Bill’s Top 75 Songs of 2013 – Part I – 75-41

It Was All About The Great Voices

More than any other year that I can think of in recent memory, 2013’s best songs were all about terrific vocal performances.  Of course, any song with an insanely catchy rhythm can win you over on that alone, with vocals and lyrics coming in distant second and third.  I think what I hear is great singers who really should be receiving far more recognition than they are getting.  They can’t tour much, have dedicated fan bases, and spend a lot of time cultivating their path online.  It’s too expensive for performers to travel great distances to play for 150 people unless they can get a break with the costs involved.

In the commentary that follows, I’m not talking about all of the songs between 75 and 41, particularly those where performers also had songs higher up.  So consider what follows to be some highlights of the year 🙂

  • One performer who set the tone from the beginning to the end of 2013 is FrankMusik.  Granted Vincent Frank does have some moderate success behind him, but to do what he achieved in 2013 stretched his resources.  And achieve he did – two albums, Between and Between Us, an EP Far From Over, as well as two tours in the US and shows in the UK.  I was happy to ride the FrankMusik train in 2013 even though I didn’t get to see him perform this time because you never knew what to expect next.  Plus there’s his unbridled enthusiasm in creating his music, which ranged from frenetic to pensive.  And the stories he told, mainly so very sad but cathartic at the same time.  Two more FrankMusik songs appear higher up on my list. “Chasing Shadows” #72; “Life (Is My Revenge)” #69; “Fast As I Can” #56.
  • Another performer who had a great year, but with all of the bells and whistles possible, is Justin Timberlake.  He hinted that he would release his first album since 2006 at the end of last year, which was quickly followed by his single “Suit & Tie”, featuring Jay-Z (#73).  The powerful R&B/pop album The 20/20 Experience arrived soon after, the best selling album of 2013 no less, full of a varied set of songs that averaged in the 7 minute range, kind of risky in itself, but definitely a whole lot of fun when they weren’t too ambitious like the raucous “Let The Groove Get In” (#53).  By the time second single “Mirrors” arrived, it was already known that The 20/20 Experience Part II was on deck, and the very 80’s and Michael Jackson-influenced single “Take Back The Night” (#49) was upon us.  And with Jay-Z’s Holy Grail album, we were pretty much assured of hearing new Justin Timberlake music every day in 2013.  But even with all of the money behind this project, was it a total success?  I would say Part I achieved what it should have, and more.  I think there were missteps with Part II arriving so soon after Part I even though many of its songs were stronger than those on Part I.  But unlike recordings by independent artists, Parts I and II will pay for each other over time.  It was great to have Justin Timberlake back though as his voice was in fine, fine form.

Newcomers:

  • UK soul singer Charlie Brown had been featured on many songs and mixtapes over the last five years, but broke into the UK Top 10 with his uplifting “On My Way” (#75).
  • 17 year old New Zealand singer Lorde topped charts worldwide with her lyrically and melodically clever “Royals” (#68).  I couldn’t get enough of it for the first several weeks before it ran its course and peaked at #11.
  • New York dance duo Ghost Beach arrived on my chart with a unique sound that bridges punk and dance in the Penguin Prison remix of “Too Young”, which is #70 for 2013.
  • 20 year old Florida-born Ariana Grande was already well known to the teen set for her roles on “Victorious” and “Sam and Cat” as Cat Valentine.  But her stunning vocal range came to prominence over the last few years, and her debut album Yours Truly saw release in late summer.  It was however preceded by a winning single called “The Way”, featuring rapper Mac Miller, which got to #8 on my chart and is #66 for 2013.
  • UK pop singer James William has established himself with his Olly Murs tribute shows, but is also quite the astute songwriter as well.  His bright and shiny “Lay Your Love On Me” ranks #54 for 2013.
  • Another UK pop singer draws more from classic R&B influences to arrive at a contemporary sound that recalls Simply Red a lot of the time.  Sam Dickinson released his debut album The Stories That Occurred and “Learn To Wait”, its second single, is #50 for 2013.
  • L.A.-based Jarell Perry released one of the most sensational albums for free download in early 2013, Simple Things.  It’s full of powerful songs that make a really cohesive listening party as an album as a whole, which is unusual considering most performers are opting for EP’s.  The song that stuck with me most throughout 2013 was “9 2 5”, which tells why it’s so important to break out of a regular routine and experience life.  “9 2 5” is #45 for 2013.  Expect great things from Jarell in 2014, starting with the EP White.
  • NYC trio Andy Suzuki & The Method built on their existing east coast following (as well as a dedicated one in Brunei!) by releasing a full album, Born Out Of Mischief, which transcends rock, pop, jazz and country styles, led by fine vocals by Andy Suzuki.  The impressive “Dirty Floors”, which could be the theme song for any indie musician, got to #7 on my chart and is #42 for 2013.

Continuing from 2012…

  • UK duo Bim released their Lifelines EP in late 2012, and one of its best and lyrically most powerful songs was turned into a video featuring comic book images.  “Burn” is #74 for 2013.
  • UK teen favourite Conor Maynard paired up with Ne-Yo for the dance hit “Turn Around”, which is #64, while Ne-Yo himself brought some emotionally-charged R&B/dance to charts with “Let Me Love You (Till You Can Learn To Love Yourself)”, which is #61 for the year.
  • Daniel Bedingfield found much online success with his Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik EP and the award-winning video for last year’s “Secret Fear”, which he also directed.  More good things are coming from Daniel in 2014!  Joining the class of 2013 from that project is “O.V.E.R. U.” at #55.
  • Cambridge, MA quartet Passion Pit continued with singles from their 2012 album Gossamer, which often seemed to offer emotionally loaded lyrics over slight and bright melodies.  “Take A Walk” is a little different and stands out from the rest of the songs on the album.  It reached #6 on my chart and is #46 for 2013.
  • Australian dance duo The Presets offer synth-drenched otherworldly dance music which sounds like nothing else.  Their album Pacifica wasn’t always successful but the focal point to me was the intense album track “A.O.” (which stands for ‘adults only’), which is an unmade science fiction movie unto itself.  It’s #47 for 2013.

Returning Favourites:

  • At end of 2012, US quartet One Republic issued the single “If I Lose Myself”, which was eventually included on the band’s first album in 3 years, Native.  The single signaled a more synth-led sound than usual which I found to be very appealing, though it wasn’t until later in the year with “Counting Stars” that the group once again achieved massive success, reaching #1 in the UK and Top 5 in the US.  “If I Lose Myself” is #71 for 2013 – it may be re-released to follow up “Counting Stars”.
  • 2012 was absent of music from our favourite boy robot, Simon Curtis.  So the singer gifted us with an EP of songs written for others, called WWW, full of the expected electronic pop and dance bliss but somewhat different from what we had heard in RA and 8bit Heart previously.  But “Berlin Wall” (#63) is an unforgettable singalong anthem paired alongside the likes of “Laser Guns Up”, while “Do I Have To Dance” (#48) is a shattering dance epic as the singer pleads “notice me” but alternately screams “how long do I have to dance?” as if it’s the worst thing in the world.  Simon has a new song and dance video funded by fans which will appear in 2014.
  • Adam Tyler has been busy writing and recording his follow up to 2011’s Shattered Ice album after spending a lot of 2012 touring.  He gave us a taste of what he’s working on with the dubstep-influenced “Fade Into The Light” at #58.  The song was also featured on the essential dance compilation This Beat Is Poptronik… Volume 2… along with three others on this list!
  • L.A.-based Semi-Precious Weapons toned down their rowdy rock style a few notches for the anthemic ballad “Aviation High” early in 2013, which also serves as a lead-in to their upcoming release in early 2014.  Can’t wait to hear what these boys have to offer us!  Of note:  Jarell Perry also recorded a spot-on soulful cover of “Aviation High”, proving the song’s instant versatility.
  • And at #41 for 2013 is the Oscar-winning “Skyfall” from Adele, which got to #7 at the top of the year.

SONGS 75 to 41

The prettier web version should be online by the end of Sunday.

75 CHARLIE BROWN On My Way
74 BIM Burn
73 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE featuring Jay-Z Suit & Tie
72 FRANKMUSIK Chasing Shadows
71 ONE REPUBLIC If I Lose Myself
70 GHOST BEACH Too Young (Penguin Prison Remix)
69 FRANKMUSIK Life (Is My Revenge)
68 LORDE Royals
67 OSVALDO SUPINO Ma Radio
66 ARIANA GRANDE featuring MAC MILLER The Way
65 MATTHEW KOMA One Night
64 CONOR MAYNARD featuring NE-YO Turn Around
63 SIMON CURTIS Berlin Wall
62 SEMI-PRECIOUS WEAPONS Aviation High
61 NE-YO Let Me Love You (Till You Learn To Love Yourself)
60 LAWSON Juliet
59 PARRALOX Headhunter
58 ADAM TYLER Fade Into The Light
57 RIVER TIBER What Are You Afraid Of
56 FRANKMUSIK Fast As I Can
55 DANIEL BEDINGFIELD   O.V.E.R. U.
54 JAMES WILLIAM Lay Your Love On Me
53 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Let The Groove Get In
52 LAWSON featuring B.o.B. Brokenhearted
51 PET SHOP BOYS Love Is A Bourgeois Construct
50 SAM DICKINSON Learn To Wait
49 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE Take Back The Night
48 SIMON CURTIS Do I Have To Dance
47 THE PRESETS A.O.
46 PASSION PIT Take A Walk
45 JARELL PERRY 9 2 5
44 CHRIS WALLACE Keep Me Crazy
43 WILLY MOON My Girl
42 ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD Dirty Floors
41 ADELE Skyfall

BILLCS Top 30 #399 – February 25/13

The belated appearance of my personal chart this week finds some recent arrivals zipping into the upper reaches.  You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

Toronto group River Tiber score their second #1 on my chart with “The City”, which displaces Matthew Koma’s “1998” to #2 after Matthew’s 5 chart (10 week) lock on #1 with that song and “Parachute”.  River Tiber keep getting more great local gigs in Toronto, at The Drake Hotel again (where they scored majorly on January 3) and tomorrow night at The Horseshoe Tavern.  They’ll also be playing The Annex Live on March 23 during Canadian Music Fest (I’ll remind you again about that).  Tommy Paxton-Beesley recently dropped a new River Tiber video for another song from their album Synapses (still available as a free download), this time for “The Star Falls”.  Watch below.

Scoring another #1 Dance Club Play hit again is Zedd with British singer Foxes on “Clarity”, which moves up to #3.  Another killer dance track that the rest of the world hasn’t really got to know yet is “A World Apart” by DJ/producer Davis Redfield, which climbs to #5.  Sandwiched in-between is one of the coolest club tracks you will hear that I can’t stop talking about.  With a deep house rework of Baby Bash’s “Suga Suga”, Canadians Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni climb 24-4 with “Lifted”.  Download it for free and give a listen below.

The Wallflowers’ “Reboot The Mission” climbs to #8, becoming their first Top Tenner here since I began the chart in 1998.  However “One Headlight” was my #1 song of 1997 so I’m well acquainted with the diverse styles of Jakob Dylan and his band.  I’m particularly impressed by the production and vocal arrangement on this song.  The song seems to be everywhere now (including “Glee”), but “Let Me Love You” by Ne-Yo rises to #9.  Those Lawson lads managed another Top 20 placing in the UK with “Learn To Love Again”, arguably their best song to date.  It climbs to #11 on the chart.  Alas, no North American release in sight yet…  Another huge mover on the chart is “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall, up 25-15 – a song you won’t be able to escape for the months to come thanks to impressive inclusion in a Samsung smart camera commercial.  Hopefully this exposure will hasten the release of a new album.  Great songs to be heard!  Listen below and get it for free from the band’s website when you tweet about it.

Other songs still on the rise include those by Mika (and I got a ticket for his April 5 show here 🙂 ), Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z, River Tiber (“Reverie”), The Presets, Passion Pit (“Carried Away”, video below), AVAN LAVA, and Depeche Mode.

I’ve already written about our new arrivals recently.  “Lay Your Love On Me” by UK singer James William is just darn near impossible to get out of your head with its crisp pop sound that may have more of an American bent than a British one.  The song debuts at #28.  You can get it for free through Tweet For A Track and you can hear it below. The other two debuts both belong to FrankMusik.  You can read all about my musings on his EP Far From Over with its nifty Brink Magazine spread to great effect.  First single “Map” bows at #19 and the rollicking “Captain” is sharp on deck at #24.  Hear both songs below and download them for free from FrankMusik’s website.

BILLCS Top 30 #398 – February 11, 2013

The news on my latest chart is about all of the new songs that look like they will take over within the next few weeks, along with a few asides into songs not on the chart by FrankMusik and (a cover by) Neverest.  Exciting!  You can view the full Top 30 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 :)

If you watched the Grammy Awards last night, you will have seen a slim young gent sitting next to Carly Rae Jepsen, who alas didn’t win any of the categories in which she was nominated.  That is indeed Matthew Koma, who still resides at the top of my chart with the crunchy rocker “1998”.  The challenge in two weeks is to hold on to it against one of the most beautiful songs on release right now.  That’s “The City” by Toronto’s River Tiber (below), edging up to #2 (they also have songs at #7 and #20!).  “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” by Chris Wallace is up to #3 and you can see Chris again on TV in North America on the Kelly & Michael morning show on ABC in 9 days on Wednesday February 20.  Rounding out the Top 5 is another top of the chart contender, “Clarity” by Zedd featuring Foxes.

Passion Pit comes to my city next weekend in a sold out show, and “Take A Walk” climbs to #6, while newest single from their Gossamer album, “Carried Away”, bows at #30.  New to the Top 10 are the dance raveup “A World Apart” by Davis Redfield at #9, and “If I Lose Myself” by One Republic at #10 – still waiting for a video for the song as well as the Native album to arrive.

Holding at #8 and not on his upcoming EP Far From Over (due on February 14), but still available as a single on iTunes is “Fast As I Can” by FrankMusik.  Far From Over looks to be one of the most riveting releases of 2013.  FrankMusik has returned to the inventive electronica that won over so many fans with Complete Me in 2009, after heading in a more pop-oriented direction in 2011 with Do It In The AM.  It appears to be about being lost in personal and professional turmoil, only to be rejuvenated and found again by returning to his humble beginnings, recording the EP entirely back in Croydon, England after being in L.A. for three years.  The first single, “Map”, is as visceral as it is evocative of his earlier style – old becomes new again!  I’ll be writing more about the EP after its release on Thursday.  To whet your appetite, below is the artwork for Far From Over.

frankmusik9

While the middle part of the chart sees songs on the rise from Ne-Yo, Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo, Chris Wallace (“Keep Me Crazy”), The Wallflowers featuring Mick Jones, Mika featuring Ariana Grande,  Eric Saade, and Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z’s “Suit & Tie”), the fastest riser on the chart belongs to “Learn To Love Again” by UK foursome Lawson, who have found themselves in the UK Top 20 this week.  I had the pleasure of seeing the lads in concert on February 2, and they performed a crisp, solid and generous 75 minute set which won over anyone who didn’t know what to expect – considering their album Chapman Square is still not on release over here (memo to Universal Canada: Make it happen!).  First, here’s a snap of the band by yours truly.

lawson4

A bonus to seeing Lawson for the first time in our country was to find out a week before the show that Toronto quartet Neverest would be opening.  While they didn’t play for long (20-25 minutes), they sounded in fine voice and very tight musically after working on their new record.  We got to hear their hits “About Us” and “Everything”, and even though I got burned on this song with all of its radio play, Neverest made Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” sound fresh and engaging again.  Video below – looking forward to Neverest’s next release… and more shows!

So, it was time for a little house cleaning on the chart, and the five remaining debuts should definitely go places, not only on my chart, but in the music world.  I simply can’t get enough of “Lifted” by Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni, which I wrote about last week, so it arrives as the highest debut at #24.  This is a chilled out, deep house version of “Suga Suga” by Baby Bash & Frankie J, which got to #11 on my chart back in 2003.  It’s available as a free download right here.  “Sail Into The Sun” by Gentlemen Hall has such a shiny, clear sound, you can hear it beckoning Spring to arrive.  It premieres at #25 and you can get it as a free download or buy it on iTunes.  It follows The Hall’s 2012 appearance on the chart with “All Our Love”, which peaked at #7.  While “Youth In Trouble” disappears from the chart after peaking at #20, a much stronger song from The Presets’ Pacifica album is the positively epic “A.O.”, which bows at #26.  This one sounds like Blade Runner met Star Wars in a discotheque, with triumphant vocals and a steady build up reminiscent of the duo’s earlier songs like “My People”.  Watch the live clip below.

Rounding out the debuts, at #28 is “Heaven” by Depeche Mode, which I wrote about recently, becoming the venerable band’s third song to appear on the chart since its inception (the first being the #1 “Dream On” in 2001) and their most recent being 2005’s “Precious” (#3).  AVAN LAVA is a Brooklyn, NY pop/dance band that arrived on the scene in 2008 and has steadily built a following.  I don’t think I’m too late to the game by debuting “It’s Never Over” on the chart at #29 about a year after the release of their EP Flex Fantasy.  The trio hovers between beautiful lush pop and gritty nu-disco funk – I’d describe “It’s Never Over” as somewhere between Prince and his proteges and early 90’s pop such as Tara Kemp’s “Hold You Tight”.  Watch the video below and download the song for free right here.  AVAN LAVA headlines a show on March 2 in Brooklyn at the Music Hall of Williamsburg along with Nomi Ruiz of Jessica 6.  Get to that show if you can (simply because I can’t!!).

BILLCS Top 30 #397 – January 28, 2013

You can view the full Top 30 using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right hereYou can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.  Any free downloads that are identified are sanctioned by the performer.  There’s always a tiny place at the bottom of the blog post with tags and the statement “Leave A Comment” – please feel free to do so :)

  • The top of this edition’s chart is Matthew Koma territory.  The punk-flavoured rocker “1998” (listen to the song up above) replaces his own “Parachute” at #1.  For some neat chart geekery ;), this is the first time a performer has replaced himself at the top since Darren Hayes’ “How To Build A Time Machine” replaced his “Me Myself And (I)” at #1 at the end of 2007, though Simon Curtis’ “Laser Guns Up” got to #1 right after he was featured prominently in Ro Danishei’s “Wicked Baby” in Fall 2011.
  • River Tiber’s “The City” is Matthew Koma’s rival for #1 in two weeks.  It’s a beautiful and unique song from the album Synapses, available as free download.  If that’s not enough, River Tiber’s “What Are You Afraid Of” advances to #7, and the rockier opening song from the album, “Reverie”, premieres at #25 (listen below).  River Tiber is once again playing Canadian Music Week in March in Toronto.
  • Chris Wallace’s “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” rises to #4, while my #2 song of 2012 “Remember When (Push Rewind)” is still gaining in airplay after four months on the Mediabase chart.  This past week, Chris performed on the Jimmy Kimmel late night show on ABC, where he performed “Remember When” and my #15 song “Keep Me Crazy” (video clip below).  He also now has over 305,000 followers on Twitter 😮

  • FrankMusik’s “Fast As You Can” (#8, video below) becomes the latest of the singer’s long line of Top 10 songs on this chart over the past two years.  At this point, it looks like you will find the song only as a single on iTunes.  Frank has retitled his EP Far From Over, and has revamped the song lineup (also excluding the gorgeous “Hurt You Again” 😦 ) and has set February 14 as the release date.
  • Passion Pit has sold out its Toronto show with Matt & Kim (missed my opportunity for tickets).  The lead single from Gossamer, “Take A Walk”, has long lasting legs and rises to #9 this week.  Meanwhile, Matt & Kim continue to climb with “Now” at #14.
  • The fastest riser on the chart at #10 belongs to Zedd’s emotional dance treatise “Clarity”, featuring perfectly matched vocals by Foxes (video below).

  • “If I Lose Myself” is One Republic’s best single in a few years, and it climbs to #12, while the uplifting “Let Me Love You” by Ne-Yo also moves up to #13.  Ne-Yo’s also featured on Conor Maynard’s most enjoyable “Turn Around” at #21.
  • Some recent debuts have kicked into high gear:  “Reboot The Mission” by The Wallflowers featuring The Clash’s Mick Jones as at #16, while Davis Redfield’s dancefloor stunner “A World Apart” bolts to #17.  “Miss Unknown” to me is the better of two recent Eric Saade singles and it rises to #18.  Videos for all are below.

  • Besides River Tiber’s “Reverie”, there are two other debuts.   One is “Learn To Love Again” by UK quartet Lawson (video below), which I wrote about recently.  The band is in my city and I’ll be checking out their show on February 2.  But the highest of these is, not surprisingly, Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z’s “Suit & Tie” at #23.  Given that the song is everywhere, I’m looking to see if it lasts or burns out.  I’m still quite enjoying its breezy, retro-Motown flare (official lyric video below) – which promotes dressing up in style too.  Nothing wrong with that!  It’s JT’s first lead billing to chart since “What Comes Around…Goes Around” in mid-2007.  He has shared billing since on “Until The End Of Time” with Beyonce, “4 Minutes” with Madonna & Timbaland, and “Hallelujah” with Matt Morris and Charlie Sexton.  Of course JT has also been featured on charted songs by Timbaland, T.I., and Ciara. He’s had four #1’s on my chart – “Rock Your Body”, “SexyBack”, “FutureSex/LoveSound” and “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows”).

BILLCS Top 30 #396 – January 14, 2013

rivertiber5

There continues to be a significant one! two! three! punch leading my personal chart.  Two of those come in the form of soon-to-be-powerhouse Matthew Koma, whose “Parachute” leads the way with “1998” at #3 and a contender for #1 in the coming weeks.  Slotted in-between is “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon, which seems to be picking up more fans as the weeks go on.  “Play The Girl” by Tao Hypah – who has another new song coming for you soon, glides to #4 (video below, if you haven’t yet seen it), while “Time Bomb (Walk Away)”, my choice for single #2 from Chris Wallace’s Push Rewind album, moves up to #5.  Chris seems to be popping up everywhere in the USA; an L.A. show is on deck.

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 :)

Making news in these pages again but this time on the chart is Toronto band River Tiber (pic at the top of this page), whose second album Synapses is available for free download from their website.  In it you will find the song now at #10, “What Are You Afraid Of”, but becoming a huge deal with a debut at #6 is far and away one of the most unique songs of 2013, “The City”.  I can’t provide you with a link to hear it online, so you’ll just have to take my word for it 😉 but perhaps Tommy Paxton-Beesley will offer something up in the near future 😀 Nevertheless, it’s a quiet but heartfelt song about moving on, set to a nifty electronic backdrop.  River Tiber played an excellent set at The Drake Hotel on January 7 to an unexpected packed room.  It’s amazing how far River Tiber has come since I saw them during Canadian Music Week in a 3 a.m. show.

Bim’s gorgeous and emotional “Burn” rises to #9 this week, while “O.V.E.R. U.” by Daniel Bedingfield becomes the second top tenner from Secret Fear-Stop The Traffik at #8.  A video is in the works but below is a new official lyrics video that was introduced recently for the song.

I’m currently wading through the complexities that comprise Passion Pit’s sophomore album Gossamer.  It has the unusual mix of highly personalized lyrics by leader Michael Angelakos along with an eclectic, fanciful blend of rock and electronica – nothing out there quite sounds like Passion Pit.  And when you hear “Take A Walk” (below) it commands attention and heads start to bob.  The song advances to #12, and after catching a repeat of Passion Pit’s songs on Saturday Night Live, I’m even more looking forward to seeing them in concert in February.  Also playing on that bill in Toronto will be Matt & Kim, whose “Now” rises to #16.

The lower part of the chart is brimming with entries from the last few charts.  Ne-Yo’s “Let Me Love You” is up to #17, with more Chris Wallace in the form of album track “Keep Me Crazy” at #18.  The fastest riser is the unanticipated electronica-heavy “If I Lose Myself” by One Republic at #19.  It looks like more than a smattering of influence of Swedish House Mafia has rubbed off on Ryan Tedder and band – you can kind of hear the melody of “Save (The World Tonight)” inside of “If I Lose Myself”.  “Youth In Trouble” from The Presets’ latest album Pacifica lands at #20 (listen to the epic Green Velvet remix below – you can download it with your email addy for free right here), while “Reboot The Mission” by The Wallflowers jumps to #22.

Besides River Tiber’s “The City”, three other songs debut on the chart.  Zedd & Foxes team up for “Clarity” at #21, soon to be one of my most played songs of the year, which I wrote about just recently.  I also wrote about the dance explosion that is “A World Apart” by European producer/DJ Davis Redfield, featuring a fantastic yet hitherto unknown female voice, and it arrives at #27.  At #29, somewhat belatedly but definitely a grower, is “Turn Around” by Conor Maynard featuring Ne-Yo.  Conor already has chart experience in these pages with last Spring’s “Can’t Say No”, and this third single from his Contrast album definitely makes ears perk up when you find out how good the voices of Conor and Ne-Yo sound together (despite the weak-ish video below).  This young English buck has the vocal chops, and his next album should really tell the tale.

BILLCS Top 30 #395 – December 31/12

We interrupt our year end countdown with this less flashy post to bring you my last personal chart of 2012 and the first that will count towards year end for 2013. Three performers return to the chart after long absences.

After a mediocre start with “Feel Again”, the second single from One Republic’s upcoming third album Native is a stunner.  “If I Lose Myself” (#26) is a sleeping slice of soft electronica that returns to the familiar sound of recent hits such as “Good Life”.  Since singer/songwriter Ryan Tedder has been involved in a lot of dance/EDM projects recently, it’s no surprise for the influence to spill over to One Republic.  But overall “If I Lose Myself” is a better song, which returns the band to my chart since 2008 after three Top 10 hits, including the #1 “Apologize”.  

With even a longer gap on the chart, The Wallflowers are back for the first time since 2005 with the funky “Reboot The Mission” (#28), which was originally made available as a free download.  With guitarist Mick Jones from The Clash and Big Audio Dynamite successes on board, you can hear the distinct presence of songs like “This Is Radio Clash” or “Rush” in the music.  The video (above) is also filled with great, seemingly impossible choreography too.  The Wallflowers had my favourite song of 1997, the equally rhythmic “One Headlight”.  

Shiny Toy Guns were Grammy nominees back in 2007 and with their new album III they are now among the better known indie scene.  Making their first appearance since their Top 10’s (“You Are The One” and “Le Disko”), the band returns with the highly engaging “Somewhere To Hide” at #30. 

The fourth debut on the chart could actually be a re-entry if it wasn’t re-recorded.  Aiming at a younger market by including top notch vocalist Ariana Grande (from TV’s “Victorious”), Mika’s “Popular Song” is back on the chart at #29.  The original version got to #18; I expect this new one will do better.

Highlighting key moves on the chart, “Yeah Yeah” by Willy Moon moves to #2 to attempt to dethrone “Parachute” by Matthew Koma, which is #1 again for a second appearance.  Matthew is also right behind at #3 with album track “1998”, while Tao Hypah’s supremely catchy “Play The Girl” becomes his second Top 5 hit at #5.  “Time Bomb (Walk Away)” by Chris Wallace soars into the Top 10 at #6, with other new entries to the Top 10 by Kid Massive & DATABOY “Good Girlfriend” at #9 and “Burn” by Bim at #10.  

River Tiber’s “What Are You Afraid Of” is the fastest riser, gliding 22-14, with other big moves from songs by Daniel Bedingfield, FrankMusik, Passion Pit, Chris Wallace (with “Keep Me Crazy”), Ne-Yo, and The Presets.

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 :)

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.

 

 

Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s, Part 5 (100-51)

Online discoveries and remixes dominate the top 100 of this decade list.  It is like no other list I’ve created before, but it parallels my list of the 1970’s in some ways since I was discovering the UK charts and dance remixes in the latter part of that decade.  But there would have been no way for me to discover, without our current technology and without meeting online friends:

* Dance music available otherwise to club DJ’s such as songs by Casey Stratton, iio, Motorcycle, Axwell, Crystal Waters, Cassius, Armin Van Buuren, Roger Sanchez, and Matt Darey, including remixes of songs by Coldplay and The Fray

* Canadian talent from across the country such as Mitchell Hunter and Jake

* Talent from across the world like Agnes Carlsson, Freemasons, Adele, Duffy, and Newton Faulkner

* Lesser known artists awaiting their breakout, like Tyler Hilton, Evan Taubenfeld, and Dan Black

* Updates on favourites such as David Usher, Darren Hayes, and Chris Isaak

* Monitoring success of new decade favourites like Jason Mraz and Lifehouse

The ‘hits’ are still here too, though much less so than ever.  Discovered the traditional way were songs by 3 Doors Down, Leona Lewis, George Michael (“Amazing”), The Fray (“Over My Head”), and Jordin Sparks/Chris Brown.

So the Top 100 begins with the updated list right here – don’t forget to leave your comments and observations!!

Tuned-On! Top 300 of the 2000’s, Part I (300-251)

Yes it’s that time once in every ten years when I get to recap the list of my favourite songs of the decade.  Of course this list is likely to change even as early as next year, but it’s a snapshot of all that I thought was worthwhile in the decade.  In some ways it corresponds to my bi-weekly chart, but there have been some past favourites that I no longer play or hear as much as in the past, and those songs are not on this list.  This list is not exclusive to singles or songs on the radio…  there are many album tracks.

I will eventually post the full list in the sidebar to the right, but for now you’ll have to watch the blog each day this week for the first 200 songs.  The Top 100 will be revealed sometime during the week of December 28.

You can view the first 50 songs right here and of course by the tags you can see some of the artists who are on the list.

Enjoy, and post some comments about your favourite songs on the list!!