BILLCS Top 30 #370 – When will the rest of the world get the Eric Saade albums?

OK, Nordic countries, it’s time to share.  While it’s a mean feat to cop a release in the UK, the rest of the world awaits.  Of course I’m referring to Saade Volumes One and Two, my favourite albums of 2011 by 21 year old Eric Saade.  His duet with Dev, “Hotter Than Fire” continues to lead my personal chart at the top.  The fastest riser is right behind at #2, none other than (surprise, surprise) “Backseat”, also from Volume Two.  No singer has started to dominate my chart this way since Simon Curtis (oh, and they should do a duet – but that’s a whole other story 🙂 ).

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.

In addition to “Hotter” and “Backseat” (which is a really sexy song, if you haven’t already got that), I’ve debuted another song at #21 this week, and that’s the anthemic “Fingerprints”.  Despite a little too many effects on Eric’s voice, the song is just too damn catchy for you to miss.  Listen below.

This will be a shorter chart blog than usual because I’ve already blogged about the other new songs on the chart.  We have Jason Mraz’s tender and hopeful “I Won’t Give Up” bounding onto the chart at #13 and Top 5 bound.  Adam Lambert (and it’s hard to believe he’ll be 30 in a few weeks!) makes his premiere appearance here – “Whataya Want From Me” and “If I Had You” came close – with “Better Than I Know Myself” at #26, which sounds like it’s a whole new chapter in the making with such a stunning vocal.  Adam’s upcoming sophomore album is called Transmission.  And the teaming of Jon McLaughlin and Sara Bareilles couldn’t be better on “Summer Is Over” at #28, from Jon’s upcoming album due in May called Promising Promises – the song of the same name strolls into my Top 10 on this chart 🙂

Closer to the top, most noteworthy is “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas, which climbs handily to #4 (listen below).  I can’t say enough how much his album Fastlife is such a joy.  While R&B ballad “Just In Love” slides down the chart, you can expect another song from the album to debut in a few weeks.  Sounds absolutely great up loud!  Other upward moves in the Top 10 come from the late lamented Boy Banned, Darren Hayes’ “Black Out The Sun”, and the stunning soul/pop ballad full of things important and personal, “Home” by UK singer Stone Walters at #8.

The middle of the chart is looking mighty fine with nice moves from songs by Labrinth & Tinie Tempah, The Midway State (both “Fire!” #12 and the increasingly infectious “St. Paul & The Wolf” at #20 – listen to remixes on the band’s Soundcloud page), Lady GaGa, Adam Tyler (just a forthnight away from the video for #15 “Like A Drug”), Nelson Clemente’s cheery “Champagne”, the fine “Fallout” from Marianas Trench, and of course the gothic sound of “Born To Die”, the title track from the upcoming debut album by Lana Del Rey.  Lana’s “Blue Jeans”, in its spunky Penguin Prison remix, still resides at #5.  Frankmusik is no more in favour of independence for Vincent Did It, but “Wrecking Ball” nonetheless climbs to #22.

I’ve been listening to lots and lots of new music – you should see my Internet bookmarks – so more news on songs you should hear will be coming your way over the next two weeks.  Don’t forget to bookmark this blog too please 🙂

Saade’s Hotter… with the Highest Debut: BILLCS Chart – January 2, 2012

It’s a new name for the blog and personal chart, but the number one song on the chart looks to remain the same for the next while anyway.  Eric Saade & Dev hold at the top with “Hotter Than Fire”, but the 21 year old Swede also has the highest debut in this edition.  I love so many of the slamming electropop on Saade Volume Two that it was tough to choose another one… so this will probably be the second in a series of songs to chart from that album.  Nonetheless, the most rocking track “Backseat” bows at #11.  This song has major international fan appeal.  I don’t think it will be the second official single but it shouldn’t be overlooked as one of the best songs on the record.

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.

Some songs didn’t appear in my year end Top 75 Songs list because they carried over into the current year.  So “Don’t Fuck With My Money” by Penguin Prison gets cozy at #3, while Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” (Penguin Prison remix preferred) slides into the #5 spot, and “Black Out The Sun” by Darren Hayes lands inside the Top 10 at #8 with “Bloodstained Heart” hanging in at #4.   Also new to the Top 10 are the riveting “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas at #6, fastest riser “Home” by UK soul singer Stone Walters at #10, and “The Stars Are Saying Yes” by Boy Banned at #7.  You can listen to the former and watch the latter below.  But alas Boy Banned has called it a day, so in the coming weeks you will hear more about the upcoming activities of two of the quartet, Paul (Pob) O’Brien and Ethan Bourne.

The middle of the chart is absolutely crammed with songs vying for the Top 10 by Jon McLaughlin, Joe Jonas (again), Mika, and The Midway State.  It’s rather ironic that “Fire!” by The Midway State precedes fast riser “Earthquake” by Lanbrinth featuring Tinie Tempah, which soars 23-16.  Other recent tunes by Lady GaGa, Adam Tyler (whose video for “Like A Drug” arrives in a few weeks), and Nelson Clemente all continue to climb.

Four more debuts arrive on the chart.  I’ve already blogged about the second entry by Lana Del Rey, whose stunning video for “Born To Die” (#24) arrived a few weeks before the holidays.  The gal is one to watch, as she has signed to Interscope for her upcoming album of the same name.  Above “Born To Die” is the second single from Marianas Trench’s third album Ever After.  I enjoyed first single “Haven’t Had Enough” but other songs prevented it from entering my chart in the Fall.  So their second single “Fallout” is that much more unique and is actually the core of the Ever After album.  I’m enjoying the album immensely and expect to have a full review of it later in the week.  Listen below – an official video for “Fallout” is coming soon!

Frankmusik gave us an enjoyable animated video for “Wrecking Ball” which I blogged about before the holidays, and as “No I.D.” drifts down the chart, “Wrecking Ball” debuts at #26.  Just above that, I’ve dug deeper into The Midway State’s Paris Or India album.  My impressions of the record keep changing as I listen to it.  The group performed “St. Paul & The Wolf” with a local college’s marching band’s members when I saw them in concert on December 17.  The song’s storytelling and anthemic sound continues to win me over and arrives at #25.  Watch a live clip of the band below performing the song this past summer.

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.


Tuned-On! Top 30 #368 – December 19/11… plus Frankmusik, Adam Lambert, Lana Del Rey and more

Well if you’ve been reading this space these past several weeks, then it’s no surprise that Eric Saade & Dev have dethroned Matt Blue’s “Can’t Help Myself” at the top of my personal chart in this edition.  “Hotter Than Fire” is a highly appropriate 2011 finale for this chart, since my next one won’t be posted till January 2 or thereabouts.  It looks to have a nice long stay at the top, unless either a long-awaited release of another song I love happens, or unless another Eric Saade song catches hold of me like “Hotter” and sails to the top.  Watch the spiffy video above; the camera takes great advantage of Eric…

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.

This won’t be a long blog because the rest of the top stays the same, and while both New Yawkers Penguin Prison’s “Don’t Fuck With My Money” and Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” (in a Penguin Prison remix no less) are on their way to the Top 5, both “Then I Go Twisting” by Erasure and “White Horse” by Jessica 6 sneak into the Top 10 for what look like peak appearances.  In the meanwhile, take a gander at the provocative video by Lana Del Rey, “Born To Die”, which is one of the best you will see these days, tragic story and all.  Her voice almost has a Rufus Wainwright-like quality to it at times in this song.

Just outside of the Top 10 is another story entirely, for four songs look to storm the Top 10 in two weeks.  Keep your eyes on Boy Banned, for “The Stars Are Saying Yes” will getcha when you’re not looking!  It climbs 20-11 this week.  Right behind is the second entry for Darren Hayes currently on the chart, “Black Out The Sun”.  The Fastest Riser on the chart follows, and that’s “Make You Mine”, the big surprise that is within Joe Jonas’ Fastlife album.  It soars 24-13.  Jon McLaughlin’s “Promising Promises” continues to climb at #14.  Rounding out the movers are The Midway State’s “Fire!” at #18, Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night” which is up to #21, and “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler jumps 28-24.

I talked about two of the three debuts recently.  “Home” by Stone Walters is a stunning but low-key release from the UK soul singer which hits your heart in all of the right places.  It’s one to watch and debuts at #20.  It’s available for free download right here with an email subscription.  “Champagne” by Nelson Clemente is either a great way to end the current year or a great starter for the next year.  Its lightheartedness is contagious and premieres at #27.  Nelson has already attained a number of Top Tenners on this chart, with “You Want Me Don’t You” (in both its original 2008 release and 2009 Spekr Freks remix) and “90 Days” both cracking the Top 5.  Ninthwave Records has made it available as a free download on Soundcloud right here.  Lastly, producer/remixer Benny Benassi has made some intoxicating music for the dance floor this year, so he gets a hat-trick of sorts with his remix of Labrinth & Tinie Tempah’s “Earthquake” arriving on my chart at #23.  The other two songs to reach the chart?  Chris Brown’s “Beautiful People” and Benassi’s “Cinema” (featuring Gary Go) were on the chart concurrently this summer, peaking at #10 and #11 respectively.  Listen to his remix of “Earthquake” below.  Your body may start moving without you.

A few more tidbits before I wrap up…

Ever the busy guy, Frankmusik recently unveiled a delightful animated video for his Do It In The A.M. track “Wrecking Ball”.  Mr. Frank’s full of ideas… watch for more next year.  In the meantime, watch “Wrecking Ball” below.

And welcome back, Adam Lambert, though you didn’t seem away for more than a hot second.  The most important thing about his upcoming single “Better Than I Know Myself” is that it does away with the dramatic, almost over-the-top high notes of songs like “Whataya Want From Me” in favour of cleaner, richer, and more classic production.  But everything you ever liked about Adam is much intact!  The new album’s gonna be even better, I think.  Listen to “Better Than I Know Myself” streaming from his official website right here.

And I leave you with two more songs for the season.  He was Warbler #6 on “Glee” for a time, and recorded a terrific EP about a year ago along with a bang-on cover of George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”.  It’s a pleasure to hear Chris Mann so beautifully sing “Silent Night” below.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, I said it was coming.  Here’s Joshua Desjardins’ heartwarming and humourous video for “Macauley Culkin (Home Alone at Christmas)”.  You will have a smile on your face when it’s finished 🙂

And Visions Of 2011 Danced In His Head…

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

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

The Script

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

Jamie Woon

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

The Midway State

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

Jon McLaughlin

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

Adam Cohen

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

Jessica 6

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

Ballroom Remixed

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

Bright Light Bright Light

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

Adam Tyler,  Kyle Brylin, and Nick Hagelin

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

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

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

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

Erasure

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

Ro Danishei

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

Lady GaGa

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

Adele

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

Darren Hayes

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

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

Elouise

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

Penguin Prison

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

Simon Curtis

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

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

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

Frankmusik

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

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

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

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

Eric Saade

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

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

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

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

Tuned-On! Top 30 #367 – December 5/11… Plus More New Music and Christmas Tunes

It doesn’t happen too often but my top two songs this week are by singers whose first language isn’t English.  And currently, both songs are only available in Europe or Scandinavia, something that I hope will be rectified in the future.  And they are both success stories in their own right in 2011.

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.

We have to go back to almost the start of the year when I first came across cover versions of songs like “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” and “What If” by The Netherlands’ Matt Blue.  He teased us throughout the summer with a clip of “Can’t Help Myself (Keep Dancing)”, which continues to have the marks of a smash hit all over it for me.  It finally got released in Europe this Fall, and now this talented cancer survivor has claimed the #1 spot on my personal chart.  No brain cramping here – just pure joy about getting out and having a good time, and sometimes we simply just need that.  Check out the video – again – below 🙂

On a different scale, of course, we have Eric Saade, who has basically took the Nordic countries for his own, courtesy of massive hits “Popular” and “Hearts In The Air” from the Saade Volume One album.  Last week, Saade Volume Two arrived with a similar blend of cosmic pop and magnetic electrodance – the harder and spicier the album gets, the better it is.  More on that later in the week.  In the meantime, the first single “Hotter Than Fire”, featuring Dev, almost beat Mr. Blue to the top, tearing up the chart with a 23-2 move.  So it looks like I’ll be listening to a lot more Mr. Saade throughout the month and into the holidays.  Given my initial impressions of Volume Two, Eric Saade is poised for international success in 2012.  I’m hoping remixes and a crack at the North American market will be in store.  If there is any music that I’ve turned to in 2011 for a break away from absolutely everything, it’s the songs from Saade Volume One, and Volume Two is exactly the logical continuation that might have been anticipated!  Here’s a live clip of “Hotter Than Fire” from a month ago.

Darren Hayes’ “Bloodstained Heart” still moves up to #3, while “Black Out The Sun” continues its rise up to #16.  With already three singles culled from Secret Codes And Battleships, I’m hoping that some other songs from the album might be given a chance, such as the hopeful “Don’t Give Up” or beautiful “Roses”.

The lower half of the Top 10 is party-central!  Matt & Kim’s “Block After Block” jumps to #6, with the forceful electropop of Agnes Carlsson’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” right behind at #7.  Kyle Brylin’s aggressive technopop of “Never Love A DJ”, along with Penguin Prison’s “Don’t Fuck With My Money”, and chanteuse-of-the-moment Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” (in a Penguin Prison remix no less) round out the Top 10.  Looking to break into the Top 10 in two weeks are “Then I Go Twisting” by Erasure and Jessica 6’s “White Horse”, both worthy of filled dance floors.

While great songs by Joe Jonas, Jon McLaughlin, Mika, The Midway State, and Jeronimo continue to reach new heights on the chart, four songs debut.  I can’t rave enough right now about “The Stars Are Saying Yes” by UK quartet Boy Banned.  It’s pop at its purest – a fantastic, simple melody, magical lyrics, and vocals to die for.  The song bows at #20 and is available on iTunes.  Here’s the absolutely charming video, again.

At #24, I go two songs deep into Joe Jonas’ Fastlife album – and if you asked me if that would happen six months ago I would have stared at you with a strange expression.  While I was interested in the Jonas project, I had no idea how good it was, especially after the drab first two singles.  For me, the killer on the album is “Make You Mine”, which has a vocal performance by Joe unlike anything you could have imagined.  The song has a warm lyric and seems to be a distant cousin of a song like “Rock with You” by Michael Jackson.  Look for this one to take off on the chart in the coming weeks.  Listen below for yourself! 🙂

Despite all the hoopla about the video, as well as its many excesses, which you can watch below, “Marry The Night” is one of the very best songs from Born This Way, and its timely release as a single is good enough reason for it to arrive on my chart at #27.  The Lady is everywhere these days, and I try not to get too overexposed to her for fear I will not enjoy her music as much.  Anyone else feel that way?

The last new entry on the chart is the upcoming second single from Shattered Ice, the debut album by Adam Tyler.  “Pull The Trigger”, my second favourite song on the album next to previous Top Fiver “I Won’t Let You Go”, just dipped out of the Top 10, leaving room for me to now add “Like A Drug” to the mix at #28.  I can’t wait to see the video, which looks like it has some massive choreography in store for us.  However I do need you to backtrack to the Shattered Ice album.  It’s been a mainstay on my playlist since its release in August.  And despite some of my initial quibbles about too much production, the album is many songs deep past these three.  “Music Freak” has become a little bit of a personal anthem, and I savour Adam’s less produced voice on the acoustic version of “I Won’t Let You Go” and the ‘orchestral’ version of “Emergency”.  Get it on iTunes and listen to “Like A Drug” below.

Bubbling below the chart we have some festive songs for the holidays, whether they be for Christmas or otherwise.

There are no better bubbles to drink than those of “Champagne”, and we have this new effervescent single courtesy of Australian singer Nelson Clemente, about whom you have read about many times in these pages.  This is a splendid change of pace for Nelson, whose songs are often wrapped up in intense emotion and mystery.  That he recorded someone else’s song this time just ups the ante for Nelson who has this modest kind of talent that people would kill for.  Listen to a taste (?) of “Champagne” below and purchase it on iTunes.  Nelson also this week officially releases his previously free EP Love.Feel.Dangerous (which contains “90 Days”, which you can hear below, and “No Protection”, which have both appeared in my chart) – be sure to get it on Amazon among other places.

“90 Days” by Nelson Clemente

New Yorker Joshua Desjardins gets around.  First he’s writing a song for (and about) dream choreographer Melanie LaPatin on her Ballroom Remixed comp, then he’s man about the comic store during the summer in “I’m A Nerd”.  He’s been performing a show in theatre district called “Joshing Around NYC”, and still has had time for a song highly appropriate for the season.  Sure to put a smile on your face, give a listen to “Macauley Culkin (Home Alone at Christmas)” below.  Then go watch the “Home Alone” series while the movies pop up on TV.  Then listen again.  Happy?  Video to come!  Buy it on iTunes.

The final Christmas song on Elouise’s latest EP Santa’s Little Belter is yet again another bang-on version of a recent classic.  Darlene Love originally sang “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”  for Phil Spector’s seminal Christmas album A Christmas Gift for You.  Listen to a clip below and purchase Santa’s Little Belter on iTunes.  Watch for more fantastic music from Elouise in 2012!

Lastly, we have a beauty of a holiday original from American singer/pianist/songwriter Gavin Mikhail, who has given us some lovely renditions of other songs this year.  This gentle holiday treat is called “Evergreen” and it’s matched with a delightful animated video that perfectly captures the song’s essence.  Buy it on iTunes and be dazzled by the video below.

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!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #355 – June 20/11

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, four debuts arrive on the chart this week.

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

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

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

http://soundcloud.com/monsieuradi/chariot

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

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

Tuned-On! Top 30 #354 – June 6/11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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