOU Avicii featuring Audra Mae
27 21 HAPPY Pharrell Williams
25 22 TALKING TO THE WALLS Své
10 23 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
12 24 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
New 25 DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
16 26 KEEP ME RUNNING Andy Suzuki & The Method
19 27 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
23 28 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
24 29 JULIET Lawson 
26 30 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EXTRAS:

neverest4

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

remyshand

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

mattblue

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

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

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

 

Simplicity in Emotion: @CarlosdNobrega Covers Sia’s “Breathe Me”

CARLOS NOBREGA, “Breathe Me”

Portugal’s favourite multi-talented son is back, after dancing his way through 2012 with “Pitiful” (from This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume One), “Turn It Up”, and particularly “Music Makes You Lose Control” (which had control of the top of my chart about a year ago – jogging your memory below).  Carlos Nóbrega has toned it down to a tender state with his brilliant cover of Sia’s “Breathe Me” (available for free through Carlos’ website via email subscription).  That song was recorded back in 2004, so it’s a timely rendition.  And it’s funny being a parent sometimes.  I played “Breathe Me” for my daughter, who promptly told me that she’s known the song for years, having also been featured in the film “Cyberbully”.  Trumped!  

Anyway, the video is simple and eloquent, focusing on Carlos performing the song while other people around him are at the edge of various emotions.  It’s very well directed (by Fran Martinez) and edited, I’m sure when it all came together in a final edit it felt amazing.  “Breathe Me” is from Carlos’ upcoming EP, due in December, called The Cover Love Sessions, because with our dear friend Mr. Nóbrega, love definitely comes first 🙂  PS he’s also made two films during the year – busy guy!

Published in: on November 13, 2013 at 11:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #10 to #1

#10 Carlos Nóbrega “Music Makes You Lose Control”

Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega is one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13 thanks to a steady stream of dance singles which tantalized my ears more with each song, stemming from his appearance on This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One with “Pitiful”.  This culminated in the late summer release of “Music Makes You Lose Control” (MMYLC), a dance party rave-up that is so worthy of a big, big production number with lots of costumes!  Carlos wants to party but knows how to tease (“Electrify me with that body / You make me sweat like nobody”), and brings diverse influences from the likes of Britney Spears through to Daft Punk to the table.  Simply put, it’s a song that creates a whole lot of fun within its 3 minute timeframe without going over the top.  Look for Carlos’ album to surface in the New Year – I’ll certainly have the scoop when it happens.  MMYLC was #1 for one appearance in early November – post Hallowe’en blast 🙂

#9 Jeronimo “One Kiss”

“One Kiss” is one of those songs that triggers immediate reaction – and sends people to iTunes for purchase.  I’m no exception to that, and the song paved the way for the enjoyable album of the same name from Jeronimo, the young Brazil-born Dutch singer/actor with a super unique voice.  From the songwriting to the vocal to the music, “One Kiss” is a tiny perfect record in so many ways.  It’s a feel good song that makes you smile.  The music has traditional European folk elements, Jeronimo’s vocal is playful without being pleading, and you can learn the lyrics after one listen.  “One Kiss” is a case in point for European songs that don’t get promoted well outside of their countries of origin.  With the right songs, Jeronimo has huge potential to breakout worldwide, and he is someone to root for.  He himself is a charmer, his connection with his fan base is top notch (watch out for his tweet bombs on Twitter 😉 ), and his song “It’s A Fun Thing” is even the Cartoon Network’s signature song in Southeast Asia and Australia/New Zealand.  Watch the video for “One Kiss” below and don’t tell me that by the end you aren’t smiling.

#8 Eric Saade “Backseat”

“Backseat” is the third song and second album track from Saade Volume 2 to grace this list.  Eric Saade is no stranger to the list, as both “Popular” and “Made Of Pop” ranked in my Top 10 of 2011 (“Popular” was #1).  I’m anxious to hear more songs from his upcoming fourth album, but I’m still wrapped up in the last two 😉  “Backseat” is danceable pop with grinding and rocking guitar sounds similar to what we were given a taste of on Volume 1 with the odd but infectious “Killed By A Cop”.  Eric certainly has the ladies wrapped around his finger with the (somewhat unintended?) suggestive lyrics which probably prevented this from being a single.  “Backseat” shows Eric Saade at his most intense and driven, and he continues to display more sides of his talents with each release.

#7 Bright Light Bright Light “Waiting For The Feeling”

Bright Light Bright Light’s album Make Me Believe In Hope is popping up on more year end Best Of album lists than any that I’ve heard this year.  It’s essentially Rod Thomas’ greatest hits of songs that he’s been releasing since 2009.  Also no stranger to this list (“A New Word To Say” and “Love Part II” were in my Top 10 of 2010), Rod has a way of finding moments in time to write and sing about that are sometimes within relationships or even after them.  He seizes romance, where it can be found.  If it can’t be found, he asks why, and sometimes offers his take on it.  It makes for a compelling listen and an experience like no other.  “Waiting For The Feeling” is one of my absolute favourites by BLx2, and it held court for a good part of the Spring at the top of my chart (4 appearances = 8 weeks).  When not performing, Rod keeps busy DJing in London, remixing (“Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes was one of his projects), and often offering up mixtapes and thoughtful mashups for free.  Make Me Believe In Hope truly opened up the doors to the world for Bright Light Bright Light in 2012.  I just know the world will embrace his next set of songs in a bigger way when they arrive.

#6 Zedd featuring Matthew Koma “Spectrum”

“Spectrum” kind of came out of nowhere this past summer as a result of teaming German DJ/producer Zedd (Anton Zaslavski) with New York singer-on-the-rise Matthew Koma (one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13).  It turned out to be a dream collaboration, with Matthew’s romantic and boyish vocal, heartfelt lyrics (“We’ll run where lights won’t chase us / Hide where love can save us / I will never let you go”), and production awash in layers of sound that all achieve a fine balance like no other song this year.  Add a video with an alien love story with Taryn Manning as the love interest, rave reviews for Zedd’s album Clarity, and a #1 placing for “Spectrum” as Billboard’s Dance Club Play hit of 2012, and lift off was achieved for both talents.  Zedd apparently is working on Lady GaGa’s upcoming ARTPOP release while Matthew’s album Propaganda is due in early 2013.

#5 Eric Saade featuring Dev “Hotter Than Fire”

The only single release from Saade Volume 2 (which was #1 on my chart for three appearances – 6 weeks) finds Eric paired up with American singer/rapper/songwriter Dev, which helped give the Swedish singer some international starpower behind his music.  While there voices are good counterparts to each other, “Hotter Than Fire” itself is a strong enough song that could have been a worldwide hit if there had been more focus on achieving that status.  Eric’s playful and sexy vocal certainly sent enough hearts aflutter, and the singer marketed himself well to the Nordic countries with continuous touring through most of 2012.  So the next step has to be a worldwide profile.  “Hotter Than Fire” also benefitted from having two videos – I’m still kind of partial to the original, which I believe was shot in one take with some decent effects.

#4 River Tiber “Someday”

While “Symmetry” (#11) was the first song that introduced me to River Tiber, it was “Someday” (which was #1 on my chart for three appearances – 6 weeks) that drew me in to their album From Now On.  While River Tiber has many influences in its music which stem from jazz to classical to experimental electronica, the incredible vocal and guitar playing on “Someday” by Tommy Paxton-Beesley just reminded me so much of Jeff Buckley’s work, which continued to prevail throughout the album unlike other performers whose Buckley-esque sound can usually only be heard on one song.  But Tommy and his band prove that they have so much to offer, with new album Synapses out tomorrow.  River Tiber is one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13, and probably the one for which I have the highest expectations for whatever Tommy and band can achieve.  “Someday” is one of those songs that has you in its corner from its first note to its last (in this case, it’s a well placed last breath).

#3 Rune RK & DATABOY “Memorize Me”

I was so excited when I first found out “Memorize Me” was seeing an official release (after hearing it in the summer of 2011) that I put it on my chart later that year… but had to remove it when release was delayed (only songs that are officially released in some way can appear on my chart – one of my few rules J ).  But that release date did come, and the song re-entered the chart at #1 for 4 appearances (8 weeks) for the Danish producer/DJ who brought us the original “Calabria” back in 2002, pairing up with outstanding Austin electronica whizzes and vocalists, DATABOY.  “Memorize Me” is a dazzling club track whose music makes you visualize sandy beaches of Ibiza and whose lyrics weave a mesmerizing spell (the song even has kind of a commanding, eerie undertone) thanks to DATABOY’s interpretation.  Shortly after official release came a provocative video for the song where two children were let loose (seemingly on their own) in a city to behave and act only as kids do, even if it meant finding their way through a Pride parade and a concert – we are all kids at heart.

#2 Chris Wallace “Remember When (Push Rewind)”

“Remember When (Push Rewind)” is the purest of pop songs that I heard in 2012.  It sends me back to my Top 40 days in the ‘70’s when classic hits were all about songs to which you could relate in some ways.  It literally came out of nowhere, on an independent record label, by singer/songwriter Chris Wallace, who had some success as the leader of the group The White Tie Affair (which got to open for Lady GaGa on tour among its successes).  You’ve read it enough already in this Top 10 listening, but Chris Wallace has one of those voices that is simply like no other, it is highly recognizable.  He can sing anything and I’m sure must have offers to be a featured vocalist on some songs.  He’s also a talented songwriter as the breadth of his songs on his debut album Push Rewind easily showcases.  That album has a few more hits up its sleeve.  But getting back to “Remember When” – it is THE ‘song that could’ for 2012.  It has already become a Top 30 radio hit in the US and I’m waiting for the day in 2013 when it will arrive on Billboard’s Hot 100.  The song also came packaged with an excellent video that shows off Chris’ on camera personality as well as the song’s story.  “Remember When” was #1 on my chart for 4 appearances (8 weeks) during the summer.

#1  DATABOY “Dreams Are Gold”

 “Dreams Are Gold” is my favourite song of 2012.  It’s the title song from the debut album by the Austin duo which comprises Adam Bailey and Cameron Maxwell.  I had the opportunity to see the duo in a thus far rare concert appearance in New York in April 2011 (but somehow did not get to meet them!).  Since then, their songs have appeared frequently in my chart, with the essential summer song “Just Once” my #4 song of 2011.  Dreams Are Gold is a collection of all of their songs released since 2010, plus several gems that they held back for inclusion such as “Genius”, “Unfriend”, and “Shoplift Your Love” – these guys pick great themes and write sometimes very direct lyrics that might seem abrupt at first, but this is part of what they’re all about.  What I love, love, love most about DATABOY is their ability to articulate situations to which anyone can relate, and set it to music to which you can dance.  And that’s why I adore “Dreams Are Gold”.  The song is about moving on after the end of what seemed to be a good relationship.  The target of the song is accused of being a “dream, dream, stealer, stealer”, but we’re not to dwell on that (“But I’m not gonna lose sleep about it”… “Won’t cry on my pillow”…) because hopes and dreams cannot be crushed or dismissed – they are GOLD, so go out and have a great time.  I totally subscribe to that thinking so “Dreams Are Gold” is WOW in just so many ways for me.  While the song had two appearances (4 weeks) at #1, its entire chart run was spent in my Top 10.

BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #75 to #61

As in other years, most of my favourite songs of 2012 boiled down to the following criteria:  Music that makes you feel good and want to dance along, and voices/lyrics that just amazed.  There were several new great voices and faces, some returnees, and of course the completely unexpected.  In order to appear on this list, a song must have appeared and peaked on my personal chart between January 2 and December 17 published charts.  If it hadn’t attained its peak position yet, it will appear on my year end chart for 2013.

Click here to view songs #75 to #61  🙂

Three carryovers into 2012 in our first group of #75 through #61 are The Midway State’s “Fire!”,  Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night”, and “Angel” by Darren Hayes.  Wrapping up their touring on their Paris Or India album, Toronto quartet The Midway State otherwise took a break from music in 2012, and I hope these talented friends will engage us again next year.  You could hear an excerpt of “Fire!” in Bell Canada commercials, and of course their biggest hit “Never Again” is the ringback for Rogers cellular phones.  GaGa was everywhere in 2012, it’s hard to say where The Born This Way Ball didn’t visit!  But a new Ball is on deck as is her forthcoming album ARTPOP, and I’m expecting a new single sometime in early 2013 to promote her touring in North America.  “Angel” by Darren Hayes was a personal choice to carry over.  You couldn’t possibly ask for a more reverent Madonna cover choice – it kept appearing on my iPod Touch shuffle, and as the vinyl flip side to “Talk Talk Talk”, it landed on my chart after the run of another song on this list, “Stupid Mistake”.  Darren’s Secret Codes And Battleships continued to be one of my most played albums into 2012, and one more carryover from that album is ranked higher on this list.  Watch the stunning video for “Stupid Mistake” and listen to Bright Light Bright Light’s percolating remix below as well.

More than ever, my chart contained a cornucopia of worldwide artists appear more than in any other year in recent memory.  Music has no official borders, only those that the music industry continues to put up which hinders availability of recordings and the ability of performers to tour.  Latvia is represented with singer/DJ/model Markus Riva and his dance rave-up “We Dance 4 Reason”, with another song to follow higher up.  “Turn It Up” is the high energy follow up to “Pitiful” for Portugal’s Carlos Nobrega, who is one of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 and has another song much later in the countdown.  The worldwide breakout from France this year is M83 whose hook from “Midnight City” (outstanding video below) is imprinted on the year (and an even better cover version appears higher up on the list), which led to sellout shows around the world.  Canadians Marianas Trench had their most successful year ever with last year’s Ever After album and the single “Fallout” among others.  Lead singer Josh Ramsay not only produced that album but is now a Grammy-nominee for co-writing Canadian label mate Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.  German DJ/producers Spencer & Hill paired up with the always amazing US vocalist Nadia Ali for “Believe It”, which is your dance song for weekend release after a hard work week.

There are three UK artists in this group.  Keane had a successful year around the world with their Strangeland album, led by the glorious “Silenced By The Night” this past Spring.  “Lights Out” was the second single from duo Bim’s EP of affecting and emotional electropop, Lifelines.  Bim are another of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 And a favourite from her Little Belter shows and the subsequent album, Elouise covered “Could It Be Magic” – less like the Barry Manilow version and more like Donna Summer’s – which turned out to be somewhat bittersweet as the song appeared on my chart at the time of the disco legend’s death.  Elouise is off to dazzle Australian audiences with the Little Belter show in early ’13 – the rest of the world will undoubtedly follow.

Three USA performers round out the list.  L.A. quartet Saint Motel released a quirky but very smart album Voyeur this past summer, and toured to support it.  The band’s singer also is responsible for directing the group’s unique videos, so check out the one for “Benny Goodman” below.  Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die” dominated airwaves and TV video play at the top of the year and solidified her instant presence on the pop music scene (strangely yielding no Grammy nominations).  And the mixtape Hunter by Baiyu, generating the title song on this list, dazzled enough people to land her as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next” and on my 13 Performers To Watch for ’13 list.

13 Performers To Watch for ’13

One of the most popular blog post’s I’ve written – even these past three years, it still receives many views – is 10 Performers to Watch in 2010.  I revived the format of that post for 2013, as there are too many promising performers who should not go without notice.  My criteria for this list is that the performer is releasing songs either for purchase or free download, and did not just issue one song in 2012.  The performer could be releasing a debut or sophomore album, and may already be signed to a major label.

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BAIYU   exquisite vocalist to soar beyond “The Next”

I was absolutely delighted when New York singer Baiyu was set to appear as a contestant on the CW’s talent contest “The Next”.  She also released a high quality mixtape called Hunter, which contained beautiful ballads, such as the duet with American Idol contestant Paul Kim on “Make Believe” (video below), and sinewy uptempo songs such as the title song.  She didn’t win the New York auditions on “The Next” (to me the show compromised the singer’s style with what they wanted to show on TV) but received exposure to-die-for, and recorded a few other viral cover versions including Melanie Fiona’s “4 AM” and even the Jonas Brothers’ “Paranoid” to tantalize Jonas Brothers fans who got to know her through “The Next” (since Joe Jonas was a judge).  I’m not sure what Baiyu has planned for ’13, but I expect it will be well-planned and chosen, and I can’t wait.  Her gorgeous Beyoncé-like voice at times could put her easily in the big leagues.

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CODY BELEW  our likeable multi-talented underdog from “The Voice”  

Nobody, but nobody, captured my attention on this past season of “The Voice” like Cody Belew.  From his initial performance of “Hard To Handle” (which caused coach Cee-Lo Green to turnaround at the last moment) through compelling renditions of “Jolene”, “Somebody To Love”, the deliberately and massively campy “Crazy In Love” (video below, because it’s just so much fun), and especially George Michael’s “One More Try”, it was easy to root for Cody, who just seized every opportunity to win over both coaches and fans alike.  The transition to nation-wide concerts will be easy, but more critical will be what he records.  All eyes and ears on Cody in ’13!

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BIM   UK duo flaunts their emotions

As I predicted last September, Bim’s EP Lifelines has become one of my favourite and most consistent records of 2012, and their second album is on deck for early ’13.  I stand by my earlier statement that every song within Lifelines – particularly “Lights Out”, current single “Burn” (video below), and “Scream” – is full of intense emotion, powerful vocal interaction, and key lyrical moments that resonate long after the song is over.  Rebecca Rosier and Denmark Davis are a dream team, and I for one can’t get enough.

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GENTLEMEN HALL  Boston collective’s fans are its anchor

After catching the sextet’s appearance at Canadian Music Week in March, I found their EP When We All Disappear growing on me throughout the year, and it is one of my most played records.  The multi-layered instrumentation (including glorious flute) and compelling lead vocals from Cobi Mike and Gavin Merlot made each song from the record a rich experience, especially “All Our Love”, “Blush”  (below), and “Take Me Under”.  Gentlemen Hall has a dedicated following, and quite frankly they could be contently touring every club in North America to appease their fans instead of signing their lives away to a record deal.  But I think the right deal will come along in ’13 for Gentlemen Hall that will take them to the next level for which they clearly are more than ready.

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IN MY COMA  Toronto trio brings out the rocker in you

It’s been on release for more than a year now, but Magnets & Miracles, the debut album by Toronto rockers In My Coma, definitely has durability with its contemporary take on 90’s alt.rock styles through songs like “Believe Me” (video below), “Dreamers”, “Hit Them Down Kid”, and “Losing Sleep”.  Part of the reason for the appeal, which seems to be increasing month-by-month, is the band’s ability to connect with fans and pull out the rockers in them which keeps them coming back to their shows, to the point where they won a contest to open for Sum 41 in Toronto in the Fall.  Keeping this strategy in place, the next logical step is a new record of songs, always tough to do when gigs are what bring fans to the table.  Timing will be everything for In My Coma in ’13 to maintain their momentum – but with their determination they can do it!

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MATTHEW KOMA  major pop voice sounds like no other

Regular readers will know that part of the last quarter of 2012 was spent with me raving about Matthew Koma, his collaboration with Zedd on Billboard’s #1 Dance Club Play chart single of the year “Spectrum”, and his diverse EP Parachute.  Matthew is Major Pop 2012, signed to Cherrytree/Interscope, and his distinct voice sounds like no other – in fact you might think on “Spectrum” and other songs that he is a teen instead of a mid-20-something.  Matthew’s finishing off his upcoming album which is a high priority for me to hear in 2013.  That he is also guy-friend to my fellow Canadian Carly Rae Jepsen is pretty sweet, too.

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MATTHEW KURZ  supurb singer/songwriter has it almost in spades

Matthew Kurz has tantalized me throughout the last two years, first with his free mixtape from last year featuring the gripping and emotional “Fix Me”, and then with a series of originals and cover versions that were posted through You Tube.  Though he hasn’t released much for commercial sale or for free this year, 2012 is pointing in all of the right directions for Matthew with “Moving On” (available on iTunes), but most particularly “One Night (Damn!)” (below), and an absolutely stunning rendition of David Guetta & Sia’s “Titanium”.  While the latter wisely does not attempt to replicate Sia’s higher register, Matthew makes the song his own with its raw urgency.  While I believe he has a songwriting publishing deal, Matthew Kurz’s many talents and music should find a wider audience in ’13.

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LAWSON  UK quartet on the bubble for North America

While the year started off with talented UK foursome Lawson opening in North America for The Wanted, the band was also in the process of recording its debut album for Polydor/Universal UK, Chapman Square.  So once that was done they made a retreat to their native UK to promote singles  “When She Was Mine” (video below), “Standing In The Dark”, and “Taking Over Me”, all significant hits in the UK.  Chapman Square was released… but not in North America.  But upcoming club dates over here should draw out the fans who have become familiar enough with this band that writes its own songs and plays its own instruments to divert their attention from One Direction and The Wanted.  Lawson has the goods and 2013 should be a breakout year for them.

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ANDREAS MOE  can sing anything. writes his own songs too.

2012 has been a whirlwind for Swedish singer/songwriter Andreas Moe.  Dance music fans discovered him as a featured vocalist on songs by Avicii (with whom he performed in Japan!) and John De Sohn (“Long Time” is one of the biggest hits of the year in Sweden).  But Andreas wisely used these successes as a springboard for his own solo work, captured beautifully in his EP Collecting Sunlight, and especially on the title song (animated video below), “My Side Of The Bed”, and his acoustic rendition of “Long Time”.  He even posted a sparkling acoustic performance of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” right after its release.  But Andreas has one of those grounded and diverse voices that can sing anything.  I think greater things are in store for him as both a songwriter and a performer in ’13!

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CARLOS NOBREGA  balancing the pop and EDM worlds and more

Like a few other performers this year, I first discovered Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega through the essential dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One, where his plaintive pop song “Pitiful” was featured.  With the EDM community embracing the singer as a result of this affiliation, Carlos next released “Turn It Up” in June, and the infectious chorus of this song will lift you up and keep you on a high.  Then he collaborated with producer/DJ Sky Santos for the sultry “I Miss You”, which led in nicely to one of the best (and still somewhat undiscovered) dance party songs of the year, “Music Makes You Lose Control”, a record that reached #1 on my personal chart.  Carlos is another performer who can do it all – sing, write, act, dance, and release all of his songs independently.  The sheer quality of his releases and his determination should make heads turn when his album is released in 2013.

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RIVER TIBER  engaging and unique talent not to be missed

The music of Toronto’s River Tiber has been discussed at length in these posts since the Spring, after I became acquainted with their album From Now On, from which three songs landed on my personal chart, with “Someday” at #1 for six weeks and “Symmetry” reaching #2.  Three concert performances later, and the third one, which I wrote about right here a few weeks ago, speaks for itself.  River Tiber releases its next effort Synapses on January 1, and there will be much more influence in this record by experimental electronica than in From Now On.  It is not to be missed.  Let the additional raves begin.  Watch out 2013!

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STONE WALTERS  honest-to-goodness earthy UK soul

One of the first free downloads I heard to make its way up my personal chart in 2012 was “Home” by Stone Walters.  The song has lyrics rooted in values that anyone can relate to – you know the same ones that you feel at the end of “The Wizard Of Oz”.  Stone has one of those silky smooth voices that could be as easily influenced by classic Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder, as it could by more contemporary singers like Terence Trent D’Arby or Jay Kay of Jamiroquai.  Stone also showed that his boundaries stretch beyond soul with the pop tune “World Keeps Turning” and his softened-down version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”.  While he had a taste of some success a few years back, his more recent songs sound more honest-to-goodness.  Stone Walters deserves another shot as he will easily find an audience that will gravitate to his style and music.


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ZAC POOR  no vocal talent contest required

L.A. based singer/songwriter Zac Poor came to my attention a few years back with an initial release of his own songs such as “She’ll Be Breaking Hearts” and “Silver Screens”, which all attracted some significant buzz… and then it went quiet for a bit.  I think Zac has either a songwriting or record deal that has not yet come to fruition.  But two cover songs he released this past year will surely change that.  The first one is his take on Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper”.  It’s been oft-covered, but never this well, and it totally blows the doors off of the original with a vocal performance that is sheer perfection, and understated production by MdL.  Had it seen proper release, it could have been a hit all on its own!  Next up was an appealing version of Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House”.  All of this bodes very well for something significant to happen for Zac Poor in ’13.

BILLCS Top 30 #394 – December 17, 2012

“Parachute” by Matthew Koma becomes the New York singer’s second #1 of 2012 (heading into 2013 – this is my 2012-ending chart – the next one for December 31 counts towards 2013), following his partnership with Zedd on Billboard’s #1 Dance Club Play song of the year, “Spectrum”.  I would actually put money on the fact that Matthew will be one of the Ones to Watch for 2013, given the quality of his EP Parachute.  In fact, his spirited and edgy rocker “1998” is the chart’s fastest riser, moving 19-6.  I can’t wait for the full album to hear what else Matthew has been up to. 

 “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia & John Martin is still going strong at #2, while “Yeah Yeah” by the currently-touring Willy Moon soars to #3 and will challenge “Parachute” in the coming weeks to find which song sticks in my head the most!  With the recent release of Almeria, Lifehouse & Natasha Bedingfield (video above) hold steady at #4 with “Between The Raindrops” and the band (whose 7th Top 10 entry this is on my chart) will undoubtedly promote the album with another single release.  The long-lasting “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega sticks tight at #5 and – spoiler! – will rank highly on my Best of 2012 year end list, which will come to you gradually starting on December 26.

 One of the joys about creating a personal chart is to see independent releases alongside of major label names, and quite often this chart consists more than 50% of indies.  It started off as a free download, and now an album is in progress for Vague-à-bonde as the Minnesota-based singer holds at #7 with “Evolved” (ab0ve).  Right behind at #8 are Matt & Kim, whose main aim is fun, as songs from their album Lightning articulate, with “Let’s Go” (and further down with “Now” at #20).  Tao Hypah’s dance pop of another colour is at #9 with “Play The Girl” – Mr. Hypah’s 2nd Top Tenner following the #3 “Celeb”, which will also appear in good company on my year end list.  Call it a jam-packed Top 10 finishing off with Adele’s “Skyfall”.  It’s her 5th Top Tenner on the chart.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

 

More indies on the rise just outside of the Top 10 – Kid Massive & DATABOY, Chris Wallace, Arty/Nadia Ali/BT, and Bim – with a special mention going to Chris for achieving airplay in New York with one of this year’s special songs “Remember When (Push Rewind)”, which has also been in Mediabase’s Top 40 for weeks and is still climbing.  Chris also debuts on the chart with “Keep Me Crazy” (ab0ve) at #29, recently free on Amazon in the USA.  “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” (#12), “Remember When”, and “Keep Me Crazy” can all be found on Chris’ excellent album Push Rewind.  Rounding out the other indies, “O.V.E.R. U.” by Daniel Bedingfield climbs to #16, while “Fast As I Can” by Frankmusik jumps to #19 as the singer now records his album You Are Here (and promises an acoustic piano version of it too!).

 

There are no surprises as the release of Synapses approaches that River Tiber debuts at #22 with their 4th chart entry “What Are You Afraid Of”, which is still available as a free download on the Toronto band’s Soundcloud page.  If you’re in Toronto, catch them on January 3 for an album release party at the Drake Hotel.  I’ve already written about Passion Pit’s weirdly anthemic “Take A Walk” (#24), and now I’ve heard it locally on radio too!  There was an overdose of Ne-Yo on TV two weeks ago and “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)” (above) has become embedded in my ears, so it somewhat belatedly arrives on the chart at #26.  It’s the singer’s 7th chart entry and first since he appeared on Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down” in 2009.  Last but by no means least at #30 is “Miss Unknown” by the talented Eric Saade, which I wrote about on the weekend and might be a game-changer for the singer if people embrace the softer side of his music along with a mostly delightful video.  It’s already his 7th song to appear on my chart since “Popular” (my #1 song of 2011) started the ball rolling.