#BILLCSTop86Songsof2016

Trying to find time to write everything I want is always an issue.  I present to you my Top 86 Songs of 2016, with this blog post based on the radio program which aired on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂  Here’s my commentary on my Top 30 Songs with the complete list following.  Links to my Top 10 Songs are featured further down…

#30:  Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams”, the title song from his first EP, and the first of four songs by or featuring him on this year end list. The song was greatly enhanced by a feel-good tropical mix from Chicago remix duo Win & Woo collaborating with Kiso Armic, also from Chicago.

#29 – L.A.-based singer/songwriter Simon Curtis with “Super Psycho Love” from his album Super 8bit Heart, first of two songs from that album in this list. That album was a 2016 reimagining of Simon’s 2010 free online mixtape still available from his website called 8bit Heart, which to me is one of the most endearing recordings of the decade. “Super Psycho Love” benefited most from an update and appeared on my chart for the first time.

#28 – courtesy of Canadian duo Young Bombs, who also have two remixes in my list. They brought the bounce to a fine record out of Norway from a young newcomer named Jesper Jenset called “High”.

#27 – belonging to Canadian brothers Chris and Alex from Orangeville Ontario – DVBBS! They’ve been on this list before (in 2015 and 2014), but this year they included Toronto’s Dante Leon on vocal for the toe-tapper “Angel”.

#26 – a taste of 80’s flavoured funk courtesy of NYC producer/remixer Jenaux with the rollicking original “Get It On”. Jenaux also partnered with Texas duo Tritonal for the song “Broken” (#45), and has another remix in this list.  

#25 – more Canadians 🙂 with a creative and funky remix by Chicago’s Snøwmass of a song by Montreal production duo Sterling Grove who are paired with Toronto pop/jazz vocalist Ellyn Woods for the mysterious “Sound Of Home”.

#24 – one of the most provocative and surprising albums of 2016 was Blue Neighbourhood by South Africa-born, Australia-based singer Troye Sivan, who had a world-wide following on You Tube before making records. It consists of beautifully crafted, poignant songs which meant a lot particularly to many teens, and scored the Top 20 hit “Youth”. I dove deeper into the album for the evocative “Talk Me Down”.  My bigger list also includes “Wild” (#35)  and “Fools” (#40), all BILLCS Top 30 Top 10 songs.

#23 – belongs to California duo Mako with their dance radio hit “Smoke Filled Room”. As remixed by Elephante, who appears two more times in this list, “Smoke Filled Room” set the stage for a crush of a now-grown up woman.

#22 – on the rise in 2016 was L.A. producer and singer Mi Disguise (aka Louie Garcia), and with his pal Rouse created a wonderful dance mix EP called NGHT LFE for summer clubbing. Their song “Her And Him” is an inspiring song for late night romance.

#21 – the song I liked best on Adele’s album 25 next to last year’s “Hello”, “All I Ask” is another knockout performance and stood out from the rest of the songs on the album.

#20 – if there was any song in 2016 that would instantly make you feel good it’s one by veteran producer Tony Moran and singer Jason Walker and his amazing range. “So Happy” was a deserved #1 Billboard club hit.

#19 – I was wowed by MAX when I saw him perform in October 2015, and since then he has been a steady presence on the BILLCS Top 30. Singer and actor Max Schneider brought us a full album called Hell’s Kitchen Angel. The album contained a sweet ballad called “Lights Down Low”, but it was the smashing uptempo remix by L.A. duo Two Friends that took it to new heights. It’s the first of two in this list by MAX.

#18 – producer/remixer Tim Wu calls himself Elephante and from his EP I Am The Elephante recorded “Plans” featuring BILLCS favourite Brandyn Burnette on vocals, and I hope the pair will repeat this collaboration soon.

#17 – back and as grand as ever in 2016 was the classic dance duo Pet Shop Boys from their album Super with the lead off single “The Pop Kids”, which got club goers out onto the dance floor in the Spring.

#16 – a very distinct song that found its way out of its native Norway to become a worldwide pop and dance club hit. Featuring a unique vocal by a singer named Iselin Solheim, it’s “Faded” by newcomer Alan Walker.

#15 – Dutch duo The Him released an irresistible deep house club hit “Balance”, which features L.A. based Dutch singer/songwriter Oktavian. Watch for more great music from The Him in 2017 as they wrapped up the year opening for The Chainsmokers on their European tour.

#14 – one of the most poignant songs of 2016 is based on a coincidence of real-life events of loss, by Brandyn Burnette called “Lost” from his EP Made Of Dreams. Brandyn auditioned for American Idol at the top of the year and took a risk by performing this original, which the judges loved, though Brandyn chose not to continue on the show. “Lost” is the third of four songs in the Top 30 by or featuring Brandyn.

#13 – preceding Hell’s Kitchen Angel in 2016 was MAX’s EP Wrong. The title song is a hip hop flavoured rave up featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert who scored with his own album and songs in 2016 as well. A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#12 – featuring an incredible gritty vocal by American singer Brayton Bowman is “Shy” by Belgian producer The Magician, who released “Shy” and songs by others in 2016 on his own label Potion Records. Watch for more of this incredible music from The Magician and his stable of artists in 2017.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#11 – “Kiss The Sky” by NYC duo The Knocks featuring none other than The Fugees’ Wyclef Jean on vocals. The Knocks created a grand party when I saw their show in January, proving themselves to be slick entertainers as well as producers. Their album 55 continued the dance party, and they found themselves opening for Justin Bieber on his European tour in the latter part of 2016. “Kiss The Sky” is sheer dance music escapism at its best.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#10 – the third entry on the list by Elephante is “Closer”, which became his signature song after being heard in many remixes which included worthy ones by the likes of producers Aash Mehta and Speaker Of The House. The vocalist on “Closer” is Portland, Oregon’s Bishøp and it’s one of the best of 2016. 

#9 – “Dreamin’” by British producer/remixer Embody featuring fellow Brit vocalist Camden Cox. It’s somewhat hard to believe that the song that could transport you most to a hot beach party in 2016 was brought to us from two talented Brits. “Dreamin’” is 2016’s best tropical mix.

Songs 8 through 1 all were BILLCS Top 30 #1’s 🙂

#8 – belonging to my fellow Canadian The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, and Abel grew up not far from where I grew up, but in a community of 90’s Ethiopean immigrants, which makes his success all the more formidable. The Weeknd collaborated with the award-winning French duo Daft Punk for “Starboy”, from the diverse album of the same name, which also gave him his first Billboard #1 hit. 

#7 – Brandyn Burnette has his final song of 4 in the Top 30 (and 8 on the full list, plus one by his duo Cosmos & Creature with his gal Molly Moore) from his special EP Made Of Dreams with “Nothing At All”. It’s a sparse production that brings out the progressive soul vibe of the song, which made the Made Of Dreams EP all the more listenable. Brandyn’s putting finishing touches on his third release due in January.

#6 – one of the most emotional songs of the year, the second one on the list called “Lost”, this one by British Columbia native Connor Phillips. In its original version, the song is a short acoustic ballad, but Canadian remix duo Young Bombs once again gave their redux an extra wow factor by washing it in enough synths to make your eyes wet. If you find yourself wanting to hug someone, blame it on the power of music.

free download:

#5 – the second song from Super 8bit Heart on this list is “8bit Heart”, a personal favourite of mine from 2010 that was redone for 2016. “8bit Heart” is a song like none other to me, it’s a song full of love and heart that totally captivated me 6 years ago in its original version, and was my #4 song of that year. Simon kept it real in 2016 and made the redux of “8bit Heart” the lead companion song for his book Boy Robot. 

#4 – released in late July, it was hard to believe that “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey would become one of the biggest hits of the decade, with 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Chainsmokers, who are the NYC duo of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, appeared on my list last year but more than any act in 2016 outdid themselves with their relentless performing and recording schedules. But the best of it all, is that they remained truly down-to-earth and supportive of other breaking acts in the dance community. “Closer” resonated with me too.

#3 – this song really kicked a funky butt into the proceedings in 2016, being the song that followed The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” at #1 on my regular chart of the BILLCS Top 30. It’s “Native Son Prequel” by producer/remixer Gramatik featuring London-born American vocalist Leo Napier. It’s a song told from the perspective of a pimp, and aside from that odd story angle, NYC remixer Jenaux gave it a spirited 70’s funk flavour that could only make you think of the character Huggy Bear from TV’s Starsky & Hutch 😛 

#2 – Toronto duo Dzeko & Torres collaborated with Sweden’s Hellberg for their free download release of “Care For Me”, which is my #2 song of 2016. While the performers may have considered “Care For Me” to be a great free promotional vehicle for their music in 2016, it was in fact a fabulous arrangement featuring an uncredited vocal, whose lyrics also struck an emotional nerve with me. Dzeko & Torres have since decided to pursue other efforts, with Julian Dzeko continuing to record while Luis Torres ventures into the production side of things, and I’m glad I caught their show in Toronto in April. Jon Hellberg on the other hand featured prominently on the BILLCS Top 30 in 2016 with both “Synchronize” and “All The Way”.

#1 – my favourite song of 2016 was brought to my attention courtesy of an excellent innovative remix, one of the best of the year, by relative newcomers EDWYNN x TIKAL (also known as Swedes Thor Lundberg and Leonard Palmberg) and Spirix (who is American producer/remixer Devain Doolaramini). The song is “So Bad” by L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Skeie, who didn’t release more than a handful of songs in 2016 but is set out to conquer 2017. A protege of Semi-Precious Weapons frontman and noted songwriter Justin Tranter, who co-wrote Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” among others, Brandon has an amazing high register, which helped send “So Bad” into the history books for me. It’s one of the best songs ever about longing for someone who you may or may not get to have in your life. 

Original:

Remix (free download):  

The full list, web version:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

Spotify playlist of most of the songs:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

#BILLCSTop30 #499 – December 26/16

As my bi-weekly chart heads towards its 500th edition in two weeks, it looks like the top of the chart will be shaken ‘n stirred a bit.  I keep the chart to a Top 30 but my new music iPod playlist is around 80 current songs 🙂  Two Canadians lead the new list!

The Top 10

  • The Weeknd and Daft Punk score the top spot again with “Starboy”, which will cause it to rank highly in my upcoming Top 86 of ’16 list 🙂
  • The big question is, which song will follow “Starboy” at #1 in two weeks?  Songs 2, 3 and 4 all make big cases to succeed it.  Another Canadian, Halifax’s Famba, rises 3-2 with his funky and fun “Right Here Right Now”.  L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand climbs 5-3 with his EDM and hip hop mix “D E E P In NY”, featuring rappers D.O.C. and Goodmorning.  Both are above.  And the venerable Pet Shop Boys score their second Top 5er this year with “Burn” (below), moving 6-4.

  • NYC’s Stefan Alexander’s “Skeleton” busts upward 9-6 – check out the intriguing new video below.

  • I had a little hand in connecting lyricist to performers/producers with the song “Brothers” which evolved out of the collaboration.  Germany’s Saxity brought in Norway’s Strøm for the vocal, and the rest is history as the passionately performed song climbs 16-8.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is a vibrant and happy instrumental by Sweden’s Hellberg called “All The Way”, and it vaults 19-9.
  • The last of three new entries to the Top 10 is the infectious, 90’s influenced song “The Thirst” by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Zhao, rising 14-10.

https://soundcloud.com/ericsharp/eric-sharp-the-thirst-ft-zhao

Movin’ On Up

  • Victor Perry is headed for his second Top 10 song on this chart with his brilliant soft piano-led cover of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”, which moves up 23-14.  Get it for free on his Soundcloud page!
  • It recently went to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart, but Tony Moran & Jason Walker’s “Say Yes” is so bright and bubbly it deserves to stick around for longer.  It climbs 24-16.

  • Kid Cudi’s new album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ should be an interesting listen if its lead single “Surfin'” (featuring Pharrell Williams) is any indication, and it jumps 25-17.

  • Canadian Felix Cartal is one of the most prolific dance producers/performers around in 2016.  His uplifting single “Drifting Away”, featuring Ofelia K., rises 28-22.

Premieres

  • The Netherlands’ San Holo has offered up some often infuriatingly experimental progressive EDM of 2016, so it was intriguing to see him land near year’s end with a gorgeous chilled out pop record called “Light”, which arrives at #23.  It’s also on its way up the Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs chart, where it resides in its Top 20 🙂  You can still get it for free, for now, via his Soundcloud page above.  It’s also a feather-in-the-cap for new label Bitbird!
  • Molly Moore’s songs have a way of sticking in your head.  So with recent outstanding remixes by teenager Pluto and duo-on-the-rise Telykast (both above and free downloads), “Imaginary Friends” (initially from her Now You See Me EP) began to resonate with me more.  The song in all of its versions bows at #26.
  • Another teen debuting on the chart is Germany’s JPB, who has released a debut three song EP called For You, and the title song, featuring increasingly in-demand British vocalist Luke Cusato, debuts at #27 from the Heroic label.  The song is also available for free download at the Soundcloud link above.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesdays at 9pm EST! :)

#BILLCSTop30 #498 – December 12/16

The top of the chart becomes unzipped after a slew of long-lasting favourites give way, resulting in some huge moves, and other favourites depart, meaning that there are six debuts on the new chart, giving us a good sign of what’s in store for 2017 🙂

The Top 10

  • #1 and #2 duke it out and once again “Starboy” by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk stays ahead of “Plans” by Elephante featuring Brandyn Burnette.  What a fine pair of songs to lead a very busy pack below!
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Halifax’s Famba, whose fun and mainly narrated “Right Here Right Now” soars 16 to 3.  The song would make a good mix with 90’s hits “The Rockafeller Skank” by Fatboy Slim or “People Are Still Having Sex” by LaTour, to name two tunes that come to mind…
  • Amid the three songs that vault into the Top 10, “Just A Dream” by Molly Moore featuring Brandyn Burnette finds its way to #4, from Molly’s terrific Now You See Me EP.
  • Also sailing into the Top 5 from #17 is “D E E P In NY” by Bobby Nourmand featuring rappers DOC and Goodmorning.  “D E E P” is a unique record, originally a house instrumental that has been taken to another level with the hip hop vocals, and has found a place on Pete Tong’s renown show!  More to come I’m sure of it!
  • Pet Shop Boys look like they could be headed to the top with third single “Burn” from their album Super.  “Burn” ignites and rises 18-6.

  • Hey even Rihanna is in the picture – her gorgeous “Love On The Brain” moves 9-7.

  • Also new to the Top 10 is NYC singer Stefan Alexander with his pensive “Skeleton” climbing 15-9.
  • The 5th debut in the Top 10 belongs to Fabian Luttenberger whose laid back grower “Vague” climbs 11-10 in a Stan Sax remix.

What else could be movin’ up?

  • “The Thirst” is an infectious house track by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Kenny Zhao that rises 20-14 with much thanks to some guitar effects which sound like Stardust’s classic “Music Sounds Better With You”.
  • “Brothers” by German duo Saxity featuring Norway’s Strøm on vocals is a sax-led dance track to warm your soul at this time of year.  It soars 25-16.

https://soundcloud.com/hellbergmusic/allthewayvip

  • “All The Way” by Hellberg continues to have long legs after premiering this past summer, climbing 26-19, and now the prominent Swedish producer has released a VIP mix to add to the fun.  Check it out above.

SIX Debuts

  • What a way to lead a fine group of debuts than with American pop/R&B singer Victor Perry’s beautiful rendition of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”.  The piano-led cover bows at #23 and is available at Victor’s Soundcloud page above as a free download 🙂

  • It quickly scurried to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart this past week, and like with its predecessor, the #1 “So Happy”, Tony Moran and Jason Walker have created another instantly memorable, fun, upbeat song with “Say Yes”, which arrives at #24.

  • Kid Cudi makes his debut on this chart with a somewhat provocative but good timey single “Surfin'”, featuring Pharrell Williams, and it premieres at #25, in advance of an album due next year.
  • I wrote about “Chemistry” by talented and affable young Dutchman Steve Void & No Mondays back in the Fall, but it has endured, and recently Epic Records picked it up for release!  After winning a remix contest, Syence presented their version this past week too.  “Chemistry”, featuring singer Clara Mae, bows at #26.  Listen to the original and remix above:)
  • L.A. producer Mahalo and vocalist Cat Lewis are quite the pair with a great song called “Be My Love”, which lands at #27 out of the gate.

https://soundcloud.com/felixcartal/drifting-away

  • After a great year of songs it seems only fitting that Canadian Felix Cartal should appear on the chart with the pop radio-worthy “Drifting Away”, featuring frequent vocal collaborator Ofelia K.  It debuts at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear this Wednesday (December 14) and next Tuesday (December 20) at 9pm EST! :)

#BILLCSTop30 #497 – November 28, 2016

Only three more charts until 2016 is over, and some favourites will depart in the next few weeks, making room for a lot of new music that’s been waiting patiently to get into the higher reaches of my chart.  As a result, there are only two debuts this week, but a changeover at the top…

The New Number One

  • The power of a fantastic melody and amazing production is what gives The Weeknd his first #1 on this chart with “Starboy”, featuring Daft Punk, who also get their first #1, after having three previous Top 10 entries (“One More Time” in 2001; “Stronger” with Kanye West in 2007, and “Get Lucky” in 2013).  It’s so great seeing someone from my neck of the woods – Abel grew up near my neighbourhood in Scarborough, Ontario (east Toronto) – knock it out of the park and I look forward to hearing the entire album.  “False Alarm” (below) also moves up 27-21.  And part of what has helped the appeal of “Starboy” for me is the cover also below by producer/remixer Koni featuring vocalist Johannes Weber, the best one I’ve heard to date (and a free download).  “Starboy” replaces Gramatik & Leo Napier’s “Native Son Prequel” (Jenaux remix) after three appearances at the top (now down to #4), which will depart the chart after the maximum 10 appearances.

The Top 10

  • Elephante’s “Plans”, featuring Brandyn Burnette, advances to #2, one of the top songs from the I Am The Elephante EP.  Brandyn also figures prominently in the Top 10 with his gal Molly Moore at #6 with “Just A Dream” (below) and at #7 in a Sean Turk remix of his own “Closer”.
  • “High” (Young Bombs remix) by Norway’s Jesper Jenset remains at a strong #3, and has been followed up by his great new single “Lies”, which I wrote about recently.
  • “In My Head” by Steve James featuring vocal duo RKCB, continues to move up 6-5.  Check out the recently released remix with Australia’s Joe Mason below, which is a free download 🙂
  • “Luminary” by NYC trio Liquid Diet from their Double Life album (below) grabs #8 on the new chart, while Rihanna’s retro-flavoured “Love On The Brain” advances to #9, and Bright Light Bright Light’s disco-tastic “I Only Want To Please You” (featuring Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic) climbs to #10.

Movin’ On Up

While a continuing log-jam below the Top 10 results in new peaks by songs by Fabian Luttenberger, Satchmode, Cole Plante, and Stefan Alexander, most of the bigger moves are from our debuts two weeks ago (such as the aforementioned “False Alarm” by The Weeknd).

  • “Right Here Right Now” is a fun EDM track with a cool narration by Halifax native Famba, which rises 20-16.
  • “D E E P in NY” by Bobby Nourmand featuring DOC & Goodmorning is Bobby’s hip hop reinvention of his infectious instrumental “D E E P”, which advances 22-17.  It recently received release on The Magician’s Potion label 🙂

  • The fastest riser on the chart is “Burn” by Pet Shop Boys from their album Super, musically a throwback to their 1987 hit “It’s A Sin”.  It climbs 26-18.
  • Despite its title, “The Thirst” by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Kenny Zhao is a more seductive and memorable house track rather than an aggressive one.  It moves up 25-20.
  • NYC singer/songwriter Ayer mixes emotional pop with lighter EDM for “My Hands” which moves up 28-22.

Two Debuts

  • “Brothers” by German producers/DJs/musicians Saxity and featuring Norwegian vocalist Strøm arrives at #25.  It’s a charming, warm song that I wrote about a while back, and I was the one who instigated the connection between the Saxity lads and the songwriters, which led to the birth of “Brothers” 🙂
  • I wrote about “All The Way” by Sweden’s Hellberg late in the summer, but it has stuck with me so much that I had to add it to the chart.  It’s a potent feel-good EDM instrumental from this talented producer who brought us “Synchronize” and “Care For Me” (with Toronto’s Dzeko & Torres) earlier this year.  “All The Way” bounces on to the chart at #26.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesdays at 9pm EST! :)

 

#BILLCSTop30 #496 – November 14/16

Some favourites remain at the top while others tumble this week to make room for songs that have been waiting patiently in line…

The Top 10

  • “Native Son Prequel” by Gramatik and Leo Napier (Jenaux remix) (above) and “Balance” by The Him (below) have been my one-two punch now for three charts (six weeks), and it looks like they will yield to other songs in two weeks – but exactly which ones I do not even know yet!!
  • “Plans” by Elephante and Brandyn Burnette is definitely a contender for the top as it climbs 7 to 4.  Check out the new Acoustic version below 🙂
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs somewhat surprisingly to The Weeknd and Daft Punk, whose “Starboy” rockets 12-5, to become the highest ranking song by The Weeknd on my chart to date.  And… he has one of four debuts too!

  • L.A.-based producer Steve James pairs up with fellow L.A. duo RKCB for a fine blend of EDM and soul on “In My Head”, which rises 9-6.
  • And you’ll see Brandyn Burnette two more times in the Top 10 as his duet with his gal Molly Moore on “Just A Dream” (above, from her brand new EP Now You See Me, which he produced) leaps 13-8, while the Sean Turk remix of his own “Closer” (below) moves up 11-9.  Brandyn has achieved this feat before and most of his songs just make a bee-line for the Top 10 anyway 😛  It’s also the third song called “Closer” to reach my Top 10 this year, following songs by Elephante and The Chainsmokers.

Movin’ On Up

  • NYC trio Liquid Diet close in on the Top 10 with their Eurotastic “Luminary” and its provocative video, up 14-11 from their album Double Life.
  • That unassuming instrumental “Vague” by Fabian Luttenberger in its playful Stan Sax remix continues to gain momentum, climbing 17-14.

  • Cole Plante’s reworking of Womack & Womack’s classic “Teardrops” from 1988, featuring a powerful vocal by Bobi, rises 21-16 and is currently a Top 5 Billboard Club Play hit 🙂
  • My fun, fun, fun trio of debuts from two weeks ago are on the move:  “Right Here Right Now” by Halifax’s Famba (above) jumps 26-20, while Bobby Nourmand’s rework of his instrumental “Deep”, now called “D E E P In NY” featuring rappers DOC and Goodmorning (below), rises 25-22, and Convex & Titus get naaasty in a Snøwmass remix of “Bad Kids” (27-23, also below).

Four Debuts

  • Released by The Disco Fries’ new label Liftoff, producer Eric Sharp and vocalist Zhao have a powerhouse deep house tune called “The Thirst”, which is the highest debut at #25.
  • Pet Shop Boys put on an amazing show last week mixing in old with new and even a bit obscure, and one of the best songs from their latest album Super came out sounding quite grand.  “Burn” isn’t a single – but it should be – and arrives on the chart at #26.

  • If you’re used to the slick and soulful side of The Weeknd then you may be taken a bit aback as he lets loose with the rock-flavoured “False Alarm” at #27, from the upcoming Starboy album.  Not of course to be confused with the Matoma/Becky Hill song which hangs in at #21.

  • One of the nicest and most uplifting songs around right now is the EDM pop ballad “My Hands” by NYC vocalist Ayer, and it lands on the chart at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear this Wednesday (Nov 16) and next Tuesday (Nov 22) at 9pm EST! :)

#BILLCSTop 30 #494 – October 17/16

It’s another jam-packed chart full of activity, all of which I won’t be able to write about.  And there’s a new #1 too!!

The Top 10

  • It waited until “Closer” by The Chainsmokers and Halsey ran its course, but the new #1 song is “Native Son Prequel” by Gramatik featuring Leo Napier in a Jenaux remix.  Everything about this song is so cool, from the lyrics and vocals through to the remix.  The craziest and funkiest song to reach the summit here in a long time 🙂
  • Right behind “Native Son Prequel” is “Balance” by The Him (3-2), who are currently having a blast opening for The Chainsmokers on their European tour.  The guys have some potent new material on the way too.  Can “Balance” get to #1 in two weeks?  You’ll have to wait on that one!
  • Rounding out such an impressive Top 3 is the Two Friends remix of “Lights Down Low” by MAX (Schneider) moving 5-3.  A new version of “Lights Down Low” arrived the other day featuring the red-hot Gnash!
  • “We Don’t Talk Anymore” lands in the Top 5 for Charlie Puth and Selena Gomez.  If he’s well enough after a bout of illness that has seen him cancel some tour dates, I will be checking out Charlie Puth’s show on Tuesday October 18 evening.  Looking forward to hearing what he offers in concert!  Meanwhile give a listen to the DROELOE remix above.
  • New arrivals to the Top 10:  The bouncy europop bliss of “High” by Jesper Jenset in a Young Bombs remix (above) climbing 15-8; a powerhouse crowd-pleaser “Born Ready” by The Disco Fries featuring Hope Murphy, up 11-9; and eclectic EDM ballad “Stay” by Toronto’s Chet Porter featuring Chelsea Cutler, rising 14-10 (below).

Movin’ On Up

  • On the way to the Top 10, Steve James and RKCB have a surprisingly enduring EDM track with “In My Head”, still climbing 16-11.
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Elephante featuring Brandyn Burnette for the beautifully thoughtful “Plans”, from the EP I Am The Elephante, which will follow Elephante’s “Closer” into the Top 10 as it rises 23-13!

  • The ever-ear-catching “Luminary” by NYC trio Liquid Diet continues to climb, moving 20-17.  Watch the tantalizing video above!

  • I suppose The Weeknd is bound to have his detractors now, but I’m looking forward to hearing his album Starboy when it is released at the end of the month.  Follow up single “False Alarm” should land on this chart soon, but “Starboy”, featuring Daft Punk, is off to a great start, leaping 24-18.
  • The unassuming but real earworm that is the sax-y instrumental “Vague” by Austria’s Fabian Luttenberger, in a Stan Sax remix, rises 28-21.
  • NYC duo Anden have a winning remix great for a late night drive with L.A. group Satchmode’s “Undertow”, which moves up 27-23.

A Pair of Debuts

  • L.A. producer/DJ Cole Plante lands on the chart for the first time with a cover of one of my favourite songs of all-time, Womack & Womack’s “Teardrops” at #27.  It’s no longer a duet, edited lyrically to be a club jam with a rousing, soulful vocal by Bobi.  It’s also become another Billboard Club Play Top 20 hit thus far for Cole, following his #1 from a few years back called “Lie To Me” when he was only 17!
  • NYC singer/songwriter Stefan Alexander has the other debut with “Skeleton” at #28.  Stefan marries a unique blend of progressive soul with dance music and a powerful vocal that may not strike you until a few listens later – it’s a real grower!   

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesday at 9pm EST! :)

“Starboy” leaves the original @TheWeeknd #DaftPunk arrangement behind in fine cover by @officialKoni featuring @JohannesWebertv

KONI featuring JOHANNES WEBER, “Starboy” (free DL)

It takes a lot for me to write about a cover of a current favourite song of mine, I’m pretty selective, and solid variations of “Starboy” by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk are hard to come by.  As with a number of his recent remixes and covers, Koni (who is one half of the duo Saxity – the other being Stan Sax) opts to pretty much leave the original arrangement of “Starboy” behind in favour of his own.  While some of the edge and depth of the original is missing, what makes this one a winner is the vocal by Johannes Weber.  He doesn’t try at all to be The Weeknd, and creates his own connection to the song, retaining some of the grittiness with his phrasing.  The production adds its own atmosphere and successfully creates an alternate version of “Starboy” that stands up on its own, and with almost 500K listens on Soundcloud, it’s obvious that fans of both The Weeknd and EDM feel the same.  Download it for free above and surprise your friends 🙂

Published in: on October 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #493 – October 3/16

Just after the New Year, the BILLCS Top 30 will reach its 500th chart!  Now I suppose if I had been posting it weekly it would be well over 1,000 editions by now.  In this edition, there are so many hot new songs that several get caught in a mid-chart log jam while others continue to flourish near the top.  And don’t discount the four new songs that arrive either!

The Top 10

  • “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey will always be a hard act to follow now that it’s one of the biggest hits of 2016.  So that’s all the more reason why Alex and Drew should release another single!  Below you can hear “All We Know” featuring Phoebe Ryan.

  •  (free download!)Both “Native Son Prequel” by Gramatik featuring Leo Napier in a Jenaux remix (holding at #2) and “Balance” by The Him featuring Oktavian (up 6 to 3) are positioning themselves nicely to succeed “Closer” at the top.  But which one will do it, or will something else beat them to it?  Aussie teen Joe Mason is already scoring on this chart with his remix of “Elevated” by RKCB at #13, but check out his remix of “Balance” below (free download!).
  • MAX gets his second Top 5 hit on this chart with the Two Friends remix of “Lights Down Low”, which vaults 9 to 5.  And if you missed my blog post on his new project called Party Pupils, with their cover of OutKast’s “Ms Jackson”, you can check it out right here.
  • The remixes keep arriving for “Rainbows” by Victor Perry, which continues to advance 8 to 7.  Check out Zewmøb’s bright and funky remix below (free download!).

 

  • I’m very happy that two EDM acts that continue to break out happen to land in my Top 10 at the same time.  Tritonal’s “Broken” (with Jenaux and featuring Adam Lambert, above) climbs 12-9 and “False Alarm” by Matoma featuring Becky Hill (below) moves up 13-10.  Matoma put on a heckuva show on September 23 in Toronto , where the audience was very drawn to the variety in his set… imagine what he could do with a stadium-sized audience!  Tritonal has their turn coming up in my city on October 14 🙂

Movin’ On Up

  • The fastest riser on the chart this week belongs to young Norwegian singer Jesper Jenset whose wickedly catchy “High” scores in a Young Bombs remix, climbing 22-15 ahead of some pretty fierce competition!
  • Also making a key move on the chart this week is Steve James collaboration with duo RKCB on “In My Head”, which like “High” has a drop that’s hard to beat.  “In My Head” moves up 20-16.

  • Rihanna’s “Love On The Brain” advances 21-19 but fear not, it’s just caught in that log jam of great new songs and should break loose in two weeks.

  • Liquid Diet’s “Luminary” from the trio’s debut album Double Life rises 24-20, while they’ve released a hilarious and raucous NSFW video to their song “My C**t” (below) – if you’ve seen something like it before, think less wild and Austin Mahone (also below) 😉

  • Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light, has now proven three times that he can make great albums and not just great singles.  Each of his albums has excellent deeper tracks, and in particular those are the ones that register with me more on Choreography.  His collaboration with Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic “I Only Want To Please You” is up 26-21.
  • “Just A Dream” is a dark, hallucinogenic feast for the ears by Molly Moore and featuring Brandyn Burnette in one of their best vocal pairings yet.  Culled from Molly’s upcoming EP Now You See Me, “Just A Dream” climbs 27-22.

And They Keep On Comin’ … Four Debuts

  • Arriving at #23, why it’s Brandyn Burnette again (four times in this chart 😀 ), this time fronting Elephante’s song “Plans” from the I Am The Elephante EP.  “Plans” shows incredible versatility from both performers, just when you think there’s not another side that can be showcased, here it is!  Just a beautiful song, too.

  • If it didn’t get you from first listen – for shame!  My fellow Torontonian The Weeknd surprised everyone with the immediate release of “Starboy”, featuring none other than Daft Punk, and then its compelling video.  It should be topping charts everywhere in the next two weeks, and bows here at #24.
  • L.A. quintet Satchmode write some pretty interesting songs, and one of them, “Undertow” was recently remixed by NYC brothers Anden, which got it featured on Tiesto’s Club Life mix.  Anden gives it a late night cruising-down-PCH feel to it, and it premieres at #27!  My original post about it is right here.  It’s a free download too!
  • One of the most inauspicious instrumentals of 2016 received a winning remix this summer, which got it to #1 on the Hype Machine charts.  The song is “Vague” by Fabian Luttenberger, as remixed by none other than Saxity’s talented Stan Sax – so yes, do listen for the highlight that is the saxophone break!  “Vague” is one sultry affair that will be stuck in your head for days (check out my original post right here), and is new to the chart at #28.  It’s another free download!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesday evenings at 9pm EST:)

 

 

To Eternity: “74 Is The New 24” by @GiorgioMoroder

GIORGIO MORODER, “74 Is The New 24”

Even at 74, there is no taking dance music and its current technology out of Giorgio Moroder.  The pace was set after becoming part of the project that ended up as Daft Punk’s Grammy-winning Random Access Memories last year, and Giorgio has been remixing songs by the likes of Coldplay and appearing as a DJ at events around the world.  So almost 40 years after creating some of the greatest dance music ever – Donna Summer’s biggest records including the revolutionary “I Feel Love”; Blondie’s “Call Me”; his own “Chase” (from his Oscar-winning score of “Midnight Express”) and “From Here To Eternity”; Oscar-winning “Flashdance…What A Feeling” by Irene Cara and “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin; and lesser known but beloved “Together In Electric Dreams” with Philip Oakey of The Human League, and “Life In Tokyo” by Japan – Giorgio Moroder is once again about to trail-blaze with a new album, rumoured to feature Britney Spears, Sia, Kylie Minogue, Charli XCX, Foxes, Mikky Ekko, and Matthew Koma, among others.  In advance of that, he’s given us the propulsive “74 Is The New 24”, whose title is I believe based on something Giorgio said in an interview not long ago.  That it reminds me a lot of Pet Shop Boys’ “Axis” from last year’s Electric is almost like the creator giving a big nod to those that he influenced.  But when you think about it, “74 Is The New 24” likely reminds you most of Giorgio Moroder in his heyday – big, powerful synths and effects used to their maximum and most contemporary, sounding as innovative as ever.  Just can’t wait for the album!  One to watch for 2015 for sure. And I keep saying about why I’m still writing about music – age ain’t nuthin’ but a number 🙂

Voices Carry: Betty Who, Sam Dickinson, Lawson, Simon Curtis, Bac2ssential with Charly Mae, plus My Favourites of the First Half of ’13

It’s summer and the best voices soar on a clear sunny day…

BETTY WHO  “Somebody Loves You”

Australia has given us another divine new voice in the form of singer Betty Who, who dropped her EP The Distance amid oodles of praise.  Add my endorsement – “Somebody Loves You” is a sparkling single that could weave its spell in the same way that Katy Perry’s best singles can overtake you.  And while this single just glows, the EP, which is free for the downloading right here, shows much depth that will make her a keeper in the pop world.

SAM DICKINSON “How It Used To Be”

Sam Dickinson is a new British blue-eyed soul singer based out of Newcastle.  Stop.  “New British blue-eyed soul singer” is almost always a good sign for me with music, but even with that positive heads up, young Sam has a unique, powerhouse voice that will blow the roof off your local club.  Take heavy doses of 80’s Simply Red and Style Council via contemporary dance tunes and add significant inspiration from the Atlantic/Stax era of the late 60’s, and you will hear where Sam Dickinson is coming from in “How It Used To Be”, from his forthcoming album The Stories That Occurred, which is due in two weeks.  I will have the scoop on that album for you closer to that time.

LAWSON “Missing”

Just in advance of yesterday’s official UK and Australian release of “Brokenhearted” (featuring B.o.B.) (which I wrote about right here), promising UK quartet Lawson treated us to an acoustic performance of Everything But The Girl’s classic 1995 hit “Missing”.  This is particularly impressive because the original version of  “Missing”, from EBTG’s Amplified Heart album, was acoustic.  But all eyes and ears are on singer Andy Brown, who embodies this cover with passion and desperation, very unlike the original.  I hope they perform it in concert when I see them again in late August.  In fact, the boys can take it as an official request – pretty please 🙂

SIMON CURTIS “Meteor”

Lately, one of our favourite American wunderkinds of this decade, Simon Curtis, has been chatting on Twitter about how one of his songs called “Meteor” was excerpted in a new TV show called “Twisted”.  Yesterday, he let on that the song was available on the Internet to hear, for those that could find it!  Always up to a challenge, I have indeed located this frenzied bit of arpeggio-laden Swedish-influenced pop, which according to the Soundcloud link was discreetly posted about 10 months ago.  Even if it may not receive official release, it’s certainly way beyond a lot of the fluffy Europop that will grace your ears this summer. A very shiny sign of good things to come from Simon’s work-in-progress.

BAC2SSENTIAL featuring CHARLY MAE “Waiting For You”

Though I’m still digging her anthemic “Girls Go Hard”, UK singer Charly Mae has lent her big, big voice for the first time to a deep house club banger courtesy of Bac2ssential called “Waiting For You”.   It’s got that familiar, infectious house bounce that is slayed by Charly Mae’s engaging vocal.  Dance club DJ’s shouldn’t overlook this one.

MY FAVOURITES OF THE FIRST HALF OF 2013

Songs (in alphabetical order)

BEGGING  Anton Ewald

BLUE ELECTRIC ROSES  Travis Garland

CAPTAIN  FrankMusik

THE CITY  River Tiber

CLARITY  Zedd featuring Foxes

GET LUCKY  Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers & Pharrell Williams

LEARN TO LOVE AGAIN  Lawson

LIFTED  Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni

MAP  FrankMusik

MY GIRL  Willy Moon

1998  Matthew Koma

OUTTA MY MIND  Matt Blue

PARACHUTE  Matthew Koma

PLAY THE GIRL  Tao Hypah

SAIL INTO THE SUN  Gentlemen Hall

SOMEBODY TO LOVE ME  Eli Escobar featuring Nomi Ruiz

VOCAL  Pet Shop Boys

A WORLD APART  Davis Redfield

YEAH YEAH  Willy Moon

YOUR TOUCH  Blake Lewis

Albums (alphabetical by performer)

MATT DUSK  My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook

FRANKMUSIK  Between

TRAVIS GARLAND  Fashionably Late II (EP)

MATTHEW KOMA  Parachute (EP)

MIGUEL  Kaleidoscope Dream

WILLY MOON  Here’s Willy Moon

JARELL PERRY  Simple Things (EP)

THE PRESETS  Pacifica

RIVER TIBER  Synapses

KIM SMITH  Nova

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD  Born Out Of Mischief