#BILLCSTop30 #573 – October 28, 2019

One month into Autumn and some change is afoot on the new chart.  Besides three new entries, some songs make key moves, and there is a new song on top!

I am pleased to announce again that music from my chart and blog will be featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA.  You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!

Australia’s Throttle gets his first #1 with the thoughtful and danceable, Billboard-charting “Dreamer”, ending 4 appearances (8 weeks) at the top for Kazaky’s “Push”.  It’s from his new EP of varying styles in the dance music realm called Where U Are, and is meant to be played continuously from beginning to end for best effect.  “Dreamer” is the lead off single and it’s the one that stands out the most for me.  This is also the first #1 on my chart for the Canadian dance label Monstercat, and such a different one for them too!

UK indie singer/songwriter Lostchild climbs 5-2 with the OKJAMES remix of “Like Like”.  It will be neck and neck with “Dreamer” for #1 in two weeks – I’m not even going to speculate on what might prevail!  “Like Like” bests the #5 peak of last year’s “Blacklist”.

With eyes firmly planted on the Top 5, “Breaking Hearts” by Benedict Cork, another UK indie singer/songwriter you need to know, climbs 12-7.  The singer has been opening on tour for EuroVision winner Duncan Laurence in his native Netherlands.

Also new to the Top 10 – kind of a no-brainer given the performers – is “Dreamland” by Pet Shop Boys and Years & Years, moving up 14-9. It’s Years & Years’ 7th Top 10 entry since 2015, following this year’s collaboration with Jax Jones on “Play” (#3).

“Poolside Vibe” by Pretty Sister and MarcLo keeps us thinking of July and August as it moves up 16-12.

I want to see a club DJ take Anden’s “Flicker” up on what’s intended to happen in the magnetic, progressive dance song – a glittering light show after the pause after “baby all of the lights are turned…. off”.  “Flicker”, featuring vocals by the brothers Cuppernull who comprise Anden, climbs 19-13.

“Here U R” is a striking deep house track by Win & Woo featuring vocals by co-writer Sara Skinner, and it rises 17-14.

Led by a pristine vocal by Heather Janssen, “Who’s Gonna Love U” by Canadian producer Ryan Shepherd makes a significant move up the chart, soaring 22-15.

After the #7 success of “Sign Of The Times” two years ago, Harry Styles shifts gears for a short, sweet pop song with one of his best vocals in “Lights Up”.  It’s the Fastest Riser on the chart, rocketing 25-16.

Also busting a big move is “Family Affair” by The Disco Fries, which advances 23-17.  It’s a fun and peppy retooling of the Mary J. Blige classic, which got to #4 on this chart back in 2001.

Making the highest debut is the glorious and unexpected collaboration of Galantis, Dolly Parton and Mr. Probz on one of the most uplifting songs of the year called “Faith”.  It bows at #25 and is the first chart appearance for all involved.  After establishing themselves on the dance music scene for the best part of this decade, the Grammy-nominated Swedish production duo Galantis joins other veterans – Don Diablo, Cedric Gervais, Lost Frequencies, Timmy Trumpet, Sultan + Shepard, Kygo – also debuting on the chart this year.  And Dolly Parton has flirted with dance music before – her pop hit “Baby I’m Burnin'” was also a big club hit in 1979.  She’s also not the oldest person to appear on the chart – that feat belongs to Giorgio Moroder who was 74 when he charted in 2015 with the trio of “Right Here Right Now”, “Deja Vu” and “Wildstar”.

Returning to the chart for the first time since 2016 is Brandon Colbein, formerly known as Brandon Skeie, with the heart-felt ballad “Mad”.  Brandon’s “So Bad” reached the top of the chart so “Mad” has its work cut out!

Sam Fender is an intriguing new British rocker who will appeal to those who enjoy singer/songwriters like James Bay and groups like Keane.  “Will We Talk”, from his album Hypersonic Missiles, arrives at #29.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #572 – October 14, 2019

I have a briefer blog post for you as a result of a combination of a busy Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and illness.  I will be back with more about the Top 30 for you in two weeks, and of course with blog posts in-between.

I am pleased to announce that music from my chart and blog will be featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA.  You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!

“Push” by Ukrainian dance group Kazaky once again holds court at the top, giving the Depeche Mode-influenced song 4 appearances (8 weeks) at #1.  We’ll see what this talented group plans as a follow up!

Looking to challenge in two weeks is “Dreamer” by Australian producer Throttle, which climbs 6-2, as Throttle’s first ever EP Where U Are is released.  It uniquely mixes thoughtful lyrics and a variety of dance styles and genres which will appeal to fans of both pop and dance music.  There are even vocals by Throttle himself!  Check out the full EP below, and listen to the songs consecutively as he suggests, which include “Dreamer” and his other previous single “Japan”.

“I’m Not Alright” by Loud Luxury and Bryce Vine advances 5-4 and now has its own video, check it out above.

Also eyeing the top of the chart is the OKJAMES remix of UK indie electronic performer Lostchild’s “Like Like” (below), which zips into the Top 10, up 11-5.  Check out the video of the original version of the song above.

Half of the Top 10 are independent releases with no label power, and one I’m happy to see climbing 12-8 is from Nashville duo Apollo LTD with the commanding “On The Way Up 2.0” from their must-hear album Out Of Body.

The other new entry to the Top 10 is a Top 30 hit in the UK and a dance hit as well.  It’s “Ritual” by Tiësto, Jonas Blue and Rita Ora, moving 13-10.

The fastest riser on the chart is by another independent performer from the UK.  The golden voice of Benedict Cork carries “Breaking Hearts” 20-12.

I’m sooo glad Pet Shop Boys and Years & Years teamed up for a record because it is absolutely a treat to listen to each time.  “Dreamland” rises 21-14.  Remixes are coming in all physical formats on October 25!

While other upward moving songs between 15 and 24 should break loose in some way or form in two weeks, you can’t deny the power of the highest debut at #25.  Harry Styles’ “Lights Up” simply should be one of the biggest hits of 2019, and the signs will show in the coming weeks.  Any vocalist should be in awe of his performance here, in such a different style from his previous album two years ago too.  The video above has almost 20M views since October 11!

As “Good Things Falls Apart” tumbles off the chart after the maximum 10 appearances (20 weeks), 5 of which were at #1, it gives room for another Illenium song.  “Broken Ones”, featuring the stunning voice of Anna Clendening, arrives at #26.  If you saw one of Illenium’s recent shows, you also saw Annika Wells (known for her vocal on “Crawl Outta Love”) sing it as if she recorded it.

The last two premieres on the chart were hard to fill, but both artists have appeared on the chart a number of times.  At #28 (above) is the infectious “Punching In The Dark” by Sweden’s Hellberg featuring the easily identifiable voice of Aloe Blacc.  And arriving at #29 is “Walk Alone” (below), the early ’10’s and very welcome melodic house throwback by Dutch producers The Him.  Both Hellberg and The Him have been to the top of the chart, Hellberg with Dzeko & Torres and “Care For Me” in 2016, and The Him in 2018 with Parson James and “Broken Love”.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #571, September 30/19

Rounding out September and as we sail into the Autumn months, I’m definitely one guy who isn’t looking for dreary, downtempo music.  And as such, the top of the new chart stays the same – at least the Top 3.  Gradual change is afoot, which means that songs on the rise outside of the Top 10 will soon make their presence felt.  Four new entries by artists who have all previously appeared on the chart also make it interesting!

So it’s the mesmerizing pulse of “Push” (above) by Ukrainian dance group Kazaky that continues up top for a third appearance (six weeks), and I still cannot endorse its amazingly choreographed video enough!  “Higher Love” by Whitney Houston in a Kygo reboot remains at #2, while L.A. producer Eric Sharp and vocalist Zhao also stay put at #3 with the cool house of “Monday Blues”.

The power of Avicii continues as “Tough Love” (above), featuring Agnes and Vargas & Lagola, climbs 5-4.  

My fellow Canadians Loud Luxury arrive in the Top 5 moving up 8-5 with “I’m Not Alright”.  Featuring Bryce Vine on vocals, the lads had a great appearance with James Corden last week, above.

New to the Top 10 are Simon Curtis’ “Graduate” (13-9, above), with one of Simon’s finest vocals in recent years – it’s only Simon’s 17th appearance in the Top 10 as lead or featured act!! – as well as the power trio of producers Ken Summit and Eric Kupper with vocalist Amy Douglas for the bassy 90’s house of “Give Me Love” (12-10, below).

Looking to make inroads in the Top 10 next week is “Like Like” by UK indie singer/songwriter Lostchild, currently on a brief tour in the US.  The brilliantly fun OKJAMES remix soars 19-11 (above, video of its original version below).

Australian singer Peter Wilson is looking splendid on the chart in the Stormby edit of “Don’t Break My Heart” which rises 22-16.

Right behind are the hedonism delights of “Poolside Vibe” (above) by Pretty Sister and MarcLo, gliding 24-17.  The prolific pair of producers renown have since released two similarly-themed tunes, “New Fire” and “Tequila” (both below) which you should check out to keep the summer vibes going.

UK singer/songwriter Benedict Cork breaks into the Top 20 with his fabulous voice in “Breaking Hearts” (27-20).

Not far behind, The Knocks and Kah-Lo’s ode to everything positive, “Awa Ni” (above), moves up 28-22, while NYC-based producers and brothers Anden climb 29-23 with “Flicker” (also above), totally tailored for the NYC nightlife.

Leading the four new entries is the more-than-dynamic pairing of talents from completely different decades who sound so natural together.  Reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys’ own previous meet up with Dusty Springfield is the new connection to Years & Years in “Dreamland”, which bows at #21.  I can’t be more excited to hear what PSB and Y&Y might continue to concoct together.  “Dreamland” is an amazing start!  It’s Years & Years’ 8th chart entry.

MAX returns to the chart after the #4 success of “Love Me Less” (now available in various remixes and also featuring one with Kim Petras) with the enticing “Acid Dreams”, featuring rapper Felly, bowing at #24.  Check out the colourful, eye-popping video above, which also features MAX’s wife Emily.  It’s MAX’s 8th chart entry, too.

Toronto’s Ryan Shepherd is back with his third chart entry and the slick house of “Who’s Gonna Love U”, which features singer/songwriter Heather Janssen.  It arrives at #26.

After scoring a #1 Billboard Dance Club Play chart entry with Vassy called “Concrete Heart” not long ago, Nick and Danny, aka The Disco Fries, land on the chart with their retooling of Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair” at #27.  It’s fast, furious and fun!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #501 – January 23/17

Here at the BILLCS Music Blog, we continue to burn down discos until the morning comes…

The Top 10

  • Or so sing Pet Shop Boys, as “Burn” from their album Super handily continues its reign at the top.  We’ll have to wait to see if any other song challenges in two weeks.

  • “D E E P In NY”, Bobby Nourmand’s brilliant mix of hip hop and EDM, slides up a notch to #2 to try and rival Pet Shop Boys two weeks from now.
  • Don’t discount Brothers by Saxity featuring Strøm, either, as this carefree song about friendship advances to #3.  The duo have a collaboration on deck with American singer Nathalie Archangel too, with the same songwriters no less 🙂
  • “All The Way”, a fun-loving instrumental by Sweden’s Hellberg, continues to rise up 7-5.
  • Tony Moran & Jason Walker know how to have a blast together making songs, and “Say Yes” is the latest collaboration, moving 9-6.

  • Vancouver’s Felix Cartal has his first of two entries cracking the Top 10 with frequent vocal collaborator Ofelia K on “Drifting Away”, climbing 17-9.
  • “Light” by Dutchman San Holo continues to tread in the Billboard Top 20 Electronic Songs chart, and also continues to advance on this chart too, soaring 18-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • It looks like another young Dutchman, Steve Void, is about to get his first Top 10 here with No Mondays with “Chemistry”, featuring a lovely vocal by Clara Mae.  It rises 13-11.  Steve has been in the Top 10 with remixes last year – SNBRN’s “Beat The Sunrise” got to #5, while “False Alarm” by Matoma & Becky Hill reached #6.
  • L.A.’s Mahalo is on a roll with a splendid remix of ZHU’s “In The Morning” following a couple of originals, one being “Be My Love” (featuring Cat Lewis) which climbs 16-12.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is Phil Good’s ode to “Sleeping In”, which in a Sean Turk bedroom bass remix is more than about just that.  It wastes no time rocketing up the chart 22-13.

  • All of the last chart’s debuts are well on their way.  DNCE’s “Naked” bounds 25-19 (above), with Felix Cartal’s second entry “Keep Up” (featuring Steph Jones in a Ben Zamora remix) jumping 27-20 (below), Throttle’s pairing with Michael Buble for a remix of “My Kind Of Girl” rising 26-22, and would-be sports anthem “#Bomber!” by Italy’s BeatmartHz & DJ Mirko B climbing 29-23.

Three Debuts

  • There is no denying that The Chainsmokers were wise to wait till January to unleash “Paris”, now that “Closer” has hit its stride.  The guys know their audience and wrote another song to which anyone can relate, capturing a snapshot and the accompanying emotion to make the song soar.  Once again Drew Taggart’s vocal totally suits the song and the chorus is a positive singalong that will endure throughout 2017.  It arrives at #15, giving it a good shot at the top… soon!  The Chainsmokers did reach #1 here with “Closer”, as well as #2 in 2015 with “Let You Go” (featuring Great Good Fine OK), and #8 with “Don’t Let Me Down” (featuring Daya).
  • Debuting on the chart is Miami producer Alyx Ander with the seductive “Memories Of You” featuring an amazing vocal by Srey Davi.  This one will get under your skin… it arrives at #27. It’s the first appearance by Nettwerk Records on this chart since 2011 too.

  • The last debut belongs to British producer KDA with “Just Say” featuring rising American vocalist Tinashe.  Not much is known about KDA but he did manage to fend off One Direction and scored a UK #1 in late 2015 with “Turn The Music Louder (Rumble)” (featuring Tinie Tempah and Katy B).  “Just Say” is classic American-style house with European flair, and it’s no surprise it’s already in the Top 20 of the Billboard Club Play chart.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me on http://www.planetradio.ca live on Tuesday evenings, and with my Pick of the Week segment throughout the week 🙂  See below for details!

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 500th Edition! – January 9/17

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It would likely be over 1,000 editions had I published my chart weekly, but from January 1998 to January 2017 and we are at 500 charts 🙂  Thanks to all of you who continue to follow my personal chart, which is exactly that – personal.  No mathematics, very few rules (only to keep the chart fresh with new music), these are my favourite 30 songs of the moment.  This edition has a bit of post-holiday housecleaning with 5 debuts and The Weeknd & Daft Punk give way to a new #1 by some familiar faces…

The Top 10

  • While they would have had several chart toppers in their popularity heyday, Pet Shop Boys make it twice to grace the top of my chart with the disco-tastic “Burn”.  The song is not a single, but I’m hoping it will be #4 from the album Super, following #3 “The Pop Kids” (#17 of 2016), “Twenty-Something”, and “Say It To Me”.  Their other #1 on my chart was in 2013 with “Vocal” from Electric, which was also my #1 song of that year.
  • New to the Top 5 are “Brothers” by Saxity featuring Strøm (above), vaulting 8 to 4 and still available for free download, as well as Stefan Alexander’s compelling “Skeleton” (below) which climbs 6 to 5.

  • Two newcomers to the Top 10 are the Fastest Riser on the chart, “Say Yes” by Tony Moran & Jason Walker (ab0ve), which rises 16-9 and their second Top 10 following last year’s “So Happy” (#3 and #20 of 2016), followed by Victor Perry’s lovely take on Everything But The Girl’s “Missing” (below), also his second Top Tenner following last year’s “Rainbows” (#7 and #42 of 2016).  It’s still available as a free download too!

Movin’ On Up

  • “False Alarm” by The Weeknd encroaches on the Top 10, but it’s a powerful song that’s been in the shadow of “Starboy”.  We’ll see what the next single from the album will be.  “False Alarm” jumps 13-11.
  • Big things are coming from young Dutchman Steve Void in 2017, and his pairing with No Mondays featuring vocalist Clara Mae on “Chemistry” leaps 19-13.
  • Right behind is Canada’s Felix Cartal with “Drifting Away” (featuring vocalist Ofelia K) as we all daydream about driving down the east or west coasts of the States in perfect warm weather.  It moves up 22-17, and Felix has another song debuting on the chart below…
  • “Light” by The Netherlands’ San Holo is raising a lot of ears with its infectious but low key EDM, and it rises 23-18.
  • The last chart’s other two debuts make fine inroads, both climbing 7 notes to #19 and #20.  #19 is Molly Moore’s “Imaginary Friends” (above), also in Telykast and Pluto remixes, and #20 is JPB’s “For You” (below) featuring a soulful vocal from British singer Luke Cusato.

5 Debuts

  • As his remix of “Closer” by Brandyn Burnette (#7 and #51 of 2016) departs the chart, another Sean Turk remix arrives with the sexy ‘bedroom bass’ style of EDM in “Sleeping In” by Phil Good at #22.  And of course the song is more about what we do when we’re ‘sleeping in’ rather than actually sleeping… it’s also a free download for now.

  • And keeping sex centre stage at #25 is an excellent album track by DNCE from their self-titled album called “Naked”.  I saw them first perform this one in November 2015 and I’m glad it made the cut for the album because it was one of the least things we thought Joe Jonas might be singing about 😛  DNCE’s “Cake By The Ocean” reached #2 on my chart well before it was in the Top 10 nationally, and was my #15 song of 2015.
  • Definitely something a little different for us in 2017 comes from rising young Australian producer Throttle (aka Robbie Bergin), who has taken Michael Buble’s cover of Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind Of Girl” and juggled the jazz rhythms with some riveting house beats.  While it’s not to everyone’s taste, it’s a whole lotta fun and arrives at #26.  “My Kind Of Girl” was Throttle’s Christmas present to his listeners, and it’s a free download.
  • At #27 is the second entry from Felix Cartal, this time featuring prominent session vocalist Steph Jones on “Keep Up”, as an official remix by fellow Canadian Ben Zamora.  Felix is on a roll with much more to come in 2017.  This remix and others are also available as free downloads for now.

  • And the last debut at #29 is a real rebel-rouser, perfect for sporting events… It’s “#Bomber!” by Italy’s BeatmartHz and DJ Mirko B, a classic mix of Italohouse and techno.  

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me on http://www.planetradio.ca live on Tuesday evenings, and with my Pick of the Week segment throughout the week 🙂  See below for details!

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#BILLCSTop86Songsof2016

Trying to find time to write everything I want is always an issue.  I present to you my Top 86 Songs of 2016, with this blog post based on the radio program which aired on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂  Here’s my commentary on my Top 30 Songs with the complete list following.  Links to my Top 10 Songs are featured further down…

#30:  Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams”, the title song from his first EP, and the first of four songs by or featuring him on this year end list. The song was greatly enhanced by a feel-good tropical mix from Chicago remix duo Win & Woo collaborating with Kiso Armic, also from Chicago.

#29 – L.A.-based singer/songwriter Simon Curtis with “Super Psycho Love” from his album Super 8bit Heart, first of two songs from that album in this list. That album was a 2016 reimagining of Simon’s 2010 free online mixtape still available from his website called 8bit Heart, which to me is one of the most endearing recordings of the decade. “Super Psycho Love” benefited most from an update and appeared on my chart for the first time.

#28 – courtesy of Canadian duo Young Bombs, who also have two remixes in my list. They brought the bounce to a fine record out of Norway from a young newcomer named Jesper Jenset called “High”.

#27 – belonging to Canadian brothers Chris and Alex from Orangeville Ontario – DVBBS! They’ve been on this list before (in 2015 and 2014), but this year they included Toronto’s Dante Leon on vocal for the toe-tapper “Angel”.

#26 – a taste of 80’s flavoured funk courtesy of NYC producer/remixer Jenaux with the rollicking original “Get It On”. Jenaux also partnered with Texas duo Tritonal for the song “Broken” (#45), and has another remix in this list.  

#25 – more Canadians 🙂 with a creative and funky remix by Chicago’s Snøwmass of a song by Montreal production duo Sterling Grove who are paired with Toronto pop/jazz vocalist Ellyn Woods for the mysterious “Sound Of Home”.

#24 – one of the most provocative and surprising albums of 2016 was Blue Neighbourhood by South Africa-born, Australia-based singer Troye Sivan, who had a world-wide following on You Tube before making records. It consists of beautifully crafted, poignant songs which meant a lot particularly to many teens, and scored the Top 20 hit “Youth”. I dove deeper into the album for the evocative “Talk Me Down”.  My bigger list also includes “Wild” (#35)  and “Fools” (#40), all BILLCS Top 30 Top 10 songs.

#23 – belongs to California duo Mako with their dance radio hit “Smoke Filled Room”. As remixed by Elephante, who appears two more times in this list, “Smoke Filled Room” set the stage for a crush of a now-grown up woman.

#22 – on the rise in 2016 was L.A. producer and singer Mi Disguise (aka Louie Garcia), and with his pal Rouse created a wonderful dance mix EP called NGHT LFE for summer clubbing. Their song “Her And Him” is an inspiring song for late night romance.

#21 – the song I liked best on Adele’s album 25 next to last year’s “Hello”, “All I Ask” is another knockout performance and stood out from the rest of the songs on the album.

#20 – if there was any song in 2016 that would instantly make you feel good it’s one by veteran producer Tony Moran and singer Jason Walker and his amazing range. “So Happy” was a deserved #1 Billboard club hit.

#19 – I was wowed by MAX when I saw him perform in October 2015, and since then he has been a steady presence on the BILLCS Top 30. Singer and actor Max Schneider brought us a full album called Hell’s Kitchen Angel. The album contained a sweet ballad called “Lights Down Low”, but it was the smashing uptempo remix by L.A. duo Two Friends that took it to new heights. It’s the first of two in this list by MAX.

#18 – producer/remixer Tim Wu calls himself Elephante and from his EP I Am The Elephante recorded “Plans” featuring BILLCS favourite Brandyn Burnette on vocals, and I hope the pair will repeat this collaboration soon.

#17 – back and as grand as ever in 2016 was the classic dance duo Pet Shop Boys from their album Super with the lead off single “The Pop Kids”, which got club goers out onto the dance floor in the Spring.

#16 – a very distinct song that found its way out of its native Norway to become a worldwide pop and dance club hit. Featuring a unique vocal by a singer named Iselin Solheim, it’s “Faded” by newcomer Alan Walker.

#15 – Dutch duo The Him released an irresistible deep house club hit “Balance”, which features L.A. based Dutch singer/songwriter Oktavian. Watch for more great music from The Him in 2017 as they wrapped up the year opening for The Chainsmokers on their European tour.

#14 – one of the most poignant songs of 2016 is based on a coincidence of real-life events of loss, by Brandyn Burnette called “Lost” from his EP Made Of Dreams. Brandyn auditioned for American Idol at the top of the year and took a risk by performing this original, which the judges loved, though Brandyn chose not to continue on the show. “Lost” is the third of four songs in the Top 30 by or featuring Brandyn.

#13 – preceding Hell’s Kitchen Angel in 2016 was MAX’s EP Wrong. The title song is a hip hop flavoured rave up featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert who scored with his own album and songs in 2016 as well. A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#12 – featuring an incredible gritty vocal by American singer Brayton Bowman is “Shy” by Belgian producer The Magician, who released “Shy” and songs by others in 2016 on his own label Potion Records. Watch for more of this incredible music from The Magician and his stable of artists in 2017.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#11 – “Kiss The Sky” by NYC duo The Knocks featuring none other than The Fugees’ Wyclef Jean on vocals. The Knocks created a grand party when I saw their show in January, proving themselves to be slick entertainers as well as producers. Their album 55 continued the dance party, and they found themselves opening for Justin Bieber on his European tour in the latter part of 2016. “Kiss The Sky” is sheer dance music escapism at its best.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#10 – the third entry on the list by Elephante is “Closer”, which became his signature song after being heard in many remixes which included worthy ones by the likes of producers Aash Mehta and Speaker Of The House. The vocalist on “Closer” is Portland, Oregon’s Bishøp and it’s one of the best of 2016. 

#9 – “Dreamin’” by British producer/remixer Embody featuring fellow Brit vocalist Camden Cox. It’s somewhat hard to believe that the song that could transport you most to a hot beach party in 2016 was brought to us from two talented Brits. “Dreamin’” is 2016’s best tropical mix.

Songs 8 through 1 all were BILLCS Top 30 #1’s 🙂

#8 – belonging to my fellow Canadian The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, and Abel grew up not far from where I grew up, but in a community of 90’s Ethiopean immigrants, which makes his success all the more formidable. The Weeknd collaborated with the award-winning French duo Daft Punk for “Starboy”, from the diverse album of the same name, which also gave him his first Billboard #1 hit. 

#7 – Brandyn Burnette has his final song of 4 in the Top 30 (and 8 on the full list, plus one by his duo Cosmos & Creature with his gal Molly Moore) from his special EP Made Of Dreams with “Nothing At All”. It’s a sparse production that brings out the progressive soul vibe of the song, which made the Made Of Dreams EP all the more listenable. Brandyn’s putting finishing touches on his third release due in January.

#6 – one of the most emotional songs of the year, the second one on the list called “Lost”, this one by British Columbia native Connor Phillips. In its original version, the song is a short acoustic ballad, but Canadian remix duo Young Bombs once again gave their redux an extra wow factor by washing it in enough synths to make your eyes wet. If you find yourself wanting to hug someone, blame it on the power of music.

free download:

#5 – the second song from Super 8bit Heart on this list is “8bit Heart”, a personal favourite of mine from 2010 that was redone for 2016. “8bit Heart” is a song like none other to me, it’s a song full of love and heart that totally captivated me 6 years ago in its original version, and was my #4 song of that year. Simon kept it real in 2016 and made the redux of “8bit Heart” the lead companion song for his book Boy Robot. 

#4 – released in late July, it was hard to believe that “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey would become one of the biggest hits of the decade, with 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Chainsmokers, who are the NYC duo of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, appeared on my list last year but more than any act in 2016 outdid themselves with their relentless performing and recording schedules. But the best of it all, is that they remained truly down-to-earth and supportive of other breaking acts in the dance community. “Closer” resonated with me too.

#3 – this song really kicked a funky butt into the proceedings in 2016, being the song that followed The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” at #1 on my regular chart of the BILLCS Top 30. It’s “Native Son Prequel” by producer/remixer Gramatik featuring London-born American vocalist Leo Napier. It’s a song told from the perspective of a pimp, and aside from that odd story angle, NYC remixer Jenaux gave it a spirited 70’s funk flavour that could only make you think of the character Huggy Bear from TV’s Starsky & Hutch 😛 

#2 – Toronto duo Dzeko & Torres collaborated with Sweden’s Hellberg for their free download release of “Care For Me”, which is my #2 song of 2016. While the performers may have considered “Care For Me” to be a great free promotional vehicle for their music in 2016, it was in fact a fabulous arrangement featuring an uncredited vocal, whose lyrics also struck an emotional nerve with me. Dzeko & Torres have since decided to pursue other efforts, with Julian Dzeko continuing to record while Luis Torres ventures into the production side of things, and I’m glad I caught their show in Toronto in April. Jon Hellberg on the other hand featured prominently on the BILLCS Top 30 in 2016 with both “Synchronize” and “All The Way”.

#1 – my favourite song of 2016 was brought to my attention courtesy of an excellent innovative remix, one of the best of the year, by relative newcomers EDWYNN x TIKAL (also known as Swedes Thor Lundberg and Leonard Palmberg) and Spirix (who is American producer/remixer Devain Doolaramini). The song is “So Bad” by L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Skeie, who didn’t release more than a handful of songs in 2016 but is set out to conquer 2017. A protege of Semi-Precious Weapons frontman and noted songwriter Justin Tranter, who co-wrote Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” among others, Brandon has an amazing high register, which helped send “So Bad” into the history books for me. It’s one of the best songs ever about longing for someone who you may or may not get to have in your life. 

Original:

Remix (free download):  

The full list, web version:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

Spotify playlist of most of the songs:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

#BILLCSTop30 #499 – December 26/16

As my bi-weekly chart heads towards its 500th edition in two weeks, it looks like the top of the chart will be shaken ‘n stirred a bit.  I keep the chart to a Top 30 but my new music iPod playlist is around 80 current songs 🙂  Two Canadians lead the new list!

The Top 10

  • The Weeknd and Daft Punk score the top spot again with “Starboy”, which will cause it to rank highly in my upcoming Top 86 of ’16 list 🙂
  • The big question is, which song will follow “Starboy” at #1 in two weeks?  Songs 2, 3 and 4 all make big cases to succeed it.  Another Canadian, Halifax’s Famba, rises 3-2 with his funky and fun “Right Here Right Now”.  L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand climbs 5-3 with his EDM and hip hop mix “D E E P In NY”, featuring rappers D.O.C. and Goodmorning.  Both are above.  And the venerable Pet Shop Boys score their second Top 5er this year with “Burn” (below), moving 6-4.

  • NYC’s Stefan Alexander’s “Skeleton” busts upward 9-6 – check out the intriguing new video below.

  • I had a little hand in connecting lyricist to performers/producers with the song “Brothers” which evolved out of the collaboration.  Germany’s Saxity brought in Norway’s Strøm for the vocal, and the rest is history as the passionately performed song climbs 16-8.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is a vibrant and happy instrumental by Sweden’s Hellberg called “All The Way”, and it vaults 19-9.
  • The last of three new entries to the Top 10 is the infectious, 90’s influenced song “The Thirst” by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Zhao, rising 14-10.

https://soundcloud.com/ericsharp/eric-sharp-the-thirst-ft-zhao

Movin’ On Up

  • Victor Perry is headed for his second Top 10 song on this chart with his brilliant soft piano-led cover of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”, which moves up 23-14.  Get it for free on his Soundcloud page!
  • It recently went to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart, but Tony Moran & Jason Walker’s “Say Yes” is so bright and bubbly it deserves to stick around for longer.  It climbs 24-16.

  • Kid Cudi’s new album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ should be an interesting listen if its lead single “Surfin'” (featuring Pharrell Williams) is any indication, and it jumps 25-17.

  • Canadian Felix Cartal is one of the most prolific dance producers/performers around in 2016.  His uplifting single “Drifting Away”, featuring Ofelia K., rises 28-22.

Premieres

  • The Netherlands’ San Holo has offered up some often infuriatingly experimental progressive EDM of 2016, so it was intriguing to see him land near year’s end with a gorgeous chilled out pop record called “Light”, which arrives at #23.  It’s also on its way up the Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs chart, where it resides in its Top 20 🙂  You can still get it for free, for now, via his Soundcloud page above.  It’s also a feather-in-the-cap for new label Bitbird!
  • Molly Moore’s songs have a way of sticking in your head.  So with recent outstanding remixes by teenager Pluto and duo-on-the-rise Telykast (both above and free downloads), “Imaginary Friends” (initially from her Now You See Me EP) began to resonate with me more.  The song in all of its versions bows at #26.
  • Another teen debuting on the chart is Germany’s JPB, who has released a debut three song EP called For You, and the title song, featuring increasingly in-demand British vocalist Luke Cusato, debuts at #27 from the Heroic label.  The song is also available for free download at the Soundcloud link above.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesdays at 9pm EST! :)

#BILLCSTop30 #498 – December 12/16

The top of the chart becomes unzipped after a slew of long-lasting favourites give way, resulting in some huge moves, and other favourites depart, meaning that there are six debuts on the new chart, giving us a good sign of what’s in store for 2017 🙂

The Top 10

  • #1 and #2 duke it out and once again “Starboy” by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk stays ahead of “Plans” by Elephante featuring Brandyn Burnette.  What a fine pair of songs to lead a very busy pack below!
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Halifax’s Famba, whose fun and mainly narrated “Right Here Right Now” soars 16 to 3.  The song would make a good mix with 90’s hits “The Rockafeller Skank” by Fatboy Slim or “People Are Still Having Sex” by LaTour, to name two tunes that come to mind…
  • Amid the three songs that vault into the Top 10, “Just A Dream” by Molly Moore featuring Brandyn Burnette finds its way to #4, from Molly’s terrific Now You See Me EP.
  • Also sailing into the Top 5 from #17 is “D E E P In NY” by Bobby Nourmand featuring rappers DOC and Goodmorning.  “D E E P” is a unique record, originally a house instrumental that has been taken to another level with the hip hop vocals, and has found a place on Pete Tong’s renown show!  More to come I’m sure of it!
  • Pet Shop Boys look like they could be headed to the top with third single “Burn” from their album Super.  “Burn” ignites and rises 18-6.

  • Hey even Rihanna is in the picture – her gorgeous “Love On The Brain” moves 9-7.

  • Also new to the Top 10 is NYC singer Stefan Alexander with his pensive “Skeleton” climbing 15-9.
  • The 5th debut in the Top 10 belongs to Fabian Luttenberger whose laid back grower “Vague” climbs 11-10 in a Stan Sax remix.

What else could be movin’ up?

  • “The Thirst” is an infectious house track by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Kenny Zhao that rises 20-14 with much thanks to some guitar effects which sound like Stardust’s classic “Music Sounds Better With You”.
  • “Brothers” by German duo Saxity featuring Norway’s Strøm on vocals is a sax-led dance track to warm your soul at this time of year.  It soars 25-16.

https://soundcloud.com/hellbergmusic/allthewayvip

  • “All The Way” by Hellberg continues to have long legs after premiering this past summer, climbing 26-19, and now the prominent Swedish producer has released a VIP mix to add to the fun.  Check it out above.

SIX Debuts

  • What a way to lead a fine group of debuts than with American pop/R&B singer Victor Perry’s beautiful rendition of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”.  The piano-led cover bows at #23 and is available at Victor’s Soundcloud page above as a free download 🙂

  • It quickly scurried to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart this past week, and like with its predecessor, the #1 “So Happy”, Tony Moran and Jason Walker have created another instantly memorable, fun, upbeat song with “Say Yes”, which arrives at #24.

  • Kid Cudi makes his debut on this chart with a somewhat provocative but good timey single “Surfin'”, featuring Pharrell Williams, and it premieres at #25, in advance of an album due next year.
  • I wrote about “Chemistry” by talented and affable young Dutchman Steve Void & No Mondays back in the Fall, but it has endured, and recently Epic Records picked it up for release!  After winning a remix contest, Syence presented their version this past week too.  “Chemistry”, featuring singer Clara Mae, bows at #26.  Listen to the original and remix above:)
  • L.A. producer Mahalo and vocalist Cat Lewis are quite the pair with a great song called “Be My Love”, which lands at #27 out of the gate.

https://soundcloud.com/felixcartal/drifting-away

  • After a great year of songs it seems only fitting that Canadian Felix Cartal should appear on the chart with the pop radio-worthy “Drifting Away”, featuring frequent vocal collaborator Ofelia K.  It debuts at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear this Wednesday (December 14) and next Tuesday (December 20) at 9pm EST! :)

#BILLCSTop30 #497 – November 28, 2016

Only three more charts until 2016 is over, and some favourites will depart in the next few weeks, making room for a lot of new music that’s been waiting patiently to get into the higher reaches of my chart.  As a result, there are only two debuts this week, but a changeover at the top…

The New Number One

  • The power of a fantastic melody and amazing production is what gives The Weeknd his first #1 on this chart with “Starboy”, featuring Daft Punk, who also get their first #1, after having three previous Top 10 entries (“One More Time” in 2001; “Stronger” with Kanye West in 2007, and “Get Lucky” in 2013).  It’s so great seeing someone from my neck of the woods – Abel grew up near my neighbourhood in Scarborough, Ontario (east Toronto) – knock it out of the park and I look forward to hearing the entire album.  “False Alarm” (below) also moves up 27-21.  And part of what has helped the appeal of “Starboy” for me is the cover also below by producer/remixer Koni featuring vocalist Johannes Weber, the best one I’ve heard to date (and a free download).  “Starboy” replaces Gramatik & Leo Napier’s “Native Son Prequel” (Jenaux remix) after three appearances at the top (now down to #4), which will depart the chart after the maximum 10 appearances.

The Top 10

  • Elephante’s “Plans”, featuring Brandyn Burnette, advances to #2, one of the top songs from the I Am The Elephante EP.  Brandyn also figures prominently in the Top 10 with his gal Molly Moore at #6 with “Just A Dream” (below) and at #7 in a Sean Turk remix of his own “Closer”.
  • “High” (Young Bombs remix) by Norway’s Jesper Jenset remains at a strong #3, and has been followed up by his great new single “Lies”, which I wrote about recently.
  • “In My Head” by Steve James featuring vocal duo RKCB, continues to move up 6-5.  Check out the recently released remix with Australia’s Joe Mason below, which is a free download 🙂
  • “Luminary” by NYC trio Liquid Diet from their Double Life album (below) grabs #8 on the new chart, while Rihanna’s retro-flavoured “Love On The Brain” advances to #9, and Bright Light Bright Light’s disco-tastic “I Only Want To Please You” (featuring Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic) climbs to #10.

Movin’ On Up

While a continuing log-jam below the Top 10 results in new peaks by songs by Fabian Luttenberger, Satchmode, Cole Plante, and Stefan Alexander, most of the bigger moves are from our debuts two weeks ago (such as the aforementioned “False Alarm” by The Weeknd).

  • “Right Here Right Now” is a fun EDM track with a cool narration by Halifax native Famba, which rises 20-16.
  • “D E E P in NY” by Bobby Nourmand featuring DOC & Goodmorning is Bobby’s hip hop reinvention of his infectious instrumental “D E E P”, which advances 22-17.  It recently received release on The Magician’s Potion label 🙂

  • The fastest riser on the chart is “Burn” by Pet Shop Boys from their album Super, musically a throwback to their 1987 hit “It’s A Sin”.  It climbs 26-18.
  • Despite its title, “The Thirst” by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Kenny Zhao is a more seductive and memorable house track rather than an aggressive one.  It moves up 25-20.
  • NYC singer/songwriter Ayer mixes emotional pop with lighter EDM for “My Hands” which moves up 28-22.

Two Debuts

  • “Brothers” by German producers/DJs/musicians Saxity and featuring Norwegian vocalist Strøm arrives at #25.  It’s a charming, warm song that I wrote about a while back, and I was the one who instigated the connection between the Saxity lads and the songwriters, which led to the birth of “Brothers” 🙂
  • I wrote about “All The Way” by Sweden’s Hellberg late in the summer, but it has stuck with me so much that I had to add it to the chart.  It’s a potent feel-good EDM instrumental from this talented producer who brought us “Synchronize” and “Care For Me” (with Toronto’s Dzeko & Torres) earlier this year.  “All The Way” bounces on to the chart at #26.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesdays at 9pm EST! :)

 

#BILLCSTop30 #496 – November 14/16

Some favourites remain at the top while others tumble this week to make room for songs that have been waiting patiently in line…

The Top 10

  • “Native Son Prequel” by Gramatik and Leo Napier (Jenaux remix) (above) and “Balance” by The Him (below) have been my one-two punch now for three charts (six weeks), and it looks like they will yield to other songs in two weeks – but exactly which ones I do not even know yet!!
  • “Plans” by Elephante and Brandyn Burnette is definitely a contender for the top as it climbs 7 to 4.  Check out the new Acoustic version below 🙂
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs somewhat surprisingly to The Weeknd and Daft Punk, whose “Starboy” rockets 12-5, to become the highest ranking song by The Weeknd on my chart to date.  And… he has one of four debuts too!

  • L.A.-based producer Steve James pairs up with fellow L.A. duo RKCB for a fine blend of EDM and soul on “In My Head”, which rises 9-6.
  • And you’ll see Brandyn Burnette two more times in the Top 10 as his duet with his gal Molly Moore on “Just A Dream” (above, from her brand new EP Now You See Me, which he produced) leaps 13-8, while the Sean Turk remix of his own “Closer” (below) moves up 11-9.  Brandyn has achieved this feat before and most of his songs just make a bee-line for the Top 10 anyway 😛  It’s also the third song called “Closer” to reach my Top 10 this year, following songs by Elephante and The Chainsmokers.

Movin’ On Up

  • NYC trio Liquid Diet close in on the Top 10 with their Eurotastic “Luminary” and its provocative video, up 14-11 from their album Double Life.
  • That unassuming instrumental “Vague” by Fabian Luttenberger in its playful Stan Sax remix continues to gain momentum, climbing 17-14.

  • Cole Plante’s reworking of Womack & Womack’s classic “Teardrops” from 1988, featuring a powerful vocal by Bobi, rises 21-16 and is currently a Top 5 Billboard Club Play hit 🙂
  • My fun, fun, fun trio of debuts from two weeks ago are on the move:  “Right Here Right Now” by Halifax’s Famba (above) jumps 26-20, while Bobby Nourmand’s rework of his instrumental “Deep”, now called “D E E P In NY” featuring rappers DOC and Goodmorning (below), rises 25-22, and Convex & Titus get naaasty in a Snøwmass remix of “Bad Kids” (27-23, also below).

Four Debuts

  • Released by The Disco Fries’ new label Liftoff, producer Eric Sharp and vocalist Zhao have a powerhouse deep house tune called “The Thirst”, which is the highest debut at #25.
  • Pet Shop Boys put on an amazing show last week mixing in old with new and even a bit obscure, and one of the best songs from their latest album Super came out sounding quite grand.  “Burn” isn’t a single – but it should be – and arrives on the chart at #26.

  • If you’re used to the slick and soulful side of The Weeknd then you may be taken a bit aback as he lets loose with the rock-flavoured “False Alarm” at #27, from the upcoming Starboy album.  Not of course to be confused with the Matoma/Becky Hill song which hangs in at #21.

  • One of the nicest and most uplifting songs around right now is the EDM pop ballad “My Hands” by NYC vocalist Ayer, and it lands on the chart at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear this Wednesday (Nov 16) and next Tuesday (Nov 22) at 9pm EST! :)