#BILLCSTop30 #581, February 17/20

While former One Direction members don’t have three songs again in the new chart, they are back-to-back in the pole positions.

Zayn’s featured vocal totally makes “Flames” by producers R3HAB and Jungleboi (above) , and it holds at #1 for a second appearance at the top.  But right behind at #2 is “Adore You” by Harry Styles  (below) from Fine Line, so the two songs will battle it out for #1 in two weeks.  And Harry’s “Watermelon Sugar” rises a notch 8-7 too.

Awolnation’s catchy electronic rocker “The Best” (above) climbs 4-3, while Chicago production duo Autograf move up 10-5 with “Ain’t Deep Enough” (below).  That matches featured vocalist Jared Lee’s previous peak appearance on the Midnight Kids’ “Those Were The Days” last year.

Not surprisingly, Famba’s “Storm” (above), featuring fellow Canadian Kyra Mastro, becomes his third Top 10 hit on this chart, advancing 11-9, while yet another Canadian, Ekali acquires his first one in collaboration with Illenium and vocalist Chloe Angelides on “Hard To Say Goodbye” (12-10, below) from the album A World Away.

More Canadians have the fastest riser on the chart.  It belongs to Vancouver producers Young Bombs for their original featuring Aloe Blacc called “Better Day”.  It zips up the chart 22-14 and is on its way to becoming their second Top 20 radio hit in Canada, following last year’s “Starry Eyes”.  It’s also a Top 30 dance radio hit in the U.S.

The debuts from two weeks ago are already making inroads on the chart.  Arty’s “Daydreams” featuring Cimo Fränkel (above) climbs 24-18 in its Sultan + Shepard “echoes of life” remix.  The Russian producer has immediately followed it up with another thoughtful anthem, “You’re Not Alone” with vocalist Griff Clawson, below.

Louis Tomlinson’s touching “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart”, from his debut album Walls, is well on its way up the chart, rising 27-20.

“Better Off Without You” by Becky Hill and Shift K3Y has leapt into the Top 25 in their native UK, and it’s done the same thing on this chart, climbing 28-23.

The highest debut on the chart is the first appearance for Italian producer Gianmaria Sanna, otherwise known as Deep Chills, with a charming pop-flavoured slice of tropical-tinged electronica called “Backfire” featuring L.A. vocalist Not Famous.  It arrives on the chart at #21.  Check out the lyric video featuring both performers above.

Arriving at #24 and continuing his mighty comeback is British producer Gareth Emery with newcomer Nash for “Yesterday”.  The song has a classic 80’s feel which reminds me particularly of Mike Oldfield’s songs with Maggie Reilly, such as “Family Man” or “Moonlight Shadow”.  So thanks to L.A.’s Linney for capturing that vocal style, intentionally or not, which gives the song the gentle, reflective feels that it needs.  Check out the video from Gareth’s recent “Laserface” show in Minneapolis, above.

Following up last year’s snappy and infectious “Don’t Think Twice” (#2) is “Fall-Out” by Netherlands-based Emirati producers Revelries, this time in collaboration with fellow producers Boyboyboy and UK-based German vocalist Will Church.  It bows at #25.

The fourth debut is “Look Into My Eyes” by L.A. singer/songwriter Brando, who you know from his memorable vocal on Loud Luxury’s massive hit “Body”.  He returns to the chart at #27 with this original which also reworks Charles & Eddie’s 1992 hit “Would I Lie To You” into the hook of the song.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

#BILLCSTop30 #580, February 3/20

When One Direction last recorded about 5 years back – and they never appeared on this chart – no one could have told me that three of the members would be on this chart years later at the same time!  And for a second chart in a row, there are three Harry Styles songs in the Top 10.  And there’s a long line up of songs waiting to get into both the Top 10 and the Top 30!

So the second 1D member to reach #1 on this chart after Harry is… Zayn!  I didn’t care for his first solo album at all, but the second, the overlooked Icarus Falls, is really quite intriguing.  I was happy for him to spread his wings and work with a dance dynamo like R3HAB in partnership with fellow producer Jungleboi.  So it’s the stunning “Flames” that is on top, just in time for the arrival of its official video (above)! Although we can pretend that the mystery man in black is Zayn, alas he is not in the video.

And speaking again of Harry, and his supurb Fine Line album, “Adore You” advances 7-3 and seems like it might be the logical choice to succeed “Flames” at the top, fanciful video and all.

And right behind is L.A. alt.rockers Awolnation who climb 8-4 with their latest, with an incredibly infectious hook, “The Best”.

The Weeknd’s retrotastic “Blinding Lights” (above) becomes his 4th Top 10 hit on this chart, moving 11-9, while Autograf’s classy deep house track “Ain’t Deep Enough” (below), featuring singer Jared Lee, climbs 12-10.  It’s Jared’s second recent appearance in the Top 10 after last year’s #5 with Midnight Kids, “Those Were The Days”.

“Storm” by Famba and Kyra Mastro climbs 14-11 and is the current #1 dance song in the USA.  Check out his new EP Wishes Vol. 1, which features his other two big Canadian radio hits “Swear To God” and “Wish You Well”, plus three more new songs.

Ekali is only playing one Canadian date on his upcoming tour, but I’m sure more will follow as the producer has a flair for remembering to make up previously cancelled shows (like in Toronto).  From his new album A World Away comes his collaboration with Illenium, “Hard To Say Goodbye”, featuring the voice of Chloe Angelides, which moves up 17-12.

“Starlight” is a quiet, sweetly soulful winner for producer ZEROBADDAYS and singer/songwriter Victor Perry, as it glides up the chart from 19-14.

The Fastest Riser is the previous chart’s highest debut, “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” by the immensely talented Jessie Ware, which advances 23-17.  Don’t this silky slice of UK soul slip through the cracks!  And if some of the melody sounds slight familiar, and perhaps may have been an unintended source of inspiration, you might catch yourself singing parts of Shannon’s “Let The Music Play”…

Also holding its own amid a busy chart featuring a lot of power players is Toronto area duo Homestead, from their debut EP Beacon, with the danceable rocker “Lifeline” climbing 28-23.  Joël and Liam will be performing the entire EP and some new songs this coming Thursday in Toronto at the Northern Maverick Brewing Company, and I’ll be there to check it out!

The Highest Debut at #24 belongs to Russian producer Arty with vocalist Cimo Fränkel on the delightful “Daydreams”, soon to be a festival favourite in its Sultan + Shepard Echoes of Life remix, which sounds like a Coldplay song that’s taken a dive into melodic house.  It follows Arty’s 2018 instrumental tribute to Avicii called “Tim” which got to #3.  Official video of “Daydreams” is above, the Sultan + Shepard remix is below.

A third One Directioner arrives on the chart for the first time – it’s Louis Tomlinson with his captivating and incredibly sincere ballad “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” at #27. He co-wrote it with the likes of James Newman, singer Wrabel, producer Stuart Crichton, and Cole Citrenbaum from the duo Opia, so lots of fine hands were in the mix.  It’s also from Louis’ debut album Walls, after over 3 years of singles-only releases.  And the 1D fans are incredibly happy about that.  Watch the video for a rather unbelievable ending!

The third debut is “Better Off Without You” by chart returnees Becky Hill and Shift K3Y at #28.  These Brits have both been in the Top 10 before.  Becky was the voice on Matoma’s “False Alarm” which got to #6 in 2016, while producer Shift K3Y got to #7 in 2015 with one of his early releases, “I Know”.  A bit of trivia for you: Shift K3Y’s real name is Louis Jankel, and he is the son of singer, songwriter and producer Chaz Jankel, who not only was a key member/songwriter with Ian Dury & The Blockheads (“Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”) but also was prominent on the US dance charts in the early 80’s with the funky “Glad to Know You” and “Ai No Corrida” (later covered by Quincy Jones).

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #579, January 20/20

Older favourites depart to make room for five new songs in this edition of my bi-weekly personal chart.  For those new to reading about my chart, there are very few rules, it’s just a list of my current favourites, stylized after the radio charts of yore.  The only rule is that songs that reach 10 appearances (20 weeks) depart the chart – unless they are rising up the chart, which has only happened once (with Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which had an 11 appearance run).

Two veteran electronic dance acts vie for #1 in two weeks.  For now, “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark (above) grabs #1 for a second appearance.  It’s a mellow dance song with a chanting chorus sung in Sanskrit that’s set to a fantastic deep house rhythm, which you will undoubtedly hear at upcoming music festivals.  Moving up 3-2 is the moody but riveting latest release by R3HAB in collaboration with Jungleboi and a stellar vocal by Zayn bringing life to the devil or demon persona in “Flames”

Look who has three songs in the Top 10 – it’s Harry Styles!  Former #1 “Lights Up” is now at #3, while “Adore You” (above) and “Watermelon Sugar” (below) both continue to climb to #7 and #10 respectively.  The last time this happened was back in July 2011, when Simon Curtis was in the Top 10 with “Flesh”, “Superhero”, and “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”.

L.A.-based Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy keeps busy between film-making, photography, and music.  “Toxic World” climbs 8-5 and is starting to receive airplay on some Canadian radio stations thanks to its warm and timely message.  Peter tells me he is working on more new music which we may hear by spring or early summer!

The only other new entry to the Top 10 besides “Watermelon Sugar” is Florida singer/songwriter John.k’s slice of life song “if we never met”, which rises 12-9.  

The Weeknd has an album forthcoming – he’s just not saying what it is or when just yet.  In the meantime, the 80’s retro-tastic “Blinding Lights” advances 18-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to “Ain’t Deep Enough” where a classic deep house vibe will grab you underneath the sterling vocal by Jared Lee, courtesy of Chicago duo Autograf.  “Ain’t Deep Enough” climbs 20-12.

“Storm” continues to ride the Top 10 of American dance charts, yet for some reason hasn’t followed up Famba’s Canadian radio hits in his own country (the producer recently relocated from Halifax to Toronto too).  Featuring a vocal by fellow Canadian Kyra Mastro, “Storm” moves up 21-14.

Ekali’s new album A World Away will be dropping soon while the producer teases with previews on social media.  In the meantime, the Vancouver-born Nathan Shaw collaborates with his buddy Illenium for “Hard To Say Goodbye”, featuring the voice of Chloe Angelides, which climbs 23-17.  “Hard” will also appear on A World Away.

“Starlight” continues to be off to a great start for Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and U.S. singer/songwriter Victor Perry, and rises 26-19.

While she awaits the birth of child #2, England’s Jessie Ware is releasing some of the best songs of her career, with R&B flavours that only seem to get captured by the best British women singers – Dusty Springfield, Lisa Stansfield, Beverley Knight, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Mica Paris to name a few.  “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” follows up last year’s “Overtime” and “Adore You” – it might be the best of the bunch and bows at #23.  It’s her 7th appearance on this chart, which started with a featured vocal on an alternate version of Miguel’s “Adorn” in 2013.

The next two entries are guaranteed to shake the snow off those winter boots and get you dancing.  Veterans Chocolate Puma and Firebeatz (who I saw perform in Miami last year) join forces for a fantastic house track, “Soul Fifty” (above) at #24.  NYC-based, Montreal-born A-Trak is on a real roll with releases on his Fools Gold label.  Essentially a double “A” sided single with “What Can I Do” (featuring Loods), “Blaze” (below) is the epitomy of slick house and features Friend Within.  “Blaze” arrives at #25.

To date, Vancouver production duo Young Bombs have only appeared on this chart as remixers, including with a #1 for Connor Phillips with “Lost” in 2016.  The lads had a Canadian radio hit and US dance hit last year with “Starry Eyes” after signing with Astralwerks.  Their latest single “Better Day” (#27) offers brightness and positivity in the bleaker months of winter, and brings us another dynamic vocal by Aloe Blacc, still on the chart with Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark” at #20.

The fifth debut belongs to Canadian duo Homestead with “Lifeline” at #28 from their debut EP Beacon.  The duo of Liam DeBoer and Joël have been collaborating for years, withJoël first appearing on this chart in 2016 with the fantastic storytelling of “You Fucked Up” (#12).  “Lifeline” is much edgier musically, featuring standout guitar work and Joël’s fiery vocal style alongside a danceable rhythm.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

#BILLCSTop30 #577, December 23/19

My last chart of the year, and decade, is here, which means my year end Top Songs list will be following on December 31.  What a year it’s been for music! Though it doesn’t compare as much to other years in this decade, it still had so much to offer.  There are four debuts on this new chart, and a contender for the top in two weeks.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog will be featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactive Facebook group too!!

It’s Harry Styles Week in most of the world, at least according to the album charts.  Fine Line is the top album in North America and elsewhere in the world, and deservedly so with its find blend of contemporary and many past styles which make an incredibly diverse album that goes down really easy.  Oh, and can I mention Harry’s super vocals yet again?  🙂 Not only does “Lights Up” (above) get a third appearance (6th week) at #1 on this chart, but “Watermelon Sugar” advances 25-19 and “Adore You” (below) has the highest debut two positions down at #21!

It seems likely that Tritonal and Henry Dark could take Harry Styles away from #1 in two weeks as the new Sanskrit-chanted festival anthem for 2020, “Shivohum”, soars 9-2. This riveting song keeps your ears glued and your feet very happy.

I never thought I’d see Dolly Parton in my Top 5 in the 2010’s or 2020’s, but here she is with dance superstars Galantis retooling John Hiatt’s “Have A Little Faith In Me” into the jubilant and fun dance track, “Faith”, rising 7-5.  Dolly’s classic, recognizable vocal goes so well with Mr. Probz’s soulful one too.

Speaking of soul on a dance music song, Aloe Blacc lends his trademark voice to Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark”, which glides 11-7.

Also new in the Top 10 are “Mad” by Brandon Colbein (12-9, above, with a tender, acoustic, stripped down version), his second following the #1 “So Bad” in 2016 (billed then as Brandon Skeie), and Sam Smith’s glorious cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” (13-10, below).  It’s Sam’s tenth top tenner here, including his featured vocals with Disclosure on “Latch” and “Omen”.

Peter Foldy’s “Toxic World” is a wonderful new release by the veteran Canadian singer/songwriter and it rises 15-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to R3HAB, Zayn and Jungleboi with the short but deeply involving “Flames”, which goes into fast gear, up 20-12.  Zayn with his compelling vocal as a demon or the devil?  Yes please!!

L.A. indie alt.rock quartet Awolnation has one of the most infectious songs out there with “The Best”, which climbs 22-16.

I’m hoping that pop radio will jump all over “if we never met” by Florida-based singer/songwriter John.k soon.  It moves up 21-17.

Halifax dance producer Famba acquires his first American dance radio Top 10 hit with my second new entry, which is “Storm”, featuring vocalist Kyra Mastro at #27. It’s from Famba’s upcoming release Wishes Vol. 1, due just after the new year, and follows his Canadian radio hits “Wish You Well” and “Swear To God” (which peaked at #3 on this chart).  I’m waiting for Canadian stations to jump all over it – what are you waiting for?

I’m also surprised that radio in general is ignoring Adam Lambert’s sensational performance in covering Cher’s “Believe”, brought to life over a year ago at the Kennedy Centre Honours performances (above), and bows at #28.  It’s Adam’s first appearance on the chart since 2016, which was on the last charting hit by our #2 song’s lead act Tritonal called “Broken” (#4).  Fascinatin’ fact:  “Breaking Hearts” (#15) singer Benedict Cork co-wrote Adam’s single from earlier in the year “Feel Something”.

Pulling in at #30 is “Hard To Say Goodbye”, another in a series of excellent emotional electronic songs, this time in collaboration with Vancouver’s Ekali and Denver’s Illenium, and a heart-wrenching vocal by Chloe Angelides.  It’s Ekali’s second chart entry following last year’s #12 “Blame” with ZHU, and is Illenium’s 6th chart appearance (including the current #8 “Broken Ones”).

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

 

 

 

Weekend Dance Roundup Part 2: @DubVisionmusic & @SYZZmusic @PLSandTYbased & @GANZgvnz & #Nevve @TheHim & @Lootemusic @iamAlanWalker, @SabrinaAnnLynn, and @Farrukoofficial @Ekalimusic & @L-1788 @ArminvanBuuren & @BonnieMcKee @SultanShepard & #CarlaMonroe @Goldroom @Robokidmusic @Kremerkmusic

Following up yesterday’s Part 1, here’s the second part of my Weekend Dance Music Roundup, I’m featuring 10 more new dance music releases, in no particular order, some of whom are by performers you may see at Miami Music Week.

  • Dutch brothers DubVision and fellow Dutch production duo SYZZ positively sparkle with the high energy of “Enlighten Me”.  This is a zesty 2:37 dance track that will have you chanting the urgent chorus and feeling great afterwards.  It’s one of DubVision’s very best tracks and the partnership with Syzz is well worth repeating.  A festival fist pumper for sure.

During Miami Music Week, DubVision play at Firebeatz and Friends on Tuesday March 26 and at Ultra Music Festival on Saturday March 31.

  • One of my favourite songs last year was the Morgan Page extended mix of PLS&TY’s “Down For Me”.  The Florida producer returns in collaboration with Dutchman Ganz for “Motives”.  The song starts off rather unassumingly but gradually builds to a feverishly emotional state by the minute mark, thanks to the signature voice of go-to dance music singer Nevve.  This is one of her best and most committed vocals that rides the sometimes hard-hitting future bass production later in the song.  Sway away and enjoy!
  • Norway’s Alan Walker has crafted something totally unexpected with “On My Way”.  Harkening back to three years ago when “Faded” astounded everyone, Alan employs the sharp voice of star-on-the-rise Sabrina Carpenter (currently in the Billboard club chart Top 10 with “Sue Me”) for a song that’s totally suited to her.  It begins with R&B flavour that you might associate with Rihanna, then drifts off to the islands with a vocal break from Puerto Rico’s Farruko.  By the end you’ll feel like you’ve been on a bit of an adventure so check it out!
  • Also with tropical flavours but with a more relaxed, summery vibe is “Tell Your Friends”, the latest from blog favourites The Him.  Steven and J have brought aboard American duo Loote for effortless give ‘n take vocals which make the song simply breeze by with its appealing synth-peppered bounce.

The Him plays Spinnin’ Sessions at Spinnin’ Hotel on Wednesday March 27 and Klingande’s Playground Pool Party on Sunday March 31 during Miami Music Week.

  • A new and potent instrumental is brought to you courtesy of Mexican producers Kremerk called “Nowhere”.  Premiered recently by Nicky Romero, “Nowhere” doesn’t hold back any punches with its lively synths and creative, progressive production which sometimes recalls Afrojack.  Its relentless pace doesn’t give up for a second of its 2:46 length.
  • It’s been out for about a month, but “Ruin” by the one-of-a-kind collaboration of Ekali and 1788-L delivers in just about every way possible.  Highly inventive and drawing heavily from trap and dubstep, “Ruin” is one song that will neither tire you out with an overabundance of effects, nor will you tire of its frequent changes of pace.  There’s a beautiful, underlying melody amid the experimentation, and these guys just make it all sound even more fascinating as the song progresses.  While it might not be for everyone, “Ruin” should become a centerpiece in sets by both performers.

1788-L plays no less than four events during Miami Music Week on Thursday March 28 (twice, including Brownies & Lemonade Miami), Friday March 29 and Saturday March 30.

  • From his recent 8 song release RK1, Boston’s Robokid has a real grower with “Everything Around You”.  Co-produced by the enigmatic Kid Froopy – you’ll remember 2017’s “Drive Slow” – “Everything Around You” happily marries early-to-mid 2000’s alt.influences of bands like Blink 182 and All-American Rejects with simmering electronics and a taut vocal arrangement that helps make the chorus so memorable.  
  • L.A.’s Goldroom offers up a different kind of slice of life with “Cocaine Girl”.  Its lazy west coast vibe is the perfect foil for a story in which the subjects just seem content to live a dreamy, carefree life.  Its uncomplicated-sounding synth arrangement recalls 80’s Depeche Mode and there are some nice acoustic guitar touches as well.  
  • After dazzling us recently with their instrumental “American Beauty” (based up on the score of the movie of the same name), Sultan + Shepard continue but this time with a solid house banger in “Deeper”.  It packs even more of a wallop thanks to the presence of the killer voice of Carla Monroe – she of MK’s “17” fame.  “Deeper” has the potential to be yet another huge club smash for my Canadian brethren.

Sultan + Shepard play Mixmash Takeover on Thursday March 28 and Armada Invites Miami on Saturday March 30 during Miami Music Week.

  • And what would this year’s Miami Music Week be without a new song from the master who is Armin van Buuren?  Departing from the anthemic humour of “Blah Blah Blah”, Armin brings a delightful song full of longing, powered by the voice of none other than “American Girl” herself, Bonnie McKee.  You wouldn’t expect Bonnie in this setting and Armin weaves some intense synths and beats around her gracious presence.  Armin has a long history with me, going back to 2003’s haunting “Yet Another Day”, and 16 years later continues to deliver the heat amid many talented contemporaries. 

Armin van Buuren plays Ultra Music Festival on Saturday March 30 and Sunday March 31.

 

 

#BILLCSTop88of2018

As we head into 2019, 2018 set the foundation for dance music to evolve in a big way – to make people want to dance together again, and to create festive, fun music which moves away from a lot of mid-tempo songs over the past few years. 

Unfortunately it may have taken the death of Avicii to realize how much many of us miss the frenetic synths and arpeggios of dance music of the early part of this decade.  It also made many of us look back in time to soak in what dance and disco music of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s brought us, and how it all made us feel great.  

While dance music is the main genre I listen to, there are other pop, alternative, and R&B/soul songs in my year end list.  These are simply my favourites, in an order that could change at any time in the near future, so for now it’s a snapshot in time. 

Songs that were on the BILLCS Top 30 at year’s end appear on this list if they had 4 appearances or more and may appear on next year’s list too if they end up ranking higher than this year. 

You’ll see some of my favourite performers multiple times – The Chainsmokers, The Him, Miguel, and Bobby Nourmand all have three entries – while there are less remixes on the chart than in recent years. 

And a tip of the hat to the many performers that continue to release excellent music on their own, represented here by the UK’s Sam Dickinson and Lostchild, Florida’s Adam Foster, Philadelphia duo NiGHTS, Germany’s Saxity, US sensation-on-the-rise YEBBA, NYC’s Squired, and even Australia-born actor Keiynan Lonsdale.

I’m in the process of entering all of my year end lists from 2009 to present in a Google Docs spreadsheet, and you’ll find these listings with tabs for each year at this link:

https://tinyurl.com/BILLCSTop88of2018

Spotify playlist – listen to all of the songs! 

BILLCS Top 88 of 2018 

88 BIG FISH featuring MIKE GOMES Moves
87 JYYE Somewhere Else
86 CHICO ROSE featuring DJ AFROJACK 2012
85 TWO FRIENDS featuring KEVIN WRITER Just A Kid
84 ROZES & NICKY ROMERO Where Would We Be
83 SQUIRED Peace Out
82 FELIX CARTAL featuring VICTORIA ZARO Worry
81 BTS DNA
80 SAN HOLO featuring BIPOLAR SUNSHINE Brighter Days
79 SAM SMITH featuring YEBBA No Peace
78 REVELRIES featuring THE BEAMISH BOYS Infinitum
77 LABROSE Gravity
76 EKALI & ZHU Blame
75 RYAN SHEPHERD featuring DIRTY HARY Right Now
74 REIGEN Dreams
73 ARIANA GRANDE Breathin
72 MATOMA featuring MAX Lonely
71 YEARS & YEARS Sanctify
70 MIKA It’S My House
69 BOBBY NOURMAND featuring ADAM ENGLE The Sun
68 BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT How I Feel
67 FRANK PIERCE featuring MILES B. Do Me
66 SHAWN MENDES Lost In Japan
65 TIESTO & DZEKO featuring PREME & POST MALONE Jackie Chan
64 CADEN JESTER featuring BLAKE ROSE Vacant Love
63 BOBBY NOURMAND featuring LAURENT JOHN Prisoner
62 IDEO featuring J. PAULISHED Multiply
61 HELLBERG & LEONA LEWIS Headlights

60 WHETHAN featuring BROODS Be Like You
59 MADISON MARS Back The Funk
58 SAINT WKND & MAX Survive (PLS&TY Remix)
57 JAMES POOLE Perfectly Me
56 TROYE SIVAN Bloom
55 JESSIE WARE Overtime
54 ADAM FOSTER  Time
53 THE CHAINSMOKERS featuring KELSEA BALLERINI This Feeling
52 THE HIM White Lies
51 SAXITY featuring VICTOR PERRY You Found Me
50 THE KNOCKS featuring METHOD MAN Goodbyes
49 JONAS BLUE featuring JACK & JACK Rise
48 KEIYNAN LONSDALE Preach
47 ROBOTAKI featuring JAMIE FINE & FALCXNE Butterscotch
46 AXEL MANSOOR Talk To Me
45 YEARS & YEARS All For You
44 BOTNEK Days Of Disco
43 WAITWHAT featuring RIELLE Alive
42 JESSE McCARTNEY Better With You
41 MARTIN GARRIX  featuring BONN High On Life
40 PLS&TY Down For Me (Morgan Page Extended Remix)
39 SAM DICKINSON  Wild Sun
38 GROMEE featuring JESPER JENSET One Last Time
37 NORA EN PURE Tears In My Eyes
36 ALYX ANDER & REDONDO featuring MARIA Z Casually
35 NiGHTS Eyes
34 BRANDYN BURNETTE Run
33 SOFI TUKKER Baby I’m A Queen
32 ILLENIUM featuring ANNIKA WELLS Crawl Outta Love (PatrickReza Remix)
31 YEBBA Evergreen

30 LOSTCHILD Blacklist
29 MIGUEL Told You So
28 THE HIM featuring IVY ADARA Everybody Hurts
27 MERCER Fireworks
26 RETROVISION Get Down
25 DAVE EDWARDS featuring MARK ASARI What We’Re Made Of
24 MIGUEL featuring TRAVIS SCOTT Sky Walker
23 GIIANTS Small Talk
22 ARTY Tim
21 DZEKO Crazy (Tiësto’s Big Room Mix)
20 PETER WILSON & SEAN SMITH Verona
19 MK 17
18 TONY MORAN featuring JASON WALKER I’m In Love With You (Victor Dinaire/Bissen Remix)
17 RUFUS DU SOL No Place
16 ROBOTAKI & MANILA KILLA featuring MATTHEW JOHN KURZ I Want You (Spirix Remix)
15 THE CHAINSMOKERS Sick Boy
14 MAKO Breathe
13 BENNY BENASSI & SOFI TUKKER Everybody Needs A Kiss
12 THE CHAINSMOKERS Everybody Hates Me
11 KIESZA featuring PHILIPPE SLY Phantom Of The Dance Floor
10 JAMES BAY Pink Lemonade
09 A-TRAK featuring TODD TERRY DJ’S Gotta Dance More
08 BOBBY NOURMAND Subterranean/Estranged
07 ODESZA Loyal
06 LOUD LUXURY featuring BRANDO Body
05 TROYE SIVAN My My My!
04 DYRISK featuring NIK ERNST Smile
03 MERCER featuring RON CARROLL Satisfy
02 THE HIM featuring PARSON JAMES Broken Love
01 MIGUEL Pineapple Skies

#BILLCSTop30 #532 – April 2/18

The tides are changing now that Spring is here as new favourites overtake older ones.  While we have four debuts this week on the chart, there are two songs that reach the maximum of 10 appearances – “Pineapple Skies” by Miguel (#1) and “Body” by Loud Luxury and Brando (#2) – and will depart the chart in two weeks.  We could have a slew more debuts in two weeks so watch for them.  In the meantime, chart #532 brings a new #1 while other contenders rise up as well!

The Top 10

  • The new #1 belongs to L.A.’s Alex Seaver, otherwise known as Mako, with “Breathe”.  It’s such a compelling performance and keeps you attuned all the way till the very end, and Alex can bring it in concert too.  “Breathe” also happens to be the most charted title in my 20 year chart history – 6 times – but this is the first time the title has reached #1!
  • Soaring from 8 to 3 is Norwegian singer/songwriter/ Dyrisk with “Smile”, featuring production by the UK’s Nik Ernst.  “Smile” is such a different, dark song, full of attitude and so reminiscent of alt.electronica from the early 90’s by Massive Attack and Radiohead.  
  • Another song that continues to get under my skin in all the right ways is “I Want You” by Robotaki and Manila Killa with vocalist Matthew John Kurz.  In its intense Spirix remix it climbs 12-6.  That matches the peak of Matthew’s only other previous chart entry, “Fix Me”, in 2011, while producers Robotaki and Manila Killa are both chart newcomers 🙂
  • “Perfectly Me” is UK singer/songwriter James Poole’s song about positive body image that will have you cheering gleefully with its embedded influences that seem to range from Mika to Queen.  It moves up 11-8.

  • The fastest riser on the chart is UK Top 10 smash “17” by MK (producer Marc Kinchen), which zips into the Top 10, rising 19-9.  It’s also an overdue dance club smash in North America, and should by all rights be a radio hit too.  The uncredited vocals, by the way, are by UK soul singer Carla Monroe.  MK’s Miami Music Week sets were all the buzz when I was there recently.
  • Also new to the Top 10 is “Prisoner” by Bobby Nourmand featuring UK R&B singer Laurent John, climbing 14-10.  It marks Bobby’s fourth trip to the Top 10, with new music just released and itching to be heard 🙂  I had the pleasure of witnessing Bobby’s masterful set at the Potion Records showcase at Miami Music Week.

Movin’ On Up

  • Kudos for Vancouver’s Ekali and all of his recent appearances at Miami Music Week.  His recent single with ZHU called “Blame” rises 16-12.
  • Sofi Tukker are keeping busy with touring and remixing as the April 13 release date of their album Treehouse approaches!  “Baby I’m A Queen” may be their best single yet and it flies into the Top 10, up 26-17.
  • What do you do when you’re a successful act like Years & Years, leading into your second album release with a strong song and video like “Sanctify”, but get New Order’s own Bernard Sumner to remix it!  “Sanctify” climbs 25-20, check out Bernard’s remix as well as French producer Michael Calfan’s more uptempo “Prayer” remix at the link above.  I also caught one of Michael’s excellent DJ sets at Miami Music Week.
  • Dutch production duo The Him just wrapped their recent North American tour, which means that more new music is on its way soon.  In the meantime, I got to see their engaging set at Miami Music Week, and their latest single, the soulful “White Lies”, rises 27-21.

Four Debuts

  • Yes I continue mention Miami Music Week!  It was an interesting experience that I would repeat 🙂  A song I fell in love with in a DJ set one night was “Satisfy” by French producer Mercer and featuring Chicago vocalist Ron Carroll.  I didn’t know that Mercer was from France and honestly all I could think of at the time was 70’s disco by fellow French producers like Cerrone and Don Ray, married with contemporary house rhythms.  The pace is relentless and the vocals rich and on point – just the way I like a record!  “Satisfy” bows at #22.

  • Although I didn’t go to the Ultra Music Festival, The Chainsmokers blew away the naysayers about their latest songs with what I heard from others was a dynamic performance.  The uncharacteristic “Sick Boy” slides 6 to 4, while the hip hop influenced “Everybody Hates Me” debuts at #24.  Do not underestimate The Chainsmokers – “Everybody Hates Me” will have you singing when you need to vent.

  • In an unexpected collaboration, Philadelphia singer/songwriter ROZES (she of ever-recognizable The Chainsmokers’ “Roses” vocal) and Dutch dynamo Nicky Romero released “Where Would We Be” recently, and this true-to-life song arrives at #27.  It’s the first appearance for both on the chart.  Above is their recent performance on TV’s “Conan”.
  • From his excellent album Ultraviolet, 3LAU (that’s pronounced “Blau”, as in Justin Blau) gets his first chart appearance with “Walk Away”, featuring LunaAura.  This memorable new song should prompt you to listen to the whole album in full, well worth your time!  “Walk Away” bows at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #530 – March 5, 2018

Spring is on its way and the new chart is pretty stuck on a number of songs.  So while there are three new entries, you can expect more changes in two weeks before I am Miami Music Week bound.

The Top 10

  • Troye Sivan’s “My My My!” secures a second appearance tightly ensconced at the top.  We did see the first official remix arrive, by the fantastic duo of Cash Cash, and it’s perhaps a little different from what you might expect, more chilled out than the original.  Check it out below.
  • If you want an uplifting song with a unique melodic hook, then listen no further than to “What We’re Made Of” by NYC’s Dave Edwards featuring Britain-based vocalist Mark Asari, climbing 5-4.

  • Mako gets his second Top 5 hit with “Breathe” moving up 7-5.  “Smoke-Filled Room” reached #3 two years ago.
  • Off to see Miguel next Monday, so fittingly “Told You So” moves up 10-6 from his stunning War & Leisure album.  Can’t wait to hear it all in live performance.  It was super that he got to sing the winning song on the Oscars from the animated film CoCo called “Remember Me”.

  • It’s such a different song for The Chainsmokers with on-point lyrics too.  “Sick Boy” bounds 14-9 making it Alex and Drew’s 6th trip into this Top 10 🙂
  • Mika moves up 12-10 for his first Top 10 entry since 2010 with the inspiring and inclusive “It’s My House”.

Movin’ On Up

  • Italian producer Big Fish has a brisk, fun and unassuming dance song with “Moves” featuring American vocalist, landing just shy of the Top 10 up 13-11.

  • Some K-POP continues to flourish on the chart as superstars BTS climb 18-15 with “DNA”.  
  • The fastest rising song on the chart belongs to UK singer/songwriter James Poole, who I am so glad to see back making original music after a bit of a hiatus, much different from when I first heard him in 2014-15.  And it’s even better because he’s found a goldmine with his positive message of “Perfectly Me”, and I’m happy to get behind the song 100%.  It soars 23-16.
  • It’s a quadruple threat:  Producers Robotaki and Manila Killa along with powerhouse vocalist Matthew John Kurz came up with the solid “I Want You”, then remixer Spirix amped up the emotion.  The remix climbs 22-17.  Check out Matthew’s new solo song “Dreams In LA”, below.
  • Bobby Nourmand’s new soulful dance hit “Prisoner”, featuring British singer Laurent John, should be well on its way in two weeks.  For now it rises 26-20.
  • Right behind “Prisoner” is Ekali and ZHU’s memorable “Blame”, climbing 27-21.  Check out NGHTMRE’s recent remix below.
  • Finally, Toronto trio Keys N Krates jumps 29-24 featuring Tory Lanez in the singalong “Music To My Ears”.

Three Debuts

  • One of the most unexpected, clever pleasures of the year is the alt.electronic vibe of “Smile” by Norway’s Dyrisk featuring British producer Nik Ernst.  It recalls to me some of the best music made by the likes of Massive Attack in the 90’s, and this update is out of the ordinary but very cutting edge.  Watch for this one in the coming weeks.  It bows at a high #22.  Nik Ernst himself previously appeared on the chart in the summer of 2016 with “Stronger” (#13) in its Steve Void edit.
  • It just reached #1 on Billboard’s Club Play chart, and “All Falls Down” by another Norwegian, Alan Walker, featuring both Miley’s sis Noah Cyrus and UK vocalist Digital Farm Animals on vocals arrives at #26.  It’s hard to believe Alan’s most famous hit “Faded” got to #3 on the chart just a little less than two years ago.
  • Another returnee to the chart is Toronto’s Francesco Yates, who to me is a superstar talent in the making.  Smashing it domestically with “Better To Be Loved” (#6) and “Sugar” (with Robin Schulz, #11) internationally just under three years ago, his latest song is the Spanish-flavoured “Come Over”, which bows at #27.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #529 – February 19/18

The new chart is being particularly good to my fellow Canadians.  With the addition of three more to the chart, the total number of Canadians on the chart is eight!!

The Top 10

  • As expected, South Africa-born, Australia-raised singer/songwriter Troye Sivan grabs his first #1 with “My My My!”.  It’s an energetic celebration of being head over heels for someone.  Troye letting loose with some dance moves in the video is the imagery that says it all 🙂  (I’m awaiting a remix from fellow Aussie Throttle too!)

  • If not for Troye, Toronto’s Loud Luxury would have another #1 with “Body” (featuring Brando), but nonetheless it does advance to #2 as radio and club play increases across the country for it.
  • L.A.-based ‘mystery’ production trio Giiants move up 5-3 with their debut single “Small Talk”.  We’ll be hearing more about these guys very soon I promise.  This is the highest placing for a Tipsy Records release on the chart thus far!
  • Tipsy does get a second song in the Top 5 with the inspiring “What We’re Made Of” by NYC producer Dave Edwards and featuring UK-based singer Mark Asani.  It climbs 8-5.

  • The beautiful “Breathe” by Mako busts into the Top 5, soaring 13-7, as Alex’s much more progressive sounding collaboration with Illenium and Kill The Noise arrives called “Don’t Give Up On Me” (below).

  • Equally touching and moving up right behind 14-8 is L.A. singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor with “Talk To Me”.  Watch the video for some insight into the song.  It’s Axel’s third Top 10 entry following last year’s #1 “Wasted My Love” and #2 “Out Of My Head”.
  • “You Found Me” by Saxity featuring Victor Perry moves up 11-9, becoming Saxity’s second Top 10 following last year’s #3 “Brothers”, and Victor’s fourth – his last Top 10, the #3 “Sail”, with German producer Levi, debuted on the chart exactly a year ago!
  • While “Pineapple Skies” slips out of #1, Miguel gets his third Top 10 from the War & Leisure album with the Prince-ly “Told You So” (12-10).  I’m sooo looking forward to Miguel’s show in Toronto next month!

Movin’ on Up

  • The Chainsmokers have the fastest riser on the chart with the uncharacteristic, alt.rock-flavoured “Sick Boy” (above), zipping up the chart 25-14.  I’m glad to see Alex and Drew pushing their boundaries and their songwriting in “Sick Boy” is top notch.  They’ve recently followed it up with an entertaining and unexpected video for “You Owe Me” (below).

  • NYC singer Reigen advances 21-15 with his lovely rendition of The Cranberries’ “Dreams”.  
  • Still in the midst of their “Just A Kid” tour, Two Friends take their same named song, featuring Kevin Writer, from 22-16 on the chart.
  • The rest of the last chart’s debuts all show promise: 
    • Italy’s IDEO takes a very different arrangement, featuring American hip hop singer J.Paulished, for “Multiply” (above), which moves up 26-21.    
    • Quebec’s Robotaki partners up with Manila Killa and vocalist Matthew John Kurz for the compelling “I Want You” (below), in haunting Spirix remix, climbing 27-22.
    • UK singer/songwriter James Poole has an important message about loving yourself and your body with “Perfectly Me” (also below) rising 28-23.

Three Debuts

  • The highest debut belongs to L.A. producer Bobby Nourmand, who returns with his unique deep house flavours mixed with gritty UK soul courtesy of a potent vocal by singer Laurent John.  “Prisoner” arrives at #26.
  • Vancouver’s Ekali bows with the dark deep house of “Blame”, featuring none other than ZHU on vocals for a powerful collaboration.  “Blame” debuts at #27.
  • At #29 are our remaining Canadians.  Toronto’s Keys N Krates is set to break out big time with their latest album Cura, which includes the spirited collaboration with Tory Lanez called “Music To My Ears”.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

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

Check out and ‘like’ the new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

Killa pair: @ZHUmusic meets @Ekalimusic for dramatic, pulsating “Blame”

EKALI & ZHU, “Blame” (free DL)

The ever-mysterious ZHU and Vancouver’s Ekali know how to bring it big individually, but together the intensity is full on with “Blame”.  It’s a cinematic-sounding song, starting off quietly but ultimately full of drama and powerful, orchestral synths to balance ZHU’s slight but always recognizable tones.  I’m not sure if this is a one-off or if there will be more, but “Blame” is off to a great start out of the gate thanks to fans of both with lots of Spotify plays and a Top 5 Electronic single on iTunes already.  It’s also available as a free download for now – go to the Soundcloud link above and find the download link in the description.

Published in: on January 6, 2018 at 11:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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