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 #394 – December 17, 2012

“Parachute” by Matthew Koma becomes the New York singer’s second #1 of 2012 (heading into 2013 – this is my 2012-ending chart – the next one for December 31 counts towards 2013), following his partnership with Zedd on Billboard’s #1 Dance Club Play song of the year, “Spectrum”.  I would actually put money on the fact that Matthew will be one of the Ones to Watch for 2013, given the quality of his EP Parachute.  In fact, his spirited and edgy rocker “1998” is the chart’s fastest riser, moving 19-6.  I can’t wait for the full album to hear what else Matthew has been up to. 

 “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia & John Martin is still going strong at #2, while “Yeah Yeah” by the currently-touring Willy Moon soars to #3 and will challenge “Parachute” in the coming weeks to find which song sticks in my head the most!  With the recent release of Almeria, Lifehouse & Natasha Bedingfield (video above) hold steady at #4 with “Between The Raindrops” and the band (whose 7th Top 10 entry this is on my chart) will undoubtedly promote the album with another single release.  The long-lasting “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega sticks tight at #5 and – spoiler! – will rank highly on my Best of 2012 year end list, which will come to you gradually starting on December 26.

 One of the joys about creating a personal chart is to see independent releases alongside of major label names, and quite often this chart consists more than 50% of indies.  It started off as a free download, and now an album is in progress for Vague-à-bonde as the Minnesota-based singer holds at #7 with “Evolved” (ab0ve).  Right behind at #8 are Matt & Kim, whose main aim is fun, as songs from their album Lightning articulate, with “Let’s Go” (and further down with “Now” at #20).  Tao Hypah’s dance pop of another colour is at #9 with “Play The Girl” – Mr. Hypah’s 2nd Top Tenner following the #3 “Celeb”, which will also appear in good company on my year end list.  Call it a jam-packed Top 10 finishing off with Adele’s “Skyfall”.  It’s her 5th Top Tenner on the chart.

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 :)

 

More indies on the rise just outside of the Top 10 – Kid Massive & DATABOY, Chris Wallace, Arty/Nadia Ali/BT, and Bim – with a special mention going to Chris for achieving airplay in New York with one of this year’s special songs “Remember When (Push Rewind)”, which has also been in Mediabase’s Top 40 for weeks and is still climbing.  Chris also debuts on the chart with “Keep Me Crazy” (ab0ve) at #29, recently free on Amazon in the USA.  “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” (#12), “Remember When”, and “Keep Me Crazy” can all be found on Chris’ excellent album Push Rewind.  Rounding out the other indies, “O.V.E.R. U.” by Daniel Bedingfield climbs to #16, while “Fast As I Can” by Frankmusik jumps to #19 as the singer now records his album You Are Here (and promises an acoustic piano version of it too!).

 

There are no surprises as the release of Synapses approaches that River Tiber debuts at #22 with their 4th chart entry “What Are You Afraid Of”, which is still available as a free download on the Toronto band’s Soundcloud page.  If you’re in Toronto, catch them on January 3 for an album release party at the Drake Hotel.  I’ve already written about Passion Pit’s weirdly anthemic “Take A Walk” (#24), and now I’ve heard it locally on radio too!  There was an overdose of Ne-Yo on TV two weeks ago and “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)” (above) has become embedded in my ears, so it somewhat belatedly arrives on the chart at #26.  It’s the singer’s 7th chart entry and first since he appeared on Keri Hilson’s “Knock You Down” in 2009.  Last but by no means least at #30 is “Miss Unknown” by the talented Eric Saade, which I wrote about on the weekend and might be a game-changer for the singer if people embrace the softer side of his music along with a mostly delightful video.  It’s already his 7th song to appear on my chart since “Popular” (my #1 song of 2011) started the ball rolling.

 

 

BILLCS Top 30 #393 – December 3/12

I think we should be seeing some new blood invading the chart soon. In the meantime…

“Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia & John Martin holds at #1, while “Parachute” from Matthew Koma’s EP of the same name is now at #2 and looks to follow his pairing with Zedd on “Spectrum” (#10) to the top spot. “Music Makes Me Lose Control” by Carlos Nóbrega hangs tough at #3, while the understated (and unfortunately underperforming) “Between The Raindrops” by Lifehouse & Natasha Bedingfield zips up to #4. Lifehouse’s Almeria will be on release before the next chart on December 17. And Bright Light Bright Light gets yet another Top 5er with “Feel It”. Do go to this link for BLx2’s musical Christmas Advent calendar of mashups – today he meshed his own “Moves” with “Your Loving Arms”, the classic 90’s club hit by Billie Ray Martin (listen and download below).

In the ‘movin’ on up’ category, we find a contender for the top bounding up to #6 – “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon (stylish video up top), who performs two gigs in New York City this week. “Evolved” by Vague-à-bonde continues to impress by rising to #7, and “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by Jane Badler (who is in Sweden, for fans of “V” – video below) moves to #8. “Let’s Go” by Matt & Kim becomes their third Top Tenner on this chart at #9.

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 :)

Not to be outdone, “Skyfall” by Adele is no slouch at #12, while the fastest riser on the chart is the infectious controversy-generating “Play The Girl” by The Netherlands’ Tao Hypah, vaulting 21-13. It’s just one of those songs that has a message which is totally secondary to its engaging melody and chorus. “Good Girlfriend” by Kid Massive & DATABOY and “Must Be the Love” by Arty, Nadia Ali & BT continue to follow each other’s dance steps up the chart at #14 and #15 respectively. Bim’s “Burn” continues to sear its way up at #17, with last week’s pop parade of “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” by Chris Wallace and “1998” by Matthew Koma” in tow at #18 and #19, as well as Daniel Bedingfield’s “O.V.E.R. U.” at #21.

The three debuts have already been written about in these pages so absolutely no surprise that they land on the chart. “Fast As I Can” bows at #25 and is the first independently released single by FrankMusik from his upcoming album You Are here, due at end of January. As good as the song is, this one revels in a powerful, soulful Vincent Frank vocal. Vince also posted a most beautiful demo of a ballad recently called “Shores” – do give a listen below. Matt & Kim score entry #2 from their Lightning album with “Now” at #27 (live clip below).  After the duo take a well-deserved break from touring, they will be back at it with Passion Pit in the new year.

Finally, The Presets arrive at #29 with “Youth In Trouble” from their Pacifica album (live clip below). The song was the first video we saw and has resonated much longer than the official single “Ghosts”. The duo will be back in home country Australia in the new year for more dates.

BILLCS Top 30 #392 – November 19/12

Bear with me with this bare-bones write up of the songs on my latest personal chart.  Aside from a few new videos, of course 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 :)

Swedish House Mafia & John Martin get their turn at the top with the memorable “Don’t You Worry Child”, which displaces another fave of mine, “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Carlos Nóbrega, which should hang around in the Top 10.

But aside from the turnover at #1, the chart seems to be about one name.  The name is Koma. Matthew Koma. Not only does his collaboration with Zedd on “Spectrum” stay in the Top 5 at #3, but the title track of his EP Parachute vaults 17-4, which could result in a shorter stay at #1 for the Mafia.  The New Yorker also debuts at #26 with “1998”, which definitely shows his edgier rock style, definitely recalling post-punk folks like Elvis Costello and XTC.  His album Propaganda will be out in early ’13 – woo!

It puts a smile on my face every time I play Bright Light Bright Light’s mashup of his hit “Feel It” with Scissor Sisters’ “Let’s Have A Kiki”.  “Feel It” moves up to #6 this week, and the Lifehouse/Natasha Bedingfield collaboration on “Between The Raindrops” is slowly finding favour, rising 10-7.  Watch the video below – too bad there aren’t any scenes with Jason and Natasha together.

Two newcomers join the Top 10, songs that you won’t really find elsewhere!  “Evolved” by Vague-à-bonde climbs 11-8 as the singer (Nicole Alicia) prepares a video and more new songs.  “Evolved” has one of those immensely likeable qualities – it just sneaks up on you and hits you between the eyes with its chorus.  Mesmerizing in a different way is “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” by Jane Badler which rises 12-10 and can be found on Jane’s EP Mistaken Identity which you can buy on iTunes.

Despite many songs tumbling on the chart, there’s still quite a bit of activity.  “Yeah Yeah” by New Zealand’s Willy Moon soars 22-11 as the singer tours in the UK.  Matt & Kim wrap up their Lightning tour (though they are touring with Passion Pit in 2013) and “Let’s Go” jumps 15-12.  Kid Massive & DATABOY make a great pairing as “Good Girlfriend” moves 20-17 (video below).  Right behind is the Arty/Nadia Ali/BT collaboration “Must Be The Love” at #18, Adele’s “Skyfall” at #19, “Burn” by Bim at #20, and “Play The Girl” by Tao Hypah at #21.

Joining the chart are two more new entries.  I’m hoping it may not be too premature, but since “Remember When” by Chris Wallace exits after a mandatory 10 chart (20 week) run, I’ve installed “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” at #25.  To me this is the natural follow up to “Remember When”.  Over the past two weeks, Daniel Bedingfield released the provocative video to “Secret Fear”, which got to #5 on my chart this summer.  The video is quite a feat, developed and directed by Daniel, and filled with numerous meanings.  I’ve also been playing “O.V.E.R. U.” from his free Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik EP for months, and it arrives on the chart at #27.  Listen to “Time Bomb” and “O.V.E.R. U.”  and watch the video for “Secret Fear” below.

Shorter and more frequent blog posts coming your way soon!!

BILLCS Chart #391 – November 5/12 – Lose Control with Carlos Nóbrega’s New #1!

Even though we had a song with a video about an alien love story at the top of the chart two weeks ago, my Hallowe’en party song for 2012 is “Music Makes You Lose Control” by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, which climbs to #1 for this edition of my chart, succeeding “Spectrum” by Zedd & Matthew Koma. Carlos is working on an album and I’ll be one of the first to have news on it as it happens. In the meantime buy “MMYLC” on iTunes and support independent music by doing so!

Zooming to #3 to become a real challenge for the top is “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin, which looks to replicate its UK #1 status in other countries too. The Mafia are playing to huge crowds on what looks to be a final tour for the trio.  Below is a live clip of the song.  Also joining the Top 5 is “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding, which still seems to be getting lost in the success of “Lights”. Nonetheless it is one of the more joyous sounding songs of the year.

After coming off of a successful UK tour supporting Scissor Sisters, Bright Light Bright Light continues to rise up the chart to #7 with new single “Feel It”, which features several remixes and a new/old song “Good Times”. Rod Thomas (BLx2) has once again given us a free download of a remix, coupling “Good Times” with Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody” as “Good Body”, below.

Two songs join the Top 10. “Unheard” (#9) by Netherlands singer Jeronimo isn’t a single, but is one of the most enjoyable and irresistible songs from his debut album One Kiss. And “Between The Raindrops” by Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield is indeed a grower, leaping 18-10, as I look forward to the band’s next album Almeria and perhaps a tour in 2013.  Take a look at a live clip of Lifehouse performing the song, below.

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 :)

Below the Top 10 is a steady busy stream of great music. “Evolved” by Vague-a-bonde moves to #11 as the singer records a new album.  This independent release has a crackling good hook and a soft, winning vocal (listen below).  Jane Badler’s “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” is at #12 and is also featured in the Stormby remix on the compilation Kiss My Lipstick Off. Imagine Dragons’ anthem “It’s Time” is now at #14, while Matt & Kim’s rollicking “Let’s Go” climbs to #15. As the release of Lotus approaches, “Your Body” by Christina Aguilera moves up to #16, and Mika’s “Popular Song” (taking its cue from “Popular” from “Wicked”) is up to #18. Kid Massive & DATABOY have a UK club hit with “Good Girlfriend” at #20, while “Must Be The Love” by Arty, Nadia Ali & BT jumps to #21.

As I expected two weeks ago, the chart got a bit of housecleaning and there are five new entries. It’s no surprise that the highest, at #17, is “Parachute” by Matthew Koma, if you read my rave about it recently. The one newcomer that I haven’t written about yet is “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon at #22. You know it as an iPod commercial song. But on its own, it’s a powerful crowd-pleaser from this 23 year old New Zealand native who is currently touring in the UK and Europe opening for Jack White. Watch the stylish, simple and fun choreography in the video below.

Despite the overhype, Adele’s theme for the new James Bond film “Skyfall” rises above it all, being such a gorgeous piece of drama unto itself, landing at #23 on the chart. At #25 is “Burn” by Bim from their Lifelines EP, which is due for worldwide release this week. This is the opener to the EP but is the core of it, full of intense emotions that could write their own book. The video is intriguing with its comic book theme, and really doesn’t have much to do with the song – watch below. Lastly, “Play The Girl” by another Netherlands singer, Tao Hypah, which I also wrote about recently, debuts at #28 following the #3 success of “Celeb”.

BILLCS Top 30 #390, October 22/12

This edition of my personal chart is top heavy with activity, which means only two debuts and a number of songs which will exit the chart in two weeks (including DATABOY’s magnificent #1 “Dreams Are Gold” (#10), which is at its maximum 10 appearances – 20 weeks).

“Spectrum” by Zedd featuring Matthew Koma slides comfortably into #1 as the German producer continues his tour (stopping here in Toronto on November 2) to promote his new album Clarity. But the song will be battling it out in two weeks with the insanely catchy “Music Makes Me Lose Control” by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, which has been itching to bust a move up the chart these past few weeks, and finally does so, vaulting 6 to 2. This leaves “Remember When (Push Rewind)” by Chris Wallace at #3, “Go For Gold” by Kyle Patrick at #4, and the Green Children remix of “Houdini” by Foster The People at #5.

And there’s no shortage of movement in the rest of the Top 10. “Long Time” by Sweden’s John De Sohn featuring Andreas Moe climbs to #6, “Anything Could Happen” by Ellie Goulding (below) jumps 10-7 despite getting lost in the extended success of “Lights”, and “Feel It” by Bright Light Bright Light featuring Mikal Kilgore is the only new addition to the Top 10 at #9.

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 :)

There’s a bit of a log jam just outside of the Top 10, with “Unheard” by Jeronimo bumped up to #11, and Bim’s “Lights Out” rising to #12. But then we have the fastest riser, “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin soaring 24-14 and bound to be a contender for #1 in the coming weeks. Jane Badler’s sensational drama of “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” moves to #15, “Evolved” by Vague-à-bonde (below) climbs to #16 – the lady herself is opening for Diamond Rings in Minneapolis soon – with “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons and “Between The Raindrops” by Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield right behind. Lifehouse announced the title of its new album this week, which is called Almeria.

Last week’s debuts make bountiful moves. “Your Body” by Christina Aguilera zips up to #19, with Mika’s “Popular Song” immediately after, and Matt & Kim’s rollicking “Let’s Go” (official lyrics video below) bounding 30-22.

The two debuts this week are guaranteed to make your feet move. The renown BT has teamed up with young Russian DJ/producer Arty and the always marvelous Nadia Ali for “Must Be The Love” at #24. It’s a dandy hybrid of trance and house made even more conspicuous by Nadia’s signature voice, and resonates in the original 12″ version at the top of this page. Both BT and Nadia Ali are no strangers to my chart. Here are their respective chart histories:

BT

Simply Being Loved (Somnambulist), #1, 2003

Superfabulous (featuring Rose McGowan), #1, 2003

The Force Of Gravity (featuring JC Chasez), #3, 2003

Love Comes Again (with Tiesto), #5, 2004

Break My Fall (with Tiesto), #6, 2007

Suddenly (with Christian Burns), #6, 2010

The Emergency, #17, 2011

Nadia Ali and iio

Rapture (Tastes So Sweet) (iio), #3, 2002

At The End (iio), #2, 2003

Smooth (iio), #5, 2003

Is It Love (iio), #21, 2005

Love Story, #3, 2009

Believe It (with Spencer & Hill), #12, 2012

The remaining debut is “Good Girlfriend” by Danish producer/DJ Kid Massive featuring the one and only DATABOY at #25. This song takes a little time to catch on and will finally be available digitally in the coming two weeks. All kids of remixes abound with Alex Van Alff’s currently available as a free download. Do check out the video at the top of the blog. Not only does the song flow really well with the story, you get to see DATABOY’s Cameron and Adam performing (and you can match up the voices to the guys now ;).

End Of Summer Pop Blast

BT & Arty featuring Nadia Ali “Must Be The Love”

BT is back and ready to take over dance clubs and radio with “Must Be The Love” in partnership with Arty and featuring the always compelling Nadia Ali on vocals.  It’s a radiant 9:52 that moves by in the blink of an eye.  That’s because its gradual buildup lasts three and a half minutes, but by the four and a half point, you are now hostage with no way out but to revel in it till the end.  This is 2012’s return to Trance the way it should be done, and there’s no one who can take you for a better ride, with all of the glorious details, than BT.

Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield, “Between The Raindrops”

I was so worried when I found out the new single by Lifehouse would include a featured artist.  But it was all for nought when I found out that Natasha Bedingfield was the collaborator on “Between The Raindrops”.  In advance of the band’s sixth album, I find that this might be a little softer pop for Lifehouse outside of its ballads, but Jason Wade’s convincing vocals countered by Natasha’s charm make this way better than what I might have imagined.

Richard Barone “I Belong To Me”

It’s not a new song, but not one that you’re likely to know.  You can change all of that with this free download which precedes the 25th anniversary of Richard’s seminal Cool Blue Halo album, from which the song comes.  I’m a huge fan of the former Bongos singer’s solo albums Primal Dream, Clouds Over Eden, and 2010’s Glow.  At the time, I found Cool Blue Halo to be offbeat for me and I didn’t enjoy its stripped away production.  But after Richard’s impressive body of pop music work, I’m looking to get reacquainted with its songs again.  Watch a recent video of Richard performing “I Belong To Me” below and find out more about the celebration around Cool Blue Halo at Richard’s website.


Adaku “Silent Treatment”

I introduced you a little while ago to Nigeria-born Adaku, with her comfort food for the soul in the form of “Or You Can”.  She continues to dazzle, in a quiet but confident and impressive way with alternative soul in the form of “Silent Treatment”.  The song sits comfortably next to others by Frank Ocean, Jill Scott, Eric Benet, and Alicia Keys.  Download “Silent Treatment”  for free right here, and keep your ears peeled for more Adaku.

Stone Walters “Dancing In The Dark”

UK singer Stone Walters has been a constant in this blog throughout the year, starting with the stunning heart tugger “Home”, and then with the hopeful “World Keeps Turning”.  Now he takes a chilled out approach to Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”- and you can’t mess with a song like this unless you can truly sing it.  Listen to the song below, and download it for free by heading over to Stone’s website with your email address.

Nik Miles “Beautiful People” (live snippet)\

Not many pop singers will abandon everything at their fingertips in New York City for Malmo, Sweden.  But as you know from these pages and from those of other bloggers, Sweden could at any point take over the pop world, and not just in a retro Ace Of Base kind of way.  So singer/actor Nik Miles is in good hands if the danceable pop of “Beautiful People” is any indication.  He has a powerful, versatile voice that can transform nicely if given the right kind of song to sing.  But as you’ll see from the live snippet, he’s got the personality, energy, and commitment to make it happen too.  Much is in the works, so look to hear more from Nik Miles before the end of the year.

And don’t forget to check out:

The mind-blowing Skrillex-influenced Birdy Nam Nam remix from left field of Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen” that blew up last weekend.

The lyric video for “Dreams Are Gold”, the first single and title track of the debut album by DATABOY, which you owe it to yourself to have in your collection.

And one of the best and wildest EP’s you’ll hear all year from the reliable and unpredictable FrankMusik (in disguise as his Vincent Did It moniker) with The SOPA Opera EP, now available to hear via Soundcloud.  Plus, Vince has a daffy and funky instrumental “Grasping At Nothing” available for free download, as well as his remix of “Flesh” by Simon Curtis.

BILLCS Top 30 #376 – April 9/12 plus Stunning New Videos from Darren Hayes and Mark Foster/Kimbra/A-Trak

The new chart has another changeover at the top and four debuts, plus I have comments on two new videos in what will likely be my only blog post till the weekend.

Being a former college radio programmer, I have always been a huge supporter of independent music.  And while independently released music has appeared in my chart over the years, it wasn’t until around 2009 when the calibre and quantity of quality independent music appeared to dominate the commercial releases through major record labels.  So more than half of my current chart currently consists of independently released songs or ones that are not yet available in North America.

Advancing to the top therefore is the independent release of “Someday” by Toronto band River Tiber.  “Someday” is a song that slowly draws you in, basking in some great guitar work, and then takes you on a little journey that keeps you hanging in till singer Tommy Paxton-Beesley’s last breath at the end.  River Tiber also has a quieter more moody song in the Top 10 at #7 with “Symmetry”.  This one relies on a vocal climax followed by relaxing jazzy instrumentation and has an incredibly dreamy feel-good vibe.  Be sure to buy River Tiber’s From Now On album on iTunes.  You can view the videos for both songs by reading my comments about From Now On right here.

All eyes are on One Direction and The Wanted right now, but the latter’s “Glad You Came” has won me over and soars to #4 on my chart.  Ya gotta admit – everyone has their favourite boy-band songs.  For me, the last one that was special was the BT-produced “Pop” by N Sync, which got to the top of my chart for a month in 2001.  In addition to “Symmetry”, song on the rise in the lower Top 10 include “Something” by JMSN at #6 (the drums/percussion arrangement alone is outstanding), “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles at #8, and Colin Munroe’s magnificent “The Fight Of My Life”, featuring Pusha-T at #9.  I can’t wait for more from the talented Colin, including perhaps a video for this song?  Listen below.

The rest of the chart is jam-packed with great songs, some of which by all rights should be in my Top 10 if there wasn’t so much fantastic music out right now.  As M83’s “Midnight City” slides down the chart, the unique cover by The Knocks featuring Mandy Lee is the fastest riser, climbing 19-11 and about to pass the #10 peak of the original.  Nadia Ali is one of the busiest female singers in dance music today, and she lends her many talents to Spencer & Hill’s “Believe It” which ranks #12.  Ryan Star is about to embark on another tour in support of his upcoming album, led by the single “Stay Awhile”, which climbs to #13.  

“Could It Be Magic” by Elouise revives Barry Manilow and/or Take That via Donna Summer’s rendition at #15, followed by “Happiness” by Sam Sparro (making us anxiously wait for the Return To Paradise album) at #16, Foster The People’s “Call It What You Want” at #17 (which makes a great mix with Scissor Sisters’ “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'”), Kaya & Pierre Lewis’ beauty of a ballad “When I Was Blind” at #18, “Hand Dance” by that tantalizing teasing trio Liquid Diet at #19, and “Prince Of Nothing Charming”, the understated lead single from Tyler Hilton’s top notch Forget The Storm.  I’ll have my own review of Forget The Storm soon – I didn’t realize it until reading further about it, but Tyler released Forget The Storm through his own Hooptie Music label (whose name comes from Tyler’s song “When it Comes”).

Debuting in this edition though are four songs, the first of which you can view at the top of this blog post.

Rod Thomas under his Bright Light Bright Light moniker is a performer whose releases I always listen for since I first heard “A New Word To Say” more than two years ago.  “Waiting For The Feeling” is classic Bright Light x2 as Rod always finds those moments in time in-between everything and captures them beautifully in words and music.  His Make Me Believe In Hope is now due in June and I just can’t wait to hear it in full.  “Waiting For The Feeling” debuts at #23 and will undoubtedly join his best songs near the top of my chart very soon.

Next up is “Music Freak” by Adam Tyler from his Shattered Ice album.  As “Like A Drug” departs my chart (but is still in the midst of full-on promotion thanks to its compelling video), I’m adding “Music Freak” because over the several months since the release of Shattered Ice, the lyrics of this song have become increasingly important to me as a music fan.  Being a music freak myself, I can’t let it hide in the midst of several strong songs on the album, so “Music Freak” debuts at #24.  You can listen to it right here.

I’ve already posted blogs about the next two songs, but they bear repeating!  Keane has come out of the gate blazing with “Silenced By The Night” at #25, the first gorgeous single from the upcoming Strangeland album.  Watch the video below.  And lastly, Scotland’s Aerials Up is a talent to watch for with their independent release of “I Am” at #26 – video is posted again below.

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.

Darren Hayes “Stupid Mistake”

I got up this morning to find that Darren had posted his new video for “Stupid Mistake”, which I had heard was to be the fourth single from the singer’s fourth brilliant solo album Secret Codes And Battleships.  The video is captivating in its simplicity, which shows Darren alternately in stage make up or in the process of removing it.  In relationships whether we know it or not we all put on masks, which eventually get stripped away like make up.  And if you keep the mask on too long, then you lose yourself in your daily life which becomes a performance and ultimately will hurt the ones you love.  Watch it all the way through, it’s amazing!  Those of you who have had long-term relationships end will completely relate.

Mark Foster + Kimbra + A-Trak = “Warrior”

It’s a sly bit of promotion for Chuck Taylor Converse shoes and Journeys, but what a cool way to do it!  Who’d have ever thought Foster The People’s Mark Foster, New Zealand singer Kimbra, and Canadian DJ extraordinaire A-Trak would all get together for a project, let alone film a highly entertaining video?  “Warrior” is a must-view and listen, and could be a sneaky hit in the making for the trio.  I seriously wonder how many bruises were achieved during the making of the video.  I’m not into watching wrestling but the entire concept is spot on.  Best of all, you can download “Warrior”for free from the Journeys website right here.  Kudos to whoever planned this project – more please!

BILLCS Top 30 #373 – February 27/12

Much of my personal chart stays the same in this end of February edition, but there are always the requisite new songs on the rise.  The big mover on this week’s chart is the increasingly infectious “Free” by Graffiti 6, which jumps 20-8.   The British duo of Jamie Scott and Tommy Danvers comes off with a unique pop sound amid so much autotuned dross on the charts.  As testament to this, you’ll find an acoustic video of “Free” below as well as the official video.  As bloggers have claimed for the last few years, Graffiti 6 continues to impress and acquire new fans (me, among them).

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.

The top of the chart continues to be a friendly battle between “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy, which continues in the lead, and “Backseat” by Eric Saade.  The former’s intriguing story sweatered in electropop and the latter’s rock-flavoured sensual dance pop are both fantastic detours in the current pop world.  Not far behind is “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas at #3, which like “Backseat” throws a little aggression into the mix.  The sensitive old-school R&B/pop of “Home” by Stone Walters continues at #4, and then it’s that guy Saade again at #5 with the mysterious and danceable singalong that is “Fingerprints”.  Aside from “Free” by Graffiti 6, the only other new entry to the Top 10 is another Jonas-should-be-smash done up as a break-up cha cha called “Not Right Now” at #10.

While the fine “Fallout” by Marianas Trench (video below) and “Born To Die” by Lana Del Rey each inch up a notch, Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself” comes up the middle as Top 10 bound at #12.  JMSN’s intriguing “Something” is on the move at #14 (yes, more weird and wonderful videos are on the way), with “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles climbing to #16.  M83’s “Midnight City” continues to get stuck in my head for long periods of time and jumps to #17, while Fallulah’s “Out Of It” as remixed by the ingenious Monsieur Adi is equally captivating at #20.  The crowd pleasing “Believe It” by Spencer & Ross and Nadia Ali rounds out the songs to watch at #21.

I’ve already written about our four debuts in past posts.  But in case you haven’t got the tip from the above paragraphs, a lot more rock flavour seems to be finding its way into my personal chart.  Three out of the four debuts can attest to this.

At #25 is New Yorker Ryan Star, whose songs have fared extremely well on the chart since 2008, all reaching the Top 5:  “Right Now” (#2), “Start A Fire” (#3), “Last Train Home” (#4), and “Breathe” (#5).  “Stay Awhile” is no exception – a fine emotionally-charged and thoughtful rock ballad.  The video is below, as is Ryan’s rendition of “I Won’t Back Down”, a late 80’s hit for Tom Petty.

Then we have River Tiber, the band name for Canada’s Tommy Paxton-Beesley, which hits with “Someday” at #26.  It’s another song with genuine emotional fervour and highly-charged guitar playing that is made even better by Tommy’s Jeff Buckleyesque vocals which now give me goosebumps.  Catch the video below and become a believer, along with another one of River Tiber’s songs called “Symmetry”.  Be sure to download a new EP, hot off the presses, called Massachusetts, from River Tiber’s website.

Bowing at #27 is “The Fight Of My Life” by Colin Munroe featuring Pusha-T.  The duo concocted a wicked blend of pop, rock, R&B, and rap in this powerful song, which should put Toronto’s Colin back into the international scene handily.  A lot of people, myself included, can relate to the lyrics and Colin’s soulful and honest vocal.  Colin’s had two chart entries, “Will I Stay” (#8) and “Bulletproof Monster” (#12).  Listen to “The Fight Of My Life” below, as well as lending an ear to Colin’s affecting revox of Sky Ferreira’s “One”.

The last debut at #29 focuses on a retro new wave vibe, in a kind of Animotion-meets-Divinyls kind of way (and they would do a great version of the former’s hit “Obsession”, hint hint).   I’m talking about fun trio Liquid Diet, who have released a 3 song self-titled EP that puts ears foremost on “Hand Dance”, their ode to self-pleasure.  It’s kitschy for sure but not only instantly likeable but hard to get out of your head, and before you know it you’ll want more… And that must be why the duo also recorded a danceable cover-with-a-twist of George Michael’s “Father Figure”.  As with “Hand Dance”, vocalists Georgia and Billy trade off well and what sounds like it could have been a train wreck in principle actually works out just fine thank you.  The EP rounds out with “Nude”, which manages to name-check bloggers among a cast of thousands.  Watch the video for “Hand Dance” below and listen to “Father Figure” as well.

BILLCS Top 30 #372

Yeah I know it’s late for the first time but there are neither as many words nor much energy behind it this week.  Expect several videos 🙂

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.

“Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy continue with a tight grip at the top (video is at the bottom of the blog), with “Backseat” by Eric Saade (which I’m hoping will be the follow up to “Hotter Than Fire”, but I think it will be something a little lighter and less risque) as runner-up.  Joe Jonas climbs to #3 with “Make You Mine”, while gorgeous soul ballad “Home” by new UK singer Stone Walters is now at #4.  Listen to “Home” below.

Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” climbs to #9, while the cheery “Champagne” by Nelson Clemente becomes his fourth top tenner on my chart.  But it’s “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler that makes a nice surge up to #7.  The snazzy video is below.

The mostly upwardly mobile songs in the teens are by Eric Saade, The Midway State, Lana Del Rey, Marianas Trench, and Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles, but they’re punctuated by some faster risers.  Joe Jonas once again has the fastest climber on the chart with “Not Right Now” from the Fastlife album at #15.  Right below is Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself”, which has a really strong video that shows a softer, vulnerable side of Adam (below) – and I love the high notes in this song.  And “Something” by JMSN is both well worth hearing and watching ( below – you have already been warned in previous posts).  The talented Detroit singer climbs to #18 on the chart.

The newbies this week are almost all dance-oriented except for the one that leads the pack.  Graffiti 6 are on the rise, long after many bloggers have praised their glory over the last few years.  But “Free” is definitely the song to cut it for them, featuring a beautiful vocal from singer Jamie Scott.

Then we have at #22, M83 with “Midnight City”, a song that I’ve been listening to for quite a while now but now the melodic hook is completely entrenched in my brain.  I don’t usually mention covers in conjunction with a newly charted song or one on the rise, but I must say that the rendition by the much-praised The Knocks featuring Mandy Lee is a swift alternate version well worth checking out, with a free download on Soundcloud right here.

It’s nice to have the divine Nadia Ali back in the chart at #26, this time in the hands of producers Spencer & Hill.  “Believe It” has already had significant club play but it’s also great for blasting out the car window on a bad day.  Nadia has previously charted with #2 “Love Story” in 2009, plus of course as part of duo iio with “Rapture”, “At The End”, and “Smooth”.

Lastly, the Monsieur Adi remix of “Out Of It” by Fallulah is such a humdinger that it enters the chart at #27, and you can buy it on iTunes too!

Bill’s #1 song:  “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy