With Sights Set On Eurovision: @MarkusRiva with “Take Me Down”

MARKUS RIVA, “Take Me Down”

Latvia’s reknown DJ, singer, actor and model Markus Riva takes away the dance beats and trades them in (as well as brunette locks for blond) for a powerful ballad melody with “Take Me Down”.  Markus did so well finishing in the Top 10 for Latvia’s competition leading to a Eurovision entry with “Lights On” that he once again has his sights set for a similar goal with “Take Me Down”.  Like “Lights On”, “Take Me Down” has broad international appeal with a great hook and this time a smouldering performance that wouldn’t be hard to visualize on stage.  Markus is making some of his best songs and this rock power ballad shows another side of him where he sounds just great.   You can buy “Take Me Down” on iTunes.

Published in: on December 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Going For The Gusto: “Lights On” by @MarkusRiva

MARKUS RIVA, “Lights On”

“Lights On” is a big powerhouse of a song that should take its positive message around the world, courtesy of Latvian singer Markus Riva.  Readers of this blog already know the talented singer/producer/model/DJ from his BILLCS Top 30 Top 10’s “How It Feels To Be A Man” and “We Dance 4 Reason”, and his gritty vocal captures the presence of the underdog rising to the top.  It’s a very different follow up to his last single/video for “Fire”, which I wrote about recently.  I learned last night that “Lights On” is a contender to represent Latvia at Eurovision.  Don’t be surprised – songs with big choruses and inspirational lyrics go over big with judges.  Side note: He’s competing against his “We Dance 4 Reason” buddy Ralph Eilands! If “Lights On” gets to Eurovision, it has a real shot at winning.  If not, then no time should be wasted in marketing it globally.  I sense that it will also be played at soccer/football games 😉

Published in: on February 3, 2014 at 8:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Latvian Singer @MarkusRiva Cranks It Up with “Fire”

markusriva4

MARKUS RIVA, “Fire”

Many of us first met him through his contribution to last year’s This Beat Is Poptronik! Volume One compilation “How It Feels To Be A Man” (which got to #7 on my personal chart).  Latvian singer/DJ/producer/presenter/model Markus Riva is back with “Fire”.  And you can think all things literal about that word.  The songs seethes with anguish about a love gone wrong, and it will just pour out of loud club speakers as the dance unfolds.  The video plays on this and comes off as intense but very watchable.  The brooding vocals are Markus sounding his absolute gruffest.  Look for this single on iTunes.

Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 12:30 am  Comments (1)  
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BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #60 to #41

Today I bring you the big middle bit of the list, a delightful array of 20 songs that more than tickled my fancy throughout the year.  So this post is a little long, but bear with me…

Click here to view songs #75 to #41  :)

Three singers in this list escaped from an often horrible fate in the music industry – record company hell.  Tyler Hilton had never been away from the music scene, and of course showed up on TV quite regularly in One Tree Hill as Chris Keller.  After many delays in trying to release a sophomore album, seven years perhaps is a long time between albums but his TV and film popularity preceded him and Tyler definitely grew in that time.  So he ended up releasing his album Forget The Storm independently, and toured throughout North America, the UK, and Europe.  It’s a fine rocking effort and gave Tyler the opportunity to connect with many fans who have been waiting for him, and “Prince Of Nothing Charming” became yet another Top 10 entry on my chart for him.  Ryan Star is another fantastic singer whose previous record company was doing nothing to help the release of new songs after some success in 2010 with the album 11:59.  So he switched to Island Records and saw his single “Stay Awhile” (video below) released while he works on a new album.  Phenomenal piano man Jon McLaughlin also parted ways with his previous record company only to sign a new deal with Razor & Tie after releasing the exceptional (and now, no longer available) Forever If Ever album independently.  Two of his songs slid into the Top 10 and both long runs on the chart.  “Promising Promises” was originally featured on Forever If Ever but ended up being the title song of his re-released album.  And to whet our appetite for that album, Jon teamed up with Sara Bareilles in one of those pairings where the voices just go so well together.  A rerecording of “Summer Is Over” (video below) was the song the singer was waiting for to throw him back into the spotlight after touring North America for most of the year.

His initial songs didn’t really draw me in, but I thought “Better Than I Know Myself” by Adam Lambert had a lot of personal conviction in the vocal performance, and showed a more vulnerable side of the singer, so it became his first chart entry for me.  Darren Hayes’ third and final entry in this list peaked in January where some chartphiles carried over “Bloodstained Heart” from 2011 (that song was #22 on last year’s list).  “Black Out The Sun” is a lilting and sombre affair led by another wonderful vocal by Darren.  Another darker song captured with a fine and appropriate vocal is Jane Badler’s theatrical “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” (video below), a song that gets better with repeated listenings (there are also many delightful remixes available).  The Australia-based actress best known for TV’s “V” is well on her way with another career as a pop singer.  And did funky pop seem out of vogue?  Not if you’re Sam Sparro, who released his sophomore album Return To Paradise mid-year with lead single “Happiness” in advance.  The album is a moody but always danceable affair, and is much better as a long-player than to isolate most of the songs individually.

Singles still go very steady in my musical world.  “Champagne” gave the start of the year its fizz courtesy of Australian singer Nelson Clemente.  Converse shoes had a stroke of brilliance by creating a free download with a highly entertaining video (below) to promote its products.  So Foster The People head honcho Mark Foster gets paired up with Canadian producer/DJ extraordinaire A-Trak for the song “Warrior”, and who gets to save the day not only in one of the year’s most entertaining videos, but as the song’s vocalist?  New Zealand chanteuse Kimbra, who duetted with Gotye on the year’s biggest song “Somebody That I Used To Know”.  US production duo The Knocks did the rather unthinkable – they transformed M83’s ethereal “Midnight City” into a 3 minute pop song with the help of singer Mandy Lee, in a free download and a fine video (also below) to showcase the singer.  I ended up liking it even better than the original so it ranks in the Top 50.  Minnesota’s Nicole Brenny, known as Vague-à-bonde, is an emerging talent to watch who is recording a new album as well as a video for the song that reached the Top 10 on my chart, “Evolved”.  The song has a gentle vocal whose toe-tapping refrain throttles you and makes you want more.  UK quartet Boy Banned seemed on the bubble to go on to big things by the end of 2011, however the bubble exploded when they split after the release of the immensely likeable “The Stars Are Saying Yes” and its utterly charming video (also below).  “Only The Horses” by Scissor Sisters proved that this outfit can produce fine original pop singles that sparkle amid an inconsistent album, outside of its engaging presence in the dance/EDM community with fun records like “Let’s Have A Kiki”.  “Horses” became their first Top 5 hit on my chart.

The remaining songs in this group are featured in albums that have held their own since their release.  “Unheard” is a jaunty album track from Netherlands singer Jeronimo, whose song “It’s A Fun Thing” is the Cartoon Network theme song in the south Pacific part of the world.  His unique voice and eagerness to please made his album One Kiss one of the most solid records of the year, even if it didn’t receive release in North America.  Another song from that record ranks higher up on the list 🙂 Markus Riva’s “How It Feels To Be A Man” is the Latvian singer’s second entry on the chart, and one of the highlights of the year’s best dance compilations This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume One that morphed into a summer dance festival on the beaches outside of Barcelona.  Volume Two and another festival are in the works for this year.  Another song from the compilation is featured later on as well.  I proclaimed Brooklyn’s Matt & Kim as pop music’s hardest working duo after partaking in their most enjoyable show, where they had to work around a power failure (with the effortless help of the audience).  “Let’s Go” is the song and video (below) that took them back to a simple and basic but high energy sound on their latest album Lightning.

Boston sextet Gentlemen Hall are one of my 13 Performers to Watch for ’13 and mix journeyman rock in with powerful, lush instrumentation on their EP When We All Disappear, which is still available for free on their website.  While every song on that EP is strong, it was the joyous “All Our Love” and its accompanying video (below) that captured my attention this past Spring.  And what would the year be without me including two songs from Austin duo DATABOY’s Dreams Are Gold album?  “Lotion” was initially released on the free Summer Now EP, which led up to the release of their long-awaited full album.  That record contains some of the most entertaining and heartfelt songs of the year, all also designed to make you dance, one being “Genius”, which could be the new unofficial theme song for “The Big Bang Theory”.  Without question, Dreams Are Gold is my favourite album of 2012, and you’ll find two more DATABOY songs much higher on this list in the next few days 🙂

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”.

15th Anniversary Edition: BILLCS Top 30 #388 – September 24/12

In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, in other ways it’s like yesterday.  15 years ago this week I began posting my personal chart online on a regular basis.

As I was discovering the ‘Net through our dial-up connection in 1996/97, I was able to find message boards and chart sites where, yes, there were actually music chart geeks like me, who created their own lists of favourites, or sometimes a list of songs that were heavily influenced by radio play of the day.  I had compiled my own charts back in the 70’s, but abandoned that when I joined my university radio station, where I influenced their chart and my fellow DJ’s, and eventually became in charge of producing their chart!  I continued to assist with this well past graduation and into my free-lance writing days.  After that, I still produced my own lists but they weren’t charts, just a way to keep track of what I liked and what was current.

So the rabid presence of all kinds of music on the Internet has been and will continue to be a blessing for me, and I’ll keep on producing my chart as long as people are interested in reading it and chatting with me about it and its songs.  I posted charts now and again throughout 1997 online, but I don’t have copies of any of those charts until January 1998 when I began saving them and documenting them, because I just knew this wasn’t going to go away, though “Turn My Head” by Live was my #1 in September 1997.  So I’m 388 bi-weekly editions in (the first 8 months had a Top 10 only), and here’s what’s happening 🙂

His Push Rewind album goes several songs deeper, but “Remember When (Push Rewind)” by Chris Wallace holds at #1 for a 3rd appearance (6th week), with “Dreams Are Gold” by DATABOY not giving up second place yet.  This makes it difficult when two fun and engaging songs, “Go For Gold” by Kyle Patrick, and “Spectrum” by Zedd & Matthew Koma, each advance within the Top 5.  They are joined by “Houdini” by Foster the People, making it 3 for 3 for the trio following fellow Top Fivers “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Call It What You Want”.  Also – Mark Foster’s tweets under @FosterThePeople are so worth following.  He’s definitely got interesting opinions but also tweets about great things, including the challenge he gave to a photographer to lose weight over a number of months, with the reward being a financial amount from Mark himself.  Inspiring!

You’ll notice that “Spectrum” by Florence & The Machine is now out of the Top 5 at #7 and “Timebomb” by Kylie Minogue rests at #14.  But despite reaching #3 and #4 respectively, both songs will rank highly at year’s ends, possibly higher than some of my #1’s!  We’ll see!  Markus Riva’s “We Dance 4 Reason” climbs to a new peak at #9.

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.  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 on the chart, for a second time, is the completely crazy and irresistible “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Carlos Nóbrega, which leaps over his own “Turn It Up” (at #11), to move 17-8.  You can listen to the full song near the top of this post or below on Soundcloud.  Once “MMYLC” grabs you, it doesn’t let go, so you can find it on iTunes – and right now I’m waiting for remixes!  Carlos is just finishing off his album, and you’ll know more about that from me as it happens.  Joining “MMYLC” in the Top 10 for the first time is the irrepressible “Genius” by DATABOY at #10.  That song can also be found on the duo’s Dreams Are Gold album.

Lots of great new songs continue to move up.  A massive hit in Sweden, “Long Time” by John De Sohn & Andreas Moe climbs to #12.  Andreas also recorded an acoustic version on his Collecting Sunlight EP which I wrote about a while back.  “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding is whetting fans’ appetites while she’s on tour in anticipation of the Halcyon album, and rises to #13.  Jeronimo’s “Unheard” isn’t released as a single anywhere, but it’s my next favourite song to the title track of his album One Kiss and jumps to #15.  “Unheard” is just one of those singalongs where the lyrics just find their way easily into your mouth.  Jeronimo is starring in a new movie called “My Dad’s A Detective – The Battle”, and a video for his beautiful ballad “Firefly” includes snippets of scenes from that movie.  I’m not sure if we’ll see this movie in North America, but our young Netherlander is obviously a double threat!  Watch the video below.

Songs 16 through 21 keep the chart looking busy – as they should because every song on this chart is a winner regardless of where it peaks.  The offbeat melodies and lyrics of songs on Saint Motel’s Voyeur album are really appealing to me, and the clarinet-sample-led “Benny Goodman” is at #16.  “Over It” by Colin Munroe looks to follow “The Fight Of My Life” into the Top 10 and rises to #17.  “Feel It” is the latest single by Bright Light Bright Light, featuring Mykal Kilgore, and soars to #18.  Of course, Rod Thomas (aka BLx2) has double-whammied us once again with a new video for the song, and a mashup for free download called “Let’s Have A Feel”, which has great fun in setting Scissor Sisters’ #1 club hit “Let’s Have A Kiki” to the music of “Feel It”.  Watch the video and listen to the mashup below.

UK duo Bim are busy working on an album, and you’ll find out more when you go to their website and download “Lights Out”, which resides at #19.  Despite the blond look on the cover of his EP We Should, Kyle Brylin has returned to short brown hair for a new single, the piano ballad “Ain’t The Same” (which you can hear below and download for free from Soundcloud right here).  In the meantime, the chart sticks to the electro-house of the poignant “Hurricane”, which climbs to #20.  There’s always a place for a theatrical sound on my chart from time to time, and “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by Jane Badler nails it in spades and rises to #21.

Rounding out the chart are three debuts.  I wrote about “Evolved” by Minnesota singer Vague-à-bonde (aka Nicole Brenny) a little while back.  The combination of soft, genuine vocals and one of the best chorus hooks you’ll hear this year sends the song into the chart at an impressive #24.  You can download it for free right here.  It’s taken a little longer than usual for “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons to sink in, but the opening episode of this season’s “Glee” has kept the song in my head (especially in its Penguin Prison remix, which you can get on iTunes).  “It’s Time” bows at #26 (watch the video at the bottom of the post if you’re not yet familiar with it).  And this past week I wrote about “Between The Raindrops”, the single from the upcoming new Lifehouse album, which features Natasha Bedingfield in a well-placed guest appearance.  The song arrives at #27 and is Lifehouse’s 9th entry on the chart since debuting back at the end of 2000 with one of my all time favourite songs, “Hanging By A Moment”.  Here’s the complete list:

“Hanging By A Moment”, #1, 2001
“Sick Cycle Carousel”, #20, 2001
“Everything”, #3, 2001
“Spin” #1, 2002
“You And Me”, #3, 2005
“Halfway Gone”, #3, 2010
“Had Enough” (with Chris Daughtry), “#11, 2010
“All In”, #8, 2010

BILLCS Chart #387 – September 10/12

I often refer to my bi-weekly chart as a list of my favourite songs of the moment, but it also serves as a recap of what I’ve been listening to over the last few weeks.

Suffice it to say, my last week has been filled with Chris Wallace songs from his solo album Push Rewind, which was released last Monday, and I posted my thoughts about it in the week.  Lead single “Remember When (Push Rewind)” holds on to #1 on my chart quite handily, the first of what I expect will be a few appearances for Chris on the chart in the coming months.  With three songs on the chart, DATABOY is hardly out of the picture, with “Dreams Are Gold” ranking #2 and the fun “Genius” rising to #13.  Both “Spectrum”s on the chart now surround “Go For Gold” by Kyle Patrick, which rises to #4.  Florence & The Machine stay at #3 with the Calvin Harris remix, and Zedd & Matthew Koma soar to #5 (the video is below if you’ve missed it).  Who will succeed Chris Wallace at #1.  Frankly, I just don’t know yet!

Also climbing within the Top 10 is Bright Light Bright Light with “Moves” from Make Me Believe In Hope at #6 – though it’s not the second single from the album (more on that below).  Right below is “Houdini” in a free download Green Children remix by Foster The People.  New to the Top 10 are Baiyu’s “Hunter” at #9 and “We Dance 4 Reason” from Markus Riva at #10.  Baiyu may get a wild card spot on “The Next” TV show in coming episodes due to her strong performance in the New York City round.  Markus has another single up his sleeve, with a video being shot soon for “Chase”.  The video for “Reason” is below.

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.  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 :)

Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega is close to descending on the Top 10 with two songs, “Turn It Up”, which rises to #11, and the big, bouncy anthem “Music Makes Me Lose Control”, which is the fastest riser, vaulting 23-17.  The trance-oriented “Long Time” by Sweden’s John De Sohn featuring Andreas Moe on vocals moves up to #14 (strange but eye-catching video below), Ellie Goulding’s infectious single “Anything Could Happen” from her upcoming Halcyon album rises to 16, “Benny Goodman” by Saint Motel is up to #19, “Lights Out” by UK duo Bim jumps to #22 as a free download, and “Hurricane” by Kyle Brylin is at #25.

Three familiar faces comprise 3/4 of our debuts.  My next favourite song from young Netherlands singer Jeronimo’s album One Kiss after the title track is the jaunty “Unheard” (listen below), which bows at #20 as “One Kiss” spends its last appearance on the chart after a maximum of 10 (20 weeks).  Then, Toronto’s Colin Munroe unleashed his latest mixtape Unsung Hero mid-last week, and I’ll have some detailed words on that in the week.  In the meantime, his free download of the empowering “Over It”, which I wrote about last week, arrives at #23.  The second official single from Bright Light Bright Light’s Make Me Believe In Hope is in fact the tailored-for-clubs “Feel It”, featuring Mykal Kilgore in a shimmering remix below, at #26.  The last debut, if you didn’t guess it from yesterday’s blog post, is “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by Jane Badler at #28.

BILLCS Chart #386 – August 27/12 – Be Kind, Push Rewind!

The top of my personal chart is tighter than ever, as DATABOY’s “Dreams Are Gold” gives way ever so slightly to “Remember When (Push Rewind)” by Indiana-born Chris Wallace, which advances to #1 just before the release date of his album Push Rewind (album cover art above, reprise of the video below). There’s a lot of the Top 10 that stays the same – with good reason, the songs on this chart are especially strong – but in the midst there is some notable movement.

Kyle Patrick has been to Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia these past few weeks. The house that The Click Five built over there is significant, and Kyle’s “Go For Gold” is making great strides on their charts. From his self-titled EP, “Gold” is definitely winning, and climbs to #6 on the chart. Down further there are two new entries to the Top 10. The spry Green Children remix of Foster The People’s “Houdini” works its magic at #9, while fastest riser “Spectrum” by Zedd featuring Matthew Koma is headed for the upper reaches, advancing 21-10.

Mark Thursday, August 30 on your calendar to watch the New York episode of The CW network’s new show “The Next”. The supremely talented Baiyu is one of four contestants – and her competition had better be on their game! Best of luck to Baiyu 🙂 Her song “Hunter” climbs to #11 on my chart. Her coach on the show is none other than Nelly.

Several other upwardly mobile songs continue towards the Top 10. “We Dance 4 Reason” by Latvian dancer, model, DJ/producer, and singer, Poptronik performer Markus Riva vaults 20-14, followed directly by the long-lasting “When She Was Mine” by Lawson at #15.  Watch their video for the UK Top 5 hit “Taking Over Me” below.  The third chart entry for DATABOY, the splendiforous “Genius”, jumps to #16, with “Long Time” by Sweden’s John De Sohn and singer/songwriter Andreas Moe (also still residing at #7 with “Collecting Sunlight” himself) rising to #17. The feel good vibe of L.A.’s Saint Motel continues at #22 with the swinging “Benny Goodman”, while “Emergency” by Audio Playground with Snoop Dogg is up to #24.

All of our new entries are by performers who have already visited the chart, some more recently than others. We’ll start with a couple of doubles, please. The highest new entry at #20 is the instantaneously ear-pleasing pop of Ellie Goulding with her first single from the upcoming Halcyon album (artwork above) with “Anything Could Happen”. While “Lights” took its sweet time getting to the upper reaches of the international charts, the response to “Anything” should be swifter. Ellie’s free download cover of The Weeknd’s “High For This” continues to climb at #19. Then we have the good natured dance floor fun brought to us by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, whose latest song “Music Makes You Lose Control” (#23) will be sure to inspire much dancing at those upcoming Hallowe’en parties.  The anthemic “Turn It Up” is lifted to #12 as well.

After “Scream” from this past Spring, one could see that UK duo Bim are headed in the right direction as they create songs for their upcoming sophomore album. Their latest single, “Lights Out” (video reprise below), is a free download that combines the emotion of the songs from Scatterheart and some wickedly powerful vocals to create a song that is completely captivating and arrives at #27. Their “Head Over Heels” got to #3 on my chart in 2010. Lastly Kyle Brylin is back with some slick electronica featuring catchy melodies and hooks like we heard last year in “Everything I’m Missing” (#5) and “Never Love A DJ” (#8). From his latest 4 song EP comes the emotional house track “Hurricane” at #28.  So that makes Kyle (Patrick), Kyle (Brylin), and Kylie on the chart – a nice triple play 🙂

AND DON’T FORGET:  A year in the making, the Poptronik festival in Sitges, Spain will be a dream come true for electronica fans on September 1 and 2.  Needless to say I’m jealous of all those who can party on the beach to some great performers, including Andy Bell of Erasure, Markus Riva, Adam Tyler, SIRPAUL, Garcon Garcon, and many more.  Best of luck to all involved!

BILLCS Chart #385 – August 13, 2012 – Might Be My Favourite Top 4 of ’12!

Here’s the list of my current Top 30 favourites, published bi-weekly in these pages, but currently subject to a bit of technical difficulty as I move to new software for formatting purposes.  EDIT:  The prettier web version of the chart is available by clicking right here 🙂

01 01 DREAMS ARE GOLD DATABOY
02 02 REMEMBER WHEN (PUSH REWIND) Chris Wallace
07 03 SPECTRUM (Calvin Harris remix) Florence & The Machine
04 04 TIME BOMB Kylie Minogue
06 05 HOLLYWOOD RAC F/ Penguin Prison
08 06 LOTION DATABOY
09 07 COLLECTING SUNLIGHT Andreas Moe
11 08 MOVES Bright Light Bright Light
14 09 GO FOR GOLD Kyle Patrick
03 10 ONE KISS Jeronimo
12 11 ANGEL Darren Hayes
05 12 SECRET FEAR Daniel Bedingfield
15 13 HUNTER Baiyu
19 14 TURN IT UP Carlos Nóbrega
23 15 HOUDINI (Green Children remix) Foster The People
16 16 CHASING THE SUN The Wanted
17 17 TURN UP YOUR RADIO Monti Montañez
10 18 ALL OUR LOVE Gentlemen Hall
20 19 WHEN SHE WAS MINE Lawson
24 20 WE DANCE 4 REASON Markus Riva F/ Ralph (PER)
New 21 SPECTRUM Zedd F/ Matthew Koma
26 22 HIGH FOR THIS Ellie Goulding
New 23 GENIUS DATABOY
New 24 LONG TIME John De Sohn F/ Andreas Moe
New 25 BENNY GOODMAN Saint Motel
28 26 EMERGENCY Audio Playground F/ Snoop Dogg
13 27 THESE ARE CENTURIES River Tiber
18 28 WAITING FOR THE FEELING Bright Light Bright Light
21 29 NOTICE ME Vincent Did It F/ Quigley
25 30 CELEB Tao Hypah

My current Top 4 songs are going to be hard to dislodge.  This could in fact be my favourite Top 4 of ’12, and only a few other songs released earlier in the year – including Rune RK & DATABOY’S “Memorize Me”, Eric Saade & Dev’s “Hotter Than Fire”, and “Someday” by River Tiber – would be in the mix with them!  What’s going to be interesting is to see who gets a turn at #1, which could happen as early as two weeks from now!  Stay tuned 🙂  PS Chris Wallace’s debut album Push Rewind will be out September 4 as “Remember When” starts to crack radio airplay!!

Fleshing out the Top 10 are some joyous tunes by RAC & Penguin Prison, DATABOY (making it two out of three), former #1 Jeronimo, and Andreas “he’s everywhere (including elsewhere on the chart)” Moe, with new Top Tenners not surprisingly from Bright Light Bright Light (currently kicking it in France – so jealous!) and Kyle Patrick (coping with massive Singapore love).

Special mentions outside of the Top 10  must go to Baiyu, with the title song of her Hunter mixtape resting at #13, as she appears on The CW Network’s new show “The Next” starting Thursday.  Best of luck, love 😀  Then there’s the ever-so-busy Carlos Nóbrega, whose powerful dancefloor filler “Turn It Up” climbs to #14 as he releases yet another new song, “Music Makes You Lose Control”.  This one is Carlos at his best, fun and dramatic at the same time!  Listen to the snippet below – you won’t want to miss out on the full song, so get it on iTunes!  

Foster The People’s Green Children remix of “Houdini” magically becomes the fastest riser, leaping 23-15 while singer Mark journeys through India.  Also on the rise are Darren Hayes’ delightful take on Madonna’s “Angel”, “When She Was Mine” by rising UK quartet Lawson, and “We Dance 4 Reason” by Latvian star and radio DJ Markus Riva.  You won’t be able to go anywhere soon without hearing Ellie Goulding’s magnificent new “Anything Could Happen”, as I wrote about on the weekend, but in the meantime her rendition of The Weeknd’s “High For This” is up to #22.

A common theme throughout 2012 has been a series of unique voices.  One such young man, who, like Andreas Moe, is popping up everywhere especially in dance music circles, is Matthew Koma (ab0ve), who hails from Long Island and was once in a group called Bandcamp.  One of the brightest songs of ’12 and a current Top 5 Dance Club Play hit is the second song in the chart called “Spectrum” by German DJ Zedd, featuring Matthew’s ear-catching vocals that sound like nothing this year has had to offer, as well as some dreamy lyrics (“breathing you in when I want you out…”).  He’s also featured in Alesso’s latest club hit “Years”, and will be touring some upcoming dates with Owl City.  You can hear both songs below plus excerpts of Matthew’s EP Parachute, available on iTunes.

The next debut is of course more from DATABOY, whose Dreams Are Gold album is the full length release that is resonating with me most throughout the year.  Its emotional content, smart stories, and of course amazing beats and rhythms put smiles on my face each time I hear it.  I’ve grown a bit attached to opening song “Genius” – it’s simply a fun song to listen to in the car, and it definitely throws people for a loop the first time they hear it.  I humbly suggest you keep in mind the TV show The Big Bang Theory and a certain animated self-proclaimed genius when listening 🙂 But you’ll have to give it a preview on Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Genius/dp/B008F9FV7U and buy it there or on iTunes!

At #24 is “Long Time” by John De Sohn, featuring Sweden’s Andreas Moe, and currently in the Billboard Top 25 of the Dance Club Play chart.  I had some comments about it in a recent blog post.  The full length version appears on Tiësto’s Club Life Volume 2: Miami compilation.  You’ll hear a lot more from Andreas before the year is out!

Lastly at #25 is the quirky “Benny Goodman” by L.A.’s Saint Motel, currently touring their album Voyeur, which I wrote about recently.  Below is a video of the band jazzing up the song and swinging along in a studio performance.  They also released an equally quirky video for “1997”, which you can also check out below.  The band has this neat way of making you watch… 😉