BILLCS Top 30 #416 – October 21/13

Number One:

  • In a powerful Top 5 last week, I was uncertain who would emerge at #1 on the new chart.  But it’s Neverest whose latest single “Rewind” moves 3-1 this week.  Neverest is in good company with River Tiber and Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni as Canadian performers with #1’s on my chart this year.  The quartet is also on a triple bill with Shawn Desman and Tyler Shaw at The Mod Club on November 16 in Toronto.  Do catch their show if you haven’t!  Always full of surprises and positive energy.  PLUS near the bottom of this post (but before you look at the full chart) I am featuring a new song by the writer of “Rewind”!

The Rest Of The Top 10:

  • Ryan Adamés has a 3rd appearance at #2 with his warm and fuzzy cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me”.  That song is suddenly emerging on many TV talent shows but none of the covers that I’ve heard have the unique appeal of this rendition.  It’s available for free if you go and like Ryan’s Facebook page 🙂

  • ARTPOP and new single(s) approach in the coming weeks, but Lady GaGa’s “Applause” is still climbing my chart at #3.
  • It looks like Miguel & Jessie Ware’s duet of “Adorn” is eye-ing #1 in two weeks.  My excuse for being a latehead on the song earlier this year 😛 It climbs 8-4.
  • Kaden’s “Black Light” falls to #5, but he has another song, the title track from the compilation Fuel For The Machine on deck!  You can listen to a preview of it right here.
  • Betty Who’s “Somebody Loves You” is one of the most joyous songs you’ll hear this year, and the Aussie-born New York-based singer climbs 10-6.

  • While we await what sounds like will be a compelling video for his song “Lift Your Head”, Sam Dickinson’s soulful and energetic “Learn To Wait” climbs another notch to #8.
  • Pet Shop Boys score their second Top Tenner from Electric with the sublime “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” at #9.
  • Australians Parralox created one of the most interesting album of cover versions this year with Recovery.  Excellent choices include Front 242’s memorable industrial club hit “Headhunter”, here given a full blown electronica dance treatment.  It lands at #10 on the chart 🙂

Fast Risers:

  • The more I listen to Osvaldo Supino’s “I Have A Name”, the more I appreciate the honest beauty of the lyrics and the arrangement.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 21-11, while Osvaldo-with-a-boombox creates fun and havoc with “Ma Radio” further down at #15.

  • I can’t wait for more new music proper from DATABOY, but in the meantime their stellar mashup “We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness” is doing the trick just fine thank you, and moves up to #12.
  • FrankMusik’s gorgeous “Hymn” from his acoustic piano album Between Us rises to #17.  He’s playing two shows in NYC this week, on Thursday October 24 at Rockwood (which I will miss, dammit, because I arrive in NYC the next evening 😦 ) and Saturday October 26 for a Hallowe’en DJ set at Fox & Jane.  More stops in Washington DC and Philadelphia afterwards for you fans!

  • “Can’t Hold Back” by Anton Ewald is the last fast riser, moving 28-21.  I’m thoroughly impressed with his EP, called A.  It’s really contemporary and diverse pop, and only the Swedes can seem to get this right!!

New to the Chart:

As older songs reach their maximum amount of appearances (10 = 20 weeks) and drop off, it helps make way for lots of fresh new tunes to dazzle you.

  • It’s no surprise to regular readers of this blog that two new songs by Simon Curtis make their debuts.  Last week Simon unleashed a free mixtape called WWW which I wrote about.  Forever our boy robot, Simon continues to impress – and this is the music that didn’t make the cut for his upcoming album, but were songs instead written for others.  Fans are so glad these are available for download through the MuuMuse website.  First at #19 we have the unexpected, hypnotic, and stunning dance epic “Do I Have To Dance”.  Further down it’s a call to arms once again for the raucous, energetic “Berlin Wall” at #28.

  • I actually wrote about this next debut quite a while back, but the more I hear it, the more it resonates with me.  It’s also one of the rare songs that leaves a big lump in my throat at the end every time after “I want it more than ever”, followed by the saddest firework sounds you’ll ever hear.  Beautifully sung by LA-based singer Jarell Perry, “4th of July” debuts at #25.  And it’s also a free download right here.
  • Travis Garland is on tour and is coming to my town on November 7!  Ticket bought!  His Spanish-flavoured, seductive disco in the form of “Easy” is a departure for him in the songs on his self-titled album, but it works beautifully and bows at #26.

  • The final debut at #30 comes from a NYC dance troubadour whose songs are most often about fun and sex, and fun and sex 🙂 Nothing wrong with that.  His new album is on deck for a November release called Seventh Star, and I’m talking about SIRPAUL with his single “Every Single Moment”, which I wrote about recently.  You can buy it on iTunes.  Two of SIRPAUL’s songs are also available on both volumes of This Beat Is…Poptronik 🙂

Bonus Feature:

The writer of Neverest’s “Rewind” is former basketball player and Toronto singer Corey Niles.  Having a mentor in fellow Canadian singer Dru (noted for his own hits “She Can Ride” as well as his appearance on Doman & Gooding’s dance smash “Runnin'”, which got to #15 on this chart in 2009) who is featured in Corey’s song “Rollercoaster” is a huge plus.  Don’t underestimate the presence of this song.  It’s going to lend a fresh urban sound to radio here in Canada that you don’t get to hear much by Canadians beyond songs by Drake.  “Rollercoaster” does not let up, it slams pretty hard in a sizzling blend of contemporary R&B styles, and gives a great introduction to the solo Corey Niles.  Watch for what sounds to be an intriguing video debuting this week on MuchMusic.  Listen and watch the lyric video below.  BOOOM!

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

Here’s the full BILLCS Top 30 :)

03 01 REWIND Neverest
02 02 AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Ryan Adamés
04 03 APPLAUSE Lady Gaga
08 04 ADORN Miguel F/ Jessie Ware
01 05 BLACK LIGHT (Stormby remix) Kaden
10 06 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
07 07 TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Justin Timberlake
09 08 LEARN TO WAIT Sam Dickinson
12 09 LOVE IS A BOURGEOIS CONSTRUCT Pet Shop Boys
15 10 HEADHUNTER Parralox
21 11 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
18 12 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
11 13 ROYALS Lorde
16 14 I REMEMBER Nick Pes
17 15 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino
05 16 SKIRT Kylie Minogue
20 17 HYMN FrankMusik
06 18 HOMEWRECKER Travis Garland
New 19 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
14 20 PROBLEM (Kat Krazy remix) Natalia Kills
28 21 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
24 22 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
26 23 JULIET Lawson
27 24 REPLAY Zendaya
New 25 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
New 26 EASY Travis Garland
13 27 VOCAL Pet Shop Boys
New 28 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis
19 29 DIRTY FLOORS Andy Suzuki & The Method
New 30 EVERY SINGLE MOMENT   SIRPAUL

BILLCS Top 30 #415 – October 7/13

The new chart has an unexpected double whammy from a talented young Italian artist who knows how to seamlessly and successfully bridge emotional pop with dance music.  But first…

In the Top 10:

The Top 3 is solid with a reason.  “Black Light” by Kaden is #1 for a 4th appearance (8th week), but the top could be taken in two weeks by “As Long As You Love Me” by Ryan Adamés or Toronto’s Neverest with “Rewind”.  And Lady GaGa’s “Applause” slides into 4th place as we ready for the onslaught of ARTPOP promos a month in advance of the album’s release.  So the next #1 is fair game!  Travis Garland’s “Homewrecker”, from his self-titled debut album, rises to a new high of #6, as does Justin Timberlake, from the newly released 20/20 Experience Part II, with “Take Back The Night” at #7.

Fastest Risers:

  • No indeed, “We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness”.  DATABOY’s brillo mashup is a perfect end of summer song that contains some of the Austin lads’ (Cameron and Adam) best vocals.  It climbs 25-18.
  • “Adorn” by Miguel featuring Jessie Ware moves 13-8, and ya never know, it could have its eyes on the top of the chart, too.
  • It’s great to see UK indie singer Sam Dickinson jump into the Top 10 with “Learn To Wait”, as he prepares a video for a softer, emotional song “Lift Your Head”, from his album The Stories That Occurred. 
  • Betty Who’s “Somebody Loves You” jumps out of my stereo and iPod Touch whenever I play it, and gains momentum on the chart, soaring to #10.
  • It appears that Pet Shop Boys ditched “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” as a follow-up single to “Vocal” in favour of “Thursday”, featuring UK dance artist Example.  That won’t stop the song from edging its way to the Top 10, as it lands at #12 this week.

New to the Chart:

  • Yes, that Italian singer I mentioned at the top along with his new video for the poignant “I Have A Name” is indeed Osvaldo Supino.  While he has a penchant for the naughty and double entendre, he is at his best either having great fun with his boombox in the video for “Ma Radio” (which advances to #17) or being ultra-sincere with “I Have A Name”.  The video captures those moments in time… some you don’t want to relive, and some you do.  It’s from Osvaldo’s latest album Exposed (as is Ma Radio), and is also part of the amazing dance compilation that is This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume 2.  The song arrives at #21.
  • In a few weeks, “Juliet” by Lawson will take over the UK charts when their Chapman Square Chapter II album will also be released.  What’s in store for North America will likely centre around “Learn To Love Again” (#5 here earlier in the year) and a variation of the new album.  Can’t wait!  “Juliet” debuts at #26.
  • It takes a lot of a song to stick with me amid so much other great new music.  I don’t often draw from the Disney channel cadre of artists, but I was truly impressed when I saw Zendaya perform in concert this past summer.   “Replay” has become a modest pop hit already from her debut self-titled album, and still stuck in my head, premieres at #27. 
  • Lastly, Anton Ewald’s A EP has been the Europop winner this year that is normally held by the likes of Eric Saade.  With Eric’s album focusing more on softer, lyrical songs, Anton’s already grabbed a big win with “Begging”, still on the chart after peaking at #2.  “Can’t Hold Back” is simply energetic Europop at its best and bows at #28.  You can also pick up Anton’s A Acoustic EP online.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

Here’s the full basic BILLCS Top 30 :)

01 01 BLACK LIGHT (Stormby remix) Kaden
02 02 AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Ryan Adamés
03 03 REWIND Neverest
06 04 APPLAUSE Lady GaGa
04 05 SKIRT Kylie Minogue
08 06 HOMEWRECKER Travis Garland
09 07 TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Justin Timberlake
13 08 ADORN Miguel featuring Jessie Ware
11 09 LEARN TO WAIT Sam Dickinson
16 10 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
12 11 ROYALS Lorde
17 12 LOVE IS A BOURGEOIS CONSTRUCT Pet Shop Boys
05 13 VOCAL Pet Shop Boys
15 14 PROBLEM (Kat Krazy remix) Natalia Kills
20 15 HEADHUNTER Parralox 
21 16 I REMEMBER Nick Pes
22 17 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino
25 18 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS Databoy
07 19 DIRTY FLOORS Andy Suzuki & The Method
24 20 HYMN FrankMusik
New 21 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
10 22 BEGGING Anton Ewald
14 23 BROKENHEARTED Lawson featuring B.o.B.
29 24 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
19 25 LIFE (IS MY REVENGE) FrankMusik
New 26 JULIET Lawson 
New 27 REPLAY Zendaya
New 28 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
26 29 WINNING GROUND Eric Saade
28 30 HEARTS Dan Black featuring Kelis

BILLCS Top 30 #414 – September 23/13

In the Top 5:

“Black Light” by L.A. singer Kaden rides the top of the chart for a third appearance, while Ryan Adamés’ ever-stunning ballad turn of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” is now at #2.  Just to make it interesting, Toronto’s Neverest glides to #3 with their rivetting “Rewind”.

Fastest Risers:

I’m on a mission to get Miguel’s “Adorn” to be a bigger hit than it was at the top of 2013.  Thanks to an exquisite remix featuring Jessie Ware, the song zips up my chart to #13.

Lady GaGa looks to have one of her biggest charting songs here with “Applause” racing to #6.

“Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who had the viral delight of being featured in a massive marriage proposal announcement video for two men in Salt Lake City.  Indeed it is a beautiful song that fits the occasion and moves up to #16.

Other newcomers to the chart besides “Adorn” last week all climb up six places:  “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” by Pet Shop Boys (video is on its way), “Headhunter” by Parralox, and “I Remember” by Nick Pes, from the must-have dance compilation This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume Two!

New to the Chart:

I’ve already written about the three premieres, but they are all well worth repeating.

It was almost an instantaneous decision to add the lone new song from FrankMusik’s Between Us acoustic piano album, “Hymn”, and it arrives at #24.  It’s one of Vince’s most painful and beautiful songs to date.  I’ll have to check, but I don’t think there has been a chart in 2013 that has not featured a FrankMusik song!

Right behind at #25 is DATABOY’s devistatingly original mashup “We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness”, seamlessly blending the Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey songs in an electronica way that you could never have imagined.  And you can see the guys sing their hearts out in the video – can’t wait until they can tour.  More new music on the way soon from Cameron and Adam!  Download it for free after watching the video using the link below the video 🙂  I think the only other ‘mashup’ I’ve charted was Pet Shop Boys’ blend of “Viva La Vida” and “Domino Dancing” a few years back, though another worthy one is Penguin Prison’s “GoldenTrain/Working Day And Night”.

Ryan Star is currently accepting pledges to fund his upcoming album via PledgeMusic.  He’s already recently released a well-received EP of his thoughtful form of rock, and sold out four shows in New York City at the beginning of August.  His single from the EP deserves some belated attention, so “Impossible” arrives at #29, joining a slew of other Ryan Star songs to appear on the chart, including the Top 5 “Right Now”, “Last Train Home”, and “Breathe”.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

Here’s the full basic BILLCS Top 30 🙂

01 01 BLACK LIGHT (Stormby remix) Kaden
03 02 AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Ryan Adamés
06 03 REWIND Neverest
04 04 SKIRT Kylie Minogue
02 05 VOCAL Pet Shop Boys
13 06 APPLAUSE Lady GaGa
07 07 DIRTY FLOORS Andy Suzuki & The Method
10 08 HOMEWRECKER Travis Garland
12 09 TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Justin Timberlake
05 10 BEGGING Anton Ewald
15 11 LEARN TO WAIT Sam Dickinson
14 12 ROYALS Lorde
21 13 ADORN Miguel featuring Jessie Ware
08 14 BROKENHEARTED Lawson featuring B.o.B.
19 15 PROBLEM (Kat Krazy remix) Natalia Kills
22 16 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
23 17 LOVE IS A BOURGEOIS CONSTRUCT Pet Shop Boys
18 18 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E
09 19 LIFE (IS MY REVENGE) FrankMusik
26 20 HEADHUNTER Parralox
27 21 I REMEMBER Nick Pes
24 22 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino
11 23 REMIX MY LOVE Killian Wells featuring Kristinia Debarge
New 24 HYMN FrankMusik
New 25 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
17 26 WINNING GROUND Eric Saade
16 27 BLURRED LINES Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams
20 28 HEARTS Dan Black featuring Kelis
New 29 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
28 30 I THINK I LOVE YOU Bongiovanni

BILLCS Top 30 #413 – September 9, 2013

Hey!  The BILLCS Music Blog is now 4 years old!  My chart however has been around a lot longer, debuting online 15 1/2 years ago in January 1998.  So without further adieu, here’s edition #413 😀

  • No change to the Top 5 songs.  Kaden’s slick and memorable “Black Light” reigns at #1 again, while contender “As Long As You Love Me” by Ryan Adamés (below) hangs at #3 again.  Only songs by Kylie Minogue and Anton Ewald switch places, with “Skirt” achieving a #4 high matched for her only by last year’s “Timebomb”.

  • One of the best Canadian pop hits of 2013 is Neverest’s smashing “Rewind”(below), which is the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 15-6.  Could a #1 berth in the coming weeks be possible?  Hmmmm…
  • NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method are coming to a city near you?  You’ll likely get to hear their indie musician anthem “Dirty Floors” (concert version below), which also continues its climb to #7.
  • Lawson put on a heck of a show with Neverest on August 30, with new single “Juliet” coming in October and a Chapman Square Part II album too (North American release please!).  In the meantime, “Brokenhearted” rises to #8.
  • Yesterday, FrankMusik released a gorgeous acoustic repackaging of his album Between called Between Us, on which you will get to hear a much less driven “Life (Is My Revenge)” still come across with a lot of power.  The song moves up to #9.
  • Also released yesterday is Travis Garland’s self-titled album, which does indeed contain the unique and thought-provoking “Homewrecker”, which is now #10.

  • Look what’s just sitting outside the Top 10?  Why it’s “Turn Back The Night” by Justin Timberlake, which is better than any other song on The 20/20 Experience yet seems to be underperforming.  Think Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall, folks.  It’s #12 on my chart.
  • “Applause” by Lady GaGa is not wasting any time proving that it’s a Top 5 contender on my chart.  It puts the pedal to the metal and ends up at #13.
  • Is Lorde’s “Royals” suddenly overexposed with its pop radio success?  Nonetheless, you’ve gotta give it credit for being what will likely be one of the defining songs for 2013.  It’s up to #14.
  • If you’re in the UK, go out and see Sam Dickinson in concert because this lad can sing his soul out.  His single “Learn To Wait” (below) comes from his top notch album The Stories That Occurred, and moves up to #15.

  • Waiting ever so patiently for the official release of Monsieur Adi & A*M*E’s dynamic “What’s Going On” (below)!  This splendid recreation of Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life” goes BOOM in the best ways and rises to #18.
  • Meanwhile, Natalia Kills’ sophomore release Trouble arrived last week on the heels of second single “Saturday Night”.  The Kat Krazy remix of her first single from the album “Problem” continues to build and moves to #19.
  • Two more of last week’s debuts are well on their way.  “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who jumps to #22, while “Ma Radio” by Osvaldo-with-a-boombox-Supino sails to #24.

Four particularly potent debuts arrive on the chart.

  • There had to be a way for the ever-so-talented Miguel to climb on to my chart, seeing that I arrived so late at Grammy time for his album Kaleidoscope Dream and the Top 20 hit “Adorn”?  Well, thanks to Nick of the Chart Shaker music blog, “Adorn” does indeed land on my chart, in a startlingly grand remix featuring the glorious Jessie Ware at #21.

  • While 2013 year end #1 contender “Vocal” sits pretty at #2 again, the second single from Pet Shop Boys’ Electric sees release, and it’s my next favourite on the album, featuring such classic PSB lyrics and imagery, “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” at #23.

  • As Parralox’s “Silent Morning” almost ends its run on the chart, another one of the most infectious songs premieres from their choice album of cover versions Recovery.  And it’s an odd choice for a cover but it’s done so well!  “Headhunter” (#26) was an industrial dance hit for Front 242 back in 1988, and John von Ahlen’s vocal provides a perfectly complimentary and contemporary update.

  • The collection of electronica and danceable pop on the collection This Beat Is… Poptronik! Volume Two will keep you dancing through to the winter months.  One of its best songs that HASNT’ already appeared on my chart is the wistful end of summer tune “I Remember” by Nick Pes which bows at #27.  It’s in good company with 7 other performers who are still or have appeared on my chart:  FrankMusik (former #1 “Map”), Adam Tyler (#29), Parralox and Ryan Adamés (#30), Kaden (#1) , Osvaldo Supino (#24), Killian Wells (#11), and Tao Hypah.

BILLCS Top 30 #412 – August 26/13

This edition of my chart blog post is slightly more abridged than usual, focusing on the songs in the Top 10 and making the fastest gains 🙂

  • I warned all of you folks for months on end, and then it happened in July:  “Black Light” by Kaden was released, and it has now popped the top off the lid of my chart, sending the beloved “Vocal” by Pet Shop Boys to #2.  Congrats to Kaden and also to Charlie Mason, Stormby, Ninthwave Records, and the host of wonderful songwriters on their first #1 🙂  It’s gonna be hard to dislodge for a while…

  • No slouch he, that winning singer/songwriter Ryan Adamés, whose interpretation of Justin Bieber & Big Sean’s “As Long As You Love Me” has handily secured third place on the chart (video below).  You can still get it for free by liking Ryan’s Facebook page.
  • Like my last favourite by her, “Timebomb”, Kylie Minogue’s “Skirt” has been big in Australia (natch) and on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart, and it zips into the Top 5 in these parts.

  • Readying to play more gigs, NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method show that their pop/rock has endurance, as “Dirty Floors” moves up to #8.
  • FrankMusik scores his 4th Top 10 placing on my chart from the Between album with “Life (Is My Revenge)” at #10, as the singer prepares to release the double-header Between Us in a few weeks.
  • Lawson & B.o.B.’s “Brokenhearted” grabs #9 this week (video below), perfect timing when I am about to see them perform on Friday again as they premiered their next single ‘Juliet” – due for official UK release in October – last week (listen below).  And that show is opened again by Toronto’s Neverest, who have the fastest riser on the chart with the totally engaging “Rewind” at #15 (action-filled video below).

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 :)

  • “Winning Ground” by Eric Saade (video below) has been taking its time building on my chart, but it’s now up to #19 as his new album Forgive Me is launched this week.  Can’t wait to hear his new songs!  The album consists of the Coming Home EP, plus “Winning Ground”, “Miss Unknown”, “Marching (In The Name Of Love)”, and new tunes.
  • Once it sees official release, “What’s Going On” by Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E will tear up the club charts and perhaps leave an impression at UK radio.  It climbs to #22.
  • Natalia Kills’ new album Trouble is already getting rave reviews, and the Kat Krazy remix of “Problem” continues to score on my chart, landing at #23.

  • It’s no surprise that Lady GaGa’s totally gangbusters “Applause” arrives at #20 on the chart.  It’s her first appearance on the chart since late 2011’s “Marry The Night”, and coincidentally hits the chart almost 5 years to the day that “Just Dance” debuted (we had dibs on the latter song first here in Canada, folks, even she will tell you that!).
  • Then at #27, Australian U.S. transplant Betty Who has this gleaming, upbeat pop that has stayed the course over the summer, and “Somebody Loves You” bows at #27 (video below).  You can download the songs from her fine EP The Distance for free right here.
  • And the last entry on the chart begins like the first one.  I gave you a warning a few weeks back that Italy’s Osvaldo Supino had a boombox that was a major fun force to be reckoned with.  So it’s fitting that his crunchy “Ma Radio” arrives on the chart at #30 to keep us a-moving as we head into Fall.

morecoolclevercovers: Adaku (@muzikizoxygen), @CaseyStratton, @CleoSol, and Steve (Starchild) aka @SteveGrandMusic

I’ve said it before, but I rarely find a cover version of a song that I like better than the original.  One of the songs I’ve chosen about I DO like better than the original.  With others, I admire creativity and interpretation, and two choices today are smart mashups.

adaku2

ADAKU, “Is This Love Song”

I’ve introduced you to Nigerian-born American alternative R&B singer Adaku before, with her two classy originals “Or You Can” (and its lovely video) and the provocative “Silent Treatment”.  This time the singer shifts to her sparkling high register for “Is This Love Song” – which is two parts The Cure’s biggest hit “Lovesong” (though youngin’s will know it better as recorded by Adele on 21) and one part Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”.  Set to the melody of the former, the mashup is simply killer, and we get to see Adaku singing as herself this time in the accompanying video.  Expect the unexpected for this well thought out winner.  Watch below and you can download it for free right here.  Adaku’s debut album, titled PLASMA, is anticipated later this year.

caseystratton3

CASEY STRATTON, “Crossfire”

Casey Stratton is a wonderful singer/songwriter with a huge, prolific repertoire.  So it was a pleasant surprise for him to dig back into his own archive, from just a few years back, to offer us his rendition of Brandon Flowers’ solo hit “Crossfire” as a free download right here.  Casey pretty much leaves well enough alone and lets the song bask in its own glory (the original got to #1 on my personal chart too in 2010), but he delves into the emotional side, making the chorus and other parts of the song much more affecting than the original.  Be sure to check out what else Casey has to offer in his body of work in his online store right here.  “Crossfire” is a terrific choice – listen below c/o Popservations blog.

cleosol

CLEO SOL, “Teardrop”

Cleo Sol is a relatively new British singer of Serbian, Spanish, and Jamaican heritage, which makes for a huge jumping off point stylistically for her songs.  She’s had some success in her native country with her fusion of R&B, rap, jazz and funk, so “Teardrop” takes a few steps away from all of that to showcase her singing in a slightly different way.  It’s a slick adaptation of Massive Attack’s classic chilled-out 90’s song that gets interpolated with verses and melody of The Verve’s 1997 worldwide hit “Bittersweet Symphony”.  Hardly what you might expect, but it gels beautifully.  It’s also a free download which you can hear and save below.

stevegrand

STEVE (STARCHILD), “You And I”

The world has recently got to know Steve (Starchild) much better as Country singer Steve Grand with his viral hit “All American Boy”, which essentially was his coming out song/video.  I don’t gravitate very well to country music, so “All American Boy” has not resonated with me, though I’m thrilled that the singer has got some well-deserved new fans, and he seems like a genuinely thankful and earnest guy.  A fellow music buff (and major Steve Grand fan) posted Steve’s video for his cover of Lady GaGa’s “You And I” on a message board where I am an administrator that is just pre-Steve Grand.  All you need to do is watch this explosive performance to hear the oodles of talent that Steve obviously has.  I don’t just like it better than GaGa’s original (not one of her better songs, to me), I LOVE IT and am so glad I get to hear another side of Steve Grand even if it is in the recent past.  Judge for yourself, but “All American Boy” is only Steve Grand’s ticket into the game; now that he’s there I’m gonna watch and see how this talent gets unleashed.  And if he can stay as earthy and true to his fans, there is no limit 🙂

It’s The Real Deal: “Applause” by @LadyGaGa

LADY GAGA, “Applause”

While GaGa certainly doesn’t need my help with some kind words about the video for “Applause”, I’m writing it up nonetheless because it is The Real Deal in so many ways.  

Having experienced the GaGa concert experience earlier this year – 3 shows before her tour ended – “Applause” continues the grand splash of visuals, costumes, dancing, and singing that made her concert so impressive.  Only at one memorable point in the video do I think it goes overboard, even beyond GaGa, but the rest of it is spot on, extremely well directed and paced by fashion photographers Inez & Vinoodh – GaGa is on display clothed, little clothed, wigged, unwigged, costumed crazy, covering all the bases without it all even seeming too busy.  

So what Lady GaGa has done with “Applause” is made a video that is consummate entertainment, especially impressive for those of us who have seen the music video era from the start.  The song itself is a truly storming dance record that breezes by.  If ARTPOP will be filled with songs as well done as “Applause”, we will all be the richer.

BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #75 to #61

As in other years, most of my favourite songs of 2012 boiled down to the following criteria:  Music that makes you feel good and want to dance along, and voices/lyrics that just amazed.  There were several new great voices and faces, some returnees, and of course the completely unexpected.  In order to appear on this list, a song must have appeared and peaked on my personal chart between January 2 and December 17 published charts.  If it hadn’t attained its peak position yet, it will appear on my year end chart for 2013.

Click here to view songs #75 to #61  🙂

Three carryovers into 2012 in our first group of #75 through #61 are The Midway State’s “Fire!”,  Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night”, and “Angel” by Darren Hayes.  Wrapping up their touring on their Paris Or India album, Toronto quartet The Midway State otherwise took a break from music in 2012, and I hope these talented friends will engage us again next year.  You could hear an excerpt of “Fire!” in Bell Canada commercials, and of course their biggest hit “Never Again” is the ringback for Rogers cellular phones.  GaGa was everywhere in 2012, it’s hard to say where The Born This Way Ball didn’t visit!  But a new Ball is on deck as is her forthcoming album ARTPOP, and I’m expecting a new single sometime in early 2013 to promote her touring in North America.  “Angel” by Darren Hayes was a personal choice to carry over.  You couldn’t possibly ask for a more reverent Madonna cover choice – it kept appearing on my iPod Touch shuffle, and as the vinyl flip side to “Talk Talk Talk”, it landed on my chart after the run of another song on this list, “Stupid Mistake”.  Darren’s Secret Codes And Battleships continued to be one of my most played albums into 2012, and one more carryover from that album is ranked higher on this list.  Watch the stunning video for “Stupid Mistake” and listen to Bright Light Bright Light’s percolating remix below as well.

More than ever, my chart contained a cornucopia of worldwide artists appear more than in any other year in recent memory.  Music has no official borders, only those that the music industry continues to put up which hinders availability of recordings and the ability of performers to tour.  Latvia is represented with singer/DJ/model Markus Riva and his dance rave-up “We Dance 4 Reason”, with another song to follow higher up.  “Turn It Up” is the high energy follow up to “Pitiful” for Portugal’s Carlos Nobrega, who is one of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 and has another song much later in the countdown.  The worldwide breakout from France this year is M83 whose hook from “Midnight City” (outstanding video below) is imprinted on the year (and an even better cover version appears higher up on the list), which led to sellout shows around the world.  Canadians Marianas Trench had their most successful year ever with last year’s Ever After album and the single “Fallout” among others.  Lead singer Josh Ramsay not only produced that album but is now a Grammy-nominee for co-writing Canadian label mate Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”.  German DJ/producers Spencer & Hill paired up with the always amazing US vocalist Nadia Ali for “Believe It”, which is your dance song for weekend release after a hard work week.

There are three UK artists in this group.  Keane had a successful year around the world with their Strangeland album, led by the glorious “Silenced By The Night” this past Spring.  “Lights Out” was the second single from duo Bim’s EP of affecting and emotional electropop, Lifelines.  Bim are another of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 And a favourite from her Little Belter shows and the subsequent album, Elouise covered “Could It Be Magic” – less like the Barry Manilow version and more like Donna Summer’s – which turned out to be somewhat bittersweet as the song appeared on my chart at the time of the disco legend’s death.  Elouise is off to dazzle Australian audiences with the Little Belter show in early ’13 – the rest of the world will undoubtedly follow.

Three USA performers round out the list.  L.A. quartet Saint Motel released a quirky but very smart album Voyeur this past summer, and toured to support it.  The band’s singer also is responsible for directing the group’s unique videos, so check out the one for “Benny Goodman” below.  Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die” dominated airwaves and TV video play at the top of the year and solidified her instant presence on the pop music scene (strangely yielding no Grammy nominations).  And the mixtape Hunter by Baiyu, generating the title song on this list, dazzled enough people to land her as a contestant on The CW’s “The Next” and on my 13 Performers To Watch for ’13 list.

BILLCS Top 30 #389 – October 8/12

While the rest of my personal chart is stunted with pent-up activity from songs on the rise, the songs at the top of the chart pretty much stay intact.  So that means we have the very talented Chris Wallace gracing #1 for a fourth time with “Remember When (Push Rewind)”, and you can watch for another song from the Push Rewind album to debut in these parts in two weeks.  

Zedd has been on Lady GaGa’s lips a lot lately, if you happened to miss the “High Princess/Stache” mashup on the weekend (it’s below).  So featuring Matthew Koma’s dulcet boyish tones, the German producer claims #2 with “Spectrum”, which looks to succeed “Remember When” at the top.  

“Go For Gold” holds steady at #3 for Kyle Patrick, while “Dreams Are Gold” by DATABOY (#4) continues to hang in the Top 5  – where it has been for all of its appearances but one (it debuted at #8) – while the loveable “Genius” continues to rise at #8.  “Houdini” by Foster The People holds tight at #5 with the free download of the Green Children remix, which is just cause for lots of random dancing.

There’s a long stretch of songs on hold or rising between #5 and #15, so I’ll touch on the bigger moves.  “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Carlos Nóbrega (below) moves 8-6, hovering  just below the Top 5 in anticipation of a bigger move in two weeks – can it get to #1?  I have been saying it since I first heard it – Hallowe’en dance parties, this is YOUR song!  

Vaulting 12-7 is the emotional Swedish dance music that is currently so appealing by way of “Long Time” by John De Sohn featuring Andreas Moe.  Another dance floor filler is Markus Riva’s “We Dance 4 Reason”, holding at #9.  And then Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Can Happen” arrives at #10 just as her Halcyon album hits stores tomorrow in North America.  Let’s get those remixes onto iTunes as well, shall we?

You can view the full chart 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 :)

The fastest riser of the lot is “Feel It” by Bright Light Bright Light featuring Mykal Kilgore, which soars 18-11.  Bright Light Bright Light has scored opening UK concert dates for Scissor Sisters, which I hope will translate into a second go round for the Sisters in North America.  Their “Let’s Have A Kiki” is still on the pulse of dance clubs right now, and BLx2’s own mashup of it and “Feel It” (“Let’s Have A Feel”) continues to put a smile on my face, prompting me to want to lock the door and lower the blinds… Listen below.

While we do not have a video for Colin Munroe’s triumphant “Over It” (up 17-13), we do have one for previous Top 5 single “The Fight Of My Life” from his mixtape Unsung Hero, so give it a view below.  There’s some intriguing imagery completely befitting of the song.  Well done!

That smashing duo from the UK, Bim, currently has “Lights Out” climbing the chart, moving 19-14, but in preparation for their stunning Lifelines EP (now on pre-order on iTunes – you can read my initial thoughts on it right here), the pair have a new video on deck below for next single “Burn”, which remembers those fond days when we as children could be superheroes for just one day.  There’s some pretty impressive graphic artistry, see the poster below as well.

“Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by Jane Badler climbs 21-17, but that captivating Stormby’s Drama mix of the song is now also featured on the compilation Kiss My Lipstick Off, now available on iTunes and featuring other fine folks like Liz Primo, Spray, and Nathalie Archangel.  Last week’s debuts all get stuck together temporarily at songs #20-22, waiting for a gap in the chart to occur (likely in two weeks), so be sure to check out indie release “Evolved” by Vague-a-bonde (watch for the video soon but in the meantime listen to the song below), Imagine Dragons’ “It’s Time”, and “Between The Raindrops” by Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield (video also due soon).

You can watch the video for the lead debut on the chart (#24) at the top of this post.  While I’ve enjoyed the music of Axwell, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello over the years in solo and various other projects, their Swedish House Mafia project never really got on my radar till this year.  And apparently their album Until Now and sell out tour represent an end to the project.  I never believe ‘never’ in the music business, but in the meantime we can all enjoy “Don’t You Worry Child”, once again featuring outstanding urgent and emotional vocals by another of Sweden’s go-to-guys, John Martin.

I’ve long appreciated the powerful and soulful voice of Christina Aguilera, though her songs have not always been consistent and therefore haven’t appeared in this chart until more recently.  But every time a song has charted (this is the 7th time), it has reached my Top 10.  We’ll see if that happens with the outrageous but fun “Your Body”, which bows at #25 with the accompanying entertaining video.  It’s from her upcoming 5th studio set (excluding Latin, Christmas, and Best Of compilation) called Lotus.

I recently wrote about Mika’s The Origin Of Love album, which is a diverse collection that may take a few listens to grow on you.  One aspect of the record that is very appealing is how it lets loose on a couple of the songs.  So two songs debut on this chart, the quirky “Wicked” inspired “Popular Song” at #26, and then his duet with Pharrell Williams (himself no stranger to the chart, having appeared with Snoop Dogg on “Beautiful” and Robin Thicke on “Wanna Love U Girl”, as well as with his trio N.E.R.D. on the #1 “Rock Star” and “Hypnotize U”) on “Celebrate” at #29.  These songs mark Mika’s 7th and 8th appearances, with his most successful being in 2009-10 when “Rain” got to #1 and “Blame It On The Girls” and “We Are Golden” reached #2 and #3 respectively.  Watch the joyous video for “Celebrate” below.

And at #30 is “Let’s Go” by Matt & Kim, the lead single from their fourth album Lightning, which hit stores last week.  I caught them in concert last week and will have my thoughts about that show and their album in the coming week.  The duo have worked exceptionally hard to make all of their music accessible in various formats, and have created lyrics videos for each song on the new album.  Watch the video for “Let’s Go” below – I’m sure we’ll be seeing and hearing more from Matt & Kim as their tour progresses.  The Brooklyn, NY duo have previously reached the Top 5 on the chart with “Daylight” and “Block After Block”.

BILLCS Top 30 #371 – Jan 30/12 – Rune RK & Databoy’s “Memorize Me” Returns – At The Top

Oh the joys and sometimes pain of making a chart and being consistent!  Be prepared for a bit of a ramble…

Back in November, I got so excited about a song that I put it on my chart right away, anticipating a release.  The release, unfortunately got delayed… and delayed… and delayed.  So in ways that only chart geekdom will explain 😉 I have two rules about my chart:  1) If a song is on the way down the chart or holding, it will be removed from it after 10 appearances (20 weeks); and 2) A song must be officially released and commercially available somewhere, either as a free download or for purchase, it can’t exist strictly on a video that people can’t buy or download legally.

So I was thrilled last week when the official release of “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy happened!!  But it created both a dilemma and strange chart situation.  The dilemma:  Eric Saade’s “Hotter Than Fire” and “Backseat” ruled the top.  Could they make room for “Memorize Me”?  The strange chart situation:  I removed “Memorize Me” from the chart after three appearances (all in the Top 5) because it wasn’t released.  Returning it to the chart would allow a consecutive 10 appearance chart run, like anything else, and it may join Nelson Clemente’s “You Want Me Don’t You” (16 appearances, two chart runs, in 2008 and 2009) and Ryan Star’s “Last Train Home” (the record holder at 17 appearances, two chart runs, also in 2008 and 2009) as one of the three longest running songs on my chart.  The longest consecutive run is Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which moved upward in its 11th appearance to peak at #2 last year.  In any case, “Memorize Me” manages to re-enter the chart at #1, the only song ever to do so in the chart’s 14 year online history.  Another song did re-enter the chart and got to #1, but it didn’t re-enter at the top.  That was “Millennium” by Robbie Williams, my #1 song of 1999.  “Memorize Me” is in great company and will certainly rank highly at year’s end!

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

With all of that chart madness out of the way – it doesn’t happen too often thank goodness – Eric Saade’s “Backseat” holds hard at #2, while “Hotter Than Fire” gives way and lands at #3.  “Make You Mine”, the snappy album track by Joe Jonas, holds tightly at #4.  Further into the Top 10, the beautiful soul ballad “Home” by UK singer Stone Walters rises 8-6, with fellow Brits Labrinth and Tinie Tempah up to #7 with the Benny Benassi remix of “Earthquake” (watch the snazzy video below).  Jon McLaughlin’s piano-laden “Promising Promises” jumps to #8, with The Midway State’s rocking “Fire!” at #9.  Rounding out the Top 10 is “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler.  I posted about the slick video earlier in the week and you can watch once again below.

All of the songs ranked 6 through 17 are movin’ on up.  They include songs by Jason Mraz (which alas is slowing down, I thought it would have more staying power), Lady GaGa, Nelson Clemente, Marianas Trench, The Midway State’s “St. Paul and the Wolf”, and Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die”.  In the middle of the chart is the fastest riser, another Eric Saade would-be-smash called “Fingerprints” which climbs 21-15.  Also Top 10 bound is Adam Lambert’s latest, “Better Than I Know Myself”, which climbs to #21.  “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles should move up more in the coming weeks but for now rises 28-24.

There are four debuts this week, and I did warn you previously about another Joe Jonas song from Fastlife making an appearance.  “Not Right Now” bows at #23, and it’s a real hum-dinger… a beautiful and romantic contemporary cha-cha number.  I would love to hear a remix of this one for clubs.  Hear the song below.

A couple weeks back, I posted about JMSN’s fascinating and mysterious debut album †Priscilla, which contains several songs of note, including the new single “Something”, which arrives at #25.  Its video is definitely worth a look, but is not for those of you who might squirm.

Florence & The Machine’s “No Light, No Light” bows at #27, and the clip below is from the excellent Saturday Night Live performance in December.  I’m finding Ceremonials a bit heavier hitting than Lungs at times, it seems fairly relentless, but still marvel at Flo’s Annie Lennox-meets-Sinead O’Connor voice – best of both worlds there.

And after arriving with a big splash in the UK, singer Yasmin has the last debut on the chart with the percolating “Light Up The World”, featuring Shy FX and Ms Dynamite at #28.  It gets stuck in your head and keeps your foot tapping away.