Dutch duo @weareFannypack straddle pop and dance flavours with the straight-forward emotion of “Simple”

FANNYPACK, “Simple”

With “Simple”, less is more which allows the Dutch duo Fannypack – Tom Ferro and MC Buju – to focus on vocals and melody that truly work well, with a definite eye on the pop charts.  The song builds beautifully, igniting its story with a knowing vocal, and developing the melody to offer its hook well before the minute mark.  By then, you’re drawn into “Simple” for its duration.  The arrangement is slight and bright, and the vocal conveys a straight-forward emotion that will make you think twice.  “Simple” sounds like a winner to me and remixes might be beneficial for it to make inroads in dance clubs.

Published in: on December 31, 2018 at 2:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#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

“With My Homies” is another fun, light-hearted original from @TwoFriendsmusic featuring @JUSCOVA and @JDelaneymusic

TWO FRIENDS featuring JUSCOVA and JAMES DELANEY, “With My Homies”

“With My Homies” is another light-hearted original from L.A.’s Two Friends, following the winning “Just A Kid” from earlier this year as well as the usual bevvy of remixes that keep Eli and Matt out on the road almost all year long.  This time, they’ve brought back the distinct voice of dance music go-to James Delaney (who sang on last year’s “Emily”) and added Buffalo, NY duo JUSCOVA (formerly known as Scott Vega – you know them from last year’s “No Love In Brooklyn” with Nick Peters).  This is salt-of-the-earth, good timey music that works so well in concert as well.  The production on the harmonies really shines through and emphasizes the singalong elements.  With straight-forward synth riffs laced with high end percussion get stuck in your head, and “With My Homies” becomes another Two Friends winner.

Two Friends start their “With My Homies” tour next month, which brings them to Toronto on February 15 at the soon-to-be rebranded and renamed UNIUN Nightclub.

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mixing it up with two recent duets with Florida’s @3letterznuk – “I Wonder” with NYC’s @MarcoFoster_, and a reboot of “Fool’s Gold” with @AaronCarter

3LETTERZNUK and MARCO FOSTER, “I Wonder”

AARON CARTER and 3LETTERZNUK, “Fool’s Gold” (remix)

I’m one for connecting the dots with music, and sometimes it takes me to interesting places whether in person or with the songs themselves. 

So I had got word that NYC’s rising and talented singer/songwriter Marco Foster – always on my radar – had a new song out called “I Wonder”.  It offers a sweeter-than-usual vocal by Marco that works in beautiful contrast to a fun rap by Florida’s 3letterznuk, newly signed to Sony.  Both styles come together to make the song really gel memorably. 

And in discovering this winning pairing, I found that 3letterznuk’s re-emergence on an earlier single this past summer latched on to another performer’s own re-branding  – fellow Floridian, Aaron Carter.  “Fool’s Gold” was initially released a few years ago and was included on Aaron’s first album in 16 years (and first as an adult!) called LØVË, released earlier this year.  A remix was an awfully good idea, letting 3letterznuk’s verses flow freely over the beginning of the song, allowing a segue for the lush production and a sincerely restrained and bright vocal by Aaron that has a lot of delightful breathy qualities about it too.  

Both “I Wonder” and the remix of “Fool’s Gold” happen to have 3letterznuk in common, but they’re true 2018 sleepers waiting for you to discover them.

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Paradise” by @Parralox featuring @MarcellaDetroit is reinvented as a chic deep house track by remixer @EricKupper

PARRALOX featuring MARCELLA DETROIT, “Paradise” (Eric Kupper remix)

Sometimes you can’t just let go of a great song with a fantastic vocal.  Such is the case with Parralox’s “Paradise”, originally a mid-tempo pop/dance track for the Aussie production project featuring the fabulous Marcella Detroit, who most of you know as one half of 90’s duo Shakespear’s Sister (1992’s “Stay”) but has an otherwise storied pop music career.  The song arrived on Parralox’s 2017 album Subculture, but John von Ahlen is wise to make the song into much, much more, this time through release on Energise Recordings.  So almost two years later, we have a package of several remixes, which is led by chart-meister Eric Kupper’s chic deep house remix.  “Paradise” simply sounds like it was intended to be a strutting house thumper like this, with the refrain of “the time has come to let you go” resonating much bolder this time around for dance club goers.  With Eric coming off of yet another Billboard #1 remix of Ariana Grande’s “Breathin”, his remix of “Paradise” spells great things for Parralox and hopefully another opportunity to partner with Marcella on a future track.  Mix this one in with Jessie Ware’s “Overtime”, another of my current favourites, and watch dance floor bliss in motion!

Published in: on December 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop30 #551 – December 24/18

It’s the last chart of 2018 for me, and the new entries continue to be bountiful as 4 more songs are added to the chart.  It’s been a busy, fun-filled year for pop music and 2019 doesn’t look like it will let up.  There’s far too much talent out there and not enough forums in which it can be showcased en masse.

My Christmas #1 though is new to the top and it’s “DJ’s Gotta Dance More” by my fellow Canadian A-Trak and legendary house producer and remixer Todd Terry.  Did you know that Todd was behind the innovative classic mid-80’s slammer “Can You Party” under the name Royal House?  I’m predicting more classic dance music vibes will seep into the mainstream in 2019 to make people feel so good.

The Rest of the Top 10

  • France’s Mercer made some of my most favourite house music of 2018, and “Fireworks” (above), currently #3, is right up there.  The prolific producer just dropped a new one for Armada with ATFC called “Twisted” (below).

 

  • PatrickReza’s heavy remix of Illenium’s “Crawl Outta Love” is perfectly in sync with the intent of the original song (and Illenium-approved) so it advances 5-4.  Also, in a similar alt.dance mode and with a heavy rock flavour is Patrick’s brief (1:50!) and eerie “Tip Toe”, below.
  • Sam Dickinson scores his biggest chart entry to date with “Wild Sun” in its Handbag House radio edit, climbing 9-5 from his EP From The Glass House: Part One.  Check out the remix up top and the video below.

  • Two very different songs featuring great UK women vocalist move up into the Top 10.  Jessie Ware’s “Overtime” (above) is very Lisa Stansfield-ish with a lot of 80’s funk elements, and it climbs 11-9.  Leona Lewis packs a punch with her vocal on Hellberg’s “Headlights” (below) which jumps 12-10.  It’s Hellberg’s 4th Top 10 entry and Leona’s 3rd.

Movin’ On Up

  • Mahalo and Le:Blanc’s insanely catchy 2:28 ear candy “In My Arms” is on the move and climbs 18-13.

  • Ending 2018 with rave reviews for his live shows, San Holo rises 17-14 with “Brighter Days” from album1 featuring the distinct voice of Bipolar Sunshine.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is the disco-tastic “Mister Love” from Luxembourgeois producer White Chocolate, which soars 25-16.

  • When she’s not providing vocals from many top dance music producers, Anna Yvette is writing and producing her own, and the uplifting “Shining Star” advances 22-18.

  • I’m looking forward to what Brandyn Burnette, now known as EMAN8, has up his sleeve for his debut album in 2019.  “Amen” is a soulful, psychedelic, diverse slice of pop music that climbs 23-19.  Check out the attention-grabbing video above.

  • UK producer Jax Jones turns back the clock a bit to what Years & Years sounded like at the time of their debut almost 4 years ago with the joyous pop/dance vibes of their collaboration “Play”, which rises 24-20.

Four Debuts

  • “Closure” by Steve Void and Andy Marsh, is a hard one to get out of your head, and a song to which so many of us can relate, and to which we can dance away our troubles.  It arrives on the chart at #24 and is talented Dutchman Steve’s 4th chart entry as a performer.
  • A voice to listen for in 2019 is NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau.  His gorgeous voice shows off his lower octaves in “Flying High”, an emotional song written on a plane after a relationship ended.  It’s from Ryan’s new album Quiet Fall and bows at #25.

  • Dutch duo The Him return to the chart after a successful 2018 releasing songs for Spinnin’ and getting to #1 on this chart with “Broken Love”.  Steven and J are at #26 with “Look At Us Now”, with some big synth riffs designed for festivals, their 7th entry since 2016.
  • Molly Moore also makes a welcome return to the chart with “Be Here Now”, which is one of her most passionate and compelling songs in the aftermath of personal tragedy.  It arrives at #29 and is her 5th solo chart entry.  Of course Molly is one half of Cosmos N Creature with EMAN8 and her songs feature prominently with them as well.

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 🙂

 

 

Sweden’s rising duo @NOTD go all #Ninjawerks with “Start It Over”, with @CVBZmvzic and #ShyMartin

NOTD featuring CVBZ and SHY MARTIN, “Start It Over”

It’s so cool to see young and rising Swedish producers NOTD (Tobi and Sam) alongside greats like Alesso, Tiësto, Arty, 3LAU, Kaskade, Nero, and Dillon Francis on the new Ninjawerks Volume 1 compilation with “Start It Over” – and gotta like the boys animated Ninja-style in the artwork above too (real pic below)!  NOTD, who had a Billboard Top 10 dance club play chart entry with “I Wanna Know” with Bea Miller this past summer, brings along Oregon-based vocalist CVBZ, already written about several times in these blog pages, and fellow Swedish singer Shy Martin, who released her first EP this year.  “Start It Over” isn’t the usual kind of dance song you’d find associated with something like Ninjawerks, but clearly the high-profile man behind those projects is looking for a diverse mix, and NOTD delivers.  “Start It Over” is a catchy production that seamlessly blends two splendid and distinct vocals that likely otherwise wouldn’t be matched up, and the bold moves certainly work.  Expect even more big things in 2019 from NOTD.

NOTD

Published in: on December 22, 2018 at 11:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“All Into Nothing” is a thoughtful downtempo deep house change of pace for @R3HAB with vocals by @thisisMokita

R3HAB & MOKITA, “All Into Nothing”

Award-winning Dutch producer/DJ R3HAB has made many dance bangers over the years, making him one of the most popular electronic dance artists in the world in the process.  So it’s nice to hear more downtempo deep house from him in the form of “All Into Nothing”.  It’s a collaboration with Nashville’s Mokito, providing the warm vocals over a complex, sweeping production which makes it rise above so many other electronic dance ballads, making it very radio friendly.  R3HAB has had 17 Billboard Dance/Electronic chart entries since 2013, reaching the Top 30 7 of those times (including last year’s “Hold On Tight” with Conor Maynard from R3HAB’s album The Wave, his third #1 on the Dance Club Play chart).  “All Into Nothing” should definitely help him get there again!

R3HAB

Published in: on December 22, 2018 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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L.A. duo @Sevenn bring it short, sweet ‘n sexy with “Lollipop”

SEVENN, “Lollipop”

US production duo Sevenn – Sean Brauer and Kevin Brauer – have a sugary holiday winner with “Lollipop”.  Taking many finessed cues from 90’s and 00’s classic house, “Lollipop” becomes less of a novelty track and more of a short, sweet ‘n sexy deep house bumper.  The uncredited female vocal gives it some sleek cheese to please, but the song is more about a tight groove that just doesn’t want to let up.  No wonder Armada has jumped on it – be sure listen for “Lollipop” during festival season.

sevenn

Published in: on December 22, 2018 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Portugal’s #MrGroove (aka @_luis_telo_) has a slick house track with “Time To Go”

MR. GROOVE, “Time To Go”

“Time To Go” is the kind of European house track that goes down like a shot of brandy – slick with a kick!  It’s brought to you by Portugal’s Luis Telo, who records under a variety of names, including Mr. Groove.  The song slams in all the right places, and has a taut uncredited female vocal that smoothly offsets the big beats to share the melodic chorus, which is repeated later in the song without the vocal.  “Time To Go” is a tidy, effortless-sounding dance song that audiences will relate to, and it’s greatly deserving of club DJs’ attention.

Published in: on December 22, 2018 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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