Bill’s Top 75 of 2013 – Songs 40 to 421

My year end countdown continues with songs #40 through 21 🙂

40.  DATABOY  We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness (PP #6)

Among their many projects amid preparations for their sophomore album, Austin TX duo DATABOY (aka Cameron Maxwell and Adam Bailey) dropped one of the biggest surprises of 2013 – not just a mashup of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey, but one that pretty much stands alone as a song itself.  It’s a supurb end of summer song, combining the invincibility of “We Can’t Stop” and the defeat of “Summertime Sadness”.  Plus, as is the theme of this year’s songs, the guys gave one of their best ever vocals, and showed themselves at last in the accompanying video.  Available for free download too.

39.  THE WALLFLOWERS featuring MICK JONES Reboot The Mission (PP #6)

“Reboot The Mission” served as a classy homage to The Clash, what with reference to “the mighty Joe Strummer” in the lyrics as well as supporting vocal from Clash member Mick Jones.  It’s probably one of The Wallflowers’ funkiest numbers too, a real throwback to how The Clash incorporated funk and R&B into their songs like “This Is Radio Clash”, “Rock The Casbah”, and “The Magnificent Seven”.  Jakob Dylan also has never sounded so fine, an enthusiastic yet sultry vocal.

38. OSVALDO SUPINO I Have A Name (PP #5)

“I Have A Name” became the standout song from the blissful dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume 2 as the year went on.  It’s as different from Italian singer Osvaldo Supino’s more outrageous songs as it is from his other charting song (the incredibly playful “Ma Radio” at #67).  His vocal here is extremely touching and the beautiful lyrics – the song was written by ace team Charlie Mason, Daniel Volpe, and Thomas Lipp – to me could also serve as a theme of sorts against bullying.

37. ROBIN THICKE featuring T.I. & PHARRELL WILLIAMS  Blurred Lines (PP #4)

There is no denying that “Blurred Lines” is one of the catchiest pieces of business that 2013 offered.  I’m not about to debate the lyrics; to me this is all just fun and other songs have been targeted in the past for their words, yet it didn’t stop radio from playing them either.  Robin Thicke is no stranger to making songs about sex, they comprise pretty much most of his repertoire (and he’s been married for over 20 years too).  It’s great to have him back with some friendly rivalry, he last appeared on my Best of 2008 with “Magic” (in duet form with Mary J. Blige) after first appearing on my chart back in 2002 with his “A Fifth Of Beethoven” mashup, “When I Get You Alone” (billed under his last name only).

36. DAVIS REDFIELD  A World Apart (PP #4)

Davis Redfield is a German DJ/producer who appears to be well-established in Europe.  His song “A World Apart” came to my attention through its impeccable songwriting pedigree (Charlie Mason/Mans Ek/Johan Aberg and Redfield).  It also has a bit of bizarre history to itself as the fantastic (and hitherto unknown) session vocalist bailed from the project after it was recorded, and that’s not her in the accompanying video.  Nevertheless it’s one of the year’s very best dance recordings that should not be disregarded! 🙂

35.  BONGIOVANNI  I Think I Love You (Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni remix) (PP #6)

It’s Montrealer Victor Bongiovanni’s second entry (the other is much higher up!) on this list, a deep house rework of rapper Dwele’s song that emphasizes over the full song an irresistibly oversized bass sound and atmosphere featuring minimal vocals.  Eventually the full lyrics come along about half way through but by then you are sold entirely.  I heard no other song that was quite like this one in 2013, and look forward to Bongiovanni’s upcoming projects (usually with partner-in-crime Kwik Fiks).

34. ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring TREVOR GUTHRIE  This Is What It Feels Like (PP #6)

Dutch DJ/producer has been no stranger to my chart over the past 10 years and in fact has scored two #1’s, 2003’s “Yet Another Day” and 2008’s “Going Wrong”.  This time though, “This Is What It Feels Like” crossed over to pop radio around the world thanks to inclusion of the instantly recognizable voice of former soulDecision vocalist, Canadian singer Trevor Guthrie.  It’s garnered the pair a deserving Grammy nod for Best Dance Recording amid a lot of competition.

33. PARRALOX featuring RYAN ADAMES  Silent Morning (PP #5)

It literally took months for me to buy into this song – a return of the Freestyle sound amid so much techno and dubstep through a cover of Noel’s seminal 80’s hit “Silent Morning”??  And the first recorded version of “Silent Morning” by the Australian duo led by John von Ahlen, simply featuring former member Amii Jackson on vocal duty, was just fine.  Then came the brilliant idea of adding rising L.A.-based singer/actor/dancer Ryan Adamés to the mix, and suddenly the record was transformed into something immediately more contemporary, with a video showcasing Amii and Ryan that added a little intrigue to the story.  Many mixes followed, including a rock-inflected one by Cherry Cherry Boom Boom which still turns my head.  “Silent Morning” is also one of the showcase songs from This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume 2.  Parralox also features at #59 with their out-of-the-blue cover of Front 242’s “Headhunter”, sung by John, from their ambitious album of cover songs, Recovery.

32.  MATT BLUE  Outta My Mind (PP #3)

He doesn’t do it very often, but when 21 year old Dutch singer Matt Blue releases something, it’s generally pretty ear-catching and danceable.  Such is the case with “Outta My Mind”, guaranteed to make you smile and give you happy feet, in follow up to his late 2011 #1 on my chart “Can’t Help Myself”.  He’s just released a new song called “Fireworks” and I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it very soon!  But I’m selfishly looking forward to a full EP or album from the talented Mr. Blue.

31.  LAWSON  Learn To Love Again (PP #5)

UK quartet Lawson was one of my bands of the year, even though they haven’t released more than two singles in North America.  I saw them twice in concert this year (along with Canadians Neverest), and they put on a stadium-worthy show for a smallish (350-400) club audience.  Almost all of their songs (ironically except “Learn To Love Again”) have garnered Top 10 status in the UK, and their albums Chapman Square and Chapman Square Part II, have also sold well.  North America has to be their next destination, right Universal Music?? 🙂  “Learn To Love Again” is one of those emotional pop songs that instantly sticks in your head, and it was followed this year by the rocking duet with B.o.B. “Brokenhearted” (#52) and the Bruno Mars-ish ska-inflected “Juliet” (#60).

30. TRAVIS GARLAND  Homewrecker (PP #6)

L.A. based, Texas-bred singer Travis Garland ultimately recorded my favourite album of 2013, his self-titled debut.  Produced along with The Stereotypes, the album offers a diverse R&B/pop sound like no other (no, not even close to Justin Timberlake or Robin Thicke).  Its songs ranged from out-and-out dance, through to sexy balladeering, and then to something as offbeat as “Homewrecker”, a dark tale with production effects that would not have sounded out of place on JMSN’s 2012 album Priscilla.  Nonetheless it’s a captivating song that shows Travis Garland’s versatility and deservedly ranks highly at year’s end.  Travis has one more song, much higher up, on this list 🙂

29. BASTILLE  Pompeii (PP #6)

After hearing “Pompeii” at the time of its UK release and seeing it soar to #2 for the British band Bastille, I was hooked thanks to its unforgettable refrain:

“And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?”

These are some of the best lyrics of the year.  And by year’s end, the rest of the world was catching on as “Pompeii” moved towards the Top 20 in North America.

28. BLAKE LEWIS  Your Touch (PP #5)

“Your Touch” is another song with a memorable refrain, combined with an urgent performance by Blake Lewis, which was a most welcome return for the singer/songwriter whose “Heartbreak On Vinyl” was one of the more touching songs of 2009.

“I’m thinking you and I
Should roll the dice, get lost in love forever
Cause I’m feeling intoxicated
I wanna taste the air that you’ve been breathing

So haunt me, and feel me
I’ve been waiting for your touch”

We’re still waiting for the album Portrait Of A Chameleon to surface, so I’m hoping it’s not buried in record company tape.  “Your Touch” became a Top 40 hit in the UK.

27. KYLIE MINOGUE  Skirt (PP #4)

A gal’s just gotta have some fun, right?  The Aussies got it, dance clubs got it, but very few others did.  “Skirt” is one of Kylie’s more uninhibited numbers (“and then my skirt came down…. down…. down….”), and one of my most favourite, particularly after last year’s glistening “Timebomb”.  And while “Skirt” may have been unjustly ignored, Warner Music decided to add her to their roster, so we should have new Kylie to look forward to in 2014.

26. CHRIS WALLACE  Time Bomb (Walk Away) (PP#4)

“Time Bomb” is Chris Wallace’s 2nd entry on this list, following #44 (and current single/video “Keep Me Crazy) and of course my last year’s #2 favourite “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.  “Time Bomb” is another equally thoughtful and energetic song, which, who knows (and hint, hint) could be the third single from his long-lasting Push Rewind album.  Chris has been performing relentlessly across the USA this year, which has resulted in “Keep Me Crazy” receiving enough airplay to rank in the Top 40 radio songs.  This is helped by the power of an indie label (Think Say) with one or two strong performers on their roster.  More power to Chris and all of them for 2014!  Hope Canada’s on your radar for next year!

25.  TAO HYPAH  Play The Girl (PP#4)

Early 2013 started off with “Play The Girl”, a most danceable and ear-catching song from young Dutch singer Tao Hypah, who graced last year’s list with the memorable “Celeb”.  The video is a great piece of eye-candy with some decent choreography.  Tao Hypah has the intriguing looks and the voice to match, and was willing to take a risk with a song that could be perceived from its title to be about more than what it actually is.  In mid-2013, Tao Hypah auditioned for The Voice of Holland and made it through under his own persona, Darren Van Der Lek (pic below).  He got to the first battle round before being eliminated.  Tao Hypah/Darren definitely has the voice to be successful however he wants to be, and I look forward to more in 2014.

taohypah_darren

24.  ELI ESCOBAR featuring NOMI RUIZ  Somebody To Love Me (PP #4)

I fell in love with “Somebody To Love Me” at first listen, thanks to the breathtaking vocals of Nomi Ruiz from NYC trio Jessica 6, but had no idea that it was a rework/cover.  The original was performed by Mark Ronson featuring Boy George and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt back in 2010 from Ronson’s album at the time.  I only found this out because I was curious why Nomi was singing the song as if she was a boy and figured it must be a cover.  Nonetheless, Eli Escobar fashioned the better version as a showcase for Nomi – probably one of the best dance records of the year that you didn’t hear.

23. FRANKMUSIK  Captain (PP #4)

Oh what a year for FrankMusik, who has already placed three other songs (out of 5 – still one more to go!) in my Top 75.  I remember him posting a clip of the instrumental track for “Captain” before it was released, and I was wondering how he could possibly write a lyric to overlay on top of such a frenetic melody.  But he did, and “Captain” is one of the key songs from the Between album, it is the storm that’s raging while you are in the throes of trying to salvage a relationship.  You want someone to steer it for you, but the two of you are the only ones to do that.  It’s such a difficult subject, and part of the amazement of hearing the Between and Between Us projects is to live through the painful, sad lyrics with Vince, often set to unbridled and happier-sounding melodies.  “Captain” is one crazy story and tune – listen to the bare-bones acoustic version on Between Us for full effect.

22.  DAN BLACK featuring KELIS  Hearts (PP#3)

After his smashing debut album UN from 2009, and a few guest appearances here and there since, Dan Black quietly resurfaced (after starting a family) with “Hearts” this past Spring.  It was accompanied by a very creative video which used time lapse photography having been shot over 24 hours.  Incorporated into the mix is an appropriately dry vocal by Kelis that acts as a perfect foil to Dan’s ideas.  It’s such a shame that this was all we heard and saw in 2013 and 2014 could use more  Dan Black on the music scene 🙂

21.  ANTON EWALD  Can’t Hold Back (PP#3)

While Sweden’s reigning king of pop, Eric Saade, delved into quieter, personal pop rather than continue with dance-oriented, synth-heavy songs, his young friend Anton Ewald surfaced at Melodifestivalen and won over Swedish audiences with his TV-ready personality and some slick dance moves (he’s also a choreographer).  This led to the release of his EP called A, and every song within hits the same places that Eric found with his Saade Volumes 1 & 2 albums.  “Can’t Hold Back” should have done better as a second single with its snappy melody and singalong chorus.  It’s also strange how his music is released internationally yet we in North America are unable to see some of his videos.  I’d love for Eric Saade and Anton Ewald to tour outside of the Nordic countries on a double bill!  What exposure! 🙂

Remixes! Covers! Action!

My stereo and iPod Touch are currently being flooded with supurb male R&B voices and remixes, and as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’m wondering if these are all signposts for a disco comeback?  The vibe is definitely out there and people are in such need of true feel good music.  So I have for you today some remarks on some choice remixes and cover versions (and y’all know I’m selective about the latter…).

Remixes

ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring TREVOR GUTHRIE “This Is What It Feels Like” (W&W remix)

While this has quickly become a song that I can foresee being played way past the summer months, the W&W remix gives the song a really deep trance drop right at the two minute mark that is repeated later on.  These guys clearly know how to take an already great song and make it go boom on the dance floor.  If you’re not grooving to it, shame on you!

PARRALOX featuring RYAN ADAMES  “Silent Morning” (Cherry Cherry Boom Boom remix)

I’m actually loving this remix, and while it kind of abandons the freestyle origins of the song itself, it adds a different bunch of punches. They include Ryan’s hard hitting vocal at the beginning, as well as the influx of some crunchy rock guitar in the midst of a lot of fancy razzle dazzle that doesn’t overwhelm the song at all.  Not what you’d expect, and that’s a good thing for such a recognizable dance song done in style by Australian duo Parralox and American guy-on-the-rise Ryan, as I wrote about a while back.

FAITH EVANS “Love Like This” (Kwik Fiks Can’t 2-Step Remix)

Not sure if this garage house flavoured remix is designed to make you want to attempt the 2-step or not 😉 but Canadian producer/remix Kwik Fiks (still comfortably sitting atop my Top 30 with “Lifted”) has messed with Faith Evans’ 1998 smash by giving it a new set of grooves. What it might just do is make you forget what Fatman Scoop did to the song about 10 years ago, right?  This is the kind of inventive remixing that will keep ears on Kwik Fiks.  Free download, to boot 🙂

GHOST BEACH “Too Young” (Penguin Prison remix)

Penguin Prison (Chris Glover) is definitely on a roll, recently with a fine remix of Churchill’s “Change” and now with something much rockier, New York band Ghost Beach’s “Too Young”.  The rock basis of the song is kept along with the terrific almost punk-ish vocals amid disco synths that will send your mind into a bit of a time trip.  It’s a really playful remix for clubs to try.

VAGUE-A-BONDE “Our Love” (Camache remix)

The original version of “Our Love”, from the Minnesota-based singer’s recently released (and reviewed) EP 222 is transformed from an other-worldly synth-laden ballad into another club mix that leans heavily on a harder rock sound along with some deliberate distortion near the end.  It’s definitely got crunch that stands out from the rest in a set.

Covers

SAM SPARRO vs DAFT PUNK “Get Lucky”

The Nile Rodgers connection thing is a-happening with what is actually such a deft alternate version of the new hit featuring Pharrell Williams on vocals.  Sam’s slick voice seduces the lyrics and those disco guitar riffs that offers its own experience which some may like better than the hit version.  Official release, pretty please?

CHRIS WALLACE “I Knew You Were Trouble”

I’ve watched this video many times over the last few weeks, and Indiana-born Chris Wallace absolutely kills this Taylor Swift cover in a live House of Blues performance that really makes you want to be a fly on the club’s wall.  The success of “Remember When (Push Rewind)” on US radio has set the stage for huge things to happen for this multi-talent, and performances like this only seal the deal.

CHROMATONE  “Fine China” and “Justin Jackson”

Chromatone is hard at work on new songs for an upcoming release, and in the meantime we are being treated to some choice cover versions.  I already wrote about the version of Emeli Sande’s “My Kind Of Love”, and now we have two videos to keep us going while we’re waiting.  “Justin Jackson” is a supurb medley of Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake songs (including JT’s recent “Suit & Tie”) with a raw vocal, that is designed to be a crowd pleaser and succeeds (gotta like his British accent amid the songs too 🙂 ).   “Fine China” is transformed in an amusing video and with a really potent vocal from him that might just make you leave Chris Brown’s original in the dust.  Watch both highly entertaining videos below.

“One Night” by Matthew Koma Looks Forward Into 2013 + First Quarter Review, plus Kaden’s “Black Light”

There is no question in my mind that New York-born singer Matthew Koma leads a promising pack of performers and songs into the rest of 2013 with his new single “One Night”.

MATTHEW KOMA  “One Night”

The video for “One Night”, the upcoming single from Matthew Koma’s debut album Arcadia, takes its cue from (and could be the title song to one of the) coming-of-age movies that become signposts for a generation (well, despite a bit too much mugging later on).  Four cute guys in a car meet four cute girls in an amusement park, and for once it’s not a horror movie.  Flirtation and posturing happens, and then expect the unexpected.  Matthew’s song itself is a well-produced pop jolt that’s quite different from the songs in his Parachute EP.  It’s more direct and obvious, and designed to grab ears like the best records on the radio.  I think it will succeed on its many strengths, including the vocal charm of the singer.

Here’s what you might have missed in the first part of 2013, alphabetically by performer (hyperlink indicates a free download).

  • FRANKMUSIK Far From Over (EP) including “Map” and “Captain”
  • GENTLEMEN HALL  “Sail Into The Sun” appearing in Samsung and Target commercials
  • MATTHEW KOMA  Parachute (EP) including the title song and “1998”
  • KWIK FIKS & BONGIOVANNI “Lifted”
  • LAWSON “Learn To Love Again”
  • WILLY MOON  “Yeah Yeah” – his album Here’s Willy Moon drops April 8
  • DAVIS REDFIELD “A World Apart” – dance smash waiting to happen featuring a mystery female vocalist
  • RIVER TIBER  Synapses – featuring “The City”, “What Are You Afraid Of”, and “Reverie”
  • TAO HYPAH “Play The Girl”
  • VARIOUS  Kiss My Lipstick Off
  • CHRIS WALLACE “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” and “Keep Me Crazy”
  • ZEDD featuring FOXES  “Clarity”

And before this page is finished, I’m going to light a bit of a fire about a song that I so want to see released!!

KADEN “Black Light”

Kaden James is an L.A. based singer and I think he has a smash-in-the-making with “Black Light”.  It’s been a long time coming, but the official release of the song should arrive along with a full album.  It’s one of those songs that has a perfect combination of a strong but boyish voice, scintillating rhythm, and truthful lyrics that anyone can claim as theirs.  What the song also possesses is an innate sense of drama.  Producer/remixer Stormby has a spectacularly effective remix of “Black Light” that is just waiting to lay conquer in clubs. I’m posting a link to a video made of the song last year.  And if you ask me, it’s pretty darned nifty, but apparently a new one is in the works.  Plus I’m posting a teaser to Stormby’s remix which will hopefully see the light of day when “Black Light” is officially released.  Okay – fire is lit – now we wait 🙂

BILLCS Top 30 #401 – March 25, 2013

With travelling and illness being the order of March for me, I plan to write briefer and more frequent posts.  When great new music stacks up, it just shouldn’t wait!! :)

That having been said, there’s a new chart on deck brimming with all kinds of upward movement.

You can view the full Top 30 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 :)

Independently released music continues to score big time on my chart.  Toronto’s Danny Voicu meets Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni as Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni for “Lifted” (ab0ve), a beautiful chilled out deep house take on Baby Bash’s 2003 hit “Suga Suga” that is also a free download.  It reaches the summit this week, sending pals River Tiber to #2 with “The City”.  Big dance music tunes “Clarity” by Zedd and Foxes, and “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield, remain at #3 and #4.

Gentlemen Hall’s “Sail Into The Sun” (above) exploded into American Target commercials these past few weeks and moves up 8-5.  When I was in Austin, just before I left to go to the airport on March 13, I was walking to the back of a local Target store and I could hear this familiar song singing out to me… you just kind of had to be there :)  “Keep Me Crazy” is apparently the next single from Push Rewind for Chris Wallace, and it rises to #8.  The only newbie to the Top 10 is the sensational “Map” by FrankMusik at #9, which looks like it’s Top 5 bound.

Every song between #11 and #22 is on the way up, making the chart an interesting blend of multiple competitions!  So we have Justin Timberlake scratching at the Top 10 with “Suit & Tie”, just ahead of more frenetic FrankMusik and The Presets with “Captain” and “A.O” respectively.  “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William (above) is a slick slice of pure pop available on iTunes if you like what you’ve been hearing by Chris Wallace or Matthew Koma.  James also recently posted a well done original, “No Regrets”, which you can also hear above.

The fastest riser on the chart is pop with a difference, and lots of style to boot.  “My Girl by Willy Moon (above) moves 25-16, looking to join “Yeah Yeah” as his second Top 10 hit on my chart.  Judging by one of his Austin shows two weeks ago, Willy delivers the goods in concert and leaves you wanting much more after a half hour set.  “It’s Alright” by Matt & Kim glides into the Top 20, while I thought “Heaven” by Depeche Mode (also above) would be a lot further along by now, slow and steady is the pace with the release of Delta Machine this week.

As I threatened two weeks ago, there has been a mini-house cleaning, resulting in five debuts.  I’m loving the flow of “Aviation High” by Semi-Precious Weapons (above) in powerful anthemic love ballad style.  It’s so different from their other songs and arrives at #21 as we await their new album and more tour dates.  You can also find a beautiful recent cover by R&B singer Jarell Perry (who I will be writing more about 🙂 ), also above, available for free download.  Detroit rocker Jerry Reid returns after 2011’s “Out Without Your Boyfriend”, which got to #3 as a part of the Ballroom Remixed compliation.  An equally striking new song, “Tell The Night”, bows at #22.  The only place you can hear an excerpt of it is on Amazon at this time.  The song is also noteworthy for featuring background screaming by P.J. Soles of “Rock & Roll High School” movie fame.

Down further at #26 is everything that a bluesy/jazzy R&B-infused rock song should be.  It’s an album track by Lifehouse from Almeria called “Right Back Home” which features none other than 70s hit maker Peter Frampton (who I saw in concert – and got drenched during a storm – back in 1981) alongside blues singer Charles Jones.  Combined with Jason Wade’s vocal and a melody that brims along, and Lifehouse delivers a southern piece of good time honky tonk.  And who expected this?

At #28 is UK sensations Bastille with “Pompeii” from their new album Bad Blood, which hasn’t yet seen release around other parts of the world like North America.  I felt bad when I had to miss their 1:00 a.m. Austin set due to illness.  But “Pompeii” is more greatness in a small package, and you can get it on iTunes on the Remixes EP, featuring reduxes by the likes of Monsieur Adi and Kat Krazy (this remix is below).  Premiering at #30 is “Kiss My Lipstick Off”, the bubbly and naughty song by Liquid Diet’s Georgia Haege (you will remember last year’s memorable “Hand Dance” by Liquid Diet) from the equally bubbly and naughty compilation of the same name.

New Pop Alert: Jake Bugg, Bim, Baiyu, Krewella, Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés, Kim Smith, Pip, and Nick

jakebugg

Jake Bugg “Two Fingers”

Though he’s already had a #1 album in the UK, I’m hoping for big things in North America for 19 year old folk/rock singer Jake Bugg.  He recently performed several showcases at SXSW and his self-titled album will be released here in April.  Ahead of this is a clever lyrics video for “Two Fingers”.  There’s an interesting contrast between the lyrics and the two children in the video, though there is a worthy theme of putting things behind you and moving on to something better that drives the song along.  Jake’s voice stands out in a crowd, his songs are catchy and one-of-a-kind, and I think he should be headlining some club dates in North America during the year.

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Bim “Stop You”

UK duo Bim, one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13, continue to be on a roll with the songs that they are releasing in anticipation of a full sophomore album.  The ride hasn’t stopped since last Fall’s Lifelines EP release.  Following their recent astute and different interpretation of Chris de Burgh’s “Lady In Red” comes more gripping and emotional pop that they perform so well with “Stop You”.  Rebecca and Denmark have amazing connection that few other duos possess, which always makes their songs such a treat, even if they sometimes send you on a rollercoaster ride, you come back feeling all the better for it!  “Stop You” will be available as a free download from Bim’s website http://www.bimmusic.com

baiyu7

Baiyu “Surface”

Another of my 13 Performers to Watch For ’13 is New York chanteuse Baiyu.  She never fails do deliver a quality song, and continues to release something new for free download each month.  “Surface” is aggressive mid-tempo EDM along the lines of the title song of her last mixtape Hunter.  That she continues to mix it up style-wise shows her diversity and desire to appeal beyond a traditional pop audience.  If these top notch recordings continue, they will take Baiyu and her amazing voice to the next level.

krewella

Krewella “Alive” (Pegboard Nerds Remix)

Chicago dance trio Krewella are out to conquer with their latest release as they make their way across North American slaying audiences in concert.  “Alive” is one of the most boisterous rock/EDM songs to come along in 2013 that looks like it will also be a proper pop crossover hit.  The video of this vibrant remix is nothing short of joyful unbridled chaos.  Watch below.

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ryanadames

Parralox featuring Ryan Adamés, “Silent Morning” 

I already wrote about “Silent Morning”, the mid 80s freestyle pop hit by Noel, as covered by Aussie duo Parralox, back in January.  What will now be the official release of the single features handsome L.A. singer Ryan Adamés in a pairing sure to cause intense dancefloor bliss.  In fact you can catch Parralox and Ryan performing in Miami tomorrow night at Twist Sound Beach to launch this sparkling rework.


kimsmith

Kim Smith “Jealous Out Of My Head” (Midi-D’s Bootleg Mashup)

It’s a brilliant idea – blend New York-based Aussie singer Kim Smith’s pop-savvy “Jealous” with “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head” by fellow Aussie Kylie Minogue.  The Vibe Kings remix is every so deserving of big city club play, but so is this mashup, which will keep heads spinning while feet dance merrily away into the night.

Cue two more inspired cover versions!

pip3

First up, we have season two contestant from The Voice, 20 year old Pip, who has his ear to the radio and provides a beautiful soulful edge to his version of none other than Chris Wallace’s “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.  He and his band mates take a few liberties with some of the choice of instruments they use to support Pip on the song, but the spirit of the song is more than intact.  Good on you, Pip!  Pip’s 6 song EP No Formalities is currently available on iTunes.

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Second, I get to post this the day before the official release of The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake.  There’s no one better suited-and-tied (hence an older pic of him above) to cover “Suit & Tie” than sweet-voiced Nick, in anticipation of his own upcoming project.  I’m actually hoping that JT himself gets to hear this version – even though it sounds a bit rough in spots, Nick’s vocal finesse (including the rap) just nails it and the man himself would be proud of that.

400th Edition – BILLCS Top 30 – March 11/13

15 years and 2 months later, and my bi-weekly online chart is at edition 400 🙂 Because I’m not home though, it’s a no frills edition.

You can view the full Top 30 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 :)

I will have to double check when I get home, but I believe the last time two songs by Canadians held the top two spots on my chart was last Spring, when I believe River Tiber’s “Someday” and “Symmetry” were the Top 2 at one point.  Before that, I’m not sure when it happened last, or when the performers were different.  In this case “The City” by River Tiber is on top for a second appearance, and it’s joined at the summit by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, whose deep house rendition of  “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash moves to #2, and looks to succeed River Tiber in two weeks.  Listen to both below.  Zedd & Foxes hold at #3 with the propulsive “Clarity”, while another song brimming with energy, “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield, advances to #4.

It’s all about the action in the lower half of the Top 10.  The Wallflowers, featuring Mick Jones in what is clearly a song inspired by The Clash’s “This Is Radio Clash”, move up to #6 with the funky “Reboot The Mission” (watch the video below).  The rest of the songs within the Top 10 are new to the top end of the chart.  Lawson’s memorable “Learn To Love Again” climbs to #7, while Gentlemen Hall move up quickly to #8 with “Sail Into The Sun”.  Talented UK teen Conor Maynard’s “Turn Around” (featuring Ne-Yo) glides to #9, while “Keep Me Crazy” by Chris Wallace (live performance from the Jimmy Kimmel show) inches up to #10 to make it 3 Top Tenners for 3 for Chris, following #1 “Remember When (Push Rewind)” and #3 “Time Bomb (Walk Away)”.  Chris is getting around the USA to promote the long-lasting “Remember When” and his album.

The fastest riser on the chart is “Map” by FrankMusik (19-11, video below), which will be included on his upcoming album Between.  Also included will be song #18, the frenetic “Captain”, as well as song #29 “Fast As I Can”.  Between will not hold back any punches 🙂

Justin Timberlake, who is everywhere, seems to be leading a classy softer style that is appealing to the younger crowd as they see him perform on shows like Saturday Night Live.  “Suit & Tie” climbs to #13; I’m anxious to hear what else is in store on The 20/20 Experience.

Songs 16 through 22 are looking to bounce higher on the chart in two weeks.  “Reverie” by River Tiber is looking to take advantage of songs moving down.   Then we have the stunning and futuristic “A.O.” by Australian duo The Presets, AVAN LAVA’s finger-snapper “It’s Never Over”, the breezy-sounding “Carried Away” by Passion Pit (video below), classic Top 40 pop in the form of “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William (listen below), and in advance of their album Delta Machine, “Heaven” by Depeche Mode.

There’s a line up of songs waiting to land on the chart, and sometimes it makes me want to change it to a Top 40, but then I get talked out of that.  So for now, two songs I wrote about recently make their debuts.  Willy Moon is playing in Austin this week, and I hope to catch his show tomorrow night if I can get in.  His stylish video for “My Girl” below helps the song debut at #25.  Ever wonder what rock stars do in bed?  The fun video for “It’s Alright” by Matt & Kim might answer a few questions below.  It debuts at #26.

BILLCS Top 30 #398 – February 11, 2013

The news on my latest chart is about all of the new songs that look like they will take over within the next few weeks, along with a few asides into songs not on the chart by FrankMusik and (a cover by) Neverest.  Exciting!  You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You 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 :)

If you watched the Grammy Awards last night, you will have seen a slim young gent sitting next to Carly Rae Jepsen, who alas didn’t win any of the categories in which she was nominated.  That is indeed Matthew Koma, who still resides at the top of my chart with the crunchy rocker “1998”.  The challenge in two weeks is to hold on to it against one of the most beautiful songs on release right now.  That’s “The City” by Toronto’s River Tiber (below), edging up to #2 (they also have songs at #7 and #20!).  “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” by Chris Wallace is up to #3 and you can see Chris again on TV in North America on the Kelly & Michael morning show on ABC in 9 days on Wednesday February 20.  Rounding out the Top 5 is another top of the chart contender, “Clarity” by Zedd featuring Foxes.

Passion Pit comes to my city next weekend in a sold out show, and “Take A Walk” climbs to #6, while newest single from their Gossamer album, “Carried Away”, bows at #30.  New to the Top 10 are the dance raveup “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield at #9, and “If I Lose Myself” by One Republic at #10 – still waiting for a video for the song as well as the Native album to arrive.

Holding at #8 and not on his upcoming EP Far From Over (due on February 14), but still available as a single on iTunes is “Fast As I Can” by FrankMusik.  Far From Over looks to be one of the most riveting releases of 2013.  FrankMusik has returned to the inventive electronica that won over so many fans with Complete Me in 2009, after heading in a more pop-oriented direction in 2011 with Do It In The AM.  It appears to be about being lost in personal and professional turmoil, only to be rejuvenated and found again by returning to his humble beginnings, recording the EP entirely back in Croydon, England after being in L.A. for three years.  The first single, “Map”, is as visceral as it is evocative of his earlier style – old becomes new again!  I’ll be writing more about the EP after its release on Thursday.  To whet your appetite, below is the artwork for Far From Over.

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While the middle part of the chart sees songs on the rise from Ne-Yo, Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo, Chris Wallace (“Keep Me Crazy”), The Wallflowers featuring Mick Jones, Mika featuring Ariana Grande,  Eric Saade, and Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z’s “Suit & Tie”), the fastest riser on the chart belongs to “Learn To Love Again” by UK foursome Lawson, who have found themselves in the UK Top 20 this week.  I had the pleasure of seeing the lads in concert on February 2, and they performed a crisp, solid and generous 75 minute set which won over anyone who didn’t know what to expect – considering their album Chapman Square is still not on release over here (memo to Universal Canada: Make it happen!).  First, here’s a snap of the band by yours truly.

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A bonus to seeing Lawson for the first time in our country was to find out a week before the show that Toronto quartet Neverest would be opening.  While they didn’t play for long (20-25 minutes), they sounded in fine voice and very tight musically after working on their new record.  We got to hear their hits “About Us” and “Everything”, and even though I got burned on this song with all of its radio play, Neverest made Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” sound fresh and engaging again.  Video below – looking forward to Neverest’s next release… and more shows!

So, it was time for a little house cleaning on the chart, and the five remaining debuts should definitely go places, not only on my chart, but in the music world.  I simply can’t get enough of “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, which I wrote about last week, so it arrives as the highest debut at #24.  This is a chilled out, deep house version of “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash & Frankie J, which got to #11 on my chart back in 2003.  It’s available as a free download right here.  “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall has such a shiny, clear sound, you can hear it beckoning Spring to arrive.  It premieres at #25 and you can get it as a free download or buy it on iTunes.  It follows The Hall’s 2012 appearance on the chart with “All Our Love”, which peaked at #7.  While “Youth In Trouble” disappears from the chart after peaking at #20, a much stronger song from The Presets’ Pacifica album is the positively epic “A.O.”, which bows at #26.  This one sounds like Blade Runner met Star Wars in a discotheque, with triumphant vocals and a steady build up reminiscent of the duo’s earlier songs like “My People”.  Watch the live clip below.

Rounding out the debuts, at #28 is “Heaven” by Depeche Mode, which I wrote about recently, becoming the venerable band’s third song to appear on the chart since its inception (the first being the #1 “Dream On” in 2001) and their most recent being 2005’s “Precious” (#3).  AVAN LAVA is a Brooklyn, NY pop/dance band that arrived on the scene in 2008 and has steadily built a following.  I don’t think I’m too late to the game by debuting “It’s Never Over” on the chart at #29 about a year after the release of their EP Flex Fantasy.  The trio hovers between beautiful lush pop and gritty nu-disco funk – I’d describe “It’s Never Over” as somewhere between Prince and his proteges and early 90’s pop such as Tara Kemp’s “Hold You Tight”.  Watch the video below and download the song for free right here.  AVAN LAVA headlines a show on March 2 in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg along with Nomi Ruiz of Jessica 6.  Get to that show if you can (simply because I can’t!!).

BILLCS Top 30 #397 – January 28, 2013

You can view the full Top 30 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 :)

  • The top of this edition’s chart is Matthew Koma territory.  The punk-flavoured rocker “1998” (listen to the song up above) replaces his own “Parachute” at #1.  For some neat chart geekery ;), this is the first time a performer has replaced himself at the top since Darren Hayes’ “How To Build A Time Machine” replaced his “Me Myself And (I)” at #1 at the end of 2007, though Simon Curtis’ “Laser Guns Up” got to #1 right after he was featured prominently in Ro Danishei’s “Wicked Baby” in Fall 2011.
  • River Tiber’s “The City” is Matthew Koma’s rival for #1 in two weeks.  It’s a beautiful and unique song from the album Synapses, available as free download.  If that’s not enough, River Tiber’s “What Are You Afraid Of” advances to #7, and the rockier opening song from the album, “Reverie”, premieres at #25 (listen below).  River Tiber is once again playing Canadian Music Week in March in Toronto.
  • Chris Wallace’s “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” rises to #4, while my #2 song of 2012 “Remember When (Push Rewind)” is still gaining in airplay after four months on the Mediabase chart.  This past week, Chris performed on the Jimmy Kimmel late night show on ABC, where he performed “Remember When” and my #15 song “Keep Me Crazy” (video clip below).  He also now has over 305,000 followers on Twitter 😮

  • FrankMusik’s “Fast As You Can” (#8, video below) becomes the latest of the singer’s long line of Top 10 songs on this chart over the past two years.  At this point, it looks like you will find the song only as a single on iTunes.  Frank has retitled his EP Far From Over, and has revamped the song lineup (also excluding the gorgeous “Hurt You Again” 😦 ) and has set February 14 as the release date.
  • Passion Pit has sold out its Toronto show with Matt & Kim (missed my opportunity for tickets).  The lead single from Gossamer, “Take A Walk”, has long lasting legs and rises to #9 this week.  Meanwhile, Matt & Kim continue to climb with “Now” at #14.
  • The fastest riser on the chart at #10 belongs to Zedd’s emotional dance treatise “Clarity”, featuring perfectly matched vocals by Foxes (video below).

  • “If I Lose Myself” is One Republic’s best single in a few years, and it climbs to #12, while the uplifting “Let Me Love You” by Ne-Yo also moves up to #13.  Ne-Yo’s also featured on Conor Maynard’s most enjoyable “Turn Around” at #21.
  • Some recent debuts have kicked into high gear:  “Reboot The Mission” by The Wallflowers featuring The Clash’s Mick Jones as at #16, while Davis Redfield’s dancefloor stunner “A World Apart” bolts to #17.  “Miss Unknown” to me is the better of two recent Eric Saade singles and it rises to #18.  Videos for all are below.

  • Besides River Tiber’s “Reverie”, there are two other debuts.   One is “Learn To Love Again” by UK quartet Lawson (video below), which I wrote about recently.  The band is in my city and I’ll be checking out their show on February 2.  But the highest of these is, not surprisingly, Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z’s “Suit & Tie” at #23.  Given that the song is everywhere, I’m looking to see if it lasts or burns out.  I’m still quite enjoying its breezy, retro-Motown flare (official lyric video below) – which promotes dressing up in style too.  Nothing wrong with that!  It’s JT’s first lead billing to chart since “What Comes Around…Goes Around” in mid-2007.  He has shared billing since on “Until The End Of Time” with Beyonce, “4 Minutes” with Madonna & Timbaland, and “Hallelujah” with Matt Morris and Charlie Sexton.  Of course JT has also been featured on charted songs by Timbaland, T.I., and Ciara. He’s had four #1’s on my chart – “Rock Your Body”, “SexyBack”, “FutureSex/LoveSound” and “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows”).

BILLCS Top 30 #396 – January 14, 2013

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There continues to be a significant one! two! three! punch leading my personal chart.  Two of those come in the form of soon-to-be-powerhouse Matthew Koma, whose “Parachute” leads the way with “1998” at #3 and a contender for #1 in the coming weeks.  Slotted in-between is “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon, which seems to be picking up more fans as the weeks go on.  “Play The Girl” by Tao Hypah – who has another new song coming for you soon, glides to #4 (video below, if you haven’t yet seen it), while “Time Bomb (Walk Away)”, my choice for single #2 from Chris Wallace’s Push Rewind album, moves up to #5.  Chris seems to be popping up everywhere in the USA; an L.A. show is on deck.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You 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 :)

Making news in these pages again but this time on the chart is Toronto band River Tiber (pic at the top of this page), whose second album Synapses is available for free download from their website.  In it you will find the song now at #10, “What Are You Afraid Of”, but becoming a huge deal with a debut at #6 is far and away one of the most unique songs of 2013, “The City”.  I can’t provide you with a link to hear it online, so you’ll just have to take my word for it 😉 but perhaps Tommy Paxton-Beesley will offer something up in the near future 😀 Nevertheless, it’s a quiet but heartfelt song about moving on, set to a nifty electronic backdrop.  River Tiber played an excellent set at The Drake Hotel on January 7 to an unexpected packed room.  It’s amazing how far River Tiber has come since I saw them during Canadian Music Week in a 3 a.m. show.

Bim’s gorgeous and emotional “Burn” rises to #9 this week, while “O.V.E.R. U.” by Daniel Bedingfield becomes the second top tenner from Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik at #8.  A video is in the works but below is a new official lyrics video that was introduced recently for the song.

I’m currently wading through the complexities that comprise Passion Pit’s sophomore album Gossamer.  It has the unusual mix of highly personalized lyrics by leader Michael Angelakos along with an eclectic, fanciful blend of rock and electronica – nothing out there quite sounds like Passion Pit.  And when you hear “Take A Walk” (below) it commands attention and heads start to bob.  The song advances to #12, and after catching a repeat of Passion Pit’s songs on Saturday Night Live, I’m even more looking forward to seeing them in concert in February.  Also playing on that bill in Toronto will be Matt & Kim, whose “Now” rises to #16.

The lower part of the chart is brimming with entries from the last few charts.  Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You” is up to #17, with more Chris Wallace in the form of album track “Keep Me Crazy” at #18.  The fastest riser is the unanticipated electronica-heavy “If I Lose Myself” by One Republic at #19.  It looks like more than a smattering of influence of Swedish House Mafia has rubbed off on Ryan Tedder and band – you can kind of hear the melody of “Save (The World Tonight)” inside of “If I Lose Myself”.  “Youth In Trouble” from The Presets’ latest album Pacifica lands at #20 (listen to the epic Green Velvet remix below – you can download it with your email addy for free right here), while “Reboot The Mission” by The Wallflowers jumps to #22.

Besides River Tiber’s “The City”, three other songs debut on the chart.  Zedd & Foxes team up for “Clarity” at #21, soon to be one of my most played songs of the year, which I wrote about just recently.  I also wrote about the dance explosion that is “A World Apart” by European producer/DJ Davis Redfield, featuring a fantastic yet hitherto unknown female voice, and it arrives at #27.  At #29, somewhat belatedly but definitely a grower, is “Turn Around” by Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo.  Conor already has chart experience in these pages with last Spring’s “Can’t Say No”, and this third single from his Contrast album definitely makes ears perk up when you find out how good the voices of Conor and Ne-Yo sound together (despite the weak-ish video below).  This young English buck has the vocal chops, and his next album should really tell the tale.

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.