It’s all about the “L.O.V.E.” according to @iamChrisMann

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CHRIS MANN, “L.O.V.E.”

While Chris Mann rose to national prominence as a contestant who finished in the Top 4 on “The Voice” in 2012, I was already sold on his talent back in 2010 with the release of a self-titled EP that contained a heartbreaking straight-up rendition of Kanye West’s “Heartless”.  So to see him go far on “The Voice” as the pop singer with opera background, and then release the major label album Roads not long after has been terrific.  And that all led to him touring as the lead in “The Phantom of The Opera” throughout the U.S.!  After other achievements and the recent release of the Alzheimer’s anthem “Remember Me”, it’s nice to see Chris delve into his own archives and pull out the sunshine-y “L.O.V.E.” to coincide with the American government’s ruling on marriage for everyone.  Love indeed wins every time, and it’s great to hear Chris back in a pop setting where he can exercise his chops a bit differently.  There’s a lovely soulful undercurrent that anchors “L.O.V.E.” as a pop song that deserves to be heard this summer.  Give it a listen and watch for its upcoming official release.

Published in: on July 4, 2015 at 4:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Tuned-On! Top 30 #368 – December 19/11… plus Frankmusik, Adam Lambert, Lana Del Rey and more

Well if you’ve been reading this space these past several weeks, then it’s no surprise that Eric Saade & Dev have dethroned Matt Blue’s “Can’t Help Myself” at the top of my personal chart in this edition.  “Hotter Than Fire” is a highly appropriate 2011 finale for this chart, since my next one won’t be posted till January 2 or thereabouts.  It looks to have a nice long stay at the top, unless either a long-awaited release of another song I love happens, or unless another Eric Saade song catches hold of me like “Hotter” and sails to the top.  Watch the spiffy video above; the camera takes great advantage of Eric…

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.

This won’t be a long blog because the rest of the top stays the same, and while both New Yawkers Penguin Prison’s “Don’t Fuck With My Money” and Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” (in a Penguin Prison remix no less) are on their way to the Top 5, both “Then I Go Twisting” by Erasure and “White Horse” by Jessica 6 sneak into the Top 10 for what look like peak appearances.  In the meanwhile, take a gander at the provocative video by Lana Del Rey, “Born To Die”, which is one of the best you will see these days, tragic story and all.  Her voice almost has a Rufus Wainwright-like quality to it at times in this song.

Just outside of the Top 10 is another story entirely, for four songs look to storm the Top 10 in two weeks.  Keep your eyes on Boy Banned, for “The Stars Are Saying Yes” will getcha when you’re not looking!  It climbs 20-11 this week.  Right behind is the second entry for Darren Hayes currently on the chart, “Black Out The Sun”.  The Fastest Riser on the chart follows, and that’s “Make You Mine”, the big surprise that is within Joe Jonas’ Fastlife album.  It soars 24-13.  Jon McLaughlin’s “Promising Promises” continues to climb at #14.  Rounding out the movers are The Midway State’s “Fire!” at #18, Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night” which is up to #21, and “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler jumps 28-24.

I talked about two of the three debuts recently.  “Home” by Stone Walters is a stunning but low-key release from the UK soul singer which hits your heart in all of the right places.  It’s one to watch and debuts at #20.  It’s available for free download right here with an email subscription.  “Champagne” by Nelson Clemente is either a great way to end the current year or a great starter for the next year.  Its lightheartedness is contagious and premieres at #27.  Nelson has already attained a number of Top Tenners on this chart, with “You Want Me Don’t You” (in both its original 2008 release and 2009 Spekr Freks remix) and “90 Days” both cracking the Top 5.  Ninthwave Records has made it available as a free download on Soundcloud right here.  Lastly, producer/remixer Benny Benassi has made some intoxicating music for the dance floor this year, so he gets a hat-trick of sorts with his remix of Labrinth & Tinie Tempah’s “Earthquake” arriving on my chart at #23.  The other two songs to reach the chart?  Chris Brown’s “Beautiful People” and Benassi’s “Cinema” (featuring Gary Go) were on the chart concurrently this summer, peaking at #10 and #11 respectively.  Listen to his remix of “Earthquake” below.  Your body may start moving without you.

A few more tidbits before I wrap up…

Ever the busy guy, Frankmusik recently unveiled a delightful animated video for his Do It In The A.M. track “Wrecking Ball”.  Mr. Frank’s full of ideas… watch for more next year.  In the meantime, watch “Wrecking Ball” below.

And welcome back, Adam Lambert, though you didn’t seem away for more than a hot second.  The most important thing about his upcoming single “Better Than I Know Myself” is that it does away with the dramatic, almost over-the-top high notes of songs like “Whataya Want From Me” in favour of cleaner, richer, and more classic production.  But everything you ever liked about Adam is much intact!  The new album’s gonna be even better, I think.  Listen to “Better Than I Know Myself” streaming from his official website right here.

And I leave you with two more songs for the season.  He was Warbler #6 on “Glee” for a time, and recorded a terrific EP about a year ago along with a bang-on cover of George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”.  It’s a pleasure to hear Chris Mann so beautifully sing “Silent Night” below.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, I said it was coming.  Here’s Joshua Desjardins’ heartwarming and humourous video for “Macauley Culkin (Home Alone at Christmas)”.  You will have a smile on your face when it’s finished 🙂

Tuned-On! Top 30 #336 – September 27/10

It’s finally on release tomorrow!  “Love Part II” is a glorious homage to 80’s and 90’s electro-pop from Bright Light Bright Light (aka Rod Thomas) and holds strong at #1 for a second chart appearance.  Brandon Flowers’ “Crossfire” and Bim’s “Head Over Heels” hold in the runner-up spots too, but the rest of the Top 10 has been turned inside out and sideways.

Adam Tyler’s “Friction” slides upward to #4 – I’ll be blogging about his newest song “Operation” soon (and you can get it free with a subscription right here)!  “Pretender” by Elouise reaches through a hole in the Top 10 to land at an impressive #5 – it’s one of the best ballads of the year.  Right behind is power in a more rockin’ way as “Start A Fire” by Ryan Star lands at #6.  Then the surprise – quirky ol’ “Dear Dictator”, in a wonderfully warped 70’s disco remix by Sam Sparro, takes LA’s Saint Motel from 16-7!  Bringing up the rear in Top Ten Land are Kylie Minogue’s ever perky “Get Outta My Way” and Chris Mann’s fun take on George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”.  Tally:  5 Yanks, 4 Brits, and an Aussie!  Aside from Toronto’s Roz Bell, my chart is so lacking my own country’s content!

And still more action, just below the Top 10… More Bright Light Bright Light too, always a good thing, Rod’s third appearance with “Cry At Films” (which appears on the “Love Part II” single), which you can also download for free right here.  Then we have Sweden’s Darin, who has already had two Top 5 hits on this chart in 2009 with his duet with Kat Deluna, “Breathing Your Love”, and then “Girl Next Door”.  Now “Lovekiller” makes a bold jump, rising 24-12… North American release, pretty please??

But still, the fastest riser on the chart this week belongs to the highly infectious instrumental dance track “Never Look Back” by Russ Chimes.  Two weeks ago I gave you the link to part two (“Tertre Rouge”) of his video trilogy, which started with “Never Look Back”, and now Russ brings you the conclusion with “Targa” – which has a couple of intriguing ‘aha’ moments to wrap up the story.  It’s all a bit visually busy and has layers of complexity, but they warrant the multiple viewings just to get it all sorted out in your head.  View the video at the top of this page.  Well done!

Amid other respectable chart moves for “When She Turns 18” by Christian TV – which I still think is a hoot whether you’re watching the ‘photocopier’ video or not – and the theatrical “Audio Precision” by newcomers Jackanory & The Ball, you will find four debuts.

Welcome back Jay Kay and Jamiroquai, and whatta way to drive back onto the dancefloor in style than in the limo that is the 70’s flavoured Penguin Prison remix of “White Knuckle Ride”, from Jay’s upcoming album Rock Dust Light Star.  It’s Jamiroquai’s first appearance on my chart since 2002’s “You Give Me Something”, though I did really enjoy the High Times compilation which featured some terrific extended mixes of 90’s hits.  I am hoping for a 2011 tour!

Then courtesy of his CD Flamingo comes Brandon Flowers’ “Swallow It”.  Now when I saw Brandon in concert last month I really did not come away from the show liking this song, but it really is one of the most engaging songs on the album, and it’s also the new single.  I love how Brandon flexes his lower register, giving the song a more modern Lou Reed feel.  And it’s also much more playful than I thought initially.  I’m still wanting to collect my thoughts on Flamingo for a separate blog…

Next up is a track I featured in my blog a few weeks back.  100 Akres and Roz Bell make such a great, creative team, and their latest “Breakup Anthem (We Never Cared)” is absolutely no exception.  It hits the nail on the head about the subject matter and still comes across as being fun and anthemic.

Last but not least, our favourite troubadour king of chamber pop, Richard Barone , is back after many years of recorded absence, despite keeping very active in the music biz.  Richard’s career began in the early 80’s with New Jersey new wave band The Bongos, who released a few well-respected albums, with “Numbers With Wings” still receiving play on alt.rock stations.  Richard began releasing solo albums in the late 80’s with the live ‘Cool Blue Halo’, then triumphing particularly for me with songs like “Native Tongue” and “River To River” from 1990’s Primal Dream, and the title track and “Nobody Knows Me” from 1994’s conceptual, very-Beatles influenced tribute to writer Nicholas Schaffner, Clouds Over Eden”.  As I tipped a few weeks back, Richard is back in solid form – guitar work and strings intact – in his new CD Glow, which is produced by the legendary Tony Visconti.  I’ll write more about Glow in a separate blog, but the title track has definitely gotten under my skin and debuts on the chart.  Having just recently been to New York City, there’s something very special about this song, conceived after a walk through Manhattan, these many years after 9/11.  Last year’s NYC theme was Jay-Z & Alicia Keys’ “Empire State Of Mind”.  For 2010, could it be “Glow”?  It’s certainly how NYC makes me feel after two consecutive visits… thank you Richard.  Here’s a live clip of the song from earlier this year:

I have so much more to blog about and so little time… so stay tuned!!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #334 – August 30/10

As the end of summer approaches, another season of music begins, and I’m pleased that it includes the artists of my top two songs.

I was fortunate enough to see Brandon Flowers in concert on Wednesday, August 25 at the Mod Club in Toronto.  It was a good – but not great – 50 minute show to focus on his upcoming solo debut Flamingo (picture of deluxe version cover above), which drops on September 14.  There are definitely some solid songs which I’m looking forward to hearing on my stereo  – Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts, Playing With Fire, Magdalena.  Brandon was in good voice but his Killers band members were sorely missed.  In any event, “Crossfire” is still the best song of the bunch thus far, and it retains its #1 status on my personal chart this week.  At the bottom of this post are some pics from the concert 🙂

Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light (or Bright Light x 2) is one of 2010’s pop music treats, and I can’t wait enough for a full album.  Former #1 “A New Word To Say” holds tight at #2, while “Cry At Films”, the B-side of the forthcoming “Love Part II” single, arrives on the chart at #25.  For me, the ‘B-side’ no longer has the same meaning as the halcyon days of 45 vinyl singles.  Rather than filler, sometimes the B-side is better than the track being promoted.  And while that’s not the case – as you’ll find out in two weeks, when “Love Part II” is released and debuts on my chart 😉 – it’s easy to revel in the soft, emotional, and danceable qualities that Rod brings on “Cry At Films”.

The Top 10 has a change-up that still allows Two Door Cinema Club’s “Something Good Can Work” – one of the more chipper songs of the year – to advance to #3.  British duo Bim – whose lush and emotional album Scatterheart you must check out – score in the Top 5 with “Head Over Heels”, and L.A.’s Adam Tyler’s “Friction” is contagious enough in its Ricardo Autobahn edit to become the Fastest Riser on the chart, up from 14 to 7.  Toronto’s Roz Bell is one of Canada’s most interesting and underrated talents, whose third effort Songs For Leaving will be well worth the wait when it arrives.  In the meantime, bask in “Endless Summer Night”, which climbs to #8.

I expect a chart housecleaning in two weeks, which will get rid of a log jam of wonderful songs stuck behind each other in the Top 20.  I’m eyeing songs by Chris Mann, Elouise, Ryan Star, and perhaps Hanson to bust out and eventually they all may land in the Top 10, pending competition.  And Billy Franks’ “The Beautiful Game”, now at #17, keeps reminding me that humility and a great tune will do wonders with each listen.  Maroon 5’s fun “Misery” lands at #20… which feels somewhat underwhelming for such a good band, but there are indeed many stronger songs out there, and we’ll have to see how powerful the other songs are on the forthcoming Hands All Over album.

“Dear Dictator” by Saint Motel continues to get stuck in my head and advances to #21, with The Script’s “For The First Time” not behind at #23.  The other new songs this week arrive in a revisit to Lady GaGa’s The Fame Monster album, allowing “Dance In The Dark” to bow at #24.  And at #26 is a new Detroit-raised singer who comes via L.A. with a great summer song.  Christian TV’s flirty and maybe a tad naughty “When She Turns 18” is a grower and may yet become a hit going into the Fall months.  Check out the video below.

Despite the lack of blogs within the last two weeks I have been listening to a lot of music, and expect to update you all on some of the better ones over the next few days.  Enjoy!


Tuned-On! Top 30 #333 – August 16/10

Elouise

It’s now a few weeks away for the release dates of what could be a few of the year’s great records.  One of those belongs to Killers singer Brandon Flowers – his solo debut Flamingo is due September 6, and “Crossfire” has wasted no time in attaining the pole position on my chart.  It steals it away after one appearance from Bright Light Bright Light’s “A New Word To Say”, which slips to #2, but Rod Thomas and friends of course have the utterly brilliant “Love Part II” coming for official release on September 13.  Expect that song to chart here in two weeks.

Two Door Cinema Club’s Tourist History is quietly becoming one of the albums that should be heard right now.  The Irish band is coming to my city (Toronto) in October, complete with Penguin Prison as opener!!  “Something Good Can Work” finds a weak part of the Top 10 and takes advantage of it, moving 9-4.  Evan Taubenfeld’s “Pumpkin Pie” and David Guetta’s “Gettin’ Over You” both move up a notch.  Three new songs join the Top 10 – the sublime 70’s disco influence of Goldfrapp’s “Dreaming”, the modern electro-punk energy of “Your Body Is A Machine” by The Good Natured, and the tears behind the pop smile of Bim’s “Head Over Heels”.

The middle of this chart continues to be log-jammed with great songs.  The ones more likely to cut through are this edition’s fastest riser, the gorgeous Steve Anderson-produced torch song “Pretender” by UK’s Elouise, climbing 27-18.  Londoners be sure to check out her show for me on September 11 at the Tabernacle! Then we have boy power pop courtesy of Adam Tyler’s “Friction” and its free propulsive Ricardo Autobahn edit.  Still awaiting the Lullabies for Rattlesnakes album! The Top 10 will also have to make way for Roz Bell’s should-be-summer-anthem “Endless Summer Night”, while other songs by Reni Lane, Lifehouse, Chris Mann, Hanson, and Kylie Minogue are all just plain solid.  Maroon 5’s “Misery” pulls up the rear and advances 28-24.

I’m going to continue to plug “The Beautiful Game” by UK singer Billy Franks, which moves up to #19.  It has a lot of hidden quiet power in its melody and emotion, and proceeds go to a charity set up by Prince Harry to help African children, and you can purchase it on iTunes.  Billy – the former leader of one of the 80’s treasures called The Faith Brothers – has also made available for free download a full album of music called Euphoria, which I expect to blog about in the coming weeks.  Download it right here.

On to the debuts.  Surely it’s no surprise after his August 3 concert that another track from Ryan Star’s 11:59 appears (while “Breathe” tumbles to #8)!  And yes it’s “Start A Fire”, which is about to blaze a path of glory in these parts, arriving at #22.  Then we have the fun and slightly eccentric dance sounds of Saint Motel.  The LA quartet lands at #27 with the Sam Sparro remix of “Dear Dictator”.  Finally, The Script haven’t been away from this chart for long, as the long legs of the band’s self-titled debut album have proven a lasting commercial success.  From their upcoming sophomore record Science and Faith comes “For The First Time” at #28.  It’s very samey-sounding to songs off the debut record but it certainly grows on you, and their audience sure enjoys the earnest and emotional style of this Irish trio.

It’s been a quiet, dull live concert scene in Toronto for me this summer.  Most of the artists I’ve wanted to see did not come to my town.  A whole bunch – Two Door Cinema Club, Penguin Prison, Florence & The Machine, Matt and Kim, Miike Snow – are coming within weeks of each other in October – and Brandon Flowers is performing a show for Virgin Mobile members only (you must be a member – which I am 🙂  – to enter the contest, so I’m crossing my fingers!!).  And I’m hopeful that others like Lifehouse, The Script, and Ryan Star, will find there way here to make the winter months more pleasant.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #332 – August 2/10

Bim "Scatterheart"

This will be a quick and early blog as I am off to New York City tomorrow for 5 days with my daughter, during which time we will see Phantom Of The Opera, Ryan Star’s CD release show (Ryan hangs at #5 with “Breathe”), and perhaps visit the Jewish history museum as well as other sites.

That new pop meister extraordinary, Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light, grabs #1 on the new chart with “A New Word To Say”, a free download that will hopefully be on BrightLightx2’s upcoming album.  That having been said, I can’t wait for the official release of “Love Part II!

It looks like Brandon Flowers’ “Crossfire” is destined for the top, as it zips into the Top 5 at #2.  “Pumpkin Pie” by Evan Taubenfeld and “Gettin’ Over You” by David Guetta move up in the Top 10, and Two Door Cinema Club’s “Something Good Can Work” does get there amid stiff competition.  As you will see, every song from 11-19 moves up, and really good stuff like “Broken Tonight” by Armin Van Buuren featuring VanVelzen gets stuck at #13 in a year rife full of grand pop songs.  So how does one compete with songs that rev in my mind like those on the chart from Goldfrapp, The Good Natured, Reni Lane, Lifehouse, and Roz Bell?  Last week’s debuts by Adam Tyler and Chris Mann shove along into the lower teens, with Bim’s gorgeously contagious “Head Over Heels” as the fastest riser (and congratulations on the release of the Scatterheart album, now available in iTunes!), moving up 27-17.  Still further down, songs by Hanson and Billy Franks continue to make inroads.

The debuts will continue to bend my ear for months.  How can one resist the happy feet dances generated by Kylie Minogue’s “Get Outta My Way” (her first appearance on my chart since 2004’s “Slow”), the powerful show-stopping drama of Elouise’s “Pretender”, and the sarcastic wit of Maroon 5’s “Misery”?

To see the full chart, click on the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or click right here.  Any comments are more than appreciated 🙂

I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to blog while I’m away but you can check in on me on Twitter.

The Next Great Voice You Hear is from Chris Mann

OH MY.  It’s not often that I am left speechless but our friends at Electroqueer have done it again.  They’ve blogged about Kansas-born Chris Mann (another great unheard voice from Kansas, like Clayton Senne)  and after hearing his supurb cover of George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex” – yeahhhh I know, but it’s really, really good! – I had to hear more.

So I head over to his MySpace site to listen to other songs from his EP released almost a year ago, and available on iTunes.  The best version of Kanye West’s “Heartless” hands down – almost made me cry.  But Chris is a songwriter too so there are plenty of originals like “When The Lights Fade” to keep you interested.  The guy has an amazingly natural, soulful voice with such drawing power that it’s hard to get enough.  Dan Black meets Sam Sparro, for starters??

Reading through his blogs, it appears that he has some great industry connections – it looks like he toured with the wonderful Idina Menzel and my 10 year old daughter’s eyes have almost popped out – and has been writing songs for the upcoming album by Mr. Shu himself, Matthew Morrison.  Chris is performing a show in NYC on August 5.  I am in NYC that week but alas will be gone by the time of his show (sob!).

I don’t say it often – Not To Be Missed!!  The video for “I Want Your Sex” is below.

Published in: on July 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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