UK singer @JamieWoon returns via @PMRrecords with the soulful “Sharpness”

jamiewoon5

JAMIE WOON, “Sharpness”

Although he’s appeared on a few dance records (fellow new labelmates Disclosure on “January” from Settle) and as a remixer (Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games”), I was beginning to wonder when we’d hear more from 32 year old UK singer Jamie Woon after his unique and thoughtful debut album Mirrorwriting in 2011, which sent the evocative “Night Air” to the top of my personal chart.  His new song “Sharpness” is a fine taste of what’s to come.  Set to a chilled out mid-tempo beat, “Sharpness” continues Jamie’s intriguing storytelling but with more focus on a touching and soulful vocal this time over the ear-dropping electronic production which stood out on its own on his first release.  Less is often more so I anxiously await what comes next from Jamie.  Listen to “Sharpness” below and get it on iTunes.

Published in: on August 16, 2015 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bill’s Top 75 Songs of 2011

That annual ritual is upon us again.  I kicked it off with my previous post “And Visions of 2011 Danced In His Head”, which talked about my favourite 20 performers (and one compilation album) that made 2011 glitter for me.  I won’t go into much depth about those performers again, other than those whose songs are in my Top 10.  I’ve provided links to some notable videos and/or songs in my list below (click on the relevant song titles), particularly some you may not know, as well as some comments.  You can see the web-pretty list using the Best of 2011 list in the sidebar to the right or click right here.

Before we begin, only one performer has more than 4 songs on the list, and that is Simon Curtis, who had my #1 song of 2010 “Beat Drop”.  Among 7 entries, he has three duets on the list!  Then with four songs is Frankmusik, and with three songs apiece we have Penguin Prison, Elouise, Eric Saade, Ro Danishei, and Kyle Brylin.  These are no surprises if you’ve read this blog throughout the year.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll begin 🙂

BILL’S TOP 75 SONGS OF 2011

75 TILL THE WORLD ENDS  Britney Spears

Unlike much of the pop world, I have never much been a fan of Ms Britney.  But this year she recorded the best song of her career thus far which kicks off my year end list.  In fact one of the very best reasons for expanding my list to 75 songs this year was to include this song.  Well done – more like this please!
74 METAPHOR  Nick Hagelin

Watch Nick’s Twitter account for word about his upcoming single “X Games”!
73 JILTED LOVERS & BROKEN HEARTS  Brandon Flowers
72 WE DON’T MISS A BEAT Van Go Lion

Portland, Oregon duo Amy Paige and Josh Hoertzel make magical melodies together, and “We Don’t Miss A Beat” is their best yet.  Watch for more in 2012.
71 ICE MELTS  Matt & Kim
70 ANOTHER DIMENSION   Bass Robbers featuring Matt Blue
69 NEVER WILL BE MINE  Rye Rye featuring Robyn
68 THE CITY (Richard X emix)  Patrick Wolf

It was so grand to hear British singer Patrick Wolf full of positive and happy energy with songs like “The City” from his recent album Lupercalia.
67 TILL IT HURTS (Radio mix) Native Underground

Native Underground and singer Javi Silva (who gave us last year’s tantalizing “Situation”) are part of a New York City new dance/disco undercurrent.  Watch for more from them in 2012, including Javi’s other project Chasing The Ghost.
66 CINEMA  Benny Benassi featuring Gary Go
65 FALLING Bright Light Bright Light

BrightLightx2 aka Rod Thomas recorded this free download and unique interpretation of the theme from TV’s “Twin Peaks”, originally sung by Julee Cruise.

64 WHITE HORSE  Jessica 6
63 MORE (Red One Jimmy Joker remix)  Usher
62 STUPID WITH YOU  Eric Saade
61 MY FIZZY POP   Kyle Brylin
60 THEN I GO TWISTING  Erasure
59 ALL YOU NEED IS NOW  Duran Duran
58 THE LOVER’S RUMBA   Elouise

The first of three contemporized ballroom songs to appear in this list from the fantastic Ballroom Remixed compilation from our favourite UK torch song chanteuse.

57 KEEP YOUR HEAD UP  Andy Grammer

One of the most upbeat and carefree songs of the year also had one of the most enjoyable (and interactive) videos!

56 BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE  Chris Brown featuring Benny Benassi

I must say I was totally enthralled with Chris Brown’s performance of this song on the Grammy Awards – though it was really a lot of special effects that catch your attention more so than the song, you can imagine how much work went into it.  But I was totally puzzled that his record company did not promote this song to pop radio, and instead it became a #1 Dance Club Play hit.

55 TAINTED LOVE  Elouise

Another magnificent Steve Anderson production which turns the song best known as the 80’s hit by Soft Cell into a seductive, smoky, and empowering torchy rendition.
54 ALORS ON DANSE  Stromae

53 NEVER LOVE A DJ  Kyle Brylin

52 THE EDGE OF GLORY  Lady GaGa
51 DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART  Agnes
50 SUNLIGHT Bag Raiders featuring Dan Black
49 FAMOUS Audio Playground featuring Kardinal Offishall or Randy Raymond

Canadian dance trio Audio Playground enlisted Kardinal Offishall for this infectious dance song that perked up Canadian radio playlists this Fall.

48 LADY LUCK  Jamie Woon
47 ROCKETEER  Far East Movement featuring Ryan Tedder
46 BAD DOG  Neon Hitch
45 THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL   Elouise

From the little belter herself, a live clip of this version of the ABBA hit which shows that Elouise has the goods and you’ll hear much more from her in 2012.


44 SET FIRE TO THE RAIN  Adele
43 MOVES LIKE JAGGER  Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera
42 MONSTER  Kanye West featuring Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj

I will always listen to Kanye West’s music knowing that he can come up with greatness with the help of such friends… and to me Nicki’s outstanding rap in this song is what helped get her on the map.
41 FAIR WARNING (Dirty Vegas remix) Penguin Prison
40 VENOM Long Story Short

A hooky, movie theme-inspired rock song from this duo, who are from Quebec and L.A.  Watch for more from Long Story Short in 2012.
39 THE PUPPET WHO GAVE HIMSELF STRINGS  Simon Curtis

The most adorable song from Ballroom Remixed which shows a different side of Simon.
38 PREY TO THE BEAT   Ro Danishei

Prey To The Beat is the hidden gem in Ro’s End Of The Rainbow album.  It can easily slay the dancefloor!
37 BLOCK AFTER BLOCK  Matt & Kim

Block After Block is set to one of the best videos of the year – it’s just so much fun, like the duo themselves.

36 PULL THE TRIGGER  Adam Tyler
35 MULTI-MILLIONAIRE (Shook remix)  Penguin Prison
34 TALK TALK TALK  Darren Hayes

33 FIX ME  Matthew Kurz

Fix Me is one of the most heart-wrenching ballads of the year by L.A.’s Matthew Kurz, a new singer with an amazing voice.  Download his Mixtape featuring Fix Me right here.
32  CINNAMON  Matt Webb 

Guitarist Matt Webb  initially released Cinnamon as a limited free download before appearing on his debut EP Coda and Jacket.  It’s one of those perfect summer heartbreak songs that shows another side of this Marianas Trench member.
31 EVERYTHING I’M MISSING  Kyle Brylin

As Kyle enters an acoustic phase of his career, his electropop of 2011 leaves its mark especially with this hypnotic song with a video that makes you watch, even reluctantly. And what is it about the eye makeup that helps give this song a bit of a sinister side? 😉

30 SUPERHERO  Simon Curtis

Your Superhero arrived in May to stage the arrival of R∆.

29 STUPID (Brad Walsh remix)  Databoy

It takes a few listens until you realize what a smart release this is from this Austin TX duo.  It’s still available as a free download right here.

28 I WON’T LET YOU GO   Adam Tyler

Watch the colourful video from the best song on Adam’s Shattered Ice debut release.


27 MICHELLE  Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis

Watch Ro and Simon perform this blistering duet from London, the first of two videos from that show in this list!

26 BORN THIS WAY  Lady GaGa
25 I’M IN LOVE  Christian TV

The first of two pop/dance confections on this list from the Detroit performer who now goes by the moniker JMSN.  Watch for more tricks up Christian Berishaj’s sleeve in 2012.
24 PRISONER OF LOVE  Jessica 6 featuring Antony Hegarty

Prisoner of Love is just one of those to-die-for duets that happen once in a while.  Hopefully this will be the first of many Nomi Ruiz/Antony Hegarty pairings!


23 BLOODSTAINED HEART  Darren Hayes

There are few performers who can convey heartbreak so conscientiously as Darren Hayes.  The best song on his Secret Codes & Battleships album is also one of his finest vocal performances.  Watch the video all the way through.

22 PUMPED UP KICKS (Skeet Skeet Show remix)  Foster The People

It’s very clear from their sold out concerts and their praised performances (even on TV’s Saturday Night Live) that Foster The People is not a one-hit pony.  Despite the strange subject matter, the song became one of the defining hits of the summer, but my preference is for the frenetic Skeet Skeet Show remix.
21 JACKSONVILLE  Brandon Flowers

Held over from 2010, Jacksonville is one of the songs on the deluxe version of Flamingo, an album that could have fared very differently if the excellent deluxe tracks had been the the core of the record.  Nonetheless, this is Brandon at his most unique – Jacksonville could have also been kicked up a notch with some dance remixes.
20 DISCO MOMENT Bright Light Bright Light

One of Rod Thomas’ very best songs contains several lyrics that can leave you teary-eyed while you dance:  “And I am open, I am open, but I might just close if… /You make it so hard to be around”.  The outstanding video will twist your emotions on the spot.


19 OUT WITHOUT YOUR BOYFRIEND  Jerry Reid featuring Ben Waters

The best song from the Ballroom Remixed compilation is this contemporary jive number, aided immeasurably by the magic fingers of Ben Waters.  Jerry Reid, too, is a new bad boy talent to watch in 2012.
18 TALK TO ME  Andrea Lewis featuring Simon Curtis

Toronto’s Andrea Lewis has another hold over from 2010 release 54321, with her 60’s retro sounding duet with Simon Curtis.  Watch the exclusive performance by these best friends from London below.


17 HURT YOU AGAIN Frankmusik

Pre-dating the Do It In The AM album by several months, it’s one of the rare tender ballads you will hear from Frankmusik, originally available as a free download.
16 SOMEONE LIKE YOU Adele
15 S&M Rihanna

Rihanna was a non-stop music-making machine in 2011, but S&M to me exceeded all expectations and made the music that followed pale in comparison.  She was at the top of her game but is now probably due a break for fear of that other industry-eating event, over-exposure.  The song also accompanied an interesting cadre of songs with suggestive topic matter, which all ended up in Billboard’s Top 4 on the Hot 100 earlier in year – the others were “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa, “Fuckin’ Perfect” by Pink, and “Tonight (I’m Fuckin’ You)” by Enrique Iglesias 🙂

14 DO IT IN THE A.M.  Frankmusik F/ Far East Movement

13 CAN’T HELP MYSELF (KEEP DANCING)  Matt Blue

One of 2011’s must-talents to watch is 19 year old Matt Blue, who hails from the Netherlands.  Songs like “Can’t Help Myself” transcend the record industry barriers for official release through their videos.


12 LOVE 2 BABY Christian TV

If there was any song that should’ve been a hit in 2011 it was “Love 2 Baby”, dance pop at its best and somewhat hedonistic video to boot.  Watch for the artist now known as JMSN in 2012.


11 NO I.D. Frankmusik featuring Colette Carr

One of the most joyous treats of 2011 was watching this completely unexpected video throwback to “Grease”.  Frank and Colette have great chemistry together – hopefully they’ll record again.


10 MADE OF POP  Eric Saade

It was never released as a single *hrumpf* but this love letter to Eric’s fans has some of the best lyrics that pop music could offer in 2011:  “My kings and queens /Are speaking through me / Got my degree / In the big P-O-P”.

9 ROLLING IN THE DEEP  Adele

Rolling In The Deep is the song that defines 2011 in pop culture.  It endured the entire year, became a massive hit beyond expectations, was covered – sometimes magnificently – a gazillion times.  More than any other song in the 21 album, it showcases the many broad talents of Adele.  Now let’s hope her voice recovers and we hear more magnificence in the next few years.


8 NIGHT AIR  Jamie Woon

One of the most mysterious and oddly appealing songs by this new English singer with deep down embedded talents.  While the video surely must have had “Twilight” as a source, its quiet is incredibly elegant.


7 THE FEAR INSIDE  Frankmusik

The best song from Do It In The AM was Frank’s first single from the album, released about a year ago.  Just release yourself to this one.

6 GOLDEN TRAIN Penguin Prison

Penguin Prison held court on my chart at the top of the year for two months with this song, which was made even better when Chris Glover paired it in a stunning mashup with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day And Night”, which you can hear and download in the link in song title.

5 LASER GUNS UP  Simon Curtis

It lasted from the first time I heard it in a live clip from a January show throughout the year.  Laser Guns Up is still my anthem for 2011.  And I still want some LEGO laser guns.  “This one’s for the people who’ve been told they’re never good enough / The little girls and boys who dream of what they wanna be / The little girls and boys who grow up into you and me”.
4 JUST ONCE Databoy

I had just heard “Stupid” and had not yet charted it before I was introduced to Databoy at the Superfraiche showcase in New York City in April.  And that’s where I heard this song.  Instantly, it became my song for the upcoming summer, and when it arrived as a free download there was no other competition.  I can’t wait for more Databoy music in 2012.

3 WICKED BABY Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis

We had to wait till late Summer for this bonus track from the deluxe edition of Ro Danishei’s End of the Rainbow, but the best was saved for last.  This is the child of Ace of Base’s The Sign that you’ve all been waiting for, with a stunning dubsteppy breakdown amid another smoking Ro/Simon duet.  And I wasn’t the only one who loved it, check out My Fizzy Pop’s thoughts on the song too!

2 FLESH  Simon Curtis

There was no song more unique in 2011 than this second single from Simon’s R∆ album.  Totally different from even the songs within R∆, it’s a tour-de-force of sensual imagery carried by fierce production that will simply throttle you.  I still want to see it featured in a segment on TV’s “The Vampire Diaries”:  “You put your hand upon my neck and feel the pulse beat-beat-beat-beat /It’s like a trigger getting ready to shoot” and “Hold me up against the wall / Give it till I beg, give me some more /Make me bleed, I like it raw / Like it R∆ R∆ R∆”.
1 POPULAR  Eric Saade

“Popular” is the best and most captivating song of 2011 to me, which threw Swedish singer Eric Saade even more into the spotlight when the song won the Melodifestivalen contest and came third in Eurovision.  It signalled things to come, with Saade’s Volume One and Volume Two albums dropping before year’s end and giving us the year’s most  lighthearted, feel good, crunchy electropop, which hopefully will find its way around the world in 2012.  Eric Saade and his team have created the template, the rest of the world needs to catch on.  And if you’re a male pop singer, all eyes should be on Eric!  Watch the star-making performance from Melodiefestivalen again below.


And Visions Of 2011 Danced In His Head…

2011 is a special year in many ways for me.  Utterly fantastic music was to be heard at every turn, whether it be a Facebook or Twitter link, a video, a concert… we were just a few clicks away from something amazing.  I’ve met and made contact with some of the genuinely nicest people who are either performers, writers, songwriters, producers … and are always music fans.   For someone like me who has sometimes odd music tastes and often wants to stand up on my seat and root for the underdog, it’s reassuring to know that there are so many of us out there in the world.

In anticipation of my year end Best Songs list – which will be a Top 75 Songs for the first time since around 1992 – I’m going to rave on about 20  performers (and one compilation project) who made 2011 a watershed year, particularly for pop music online (he says after listening to the radio and finding so little of interest on it).  So this post is a little longer than usual… they are in no particular order, except for the last five 🙂

The Script

The Irish trio toured around the world and then seemed to do it again, sideways, finally landing a show in my city.  Their Science And Faith album proved to be a consistent soft rock entry, spawning long-lasting hits like “For The First Time” and “Nothing”.  It’s a record that you can put on at any time and know that you will get something different back in each play every time.  The band in concert has an earnest, contagious energy which will serve them well in their rock career.

Jamie Woon

If I hadn’t heard the magical and eerie “Night Air”, well represented by a beautifully-shot video, Jamie Woon’s Mirrorwriting would not have been one of my most played albums of the first quarter of the year.  Englander Jamie has one of those deep musical souls, highly evident in gripping R&B/Blues-influenced songs like “Tmrw”, “Street”, “Waterfront” and “Shoulda”.  I can’t wait to see where his next album will take him, and us.

The Midway State

The Toronto-based quartet had me a bit puzzled with their sophomore release Paris Or India, but it’s really an album that grows on you with time.  First you must get over the hurdle that it’s quite different, and much more produced, than their 2008 debut Holes.  But the songs do resonate, particularly “Fire!”, “All Anew”, “Hartley Salter’s Kite”, and “St. Paul And The Wolf”.  The band proved how much they’ve grown touring back and forth across Canada and are now a formidably tight unit in concert.  Keep them on your radar!

Jon McLaughlin

What’s one to do after leaving your major record label of 6 years?  Why, you tour the hell out of North America in support of the album that you couldn’t agree upon, that’s what!  So Indiana’s Jon McLaughlin released Forever If Ever on his own, as if to reacquaint us with an increasingly lost image – the singer/songwriter/piano man.  I mean, a full blown piano solo in the album’s best song, “Promising Promises”, really?  The record is mainly soft rock, but also rocks out on “What I Want” and “These Crazy Times”.  And Jon proved himself to be a compelling presence in concert, prepared to bang out that keyboard until it falls apart.

Adam Cohen

I was fortunate enough to win last minute tickets to see Adam Cohen’s show in Toronto in October.  And I was treated to a low key, enthusiastic small event to showcase his first English solo album, Like A Man, since 1998, after recording one in French in 2004 and of course having some success with his rock band Low Millions.  So Adam has now embraced some of father Leonard’s style and grace on the album.  But these are Adam’s songs which tell interesting tales of love, lust, and beauty, as well as a coming of age of sorts.  At 39, Adam has decided to continue with a pop music career after nearly talking himself out of it.  And so out of that we have Like A Man, one of the best albums of 2011.

Jessica 6

This New York City trio is among a select few who seem to be reinventing the late night dance music of their city.  There’s no better example than their See The Light album, full of dark and sensual rhythms carried by the sultry-plus voice of Nomi Ruiz.  “Fun Girl”, “White Horse” and especially the knockout duet with Antony Hegarty on “Prisoner Of Love” will serve as benchmarks in this sub-genre which will continue to grow.

Ballroom Remixed

It almost seems like a no-brainer.  But with the success of contemporary dance in our pop culture spectrum now, thanks in large part to TV’s So You Think You Can Dance, no one had thought about putting a contemporary spin on traditional ballroom dances until now.  Dance choreographer extraordinaire Melanie La Patin executive-produced this fun and diverse compilation, with all songs written and produced by one group of incredible individuals, so it comes off as a dedicated and attractive affair to suit your every dance mood.  And the performers who participated?  A who’s who of Internet pop from across the globe – Simon Curtis, Kyle Brylin, Gravitonas, Elouise, Lee Latchford Evans, Romy Low, Neo, plus stunning newcomers like Jerry Reid, Joshua Desjardins, and Jeronimo.  Putting together such a compilation in these times must have taken massive effort but the results are exceptional, so check it out if you haven’t.

Bright Light Bright Light

Rod Thomas creates sad and romantic electropop with a big heart.  And while we haven’t yet seen a full album release, this London-based Welsh singer/producer/DJ continued to dazzle us in 2011 with the heartbreak of “Disco Moment”, “How To Make A Heart”, and a unique interpretation of the “Twin Peaks” theme (originally sung by Julee Cruise) “Falling”.  And then there are his numerous dance mixes, often courtesy of his nightclubbing event “Another Night”.  Bright Light Bright Light is on my must-listen list.

Adam Tyler,  Kyle Brylin, and Nick Hagelin

All of these fine young men didn’t strike me with their first few songs.  But 2011 has shown that all are coming into their own, with endless possibilities ahead.  All are very prolific, whether engaging us with their own originals/collaborations, or with well-chosen cover versions.

Adam released his debut album Shattered Ice, toured most of the U.S., and also visited England, Sweden and Japan.  The well-received electronic album included pre-released single “I Won’t Let You Go”, plus club bangers such as “Like A Drug”, “Pull The Trigger”, and the anthemic “Music Freak”, but also showed Adam’s softer side as well, which truly highlights his voice, very apparent in his non-album free download covers of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” or Adele’s “Turning Tables”.

It seemed that every month saw a new Kyle Brylin release.  And I’d be the first to back off a bunch of songs that sound like they were being thrown against a wall to see what stuck.  But there is enormous quality to multi-instrumentalist Kyle’s versatile performances,  most of which were available as free downloads.  The year started with the interesting “Committed”, and quickly got turned upside its head with a visceral version of Rihanna’s “S&M”.  “Everything I’m Missing” was hypnotic, his best song yet.  He gave us a tongue-in-cheek side with “I’m A Man (Not A Piece of Meat)” from the Ballroom Remixed compilation.  More aggressive electronica followed in the form of songs like “Make It So” and “Never Love A DJ”, countered by sweet pop like “Bay” and the joyful “My Fizzy Pop”.  The year wrapped up with precursors to an album with the many remixes of “Revenge” along with the The System EP.  OK I’m officially out of breath.

For the first while, all I could associate singer/songwriter/guitarist Nick Hagelin with were dancing pandas (from his video of “ICU”).  So when the acoustic cover versions of “The Story Of Us”, “Sometimes I Cry”, and “Marry You” all surfaced, along with a beaut of an R&B/Pop EP called Take Off, then I knew Nick would be here to stay, with much to look forward to next year.  Take Off is available for free download and features the sultry “Metaphor” and wistful title track.

Erasure

September brought me back to an always pleasant experience – my fifth Erasure concert (I saw them first back in 1986!) – but this year’s event focused on both their greatest hits and music from their album Tomorrow’s World, produced by their opening act, Frankmusik.  The album itself stands as unique among all of the Erasure albums because it updated the duo’s sound, which attracted many new listeners, more than evident in the audience at the concert.  And the concert showed that Andy Bell and Vince Clarke are still very fine performers indeed – and just count all of those hits they played.

Ro Danishei

The L.A. based singer/songwriter released the first album of 2011 online for free, and in a year of such high profile women singers, Ro Danishei held her own with End Of The Rainbow.  It’s a collection of songs that would best resemble what a de-layered Kesha might sound like, but with much more focus on deeper lyrical content and solid production (courtesy of Jeff “Jadion” Wells) than image or novelty.  Her duets with Simon Curtis on the blistering “Michelle” and the child of Ace Of Base that is “Wicked Baby”, as well as solo efforts like “Baby Doll”, “Drunk Txt”, and “Blackout” put Ro Danishei on her own platform, waiting to be heard more in 2012.

Lady GaGa

Despite naysayers, Born This Way as an album (but more particularly as a song) is a triumph.  Every generation has its excesses, whether they be by Elton John, David Bowie, or Madonna.  Lady GaGa has her own invention of excess, but with all of her talent, and her ability to get right down to a fan’s level, she still comes across as a multi-layered and unique person.  And there’s no denying the variety in Born This Way, from the humorous “Government Hooker” and “Scheiɮe”, through to the more dramatic “Marry The Night” and “Judas”, and the anthemic “Hair” and “The Edge Of Glory”.

Adele

21 is the most stunningly beautiful best-selling album of many recent years.  Who would have thought a year ago that the New Artist Grammy winner from 2009 had created a record with songs that will serve as bellwether performances for years to come.  The honest emotion in “Rolling In The Deep”, “Someone Like You”, and “Set Fire To The Rain” transcended the year, and will continue into 2012.  21 is certainly a dream come true, a vocal tour-de-force with stunning arrangements.

Darren Hayes

Secret Codes and Battleships is Darren’s first album since the magnificence that is 2007’s This Delicate Thing We’ve Made.  It’s a softer and very personal affair, full of emotion and positive energy.  “Talk Talk Talk” was the danceable introduction to the album, followed by the intense “Bloodstained Heart” and feverish “Black Out The Sun”.  There’s no shortage of fine songs, with “Don’t Give Up” and “Roses” continuing to show the quality and beauty that Darren and his team put into their music.  What’s best though about this record – Darren’s finest vocals throughout.  Can’t wait for the North American concert dates.

Here now are the five quintessential performers in 2011 who require your attention in 2012 and beyond!

Elouise

England’s “Little Belter” certainly captured my attention last year with her knockout Stardust EP, which showcased her powerful voice on “Pretender”.  This year we saw Elouise take up a residency at Madame JoJo’s in London for several sequined-dress laden Little Belter shows, including “Santa’s Little Belter” at year’s end, which promoted her same-name EP of a trio of Christmas songs, including the lost disco gem “Dear Santa (Bring Me A Man This Christmas)”.  She also released another three song EP Stardust Melodies (as with the others, lovingly produced by Steve Anderson), featuring a warm and spot-on cover of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All”.  Plus she dared to cover “Born This Way” while Lady GaGa’s Grammy performance was still fresh in our minds (releasing it as a free download), as well as a sexy and sultry version of Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love”.  Then we found her contemporized on the Ballroom Remixed compilation with “The Lover’s Rumba”.  It was a great year for Elouise, and it will only get better from here.  A tour of England first; the rest of the world awaits!

Penguin Prison

Chris Glover and his band were everywhere in 2011.  The year started off with the single “Golden Train”, which Penguin Prison then mashed up with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day and Night”.  Then came the Prince-worthy “Multi-Millionaire” and an older single “Fair Warning”, in numerous different remixes.  Chris also entertained us with various remixes and mixtapes throughout the year, until the self-titled Penguin Prison album dropped, first in England, and then in North America in October.  The album was more than worth the wait, with the crunchy and ribald “Don’t Fuck With My Money” scoring the lead-off track role.  But there’s more to Penguin Prison than making an outstanding fusion of dance past and present, as “Desert Cold” and “In The Way” will inform you upon listening.  Despite their relentless touring throughout 2011, I hope to see a Penguin Prison show again in 2012.

Simon Curtis

Our Boy Robot from last year’s 8bit Heart free download release threw his hat into the official release game with R∆ pretty much taking over my Twitter timeline for the month of June.  He also performed a few shows throughout the year, including the Superfraiche showcase in New York City which I saw in April.  R∆ is a hard-hitting and emotionally heart-felt triumph which is not always an easy listen.  In fact it’s better to be broken up into several parts.  

The song that stands apart from the rest in R∆ is second single “Flesh”, Simon’s most unique offering to date that wraps you up and doesn’t let you go, with its impressive vocals, all of its sexy and sensual imagery, and whirlwind production from Jeff “Jadion” Wells.  Then we have the anthems – first single “Superhero”, concert fave “Laser Guns Up”, love letter to the fans “Get In Line”.  Then smouldering dance/pop courtesy of “Soul 4 Sale”, “Don’t Dance”, and “Enemy”.  Lastly, the intensely raw songs like “How To Start A War”, “I Hate U”, “Pit of Vipers”, and “Joshua” – I for one would not want to be the subject of any of these songs for fear of having to crawl under a rock somewhere.  

Despite its flaws, R∆ proves that Simon Curtis can take his music to the next level and beyond… I’m gonna have to be extremely patient waiting to see what’s in store next.

Frankmusik

Frankmusik left me breathless in 2011 after what seemed to be a simple start with the release of the infectious “The Fear Inside” at the top of the year.  But then the rollercoaster effect started, with the online free release of fine songs that didn’t end up on his September album release Do It In The A.M.  One of those songs is “Hurt You Again”, one of my favourite ballads of the year with a tender vocal which we hadn’t yet heard from talented Vince Turner.  

In the midst of it all, Frankmusik produced Erasure’s album Tomorrow’s World, from which he also gave us a raw cover of the band’s single “When I Start (To Break It All Down)”, and then opened up for them on their North America and England tours.  And in the midst of all that, songs from Do It In The A.M. were leaked months in advance of the album’s release, prompting Frankmusik to release several more songs for free download, including a song about London’s summer riots “Living In The Mayhem”.  

But back to the album – flat out and edgy dance pop, featuring collaborations with Far East Movement, Natalia Kills, and Colette Carr, all Cherrytree labelmates.  The music from the record shaped my playlists for late Summer and Fall, with the swinging title track, the jaunty “No I.D.” (with a fantastic “Grease” inspired video), and dance floor fillers like “Wrecking Ball”, “Ludicrous”, “We Collide”, and “Struck By Lightning”.  

Frankmusik now occasionally broadcasts on uStream from his studio and says he’ll be releasing his next album for free online.  But I’m sure this busy fellow will have more up his sleeve and should not be underestimated in this strange world of pop music.

Eric Saade

I’m so glad I keep an open mind about music or else I may not have returned to listen to Eric Saade’s records this year.  His previous releases, huge hits in the Scandinavian countries, didn’t connect with me.  

And then this year’s Melodifestivalen contest happened in Sweden, with Eric’s “Popular” one of the contenders.  Like with Mans Zelmerlow in 2009, the show extracted a stunning live performance  by Eric.  I was converted and  “Popular” is the defining song for me of 2011, followed in the summer by a full album, Saade Volume One.  This isn’t just Swedish electropop, it sets the standard for the way contemporary electropop should be.  Eric and his fine team of songwriters and producers covered the entire pop spectrum, from the caring and personal “Me and My Radio”, “Stupid with You” and “Timeless”, through to his own anthem for his fans “Made of Pop”, and the brilliantly bizarre “Killed By A Cop”.  

In November, Volume One was followed fearlessly by Volume Two, an even harder hitting, forceful collection of grittier arpeggio-laden electropop, led by a stunning first single featuring Dev, “Hotter Than Fire”.  But there are comparable songs within such as “Fingerprints”, “Love Is Calling”, “Explosive Love”, and “Crashed On The Dancefloor”.  Put Eric on a double bill tour with Swedish legend Robyn in 2012 along with a few other noteable performers and we will have Electropop Heaven.  

Not only does Eric Saade create electropop done so right that makes you feel so good, but he leads the way in which a male performer can rightly find his place in such a female performer-driven business these days.  If there’s any guy who should break into the worldwide pop marketplace in the next few years, it’s Eric Saade.  With Volumes One and Two, he’s created the template.  So other male pop performers, your challenge is here:  The Glove Is Now On.

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! Top 30 #351 – April 25/11

I’m going out on a limb, but I think “Popular” by Sweden’s Eric Saade could be the first worldwide smasheroo arising out of the Eurovision contest in years.  The theme is so universal that I think it can conquer all shores in time.  That having been said, of course it sits atop of my personal chart this week and looks to reside there for a long stay.  And I love the “Beat It” inspired choreography in the video above!  With all focus on the title track from his upcoming album Do It In The A.M., which debuts at #25 this week (and you can follow the promotion of it at Cherrytree Records’ site), that leaves the previously free download of “Hurt You Again” at #2 – I’m hoping the song will appear on the album… it’s too good not to make the cut!

The Top 10 is just loaded with great songs.  Adele’s “Someone Like You” rises to #4 while the 2011 anthem “Rolling In The Deep” slips to #6.  That other anthem, “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa climbs to #7, while the simple spot-on alternate rendition by Elouise moves up 21-15.  Kyle Brylin’s hypnotic “Everything I’m Missing” joins the Top 10 by moving 12-8, along with Mirrorwriting’s second single from Jamie Woon called “Lady Luck” (14-9), and “The City” by Patrick Wolf (#10) from the upcoming long-awaited Lupercalia.

Catchy, irresistible, infectious… there are so many songs out right now that fit that bill as we head into warmer weather where I live.  You must get by at least two or three listens for “Stupid” by Databoy to sink in.  This is what smart fun is all about, and the song is the fastest riser on the chart this week, soaring 25-16.  Right below is Toronto-based Shawn Desman’s latest, “Electric”, which climbs 22-17.  Nelson Clemente’s dark and sexy “No Protection” moves up 28-23 and makes a good mix with “Everything I’m Missing”.  Nelson’s”You’re A Star” will also see release on iTunes within the next few weeks.  And if you didn’t get to hear the Nicki Minaj/Kesha remix of Britney Spears’ “Till The World Ends”, you can find it below courtesy of Jon Ali’s blog.  It becomes her biggest hit on my chart moving 30-22.

Our other two debuts include the #20 premiere for “Another Dimension” by Bass Robbers featuring Matt Blue, which I blogged about on the weekend.   Matt’s voice is so powerful it goes right through you on this track!  Our last debut comes from Ro Danishei, who will be performing at the Electroqueer showcase in London along with Andrea Lewis and Simon Curtis (with whom I hear she may have a duet on Simon’s upcoming R∆ release).  This is another song from her release End of The Rainbow, which is available entirely as a free download right here.  This one hasn’t had as much attention as Simon’s or Andrea’s albums, and is very deserving.  Take a listen to “Drunk Txt” below.

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 :)

No Frills Late Chart Blog: Tuned-On! Top 30 #350 – April 11, 2011

It’s not often that the chart is posted late, but between dealing with personal staff and getting ready to head to Grand Ol’ Opry land for five days then good things have to wait a bit.

“Love 2 Baby” triumphs for a second chart appearance at the top for the talented Christian TV.  But that feat is pretty much fleeting as Eric Saade’s amazing triumph “Popular” soars 18-2, and looks ready for a hefty stay at the top.  Frankmusik’s gorgeous ballad “Hurt You Again” has to settle for third place though in another chart year it would be a chart-topper.  Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” appears to have longer legs than I’d imagined but slips to #4, and Adam Tyler gets a second Top 5 hit on my chart with “I Won’t Let You Go”.  You can hear one of Adam’s latest projects, “Time Bomb”, right here.

Adele mach #2 on this chart, “Someone Like You”, rises to #8 – slow but steady I promise you.  New to the Top 10 besides “Popular” are Andy Grammer’s MTV O video award nominee “Keep Your Head Up” (see the chart for the link) and Lady GaGa’s now ubiquitous “Born This Way”… which has made an impact in another version….

Jumping straight to the debuts, I blogged about Elouise’s live version of “Born This Way” a week ago, and it’s such an impressive redux that it joins GaGa’s version on my chart at #21.  Top 10 bound?  I think so – which will make it 3/3 for Elouise as recent #6 hit “The Winner Takes It All” leaves the chart.  Then at #25 is Databoy, who I enjoyed so much at the Superfraiche show in New York City 10 days ago.  The free download of the Brad Walsh remix of “Stupid” bows on the chart.  Aussie Nelson Clemente is such an underrated talent.  He has a solid EP Love.Feel.Dangerous on release as a free download which I blogged about a while back.  The dark but danceable “No Protection” arrives at #28.  Richard Barone’s album Glow has been long-lasting on my iTouch in regular rotation since its release in September.  An offbeat track “Sanctified” – which takes a cue from late 60’s early 70’s guitar rock despite an acoustic beginning – premieres at #29.  The title track from Barone’s album got to #2 last year.

I’m saving an entire paragraph for the song at #30 because I honestly never thought it would appear in my chart.  And the performer really does not need any extra promotion.  But the song’s infectious club beat – yes I still think an audience for a soccer game will arrive on the scene at any minute – reminds me that performers that I’m not fond of often make good, fun records.  So for the first time since 1999, Britney Spears appears in my chart with “Till The World Ends”.  Her last song to chart?  “(You Drive Me) Crazy” – and it got to #24.  Only “And Then We Kiss” (not one of her biggest hits) and “Toxic” could have come close to charting in the intervening years.  Looks like “Till The World” could pass that “Crazy”.

The middle of the chart is quite busy, so don’t overlook great songs by Patrick Wolf, Kyle Brylin, Jamie Woon (I look forward to Mirrorwriting’s arrival next week), Bright Light Bright Light, and Brandon Flowers.

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 :) It’s 350 charts later after 13 years too!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #349 – March 28/11

As much as I can’t resist the laid back and mysterious charm of Jamie Woon’s “Night Air”, the song gives way to the summit of my personal chart after one appearance in favour of the positively infectious, can’t-stand-still hedonism of Christian TV’s “Love 2 Baby”, whose video was featured two weeks ago in these pages.  “Love 2 Baby” should by all rights be a must-play this Spring and Summer, so listen for it and get it on iTunes in advance of Christian’s upcoming album.

That leaves Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” holding in third place this week, while Frankmusik’s supurb ballad “Hurt You Again” climbs to #4 – if you thought Mr. Frank was only a remixer and dance artist, this song proves what an amazing voice he has.  And the Top 10 is packed with fine vocalists.  Adam Tyler’s Euro-inspired pop dance song “I Won’t Let You Go” continues to climb, with Dan Black complementing Aussie producers Bag Raiders on “Sunlight”, and the Red One Jimmy Joker remix of Usher’s “More” right behind.  Adele’s current UK chart topper – her 5th week at the top there – “Someone Like You”, is the lone new entry into the Top 10.

The feel good vibe of Andy Grammer’s “Keep Your Head Up” is paying off slow and steady as the song’s about to crack my Top 10, with the Richard X remix of Patrick Wolf’s “The City” in tow in anticipation of his upcoming album Lupercalia.  “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa hasn’t worn on me and it jumps to #13, while Enrique Iglesias’ party-hardy “Tonight” also rises up to #16.

The song that has grown on me the most these past few weeks is the fastest riser on my chart.  Kyle Brylin is a new singer from Wisconsin and his alternately hypnotic and eerie “Everything I’m Missing” soars 24-17.  Double back to the video featured a few weeks back while you’re at it.  BT’s warm electronica of “The Emergency” cracks the Top 20 along with the softer sound of “How To Make A Heart” by Bright Light Bright Light.  I think Brandon Flowers’ fans should convince Island Records to release “Jilted Lovers and Broken Hearts” as a single to extend the life of his fine Flamingo album.  The song rises to #21 this week.

Our four new entries are led by Sweden’s Eurovision entry – which I think has a great shot at winning the whole deal.  I was so glad to see Eric Saade’s “Popular”  (arriving at #18) take home the Melodifestivalen award – it could very well be one of the finest songs of the year, and I’m going to say again that it has immense international potential, now all Eric’s handlers have to do is get him on Twitter and use this opportunity to promote the hell out of this song.  Check out that starmaking video again from a few weeks back.  Next is the second single from Jamie Woon’s upcoming Mirrorwriting album.  I wasn’t sure what to make of it right away, but like so many UK soul-inspired records over the years, its understated appeal and the contemporary dubstep rhythm make “Lady Luck” (debuting at #22) unique, and you can view its video at the bottom of this page.

Further down, I’m bucking the singles that have been released from The Script’s sophomore album Science and Faith in favour of an extra song on the North American version of the album.  I think the pairing of rapper B.o.B. with the band has given their song “Walk Away” an extra boost, and it arrives on this chart at #26.  Listen to the song right here to see what I mean.  And last is a singer from the Toronto area who first appeared on this chart in late 1999 with a slice of pop/electronica called “Don’t Wanna Lose You”, and then again in 2002 with “Get Ready”, both of which got to the Top 5.  After that I thought a lot of his songs began to sound awfully similar, so I was glad to see a new approach with his latest album Fresh.  Shawn Desman is back with the fun “Electric” at #27, and you can view the video mashup with “Night Like This” right here.

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 🙂