#BILLCSTop30 #568 – August 19/19

As the ides of August pass by, a close battle for the top on this new chart did not change too much. 

For with the arrival of his new album Ascend, Illenium along with vocalist Jon Bellion once again take #1 with “Good Things Fall Apart”.  That makes it 5 appearances – 10 weeks – at the top, which has only been achieved by one other record in this decade, and that is “I Wanna Be (Free)” by Brandyn Burnette (now recording as EMAN8, and in the chart at #9 with “Time”), my #1 song of 2015.  After listening to Ascend, I am very lost for words and it needs another go through.  But it’s an outstanding record sonically, musically, and lyrically, with many fine collaborations.  

That means that “World At Our Feet” has another close call for #1 but stays at #2 for a 3rd appearance for Australia’s Timmy Trumpet.  Still, it’s a true favourite of mine for ’19.

Unless “World At Our Feet” succeeds “Good Things Fall Apart” at #1, then it should be Push by Ukrainian dance music group Kazaky that gets there next.  “Push” would sound great next to any late 80’s or early 90’s Depeche Mode song, and it climbs 8-3.  And watch the video to see what these five guys do with choreography and huge stiletto heels!

The cool, relaxed vibe of “Monday Blues” helps send this dance track up 7-5 for L.A. producer Eric Sharp and vocalist Kenny Zhao.  Play it after “Cola” by Camelphat and Elderbrook and you’ll see what I mean.

Showtek and Leon Sherman’s “Listen To Your Momma” (A-Trak remix) continues its journey into the Top 10 landing at #8.

Sam Dickinson’s beautiful and affecting “All We Are” will become the UK singer/songwriter’s fourth Top 10 entry on this chart in two weeks, but for now it climbs 14-11.  Sam has a new single coming called “Diamond Skin” and Pt. 3 of his EP trilogy From The Glass House.

Cutting loose through the middle with a lovely orchestral hook is “Tough Love” by Avicii featuring Swedish chanteuse Agnes plus Avicii’s long time collaborators Vargas and Lagola.  It rises 19-13.

It was never an issue if “Alone Again” by Mahalo and Milkwish would leave the lower 10, it was just a matter of time, amid fierce competition on the chart.  “Alone Again” rises 21-16.

Right behind “Alone Again” again is “Flying On My Own” by Celine Dion, which also makes its presence known, climbing 22-17.

The Fastest Riser on the chart is “I’m Not Alright” by Canadians Loud Luxury with vocalist Bryce Vine.  It’s one for the lazy, hazy end of summer days and moves up 26-18.

The Highest Debut belongs to Australian producer Throttle with “Dreamer” at #22.  This one’s a real grower and you pick up the sincerity in the song as you hear it more.  Plus it’s got a knockout beat to keep you grooving.  It’s also a rare appearance on this chart for Canadian dance music label Monstercat, which previously charted with Hellberg’s “Synchronize” (#8) in 2016.  “Dreamer” is Throttle’s second appearance on the chart following his playful take on Michael Bublé’s “My Kind Of Girl” (#21) in 2017, but don’t forget he also had a #1 remix with Troye Sivan’s “My! My! My!”.

The next new arrival is at #24, Nashville duo Apollo LTD’s “On The Way Up 2.0” from their wonderful album Out Of Body.  These guys know how to write songs and put together an album that flows from song to song.  The “2.0” in the title does signal a new version of a previous single that perhaps sounded initially too much like an Imagine Dragons kind of song.  Keeping the anthemic appeal intact, “2.0” takes the song down a few notches and lets us bask in its fine melody and great vocal.

The third debut will become an easy go-to record for me.  It’s “Ritual”, a collaboration of Tiësto, Jonas Blue and Rita Ora, which arrives at #26.  While Tiësto and Jonas Blue are no strangers to the chart, it is Rita Ora’s first entry and definitely one of her best vocals.  The hook in “Ritual” is just insane and had me singing along right away.

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

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UK electro indie singer/songwriter @Lostchilduk returns with playful and jaunty “Like Like” and EP

LOSTCHILD, Like Like (EP)

UK singer/songwriter Lostchild first came to my attention a couple of years ago with a boldly spot-on, sinewy cover of Madonna’s “Skin” from Ray Of Light.  Then last year, he had one of my favourites with the warts-and-all honesty of “Blacklist” (which got to #5 on my personal chart).  He’s back with a song that continues to showcase his diverse talents as both singer and songwriter with “Like Like”, also the name of the accompanying EP. 

For Lostchild, “Like Like” is an uncharacteristically playful and jaunty electronic pop/dance tune that, like “Blacklist”, shows off the singer’s hugely appealing personality while recounting the frustration of not being able to find a successful relationship.  But the message is hopeful and open-ended, with a showy video, like the ones for “Blacklist”, that’s all Lostchild (above). While “Like Like” relies on an electronic vocal hook, the song to me is actually improved in its OKJAMES remix below.  This is the version to which you can let loose even more.  It’s got a bounce missing from the original and this is the version I’d prefer to hear on the radio.  The EP is rounded out by an acoustic version of “Like Like” plus two more new songs, the more self-reflective “Tall” and the slick, UK soul-influenced “Know U 1st”.  

If you like singer/songwriters like Lauv and Troye Sivan who write genuine, personal songs that so many of us can relate to, then you’ll adore Lostchild too. So jump on the Lostchild train and enjoy the fun ride (with donuts!) of “Like Like”.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Ghost” is about celebrating the ones you loved from Nashville-based electronic producer @BuiltByTitan” with vocalist @JoeKirkmusic

BUILT BY TITAN and JOE KIRK, “Ghost”

You’ll recall a compelling action-based trilogy of videos a few years back of songs by electronic music producer and keyboardist Built By Titan called “The Awakening Journey”.  Born in the Philippines but based in Nashville, Built By Titan (aka Fred Williams) has worked with the likes of The Jonas Brothers, Backstreet Boys, and Adam Lambert, and has a devoted online following.  The last song of that trilogy was “Dangerous”, co-written and sung by Jesse McCartney, my favourite of the three.  This time Built By Titan offers a more emotional slice of electronic dance music that would go hand-in-hand with songs by Illenium and Odesza called “Ghost”.  The song and video – with its intriguing Indigenous family storyline – are about loss, but also the celebration of life.  You may recall a contestant from “The Voice”, also from Nashville, about 5 years ago named Joe Kirk, an underdog favourite of mine who was cut way too early from the show.  “Ghost” gives him a huge opportunity to show the power and confidence in his voice years after the show, and it’s a glorious performance that totally makes the record.  “Ghost” is therefore a delightful and unexpected surprise that is worthy of both dance radio airplay and dance club play.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Baton Rouge duo @thisisPlake are back as emotions and thoughts collide in “Bleeding Out”

PLAKE, “Bleeding Out”

The brothers Plake – singer Hunter and guitarist Dakota – circle back to the unique appeal of their first single “Eden” and some of Hunter’s performances on “The Voice” (where he should have gotten into the Top 4) a few years back with “Bleeding Out”.  Taking those times when there are too many voices wrestling for space inside your brain and you can’t make sense of what’s happening around you, the lyrics of “Bleeding Out” are countered by a soft electronic melody and a dreamy vocal by Hunter.  “Bleeding Out” tells it like it is, and doesn’t compromise with a happy ending or closure because some times are tough and the reality of emotions sink deep.  “Bleeding Out” puts these guys back solidly on the pop music map and you’d be remiss if you didn’t take a listen.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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It’s downright cool to be “Peachy” as sung by L.A.-based songwriter and producer @EMMinreallife

EMM2

EMM, “Peachy”

Don’t be fooled by its title – “Peachy” is a powerhouse alt.rocker that is all about empowering yourself to be just your cool self.  And let it sink in because it should be nothing more than “Peachy” to be you, like it is for the pop chameleon that is Michigan-born, L.A.-based EMM, despite any ongoing hardships.  There are so many people in the world with anxieties and pressures, many of which are a result of other people diminishing their self-worth.  “Peachy” puts that all to bed with a ferocious vocal and melody that definitely recall No Doubt, Blondie, and Cyndi Lauper.  EMM refuses to compromise her touch-edged lyrics, which makes the song even more powerful.  The musical arrangement is a catchy but haunting contrast to the song’s message.  Listen to the song at the link below and you’ll understand why “Peachy” fits for EMM as well as for others.

Published in: on August 17, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Canadians @Rynx and @Kiesza collaborate on powerfully emotional electronica of “All For You”

RYNX and KIESZA, “All For You”

Canadian producer (of Korean and Chinese descent) Rynx, aka Evan Fong, is best known to the online gaming world as Vanoss, however he’s released his own music for the last few years, and remixed for high profile artists like Alison Wonderland and J. Balvin.  Multi Juno Awards winner Kiesza is well known throughout the world for “Hideaway” from a few years back, and within the last year has embarked back on her career as an independent performer, particularly with the fun and flamboyant “Phantom Of The Dance Floor”.  However a serious recent motor vehicle accident left her with a brain injury from which she continues to recover.  Kiesza’s a source of inspiration as she continues to perform and release her own music – albeit under extreme pain and duresse – and we should be thankful for her determination.  Assuredly, “All For You” graces us with one of her best vocals.  Sometimes I think the production holds back a bit, but that does not take away from “All For You” being a beautiful emotional electronic love song.  Even though it is on release with support through Island/Universal, “All For You” comes across more as an underdog that is most deserving of your attention.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet new French-American rocker @NordiBlu with her striking debut single “Skin”

NORDI BLU, “Skin”

“Skin” by Nordi Blu impresses right out of the gate as a debut single with powerful, multi-layered production that showcases this rocker’s larger than life persona.  But this French-American singer/songwriter, raised in Berlin, is no newbie.  For as Marie-Claude Rubin, European fans of the TV show “The Voice Of Germany” saw her perform a few years back as part of Mark Forster’s team, where she advanced to the quarter-finals.  It was wise to use that experience as a jumping off point for reinvention, and thus we have Nordi Blu making a striking arrival with “Skin”.  She has a diverse voice full of personality that will make you recall songs by Melissa Etheridge and Alanis Morissette.  I’m particularly taken with how she stays in a low chest voice range during a good part of the song, making the refrain of “you got no skin in it” particularly memorable. A full album is set for late 2019 release.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet new French-American rocker @NordiBlu with her striking debut single “Skin”

NORDI BLU, “Skin”

“Skin” by Nordi Blu impresses right out of the gate as a debut single with powerful, multi-layered production that showcases this rocker’s larger than life persona.  But this French-American singer/songwriter, raised in Berlin, is no newbie.  For as Marie-Claude Rubin, European fans of the TV show “The Voice Of Germany” saw her perform a few years back as part of Mark Forster’s team, where she advanced to the quarter-finals.  It was wise to use that experience as a jumping off point for reinvention, and thus we have Nordi Blu making a striking arrival with “Skin”.  She has a diverse voice full of personality that will make you recall songs by Melissa Etheridge and Alanis Morissette.  I’m particularly taken with how she stays in a low chest voice range during a good part of the song, making the refrain of “you got no skin in it” particularly memorable. A full album is set for late 2019 release.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SoCal duo Inspired & The Sleep @insprdandtheslp help us out with “Getting Through”

INSPIRED AND THE SLEEP, “Getting Through”

Although the lyrics are perfectly serious, SoCal duo Inspired And The Sleep (Max and Bryce) are determined to help us all out with “Getting Through”.  Its empowering message compels you to listen, which is countered by a soothing melody carried throughout by a some chipper piano chords, giving it a 1970’s Doobie Brothers kind of vibe (think of songs like “Minute By Minute” or “It Keeps You Runnin'”).  Max’s vocal really shines as well, making “Getting Through” likely the best release I’ve heard from them to date.  It’s definitely indie alternative, and college radio stations should enjoy this one immensely.  But it’s also unique pop music that will stand apart from the rest in a set, not an easy thing to do these days.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Always listen to those voices: “Sounds Like An Anthem” comes from Canadian-German synth duo @LolaDutronic

LOLA DUTRONIC, “Sounds Like An Anthem”

It’s been a while since Richard Citroen and Stephanie B. have graced us with new music as Lola Dutronic, but they return with the engaging “Sounds Like An Anthem”.  They encourage us to listen to the voices in our heads because they could certainly mean something important to either ourselves or someone else.  The duo continue to provide chic 60’s style and sensibility paired with contemporary dance rhythms which seem to be influenced by 80’s artists like Talk Talk or OMD.  While I think “Sounds Like An Anthem” is infectious, if a little long, it might benefit from a remix or two which might help it find its way deservedly into clubland where I would hear it as an anthem for the nightlife.

Published in: on August 11, 2019 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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