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.


Spring Popervescence 2: Albums by Jamie Woon and April Smith & The Great Picture Show, and More Singles!

Popervescence is turning into a mighty strong force this Spring, for I have two terrific new albums and several fantastic singles to talk about.

April Smith & The Great Picture Show

“Songs For A Sinking Ship”

Though this record came out last year, I was fortunate enough to discover it in full on a recent trip to Nashville (more on that later), though I did know about it.  This four piece band based out of Brooklyn NY is led by feisty and powerful singer New Jersey-born April Smith.  Songs For A Sinking Ship is full of all kinds of character for its influences in music extend back nine decades.  Yup – Tin Pan Alley, big bands, Broadway, blues, rock, pop, and soul – they’re all here.  

That’s not at all to say that the record isn’t contemporary, for it is in spades.  These are story-songs for a new generation.  “Movie Loves A Screen” and “Terrible Things” (video below) are the opening songs immediately grabbing your ears with well-structured songs led by April’s commanding voice.  After that the quirky-but-it-works mix starts happening with the 40’s inspired “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and almost southern kind of retro with “Dixie Boy”.  The record is not without a ballad, but I would say “Beloved” is more of a direct descendant of Rufus Wainwright’s debut album than anything else.  Other strong songs come in the form of “What’ll I Do”, “Colors”, and “The One That Got Away”, but all in all this is a tightly crafted, well-played and jubilantly sung album that breezes by like a sunny day.

When I was in Nashville on Record Store Day, I made plans to go to a local store called Grimey’s.  Little did I know they were having bands play in their backyard until I arrived.  While I was there, April and her band launched into a set that instantly caught my attention.  And there’s a bit of a strange connection to all of this that I’ll share.  My 10 year old daughter is a competitive dancer and singer also named April Smith.  So I was able to chat with April after her set for a few minutes to tell her about this odd coincidence.  I guess some things were just meant to happen 🙂

Jamie Woon “Mirrorwriting”

UK singer 27 year old Jamie Woon is a sensation in the making.  Mirrorwriting is full of atmospheric, moody, and soulful songs that can strike you differently at any point in the day in which you play them.  I’ve already been raving about first single “Night Air” with its haunting and sparse melody as well as Jamie’s striking voice.  Second single “Lady Luck” has subtle dubstep rhythm set to an interesting story.  

But beyond the singles there is so much more to Mirrorwriting.  The album is carefully and deliberately produced and arranged.  I love the composed pauses, the chunky bass, and the simplicity of the strumming of acoustic guitar in various songs.  For music aficionados, you can go to town on the variety of inspirations because Mirrorwriting is deep and rich within the pop spectrum.  Most noteworthy are “Waterfront” (watch the video below), “Shoulda”, and “tmrw”.  I’ve often compared Jamie to my fellow countryman Justin Nozuka.  They both have old-world qualities about their voices and songs.  They both have ages-old wisdom about them in their lyrics.  But whereas Justin’s music I feel draws more from gut-wrenching emotion and old-style blues, Jamie’s music speaks old school UK R&B and soul as well as more contemporary acts like Fine Young Cannibals, Jamiroquai, and perhaps even Terence Trent D’Arby.  You cannot go wrong with Mirrorwriting.

Kyle Brylin “S&M”

I am nowhere near over the haunting and danceable “Everything I’m Missing” when our Kyle launches his own version of Rihanna’s “S&M”.  Having enjoyed Rihanna’s version immensely (#2 posting on my chart), I was very dubious as I am with just about any cover version.  But Kyle sends his version into hyper-velocity, strips the song of its campiness, making it an outright dancefloor assault.  Definitely surpasses my expectations!  Buy it on iTunes.

Elouise “The Lover’s Rumba”

(Ricardo Autobahn 12″ remix)

There’s nary a moment goes by that I can’t say enough nice things about ever-so-talented UK singer Elouise.  Last week it was her stunning cover of “Tainted Love” (now available on iTunes US (but alas not in Canada!).  This week, it’s something totally unexpected, given the singer’s dynamic flair for torch and show.  So Elouise gives us a spicy contemporary rumba in remixed version from the wonderful Ricardo Autobahn, who has retooled recent efforts by Adam Tyler and Kyle Brylin among others.  While keeping your booty plenty happy, Elouise extends her range by demolishing the dance floor with this effortless knockout.  Download it for free from her website with a subscription to her newsletter.  

Monsieur Adi “Chariot”

Regular readers of this blog know I love me a good danceable instrumental.  In recent years I can name Russ Chimes “Never Look Back” and Tiesto’s “He’s A Pirate” as favourites within the dance realm.  Outstanding producer/remixer Monsieur Adi (Ellie Goulding, Javi, Noah) is about to unleash his latest project, and to give us a taste in advance we have “Chariot” which was recently available as a free download.  It’s a fun throwback to late 70’s disco (love the robotic voices) and has a real cinematic quality to it along with an infectious if militant beat.  Can’t wait to hear more.

Native Underground “Night Vision”

And speaking of Javi, the New York singer along with house veteran Henry Maldonado as Native Underground follow up the effortless 80’s inspired “Till It Hurts” with “Night Vision”.  The song seems to draw from early 80’s UK electro more this time with alternately restrained and punchy soulful vocals by Javi.  And the keyboard hook that creeps in reminds me a lot of the strings from the classic “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” by the Temptations.  Watch the video below.

Benny Benassi featuring Gary Go “Cinema”

You may know Benny Benassi’s name recently because he is featured in Chris Brown’s uncharacteristically electro hit “Beautiful People”.  But he’s actually been a major dance force for most of the last 10 years, ultimately winning a Grammy in 2008 for his remix of Public Enemy’s “Bring The Noise”.  The Italian producer/remixer is back and looking to follow in David Guetta’s steps with “Cinema”, a winning, sparkling effort from his upcoming album Electroman featuring the talents of UK singer Gary Go (whose “Wonderful” was one of my favourites of 2009).  “Cinema” is going to turn into a summer singalong.


Tuned-On! Top 30 #345 – Jan 31/11

The top songs on this edition of my personal chart stay the same once again. Penguin Prison’s amazing “Golden Train” hangs tight for a 4th appearance at #1, while Frankmusik’s addictive “The Fear Inside” follows at #2 for a third appearance. So what will happen in two weeks? I’m not so sure, but Rihanna’s “S&M” has made an interesting surge to #3 – the peak of 2007’s “Don’t Stop The Music”, her highest ranking song on my chart to date. Will she get to #1? There are a few challengers below.

Each song below makes a good case why it might reach the top in two weeks. “Monster” by Kanye West is one of his most ferocious and entertaining songs to date and moves up to #5. But he’s been to the top with Estelle in “American Boy” and to the runner up spot with “Gold Digger” – can he get to either again? Then there’s the beautiful rendition of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” by UK chanteuse Elouise, which moves up to #6. Last year, her “Pretender” soared to #2. “Falling”, the theme song to the 1990-91 TV show ‘Twin Peaks’ has been redone and reshaped by UK electro sensation Bright Light Bright Light, and becomes Rod Thomas’ 4th consecutive Top 10 entry here. Both “A New Word To Say” and “Love Part II” were #1’s last year – will “Falling” follow suit?

Then there are the extremely strong new entries to the Top 10. First is the scathing “Michelle” by LA fireball Ro Danishei which becomes a duet when Simon Curtis (who is apparently playing a show in upstate New York sometime in February!) enters mid-way. One of the most fun but aggressive songs in recent years, “Michelle” climbs 13-8. Then we have the dreamy, mysterious, fastest riser in the chart – “Night Air” by Jamie Woon, which zips up 18-9. Can’t wait for Jamie’s album Mirrorwriting, due out in Spring, but “Night Air” will do just fine right now. Then we have that early 80’s dance flashback courtesy of Javi Silva and his project Native Underground at #10 with “Till It Hurts”. JUST SO MUCH GOOD STUFF!!

A great trio of very different songs that debuted at the end of last year find themselves mid-way on this edition of the chart. Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” was prevented from #1 in the UK by “Grenade” by Bruno Mars, and rises 17-13 this week. Immediately below is Brooklyn’s fun rock indie couple Matt & Kim with “Ice Melts” from their sophomore CD Sidewalks at #14. Then Duran Duran are in full comeback mode as the title track from All You Need Is Now is #15.

More of the last chart’s debuts continue to do well. “Robot” by wild Toronto gal Andrea Lewis glides to #18, while Far East Movement join with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder for the uplifting “Rocketeer” at #19. Usher’s surefire hit “More” makes you want just that as it moves up to #20.


Two of our six debuts were featured earlier in the week in the blog and I can’t get enough of them right now, Christian TV’s “Love 2 Baby” and “I Won’t Let You Go” by Adam Tyler. An uncharacteristic but extremely likeable song that’s been on a slow burn is “Keep Your Head Up” by Andy Grammer. Create your own variation of his video for the song at his website right here.

I lived through 80’s electropop and one of my favourite acts was Alphaville, which started as a trio and essentially is now the performing name for singer Marian Gold. You know Alphaville from “Forever Young” (prominently sampled by Jay-Z recently on “Young Forever”) and “Big In Japan”, and now we have “I Die For You Today” at #28, from a forthcoming album called Catching Rays On Giant.  Alphaville almost toured in North America a few years back; a live clip of “I Die” is at the top of the blog.

It seems like they may be more than just your everyday boy band, but Canadian quartet Neverest have arrived with their debut single, a ballad called “About Us” which lands at #29. They are managed by Howie Dorough of Backstreet Boys and CJ Huyer of 3Deep (remember “Never Gonna Give Up” from 1999?), but we’ll need to hear more to see what else they have to offer. Great start though! And last is another emotional adventure from These Hopeful Machines, the latest album by electromeister BT. “The Emergency” is the final debut at #30. Its video is at the bottom of this blog.

The full chart can be found using the link to the right under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** or just click right here. Please leave any comments – thanks for reading!

Tuned-On! Top 30 #344 – January 17/11 and more

These two weeks between personal charts go fast, and since the start of the year a lot of new music’s surfaced that I’ve been wanting to write about.  So let’s call this one a catch up blog (no, not Las Ketchup thanks, but nice try) 😉

  • Penguin Prison and Frankmusik once again rule the chart.  Mr. Glover is current on tour in the U.S. and I can’t wait till he comes back to my town.  “Golden Train” just chugs along at #1 for a third time – and with great retro velocity as remixed with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day and Night”.  Can’t wait for the debut album!
  • Then Mr. Frank releases a free EP Long Live Frankmusik which you can get right here.  Just to show why “The Fear Inside” is sweating it out at the top at #2, Long Live Frankmusik contains some of his best vocals today.  The ballads “Hurt You Again” and “Warrior” are beautifully touching, splendidly written.  “Our Discovery” is a timely tribute to Daft Punk – and then you realize it’s been 10 years since “One More Time” and 25 year olds were teens back then (and to me it would be nuretro).  “Hate Your Love” is more pop dance that isn’t quite as successful but all in all this is a brilliant taste of what’s to come for Frankmusik in 2011.
  • Andrea Lewis also gave us a preview of her talent in her intimate club show in Toronto on January 13.  Looking like a movie star who just stepped out of the screen, she performed five songs from her free for download release 54321:  “She”, “Linda”, “Teardrops”, “Voodoo”, and a dynamite slowed down version of “Robot” (minus the autotune too).  The latter song makes its debut on the chart at #25, and while she didn’t perform “Talk To Me”, the duet with Simon Curtis, the song still rises to #4.
  • Elsewhere within the Top 10, Rihanna’s “S&M” moves into the Top 5, followed by Kanye West’s “Monster” (yes My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is very impressive), Elouise’s “The Winner Takes It All”, and, new to the Top 10, “Falling” by Bright Light Bright Light, in anticipation of the album Make Me Believe In Hope.
  • Javi’s latest project Native Underground rises to #11 with “Till It Hurts”, and while that’s on the go, the singer’s other project Chasing the Ghost is recording something new too!  Looking forward to it.
  • All of the debuts from two weeks ago make healthy moves, them being Adele’s theatrical “Rolling In The Deep”, Duran Duran’s 2011 meets 1986 “All You Need Is Now”, and Matt & Kim’s singalong “Ice Melts”.

Aside from the debut of “Robot” by the classy Miss Lewis, we have five other debuts.

  • Way up at #13 is one of the first and most stunning debuts of 2011. Rochella Danishei, formerly of trio Candy Coated Chaos, released her debut free album download End Of The Rainbow on New Year’s Day, and she did it with great company courtesy of producer Jadion and of course best bud Simon Curtis.  The album is a tight, aggressive different kind of pop record.  It may have a difficult time getting noticed what with Britney Spears dominating pop news and Lady GaGa’s next release on the way.  But really this record has a lot to offer in the form of songs like “Never Been Kissed”, “Unlove Pill”, the title track, and “Baby Doll” – identifiable lyrics sung with a lot of power by Ro with production that makes them crunch.  Best of all is a positively massive song, “Michelle”, in which a friend-turned-bitch is called out and how.  Icing on the cake turns the song into a duet with album cover mystery man Simon Curtis making the song even more of a treat.  It debuts this week at #13.
  • Next up is UK new pop/soul sensation Jamie Woon.  I had been meaning to check out his songs when blogger xolondon floated an amazing tweet about him and wrote this blog.  Young Mr. Woon has one of those persuasive blue-eyed soul voices for which I am an absolute sucker.  But the songs have to be good too, and his debut single from the upcoming album Mirrorwriting is “Night Air”, which has one of the most seductive-in-many-ways videos I’ve seen in a while.  Fans of the Twilight series will dig this video too. Watch it at the bottom of this blog.  Destined for the top, it debuts at #18.
  • First single’s a fluke I thought.  But there’s more to Far East Movement than meets the eye, as collaborators like One Republic’s Ryan Tedder might gather.  Mr. Tedder teamed up with the quartet for the second single from Free Wired called “Rocketeer”, and it’s one of the most uplifting songs on radio right now.  It bows at #26.
  • Roz Bell is one prolific and talented songwriter, and the Toronto-based singer unleashed his latest cadre of thoughts in the form of “The Gran Cavallo Mixtape”, which is available for free download right here.  My favourite of the lot is the pretty and straight-forward “Forever, I Do”, which arrives on the chart as his collabo with 100 Akres “Breakup Anthem” is about to depart.  Also of note from “Gran Cavallo” are “2000 Years”, “Brooklyn, Save My Life”, and “Sarah’s Song”.  If you haven’t already got to know Roz through his albums October and particularly 2008’s The First Sunbeams, then be sure to get acquainted with him through “Gran Cavallo”.
  • While it may seem redundant to say so, Usher Raymond is back and in fine form on his latest single “More”, which does not appear on any edition of Raymond v. Raymond that I’m aware of.  It’s a great percolating dance track, continuing in the vein of “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”.  “More” is Usher’s first chart appearance here in 6 years, the last being “Caught Up”.  I’m still very burned out on “Yeah”, which pop radio has killed into near oblivion.  But “More” is skilful, soulful R&B/dance that should do equally well as “DJ” and “OMG”.

You can view the full chart right here or using the link to the right under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART***.  Please post any comments you might have, I enjoy the opportunity to reply and chat!

All this, folks, plus new songs by the likes of Adam Tyler, Christian TV, and more, coming soon…

Tuned-On! Top 30 #343 – Jan 3/11

And so, we move on to the music of 2011. Leading the new chart are two performers that I expect will breakout of their loyal online followings to become much more popular this year.

Penguin Prison’s “Golden Train” is worthy of a disco ball trophy in the 70’s in its Royal Palms remix and continues its stay at the top of my chart. As a teaser, in case you wonder what Chris Glover can’t do, he posted an excellent online mashup of “Golden Train” with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day and Night” which you can download for free right here.

Then we have the case of Mr. Vincent Frank who, as Frankmusik, has brought us intriguing electro pop such as 2009’s “Confusion Girl”. Do not miss “The Fear Inside”, which bounds to the runner-up spot on my chart. This is one powerful song that will not leave your head. Mr. Frank also has a softer side, and a great set of pipes, which he shows off in “Hurt You Again” and “Warrior”, which were available online recently for free download, at this website. Another reminder of the talent that just smokes from Frankmusik.

Elsewhere in the chart, Brandon Flowers’ “Jacksonville” lines up at #3, while the gorgeous duet by Andrea Lewis and Simon Curtis takes it up a few notches to #5, “Talk To Me” (available on Ms Lewis’ 54321 album for free download right here).

Rihanna’s “S&M” and Kanye West’s “Monster” are two potent records that follow each other into the Top 10. Having now bought Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, you will see more from that record in these chart reaches soon!

The droll “Alors on danse” by Belgium’s Stromae, and Elouise’s rework of ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All” round out the newbies to the Top 10, making it two-for-two for Elouise, following the #2 “Pretender”.

The fastest risers on the chart are two of last week’s debuts. It’s an unconventional but apparently much desired cover version, as Bright Light Bright Light’s take on the “Twin Peaks” TV show theme “Falling” soars 23-12. Javi Silva’s latest project Native Underground also scores with the radio mix of “Till It Hurts”, climbing 24-14. Javi’s “Situation” got to #3 last year.

The first of this week’s debuts belongs to “Rolling In The Deep” by Grammy winner Adele, and I’ve heard this song everywhere, including supermarkets!! 2008’s “Chasing Pavements”, a #1 for me that ranked #7 at year’s end, is a tough act to follow but “Rolling” is a good introduction to Adele’s upcoming sophomore release 21.

The action on Matt & Kim’s latest album Sidewalks seems to have subsided a bit but it’s a fun, high energy release that definitely recalls their concert. The last song on the album is the big sounding, anthemic “Ice Melts” and it’s one of the most memorable tracks that certainly belongs on this chart (you can listen to the song at the bottom of this blog). The duo’s “Daylight” got to #4 in 2009.

Lastly there’s a veteran act that has never appeared on my chart since its debut in 1998. But of course they have many 80’s classics that would have easily charted for me back then. Duran Duran’s “All You Need Is Now”, the title track of their latest release (currently online only), is their best effort since the 90’s – I kinda liked their cover of Grandmaster & Melle Mel’s “White Lines”. If the rest of the album is this good then we’re all in for a treat. Lead singer Simon LeBon however did appear as the uncredited vocalist on Ferry Corsten’s 2006 dance hit “Fire”, which reached #7 on this chart.

You can view the full chart right here or using the link to the right under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART***.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #342 – December 20/10

Don’t let anyone tell that moving house isn’t time-consuming.  While music plays in the background while you’re packing away, unfortunately you’re prevented from doing your research and blog duties.  So I can only gush over a few selective items with this edition of my personal chart.  And you’ll find the full chart posted down below until I get my proper software installed on my new laptop to make the prettier web version.

It’s so suitable for this last personal chart of 2010 for:

  • A new number one!  Yes Penguin Prison is back on top with his own release this time.  “Golden Train” sets the tone nicely going into 2011 and Mr. Chris Glover will be a force!
  • Another bellwether song for 2011 may be “The Fear Inside” by Frankmusik, which vaults 18-4 and looks destined for the top.  Look for this one to find its way to clubs first… then watch out.
  • I’m still waiting for someone to remix “Jacksonville” by Brandon Flowers, which reaches #5 this week.  It would be amazing to see what someone can do with the darker sounding parts of this song.
  • “Talk To Me” has now officially become my favourite song from Andrea Lewis’ free album 54321.  And it just happens to feature Simon Curtis… an added bonus to an already terrific song vocally and lyrically, with a sound right out of the mid-60’s.
  • “S&M” by Rihanna has needlessly been getting a bad rap.  It’s her best song since 2007’s “Don’t Stop The Music”, and I love her raw vocal during the chorus.
  • I love it when artists transform known songs and make them their own.  Elouise has done just that with the luscious “The Winner Takes It All”, now a dramatic stage ballad instead of a perky dance number.  And those ABBA songs aren’t a walk in the park to sing either!
  • The most unexpected record of this year – well it’s really a 2011 release to me – is Bright Light Bright Light’s take on the theme to the TV show “Twin Peaks”.  “Falling” was one of the more haunting songs to kick off the 1990’s in the original version by Julee Cruise from her Floating Into The Night album.  BLBL aka Rod Thomas has taken away the haunting, otherworldly feel and revisited the song as a more simple but emotional ballad.  And it fits in so nicely with the more upbeat BLBL songs you’ve seen in this chart for most of 2010.  And it’s brought to you free courtesy of blogger to the Grammys and now CNN, Mr. Arjan Writes right here.  “Falling” bows this week at #23.
  • One of the most amazing free downloads of 2010 for me was the ‘leaked’ Monsieur Adi remix of “Situation” by New York singer Javi.  Like that song, a new tune by one of Javi’s side projects called Native Underground has surfaced with a similar 80’s-style reflection – and I mean circa 1983 and 1984 when Culture Club and Wham! had their day.  You can also catch “Till It Hurts (radio mix)” for free for now right here.  Javi and Native Underground are going places in 2011!  It debuts at #24.
  • Last, it looked like Pharrell Williams’ band project N*E*R*D was going to stay in the one-hit-wonder department in my 12 year chart history.  For after being assaulted with iTunes commercials in late 2003 – you know those ones with the silhouetted performers, see video below – their song “Rock Star” in its aggressive and fun Jason Nevins remix soared to #1 on my chart, ending up in the Top 10 for that year.  So the group has come full circle and made a soulful and very sexy ballad called “Hypnotize U”, produced by Daft Punk of all people, which debuts at #26.  N*E*R*D is opening for Gorillaz on tour.

I’ll update the link to my chart’s webpage once I have the software up and running.  Enjoy!  In the meantime, here’s the full chart:

02 01 GOLDEN TRAIN Penguin Prison
05 02 GLOW Richard Barone
01 03 RESURRECTION (Penguin Prison remix) Temper Trap, The
18 04 THE FEAR INSIDE Frankmusik
09 05 JACKSONVILLE Brandon Flowers
04 06 NEVER LOOK BACK Russ Chimes
08 07 BREAKUP ANTHEM (WE DIDN’T CARE) 100 Akres F/ Roz Bell
06 08 LOVE PART II Bright Light Bright Light
13 09 TALK TO ME Andrea Lewis F/ Simon Curtis
10 10 VOODOO Andrea Lewis
11 11 ALORS ON DANSE Stromae
12 12 OPERATION Adam Tyler
17 13 S&M Rihanna
15 14 MONSTER Kanye West F/ Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj
03 15 WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE (Penguin Prison remix) Jamiroquai
24 16 THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL Elouise
21 17 BULLETPROOF MONSTER (LaRoux x Nicki Minaj Revox) Colin Munroe
19 18 READY TO LOVE Bim
20 19 HEART AND I Robbie Williams
22 20 RAISE YOUR GLASS Pink
07 21 WHEN SHE TURNS 18 Christian TV
23 22 BARBRA STREISAND Duck Sauce
New 23 FALLING Bright Light Bright Light
New 24 TILL IT HURTS (Radio mix) Native Underground
14 25 LOVEKILLER Darin
New 26 HYPNOTIZE U N*E*R*D
25 27 AUDIO PRECISION Jackanory & The Ball
26 28 START A FIRE Ryan Star
27 29 DEAR DICTATOR (Sam Sparro remix) Saint Motel
28 30 CHANGE OF SEASONS Sweet Thing