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

It Was All About The Great Voices

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

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

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

Newcomers:

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

Continuing from 2012…

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

Returning Favourites:

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

SONGS 75 to 41

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

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

BILLCS Top 30 #416 – October 21/13

Number One:

  • In a powerful Top 5 last week, I was uncertain who would emerge at #1 on the new chart.  But it’s Neverest whose latest single “Rewind” moves 3-1 this week.  Neverest is in good company with River Tiber and Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni as Canadian performers with #1’s on my chart this year.  The quartet is also on a triple bill with Shawn Desman and Tyler Shaw at The Mod Club on November 16 in Toronto.  Do catch their show if you haven’t!  Always full of surprises and positive energy.  PLUS near the bottom of this post (but before you look at the full chart) I am featuring a new song by the writer of “Rewind”!

The Rest Of The Top 10:

  • Ryan Adamés has a 3rd appearance at #2 with his warm and fuzzy cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me”.  That song is suddenly emerging on many TV talent shows but none of the covers that I’ve heard have the unique appeal of this rendition.  It’s available for free if you go and like Ryan’s Facebook page 🙂

  • ARTPOP and new single(s) approach in the coming weeks, but Lady GaGa’s “Applause” is still climbing my chart at #3.
  • It looks like Miguel & Jessie Ware’s duet of “Adorn” is eye-ing #1 in two weeks.  My excuse for being a latehead on the song earlier this year 😛 It climbs 8-4.
  • Kaden’s “Black Light” falls to #5, but he has another song, the title track from the compilation Fuel For The Machine on deck!  You can listen to a preview of it right here.
  • Betty Who’s “Somebody Loves You” is one of the most joyous songs you’ll hear this year, and the Aussie-born New York-based singer climbs 10-6.

  • While we await what sounds like will be a compelling video for his song “Lift Your Head”, Sam Dickinson’s soulful and energetic “Learn To Wait” climbs another notch to #8.
  • Pet Shop Boys score their second Top Tenner from Electric with the sublime “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” at #9.
  • Australians Parralox created one of the most interesting album of cover versions this year with Recovery.  Excellent choices include Front 242’s memorable industrial club hit “Headhunter”, here given a full blown electronica dance treatment.  It lands at #10 on the chart 🙂

Fast Risers:

  • The more I listen to Osvaldo Supino’s “I Have A Name”, the more I appreciate the honest beauty of the lyrics and the arrangement.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 21-11, while Osvaldo-with-a-boombox creates fun and havoc with “Ma Radio” further down at #15.

  • I can’t wait for more new music proper from DATABOY, but in the meantime their stellar mashup “We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness” is doing the trick just fine thank you, and moves up to #12.
  • FrankMusik’s gorgeous “Hymn” from his acoustic piano album Between Us rises to #17.  He’s playing two shows in NYC this week, on Thursday October 24 at Rockwood (which I will miss, dammit, because I arrive in NYC the next evening 😦 ) and Saturday October 26 for a Hallowe’en DJ set at Fox & Jane.  More stops in Washington DC and Philadelphia afterwards for you fans!

  • “Can’t Hold Back” by Anton Ewald is the last fast riser, moving 28-21.  I’m thoroughly impressed with his EP, called A.  It’s really contemporary and diverse pop, and only the Swedes can seem to get this right!!

New to the Chart:

As older songs reach their maximum amount of appearances (10 = 20 weeks) and drop off, it helps make way for lots of fresh new tunes to dazzle you.

  • It’s no surprise to regular readers of this blog that two new songs by Simon Curtis make their debuts.  Last week Simon unleashed a free mixtape called WWW which I wrote about.  Forever our boy robot, Simon continues to impress – and this is the music that didn’t make the cut for his upcoming album, but were songs instead written for others.  Fans are so glad these are available for download through the MuuMuse website.  First at #19 we have the unexpected, hypnotic, and stunning dance epic “Do I Have To Dance”.  Further down it’s a call to arms once again for the raucous, energetic “Berlin Wall” at #28.

  • I actually wrote about this next debut quite a while back, but the more I hear it, the more it resonates with me.  It’s also one of the rare songs that leaves a big lump in my throat at the end every time after “I want it more than ever”, followed by the saddest firework sounds you’ll ever hear.  Beautifully sung by LA-based singer Jarell Perry, “4th of July” debuts at #25.  And it’s also a free download right here.
  • Travis Garland is on tour and is coming to my town on November 7!  Ticket bought!  His Spanish-flavoured, seductive disco in the form of “Easy” is a departure for him in the songs on his self-titled album, but it works beautifully and bows at #26.

  • The final debut at #30 comes from a NYC dance troubadour whose songs are most often about fun and sex, and fun and sex 🙂 Nothing wrong with that.  His new album is on deck for a November release called Seventh Star, and I’m talking about SIRPAUL with his single “Every Single Moment”, which I wrote about recently.  You can buy it on iTunes.  Two of SIRPAUL’s songs are also available on both volumes of This Beat Is…Poptronik 🙂

Bonus Feature:

The writer of Neverest’s “Rewind” is former basketball player and Toronto singer Corey Niles.  Having a mentor in fellow Canadian singer Dru (noted for his own hits “She Can Ride” as well as his appearance on Doman & Gooding’s dance smash “Runnin'”, which got to #15 on this chart in 2009) who is featured in Corey’s song “Rollercoaster” is a huge plus.  Don’t underestimate the presence of this song.  It’s going to lend a fresh urban sound to radio here in Canada that you don’t get to hear much by Canadians beyond songs by Drake.  “Rollercoaster” does not let up, it slams pretty hard in a sizzling blend of contemporary R&B styles, and gives a great introduction to the solo Corey Niles.  Watch for what sounds to be an intriguing video debuting this week on MuchMusic.  Listen and watch the lyric video below.  BOOOM!

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

Here’s the full BILLCS Top 30 :)

03 01 REWIND Neverest
02 02 AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Ryan Adamés
04 03 APPLAUSE Lady Gaga
08 04 ADORN Miguel F/ Jessie Ware
01 05 BLACK LIGHT (Stormby remix) Kaden
10 06 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
07 07 TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Justin Timberlake
09 08 LEARN TO WAIT Sam Dickinson
12 09 LOVE IS A BOURGEOIS CONSTRUCT Pet Shop Boys
15 10 HEADHUNTER Parralox
21 11 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
18 12 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
11 13 ROYALS Lorde
16 14 I REMEMBER Nick Pes
17 15 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino
05 16 SKIRT Kylie Minogue
20 17 HYMN FrankMusik
06 18 HOMEWRECKER Travis Garland
New 19 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
14 20 PROBLEM (Kat Krazy remix) Natalia Kills
28 21 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
24 22 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
26 23 JULIET Lawson
27 24 REPLAY Zendaya
New 25 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
New 26 EASY Travis Garland
13 27 VOCAL Pet Shop Boys
New 28 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis
19 29 DIRTY FLOORS Andy Suzuki & The Method
New 30 EVERY SINGLE MOMENT   SIRPAUL

BILLCS Top 30 #415 – October 7/13

The new chart has an unexpected double whammy from a talented young Italian artist who knows how to seamlessly and successfully bridge emotional pop with dance music.  But first…

In the Top 10:

The Top 3 is solid with a reason.  “Black Light” by Kaden is #1 for a 4th appearance (8th week), but the top could be taken in two weeks by “As Long As You Love Me” by Ryan Adamés or Toronto’s Neverest with “Rewind”.  And Lady GaGa’s “Applause” slides into 4th place as we ready for the onslaught of ARTPOP promos a month in advance of the album’s release.  So the next #1 is fair game!  Travis Garland’s “Homewrecker”, from his self-titled debut album, rises to a new high of #6, as does Justin Timberlake, from the newly released 20/20 Experience Part II, with “Take Back The Night” at #7.

Fastest Risers:

  • No indeed, “We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness”.  DATABOY’s brillo mashup is a perfect end of summer song that contains some of the Austin lads’ (Cameron and Adam) best vocals.  It climbs 25-18.
  • “Adorn” by Miguel featuring Jessie Ware moves 13-8, and ya never know, it could have its eyes on the top of the chart, too.
  • It’s great to see UK indie singer Sam Dickinson jump into the Top 10 with “Learn To Wait”, as he prepares a video for a softer, emotional song “Lift Your Head”, from his album The Stories That Occurred. 
  • Betty Who’s “Somebody Loves You” jumps out of my stereo and iPod Touch whenever I play it, and gains momentum on the chart, soaring to #10.
  • It appears that Pet Shop Boys ditched “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” as a follow-up single to “Vocal” in favour of “Thursday”, featuring UK dance artist Example.  That won’t stop the song from edging its way to the Top 10, as it lands at #12 this week.

New to the Chart:

  • Yes, that Italian singer I mentioned at the top along with his new video for the poignant “I Have A Name” is indeed Osvaldo Supino.  While he has a penchant for the naughty and double entendre, he is at his best either having great fun with his boombox in the video for “Ma Radio” (which advances to #17) or being ultra-sincere with “I Have A Name”.  The video captures those moments in time… some you don’t want to relive, and some you do.  It’s from Osvaldo’s latest album Exposed (as is Ma Radio), and is also part of the amazing dance compilation that is This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume 2.  The song arrives at #21.
  • In a few weeks, “Juliet” by Lawson will take over the UK charts when their Chapman Square Chapter II album will also be released.  What’s in store for North America will likely centre around “Learn To Love Again” (#5 here earlier in the year) and a variation of the new album.  Can’t wait!  “Juliet” debuts at #26.
  • It takes a lot of a song to stick with me amid so much other great new music.  I don’t often draw from the Disney channel cadre of artists, but I was truly impressed when I saw Zendaya perform in concert this past summer.   “Replay” has become a modest pop hit already from her debut self-titled album, and still stuck in my head, premieres at #27. 
  • Lastly, Anton Ewald’s A EP has been the Europop winner this year that is normally held by the likes of Eric Saade.  With Eric’s album focusing more on softer, lyrical songs, Anton’s already grabbed a big win with “Begging”, still on the chart after peaking at #2.  “Can’t Hold Back” is simply energetic Europop at its best and bows at #28.  You can also pick up Anton’s A Acoustic EP online.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

Here’s the full basic BILLCS Top 30 :)

01 01 BLACK LIGHT (Stormby remix) Kaden
02 02 AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Ryan Adamés
03 03 REWIND Neverest
06 04 APPLAUSE Lady GaGa
04 05 SKIRT Kylie Minogue
08 06 HOMEWRECKER Travis Garland
09 07 TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Justin Timberlake
13 08 ADORN Miguel featuring Jessie Ware
11 09 LEARN TO WAIT Sam Dickinson
16 10 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
12 11 ROYALS Lorde
17 12 LOVE IS A BOURGEOIS CONSTRUCT Pet Shop Boys
05 13 VOCAL Pet Shop Boys
15 14 PROBLEM (Kat Krazy remix) Natalia Kills
20 15 HEADHUNTER Parralox 
21 16 I REMEMBER Nick Pes
22 17 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino
25 18 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS Databoy
07 19 DIRTY FLOORS Andy Suzuki & The Method
24 20 HYMN FrankMusik
New 21 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
10 22 BEGGING Anton Ewald
14 23 BROKENHEARTED Lawson featuring B.o.B.
29 24 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
19 25 LIFE (IS MY REVENGE) FrankMusik
New 26 JULIET Lawson 
New 27 REPLAY Zendaya
New 28 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
26 29 WINNING GROUND Eric Saade
28 30 HEARTS Dan Black featuring Kelis

BILLCS Top 30 #414 – September 23/13

In the Top 5:

“Black Light” by L.A. singer Kaden rides the top of the chart for a third appearance, while Ryan Adamés’ ever-stunning ballad turn of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” is now at #2.  Just to make it interesting, Toronto’s Neverest glides to #3 with their rivetting “Rewind”.

Fastest Risers:

I’m on a mission to get Miguel’s “Adorn” to be a bigger hit than it was at the top of 2013.  Thanks to an exquisite remix featuring Jessie Ware, the song zips up my chart to #13.

Lady GaGa looks to have one of her biggest charting songs here with “Applause” racing to #6.

“Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who had the viral delight of being featured in a massive marriage proposal announcement video for two men in Salt Lake City.  Indeed it is a beautiful song that fits the occasion and moves up to #16.

Other newcomers to the chart besides “Adorn” last week all climb up six places:  “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” by Pet Shop Boys (video is on its way), “Headhunter” by Parralox, and “I Remember” by Nick Pes, from the must-have dance compilation This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume Two!

New to the Chart:

I’ve already written about the three premieres, but they are all well worth repeating.

It was almost an instantaneous decision to add the lone new song from FrankMusik’s Between Us acoustic piano album, “Hymn”, and it arrives at #24.  It’s one of Vince’s most painful and beautiful songs to date.  I’ll have to check, but I don’t think there has been a chart in 2013 that has not featured a FrankMusik song!

Right behind at #25 is DATABOY’s devistatingly original mashup “We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness”, seamlessly blending the Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey songs in an electronica way that you could never have imagined.  And you can see the guys sing their hearts out in the video – can’t wait until they can tour.  More new music on the way soon from Cameron and Adam!  Download it for free after watching the video using the link below the video 🙂  I think the only other ‘mashup’ I’ve charted was Pet Shop Boys’ blend of “Viva La Vida” and “Domino Dancing” a few years back, though another worthy one is Penguin Prison’s “GoldenTrain/Working Day And Night”.

Ryan Star is currently accepting pledges to fund his upcoming album via PledgeMusic.  He’s already recently released a well-received EP of his thoughtful form of rock, and sold out four shows in New York City at the beginning of August.  His single from the EP deserves some belated attention, so “Impossible” arrives at #29, joining a slew of other Ryan Star songs to appear on the chart, including the Top 5 “Right Now”, “Last Train Home”, and “Breathe”.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and details web edition of my chart.

Here’s the full basic BILLCS Top 30 🙂

01 01 BLACK LIGHT (Stormby remix) Kaden
03 02 AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME Ryan Adamés
06 03 REWIND Neverest
04 04 SKIRT Kylie Minogue
02 05 VOCAL Pet Shop Boys
13 06 APPLAUSE Lady GaGa
07 07 DIRTY FLOORS Andy Suzuki & The Method
10 08 HOMEWRECKER Travis Garland
12 09 TAKE BACK THE NIGHT Justin Timberlake
05 10 BEGGING Anton Ewald
15 11 LEARN TO WAIT Sam Dickinson
14 12 ROYALS Lorde
21 13 ADORN Miguel featuring Jessie Ware
08 14 BROKENHEARTED Lawson featuring B.o.B.
19 15 PROBLEM (Kat Krazy remix) Natalia Kills
22 16 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
23 17 LOVE IS A BOURGEOIS CONSTRUCT Pet Shop Boys
18 18 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E
09 19 LIFE (IS MY REVENGE) FrankMusik
26 20 HEADHUNTER Parralox
27 21 I REMEMBER Nick Pes
24 22 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino
11 23 REMIX MY LOVE Killian Wells featuring Kristinia Debarge
New 24 HYMN FrankMusik
New 25 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
17 26 WINNING GROUND Eric Saade
16 27 BLURRED LINES Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell Williams
20 28 HEARTS Dan Black featuring Kelis
New 29 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
28 30 I THINK I LOVE YOU Bongiovanni

BILLCS Top 30 #413 – September 9, 2013

Hey!  The BILLCS Music Blog is now 4 years old!  My chart however has been around a lot longer, debuting online 15 1/2 years ago in January 1998.  So without further adieu, here’s edition #413 😀

  • No change to the Top 5 songs.  Kaden’s slick and memorable “Black Light” reigns at #1 again, while contender “As Long As You Love Me” by Ryan Adamés (below) hangs at #3 again.  Only songs by Kylie Minogue and Anton Ewald switch places, with “Skirt” achieving a #4 high matched for her only by last year’s “Timebomb”.

  • One of the best Canadian pop hits of 2013 is Neverest’s smashing “Rewind”(below), which is the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 15-6.  Could a #1 berth in the coming weeks be possible?  Hmmmm…
  • NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method are coming to a city near you?  You’ll likely get to hear their indie musician anthem “Dirty Floors” (concert version below), which also continues its climb to #7.
  • Lawson put on a heck of a show with Neverest on August 30, with new single “Juliet” coming in October and a Chapman Square Part II album too (North American release please!).  In the meantime, “Brokenhearted” rises to #8.
  • Yesterday, FrankMusik released a gorgeous acoustic repackaging of his album Between called Between Us, on which you will get to hear a much less driven “Life (Is My Revenge)” still come across with a lot of power.  The song moves up to #9.
  • Also released yesterday is Travis Garland’s self-titled album, which does indeed contain the unique and thought-provoking “Homewrecker”, which is now #10.

  • Look what’s just sitting outside the Top 10?  Why it’s “Turn Back The Night” by Justin Timberlake, which is better than any other song on The 20/20 Experience yet seems to be underperforming.  Think Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall, folks.  It’s #12 on my chart.
  • “Applause” by Lady GaGa is not wasting any time proving that it’s a Top 5 contender on my chart.  It puts the pedal to the metal and ends up at #13.
  • Is Lorde’s “Royals” suddenly overexposed with its pop radio success?  Nonetheless, you’ve gotta give it credit for being what will likely be one of the defining songs for 2013.  It’s up to #14.
  • If you’re in the UK, go out and see Sam Dickinson in concert because this lad can sing his soul out.  His single “Learn To Wait” (below) comes from his top notch album The Stories That Occurred, and moves up to #15.

  • Waiting ever so patiently for the official release of Monsieur Adi & A*M*E’s dynamic “What’s Going On” (below)!  This splendid recreation of Soul II Soul’s “Back To Life” goes BOOM in the best ways and rises to #18.
  • Meanwhile, Natalia Kills’ sophomore release Trouble arrived last week on the heels of second single “Saturday Night”.  The Kat Krazy remix of her first single from the album “Problem” continues to build and moves to #19.
  • Two more of last week’s debuts are well on their way.  “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who jumps to #22, while “Ma Radio” by Osvaldo-with-a-boombox-Supino sails to #24.

Four particularly potent debuts arrive on the chart.

  • There had to be a way for the ever-so-talented Miguel to climb on to my chart, seeing that I arrived so late at Grammy time for his album Kaleidoscope Dream and the Top 20 hit “Adorn”?  Well, thanks to Nick of the Chart Shaker music blog, “Adorn” does indeed land on my chart, in a startlingly grand remix featuring the glorious Jessie Ware at #21.

  • While 2013 year end #1 contender “Vocal” sits pretty at #2 again, the second single from Pet Shop Boys’ Electric sees release, and it’s my next favourite on the album, featuring such classic PSB lyrics and imagery, “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct” at #23.

  • As Parralox’s “Silent Morning” almost ends its run on the chart, another one of the most infectious songs premieres from their choice album of cover versions Recovery.  And it’s an odd choice for a cover but it’s done so well!  “Headhunter” (#26) was an industrial dance hit for Front 242 back in 1988, and John von Ahlen’s vocal provides a perfectly complimentary and contemporary update.

  • The collection of electronica and danceable pop on the collection This Beat Is… Poptronik! Volume Two will keep you dancing through to the winter months.  One of its best songs that HASNT’ already appeared on my chart is the wistful end of summer tune “I Remember” by Nick Pes which bows at #27.  It’s in good company with 7 other performers who are still or have appeared on my chart:  FrankMusik (former #1 “Map”), Adam Tyler (#29), Parralox and Ryan Adamés (#30), Kaden (#1) , Osvaldo Supino (#24), Killian Wells (#11), and Tao Hypah.

BILLCS Top 30 #411 – August 12/13

My new Top 10 song listing has had such a major overhaul in the last two weeks that leaves some rising songs temporarily stranded below the Top 10.

kaden2

  • The Top 3 songs remain the same by a considerable margin.  Would I have ever imagined a Pet Shop Boys holding at #1 in 2013 (with “Vocal”) for a fourth appearance (eighth week)?  Get the entire Electric album, it’s excellent.
  • No longer a teen as of this past week, Swedish sensation Anton Ewald hangs at #2 again with “Begging”, while Dan Black & Kelis cannot break through the roadblock with “Hearts” to advance beyond #3.
  • It happened back in June, and it’s happened again.  The highest debut on the chart bows at #4.  The song that did just that 10 weeks ago – “Vocal” by Pet Shop Boys!  This bodes very well for L.A. singer Kaden, as my long wait to have “Black Light” officially on release ended, as I wrote about last week, leaving the song that I heard and loved many months ago to arrive at #4 (particularly the Stormby remix below).  PSB and Anton Ewald, your competition has arrived.  Kaden will also appear with new music on Volume 2 of the dance compilation This Beat Is…Poptronik!
  • After premiering at a smashing #8 two weeks ago, “As Long As You Love Me” by Ryan Adamés can only climb to #5, but should continue to move forward.  This is one cover version that has received more positive reaction from people for whom I’ve played it than any other in recent memory.
  • Even though Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” slips to #7 because of this fierce competition, don’t overlook the fact that it might climb back up… just saying.
  • Kylie Minogue’s “Skirt” continues to make its presence known even if the rest of the world isn’t falling head over heels for it outside of dance clubs.  It’s the fastest riser, again, vaulting 19-8.
  • On the eve of some brand new music in the form of new song “Concrete”, as well as a recent cover of Zedd’s “Clarity”, L.A. singer Adam Tyler climbs up to #9 with his dance delight “Fade Into The Light”.   Like Kaden, Adam appears on Volume 2 of This Beat Is…Poptronik!
  • After performing a free show this weekend in New York City, Andy Suzuki & The Method will soon announce a tour.  Their gritty song “Dirty Floors” moves to #10 on the chart (listen below).

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

Though songs like “Black Light”, “As Long As You Love Me”, and “Skirt” are charging into the Top 10, there are some mighty fine songs waiting to get there…

poptronik3

  • We have the story of the two point rise happening on this chart.  Participating in this event are songs by Lawson, Killian Wells (& Kristinia DeBarge, FrankMusik, Kim Smith, Travis Garland (songs 12-16 respectively), Amelia’s Fault with Color Theory at #18, Sam Dickinson at #20, and Eric Saade (whose new album Forgive Me is coming soon) at #22.  Slow and steady keeps the pace!  Both FrankMusik and Killian Wells also have songs on Volume 2 of This Beat Is…Poptronik! making it four performers on what will be a crazy collection of contemporary dance pop and europop!  The stylishly futuristic Liam Curry album cover is above.
  • In-between this activity, we have our second debut, “Take Back The Night” by Justin Timberlake (above) at #17 (while “Let The Groove Get In” slips to #19), from the upcoming Part II of The 20/20 Experience.  To me this song is better than any song within Part I.  Its roots appear to be based in Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall album, and the results are more than just slick, they are exquisite.  
  • Lorde’s “Royals” advances only four places to #21, but should gain more in the coming weeks.  The song will be on everyone’s tongue by the end of the summer and she will advance to play bigger gigs – her show at the small venue The Hoxton in Toronto sold out quickly, among others.
  • Third of five debuts belongs to Canadian quartet Neverest, with their tough new single “Rewind” at #23, which I wrote about a while back.  Watch for what looks like an intense video coming soon!  Listen above.
  • After my chronicle of the recent success of French electro-meister Monsieur Adi, it’s appropriate that his pairing with A*M*E arrives on the chart.  “What’s Going On”, essentially a rework of Soul II Soul’s 1989 hit “Back To Life”, debuts at #28.
  • I haven’t written about her before, and I’m a bit behind on this one, considering there has already been a subsequent single, but there’s no time like the present to help turn you on to British singer Natalia Kills with “Problem”, from her upcoming album Trouble, at #29.  It’s the Kat Krazy remix that gives this one the boost for me 🙂

 

BILLCS Top 30 #410 – July 29, 2013

If you’re a new reader, the BILLCS Top 30 is my personal chart of faves, and this marks the 410th edition since January 1998.  And since September 2009, I’ve been writing these bi-weekly wanderings though my new’n’notables 🙂

  • First off, and first 🙂 Pet Shop Boys currently rule my iPod Touch!  Electric is very likely my favourite long-player of the year so far, and current single “Vocal” captures the top of my chart for a third bi-weekly appearance, showing no immediate signs of relenting…
  • This is leaving “Begging” by Swedish teen star Anton Ewald, in second place.  And that’s not unfortunate when it’s next to Pet Shop Boys.  “Begging” is from Anton’s EP called A.
  • #3 and #4 follow each other into the Top 5.  I’m looking forward to remixes of Dan Black & Kelis’ “Hearts”, as well as full albums from each (watch the intriguing video below).  And Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” seems to have stirred up a whole lotta fun around the world as sex rules the pop charts more predominately since possibly 1973 (which will be another separate blog post).

  • There’s not a whole lot happening in the first minute and a half of “I Think I Love You”, a rework of a song by Dwele courtesy of Montreal’s Victor Bongiovanni at #6.  But for what it lacks in lyrical substance it totally makes up for with club atmosphere and a most propulsive, seductive bassline.
  • I’m still grooving to “Let The Groove Get In” by Justin Timberlake (below) at #7 from the first part of The 20/20 Experience.  “Take Back The Night” should arrive in this space in two weeks.
  • It’s been one of my most read blog posts these past few months, but it’s quite apparent that Ryan Adamés’ deeply warm and fuzzy cover of Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” (video at the top of this page – the song is a free download if you ‘like’ Ryan’s Facebook page) is turning heads and getting in some ears.  It’s a stunner and a chart topper contender that bows at #8, while Ryan’s collaboration with Parralox on “Silent Morning” holds steady at #5.  Two concurrent times in my Top 10 for a new performer is a rarity!
  • Two songs from FrankMusik’s Between album continue to rise up the chart while the singer has been on a deserved vacation, after which he now plans to release Between and the acoustic Between Us as a double album in the Fall, preceded by new material due imminently.  “Chasing Shadows” inches up to #10, while “Life (Is My Revenge)” moves to #15.

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

  • Two great indie acts are closing in on the Top 10.  It’s taken a while but “Fade Into The Light” by Adam Tyler is at #11, and he is no stranger to the Top 10 with past songs like “Friction”, “I Won’t Let You Go”, and “Music Freak”.  But NYC’s Andy Suzuki & The Method are still fairly fresh new blood, and “Dirty Floors” from Born Out Of Mischief jumps to #12.
  • Lawson’s “Brokenhearted” (featuring B.o.B.) became their most recent UK Top 10 hit, which I’m hoping will lead to its North American release while the band tours here.  It climbs to #14.
  • More indie newcomers to the chart are Killian Wells (featuring Kristinia DeBarge) on the bright and very shiny “Remix My Love” at #16 (above), and Kim Smith, whose “Shooting Star” from debut electropop album Nova soars to #17.
  • Travis Garland’s “Homewrecker” looks to break hearts as the song climbs 24-18 from the free downloadable EP Fashionably Late II, while Kylie Minogue has the fastest riser on the chart with “Skirt” (below) tantalizing dance floors world wide.  It jumps 26-19.
  • Playing it cool in the summer months is studio project Amelia’s Fault featuring Dave Gahan-influenced singer Color Theory with “Colder” at #20.

  • Two more debuts by newcomers grace the chart.  Sam Dickinson’s album The Stories That Occurred is one of the finest sung albums you will hear this year, which will take you to another place within the pop/R&B/soul realm.  His latest single “Learn To Wait” storms the chart at #22

  • New Zealand singer Lorde sneaks under your skin before you know it with “Royals” looking to be a rather conveniently titled pop song that regardless of the birth of Prince George looks to be a hit anyway.  It arrives at #25.

Must Hear New Album: Sam Dickinson – The Stories That Occurred

samdickinson

SAM DICKINSON,  The Stories That Occurred

I like to think of today’s music world as a treasure trove of delights waiting to be discovered.  I’m fortunate enough to receive previews of songs and albums, and occasionally get my socks knocked off by some terrific performers.  Sam Dickinson is a relatively new UK singer whose album The Stories That Occurred is released on Monday.  I already wrote about his initial single/video “How It Used To Be”, one of the standouts of the very personal songs on the album.  Sam is one of those quintessential UK soul voices that comes along rarely, though guys like Charlie Brown and Daley are good company for him.  But The Stories That Occurred is awash in more old school soul – definitely back to the 60’s with Sam & Dave and Aretha, but more noticeably 80’s such as Paul Young and The Style Council, but particularly Simply Red.  And just as when you look at Mick Hucknall, you do not expect such a big, resonant, soul-ridden voice to come out of Sam Dickinson.

But it does, and indeed it is the showpiece of the album, as it should be.  The Stories That Occurred contains upbeat songs and ballads, and is richly produced to compete with any similar sounding big label guns.  His new single “Learn To Wait” is a foot-stomper that leaps out of your stereo speakers with its powerful vocal and big horn arrangement – watch the video below.  The other standouts on the record are “Lift Your Head”, which is an inspirational and heartfelt song about cancer awareness, and the ballad “A Million Miles”, which uses Sam’s power and the horn arrangement to different effects.  

Sam Dickinson is definitely not a talent you want to miss!  Watch for the opportunity to catch his shows if you are in England.  The fine work on this album speaks for itself.  It should attract pop and R&B/soul fans in droves, and “Learn To Wait” is the single that will help get Sam the attention that this album deserves.  Get it on iTunes!

Voices Carry: Betty Who, Sam Dickinson, Lawson, Simon Curtis, Bac2ssential with Charly Mae, plus My Favourites of the First Half of ’13

It’s summer and the best voices soar on a clear sunny day…

BETTY WHO  “Somebody Loves You”

Australia has given us another divine new voice in the form of singer Betty Who, who dropped her EP The Distance amid oodles of praise.  Add my endorsement – “Somebody Loves You” is a sparkling single that could weave its spell in the same way that Katy Perry’s best singles can overtake you.  And while this single just glows, the EP, which is free for the downloading right here, shows much depth that will make her a keeper in the pop world.

SAM DICKINSON “How It Used To Be”

Sam Dickinson is a new British blue-eyed soul singer based out of Newcastle.  Stop.  “New British blue-eyed soul singer” is almost always a good sign for me with music, but even with that positive heads up, young Sam has a unique, powerhouse voice that will blow the roof off your local club.  Take heavy doses of 80’s Simply Red and Style Council via contemporary dance tunes and add significant inspiration from the Atlantic/Stax era of the late 60’s, and you will hear where Sam Dickinson is coming from in “How It Used To Be”, from his forthcoming album The Stories That Occurred, which is due in two weeks.  I will have the scoop on that album for you closer to that time.

LAWSON “Missing”

Just in advance of yesterday’s official UK and Australian release of “Brokenhearted” (featuring B.o.B.) (which I wrote about right here), promising UK quartet Lawson treated us to an acoustic performance of Everything But The Girl’s classic 1995 hit “Missing”.  This is particularly impressive because the original version of  “Missing”, from EBTG’s Amplified Heart album, was acoustic.  But all eyes and ears are on singer Andy Brown, who embodies this cover with passion and desperation, very unlike the original.  I hope they perform it in concert when I see them again in late August.  In fact, the boys can take it as an official request – pretty please 🙂

SIMON CURTIS “Meteor”

Lately, one of our favourite American wunderkinds of this decade, Simon Curtis, has been chatting on Twitter about how one of his songs called “Meteor” was excerpted in a new TV show called “Twisted”.  Yesterday, he let on that the song was available on the Internet to hear, for those that could find it!  Always up to a challenge, I have indeed located this frenzied bit of arpeggio-laden Swedish-influenced pop, which according to the Soundcloud link was discreetly posted about 10 months ago.  Even if it may not receive official release, it’s certainly way beyond a lot of the fluffy Europop that will grace your ears this summer. A very shiny sign of good things to come from Simon’s work-in-progress.

BAC2SSENTIAL featuring CHARLY MAE “Waiting For You”

Though I’m still digging her anthemic “Girls Go Hard”, UK singer Charly Mae has lent her big, big voice for the first time to a deep house club banger courtesy of Bac2ssential called “Waiting For You”.   It’s got that familiar, infectious house bounce that is slayed by Charly Mae’s engaging vocal.  Dance club DJ’s shouldn’t overlook this one.

MY FAVOURITES OF THE FIRST HALF OF 2013

Songs (in alphabetical order)

BEGGING  Anton Ewald

BLUE ELECTRIC ROSES  Travis Garland

CAPTAIN  FrankMusik

THE CITY  River Tiber

CLARITY  Zedd featuring Foxes

GET LUCKY  Daft Punk featuring Nile Rodgers & Pharrell Williams

LEARN TO LOVE AGAIN  Lawson

LIFTED  Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni

MAP  FrankMusik

MY GIRL  Willy Moon

1998  Matthew Koma

OUTTA MY MIND  Matt Blue

PARACHUTE  Matthew Koma

PLAY THE GIRL  Tao Hypah

SAIL INTO THE SUN  Gentlemen Hall

SOMEBODY TO LOVE ME  Eli Escobar featuring Nomi Ruiz

VOCAL  Pet Shop Boys

A WORLD APART  Davis Redfield

YEAH YEAH  Willy Moon

YOUR TOUCH  Blake Lewis

Albums (alphabetical by performer)

MATT DUSK  My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook

FRANKMUSIK  Between

TRAVIS GARLAND  Fashionably Late II (EP)

MATTHEW KOMA  Parachute (EP)

MIGUEL  Kaleidoscope Dream

WILLY MOON  Here’s Willy Moon

JARELL PERRY  Simple Things (EP)

THE PRESETS  Pacifica

RIVER TIBER  Synapses

KIM SMITH  Nova

ANDY SUZUKI & THE METHOD  Born Out Of Mischief