“I Wish U Heaven”, a YouTube playlist tribute to Prince, features @DarrenHayes’ stunning cover

DARREN HAYES, “I Wish U Heaven”

Rarely do I write about songs made available online-only, but when it means a new Darren Hayes vocal, then exceptions are made!  We’ve had no new music from Darren since 2011, while he works on other projects, making the occasional brief live appearance (such as the one I was lucky to see in April 2016 in L.A.).  Debuting on Christmas Day, in case you missed it, Darren seamlessly covers Prince’s brief “I Wish U Heaven”, originally from the 1988 Lovesexy album.  The song wasn’t a North American hit but did well overseas, particularly in the UK.  With a minimal arrangement of strings and piano, Darren’s vocal lovingly pays tribute to pop’s purple hero.  It’s not the first time Darren has covered Prince.  In concert 10 years ago as part of the Time Machine tour, which I saw in Toronto, he dazzled us by incorporating Prince’s “Baby I’m A Star” into a medley with his own playful funky pop of “Pop!ular”.  Perhaps we will see a video of it one day.  While I encourage you to check out Darren’s cover above, you can also listen to the entire “I Wish U Heaven” playlist right here.

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BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #60 to #41

Today I bring you the big middle bit of the list, a delightful array of 20 songs that more than tickled my fancy throughout the year.  So this post is a little long, but bear with me…

Click here to view songs #75 to #41  :)

Three singers in this list escaped from an often horrible fate in the music industry – record company hell.  Tyler Hilton had never been away from the music scene, and of course showed up on TV quite regularly in One Tree Hill as Chris Keller.  After many delays in trying to release a sophomore album, seven years perhaps is a long time between albums but his TV and film popularity preceded him and Tyler definitely grew in that time.  So he ended up releasing his album Forget The Storm independently, and toured throughout North America, the UK, and Europe.  It’s a fine rocking effort and gave Tyler the opportunity to connect with many fans who have been waiting for him, and “Prince Of Nothing Charming” became yet another Top 10 entry on my chart for him.  Ryan Star is another fantastic singer whose previous record company was doing nothing to help the release of new songs after some success in 2010 with the album 11:59.  So he switched to Island Records and saw his single “Stay Awhile” (video below) released while he works on a new album.  Phenomenal piano man Jon McLaughlin also parted ways with his previous record company only to sign a new deal with Razor & Tie after releasing the exceptional (and now, no longer available) Forever If Ever album independently.  Two of his songs slid into the Top 10 and both long runs on the chart.  “Promising Promises” was originally featured on Forever If Ever but ended up being the title song of his re-released album.  And to whet our appetite for that album, Jon teamed up with Sara Bareilles in one of those pairings where the voices just go so well together.  A rerecording of “Summer Is Over” (video below) was the song the singer was waiting for to throw him back into the spotlight after touring North America for most of the year.

His initial songs didn’t really draw me in, but I thought “Better Than I Know Myself” by Adam Lambert had a lot of personal conviction in the vocal performance, and showed a more vulnerable side of the singer, so it became his first chart entry for me.  Darren Hayes’ third and final entry in this list peaked in January where some chartphiles carried over “Bloodstained Heart” from 2011 (that song was #22 on last year’s list).  “Black Out The Sun” is a lilting and sombre affair led by another wonderful vocal by Darren.  Another darker song captured with a fine and appropriate vocal is Jane Badler’s theatrical “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” (video below), a song that gets better with repeated listenings (there are also many delightful remixes available).  The Australia-based actress best known for TV’s “V” is well on her way with another career as a pop singer.  And did funky pop seem out of vogue?  Not if you’re Sam Sparro, who released his sophomore album Return To Paradise mid-year with lead single “Happiness” in advance.  The album is a moody but always danceable affair, and is much better as a long-player than to isolate most of the songs individually.

Singles still go very steady in my musical world.  “Champagne” gave the start of the year its fizz courtesy of Australian singer Nelson Clemente.  Converse shoes had a stroke of brilliance by creating a free download with a highly entertaining video (below) to promote its products.  So Foster The People head honcho Mark Foster gets paired up with Canadian producer/DJ extraordinaire A-Trak for the song “Warrior”, and who gets to save the day not only in one of the year’s most entertaining videos, but as the song’s vocalist?  New Zealand chanteuse Kimbra, who duetted with Gotye on the year’s biggest song “Somebody That I Used To Know”.  US production duo The Knocks did the rather unthinkable – they transformed M83’s ethereal “Midnight City” into a 3 minute pop song with the help of singer Mandy Lee, in a free download and a fine video (also below) to showcase the singer.  I ended up liking it even better than the original so it ranks in the Top 50.  Minnesota’s Nicole Brenny, known as Vague-à-bonde, is an emerging talent to watch who is recording a new album as well as a video for the song that reached the Top 10 on my chart, “Evolved”.  The song has a gentle vocal whose toe-tapping refrain throttles you and makes you want more.  UK quartet Boy Banned seemed on the bubble to go on to big things by the end of 2011, however the bubble exploded when they split after the release of the immensely likeable “The Stars Are Saying Yes” and its utterly charming video (also below).  “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters proved that this outfit can produce fine original pop singles that sparkle amid an inconsistent album, outside of its engaging presence in the dance/EDM community with fun records like “Let’s Have A Kiki”.  “Horses” became their first Top 5 hit on my chart.

The remaining songs in this group are featured in albums that have held their own since their release.  “Unheard” is a jaunty album track from Netherlands singer Jeronimo, whose song “It’s A Fun Thing” is the Cartoon Network theme song in the south Pacific part of the world.  His unique voice and eagerness to please made his album One Kiss one of the most solid records of the year, even if it didn’t receive release in North America.  Another song from that record ranks higher up on the list 🙂 Markus Riva’s “How It Feels To Be A Man” is the Latvian singer’s second entry on the chart, and one of the highlights of the year’s best dance compilations This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume One that morphed into a summer dance festival on the beaches outside of Barcelona.  Volume Two and another festival are in the works for this year.  Another song from the compilation is featured later on as well.  I proclaimed Brooklyn’s Matt & Kim as pop music’s hardest working duo after partaking in their most enjoyable show, where they had to work around a power failure (with the effortless help of the audience).  “Let’s Go” is the song and video (below) that took them back to a simple and basic but high energy sound on their latest album Lightning.

Boston sextet Gentlemen Hall are one of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 and mix journeyman rock in with powerful, lush instrumentation on their EP When We All Disappear, which is still available for free on their website.  While every song on that EP is strong, it was the joyous “All Our Love” and its accompanying video (below) that captured my attention this past Spring.  And what would the year be without me including two songs from Austin duo DATABOY’s Dreams Are Gold album?  “Lotion” was initially released on the free Summer Now EP, which led up to the release of their long-awaited full album.  That record contains some of the most entertaining and heartfelt songs of the year, all also designed to make you dance, one being “Genius”, which could be the new unofficial theme song for “The Big Bang Theory”.  Without question, Dreams Are Gold is my favourite album of 2012, and you’ll find two more DATABOY songs much higher on this list in the next few days 🙂

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

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

Click here to view songs #75 to #61  🙂

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

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

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

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

BILLCS Chart #385 – August 13, 2012 – Might Be My Favourite Top 4 of ’12!

Here’s the list of my current Top 30 favourites, published bi-weekly in these pages, but currently subject to a bit of technical difficulty as I move to new software for formatting purposes.  EDIT:  The prettier web version of the chart is available by clicking right here 🙂

01 01 DREAMS ARE GOLD DATABOY
02 02 REMEMBER WHEN (PUSH REWIND) Chris Wallace
07 03 SPECTRUM (Calvin Harris remix) Florence & The Machine
04 04 TIME BOMB Kylie Minogue
06 05 HOLLYWOOD RAC F/ Penguin Prison
08 06 LOTION DATABOY
09 07 COLLECTING SUNLIGHT Andreas Moe
11 08 MOVES Bright Light Bright Light
14 09 GO FOR GOLD Kyle Patrick
03 10 ONE KISS Jeronimo
12 11 ANGEL Darren Hayes
05 12 SECRET FEAR Daniel Bedingfield
15 13 HUNTER Baiyu
19 14 TURN IT UP Carlos Nóbrega
23 15 HOUDINI (Green Children remix) Foster The People
16 16 CHASING THE SUN The Wanted
17 17 TURN UP YOUR RADIO Monti Montañez
10 18 ALL OUR LOVE Gentlemen Hall
20 19 WHEN SHE WAS MINE Lawson
24 20 WE DANCE 4 REASON Markus Riva F/ Ralph (PER)
New 21 SPECTRUM Zedd F/ Matthew Koma
26 22 HIGH FOR THIS Ellie Goulding
New 23 GENIUS DATABOY
New 24 LONG TIME John De Sohn F/ Andreas Moe
New 25 BENNY GOODMAN Saint Motel
28 26 EMERGENCY Audio Playground F/ Snoop Dogg
13 27 THESE ARE CENTURIES River Tiber
18 28 WAITING FOR THE FEELING Bright Light Bright Light
21 29 NOTICE ME Vincent Did It F/ Quigley
25 30 CELEB Tao Hypah

My current Top 4 songs are going to be hard to dislodge.  This could in fact be my favourite Top 4 of ’12, and only a few other songs released earlier in the year – including Rune RK & DATABOY’S “Memorize Me”, Eric Saade & Dev’s “Hotter Than Fire”, and “Someday” by River Tiber – would be in the mix with them!  What’s going to be interesting is to see who gets a turn at #1, which could happen as early as two weeks from now!  Stay tuned 🙂  PS Chris Wallace’s debut album Push Rewind will be out September 4 as “Remember When” starts to crack radio airplay!!

Fleshing out the Top 10 are some joyous tunes by RAC & Penguin Prison, DATABOY (making it two out of three), former #1 Jeronimo, and Andreas “he’s everywhere (including elsewhere on the chart)” Moe, with new Top Tenners not surprisingly from Bright Light Bright Light (currently kicking it in France – so jealous!) and Kyle Patrick (coping with massive Singapore love).

Special mentions outside of the Top 10  must go to Baiyu, with the title song of her Hunter mixtape resting at #13, as she appears on The CW Network’s new show “The Next” starting Thursday.  Best of luck, love 😀  Then there’s the ever-so-busy Carlos Nóbrega, whose powerful dancefloor filler “Turn It Up” climbs to #14 as he releases yet another new song, “Music Makes You Lose Control”.  This one is Carlos at his best, fun and dramatic at the same time!  Listen to the snippet below – you won’t want to miss out on the full song, so get it on iTunes!  

Foster The People’s Green Children remix of “Houdini” magically becomes the fastest riser, leaping 23-15 while singer Mark journeys through India.  Also on the rise are Darren Hayes’ delightful take on Madonna’s “Angel”, “When She Was Mine” by rising UK quartet Lawson, and “We Dance 4 Reason” by Latvian star and radio DJ Markus Riva.  You won’t be able to go anywhere soon without hearing Ellie Goulding’s magnificent new “Anything Could Happen”, as I wrote about on the weekend, but in the meantime her rendition of The Weeknd’s “High For This” is up to #22.

A common theme throughout 2012 has been a series of unique voices.  One such young man, who, like Andreas Moe, is popping up everywhere especially in dance music circles, is Matthew Koma (ab0ve), who hails from Long Island and was once in a group called Bandcamp.  One of the brightest songs of ’12 and a current Top 5 Dance Club Play hit is the second song in the chart called “Spectrum” by German DJ Zedd, featuring Matthew’s ear-catching vocals that sound like nothing this year has had to offer, as well as some dreamy lyrics (“breathing you in when I want you out…”).  He’s also featured in Alesso’s latest club hit “Years”, and will be touring some upcoming dates with Owl City.  You can hear both songs below plus excerpts of Matthew’s EP Parachute, available on iTunes.

The next debut is of course more from DATABOY, whose Dreams Are Gold album is the full length release that is resonating with me most throughout the year.  Its emotional content, smart stories, and of course amazing beats and rhythms put smiles on my face each time I hear it.  I’ve grown a bit attached to opening song “Genius” – it’s simply a fun song to listen to in the car, and it definitely throws people for a loop the first time they hear it.  I humbly suggest you keep in mind the TV show The Big Bang Theory and a certain animated self-proclaimed genius when listening 🙂 But you’ll have to give it a preview on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Genius/dp/B008F9FV7U and buy it there or on iTunes!

At #24 is “Long Time” by John De Sohn, featuring Sweden’s Andreas Moe, and currently in the Billboard Top 25 of the Dance Club Play chart.  I had some comments about it in a recent blog post.  The full length version appears on Tiësto’s Club Life Volume 2: Miami compilation.  You’ll hear a lot more from Andreas before the year is out!

Lastly at #25 is the quirky “Benny Goodman” by L.A.’s Saint Motel, currently touring their album Voyeur, which I wrote about recently.  Below is a video of the band jazzing up the song and swinging along in a studio performance.  They also released an equally quirky video for “1997”, which you can also check out below.  The band has this neat way of making you watch… 😉

BILLCS Chart #384 – DATABOY Score Gold For A Third Time

My bi-weekly chart of favourites is delightfully abuzz of a great bunch of new songs, which is making it increasingly difficult to rank every two weeks.  So the ups and downs of songs look like they will be a bit dramatic during these summer months, and the wait for #1 for some top notch songs may continue longer than it normally would.

DATABOY score their third number one song on the chart with “Dreams Are Gold”, a song that’s awash in as great a melody as it is with lyrics that totally hit home for me with its message.  They’ve already been on top with “Just Once” last summer (also included on their Dreams Are Gold album), as well as with Rune RK for “Memorize Me”, the song that brought sunny Ibiza sounds to my winter months.  Be sure to listen to “Dreams Are Gold” below.

That means that “Remember When (Push Rewind)” by Chris Wallace, which is starting to get national radio play in the U.S., moves up to #2.  It’s surely a contender for #1, but it’s a matter of WHEN it will get there with “Dreams Are Gold” ahead of it.  That also means “One Kiss” by Jeronimo, one of my most played current songs, drops somewhat early to #3 but should hang in and around the Top 10 for a few more weeks.  And did you know that one of Jeronimo’s songs is the Cartoon Network ID for some parts of the world (outside of Europe and North America)??  

The fastest riser on the chart, because I can’t get it out of my head 😉 , is “Timebomb” by Kylie Minogue, which soars 15-4 somewhat in anticipation of what she’ll release next.  All of Kylie’s 5 songs that have got on my chart have reached my Top 10; “Timebomb” surpasses the #5 peak of “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” to become her biggest chart hit.  Watch her performance from “The Voice” (UK) below.  Daniel Bedingfield has been performing some gigs in L.A., which hopefully bodes well for them to spread to other parts of North America in the near future.  “Secret Fear” jumps to #5, matching the same peak of “Wrap My Words Around You” back in 2005.

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

The rest of the Top 10 moves up, with the exception of “All Our Love” by Gentlemen Hall, which slips to #10.  “Hollywood” by RAC featuring Penguin Prison climbs to #6, and DATABOY’s concurrent Top Tenner “Lotion” moves to #8.  The second new entry to the Top 10 is “Collecting Sunlight” by Andreas Moe, which arrives at #9.

The third newcomer to the Top 10 is the highest debut this week.  The Calvin Harris remix of Florence & The Machine’s “Spectrum (Say My Name)” turns the song into a most colourful and rousing dance hit that is the current UK #1.  It bows on my chart at #7, giving the band their second Top 10 hit following 2009’s “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”, which got to #2.  I’m glad “Spectrum” got release as a single as something needed to give new life to the Ceremonials album while Florence waits to return to touring after throat problems caused some gigs to be cancelled.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the chart continues to be busy below the Top 10.  “Moves”, the song by Bright Light Bright Light that’s immersed in a late 70’s disco strings arrangement, leaps 21-11, while “Angel” by Darren Hayes (the flip side to the single of “Talk Talk Talk”) is right behind, up 16-12.  “Go For Gold” has certainly arrived right in time for the Olympics, so don’t be surprised if Kyle Patrick’s song (moving 23-14) gets some deserved attention during the many weeks to come.  Kyle has also recently released his self-titled EP on iTunes, while “Go For Gold” continues to be a free download.  Watch the video below.

I’m pleased to report that New York singer Baiyu is a contestant on the new CW show “The Next”, which features Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, John Rich, and Nelly as panelist judges.  The show begins on August 16, so be sure to tune in to see how far this talented gal can go.  In the meantime, watch her video for “Invisible” (#22) below.  The club-oriented title song from her Hunter mixtape also climbs to #15.

“Chasing The Sun” by The Wanted charges to #16, while Monti Montañez’s “Turn Up Your Radio” (from This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One) moves up to #17.  The high dose of summer energy that is “Turn It Up” by Portugal’s all round entertainer (and fellow Poptronik performer) Carlos Nóbrega vaults 26-19 (listen below), while UK foursome Lawson reach #20 with “When She Was Mine”.

I’ve previously written about 3 of our remaining 4 debuts, which you can see/hear below.  Foster The People’s “Houdini” (#23) is a real sleeper that comes alive in the clubby Green Children remix.  Poptronik performer Markus Riva (who is also a DJ on Latvia’s Capital radio) gets his second chart entry with the pulsating “We Dance 4 Reason” at #24.  “High For You” was written and originally recorded by Toronto’s noted The Weeknd and has received some radio play as well in his home city.  Ellie Goulding puts a slow grooving spin on the song, which is also a free download.  While the pop world delights with playing her song “Lights”, “High For This” arrives at #26 on my chart.  Lastly,   as with their Billboard Top 10 Dance Club Play hit, “Famous”, Canadian trio Audio Playground has found that their latest single “Emergency” (featuring Snoop Dogg) has broken out of Quebec.  “Emergency” lands on the chart at #28.

BILLCS Top 30 #383 – July 16/12 – One, two, three – BOOM!!

It’s as easy as 1…..2…..3…..

1…..

2…..

3……

You’ll know that people aren’t jumping from high places when you suddenly hear several cries of Jeronimo, as the Dutch singer’s utterly delightful “One Kiss” rises to the top of my chart.  But it is immediately being challenged by the glorious words and melodies of DATABOY, whose title song from their album Dreams Are Gold gets 2nd place, while fastest riser “Remember When (Push Rewind)” by Chris Wallace gets 3rd.  These are three of the most eminently likeable songs of 2012, and it would be a shame for you to pass them up!  Get ’em all on iTunes too!

Meanwhile in the lower half of the Top 10, there’s plenty of activity with Daniel Bedingfield’s stellar title song from his EP Secret Fear – Stop The Traffik climbing to #6, with Boston’s Gentlemen Hall in too at #7 with “All Our Love”.  RAC featuring the vocals of Chris Glover from Penguin Prison, is a new entry to the Top 10 with “Hollywood” at #8, and DATABOY’s second song on the chart from Dreams Are Gold is the winning “Lotion” at #10.

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

The rest of the chart is pretty busy.  There is no shortage of great music out there and every song seems to fight not only for highest placement but longevity (to the maximum of 10 appearances, natch) as well.  “Collecting Sunlight” by Andreas Moe, who has recently been in Tokyo performing to large crowds, is Top 10 bound at #11, and River Tiber’s jazzy “These Are Centuries” climbs to #13.  If “Remember When” by Chris Wallace hadn’t soared 17 places, then the fastest rise would have been the 14 place move up for Kylie Minogue’s “Timebomb”, whose chorus is presently stuck in my head, now at #15.  Right behind is Darren Hayes’ lovely rendition of Madonna’s “Angel” at #16, while Baiyu’s percolating title song from her mixtape Hunter is now at #17, and “Chasing The Sun”, which got to #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Club Play chart for The Wanted, jumps to #19.  Down a bit further but rising steadily are “When She Was Mine” by UK foursome Lawson at #22, and the second entry from Baiyu, a sultry ballad featuring Rotimi called “Invisible”, is at #24.

Three new entries to the chart should be of no surprise to you.  While “Waiting For The Feeling” gives up #1 after four appearances (eight weeks), I’m still waiting to hear about a next single release from Bright Light Bright Light’s album Make Me Believe In Hope, which is one of the year’s finest releases.  The magnificent emotional disco throwback that is “Moves” is the highest premiere on the chart at #21.  Watch BLx2 perform the song below in London, followed by one of last year’s best singles, “Disco Moment”.

I know I only wrote about this one yesterday, but it’s effect on my chart is instantaneous!  “Go For Gold” by the Click Five’s Kyle Patrick bows at #23.  Another feel good, high energy song to keep you happy during the summer 🙂

Lastly at #26, high energy in more of a club vibe kind of way comes from “Turn It Up”, the latest single from Poptronik artist Carlos Nóbrega.  Carlos joins fellow Poptronik album performers Tao Hypah, Markus Riva, and Monti Montañez, who continues to rise up the chart with “Turn On Your Radio” at #18.

BILLCS Chart #381

My new and slightly overdue chart is a busy affair where only one song sits still.  That would be the song at the top.  I simply can’t get enough of “Waiting For The Feeling” by Bright Light Bright Light or the essential album from which it comes, Make Me Believe In Hope (read my previous post right here).  And I’m very anxious to hear Jeronimo’s full album that contains its title song “One Kiss”.  I often look for songs that are mood-changers, and “One Kiss” is a breezy, fun ode to new love that moves up to #2 on my chart.  Also rising up a place is the first of three featured songs from the amazing electronica dance compilation This Beat Is Poptronik Volume One.  Tao Hypah’s “Celeb” moves up to #3.  Give a listen to this one, and bop your way into bliss 😉

While his gal Quigley’s “Inkblot Game” continues to climb up to #16 on this chart, FrankMusik (under his Vincent Did It alias) pairs up with his lovely on “Notice Me”.  This song is a grower, thanks to Vince’s artistic production and Quigley’s exuberant vocals, and moves up to #4.  Listen to this one below.

Also entering the Top 5 is “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters, currently touring their Magic Hour album.  I’m thinking about checking out their concert next week, so if you’ve seen them let me know what you think to help make my decision 🙂  Watch their performance of “Only The Horses” from The Voice UK at the top of this post.

There are more Poptronik performers to be had within the Top 10, with Adam Tyler’s “Music Freak” rising to #6, and “How It Feels To Be A Man”, a quiet kind of anthem of sorts by Latvian singer Markus Riva, moves up to #9.  The trifecta of Foster The People’s Mark Foster, DJ A-Trak, and New Zealand’s Kimbra, currently on release with her own album Vows, rounds out the songs on the rise within the Top 10 with the free download of “Warrior”.

I won’t leave the Top 10 without remarking on a very high debut.  That of course comes from Texas duo DATABOY, whose “Dreams Are Gold” is my new summer jam and crashes the chart at #8.  Read all about it right here.  The second highest debut on the chart, at #21, also belongs to these lads, from their free download Summer Now EP.  “Lotion” will transport you to a beautiful beach somewhere warm enough where DATABOY won’t let you get sunburned 🙂  Listen to both songs below.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.

There are five other fast risers on the chart.  “All Our Love” by Gentlemen Hall jumps 19-14, while the fastest riser, “Secret Fear” by Daniel Bedingfield is right behind, climbing 22-15.  Moving up four places each are “Collecting Sunlight” by Andreas Moe at #19 (official single is out June 26 – watch him perform an acoustic version below), River Tiber’s jazzy “These Are Centuries” at #20, and Poptronik performer Monti Montañez with “Turn Up The Radio” at #22.

There are two other debuts which complete this week’s blog post.  RAC stands for Remix Artist Collective, three producer/DJ’s who create their own music and remix that of others, and you can find out more about them at http://www.rac.fmPenguin Prison has joined up with them for the free download of “Hollywood” which bows at #23.  Listen below.

Lastly but hardly least, when Darren Hayes picks a song recorded by someone else to sing, it’s usually a wise choice.  I’ve actually owned the vinyl single of “Talk Talk Talk” since last Fall, and I’ve decided to chart his vibrant and faithful cover of Madonna’s “Angel”, the 45’s B-side, after continual play on my iTouch.  “Angel”, at #28, accompanies “Stupid Mistake”, which moves up to #11.  Listen below – and why shouldn’t pop radio play it??  The song would fit like a glove.

BILLCS Chart #380

It’s here at long last!  Make Me Believe In Hope, the debut album by Bright Light Bright Light arrives in most places except the USA on Monday June 4 on iTunes (Americans get it on June 26).  The stunning “Waiting For The Feeling” gets a second appearance at the top of my chart, and doesn’t look like it will relinquish #1 any time soon, though a couple of challenges are brewing below.  In anticipation of this feat for BLx2 (aka Rod Thomas), take a listen to one of the new songs from the album below called “Feel It”.  You will revel in a wayback machine journey back 20 years or so when house-y dance hits featured powerhouse vocalists like Martha Wash (Black Box, C+C Music Factory, among others).

River Tiber’s “Symmetry” gets stuck at #2 for a third appearance, while a third song from their CD From Now On arrives on the chart (more on that later).  The fastest riser from two weeks ago, the instantly memorable “One Kiss” by Jeronimo zips up the chart to #3 to become a number one contender.  Jeronimo’s One Kiss album is on release in the Netherlands and Belgium, with other territories to follow.  Also new to the top 5 is “Celeb” by Tao Hypah, from the must-hear compilation This Beat Is Poptronik… Volume One.  And a third song from that album debuts on the chart too.  This is also the first time that I think two Dutchmen (Jeronimo and Tao Hypah) are in the Top 5 at the same time!  Maybe they’re starting a trend 🙂  Rounding out the Top 5 again is “Call It What You Want” by Foster The People, whose Treasure Fingers Preparty remix rings my bell every time.  It also reminds me of Scissor Sisters’ “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing”.  Listen below.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.

Speaking of the Sisters, “Only The Horses” gallops to #7 this week as we saw the release of their album Magic Hour.  And it’s a fine and varied affair, definitely a few dances and turns away from  2010’s Night Work.  The Calvin Harris-produced album sees John Legend contributing to what is the most obvious pop radio target, “Baby Come Home”, while the Bee Gees harmonies are abuzz again on “Inevitable”.  The quirky “Let’s Have A Kiki” stays in your head, and the other standout song is “Self Control”.  The songs should make for a grand bit of fun in concert too.  You can listen to the entire album right here.

The tireless Adam Tyler has been home in Kansas City, MO performing this weekend.  And while that’s been happening, “Music Freak” has risen up to #8.  The last new entry to the top 10 is from Frankmusik’s free Vincent Did it project called The SOPA Opera EP.  “Notice Me”, featuring Quigley on additional vocals, is one of Vince’s best songs.  I can’t wait to see what makes the cut for his next full album.

Just outside of the Top 10, several songs continue to move up.  “Warrior” by Mark Foster, A-Trak and Kimbra should bound into the Top 10 in two weeks along with “How It Feels To Be A Man” by Latvia’s Markus Riva, also from the This Beat Is Poptronik release.  I continue to enjoy Keane’s “Silenced By The Night”, though I’ll wait to see what’s in store for single release #2 from Strangeland.  Since this is Bright Light Bright Light’s big week,  the link to his remix of my #13 song, “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes is right here.

While “Prince Of Nothing Charming” sails to #6, Tyler Hilton’s rocking “Loaded Gun” jumps 21-15.  The fastest riser on the chart belongs to the exuberant “All Our Love” by Boston’s Gentlemen Hall, climbing 26-19.  While Sam Sparro’s “Happiness” tumbles to #17, I’m posting the lyrics video to Sam’s next single, “I Wish I Never Met You”.  It’s a scathing change of pace from the joyful “Happiness”.  But the song’s lyrics and execution hit home, particularly if you’ve ever been crushed by love.  I love how bold this song is.

“Can’t Say No” by Conor Maynard has a cheery charm to it that keeps me listening, and it moves up to #20.  Andreas Moe’s upcoming single “Collecting Sunlight” debuted on my last chart, and you can watch him perform it live below.  Huge talent in the making, folks!

The highest debut belongs to Daniel Bedingfield, who graced the top of my chart twice back in 2002 with “Gotta Get Thru This” and “James Dean (I Wanna Know)”.  His new songs are decidedly rockier and more emotional, and his new EP Stop The Traffik-Secret Fear, though available for free download, is worth buying to get all seven songs (only five are available on the download).  The dramatic and very well sung “Secret Fear” bows at #22.  Watch Daniel sing it in concert below.

I’ve mentioned the other debuts above.  Whether he thinks it or not, Tommy Paxton-Beesley’s created one of the coolest albums of the year with River Tiber’s From Now On.  No more is this evident in the jazzy “These Are Centuries”, which arrives on the chart at #24.  The only place where you can hear this one online is through iTunes, where you should go and purchase the entire album anyway 🙂 Lastly, our third debut from the This Beat Is Poptronik album belongs to 23 year old former Menudo member Monti Montañez with “Turn Up Your Radio”.  Initially, this was not one of my three favourites from the album; however its insanely catchy chorus has captured me and its 2:30 length just reminds me of the kind of songs radio used to play – short, sweet and memorable.  If you happen to be in Spain on September 1 and 2, Monti is one of the featured performers at the Poptronik festival in Sitges.  Listen right here.

BILLCS Chart #379 – May 21/12

While the chart’s a tad late, it’s worth the wait, he says poetically 🙂 There’s a new #1 song and 14 songs in a row that are surging upward.  Not surprising, we’re springing closer to summer!

With writing so much lately about the ongoing successes of Bright Light Bright Light, it’s no surprising that Rod Thomas takes #1 for a third time on my chart with the extraordinary “Waiting For The Feeling”.  It comes in anticipation of his debut album Make Me Believe In Hope, and more new songs too!  River Tiber’s mystical “Symmetry” holds at #2 from the exceptional indie effort From Now On, which also yields “Someday”, which slips down to #3.  Judging from his website, it appears that Colin Munroe has signed to Capitol Records, and my #4 “The Fight Of My Life” (featuring Pusha-T), is no longer available for free download but is on iTunes for sale.  It’s well worth the purchase; in the interim get his newer song “Invincible” (featuring RZA and Memoryhouse) from his website with an email subscription.  The energetic “Call It What You Want” by Foster The People now rounds out the Top 5.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.

I’d love to comment on all 12 songs ranking #6 through #17 but I’m going to focus on those that are fast rising or in the Top 10.

Two songs from This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One bookend that list.  At #6 is the frenetic “Celeb” by The Netherlands’ Tao Hypah, and moving up to #17 is Latvia’s Markus Riva with the beautifully sung “How It Feels To Be A Man”.  Look for more Poptronik to bust onto the chart in the coming weeks.

I had the pleasure of seeing Tyler Hilton in concert for the second time on May 17.  The positive energy in his show was contagious and he was really stoked to play a second night in my city.  He focused on new songs from Forget The Storm (bypassing my favourite Tyler song, “The Letter Song” – but it wouldn’t have fit the set anyway 😉 ).  “Prince Of Nothing Charming” leaps into the Top 10 at #7 , appropriately becoming Tyler’s 7th Top Tenner on my chart.  Not only this, but the first song we all heard way back in January in advance of Forget The Storm, “Loaded Gun”, bows at #21 just in time to reacquaint yourselves with it (live clip from the Toronto show above).  If you don’t know it yet, download it for free 🙂  Below is a list of Tyler’s Top 10’s from my chart:

When It Comes, #3
The Letter Song, #1
When The Stars Go Blue (with Bethany Joy Galeotti), #2
How Love Should Be, #10
Missing You, #4
You’ll Ask For Me, #7

Sam Sparro’s upcoming Return To Paradise album is being released in Canada by EMI Music, not sure about the rest of the world.  “Happiness” is a great start to that record at #8.  It’s somewhat fitting that a cover of a song Donna Summer recorded (albeit as a cover itself) was on my chart at the time of her passing last week.  Elouise’s faithful but still original spin on “Could It Be Magic” moves up to #10.

The fastest rising song (for the second time at the top of this blog) is one of the most insanely catchy and instantly likeable songs of 2012 thus far.  Mixed with some traditional elements and personality plus, “One Kiss” by another Netherlander, Jeronimo, soars 24-9, looking to be a key player on the chart very soon.  Look forward to Jeronimo’s One Kiss album as well!

The official release of Scissor Sisters’ “Only The Horses” just passed as their album Magic Hour soon approaches.  It climbs 19-11.  “Music Freak” by Adam Tyler inches closer to becoming the third Top 10 hit from Shattered Ice at #12 this week.  I’m still enjoying the fab Bright Light Bright Light remix of “Stupid Mistake” by Darren Hayes, and the song moves up to #15.  Separated by three chart points are two songs that are so different yet so go together for many reasons, obvious or not 😉  Quigley (aka Casey Carlson) is the featured vocalist on her beau FrankMusik’s “Notice Me” (billed as Vincent Did It) at #16, while her own stunning ballad “Inkblot Game” (also produced by FrankMusik) jumps to #19.  Don’t forget to download Quigley’s EP Pleiades and Vincent Did It’s The SOPA Opera EP both for free while you can.  Next up from her is a video for the song “Making Plans”.  And don’t think that the modest 5 point move will slow down the UK’s Conor Maynard.  “Can’t Say No” is well on its way at #23.

I’ve already written recently about the other two debuts.  “Collecting Sunlight” by Sweden’s Andreas Moe is another song that just reaches in and grabs your enthusiasm, and will be a summer delight, at #25.  The good nature of the rocking “All Our Love” by Boston’s Gentlemen Hall will brighten your day and bows at #26.

Quick Takes: Bright Light Bright Light album preview and Darren Hayes remix, Baiyu, Low Level Flight, and Andreas Moe

The pic above is the forthcoming cover for Make Me Believe In Hope, the long awaited album from Bright Light Bright Light (Rod Thomas).  It contains all of the favourites that you’ll find written up in my blog pages – the current “Waiting For The Feeling”, “Disco Moment” (currently featured on the outstanding This Beat Is…Poptronik compilation), “Love Part II”, “Cry At Films”, and “A New World To Say”.  Below is a teaser that will whet your appetite for the new songs.  Can’t wait!  Make Me Believe In Hope is available June 4 in the UK, and June 26 in North America.  You can order deluxe and cassette versions and more from the Bright Light Bright Light store or Amazon.

In a case of pitch perfect timing, Darren Hayes has released a dazzling BLx2 remix of “Stupid Mistake” for free download right here (initially courtesy of the always amazing Arjan Writes).  Darren is such a great friend to the online world – musicians, producers, bloggers, and fans – and he has embraced rising stars such as BLx2/Rod, Penguin Prison, Monsieur Adi, and others to help show different sides to his music.  Who could ask for anything more?  🙂

Baiyu featuring Rotimi “Invisible”

I have never been a huge fan of the video format, seeing it more as a commercial for the song than anything.  So it’s a treat when I see a video like “Invisible” totally capture its content.   It starts off like it might be vampy/campy, but quickly accelerates into a sexy/sensual and very romantic offering with featured performer Rotimi more likely to cause dreamy sighs at the end than anything.  Baiyu’s got such range to her voice that “Invisible” may be the song to click for her.  Baiyu’s next offering, titled Carter, is coming on June 13.  Watch “Invisible” below.

Low Level Flight “Tsk Tsk”

On their latest record Through These Walls, Canadian outfit Low Level Flight (led by the first Canadian Idol winner himself, Ryan Malcolm) continues to prove itself quite capable of making a place for themselves in the similar world of fellow Canuck rockers Marianas Trench, Simple Plan, and Hedley.  You can’t do that without being incredibly tight, which the band proved last Saturday in Toronto at The Mod Club with a fierce set that was free for their online followers.  Urgency was the title of their 2008 release, but it continues to fit the style of songs like their latest single “Tsk Tsk” – listen below.

Andreas Moe, “Collecting Sunlight” and “Boyfriend”

I’d put money on hearing much, much more from new Swedish singer Andreas Moe in the coming years.  The UK-based Andreas marries that elusive mix of emotional electronica (not unlike Bright Light Bright Light – future collabo?? 😉 ) and sensitive-singer/songwriter pop.  “Collecting Sunlight” (listen above) feels so good and reaches out warmly like you’ve known it for years.  Shortly after the release of “Collecting Sunlight” (due June 26) was announced, Andreas posted his free download cover of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend”.  Andreas gives the song a rocking soulful edge and dispenses with Bieber’s attempt at an *NSYNC reboot.  You can also watch his compelling performance of the song below, which is bound to give you a completely different impression of it.