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 🙂


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”!

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
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

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

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.

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.

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!

Block After Block is set to one of the best videos of the year – it’s just so much fun, like the duo themselves.

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.

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!

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!


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.
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


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”.


Rolling In The Deep is the song that defines 2011 in pop culture.  It endured the entire year, became a massive hit beyond expectations, was covered – sometimes magnificently – a gazillion times.  More than any other song in the 21 album, it showcases the many broad talents of Adele.  Now let’s hope her voice recovers and we hear more magnificence in the next few years.

8 NIGHT AIR  Jamie Woon

One of the most mysterious and oddly appealing songs by this new English singer with deep down embedded talents.  While the video surely must have had “Twilight” as a source, its quiet is incredibly elegant.

7 THE FEAR INSIDE  Frankmusik

The best song from Do It In The AM was Frank’s first single from the album, released about a year ago.  Just release yourself to this one.

6 GOLDEN TRAIN Penguin Prison

Penguin Prison held court on my chart at the top of the year for two months with this song, which was made even better when Chris Glover paired it in a stunning mashup with Michael Jackson’s “Workin’ Day And Night”, which you can hear and download in the link in song title.

5 LASER GUNS UP  Simon Curtis

It lasted from the first time I heard it in a live clip from a January show throughout the year.  Laser Guns Up is still my anthem for 2011.  And I still want some LEGO laser guns.  “This one’s for the people who’ve been told they’re never good enough / The little girls and boys who dream of what they wanna be / The little girls and boys who grow up into you and me”.
4 JUST ONCE Databoy

I had just heard “Stupid” and had not yet charted it before I was introduced to Databoy at the Superfraiche showcase in New York City in April.  And that’s where I heard this song.  Instantly, it became my song for the upcoming summer, and when it arrived as a free download there was no other competition.  I can’t wait for more Databoy music in 2012.

3 WICKED BABY Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis

We had to wait till late Summer for this bonus track from the deluxe edition of Ro Danishei’s End of the Rainbow, but the best was saved for last.  This is the child of Ace of Base’s The Sign that you’ve all been waiting for, with a stunning dubsteppy breakdown amid another smoking Ro/Simon duet.  And I wasn’t the only one who loved it, check out My Fizzy Pop’s thoughts on the song too!

2 FLESH  Simon Curtis

There was no song more unique in 2011 than this second single from Simon’s R∆ album.  Totally different from even the songs within R∆, it’s a tour-de-force of sensual imagery carried by fierce production that will simply throttle you.  I still want to see it featured in a segment on TV’s “The Vampire Diaries”:  “You put your hand upon my neck and feel the pulse beat-beat-beat-beat /It’s like a trigger getting ready to shoot” and “Hold me up against the wall / Give it till I beg, give me some more /Make me bleed, I like it raw / Like it R∆ R∆ R∆”.
1 POPULAR  Eric Saade

“Popular” is the best and most captivating song of 2011 to me, which threw Swedish singer Eric Saade even more into the spotlight when the song won the Melodifestivalen contest and came third in Eurovision.  It signalled things to come, with Saade’s Volume One and Volume Two albums dropping before year’s end and giving us the year’s most  lighthearted, feel good, crunchy electropop, which hopefully will find its way around the world in 2012.  Eric Saade and his team have created the template, the rest of the world needs to catch on.  And if you’re a male pop singer, all eyes should be on Eric!  Watch the star-making performance from Melodiefestivalen again below.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #364 – October 24/11

It took a month and a half of waiting – thanks to the instantly overpowering effect of his duet on “Wicked Baby” with Ro Danishei, which held court for 6 weeks – but “Laser Guns Up” by Simon Curtis takes the top spot this week on my personal chart.  It’s one of the key reasons for you to buy his sophomore album R∆ on iTunes, and is one of a number of rousing and anthemic songs that will make you want more!  But right behind “Guns” are buddies Frankmusik and Colette Carr, whose duet on “No ID” is one of those reasons why music can make you smile, take you away for three minutes, and be happy in 2011.

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.

I’m going to talk about the highest debut on the chart now because this song has all the makings of being MASSIVE.  I previewed “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy this past summer, after the song found favour in the Ibiza club circuit, being touted by no less than the legendary Tiësto himself.  There are several reasons why this song launches at an impressive #5 on my chart.  The pairing of the two DJ teams is impressive.  You combine European DJ/producer Rune RK’s flair for creating Ibiza beach party anthems with Austin duo Databoy’s creativity and vocals, along with a seductive lyrical subtext, and voilà – “Memorize Me” is a true original.  Revel in each listen or dance your ass off, your choice 🙂  Way to go – I can’t get enough of this song right now.  It will be available imminently as a free download but for now you can listen to it right here.

The stunning debut of “Memorize Me” has created a bit of a backup on the chart for songs 6 through 11.  The infectious “Bad Dog” by Neon Hitch scoots up a notch to #6, while “Pull The Trigger” from Adam Tyler’s debut album Shattered Ice rises 9-7.  Adam is touring actively to promote the album, and “Trigger” looks to join past chart hits “Friction” and “I Won’t Let You Go” in my Top 5.

Penguin Prison’s self-titled album was finally released in North America this past week and I’ll have my comments on it in the week.  In the meantime the Dirty Vegas remix of “Fair Warning” moves 11-8.

Kyle Brylin’s “My Fizzy Pop” and Eric Saade’s “Stupid with You” round out the Top 10.  The prolific Kyle has more new music coming for you in his upcoming “Revenge” project, while Eric’s upcoming album Saade Volume Two drops on November 30, with a new single featuring Dev arriving next week.

Most of the rest of the Top 20 looks Top 10 bound.  Arriving this week in the rest of the world – Australia got the album last week – is Secret Codes And Battleships, the fourth solo album by Darren Hayes.  His compelling and heart-felt Australian single “Bloodstained Heart” rises to #11.  The song is available in a free download as a remix through Darren’s website by the talented Monsieur Adi right here.

“Famous” by Audio Playground is a certified hit in Canada and jumps to #12, while the smooth and sexy mid-tempo R&B ballad by Nick Hagelin called “Metaphor” moves up to #15.  Agnes’ powerful “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” jumps to #18, while “The Way I See” by Will Young rises to #19, and Kyle Brylin’s second chart entry, the late night club rave-up “Never Love A DJ”, climbs to #20.

The fastest riser on the chart is the contagious fun that is “Block After Block” by Matt & Kim, which soars 25-16.  The Brooklyn duo is playing a New Year’s show in NYC which is guaranteed to be a blast.  I’ve been getting into their album Sidewalks more and more these past few weeks.  Their music has an exhilarating and distracting effect – most needed right now!

Four more debuts round out the chart.  The Netherlands’ Matt Blue is a talent to watch for internationally in 2012.  His debut single “Can’t Help Myself (Keep Dancing)” has been released by Universal in most of the European countries and has started to breakout.  Despite its familiar formula, the song has such a terrific sincere performance showcasing Matt’s supurb vocals.  It debuts at #13.  Watch the video below.

Down further is one half of the debut single by American singer Lana Del Rey, who is based out of London and is finding some success initially in the Benelux countries.  “Blue Jeans” comes to us in the form of a sexy Penguin Prison remix.  I like it a lot better than its other half, “Video Games”.  Listen to “Blue Jeans” below.

At #25 is “White Horse” by New York trio Jessica 6, who I’m hoping to see in a club show in the coming weeks.  It’s part of the group’s disco-music-with-a-conscience, you can move along to this song effortlessly while singing the chorus that gets stuck in your head.  Take a look at the video below.  Not to be confused with the 80’s hit by Laid Back.

Rounding out the chart at #26 is “Then I Go Twisting”, one of the stellar songs from the Frankmusik-produced album Tomorrow’s World by UK dance pop veterans Erasure.  I’ll have my comments about Tomorrow’s World in the week.  In the meantime, you can listen to the entire album for yourself right here.

Lastly, I’m going to leave you with an incredibly guilty pleasure.  “I Like” is a new European dance single by DJ/producer Klaas and DJ/production duo Bodybangers.  It gets right into your face and into your head, courtesy of lead vocals by the stunning singer/model Victoria Kern.  Think Kesha meets Pussycat Dolls with a dash of “Jump Around” by House of Pain, and you’re right there.  Watch the fun video below and don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Like last year’s “We No Speak Americano”, it may be coming to a wedding or party near you sometime soon.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #363 – October 10/11

October is proving to be a watershed month in 2011 for album releases – yes that’s right album releases!  As many of you know, I’m a singles-going-steady kinda guy, one song will do it for me over an entire album.  So we have no shortage of album releases this month – priorities for me by Darren Hayes, Erasure, Penguin Prison, Chris Isaak, Florence & The Machine (Nov 1), and the already released Adam Cohen – plus Evanescence, Kelly Clarkson, Drake, Coldplay all on deck too… well the iTunes gift cards will be bountiful this year.  So my new personal chart is a transitional one until the floodgates open.  And I’m still waiting for some highly anticipated singles to drop – “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy and “Can’t Help Myself (Keep Dancing)” by Matt Blue to name two.

So something will likely give at the top of the chart in two weeks, and 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.  But for now it continues to be “Wicked Baby” by Ro Danishei and Simon Curtis at the top but virtually neck and neck with Simon’s own “Laser Guns Up” in second place.  Rumour has it that Ro is now signed to Sony BMG – fantastic! – but I’m not sure of details, and I’m sure they will be forthcoming at some point.

“Disco Moment” by Bright Light Bright Light should by all rights join “A New Word To Say” and “Love Part II” as number ones on this chart, but may get shortchanged in the coming weeks, so it jumps to #3 for now.  New York’s Jessica 6 will be starting a small North American club date tour soon, which will then take them to Europe.  “Prisoner Of Love”, their unique splash of disco nightlife pairing with Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons, climbs to #4.  I’m anxiously awaiting the video for this song!

The Top 5 is rounded out by the Fastest Riser on the chart.  “No I.D.” by Frankmusik and Colette Carr are in the running for the top as the song surges 20-5, thanks to relentless touring – now that the Erasure/Frankmusik tour is wrapping up overseas, there will be another tour for both performers along with fellow Cherrytree Records signees LMFAO and Far East Movement, starting very soon!

Songs 6 through 12 are trapped in the middle and some should break loose in two weeks.  “Fix Me”, the stunning ballad by L.A.’s Matthew Kurz and his free download mixtape, holds at #6, while “Bad Dog” by UK singer Neon Hitch (and that’s her real name too!) jumps to #7.  And what would a chart be without Adele?  “Set Fire To The Rain” is her third Top Tenner for me from the 21 album, currently one of my favourite albums of the year along with others such as R∆  by Simon Curtis, Eric Saade’s Saade Volume One, and Do It In The A.M. by Frankmusik.

Contemporary electro pop is all a flutter right now as represented by a delightful next bunch:  Adam Tyler’s “Pull The Trigger” becomes his third Top 10 entry at #9; “My Fizzy Pop” by Kyle Brylin follows “Everything I’m Missing” as his second Top Tenner; Penguin Prison does not look to miss the Top 10, making it five in a row in two weeks with “Fair Warning”; and “Stupid With You” by Eric Saade is simply charming pop at its best.

“Bloodstained Heart” by Darren Hayes can only be purchased in Australia right now, but will be on release worldwide in two weeks when his album Secret Codes And Battleships arrives.  The song continues to rise up to #14.  Florence & The Machine’s “What The Water Gave Me” is holding at #18 while their new album Ceremonials is on deck.  And four more of last week’s debuts make headway.  Will Young’s free download of “The Way I See” climbs to #22, while Swedish pop queen Agnes moves 29-23 with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”.  Nick Hagelin’s tender R&B ballad “Metaphor” also climbs to #20 and is a free download from his website.  With every week that passes, “Famous” by Audio Playground manages to find more radio stations playing it in Canada – Top 50 on the Billboard Canadian Top 100.  This past week saw the debut of the video of the French version of the song, featuring Randy Raymond.  Watch it below.

I’ve spent the past week blogging and tweeting about Like A Man, the fresh start of a sophomore release by Adam Cohen (son of Leonard), as well as his lovely and intimate show I saw in Toronto this past week.  His beautiful and thoughtful single “What Other Guy” (available as a free download) arrives at #24.  One of Kyle Brylin’s latest releases, the propulsive and somewhat gleefully cynical “Never Love A DJ” joins “My Fizzy Pop” on the chart at #27.  Lastly, on the more raucous side, Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim have been promoting the hell out of last year’s release Sidewalks.  I saw them perform last Fall, and they won me over with their energy and crowd interaction.  “Block After Block”, from Sidewalks, keeps grabbing my attention, and with a spot-on performance on the Jimmy Fallon show this summer, the song arrives on the chart at #25.  If you don’t know about this fun pair, watch the Fallon performance by clicking on the link below, as well as the official video at the top of the blog, and you will be converted.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #362 – September 26/11

As Autumn is upon us, like the leaves that begin to fall, some recent favourites of mine drop off my personal chart to make room for some noteable new blood.  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.

There is no moving the Top 4 songs, no sirree they just aren’t a budging.  “Wicked Baby”, the insanely catchy song that updates the Ace of Base vibe courtesy of Ro Danishei & Simon Curtis hangs on to #1 vying with Simon’s own victory cry “Laser Guns Up” in second place.  “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People keeps its summery lustre long enough for another chart at #3, while “Disco Moment” by Bright Light Bright Light is solid and still on the rise at #4.  The only change-up in the Top 5 sees Jessica 6’s duet with Antony Hegarty on “Prisoner Of Love” belatedly making a big gain in the face of so many great songs on the chart.  A video for the song is forthcoming!

The rest of the Top 10 sees a major shakeup.  The intense emotions of Matthew Kurz’s “Fix Me” often give me pause for many thoughts, and the song soars 11-6.  Do check out this talented singer/songwriter’s FREE mixtape using the link on my chart page.  October 18 is the North American street date for Penguin Prison’s self-titled album.  As Chris Glover and band continue to play dates throughout North America, they are present on the chart with both “Multi-Millionaire” at #7 and “Fair Warning” rising to #14.  To entice you more, Penguin Prison has a FREE download of “Don’t Fuck With My Money” available with an email subscription right here.  You can hear that song above this paragraph.  Then, our favourite “Bad Dog” is on the loose!  Neon Hitch played a well received gig last week in New York City, and her song is propelled to #8.  Adele’s enduring and powerful “Set Fire To The Rain” takes 9th place, while the heartfelt “Never Will Be Mine” by Rye Rye featuring Robyn lands at #10.

The middle of the chart is nothing less than busy.  “Pull The Trigger” is the hottest song on Adam Tyler’s very good Shattered Ice release, with it’s sad-but-gotta-do-it lyrics married with an anthemic house rhythm.  It’s also the hottest song on the chart as the Fastest Riser, moving 22-12 and you can listen to the song above.  Then, we have the ultra-prolific Kyle Brylin with a real pick-me-up if there ever was one, “My Fizzy Pop” at #13.  Not only did Kyle cover Rihanna’s “S&M” earlier this year, but perhaps he’s drinking the same water, since she’s coming out with new stuff as frequently.  He teases you below with a preview of the hard hitting trance track “Never Love A DJ” and “Poison Venus” below this paragraph.  Full comments about these songs later!  And by no means should you think that “Stupid With You” by Eric Saade is done, after moving one place to #15.  It’s a fantastic pop song, one of many on Saade Volume One as we await Saade Volume Two sometime in November!

At the top of this blog, you watched the new video for Darren Hayes’ Australian single “Bloodstained Heart”, which climbs to #17.  I’m hoping it will be released to the rest of the world after “Black Out The Sun”.  In particular, I enjoy Darren’s soothing high register and the dramatic crescendo halfway that serves as anticipation for the final scene of the video.  Darren’s album Secret Codes And Battleships is released October 17 in the UK and October 21 in the rest of the world.  Right below “Bloodstained Heart” we see the debut song from Florence & The Machine’s sophomore album Ceremonials.  “What The Water Gave Me” moves up 26-18 in this chart edition.

The rest of the chart sees six debuts!  It’s a huge week ahead for Frankmusik as his second album Do It In The A.M. sees release on September 27.  The latest single, “No I.D.” featuring the delightful Colette Carr, arrives on the chart at #20 and is gradually becoming one of the must-hear songs of the year along with its “Grease”-y video above.  2011 has been one heck of a ride for Frankmusik and it hasn’t stopped yet!  Next up is the beautiful song from Nick Hagelin that I cannot get enough of right now.  “Metaphor” (which I blogged about last week) premieres at #23.  Further down at #26 is a song that has hung on throughout the summer despite no North American release for the singer’s album.  “The Way I See” doesn’t appear on Will Young’s latest album Echoes, but you can get it in a FREE download from a link in my chart (the song was previously available for free through Amazon UK).  It’s Will’s first appearance in these pages, and I look forward to paying closer attention to the songs in Echoes.

An impressive video for “Famous” by Audio Playground featuring Kardinal Offishall quickly arrived on our doorstep (above) and debuts at #27 on the chart.  The song’s a certified hit, conquering Canadian radio by being added to practically every pop station in the country, while the French language version featuring Randy Raymond is everywhere in Quebec.  Then at #28 we have Ms Grace Jones, sounding like she never left the music scene with her first release in 22 years called Hurricane.  From that album we have the sinewy and compelling “Williams Blood”, which is available in the FREE Aeroplane remix radio edit (link in on my chart page).

This edition closes at #29 with a song hot off the presses this week by a singer whose voice I adore.  Agnes Carlsson had a massive year in 2008/09 with her European album release Dance! Love! Pop! which contained the UK Top 5 and Billboard Dance Club Play #1 hit “Release Me”, one of my Top 10 favourites of that year.  With voice to rival no less than a Leona Lewis, Agnes is back with a tougher and equally powerful pop/dance song that will turn more heads around the world this time.  Watch “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (not the Elton John song) above and keep your ears peeled for much, much more from Agnes throughout the year and into 2012.

Thanks for reading!  Watch for changes to this blog coming soon too.  One thing I hope to change after this week is to give you shorter and more timely blogs, as well as the longer bi-weekly recap of my chart.  

Tuned-On! Top 30 #361 – Sept 12/11 plus Erasure and Frankmusik Concert in Toronto!

Last week was exceptionally busy and while I had already decided on my new chart rankings by Friday, I did decide to attend the Erasure and Frankmusik show at Sound Academy in Toronto, hence today’s belated blog.  More on the show later, on to chart news.

I’m still riding the Rainbow – End of the Rainbow that is – thanks to one of the best records of 2011!  That would be the sinfully delicious “Wicked Baby” by Ro Danishei featuring Simon Curtis (click to listen) that ascends to #1 on the Top 30, and looks like it might hold grip in wicked ways for the next several weeks.  That “Wicked Baby” should blitz the chart all the way to the top is even surprising to me.  And hand in hand with Simon’s anthem “Laser Guns Up”, which rises to #2, it knocked down what I thought was a sure thing for #1, which is “Made Of Pop” by Eric Saade, which now resides at #5.  Two further items of note:  Ro Danishei’s arrival at #1 is the first for a female singer on my chart since Lady GaGa’s “Teeth” back near the beginning of 2010 (I know I’m…. wicked).  And Simon Curtis packs a 1-2 punch holding court in the Top 2 for at least likely the next month.  If you have not sought out these talented singers, be sure to check out their respective albums (End Of The Rainbow for Ro, R∆ for Simon) on iTunes!

Definitely in the mix are the song that everyone’s trying to figure out, “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People, at #3, and Bright Light Bright Light’s “Disco Moment” at #4.  In any other year they would both be chart toppers.  Right below you can check out the “So Hard” mix of “Disco Moment” by Blx2 himself, Rod Thomas, also available on Blx2’s official site 🙂  Do I detect early 90’s Pet Shop Boys?  Hmmm.

Next up are late night New York dance delights in the forms of Jessica 6’s “Prisoner Of Love”, which climbs to #8, and yet another Top Tenner for Chris Glover’s Penguin Prison and “Multi-Millionaire” at #10.  Penguin Prison’s much-awaited self-titled debut album is out everywhere but in North America now (due date October 18).  I’m also charting the Dirty Vegas remix of “Fair Warning”, which hops to #18 and will certainly join “Multi-Millionaire” as a Top Tenner sometime soon.

Outside of the Top 10 there are several songs looking in with confidence!  Matthew Kurz’s amazing independent ballad “Fix Me” is now at #11, followed immediately by the glorious Adele with “Set Fire To The Rain” at #12, and then the Rye Rye and Robyn duet of the inspiring “Never Will Be Mine” at #13.  Neon Hitch’s “Bad Dog” is turning into a new favourite as it’s the Fastest Riser on the chart, up 25-15.  It’s followed immediately by a third song from Saade Volume One, “Stupid With You” by Eric Saade (watch for Volume Two later this year and hear this song in a concert clip below) and Kyle Brylin’s effervescent “My Fizzy Pop” at #16 and #17 respectively.

Our three debuts were previewed for you two weeks ago at around this time.  “Pull The Trigger” is vying with “I Won’t Let You Go” as my favourite song from Adam Tyler’s independent debut album Shattered Ice, and soars into the chart at #22, as the singer completes a North American club tour and is off to Japan.  I can’t wait to see the video for Darren Hayes’ Australian single “Bloodstained Heart” which arrives at #24.  Don’t rule out a debut for “Black Out The Sun” sometime soon… there’s just that much competition right now!  And lastly, powerhouse Florence Welch previews her forthcoming untitled album with “What The Water Gave Me” at #26.

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

Erasure and Frankmusik, Sound Academy, Toronto, Sunday September 11/11

Erasure and Frankmusik performed excellent sets last night which for me were just what the doctor ordered 🙂  I was anxious to see what Mr. Frank (Vince Turner) had to offer up for his debut performance in Toronto, since he is also the producer of Erasure’s upcoming Tomorrow’s World album (due October 4 in North America).  The last time I saw Erasure in concert was in 2003 for their Other People’s Songs tour.  In this show, there were no covers (yes, no ABBA, no Blondie), but they weren’t missed at all.

This was the fifth time I’ve seen an Erasure show, and I think this was one of their best and most engaging shows yet.  Singer Andy Bell was definitely glad to be back in Toronto (“Toronto always makes me horny”).  Andy looked extremely fit and basked in the audience’s gaze, while keyboardist/guitarist/producer Vince Clarke looked dapper in red and black behind his gargoyle-like keyboard.  

They had an attentive audience that soaked in their new songs like “When I Start (To Break It All Down)” (which is bound for my chart), “A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot” and “Fill Us With Fire”, which may be some of their best songs in the last 10 years, and fell contently into place next to their hits.  And what choices of hits they were!  “Blue Savannah”, “Drama!”, “Ship Of Fools”, “Chorus” (view a clip of the song from the show at the top of the blog), “Love To Hate You” (I was singing every word to those last two), “Chains of Love”, and “A Little Respect”, and even something a little more obscure going back to 1986, “Push Me, Shove Me”, which most of the audience didn’t know (but I did since I have the Wonderland album).  Their 90 minute set closed with the glorious “Oh l’amour” and, naturally, “Stop!”.  

While a replay of greatest hits isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, when it’s this well done (despite some poor sound) and highly entertaining, then I’ll gladly have Erasure coming back again and again.  The set certainly exceeded my expectations.

Frankmusik’s new album Do It In The A.M. is due at last on September 27, and to get word out in person, he’s opening for Erasure on their entire North American tour.  Vince and band performed a 45 minute non-stop set that not only set the stage for Erasure, but showcased the clever singer/songwriter/producer’s repertoire and some of his inspirations. So he mixed in older songs like “Better Off As 2”, not only with excellent new songs like “Do It In The A.M.”, “Struck By Lightning”, “Ludicrous”, and my favourites of the evening “Wrecking Ball” and “No ID” (featuring his gal Casey Carlson subbing for Colette Carr), but with either sung verses from noteworthy hits “You Can Call Me Al”, “Disco Inferno”, and “Music Sounds Better With You”, or well-placed samples of Eric Prydz’s “Call On Me” and Daft Punk’s “Around The World”.  Frankmusik wrapped the audience up tightly in his set and the unpredictability of it won them over.  The cheerful club party vibe and Frankmusik’s eagerness to please made for an exceptional set.

Last week, we saw the premiere of the video for “No ID” by Frankmusik and Colette Carr.  I’m so glad some of today’s videomakers are looking back to not too long ago (well, maybe before they were born but not me) for simple stories, inspiration (in this case a certain movie from the 70’s) and positive attitude with some fun choreography.  If it doesn’t put a big smile on your face then back to bed with you!  Watch in particular the scenes with Vince and Colette in the video below.  And there’s a familiar male dancer in the blue sweater with Boy Robot glasses…

Be sure to leave any comments you might have, and thanks for reading :)

Tuned-On! Top 30 #360 – August 29/11 plus new music from Darren Hayes, Florence & The Machine, and Adam Tyler

The bi-weekly Tuned-On! Top 30 looked to be going in a topsy-turvy direction this week, so the only way to contain all of the insanity was to take some good listens to my favourite songs.  As much as I’ve been obsessed with Ro Danishei & Simon Curtis’ sensational “Wicked Baby”, it debuts in the stratosphere at #3.  That leaves “Just Once” by Databoy (#1) and “Made Of Pop” by Eric Saade (#2) to hold court for a second time as the last full month of summer comes to an end.  Judging from the activity below, topsy-turvy may be the expression that stays intact in two weeks.  Not surprisingly, “Laser Guns Up” by Simon Curtis is the fastest riser, blasting up the chart 16-4, while the breezy “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster The People arrives at #5.  Be sure to check out the free euro-trance Skeet Skeet Show remix too.

Four out of the next five songs in the Top 10 are movin’ on up.  In any other year, these songs would be destined for #1, but because of competition some may even fall short of the Top 5!  Bright Light Bright Light’s “Disco Moment” climbs to #6, while Ro Danishei hangs in the Top 10 with a second hit, “Prey To The Beat” at #7.  I can’t get “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera out of my head, so it continues up to #8, and NYC late night contemporary disco is in the form of “Prisoner Of Love” by Jessica 6 featuring the unique vocals of Antony Hegarty at #10.

Trying to break through the Top 20 are more songs on the rise.  The Shook remix of “Multi-Millionaire” by Penguin Prison climbs to #12, and while we’re in anticipation of the self-titled PP album, I’m debuting the smoking Dirty Vegas remix of PP’s “Fair Warning” at #24.  Amazing new L.A. singer Matthew Kurz jumps 21-15 with the stunningly beautiful “Fix Me”, while Wynter Gordon’s party anthem “‘Til Death” continues to move up to #16.  A cornerstone of the 21 album is Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain”, which rises to #17, while the infectious “Never Will Be Mine” by the duet of Rye Rye and Robyn jumps to #18.  The man-who-would-portray Jeff Buckley, Reeve Carney, inches up to #20 with “Rise Above 1”.

Don’t be fooled by small moves by “Stupid With You” by Eric Saade and the exuberant “My Fizzy Pop” by Kyle Brylin, they both have to wait for other songs to move out before moving up more.  Our last debut this week is one of the most energetic and catchy songs around, UK singer Neon Hitch with “Bad Dog” at #25.

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

Darren Hayes Times Two:  “Black Out The Sun” (video) and “Bloodstained Heart”

Well it’s fortunate for the Internet that we all get to see and hear two more songs from Darren Hayes’ upcoming album Secret Codes And Battleships.  Australia gets “Bloodstained Heart” as the second single, and it’s an intensely emotional ballad that reminds me a lot of the sentiment from “How To Build A Time Machine” and “Casey” from This Delicate Thing We’ve Made.  And if that’s not enough, the song has one of Darren’s most beautiful and affecting vocals, as well as lush instrumentation that sticks in your head.  The UK and the rest of the world gets “Black Out The Sun”, which is more familiar to Darren fans who liked “Who Would Have Thought” from Delicate Thing, as well as his Savage Garden ballads.  But the song would not be out of place next to darker tunes from Darren’s 2004 album The Tension And The Spark, such as “Unlovable” and “I Like The Way”.  It’s a sad song to be sure, but with an emotional purpose.  It looks like the rest of the songs from Secret Codes And Battleships may exceed all of our expectations!

Florence & The Machine “What The Water Gave Me”

Florence & The Machine’s Lungs was one of the most compelling releases of 2009, spawning memorable hits like “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” and “Dog Days Are Over”.  Those two hits and other songs from the album transcended the last two years thanks to the band’s touring and Florence Welch’s magnetic presence on shows like this year’s Grammy Awards.  So riding the wave of all of this is “What The Water Gave Me”, and if it’s of any indication, the sophomore album should outdo Lungs.  Like with “Rabbit Heart” and “Dog Days”, “What The Water Gave Me” is a frenzy of musical power along with Florence’s vocals which evoke shades of no less than Siouxsie Sioux, Sinead O’Connor, and Annie Lennox.  It’s scary to think that Florence & The Machine could also grab the ride that Adele got on at the inset of 2011.

Adam Tyler’s debut album Shattered Ice

It’s taken a long time to arrive, but an independent release has to be done just right in order to succeed.  I think that Adam Tyler’s Shattered Ice has a stamp of success awaiting it.  Earlier this year, we received a major taste of the LA-based singer/songwriter’s best work with “I Won’t Let You Go”, whose unique blend of affecting europop resonated through the Interweb.  The full release of Shattered Ice also builds nicely on Adam’s 2010 single release, the frenetic “Friction”.  

The album contains a varied mix of pop, dance, and three acoustically arranged versions of songs on the album, with credit to Sky Felix and his collaborators for the imaginative production.  Best of all is “Pull The Trigger”, an intriguing mix of europop and 90’s styled house carried by the phrase “bang bang baby cry”.  Hear the song at the end of the blog.  While the song does the trick in its current version, it cries out for a remix that has a screaming bass undercurrent!  Next up we have “Emergency”, an urgent song about shattered emotions that does very well in its original pop/dance mix, showcasing particularly strong vocals by Adam surrounded by some fun production tricks and instrumentation.  But it’s also available in a softer and beautiful orchestral version.  “I Won’t Let You Go” also appears in a stripped down piano version.

Also check out the intense “Music Freak”, more hearts on the sleeve in the title track, and a mid-tempo companion piece to “I Won’t Let You Go”, “Taking Back My Love”.  To me sometimes the album gets caught up in arrangements that overwhelm Adam’s voice or overshadow some of the weaker songs.  But pop music lovers will find much more to delight them on Shattered Ice.  Get it on iTunes!  “Pull The Trigger” by Adam Tyler

Summer Popervescence #2 featuring new songs by Chris Isaak, Will Young, Pierre Lewis, Marianas Trench, Evanescence, Adam Tyler… and some newcomers

Chris Isaak “Live It Up”

Sometimes things seem to take forever.  Yet when you look back on the first time you heard a performer, it all seems to have happened in a snapshot.

It’s hard to believe I first heard the music of Chris Isaak in a record store in Paris in 1985.  I was quickly intrigued and bought a French music magazine with him on the cover so that I could find out more about his music.  That same night I saw the video for his first single “Dancin'” on TV.  I didn’t end up buying his debut album Silvertone until I got home – but it’s one of my most favourite albums and “Dancin'” is one of my most favourite songs.  I got the opportunity to interview this singer from Stockton, California, in 1987, more than two years before “Wicked Game” brought him worldwide fame.  Since then, his songs have been featured in countless movies (most noteworthy “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” in “Eyes Wide Shut” in 1999, four years after its original release) and he’s had two TV shows of his own.  He last released a studio record, Mr. Lucky, in 2009 (just before this blog began) and a live album Live At The Fillmore was issued last year.  That completed his days with Reprise/Warner.

While he continues to tour actively, currently in mid-west US and Canada, he has now signed to Vanguard Records (currently home to Matt Nathanson and Shawn Mullins, among others) for his album of classic 50’s and 60’s Sun Records artists cover versions, called Beyond The Sun.  Just the thought of him singing classics like “Ring of Fire”, “Great Balls of Fire”, “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, and “I Walk The Line” makes my spine tingle, because of his unique way in interpreting a song.  All you need to do is hear his renditions of Neil Diamond’s “Solitary Man” (from 1995) and Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me” (from 2006) for proof positive.

I could go on and on and on… But there is a free download to precede the October release of Beyond The Sun.  In a press release, Chris says the following about “Live It Up”:

“When we were doing the record, I kept learning things,” says Chris. “For instance, nothing on those early records has a rock beat—it’s all shuffle and stripper beat. I wrote “Live It Up” to put a rock beat on the record, so that that beat too is represented.”

Download “Live It Up” right here or listen to it at the link below.  Read more about the Beyond The Sun project right here.

Will Young “The Way I See”

Flipping back through the contemporary pop pages, we have a free download by one Will Young, who has been a sensation overseas since his UK Pop Idol win in 2002.  In North America, his 2003 hit “Leave Right Now” was used as an American Idol ‘exit’ song in 2010, prompting overdue interest in the singer.  As a precursor to his album Echoes, a Robbie Williams-ish single called “Jealousy” was issued.  As much as I’ve listened to it several times, that song is not clicking with me.  But then along comes this free download of “The Way I See”, and what do we have here?  A song destined to get Will Young songs into dance clubs worldwide, so I’m waiting anxiously for the remixes.  Download “The Way I See” right here and be prepared to strut your stuff…

Pierre Lewis “Out Of My Mind”

I tipped you off to Pierre’s new single back in June, and this week an impressive video (below) surfaced for the song, due out on release on September 19.  “Out Of My Mind” shows the talented British singer’s range as well as someone who can exert his presence in the always underestimated blue-eyed soul sub-genre.  Actually to me “Out Of My Mind” is more R&B than pop, it would fit contently next to Ne-Yo or Jason Derulo rather than GaGa or Britney.  Pierre has a strong and loyal following of fans but this one could get attention worldwide if handled properly, and it’s from an upcoming EP called Transitions.  As I mentioned, the video is pretty eye-catching, the story moves along nicely in all kinds of attractive colour lighting accentuating various eye candy and the considerable charm of the singer.  And be sure to check out Pierre on Twitter, especially when he can’t sleep 😉

Marianas Trench “Haven’t Had Enough”

It’s already been to #1 on the Canadian iTunes singles chart, which is testament to the domestic popularity of Vancouver-based quartet Marianas Trench.  Though it doesn’t offer up a heck of a lot of new tricks (I really like Matt Webb’s guitar work on this one), “Haven’t Had Enough” gives a trademark to the band’s loud but lyrical party rock sound that just happens to be supported by guys who know their craft and vocal techniques.  I was a big supporter of 2009’s Masterpiece Theatre album so I’m looking forward to #3, called Ever After, this fall.  There’s no video yet, but listen to the song below.

Evanescence “What You Want”

Leaving the sometimes gothic feel of past hits like “My Immortal” behind as well as the soft-turns-to-loud moments that showcased singer Amy Lee’s voice so well on songs like “Call Me When You’re Sober”, “What You Want” is the Arkansas quintet’s first single from their upcoming self-titled album.  It’s big and loud and will hit you square without bowling you over.  Amy Lee will continue to be a force among female vocalists and her voice as a featured artist will benefit any song.  I don’t usually think a lot about radio these days so it’s hard for me to determine if radio will get behind this record based on the band’s past performance.  But in time this could in fact be one of the best records of the year.

Hot New Dance Songs:  The sexy and aggressive “Bad Dog” by British singer Neon Hitch, and Maryland rapper Rye Rye‘s (nee Ryeisha Barrain) memorable high profile duet with Robyn on the retro 90’s “Never Will Be Mine” that was featured on the Jay Leno show a week ago.  Hear both songs below (the version of “Never Will Be Mine” is the Burns remix).

Proud Swedish Moment:  LA’s Adam Tyler recently performed at Stockholm’s pride celebrations in front of over 30,000 people.  We’re now 12 days away from the premiere of his album Shattered Ice, and below is a video of Adam performing a new song “Like A Drug”.  The album looks to be a spicy mix of dance zingers like this as well as some slower tracks (I’m waiting for “Emergency”!).

Grunge-inspired Brits:  Karvel is a new trio from Twickenham, England consisting of singer/guitarist Joe Mallory-Skinner, bassist Ben Soan, and drummer Tom Wood.  Together they seem to be fusing together some unexpected rock styles – take UK groups like Placebo and Kasabian, pass them through Ireland’s The Script, and then into the 90’s rock of Beck and Foo Fighters.  I think some growth still needs to happen here, but their recent acoustic video cover of The Joy Formidable’s “A Heavy Abacus” certainly grabbed my attention (below), as did their work with Grammy-winner Adrian Bushby on “End of the Night”.  Hear them at their heaviest, and grungiest, on “Only The Young” on their Facebook page (from which you can get free downloads with an email subscription).