BILLCS Top 30 #403 – April 22/13

And the new music keeps on coming, with four new entries (all but one of which I’ve written about), causing premature exits on my personal chart for some songs, but it looks like we are in for a grand summer given the quality of music on its way.  And can the flavour of 1970’s disco make its comeback with the help of one of the new songs?  Read on…


“Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni holds tight at the top for a third chart appearance (6th week), and the guys are busy with other projects, including Bongiovanni’s “I Think I Love You” rework which I wrote about earlier.  Zedd & Foxes (video below) and Gentlemen Hall continue in the runner-up spots, with Lawson ranking 5th, while FrankMusik’s “Map” climbs to #4 and “Captain” rises to #6.  FrankMusik is no stranger to my Top 5, with two previous #1’s (“The Fear Inside” and “No ID”) and three other Top 10’s, including “Fast As I Can”, which will also appear on his upcoming album Between in May.  New single “Chasing Shadows” is on deck soon!  If “Lifted” doesn’t hold at #1 in two weeks, I think a new #1 will be a surprise 🙂

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Most of the chart is in a tight lock, as often happens when a lot of new songs arrive, so there is minimal upward movement.  Nonetheless The Presets’ “A.O.” grabs #7, and “My Girl” by Willy Moon (whose album Here’s Willy Moon is still not out in Canada) rises to #8.  James William’s supremely catchy “Lay Your Love On Me” (sing it – wo-oh-oh-wo-oh-oh – below) becomes a Top 10 hit in its own right and it’s still available as a free download.  “The Way” by Ariana Grande & Mac Miller is becoming a deservedly huge pop hit and climbs to #10.

Songs by Matt & Kim, Semi-Precious Weapons, and Jerry Reid are still locked in below the Top 10, so there are bigger moves just below.  You can find me jamming in my car to “Your Touch” by Blake Lewis pretty much every day, and the song jumps to #16.  Matthew Koma’s glorious slice-of-life of “One Night” is right behind at #17.  But it’s Travis Garland’s “Blue Electric Roses” (below) which is the fastest riser, moving 25-18.  It’s a phenomenal song that gets better with each listen; the lyrics are pointed but thoughtful, and the vocals… well don’t get me started being overly partial to male R&B-sounding voices.  Travis has it in spades with his recent EP Fashionably Late Part II which you must download from his website.

Locked into the chart #20 and below are the bluesy jamming in “Right Back Home” by Lifehouse featuring Peter Frampton and Charles Jones (live clip below), Demi Lovato’s “Heart Attack”, “On My Way” by Charlie Brown, and “Kiss My Lipstick Off” by Georgia Haege.

The newcomers to the chart are all pretty brilliant.

Dutch singer Matt Blue has already had two chart appearances in 2011, first with a collaboration with Bass Robbers called “Another Dimension” (#8), and then with his own feelgood jam “Can’t Help Myself (Keep Dancing)”, which got to the top of the chart in November 2011.  The singer has returned as featured in Kontor’s massive Top of the Clubs series, with his single “Outta My Mind”, which is now available on iTunes everywhere and makes a huge splash at #19.  There is no end to how great summery feelgood songs can be if they are done right, and I am looking forward to a full album from Mr. Blue one day that will show off his big, big vocal range.

Another Dutchman, Armin van Buuren, is back with a new album appropriately called Intense.  I’m predicting incredible things to happen with the first single “This Is What It Feels Like”, which I wrote about last week, and it bows at #25.  A major plus is the return of soulDecision singer Trevor Guthrie to the music scene, I just never expected it to be on a dance record.  Wise choice – it’s a great song, and van Buuren has a 10 year pedigree for successful emotional dance pop.

The big news of the last week was the official release of “Get Lucky” (at the top of the post), French duo Daft Punk’s return with vocalist Pharrell Williams (who sounds tremendous) in tow along with music legend Nile Rodgers providing his distinct, recognizable sound.  “Get Lucky” starts out at #27 but will undoubtedly take off in the coming weeks.  I think it could be not only one of the best pop and dance records of the year, but its celebratory vibe could bring back the happy disco sound of the late 70’s.  Young people have never experienced the glorious days of disco, and I think considering so many recent tragedies that the impetus is there for a joyous update.  The older disco haters have long gone… now is the time!!

Lastly, it’s hard to cherry-pick songs from Jarell Perry’s debut free download album Simple Things.  It’s ALL more than good and I will be a broken record about it over the next few months.  I’m leaning heavily towards the day-in-a-snapshot as told in “9 2 5”, a big and emotional song which arrives at #28.  Jarell Perry’s got way too much talent not to get a record deal, and if not, someone is missing out and he will succeed on his own terms.  Listen for this fantastic singer.

BILLCS Top 30 #402 – April 8/13 – Six Songs Debut!

The newbies are taking over, sending some songs that should have peaked higher down or off the chart.  And you’ll be more than a little bit surprised at some of the chart entries as I haven’t yet written about them 🙂

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

It’s a no brainer that “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni reigns supreme for another chart… with nothing below it really challenging to take its place in two weeks.  Good thing for our boys Danny and Victor, who are recording some follow up songs to this one 🙂  Right below, #1 Dance Club Hit (and now charting on the Billboard Hot 100 too) “Clarity” by Zedd & Foxes ascends to runner-up status, while the summertime smash-in-waiting “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall (above) climbs to #3.  Lawson’s “Learn To Love Again” moves up to #5 as a fifth single “Gone” will be released from their UK gold record Chapman Square.

FrankMusik has a double headed for the Top 5, as “Map” and “Captain” (both above) are now back-to-back at #6 and #7 respectively, while Mr. Vince Turner finalizes his new album Between.  The Presets are coming! The Presets are coming! Back to my city on their tour on May 10, with Dragonette opening!  The otherworldly “A.O.” becomes their second Top Tenner on my chart at #9 following “If I Know You”, which got to #4.  Willy Moon is on deck with Here’s Willy Moon arriving in most places around the world tomorrow, and “My Girl” follows “Yeah Yeah” into Top 10 status at #10.

And here’s where I have to choose what not to write about… a busy chart with six debuts.  3 of our last chart’s debuts make significant inroads.  Semi-Precious Weapons soar with “Avaition High” at #15, while Jerry Reid’s mysterious rocker with great lyrics “Tell The Night” follows suit at #16.  Bastille’s irresistible pop rocker “Pompeii” (above) is the chart’s fastest riser, moving 28-20.

But it’s those debuts that have my attention right now.  19 year old Ariana Grande’s “The Way” is one of the most instantly likeable songs out there right now, and the song (featuring rapper Mac Miller) bows at a spectacular #13.  It’s from the Victorious star’s upcoming debut album Daydreamin’.  That’s an interesting title.  Ariana’s ultra sweet vocal on “The Way” immediately captured Mariah territory comparable to her 90’s work.  Of course one of Mariah’s albums is called Daydream (not to mention one of my fave Aretha songs is “Day Dreaming”).  I think the reason I enjoy this song the most is that it’s the teen version of Estelle & Kanye’s 2008 hit “American Boy”.  But the gal has the built in goods in her voice, I have heard her sing live and she is the real deal.

Down further at #21 is one of the better known American Idol contestants, 31 year old Blake Lewis, with his latest single “Your Touch”.  This song has grown on me immeasurably over the last month, and it’s chorus is loud flat out belt-worthy with such a feel good vibe.  It’s from Blake’s upcoming third album Portrait Of A Chameleon, and it’s his first chart entry here since 2009’s classic “Heartbreak On Vinyl” got to #4.

I just wrote about it yesterday, but Matthew Koma’s “One Night” has wasted no time in debuting at #22.  Let’s see how good a job it does in two weeks trying to take over the chart as his most recent #1, “1998”, leaves after the mandatory 10 appearances (20 weeks).

First Ariana Grande, and now… X Factor judge Demi Lovato makes her first chart appearance here with “Heart Attack” at #24.  Her voice keeps getting better and better, so her new album, Demi, will be well worth hearing.  She attacks the cutting and biting lyrics like there is no tomorrow, and that’s exactly what was required for the song.  Bravo.

I’ve already been raving about Travis Garland’s Fashionably Late Part II EP being one of the best of 2013 so far.  My favourite song from it is “Blue Electric Roses” at #25 – the kind of innovative song that I was expecting on Justin Timberlake’s latest album.  But sometimes the innovation has to be left to others and I think Travis is on the right track for making the right kind of big splash soon.  The EP is available for free download at Travis’ website.

The last debut at #27 belongs to Mr. Charlie Brown, whose “On My Way” got to #7 in the UK last week.  He will be touring with Craig David in the UK soon, and I’m hoping his management has big things planned for a North American debut.  This is soulful pop at its best from someone who should have broke out four years ago.  Charlie is very big on interacting with fans on Twitter too @CharlieBrownLDN 🙂

BILLCS Top 30 #401 – March 25, 2013

With travelling and illness being the order of March for me, I plan to write briefer and more frequent posts.  When great new music stacks up, it just shouldn’t wait!! :)

That having been said, there’s a new chart on deck brimming with all kinds of upward movement.

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Independently released music continues to score big time on my chart.  Toronto’s Danny Voicu meets Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni as Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni for “Lifted” (ab0ve), a beautiful chilled out deep house take on Baby Bash’s 2003 hit “Suga Suga” that is also a free download.  It reaches the summit this week, sending pals River Tiber to #2 with “The City”.  Big dance music tunes “Clarity” by Zedd and Foxes, and “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield, remain at #3 and #4.

Gentlemen Hall’s “Sail Into The Sun” (above) exploded into American Target commercials these past few weeks and moves up 8-5.  When I was in Austin, just before I left to go to the airport on March 13, I was walking to the back of a local Target store and I could hear this familiar song singing out to me… you just kind of had to be there :)  “Keep Me Crazy” is apparently the next single from Push Rewind for Chris Wallace, and it rises to #8.  The only newbie to the Top 10 is the sensational “Map” by FrankMusik at #9, which looks like it’s Top 5 bound.

Every song between #11 and #22 is on the way up, making the chart an interesting blend of multiple competitions!  So we have Justin Timberlake scratching at the Top 10 with “Suit & Tie”, just ahead of more frenetic FrankMusik and The Presets with “Captain” and “A.O” respectively.  “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William (above) is a slick slice of pure pop available on iTunes if you like what you’ve been hearing by Chris Wallace or Matthew Koma.  James also recently posted a well done original, “No Regrets”, which you can also hear above.

The fastest riser on the chart is pop with a difference, and lots of style to boot.  “My Girl by Willy Moon (above) moves 25-16, looking to join “Yeah Yeah” as his second Top 10 hit on my chart.  Judging by one of his Austin shows two weeks ago, Willy delivers the goods in concert and leaves you wanting much more after a half hour set.  “It’s Alright” by Matt & Kim glides into the Top 20, while I thought “Heaven” by Depeche Mode (also above) would be a lot further along by now, slow and steady is the pace with the release of Delta Machine this week.

As I threatened two weeks ago, there has been a mini-house cleaning, resulting in five debuts.  I’m loving the flow of “Aviation High” by Semi-Precious Weapons (above) in powerful anthemic love ballad style.  It’s so different from their other songs and arrives at #21 as we await their new album and more tour dates.  You can also find a beautiful recent cover by R&B singer Jarell Perry (who I will be writing more about 🙂 ), also above, available for free download.  Detroit rocker Jerry Reid returns after 2011’s “Out Without Your Boyfriend”, which got to #3 as a part of the Ballroom Remixed compliation.  An equally striking new song, “Tell The Night”, bows at #22.  The only place you can hear an excerpt of it is on Amazon at this time.  The song is also noteworthy for featuring background screaming by P.J. Soles of “Rock & Roll High School” movie fame.

Down further at #26 is everything that a bluesy/jazzy R&B-infused rock song should be.  It’s an album track by Lifehouse from Almeria called “Right Back Home” which features none other than 70s hit maker Peter Frampton (who I saw in concert – and got drenched during a storm – back in 1981) alongside blues singer Charles Jones.  Combined with Jason Wade’s vocal and a melody that brims along, and Lifehouse delivers a southern piece of good time honky tonk.  And who expected this?

At #28 is UK sensations Bastille with “Pompeii” from their new album Bad Blood, which hasn’t yet seen release around other parts of the world like North America.  I felt bad when I had to miss their 1:00 a.m. Austin set due to illness.  But “Pompeii” is more greatness in a small package, and you can get it on iTunes on the Remixes EP, featuring reduxes by the likes of Monsieur Adi and Kat Krazy (this remix is below).  Premiering at #30 is “Kiss My Lipstick Off”, the bubbly and naughty song by Liquid Diet’s Georgia Haege (you will remember last year’s memorable “Hand Dance” by Liquid Diet) from the equally bubbly and naughty compilation of the same name.

Pop Weekend: Cody Belew, Blake Lewis, Mans Zelmerlow, Jerry Reid (featuring P.J. Soles!), and i come in PEZ

Edit:  Here’s a link where you can watch the video:  http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XNTIwNDQ0NTky.html

Cody Belew “Purple Rain”

Coming as a Top 10 contestant from TV’s “The Voice”, Arkansas native Cody Belew captured North America’s ears and hearts with his brave cover versions and his genuine personality.  At the time, I said that he was the show’s likeable underdog, and later named him one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13.  In advance of his album-in-progress comes another compelling cover, of none other than Prince’s “Purple Rain”.  You know the song as an aching pop/rock ballad about love and, especially sex, with its fierce, climactic guitar work.  Cody’s rendition of “Purple Rain” strips it all away, almost akin to what Sinéad O’Connor did for Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, a lesser known Prince song that became the #1 song of 1990.  Well almost all of it – Cody’s version is a minimal, similarly aching recording that pulls the heartbreak in the lyrics all the way up for the listener to confront.  And with the barren scene in the video, the blurry camera movement, the expressions of the singer, and the absent rock trappings, the emptiness is accompanied by a profound sadness.  Even if “Purple Rain” doesn’t end up on Cody’s album – I suspect it won’t, but it should – this video performance is extremely memorable.  It’s difficult not to be moved by this beautiful interpretation of heartbreak.  Keep your tissue box handy!

Blake Lewis, “Your Touch”

With his latest music, I am so glad that Washington-born American Idol season six contestant Blake Lewis has continued to build on the power of his EDM audience, which took the title track from his 2009 album Heartbreak On Vinyl to #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart in April 2010.  That song also reached #4 on my chart and was in the Top 20 on my year end list of 2009.  Emotion is a powerful thing with the right arrangement, and though it’s laden in synths and effects, the result on “Your Touch” is a big sounding song that reaches out.  And this is probably what drew Microsoft in to use the song to promote Internet Explorer 10 in its commercials.  Though it perhaps takes a few listens to gel, “Your Touch” could crossover to pop radio with its exposure.  Blake’s third album, Portrait Of A Chameleon will be released by Republic Records and is due later this year.  While his last album was released almost four years ago, Blake Lewis has never been away and this new music should not be seen as a comeback but more as coming into its own.

Måns Zelmerlöw, “Broken Parts”

Spring 2013 brings us a new album by 26 year old Swedish sensation Måns Zelmerlow, who charmed us to pieces in 2009’s Melodifestivalen with a star-making performance of “Hope and Glory”, and hosted the show for its 2010 edition.  His subsequent sophomore album MZW was a diverse and warm pop album, and that summer I grew quite attached to the song “Rewind”, which peaked at #4 on my chart.  The new album is called Barcelona Sessions and looks towards a softer but more honed sound than in the past.  “Broken Parts” is a beauty in which the singer’s brilliant voice actually rises above the fragility of the lyrics.  I love a singer that transforms the lyrics and Måns has that power in his voice to do so.  Barcelona Sessions will be well worth the wait.

jerryreid4

Jerry Reid featuring P.J. Soles, “Tell The Night”

Last we heard from Detroit-based singer Jerry Reid, he was jiving with reknown pianist Ben Waters in my favourite song from the delectable 2011 Ballroom Remixed collection called “Out Without Your Boyfriend”, which posted at #3 on my chart.  Since then, some interesting songs appeared and vanished from his website, and it’s taken a while but now we have the supurbly edgy and dubsteppy “Tell The Night” available for purchase on Amazon in advance of an upcoming album.  Jerry’s commanding vocal makes you a believer fast, and it’s augmented by screams from none other than 70’s movie star P.J. Soles, most noted in the rock music world as Riff Randall from “Rock ‘N Roll High School”, but also in roles in big movies such as “Private Benjamin”, “Stripes”, and “Carrie”.  You can hear an excerpt of it on Amazon right here and as soon as I know of a complete version online I will post it.

i come in PEZ, “You’re The One”

i come in PEZ is the recording name for a new Dutch EDM indie performer who not only knows how to make infectious dance music, but has his head and heart in the right places.  It’s really quite a simple record where less is more – there’s a forlorn feel that fuels your emotions, and then it comes forward with a huge, bouncy hook with production by Toby Traxx.  This could do very well in dance clubs that take chances on records like this.  “You’re The One” is available on iTunes and half of its proceeds go to the Dutch Amnesty International Pride Fund.  i come in PEZ also released his eponymous 7 song EP last week containing two versions of the song.

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.


Long Weekend Tunes: Audio Playground, Kyle Brylin, Ballroom Remixed…Remixed, Pierre Lewis, and the return of The Waterboys

Audio Playground featuring Kardinal Offishall “Famous”

One of the most exciting new records to drop out of Canada in 2011 is “Famous” by Audio Playground.  At first listen, you might think it plays closely… perhaps too closely… to a formula started by Taio Cruz’s “Break Your Heart” or “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” by Usher.  What puts this song over the edge is that it’s engaging and tight – before you know it, the song’s over and you want more!

So who are these guys anyway?  Well you may have heard AP’s well-done version of Erasure’s “A Little Respect” over the past few years on radio or in dance clubs.  Based out of multiple cities such as Edmonton, Toronto, New York, and L.A., Audio Playground is a trio comprising producers Rubix & DRC along with vocalist Anthony Gitto.  “Famous” is their third release as they head towards releasing an album.

But first, there is a plan for global domination for “Famous”.  Ambitious?  Yes – and not only do we have a crisp English version featuring none other than Canada’s best rap export Kardinal Offishall (ab0ve), but a French language version is already tearing up charts in Quebec featuring vocalist Randy Raymond (below).  And “Famous” will soon be famous in other language versions to tap into the global marketplace that is now our Internet, since AP’s songs have found their way into dance clubs world-wide.  It’s not a new idea, but can you think of anyone who’s tried it lately, particularly in the last decade or so?  Audio Playground is creating an intriguing blueprint, and I can’t wait to hear more from them.

Kyle Brylin “Bay”

It seems like every few weeks I’m writing about Wisconsin singer Kyle Brylin.  There’s good reason for that.  Young Kyle continues to make amazing progressions with each song he releases.  This considering I wasn’t overly fond of the songs he released a few years back.  The turning points for me this year were the sexy and danceable delights that are “Everything I’m Missing” and his cover of Rihanna’s “S&M”.  These were reinforced with incredible strong songs in the “Telephoto Lens” EP, including a current fave of mine, the blissful “My Fizzy Pop”.

So now we have yet another side of Kyle that was explored on some early songs, one that’s more emotional and lyrical.  “Bay” is well-rounded lyrically and seems to capture the ups and downs of being in a relationship from all vantage points.  The melody and vocals are, for lack of a better word, sweet, in total contrast to the more aggressive lyrics and forceful beats in something like “Everything I’m Missing”.  Kyle’s very prolific, but when the quality, with help from various songwriting partners or on his own, is this good, then each release has its own merits.  Get “Bay” on iTunes.

Less Ballroom…More Remixed

Readers of this blog know how much I took to heart the music from the Spring release of Ballroom Remixed.  It’s a record where you can’t go wrong:  Ballroom music styles contemporized by a host of rising pop stars.

Two of my favourites get retweaked for clubdom and two others are improved somewhat in redux form.  The full version of Ricardo Autobahn’s remix of Elouise’s “The Lover’s Rumba” has been available for free via talented Elouise’s newsletter.  Autobahn’s edit makes the affair more compact for club DJ’s to zero in on its many charms.  My most favourite song on the original record is the jive of “Out Without Your Boyfriend” by Jerry Reid.  It’s too hard to improve on such a fun song, so Autobahn pretty much takes away the jive in favour of a successful transformation favouring European-flavoured club sounds and rhythm.

Then we get to two major improvements.  I’ve enjoyed the campy fun of “I’m A Man (Not A Piece of Meat)” by (yes him again) Kyle Brylin.  But here Autobahn carves out a European house groove that enhances Kyle’s playful vocals in an entirely different way.  You can hear it below.  Tammy Jay & Kally’s “I’m The One” is immensely improved in a more languid and dramatic version that better showcases the voices and the song’s lyrical qualities.  Also included are Autobahn’s “Theme From Ballroom Remixed” and a remix of Jenny McLaren’s “You Were Never Really Mine”.  Great value for those who want the beats and style more 2011 without taking anything away from the original songs themselves.  Get it on iTunes!

Pierre Lewis “One Girl Show”

We’re getting closer to the September 19 release of Pierre’s EP Transitions, from which I previously brought to your attention the Michael Jackson meets Robin Thicke R&B/pop stylings of “Out Of My Mind”.  In a similar vein comes “One Girl Show”, which does the job of creating more anticipation for this UK singer who has loads of potential to breakout big after amassing a huge online following.  Hear it above and watch for Transitions later in the month.  The clip below finds the singer talking about Transitions a few months back.

The return of The Waterboys with An Appointment With Mr. Yeats

An all-time favourite of mine is back with a return to form of their 80’s releases.  I can remember vividly squeezing into Toronto’s El Mocambo on December 6, 1984, to hear then band-of-the-moment The Waterboys.  The Irish band, led by singer Mike Scott, completely mesmerized the small crowd of mainly music industry insiders with a very different version of emotional rock rooted in Irish traditions, in support of their first two releases, The Waterboys EP and A Pagan Place, with another, This Is The Sea, soon to follow.

Aside from a few come-and-go members, the band eventually became just another name for Mike Scott, who took it in a late 80’s, early 90’s detour of albums deeper in Irish traditional music.  After a misfired relationship with Geffen in the early 90’s for the Dream Harder album, Scott started recording under his own name, starting off with two fine ‘solo’ albums, particularly Bring ‘Em All In.  The Waterboys came back in 2001 with A Rock In The Weary Land, a mixed bag with some strong songs, strong enough to take them back out on tour for some excellent shows.  A few more releases later, we find Scott creating songs based on poems by Irish poet W.B. Yeats in An Appointment With Mr. Yeats, due out in the U.K. on September 19 (I’m interested to see if a Canadian release date will be concurrent or if we’ll have to wait till 2012).  The two songs from it that Scott has posted on Soundcloud, “Sweet Dancer” and “White Birds”, are two of the best songs I’ve heard from him since Bring ‘Em All In.  So now, I can just taste what might also be included in the Yeats album as well as a possible concert.  Mike Scott and The Waterboys, you don’t know how nice it is to have you back!   Listen to “Sweet Dancer” and “White Birds” below.

The Waterboys “White Birds”

The Waterboys “Sweet Dancer”

Wicked New Music from Ro & Simon, Frankmusik, Jerry Reid, Long Story Short, The Midway State

Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis “Wicked Baby”

Can’t.Get.It.Out.Of.My.Head.  I love it when a song does that to me.  But I didn’t expect that it would be this one.  There’s a perception sometimes that only throwaway songs that didn’t make the cut the first time are added on to records which have already been released.  But when an album is being put on iTunes after being available for free for most of the year, those songs had better be good, DAMN good, to change that perception.  And I even tipped you off to this one earlier (in June).  

So one of the completely unanticipated and precious gems of 2011 belongs to singer Ro Danishei with “Wicked Baby” from the ‘deluxe’ edition of End Of The Rainbow, the original version about which I blogged earlier in the year, complete with five new tracks (two new songs and three remixes, including two killer remixes of “Blackout”, by Paul Hetherington and producer Jeff “Jadion” Wells).  And while I’ve been wrapped up with songs like “Prey To The Beat”, “Drunk Txt”, and “Michelle” throughout the year, it’s her new duet with Simon Curtis (who also collaborated on “Michelle”) that now really brings the power of this record home.  

While “Michelle” was filled with high energy and anger, “Wicked Baby” is pure sizzle and joy.  It revels in reggae-tinged late 80’s and early 90’s pop which screams Sweden!!! and in particular Ace of Base’s worldwide hits.  But the real ear-opener in this song is the 18 second vocal break in which producer Jadion contemporizes the style and finishes it off in party central.  

For a smashing review that took many of my words out of my head before I could write them 😉 check out My Fizzy Pop.  I’ve run out of superlatives for “Wicked Baby”, so you’ll just have to listen to the song below and watch for my new chart on the weekend to see where it places!

Frankmusik “When I Start (To Break It All Down)” Erasure cover

Last week became a week when a performer’s worst fears come to life.  Fortunately one of the most versatile performers around, Frankmusik, had already recorded “The Fear Inside” late last year, and the theme of that song served to counter whoever so cruelly decided to leak music from his forthcoming album Do It In The A.M. (due September 27).  

Frank fought back – with incredibly cool, quickly recorded songs that he made available for free download – and fans (and particularly a bunch of NEW fans I’m sure) reaped the benefits.  He also previewed songs from the album at various blog sites, including the full version of his choice pairing with newcomer and labelmate Colette Carr, “No I.D.”, which you can hear at Arjan Writes’ blog right here.

So because Frankmusik produced the upcoming Erasure album Tomorrow’s World, and is opening for them on their North American tour, I’ve chosen to post his spot-on cover below of their new single “When I Start (To Break It All Down)”.  You may not know it, but 2011 is the year of Frankmusik…

Jerry Reid previews his new album

You first met Detroit’s Jerry Reid through the sensational Ballroom Remixed project this past Spring, when he gave the Jive some bad boy R&R style on “Out Without Your Boyfriend”, powered by Ben Waters’ zinging keys.  And you’ll get a chance to hear a Ricardo Autobahn remix with the release of the forthcoming Less Ballroom, More Remixed.  Jerry gets to show his stuff on his upcoming album, which is previewing on his website through six songs at Jerry Reid Online.  These are pretty tasty tunes, throwing you back into the late 80’s where you might swear that Jerry could cover songs by both INXS and Tommy Page in the same breath.  The rollicking “Radar” is mighty ear-catching, while “Young Wolves” I would say is simply Michael Hutchence-exy.  Songs like “The Drive” help spell out the unique charm of Jerry Reid.

Long Story Short “Girl Without A Name”

I’ve been talking up the merits of duo Long Story Short for a good part of the year since I met Daniel Luka and Nicky James back in February, and told you about their debut album What A Scene.  The deluxe version of What A Scene will be on iTunes very soon, and will include their latest single “Girl Without A Name”, which is also available on iTunes.  The song follows in the uptempo rock vein of their free download “Venom” (currently #7 on my personal chart, and it will also be included in What A Scene), but with a much more lilting and lyrical style as well as a genial melody, that climaxes with shiny strings as it rocks to a close.  So like with Ro Danishei’s “Wicked Baby”, saving some great songs to complement an already very good album is fine strategy indeed.

The Midway State “Run To You” Bryan Adams cover

If you live in Canada, you can’t watch the CBC without seeing a commercial for the show “Camelot”, and hearing a clip of The Midway State’s rendition of “Run To You”, a classic international hit from 1985 by Canada’s Bryan Adams.  The quartet previewed this song when the CBC was promoting their “Cover Me Canada” show – and quickly demonstrated how to revamp a song and make it your own.  The band had already proven this in the past when they performed with no less than Lady GaGa on a duet of Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush’s “Don’t Give Up”, as well as with their version of Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror” right after he passed away.  That “Run To You” is taking on a life of its own while The Midway State promote their sophomore record Paris Or India is a testament to their exemplary choices of songs.  I’m still trying to latch on to some key songs from the well produced and thoughtful songs on Paris Or India, so until I’m ready to write about that, this cover of one of my favourite all-time Canadian songs will fare just nicely.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #358 – August 1/11

After being in a highly blissful statis for the last month or so, the Top 5 on my personal chart receives an inevitable shake-up.  It’s not enough however to dislodge one of the year’s best records bar none, the intense and sexy”Flesh” by Simon Curtis, which joins his “Delusional” and “Beat Drop” as one of the few songs to last four appearances (eight weeks) at the top.

Out to prove that a rare fifth appearance at #1 is unlikely are two fast risers on the chart.  Set to release a full length record – as well as some other projects like the previously noted “Memorize Me” with Rune RK – are Texan electropop wonders Databoy, whose pure summer fun release “Just Once” soars into second place.  The other is a debut from last week, Eric Saade’s memorable album track “Made Of Pop”, which quickly jumps to #5 in a tie as the Fastest Riser on the chart.  Eric’s “Popular” – which “Flesh” replaced at the top – is set to exit the chart after a requisite 10 appearances (20 weeks).  In-between are the Ballroom Remixed track “Out Without Your Boyfriend” by Jerry Reid (a new release from him coming soon) at #3 and “Talk Talk Talk” by Darren Hayes at #4.

Besides “Made of Pop”, we find new Top 10 entries from Canada/US group Long Story Short with “Venom” at an impressive #8, and the other Fastest Riser, “Pumped Up Kicks” by US band Foster The People, which climbs 16-9.  I think by the Fall, the singalong chorus of “Pumped Up Kicks” will be on the tongues of pop fans everywhere.  In-between, Matt Webb’s “Cinnamon” continues its rise to #6, while “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings” by Simon Curtis (also from Ballroom Remixed) inches up to #7.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, despite what may seem like road-jams in the chart, there is an extremely powerful glut of fantastic music out right now, and it tends to reside mid-chart for a while until the blockage gets unjammed.  Thus, “The Lover’s Rumba” by Elouise (the third Ballroom Remixed song within) is yet again delayed a Top 10 placing, with “We Don’t Miss A Beat” by Van Go Lion and Ro Danishei’s “Prey To The Beat” right behind.  “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera (official video coming) is only at mid-chart, and “Porcelain Heart” by Nicola Roberts seemingly squeaks up to #17.

Two of our recent debuts join the fray, the amazing Penguin Prison’s “Multi-Millionaire” rising to #18 and the emotional, pensive “Runway” by Blue Hamilton moving up to #20.  The remaining debuts from last week, “‘Til Death” by Wynter Gordon and “Rise Above 1” by Broadway’s Spider-Man, Reeve Carney, along with Bono & The Edge (official video at the bottom of this blog), get stuck in the mid-20’s thanks to two high flying debuts.

The first of the aforementioned high flying debuts belongs to “Disco Moment” by Bright Light Bright Light, bowing at #16, which was premiered with its outstanding, refreshing video a few weeks back.  I’ve reposted that video at the top of this blog because it’s destined to be one of the best and most memorable songs of the year.  The single gets official release on August 7.  I’m hoping that we’ll see release of the BrightLightx2 album, which I knew last to be called Make Me Believe in Hope, sometime before the end of the year.  The second debut is from New York alt.disco trio Jessica 6 with “Prisoner of Love”, an excellent duet with Antony Hegarty which was reviewed earlier this week.  The appeal of “Prisoner” is instant, and it pops onto the chart at #21.  Lastly, we have the fourth appearance on the chart from a song from the album called 21.  In This Year of Adele, “Set Fire To The Rain” has taken awhile to get under my skin, and arrives at #27.

Other News About Tuned-On! Top 30 Performers:

  • Darren Hayes will tour only the UK and Australia in 2011, while other international dates will happen in 2012.  Remixes of “Talk Talk Talk” are now officially available, including the Hall & Oates remix “Out of Talk”
  • Long Story Short continue to record new material, one song of which is called “Girl Without A Name”
  • Foster The People are selling out North American tour dates – get your tickets!
  • Ro Danishei has been back in the West Virginia studio of producer Jeff “Jadion” Wells recording her next album
  • Frankmusik will open for Erasure on more than 25 North American dates, in advance of the September 27 release of his Do It In The A.M. album
  • Kyle Brylin, of the recent #5″Everything I’m Missing”, has a smashing five-song EP this week or next – my blog about it will appear later in the week!
  • Adam Tyler, whose “I Won’t Let You Go” also got to #5 in the Spring, has his full album Shattered Ice on release on August 23

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!

Summer Popervescence #1 featuring the Tuned-On! Top 30 #357 – July 18/11

It’s been two weeks since we’ve written, so this time you get a longer two-fer blog:  A new personal chart with commentary, and hot new music courtesy of Summer Popervescence #1.  A lot of the latter music is creating some strife on the chart, causing an absolute glut of wonderful music.  I’m loving it!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #357 – July 18/11

The Top 4 songs remain unchanged and seemingly unmovable.  “Flesh” by Simon Curtis and “Do It In The A.M.” by Frankmusik featuring Far East Movement rank #1 and #2 for third appearances each (6 weeks).  “I’m in Love” by Christian TV ranks 3rd as his latest single, the R&B-oriented “Girl I Used To Know” is released.  “Out Without Your Boyfriend” by Jerry Reid stays at #4 as interest in the Ballroom Remixed project from which it comes continues to grow.  “Talk Talk Talk” by Darren Hayes climbs 7-5 as the singer continues to promote the record in Australia.  I’m waiting for my purple vinyl copy of the single in the mail 😀  View his performance on Australia’s “Dancing with the Stars” below (gosh, I adore Australian accents).

New to the Top 10 are “Just Once” by Databoy, a true summer song if there was one, which really makes its presence felt, zooming 14-6 to challenge those equally excellent songs in the Top 5!  It’s so obvious that Lady GaGa has set a standard over the last three years for female vocalists with powerful voices.  They are prevalent on the chart this week, so it’s fitting the Lady herself has another Top Tenner with “The Edge Of Glory” at #9.  And Chris Brown lands in the Top 10 for the first time since 2008 with his feelgood Benny Benassi collabo “Beautiful People” at #10.

Recent additions to the chart from the past few weeks continue to move up nicely.  “Venom” by Long Story Short is Top 10 bound in two weeks as it climbs to #11.  “The Lover’s Rumba”, Elouise’s contribution to the Ballroom Remixed album, jumps 19-15.  The fastest riser on the chart is the other, more laid back, summer confection, “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People, which is getting its slow burn groove on with more people each week.  It soars 27-16 on the chart.  Three other powerful female vocalists are right below… “We Don’t Miss A Beat” by Van Go Lion, featuring Amy Paige, is at #17; “Prey To The Beat”, the secret loaded weapon in Ro Danishei’s End Of The Rainbow album, charges up 28-18; Nicola Roberts’ “Porcelain Heart” is up to #19 and will continue to rise in two weeks; similarly “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera climbs to #20 and continues to build.

Five more debuts on the chart means five more songs to adore.

How does one follow such a magnetic song as Eric Saade’s “Popular”?  Well, with an incredibly solid Saade Volume One album, which is full of truly happy-go-lucky pop from the Swedish singer who has some great people behind-the-scenes in his court.  The album is a dazzler, an aural equivalent to Baked Alaska (ice cream baked in meringue) with peach and raspberry sauce!!  At its best, Volume One is all cute and endearing… but with loads of power and know-how to support it all.  Hence we have Eric the geek in “Stupid With You”, Eric the lonely retro romantic in “Me and My Radio”, and best of all, Eric Pop Personified with “Made Of Pop” (you can hear the song at the top of the page).  “Made Of Pop” is a much more logical follow up to “Popular” than the weak-ish “Hearts In The Air”, so I hope it will be the third single.  It has one of my favourite verses of the year:  “My kings and queens are speaking through me / Got my degree in the big POP”.  Single-handedly with these words has Eric given a huge shout-out to his fans – not unlike Simon Curtis with “Get In Line”, and Eric and Simon NEED to record and sing in concert together!! – and declared himself triumphant. Brilliant.  And speaking of brilliant, you can read a much more in-depth review of Saade Volume One by MyFizzyPop.  I’m not about to repeat so much of what he says so well 🙂

Next up at #24 is the Shook remix of Penguin Prison’s “Multi-Millionaire” about which I wrote previously.  Penguin Prison has happily joined the Scissor Sisters and a number of other artists on Downtown Records for the release of the PP self-titled record and new single “Fair Warning”.  But in the meantime, the Prince-ly influenced “Multi-Millionaire” will kick off the anticipation in advance.  Then at #25 we have “Runway”, the highly emotional single from singer/music exec Blue Hamilton.  I’m posting the video clip once again below so that you can all have a good cry.  We first heard New Yorker Wynter Gordon on Flo Rida’s Top 5 hit “Sugar” back in 2009.  In the meantime she co-wrote several songs for the Love? album by Jennifer Lopez and has seen her first album With The Music I Die become a massive hit in Australia – which makes two U.S. artists on this chart to have success Down Under (the other is Foster The People).  So while North America only gets an EP version of With The Music I Die, the song “‘Til Death” (which contains the title’s lyrics) arrives on my chart at #26 (video below).  Fellow New Yorker and star of the Broadway play “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark” Reeve Carney climbs onto the chart at #27 with “Rise Above 1”, his inspiring collaboration with “Spider-Man” songwriters Bono and The Edge.  Reeve is previously known for his work with his band Carney, which has released both a live album and a studio album to date and continues to perform throughout Reeve’s success with “Spider-Man”.

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!

“Runway” by Blue Hamilton

“‘Til Death” by Wynter Gordon

Summer Popervescence #1

“I Won’t Let You Go” by Adam Tyler

It would not be Summer ’11 without the long-awaited arrival of the video for L.A. singer Adam Tyler’s “I Won’t Let You Go”.  It’s a visually stunning positive pastiche of images of handsome Adam in various appearances and hairstyles (and paint) which make it incredibly memorable.  That the song is also a stunner makes it a winning combination, it’s one of my favourites of the year, having already peaked at #5 this past Spring.  Watch the video below and purchase the song on iTunes.

“Bad Girl” by Matt Webb

I love how Matt Webb is carving out his own mark from Marianas Trench with his enjoyable EP Coda and Jacket.  His track “Cinnamon” is already #7 on my chart.  I don’t like the current single “Bad Girl” as much, but the video is enjoyable in the same way as… well,  “Misery” by Maroon 5.  Check it out below.

“My Name Is Kay” by Kay

It may be a little samey to The Ting Tings’ “That’s Not My Name” but Canadian singer Kay’s “My Name Is Kay” has a whole other smashing funky bassline side that speaks for it alongside her Britney-ish delivery when she’s not rap/singing.  Watch the video below.

“Atlantis” by The Midway State

I previously wrote about this first single from the Toronto quartet’s upcoming album Paris Or India.  The video for this jubilant and ethereal song below has also surfaced in advance of the album.  The band will be performing at the Toronto Festival of Beer on August 5.  “Atlantis” has done well enough as a lead up but I think the best new songs from The Midway State will be heard on the album.

“The Story of Us” by Nick Hagelin

I continue to be so impressed by Atlanta-based singer Nick Hagelin and the careful choice of cover songs for which he has been posting videos.  The latest is a simply delightful rendition of Taylor Swift’s latest hit “The Story Of Us” (video below).  This just goes to say that Nick Hagelin needs a record released soon along with a DVD that might include some of these enjoyable videos.  Nick is a star just waiting to happen.

Rune RK & Databoy “Memorize Me” (teaser)

What would the summer be without an Ibiza-styled dance anthem?  And what a great pairing – Rune RK (you’ll remember his “Calabria”, famously redone twice in 2007/08, once by Alex Gaudino featuring Crystal Waters as “Destination Calabria”, and then as “Calabria 2008” by Enur featuring Natasja) – and US duo Databoy, who’ve been gracing my chart with “Stupid” and “Just Once”.  Get teased below.

And finally, we have four more videos by artists who appear on the Ballroom Remixed album, along with charting songs by Jerry Reid, Simon Curtis, and Elouise.

Dutch talent Jeromino sings about “How They Dance In Outer Space” on Ballroom Remixed.  To completely get away from the novelty of that song, he’s released “Renaissance Man” which not only shows his diversity but how much the camera just loves him as well.

New York self-professed theatre nerd Joshua Desjardins gave us executive producer Melanie La Patin’s namesake theme song on Ballroom Remixed.  So how does he follow it up?  With “I’m A Nerd” of course!  This is what could happen if a Weird Al Yankovic song got dunked in Europop (think Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” or Dan Balan’s “Crazy Loop”).  Joshua’s spot-on delivery makes geekdom seem way more than okay!  Hear the song below and get your inner nerd on.

German singer Linda Teodosiu offered up the steamy “Body Heat” on Ballroom Remixed.  Her latest single, which has a good chance to follow the worldwide success of her 2009 hit “Reprogram My Heart”, is “Alive”.  It’s a slinky mid-evening dance number partnered nicely with Linda’s soaring voice.

Lastly, for a very recent glimpse at Simon Curtis singing at his acoustic best, watch the clip below of Simon singing “I Don’t Wanna Be Alone” (from 8bit Heart) and support his sick kids charity 100 Million Miracles ( a reminder that Simon is a cancer survivor).

Okay – are your ears full enough now? 🙂

Tuned-On! Top 30 #356 – July 4/11 and Top 25 of the First Half of 2011

Without a doubt, this week’s personal chart is full of some of the most amazing songs in recent years.  Major label entries diminish (representing only 30% of this chart); independent and artist-oriented entries flourish.  Who’d have thought that when listening to its lyrics, *NSYNC’s “Pop” from 10 years ago would have been such a tell-tale record.  Somewhat ironically, it also comes from the album that still holds the record for greatest one week sales, No Strings Attached.

With such strong songs on the chart, I would feel so bad if all of the songs currently in the Top 20 do not reach the Top 10.  So some songs are in it for the long haul up the chart; if they stop short of the Top 10 then it’s simply because much stronger songs are ahead of them, but in other recent years might have gone higher.  Any song that reaches my chart is a winner.

As with a few weeks back, there are six debuts, and don’t let the lower chart positions of some of them set the wrong impression as every song is frequently played by yours truly.  I’ve already blogged about the first three.

Not surprisingly, “Talk Talk Talk” by Darren Hayes is a brilliant introduction to his upcoming album Secret Codes And Battleships.  It arrives in the Top 10 at #7 and is a future contender for the top of the chart.  Darren’s already been to the top of this chart four times, first with “Crush (1980 Me)” in 2002, then with “Step Into The Light”, “How To Build A Time Machine”, and “Me Myself + I” in 2007.  I’m hoping he plays some North American dates on his tour so that I can see his show again, and his album is one of my most anxiously awaited in 2011.  

“Just Once” by Databoy bows at #14 as the follow-up to “Stupid” (which peaked two weeks ago at #5) and is one of THE breezy songs of the summer of ’11.  You can listen to the song below but Cameron and Adam made the song available for free this past week and you can download it right here.  “We Don’t Miss A Beat” is the latest from Oregon duo Van Go Lion, and it has followed its dancing feet onto the chart at #21.   Great work from two talented duos on the rise!

The remaining three debuts are led by television sensation “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, courtesy of a recent broadcast of “The Voice”, and it premieres at #23.   This may have been one of the best things to happen to the recent careers of Maroon 5 and Ms Aguilera, which have suffered a bit on the pop charts.  But on my personal chart, both artists have flourished, charting regularly.  Aguilera’s “Not Myself Tonight” was her most recent hit, and it climbed higher than any other song by her, peaking at #5.   While Maroon 5’s “Misery” got to #14, the band has reached the top twice out of its 10 entries, with “This Love” in 2004 and “Makes Me Wonder” in 2007.

Next at #27 is L.A. trio Foster The People, who found themselves breaking out of Australia last year.  Their laid back pop/dance hit-by-way-of-the-beach is “Pumped Up Kicks” from their big selling Torches album.  Watch for the band (which fills out to a quintet) on tour.  The ever-influential Arjan Writes offered up the infectious Skeet Skeet Show Edit for free recently, and you can download that right here.

Last by no means least at #28 is “Prey To The Beat” by recent chart favourite Ro Danishei.  The singer has found her way onto my chart as a consistently talented alternative to the Keshas and Britneys of the world, first with the Simon Curtis duet on “Michelle” (#4) and then with “Drunk Txt” (#16).  “Prey” however is the secret weapon inside Ro’s album End Of The Rainbow.  It’s the last track on the album and the one that’s the biggest grower on the record.  Listen below – you will be hooked.

I’ve blogged previously at length about many of the songs at the top of the chart.  #1 again is “Flesh” by Simon Curtis, which was recently remixed by the “Do It In The A.M.” guy at #2, Frankmusik, and you can preview that remix right here “I’m In Love” by Christian TV charged into the Top 5, moving 7-3, while “Out Without Your Boyfriend” by Ballroom Remixed featured artist Jerry Reid climbs 6-4.  Fellow Ballroom Remixed artists are not far behind!  Elouise’s sensational cover of “Tainted Love” moves 10-8 (and her Ballroom Remixed track “The Lover’s Rumba” rises 23-19), while Simon Curtis’ “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings” continues the artist’s 7-song Top 10 streak at #9.  From his debut EP Coda And Jacket, Matt Webb’s pensive “Cinnamon” moves up 16-10, tying this week with the rocking “Venom” by Long Story Short (which climbs 21-15) as the Fastest Risers on the chart.  The rest of the songs on the rise outside of the Top 20 are pretty much roadblocked by stronger songs but they will all have their day!

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!

Top 25 of the First Half of 2011

In reverse order… only songs that have peaked on my chart appear in this listing.  This listing could change considerably by year’s end!

25 ANDY GRAMMER Keep Your Head Up
24 FAR EAST MOVEMENT featuring RYAN TEDDER Rocketeer
23 JAMIE WOON Lady Luck
22 BAG RAIDERS  featuring DAN BLACK Sunlight
21 ELOUISE The Winner Takes It All
20 KANYE WEST  featuring JAY-Z, RICK ROSS, BON IVER & NICKI MINAJ Monster
19 KYLE BRYLIN Everything I’m Missing
18 RO DANISHEI  featuring SIMON CURTIS Michelle
17 DATABOY Stupid (Brad Walsh Remix)
16 ADAM TYLER I Won’t Let You Go
15 SIMON CURTIS Superhero
14 LADY GAGA Born This Way
13 BRANDON FLOWERS Jacksonville
12 ANDREA LEWIS  featuring SIMON CURTIS Talk To Me
11 ADELE Someone Like You
10 FRANKMUSIK Hurt You Again
09 RIHANNA S&M
08 FRANKMUSIK featuring FAR EAST MOVEMENT Do It In The A.M.
07 JAMIE WOON Night Air
06 CHRISTIAN TV Love 2 Baby
05 ADELE Rolling In The Deep
04 FRANKMUSIK The Fear Inside
03 PENGUIN PRISON Golden Train
02 SIMON CURTIS Flesh

01 ERIC SAADE Popular

Watch what I feel is the year’s star-making performance of “Popular” below!