Autumn Popervescence #1 featuring Girls Aloud, Rogue, Matthew Koma, Pip, Gentlemen Hall, Lawson, Alphabeat, Tao Hypah, and Ruby Rose

GIRLS ALOUD, “Something New”

It’s interesting that after the solo success of Cheryl Cole and the critical acclaim received by Nicola Roberts for her record that the English-Irish five have reunited for their 10th anniversary, with a new hits compilation called Ten on deck. But perhaps with some improvements to their vocals over the years along with some contemporary creativity, now is the time to reinvent Girls Aloud. And they’ve done just that with “Something New”, a plush-sounding house-influenced song (also, by the way, a charity single for Children In Need) that is pretty much irresistible, this coming from someone who has been hard to convince that these gals were more than just Spice Girls-lite. “Something New” puts all of those thoughts aside and North American attention should be more than forthcoming this time around. Kudos to the gals and their team for going big, hard and international this time!

ROGUE, “Girls Anthem”

You take a look at Girls Aloud nouvelles and then see another UK foursome called Rogue knocking on the same door, and you wonder what Rogue might sound like in 10 years. “Girls Anthem” is a great start because it comes on huge from the get-go, both with sound, vocals, and personality. And that’s pretty critical when this gal-pop sound can sound so similar from group to group. Watch below and be convinced.

MATTHEW KOMA, “Parachute”

In the guy-pop department, New York’s Matthew Koma has it made in spades. Outside of a number of Swedish male vocalists, Matthew is the go-to-guy for a captivating featured vocal on electronic dance songs like Zedd’s massive “Spectrum”, Fedde LeGrand’s “Sparks”, and Alesso’s “Years”. But that’s not enough, because aside from these rich productions, the music of Matthew Koma is rooted in pop, and “Parachute” is Major Pop 2012, a fantastic Fall love song that should be all over radio in the coming months. You can also get another delight as a free download from Matthew’s website called “Neon Red” when you subscribe to his mailing list. This is one singer headed for superstardom.

PIP, “Who Cares”

I’m quite convinced that while the TV show “The Voice” is a great showcase for new voices, too many singers get sabotaged by song choices that don’t focus on their real vocal appeal. I’m interested to see how this affects this season’s crew, but last year fine singers like Brian Fuente, Jamar Rogers, and Pip among others did not go perhaps as far as they should have. Pip (aka 20 year old Phillip Andrew Arnold from Georgia), he of the trademark white suspenders, bowtie, and sneakers, arrives with a soulful and punchy song with a smart lyrical video called “Who Cares”. It’s a real ear-opener for those who enjoyed his performances on “The Voice”, and perhaps the untied bowtie is a sign of some great and unexpected flavour to come.

LAWSON, “Standing In The Dark”

In these days of global accessibility to music, I just don’t understand the barriers with releasing music, at least in the western part of the hemisphere. So this week we see the long-awaited UK release of the album Chapman Square by UK quartet Lawson, who have already had significant success in the UK with “When She Was Mine” and “Taking Over Me”. But despite opening for The Wanted on some US dates earlier this year, Chapman Square does not appear slated for North American release. And while the band deserves high UK chart debuts, they don’t deserve the quick vanishing acts from the charts that might characterize them with an overly loyal fanbase like other UK acts such as McFly and Busted. “Standing In The Dark” is another refreshing slice of pop that shows that Lawson is a tight unit with a great way with words, and whose music has broad appeal, more like Graffiti6 or Lifehouse for example. Watch the video below.

GENTLEMEN HALL, “Golden Age”

Since catching Gentlemen Hall in concert earlier this year, they have become one of my most-played bands with their diverse harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and astute musicianship. “Golden Age”, now available to hear on Soundcloud, joins “Makes Me Feel Alive” in whetting your appetite for the Boston sextet’s next release. This one has progressive rock trappings mixed with electronic pop, with lots of room for a flute solo/breakdown midway – a kind of out-of-nowhere mix of styles that truly draws you in and keeps you listening. Listen below and keep your eyes on their Soundcloud page for more new songs.  This song will be large and in charge in live performance.

ALPHABEAT, “Love Sea”

Danish electronic collective Alphabeat have been finding many fans since 2007, but to me their music seems to be coming into its own at last with the release of “Love Sea”, from their forthcoming third album Express Non-Stop. It’s a precious blast of happy pop to brighten up your Autumn, boosted by an entertaining travelogue of a video featuring many of my favourite places that I’ve visited over the years. “Love Sea” is also available for free download in various remixes by the likes of FrankMusik, Android Orchestra (a sunny “tropical” mix), and Sound Of Arrows, who tackle the songs in some quite unanticipated interpretations. Overall this is splendid pop deserving of international success.

TAO HYPAH, “Play The Girl”

Raj at EQMusic Blog has unmistakeable great taste in music and has been touting Amsterdam-based singer Tao Hypah for some time now. After appearing on the essential This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume One compilation earlier this year with “Celeb” (which got to #3 on my chart), Tao Hypah is back with the highly provocative “Play The Girl”. And it’s not just the gender-bending lyrics which will grab your attention. The well-directed video below with all of its colours, style and choreography, along with the melody which has a positively massive hook, leave “Play The Girl” embedded in your head so that multiple viewings and listens are required. In some ways it reminds me of Kyle Brylin’s equally suggestive “Everything I’m Missing” from last year – no matter what your personal preferences, you can’t help but listen and watch. This is a great showcase for the talented Tao Hypah – can’t wait for more!

RUBY ROSE featuring GARY GO, “Guilty Pleasure” (Young Skeeter remix)

Australian VJ, model and singer Ruby Rose is in the process of recording her debut album, and our introduction to it is “Guilty Pleasure”, featuring versatile UK singer Gary Go, he of 2009’s gorgeous “Wonderful” and last year’s Grammy-winning Benny Benassi collabo “Cinema”. Their voices create a lovely bit of vocal foreplay here before the song bursts wide open into spun-out dancefloor bliss. Listen below and play loud.

Autumn Popervescence

We’re a month away from Winter, but Autumn Popervescence is still upon us!  And leading the highlights in advance of the new album due on November 30 is Eric Saade.  The 21 year old Swede has Saade Volume Two on deck and the wonderful folks at Scandipop are previewing songs from the album as they did with Volume One.  My initial favourites from the first album shifted once I heard the whole record, which is one of the very best of 2011.  So Volume Two has a high benchmark in front of it, but the songs are written mainly by the same team (Jason Gill/J-Son/Robin Fredriksson and Eric himself) which makes them seem like natural progressions from Volume One, particularly something like “Explosive Love”.  I’m hoping the domestic success of the killer “Hotter Than Fire” (featuring Dev) will morph into an international release for Eric.  Pop this good should not be divided by borders and record contracts!!  Listen to the previews on Scandipop right here.

Next up, British singer Gary Go dazzled us in 2009 with “Wonderful”, a song that anyone should listen to if they’re feeling down about themselves.  Then we heard from him again this past Spring as vocalist on Benny Benassi’s “Cinema”, a bit of a change of pace for Gary with the song being an out-and-out dance hit.  Now he’s about to release his new ‘soundtrack’ NWOTF, and to preview that record we have a re-invented version of “Cinema” featuring Carina Round that’s worth hearing because it’s so different from the Benassi version.  Download it for free with an email subscription right here.

I love me some house music that’s progressive and makes you think about what its creators might do next.  So if you like folks like Azari & III and Hot Chip, you should get to know Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, who have already remixed for the likes of Lady GaGa (“Marry The Night”).  The British duo are finding quite a lot of favour in their home country and have released the infectious “Dream On”, which you can get for a free download with subscription right here.

DJ Tatana (or Tatana Sterba) has been making vibrant dance music for a number of years now, and I know her best from her collaboration with Jael on “Always On My Mind” from 2004.  The Switzerland-based Tatana is back with an absolutely slamming and trance-y new song featuring Cherrytree Records’ own Natalia Kills called “You Can’t Get In My Head (If You Can’t Get In My Bed)”.  Watch out for the dubstep-oriented breakdown – best one I’ve heard since “Wicked Baby” by Ro Danishei & Simon Curtis!  Listen below.

New York hip hop trio The Corp Cartel has been making its presence known in its home town with the group’s Latin hip hop stylistics and performances.  One of the trio, Tana, has released a promising solo effort called “Live In The Past”.  The song benefits from a beautifully sweet featured vocal by fellow New York singer Baiyu, about whom I blogged about this past summer.  Listen to the song below and download it for free.

And now we arrive at the holiday season, with three new Christmas songs to whet your palate.

The Little Belter herself, Elouise, has upped the ante with one of the songs from her new EP on iTunes called Santa’s Little Belter.  I previewed her rendition of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” last week.  Getting away from traditional songs, Elouise and her team looked back to the disco era for a song written by the late Paul Jabara (he won an Oscar for “Last Dance” by Donna Summer) called “Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man For Christmas)”.  So get on your dancing shoes and mix it in with “I Will Survive” and “It’s Raining Men” and your party guests will have a blast guaranteed.  Listen to the radio edit below – an extended version is available on the EP too.

UK R&B/Pop singer Pierre Lewis is working hard to bring you some more new music for full album release in 2012.  In the interim, he’s released a heart-warming holiday balled called “Main Street” that makes you feel good in all the right places.  Get it on iTunes and listen below.

Toronto’s Roz Bell has released some of the most interesting and ear-catching songs in recent years.  It all started with “Yesterday Man” and “Papercut” from his 2008 album The First Sunbeams, which was followed in 2009 by “Heart Attack” from his album October. His collaboration with 100 Akres on the intensely soulful “Pink Cadillac” to me is his best work to date and was the first free download song to reach #1 on my personal chart in 2009.  Roz is writing, writing, writing, and I’m sure we’ll see the fruits from his efforts in 2012.  This past week, he dropped a cheerful Christmas song that is spot on with its simplicity.  Download “Happy Holidays To You” for free right here and listen below.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #355 – June 20/11

Another personal chart is here and it’s the start of a sizzling and scintillating summer of synthpop, which will also be known as in some future posts as Summer Popervescence 🙂

As we begin the sun-worshipping dancing, Simon Curtis has done what both Adele and Frankmusik could not do:  Replace Eric Saade’s “Popular” – my favourite song so far this year, by the way – at the top of my personal chart.  So the rivetting “Flesh” – which should by all rights be a prime candidate as a featured song on the new season of “The Vampire Diaries” – becomes Simon’s 4th number one song on this chart, joining “Delusional”, “Beat Drop”, and “8bit Heart” in that special group.  Look for a special announcement from Simon on Monday, June 20, which I’m sure has something to do with the R∆ album and moving full steam ahead!  Simon’s own “Superhero” continues to hold the charge at #4, while the still fantastic “Do It In The A.M.” by the very busy Frankmusik and Far East Movement, climbs to #2 but won’t possibly be able to dislodge “Flesh”.  Pop/dance duo Databoy take advantage of the middle of the Top 10 and find “Stupid” rising up to #5.  A pic of the boys from their Superfraiche show in NYC on April 1 is below.

Further into the Top 10, we find the Ballroom Remixed project making its presence known.  First up from that record is the sock-hop swing of Jerry Reid’s “Out Without Your Boyfriend” at #6.  Both Christian TV and Elouise make welcome returns to the Top 10.  Christian scores his third straight Top Tenner with “I’m In Love” at #7, while Elouise’s tantalizing cover of “Tainted Love” becomes her third Top 10 entry as well at #10.

Just below is a mid-section of the chart abuzz with activity.  A totally different and non-R∆ song by Simon Curtis appears on the Ballroom Remixed album.  “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings” is a heart-tugger at #11.  Benny Benassi and Gary go lead a sparkling summer charge to the Top 10 with “Cinema” at #13, followed by Lady Gaga and “The Edge Of Glory” (along with its underwhelming video) at #14, and then we’re back with Benassi, this time with Chris Brown (whodathunkit) on the feel-good dance song “Beautiful People” at #15.  The emotional “Linda” by Toronto’s Andrea Lewis continues to climb at #17, Adele’s snappy “Rumour Has It” rises to #18, and the buoyant voices of Blue carry “I Can” to #19.

But the big news within the Top 20 is with “Cinnamon”, by Marianas Trench guitarist Matt Webb.  Smack me on the head and send me through the wayback machine to the 1983 pop hooks of songs by the likes of Rick Springfield or Huey Lewis, and give me guitar riffs that won’t quit and are as memorable as those in a song like “Let It Rock” by Kevin Rudolf.  I think a lot of broken hearts will identify with the lyrics of “Cinnamon”.  As much as I like Matt’s lead single “Bad Girl”, “Cinnamon” is a winner and the fastest riser on the chart moving 26-16.

Finally, four debuts arrive on the chart this week.

You may recall that I blogged about Montreal/L.A. duo Long Story Short earlier this year, who have debuted with their album What A Scene which includes the song “Caved In”.  The band has since amassed a following in the Philippines (!!), came second in a couple of songwriting contests, is about to make a video for the song, and has seen “Caved In” added to several radio station playlists across Canada – a difficult thing to do when you’re an independent artist.  Even better, Dan and Nicky have recorded a new song, “Venom”, which is included as a free download if you subscribe to their newsletter.  It’s also their best song to date, a true late summer night driving song, and you can hear it at the top of this blog.  Taking the best pages from the edgy sides of bands like Lifehouse, Matchbox 20, and Goo Goo Dolls, producer John Nathaniel has helped craft a wickedly catchy song that documents a relationship’s dive into a hellish abyss.  “Venom” is the highest debut on the chart at #21 – go get it!

Ballroom Remixed Part 3:  I’ve already blogged about the dance/pop wonders of “The Lover’s Rumba” by Elouise, and while her version of “Born This Way” exits the chart, our torch club queen remains on the chart with “Rumba” at #23.  Then at #24 we have a song that totally floored me over the past few weeks, thanks in part to MuuMuse touting the artist and the song.  Former Girls Aloud member Nicola Roberts slid onto the UK charts with “Beat Of My Drum” and then promptly slid back off.  Perhaps it’s because “Porcelain Heart”, also released on the single, is the better song of the two, with some cool drama carried by successfully emotive vocals.  It’s a real grower!

The last premiere belongs to the creative producer/remixer Monsieur Adi, who in the last year has had triumphs with the likes of Madonna (his take on “Get Together” must be heard), Ellie Goulding, Javi Silva, Reni Lane, Gary Go, and Marina & The Diamonds, as well as his own songs.  His most recent free download is the mesmerizing and commanding “Chariot”, which bows on the chart at #26.  Listen and download below.

http://soundcloud.com/monsieuradi/chariot

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.  Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading :)

Note that when you click on the pictures in the first column of the chart pages that they will now allow you to either listen to the song or view the official video to the song.  Enjoy this new feature!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #354 – June 6/11

It’s been an extraordinarily busy few weeks in the pop music world, and accordingly my new personal chart takes to some flipping and flopping.  When that happens, usually some songs that might have been destined for greater sights on the chart suddenly stop or tumble to make way for some of the year’s best triumphs.  And this chart is no exception.

“Popular” by Eric Saade remains at #1 for a fourth appearance (8 weeks) from his forthcoming album Saade Volume One.  Lord knows what would have happened if “Popular” was about pushing up against hot bodies, S&M, going down on someone, or biting into willing flesh, it might have never let go of the top of my chart 😉  For just this past Tuesday (May 31), Simon Curtis unleashed “Flesh” onto the somewhat unsuspecting public, and the resulting Internet frenzy may have been cause for temporary decreases in a productive workforce or perhaps sudden desires to procreate.  From its slow-building start to its heart-racing climax, “Flesh” vaults onto the chart into the runner-up spot right off the bat.  And though I’ve heard versions of a number of the fine songs that will eventually appear on R∆ in their finest forms, one can only wonder what tasty production treats Simon and producer Jeff “Jadion” Wells have in store for us.  Listen to the Future Freestyle remix below.

With “Flesh” building a solid wall at #2, that leaves “Do It In The A.M.”, the fine single from Frankmusik and Far East Movement, to climb to third place.  But don’t underestimate this song’s place on the chart.  It’s a great motivational song, particularly if you want to paint your town red.  Then it’s more super Simon climbing from 9 to 4 with the first single from R∆, “Superhero”.  Though “Flesh” has the lead story this week, “Superhero” should be taken hand-in-hand for the pop anthem that it truly is.

All of this activity leaves songs by Kyle Brylin, Jamie Woon, and Databoy stranded mid-Top 10 (a good place to be, by the way), Adele’s “Someone Like You” tumbling to #8, and “Another Dimension” by Bass Robbers and new Dutch sensation Matt Blue struggling to get past #9.  And it’s not going to get much easier, as the first entry from the Ballroom Remixed compilation (read here for more) debuts at #10.   That belongs to “Out Without Your Boyfriend”, the jive-East/West coast swing bundle of energy by Jerry Reid featuring pianist Ben Waters (listen to the song here).  Rarely is a song such fun that you can visualize a room full of people going full tilt, dancing and having a blast to it.

Just below, the always busy Christian TV has the fastest riser on the chart with his slice of eurodance/pop “I’m In Love”, which moves up 19-11.  “Tainted Love” by Elouise has to take a few smaller steps this week, rising to #12, while songs by Britney Spears and Nelson Clemente hold just below.  Then it’s a triple play score for Simon Curtis as his song from Ballroom Remixed, “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”, bows mid-chart at #15 (listen to the song here).  It’s gotta be hard when such a fine, but differently styled song from those on R∆, is such a winner unto itself.  Its story will resonate with listeners and Simon’s vocals are totally captivating.

The incredible activity on the chart continues just below with lovely Ro Danishei’s “Drunk Txt” climbing to #16, while Lady GaGa herself soars to #18 with “The Edge Of Glory”.  Benny Benassi is two-for-two as his own “Cinema”, featuring the talented UK vocalist Gary Go, rises to #17, and his collaboration with Chris Brown on “Beautiful People” lands at #20.  Sandwiched between GaGa and Brown/Benassi we find Andrea Lewis with the heart-wrenching “Linda” at #19.

Many recent favourites have slid into the 20-30 zone, which is also peppered by Adele’s “Rumour Has It”, “I Can” by Blue”, and our fourth debut.  Canadian band Marianas Trench are promoting their current release Masterpiece Theatre in the U.S., and in among all of that, guitarist Matt Webb has put together an upcoming album.  I blogged about “Bad Girl” a few weeks ago, but Matt also posted a limited free download of “Cinnamon”.  And he’s outdone “Bad Girl”  with that song, with great end-of-summer-breakup lyrics and a zinger of a guitar hook.  Listen to “Cinnamon” right below – I can’t wait for his debut solo record.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.  Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading :)

Note that when you click on the pictures in the first column of the chart pages that they will now allow you to either listen to the song or view the official video to the song.  Enjoy this new feature!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #353 – May 23/11

It finished in third place at Eurovision but that’s still enough to keep a big buzz worldwide for Eric Saade’s “Popular” as it remains at the top of my personal chart handily for a third appearance (6 weeks).  The Adele machine slows a bit, but not enough to prevent Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” from breaking a chart record as it remains on the chart for an 11th consecutive appearance.  Will it go for a 12th or disappear from the chart? It will have to fend off Adele’s own “Someone Like You” at #3 and the smart summery vibe of “Do It In The A.M.” by Frankmusik featuring Far East Movement, which ascends to #4.  Kyle Brylin’s sexy, eerie but addictive “Everything I’m Missing” rounds out the Top 5 in advance of his upcoming appearance this week on the Ballroom Remixed album with a song called “I’m A Man (Not A Piece Of Meat)”…

Next to Adele’s 21, Jamie Woon’s Mirrorwriting is the album I’m listening to most in full.  “Lady Luck” is definitely on his side – though I want him to make up his cancelled Toronto show sometime soon – and climbs to #6, but the album is deep with multi-layered enjoyable songs.  Databoy’s “Stupid” rises to #7, and I can’t wait for the fun music this duo has to offer up this summer.  “Another Dimension” by Dutch talents Bass Robbers featuring Matt Blue enters the Top 10.  Talented Mr. Blue releases his first major label single “Can’t Help Myself” in the near future!  But the big news within the Top 10 of course is the debut of Simon Curtis’ “Superhero” at #9.  Simon’s not content to put this pop anthem on iTunes for your purchasing pleasure, a second single is on its way from his forthcoming album R∆.  And another song from the aforementioned Ballroom Remixed project by Simon is “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”.  You can hear the original version of “Superhero” at the top of this page, and the trancey remix below.

Simon Curtis “Superhero (The Remix)”

While Lady GaGa’s original slides to #8, Elouise’s pensive live cover of “Born This Way” inches up to #11, but the Fastest Riser on the chart is her sensational and original take on “Tainted Love”, which climbs to #15.  The Top 20 is otherwise filled with rising songs by Shawn Desman, Britney Spears, Nelson Clemente (listen to the Australian talent’s “No Protection” in the Brian Canham – remember “Funky Town” by Pseudo Echo?  – mix version below), Ro Danishei, and Richard Barone.

Nelson Clemente “No Protection (BC mix)”

Debuting at #19 is a song that continues to display the versatility of singer Christian TV.  We’ve already experienced two pop-to-die-for releases in the form of #1 “Love 2 Baby” and #5 “When She Turns 18”, as well as an urban flipside in the form of the mixtape Who The Fuck Is Christian TV?  Now Christian conquers eurodance with the effervescent “I’m In Love”, which arrives at #19.  The song is a giddy ode to being uncontrollably in love, with a high pitched keyboard hook that you’ll find in the best Swedish dance hits.  It’s destined to join the other two songs as Top 5 entries in this chart 🙂  Listen to to the song below.

While “Cinema” by Benny Benassi & Gary Go and “Linda” by Andrea Lewis don’t end up in the Top 20 this week, it’s because of fierce competition so watch them to move up in the coming weeks.  There are four additional songs debuting on the chart this week.  Adele’s “Rumour Has It” at #24  is a slick and seductive track that would be amazing in a dance remix.  I’m not sure what will follow up “Someone Like You” as a single but “Rumour” has my vote.  Then at #25 is a return to fun pure pop dance form for Lady GaGa with “The Edge Of Glory”.  Next at #26 is the UK Eurovision entry by Blue, “I Can”.  I never really cared much for these four lads in their early 00’s heyday outside of a few songs, but I love the uplifting vibe of this song as well as the vocal arrangement.  They could find an audience that they never had with this song, particularly if released in North America (hear the song below).  Lastly, it’s a complete turnaround for Chris Brown but his teaming with Benny Benassi for “Beautiful People” at #27 has landed him at #1 on Billboard’s dance club play chart as well as in the Top 10 on charts around the world.  North America decided to go with the urban “Look At Me Now” as a single from F.A.M.E. instead but this one could do equally well at radio.  It’s Brown’s first appearance on this chart since 2008’s #5 “Forever”.

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.  Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading :)  Note that I will be replacing the My Space links on the chart with You Tube links to the song or video in the near future…

Tuned-On! Top 30 #352 – May 9/11

Sitting atop the new Tuned-On! Top 30 of course is “Popular” by Eric Saade, an amazingly feel-good song that shows no sign of leaving the summit any time soon.  There is competition below but it will have to wait!!

This leaves two songs by Adele to tread behind “Popular”, either of which could be number one if there was no “Popular”.  Most interestingly, “Rolling In The Deep” has rebounded to the runner-up spot, which is also a new peak for that song.  There is a dilemma however.  “Rolling In The Deep” is in its 10th appearance (20th week) on my chart.  On every occasion during the nearly 13 years that I’ve published this chart online, such a song leaves the chart as long as it’s in a holding position or descending.  This helps keep the chart fresh and full of great songs that otherwise may not get as much attention.  No song has been in an upward rise in its 10th appearance until now.  If “Rolling In The Deep” continues to be in second place in two weeks – and I think it may – it will break a chart rule and have 11 consecutive appearances.  It couldn’t happen to a nicer song.  And “Someone Like You” is right behind to keep it company – an outstanding Top 3!

New to the Top 5, and still pretty fresh to my ears, is “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa, despite a new single being released tomorrow called “The Edge Of Glory”, in anticipation of the Born This Way album.  Kyle Brylin’s “Everything I’m Missing” follows suit right up to #6, along with soulful dubstep vibe of Jamie Woon’s “Lady Luck” coincidentally at lucky #7.   At #8, and the fastest riser on the chart, moving from #25 two weeks ago, is the first, and possibly definitive, summer jam of ’11 – “Do It In The A.M.” by Frankmusik featuring Far East Movement.  After such great music this year with my #1 “The Fear Inside” and #2 “Hurt You Again”, I felt a little underwhelmed with this track on the first few listens… but after that it simply becomes a highly contagious summer driving song.  You can view the video at the top of this page.  Another seemingly ridiculous song but similarly irresistible is “Stupid” by Databoy, which soars into the Top 10 at #9.  

The middle of the chart continues to be busy, with Bass Robbers & Matt Blue almost in Top TenLand with “Another Dimension”, and other big moves from songs by Britney Spears (looks to be my all time favourite from her), Nelson Clemente, Ro Danishei, and Richard Barone’s “Sanctified”, which you can hear at the bottom of the page in a video of a photoshoot of Richard.

The highest debut on the chart at #24 quite deservedly goes to “Tainted Love” by Elouise, the retooling of the song best known by Soft Cell, which you can hear in my previous entry a few weeks back.  And the song sparked an entire investigation about cover songs on my chart, and that discussion will follow this paragraph.  Then at #27 you’ll find “Cinema” by Benny Benassi featuring Gary Go, which was discussed in these pages last week.  Finally, in anticipation of next week’s show in London, England with Simon Curtis and Ro Danishei, I go 4 songs deep into Andrea Lewis’ fine 54321 album with “Linda” bowing at #28.  Her duet with Simon, “Talk To Me” got to #4, with “Voodoo” and “Robot” reaching #10 and #11 respectively.  Before the last paragraph you can listen to her gorgeous live rendition from a show I attended in Toronto in January.

So with Elouise reaching my chart with no less than 3 cover versions in 6 months, and with me never being one enamoured with cover versions, I investigated how many cover songs have actually appeared in my chart since I began publishing it online in late 1997.   Counting Elouise’s three winners, there is a grand total of 41 cover versions out of over 1,415 chart entries – a very small percentage indeed!  I will publish a list of the entire 41 later in the week, but for now here are the Top 10 placing cover versions in my chart’s history.

MECK F/ LEO SAYER (2006) Thunder In My Heart Again
MICHAEL BUBLE (2004) Sway
TYLER HILTON & BETHANY JOY LENZ (2005) When The Stars Go Blue
BLUE MAN GROUP featuring VENUS HUM (2003) I Feel Love
ENUR F/ NATASJA (2007) Calabria
RUFUS, MARTHA & LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III, AND KATE MCGARRIGLE (1998) What’ll I Do
KATE RYAN (2003) Desenchantee
ORGY (1998) Blue Monday
FREEMASONS F/ SYLVIA MASON-JAMES (2006) Nothing But A Heartache
LOST BROTHERS featuring G TOM MAC (2004) Cry Little Sister

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here.  Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading :)




Spring Popervescence 2: Albums by Jamie Woon and April Smith & The Great Picture Show, and More Singles!

Popervescence is turning into a mighty strong force this Spring, for I have two terrific new albums and several fantastic singles to talk about.

April Smith & The Great Picture Show

“Songs For A Sinking Ship”

Though this record came out last year, I was fortunate enough to discover it in full on a recent trip to Nashville (more on that later), though I did know about it.  This four piece band based out of Brooklyn NY is led by feisty and powerful singer New Jersey-born April Smith.  Songs For A Sinking Ship is full of all kinds of character for its influences in music extend back nine decades.  Yup – Tin Pan Alley, big bands, Broadway, blues, rock, pop, and soul – they’re all here.  

That’s not at all to say that the record isn’t contemporary, for it is in spades.  These are story-songs for a new generation.  “Movie Loves A Screen” and “Terrible Things” (video below) are the opening songs immediately grabbing your ears with well-structured songs led by April’s commanding voice.  After that the quirky-but-it-works mix starts happening with the 40’s inspired “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and almost southern kind of retro with “Dixie Boy”.  The record is not without a ballad, but I would say “Beloved” is more of a direct descendant of Rufus Wainwright’s debut album than anything else.  Other strong songs come in the form of “What’ll I Do”, “Colors”, and “The One That Got Away”, but all in all this is a tightly crafted, well-played and jubilantly sung album that breezes by like a sunny day.

When I was in Nashville on Record Store Day, I made plans to go to a local store called Grimey’s.  Little did I know they were having bands play in their backyard until I arrived.  While I was there, April and her band launched into a set that instantly caught my attention.  And there’s a bit of a strange connection to all of this that I’ll share.  My 10 year old daughter is a competitive dancer and singer also named April Smith.  So I was able to chat with April after her set for a few minutes to tell her about this odd coincidence.  I guess some things were just meant to happen 🙂

Jamie Woon “Mirrorwriting”

UK singer 27 year old Jamie Woon is a sensation in the making.  Mirrorwriting is full of atmospheric, moody, and soulful songs that can strike you differently at any point in the day in which you play them.  I’ve already been raving about first single “Night Air” with its haunting and sparse melody as well as Jamie’s striking voice.  Second single “Lady Luck” has subtle dubstep rhythm set to an interesting story.  

But beyond the singles there is so much more to Mirrorwriting.  The album is carefully and deliberately produced and arranged.  I love the composed pauses, the chunky bass, and the simplicity of the strumming of acoustic guitar in various songs.  For music aficionados, you can go to town on the variety of inspirations because Mirrorwriting is deep and rich within the pop spectrum.  Most noteworthy are “Waterfront” (watch the video below), “Shoulda”, and “tmrw”.  I’ve often compared Jamie to my fellow countryman Justin Nozuka.  They both have old-world qualities about their voices and songs.  They both have ages-old wisdom about them in their lyrics.  But whereas Justin’s music I feel draws more from gut-wrenching emotion and old-style blues, Jamie’s music speaks old school UK R&B and soul as well as more contemporary acts like Fine Young Cannibals, Jamiroquai, and perhaps even Terence Trent D’Arby.  You cannot go wrong with Mirrorwriting.

Kyle Brylin “S&M”

I am nowhere near over the haunting and danceable “Everything I’m Missing” when our Kyle launches his own version of Rihanna’s “S&M”.  Having enjoyed Rihanna’s version immensely (#2 posting on my chart), I was very dubious as I am with just about any cover version.  But Kyle sends his version into hyper-velocity, strips the song of its campiness, making it an outright dancefloor assault.  Definitely surpasses my expectations!  Buy it on iTunes.

Elouise “The Lover’s Rumba”

(Ricardo Autobahn 12″ remix)

There’s nary a moment goes by that I can’t say enough nice things about ever-so-talented UK singer Elouise.  Last week it was her stunning cover of “Tainted Love” (now available on iTunes US (but alas not in Canada!).  This week, it’s something totally unexpected, given the singer’s dynamic flair for torch and show.  So Elouise gives us a spicy contemporary rumba in remixed version from the wonderful Ricardo Autobahn, who has retooled recent efforts by Adam Tyler and Kyle Brylin among others.  While keeping your booty plenty happy, Elouise extends her range by demolishing the dance floor with this effortless knockout.  Download it for free from her website with a subscription to her newsletter.  

Monsieur Adi “Chariot”

Regular readers of this blog know I love me a good danceable instrumental.  In recent years I can name Russ Chimes “Never Look Back” and Tiesto’s “He’s A Pirate” as favourites within the dance realm.  Outstanding producer/remixer Monsieur Adi (Ellie Goulding, Javi, Noah) is about to unleash his latest project, and to give us a taste in advance we have “Chariot” which was recently available as a free download.  It’s a fun throwback to late 70’s disco (love the robotic voices) and has a real cinematic quality to it along with an infectious if militant beat.  Can’t wait to hear more.

Native Underground “Night Vision”

And speaking of Javi, the New York singer along with house veteran Henry Maldonado as Native Underground follow up the effortless 80’s inspired “Till It Hurts” with “Night Vision”.  The song seems to draw from early 80’s UK electro more this time with alternately restrained and punchy soulful vocals by Javi.  And the keyboard hook that creeps in reminds me a lot of the strings from the classic “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” by the Temptations.  Watch the video below.

Benny Benassi featuring Gary Go “Cinema”

You may know Benny Benassi’s name recently because he is featured in Chris Brown’s uncharacteristically electro hit “Beautiful People”.  But he’s actually been a major dance force for most of the last 10 years, ultimately winning a Grammy in 2008 for his remix of Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise”.  The Italian producer/remixer is back and looking to follow in David Guetta’s steps with “Cinema”, a winning, sparkling effort from his upcoming album Electroman featuring the talents of UK singer Gary Go (whose “Wonderful” was one of my favourites of 2009).  “Cinema” is going to turn into a summer singalong.


Tuned-On! Best of 2009, Part 2 (25-1)

To complete my thoughts on the best songs that I heard in 2009, here are a few words about each of my 25 favourites:

25. NELSON CLEMENTE “You Want Me Don’t You (Spekr Freks mix)”

My #22 favourite from 2008 received a blistering remix from Spekr Freks in 2009 that’s perfect for the crack of midnight at a club.  It bodes well for new music in 2010 from this South Africa based, Australian talent.

24. MARIANAS TRENCH “Masterpiece Theatre Part 1”

To me this is the showcase track from the Masterpiece Theatre, the first part of an intriguing rock opera that surrounds their other hits “Cross My Heart” (#37 on this list), “All By Myself”, and “Beside You”.  These west coast Canadians far exceeded my expectations with this well-produced and extremely well done record.

23. MANS ZELMERLOW “Rewind”

A new Swedish star who should be on the international tip sometime in 2010.  This breezy reflection on summer is only one reason for that.

22. GARY GO “Wonderful”

I missed this new UK singer opening up on Mika’s Fall tour but hopefully he’ll make the rounds again.  “Wonderful” is an urgent, heartfelt tune to turn to when you feel down in the dumps – it will certainly pick you up.

21.  RYAN STAR “Last Train Home”

The second song in this list from 2008 to receive a re-release, and the first of two in the Top 25 from this singer.  Ryan Star’s from NYC and this striking rock ballad commands your attention.  Few male rock singers these days have voices this good.

20. BEYONCE  “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”

Yes it was a little tired by year’s end with even Alvin & The Chipmunks getting in on the act, but there’s no denying the hook or the impact that it had on women at the start of 2009.  Songs like this show why Beyoncé is a superstar.

19. EVAN TAUBENFELD “Boy Meets Girl”

The first of two songs in the Top 20 from this talented LA-based singer/guitarist.  The mix of 80’s and 90’s pop culture references and playful vocals make “Boy Meets Girl” a unique gem looking to be uncovered a little more in 2010.

18. PRESETS “If I Know You”

I missed their Toronto concert so I caught it when I was in California in April.  This Australian duo creates such an intense show, more reminiscent of dark and dangerous 80’s acts like Shriekback and The The than anything else.  “If I Know You” is a little less dark and dangerous, focusing in on a great melody and story while maintaining that relentless beat that pervades their live show.

17. JON McLAUGHLIN “You Can Never Go Back”

I’m not sure if it was entirely intended, but this track from this Indiana-based singer channels the Electric Light Orchestra so much for me.  With ELO-like musical flourishes and melody, and even a reference to “Xanadu”, I was sold!  It’s one of the highlights of Jon’s OK Now CD even if I think so for all the wrong reasons.

16. NADIA ALI “Love Story”

This former iio singer released her debut solo CD Embers, which includes this #1 club hit.  Nadia has a great voice that’s been missed these past few years after the demise of iio (who appear a few times on my Top 300 of the decade), and this gentle dancefloor filler has hopefully kickstarted a long solo career.

15. PIERRE  “Broken”

Pierre Lewis is one of several new singers I enjoyed from England, and his emotional ballad “Broken” has endured throughout the year for me.  It also works just fine as a dance tune in a snappy remix by Joe 90.  Look for more songs from Pierre in 2010.

14. MIKA “We Are Golden”

“We Are Golden” is the anthem of 2009 and a great start to a sophomore effort following Mika’s success in 2007.  The Boy Who Knew Too Much is top notch ear candy that occasionally goes over the top – and enjoyably sol.

13. THE SCRIPT “Before The Worst”

It’s hard to believe some of these Irish lads were once in the boy band MyTown… they have come a long way to make a debut CD that appeals across the pop, rock and alt.rock genres.  “Before The Worst” is their second song on this list, and was released as a free iTunes single early in 2009.  It’s the best track on their CD, wearing its emotion on its sleeve while allowing the listener to empathize.  The journey for these guys has just begun!

12. FLORENCE & THE MACHINE “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”

Florence Welch is a unique new voice for the next decade as heard in the powerful songs on her band’s debut CD Lungs.  “Rabbit Heart” for me has the most memorable imagery in a chorus of any song on this list and that combined with its gothic pop trappings makes it one of the finest records of the year.

11. MIKA “Blame It On The Girls”

If the triumph of “We Are Golden” was not enough, next up from Mika in 2009 was this simple and snappy pop/dance tune with a story.  It’s theatrical qualities make it pretty much irresistible.  I’m looking for Mika to take his show on the road again in 2010 so that I can see it all brought to life!

10. AGNES CARLSSON “Release Me”

The biggest breakout of the year from Sweden is Agnes Carlsson, who acquired an international #1 club hit and Top 5 UK pop hit with “Release Me”.  Great vocals, commanding performance, this song had it all.

9. DAN BLACK “Alone”

The first of two Top 10 entries from the talented Mr. Black from England is “Alone”, which is not a ballad but an uptempo dance track.  It’s one of several reasons to watch to see what Dan Black has to offer in the next few years.  The world needs more of his kind of musical alchemy.

8. RYAN STAR “Right Now”

The second of two entries for Mr. Star, could there be a more positive and upbeat song released in 2009?  This song makes you feel your mortality through your bones.

7. THE FRAY “You Found Me (Lenny B mix)”

Back in the Spring, I was listening to my car radio and a syndicated radio show was on.  As I was listening, all of sudden ‘YOU FOUND ME” resonates through the speakers – and instead of a softer AC melody what follows is a throbbing dance beat before the vocals cut in.  You see, I didn’t , and still really don’t, like the original version of this song.  But Lenny B transformed it and brought out the meaning of the song for me.  When remixes are great, they really work.  This one made my heart pound.

6. EVAN TAUBENFELD “Cheater Of TheYear”

“Cheater of the Year” was my introduction to Evan Taubenfeld in 2009, and is his second appearance in the Top 20.  Lyrically, this song pulls no punches about its subject, but Evan makes it fun and entertaining for the listener, and simply makes you want more.

5.  100 AKRES FEATURING ROZ BELL “Pink Cadillac”

“Pink Cadillac” is the best completely free download of the year.  UK based 100 Akres had a hand in producing Canadian Roz Bell’s 2008 hit “Yesterday Man”, but this time he brought Roz into his territory, this being a funky track that is highly reminiscent of some of the best blue eyed soul of the 80’s, such as songs by The Kane Gang and Paul Young.  That such a great track was given away to us music fans made me hungry for similarly great online freebies.  And you know what, they’re out there!

4. NOAH “Mannequin”

Other bloggers discovered Ottawa-based Noah before I did, but I’m so glad that I found this song through them.  Noah certainly has his own unique scat-type vocal style that when mixed with electronic dance music, creates an even more extraordinary blend.  I’ve read that he’s put on energetic shows in Ottawa and NYC.  While I couldn’t hear anything else quite as riveting from his CD Human Geometry, I’m looking forward to hearing more from Noah in 2010.

3. ROYKSOPP FEATURING ROBYN “The Girl & The Robot”

Norwegian producers Royksopp meet Swedish star Robyn for a brilliant moment in electronic dance music that had online musicphiles raving, and then there was the live performance video too.  It takes you to one of those magical places in music history that you know can’t be repeated.

2. DAN BLACK “Symphonies”

The second of two Top 10 entries for Dan Black found him taking two or three steps ahead of his 2008 download “HYPNTZ” by forgetting about the Notorious B.I.G. sample he tried to acquire and instead transforming it into this sweeping contemporary piece of electronica.  It’s one of the most beautiful songs of 2009 and the decade.

1.  SAM TAYLOR “Run Away”

“Run Away” takes my breath away every time I play it, and I first heard it back in February, so it has held court over the entire year.  UK singer Sam Taylor is such an understated talent, he has a voice and delivery that can make anyone melt, yet he’s only had a handful of songs appear online, and the only ones commercially available are through the “Beautiful People” TV soundtrack from which this song comes.  Watch out 2010, it could be Sam Taylor’s year!!

You can view the full list right here.

Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s, Part 3 (200-151)

Let’s see – a few amazing dance anthems/comebacks (“It’s All True”, “Stamp Your Feet”, “Night Of My Life”), a solo debut (“Like I Love You”), two songs that re-entered my chart (“Last Train Home”, “You Want Me Don’t You” – the latter as a remix), doubles from Rufus Wainwright, Coldplay, Kanye West, and Marianas Trench, plus wondrous stuff from Tyler Hilton, iio, Darin, Blue Man Group, Mans Zelmerlow, Gary Go, Jamiroquai, Josh Kelley, and more!

You can find the updated list right here – don’t forget to leave your comments!