#BILLCSTop30 #559, April 15/19

The top of the chart appears relatively unchanged, but the bottom of the Top 10 is all abuzz as a few songs soar, and four debuts add to the pleasures.

I can’t get enough of “i’m so tired…” by Lauv and Troye Sivan, such that I think they should record another song together.  It would be the perfect follow up until Lauv’s forthcoming album is ready.  “i’m so tired…” is locked in at #1.

The only new entry to the Top 5 belongs to Nashville’s Mokita.  The pensive “London” advances 6-4, while the singer/songwriter gets his 3rd chart entry with the bubbly and knowing “Kiss And Tell” at #26.  Watch out for Mokita, his music is absolute fire right now!

“Love” by Simon Curtis rises 8-6.  I can’t wait to hear what Simon has coming next, and as gorgeous and soulful that “Love” might be, I want something more hard-hitting and danceable next 🙂

The fastest riser on the chart is by UK/Germany production duo M-22 with “White Lies”, which catapults 23-7, with definite eyes on #1 in the coming weeks.  I saw the duo drop the song at Miami Music Week and with those deep house vibes, courtesy of some influence from Inner City’s “Good Life”, “White Lies” simply can’t miss!

In a darker but somehow uplifting vein is “Go Ahead” by L.A.’s Mahalo featuring vocalist  MŌZ.  It climbs 13-8 and follows the now-departed “In My Arms” for a 5th Top 10 song here for Mahalo 🙂

In any other week a 24-9 leap would be the fastest riser, but in direct competition with M-22’s “White Lies” is another brilliant new dance song, “Good Things” in its disco edit by Cedric Gervais and Just Kiddin’ featuring vocalist Kyan.  “Good Things” just brims with fun and energy and like “White Lies” is bound to be one of my favourite songs of the year.

The Top 10 isn’t done yet if Sam Smith and Normani have any say in the matter.  “Dancing With A Stranger” climbs 14-10, becoming his first Top 10 since “Too Good For Goodbyes”.

Just outside of the Top 10 there’s “Black Gasoline” bubbling under and rising 17-11 for Italy’s Mark Mendy and featuring some irresistible vocalizing by Australia’s Beamish Brothers (Ben and Jeremy).  

We find another, more famous set of brothers moving up 19-15.  It’s those Jonasei with “Sucker” still keeping fans happy in the shadow of the new, quieter single “Cool”.

There’s so much great dance music always coming from The Netherlands, and “Enlighten Me” by DubVision and SYZZ is no exception.  This rollicking foot-fest climbs 26-18.

NYC singer/songwriter Matt Beilis enters the Top 20 with his Maroon 5-ish “Chemistry Or Chemicals” moving up 22-19.

Disco dancing is alive and well with the clubland enthusiasm of “Let’s Go Dancing” by UK producers Horse Meat Disco and NYC vocalist Amy Douglas, which jumps 25-21.

Ever-prolific Illenium moves up 27-22 with the softer, almost Country-flavoured (in a “The Middle”/”This Feeling” kinda way) “Crashing” featuring California duo Bahari on vocals.

The highest debut belongs to Belgium’s Felix De Laet, or Lost Frequencies as you better know him.  Featuring vocalist Flynn, “Recognise” packs a punch when it slams right into its great chorus at the :25 mark.  “Recognise” bows on the chart at #25.

German producers and musicians Saxity have been to the Top 10 twice, with “Brothers” and “You Found Me”.  They’re back and wanting to party hard with “Weekend” at #27.  I just love all of the instrumentation that the song has to offer in the background, which makes it sometimes seem like it really wanted to be an Earth, Wind & Fire record in disguise 😛

The final debut is a reprise of a collaboration between another German producer, Final DJs and US-based Welsh multi-talent Bright Light Bright Light.  The strut-worthy house of “Wild” arrives at #28 following their #11 charting song from a few years ago called “Lost In Feelings”.

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 #558 – April 1/19

No April Fool’s anything here folks 😛 As an aftermath to my Miami visit from the past few days, the new chart is beginning to look like an echo of my Dance Roundup blog posts that preceded my trip.  So there are four debuts as well as a new #1 as Spring has kicked off its dancing shoes 🙂

One of the delights of 2019 has been the unexpected pairing of L.A.’s Lauv with Troye Sivan for “i’m so tired”, which ascends to the top this week.  It’s Lauv’s first time at #1 and Troye’s second following “My My My!” just over a year ago.  What’s even better about this release is that it seems so genuine and good-natured, qualities that you can’t just hide in a song.

With it’s sinewy guitar hook and top notch vocal by Oktavian, “Don’t Think Twice” by Revelries and Sam Smyers moves up a notch to #2.  And like “i’m so tired” (although it has distribution by AWAL), “Don’t Think Twice” is an independent release by Revelries, the Netherlands-based Emirati producers.

Following 2016’s “Light” (#4), “lift me from the ground” becomes Dutch producer and musician San Holo’s second Top 5 hit here from his recent release called album1.  Check out Italian producer Flyboy’s jaunty take on the song, above.  It has a different vibe about it but plenty of bounce.  Also check out San’s new single “Lead Me Back”, below.

“Love” by Simon Curtis (12-8, above) and “Sweet But Psycho” by Ava Max (11-9, below) are newcomers to the Top 10 in this chart.  It’s Ava’s first time but Simon is a veteran with 16 Top 10’s including 3 features, 7 of which were number ones (one a feature).  He also happened to have charted in the Top 10 in the guise of one half of Wrathschild with “Fall Into Love” (#8) five years ago this week.

“Take Me Away” is irresistible classic house from England’s Maff Boothroyd, which advances 16-12.  Waste no time and bust those moves on the dance floor with this one!

The fastest riser on the chart is “Go Ahead”, the dark but somehow encouraging new deep house single from producer Mahalo and vocalist MŌZ, climbing 20-13.  Love that bass synth hook!

I had the pleasure of meeting French producer KRONO in Miami last week, and he’s working on more new songs.  “Perfect Strangers” featuring singer PIOTR has a soulful Maroon 5 pop vibe and moves up 22-16.

Even though they don’t really sound alike, the songwriting behind “Black Gasoline” by Italy’s Mark Mendy with Australia’s Beamish Brothers on vocals reminds me of US/South African band Kongos.  There’s a similar pattern for storytelling here which works well with a stylish alt.electronic backdrop.  “Black Gasoline” rises 23-17.

Those Jonasei have one of the catchiest and best sung pop hits right now with “Sucker” and it climbs up 25-19.

I got to do my fair share of dancing during Miami Music Week, and songs like “Let’s Go Dancing” by UK producers Horse Meat Disco (who also played during MMW) and singer Amy Douglas keep that inspiration happening.  It moves up 29-25.

The highest debut of the week was also tweeted out during Miami Music Week.  Using the synth melody from house classic “Good Life” by Inner City as its basis, UK/German production duo M-22 rework it as “White Lies”, which arrives at #23.

I must also say I was taken totally aback when I heard “Good Things” (Disco edit) by MMW performer Cedric Gervais and Just Kiddin featuring vocalist Kyan.  Its feel good rhythms help it arrive at #24.

Dutch producers DubVision and SYZZ create a sparkling melody sung by a fantastic but uncredited male vocal with “Enlighten Me” which bows at #26.

The last debut at #27 keeps the chart entries flowing for electronic dance music sensation Illenium with “Crashing” featuring US duo Bahari.  This one’s about ‘crashing’ at someone’s place and makes a fine love story with Illenium’s intense backdrop.  Illenium has been on the chart steadily since October 29, 2018 with three different songs, the most recent of which, “God Damnit” (#4), departs after 9 appearances.

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 #557 – March 18/19

The lack of blog posts hardly means I’ve stopped listening to new tunes, and in particular the 30 songs in my chart 🙂  The blog posts will come, but in the meantime it’s a mainly feel-good kind of chart with two new entries.

For a third appearance at #1 (6 weeks), it’s “Closure” by Dutch producer Steve Void with vocalist Andy Marsh and its outstanding and memorable video. 

Challenging next week will be current #2 “i’m so tired…” by Lauv and Troye Sivan, which is finding its greatest favour in the UK where it’s headed for the Top 10 this week.  

And #3 is also in contention is “Don’t Think Twice” by Netherlands-based Emirati production duo Revelries and US producer Sam Smyers with US-based Dutch vocalist Oktavian.  Revelries has yet another release later this week with Henri Purnell and Cookin On 3 Burners called “Force Of Nature”, so watch for it!

Sweeping into the Top 5 as the Fastest Riser on the chart twice in a row is the celebrated collaboration of Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Armin van Buuren and W&W with the insanely catchy “Repeat After Me”.  What a crowd pleaser 🙂

Stephen Puth joins brother Charlie in obtaining a Top 5 hit on my chart with “Sexual Vibe” climbing 7-5.  I’m predicting big things for Stephen too!

Australia’s Sam Bluer moves up 9-7 with “Bite My Tongue”.  I really think a collaboration with Troye Sivan is in order, don’t you?

The other newcomer to the Top 10 is by Nashville’s Mokita.  “London” (above) is a gorgeous miss-you song with one of the warmest lyrical hooks I’ve hard in ages.  Mokita has a new one that I’ll preview here until its proper blog post.  It’s called “Kiss And Tell” (below).

“Love” by Simon Curtis advances 17-12 and is eyeing the Top 10 – no strange place for this week’s birthday boy Simon, it’s just missed him for the last three years since the reboots of “8bit Heart” (#1) and “Super Psycho Love” (#3) 😀

Also moving upward is Parralox’s latest “Paradise”, a redux of a single from a few years back with a new vocal by Marcella Detroit and a heavenly house remix by Eric Kupper.  It climbs 16-13.  Parralox was last in the Top 10 in 2015 with #4 “Aeronaut”.

The biggest mover of the last chart’s new entries belongs to the deep house of Mahalo’s “Go Ahead”, featuring an infectious chorus and a potent vocal by MŌZ.  It rises 26-20. Go ahead, take that risk!!

New entry #1 is a bit of a surprise – “Sucker” by The Jonas Brothers at #25.  The Jonasei, as I like to call them 😛 , previously charted in 2008 with “S.O.S.” (#15), but Joe has charted solo and with DNCE, and Nick’s “Chains” also made its presence known in the interim.  But “Sucker” is simply a very good pop song, with all the right chops, and is highly deserving of its success.

New entry #2 at #29 is the out-and-out inspiring disco of “Let’s Go Dancing” by UK producers Horse Meat Disco featuring the enthusiastic vocal of US singer Amy Douglas.  This one’s nothing fancy and with one aim – to make you dance your ass off.  It shall succeed 🙂

The chart will return in two weeks after my visit to Miami Music Week!!

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 #556 March 4/19

The new chart is ready to roar with all of the songs charging up the chart, especially those breaking through and into a very busy Top 10.  And just to add fuel to it all, four more songs debut to challenge in the coming weeks.  Over 2,200 songs have appeared in the BILLCS Top 30 since its inception in 1998!!

But it’s “Closure” by Steve Void and Andy Marsh that secures #1 for a second appearance.  It’s a hard song to get out of your head, matched by a memorable, heartfelt video.  “Closure” is release #100 for Steve’s Strange Fruits label and he reported that it’s already received over 4 million plays.  Well-deserved – a very special song indeed.

Racing up 6-2 is the incredibly likable “i’m so tired…” (above) by new best buds Lauv and Troye Sivan.  We’ll have to see in two weeks if “Closure” stays put again, but for now you can check out the MNEK remix for “i’m so tired…” below!

Moving up impressively to #3 is “Don’t Think Twice” by Revelries and Sam Smyers featuring singer Oktavian.  It’s also a strong contender for the top so we’ll have to see if there’s room for it eventually.  “Twice” is Revelries second Top 10 here following last year’s “Infinitum” and it’s also Oktavian’s too – he was featured on The Him’s #2 “Balance” from 2016.

I love finding singers with fantastic voices and great potential.  Such is the case for NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau with “Flying Away” from his fine indie album Quiet Fall.  It climbs 9-6.

“Sexual Vibe” (above) by Stephen Puth is such an ear-charmer, and it rises 12-7.  Puth the Younger already has a new song and video out called “Half Gone” – check it out below.

The Him’s “Look At Us Now” (above) moves up 10-8.  The prolific duo – recently added to the Miami Music Week Spinnin’ Hotel gig roster – offers up another new tune “Tell Your Friends”, featuring Loote, below.

Young Australian Sam Bluer gets his first Top 10 entry with “Bite My Tongue”, a great companion to Troye Sivan’s “My My My!”, and moves up 11-9.

San Holo fan favourite “lift me from the ground”, featuring Sofie Winterson, breaks out of the middle of the chart and climbs 15-10.

The fastest riser on the chart is a must for upcoming festivals and when you have star power such as Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Armin van Buuren, and W&W creating the song, then how can it be anything but?  “Repeat After Me” charges up the chart 19-13.

“Love” is Simon Curtis’ gorgeous first song to appear on the chart since reduxes of earlier songs “8bit Heart” and “Super Psycho Love” rebooted in 2016. The more sophisticated “Love” is off to a good start, up 22-17.

Right behind is “London” by Nashville’s Mokita, who is also up at #15 with R3HAB for “All Into Nothing”.  This heart-fluttering love song climbs 24-18.

And the fun “Take It Off” by L.A. duo Two Friends rises 27-21 as the guys wind down their “With My Homies” tour.

Leading the debuts is French production team KRONO with the soulful “Perfect Strangers” for Tipsy Records at #25 featuring a winning vocal by PIOTR.

L.A.-based producer Mahalo has his second concurrent chart entry with the catchy future bass of “Go Ahead” featuring vocalist MŌZ.  It arrives at #26, as Mahalo’s other charted release “In My Arms” slips from 2-4.

I love me some danceable alt.pop/rock and Italy’s Mark Mendy delivers it with “Black Gasoline” at #26.  It features Australia’s Beamish Brothers on vocals; they charted late last year with Revelries on the previously mentioned “Infinitum” (#10).

The fourth debut at #27 is “Chemistry or Chemicals” by Matt Beilis, a busy singer/songwriter from NYC who occasionally appears on dance music releases.  This is his first solo appearance; he previously charted with Electric Bodega with “Rest Of My Life” (#4) in 2016.

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 #555 – February 18, 2019

There has to be luck in triple numbers, right?  So edition 555 is upon us with the chart in its 21st year online.  5 new songs invade the chart, and the Top 10 is all shaken up to the point of crowning a new #1 song.

A beautiful video for the new #1 song was released last week and it belongs to “Closure” by Dutch producer Steve Void with singer Andy Marsh.  Although Steve has been to the Top 10 3 times before, it’s his first #1.  The video is all about four young people who all don’t seem to fit in, but find happiness being together.  It doesn’t really have much to do with the theme of the song, but it doesn’t have to.  Well done!

Mahalo and Le:Blanc move up to #2 with a 2:25 dazzler called “In My Arms” (above).  LA-based Mahalo also has a new single that’s totally different in the deep house vein from “In My Arms” called “Go Ahead” featuring MŌZ, below.

“Play” by Jonas Blue and Years & Years (above) advanced 6 to 3.  Among a number of songs to drop on Valentine’s Day was Years & Years’ “Valentino” featuring UK vocalist MNEK (below).

“Don’t Think Twice” is the latest from Netherlands-based Emirati duo Revelries with fellow producer Sam Smyers and vocalist Oktavian.  It climbs 10-4 with eyes on #1 but some competition all around so we’ll see what ultimately gets there when it’s time!

Another song to watch closely on the chart is “I’m So Tired…” by Lauv and Troye Sivan which is the fastest riser soaring 22-6.  The pairing between the two singers was so unexpected but so spot on!

Also new to the Top 10 this week are NYC-based singer/songwriter Ryan Gibeau with “Flying Away” (12-9, above) and its retro pop ballad appeal, and The Him’s propulsive “Look At Us Now” (below), bound to be a festival fave soon, as it climbs 13-10.  It’s the Dutch duo’s 6th time in the Top 10.

Also keep your eyes on “Lift Me From The Ground” by San Holo featuring Sofie Winterson from San’s album1, which moves up 23-15.  The bigger the speakers, the better the song sounds!

Another song to be played loud at festivals is in the mandatory participation needed in “Repeat After Me” by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Armin van Buuren and W&W.  It jumps up the chart quickly 25-19.

UK producer Maff Boothroyd has some slick classic house for clubs with “Take Me Away” (above) moving up 27-21.  Also new from Maff is “Miss You”, below.

“Love” by Simon Curtis is the L.A.-based singer/songwriter’s first new music in 6 years.  It’s Simon’s 16th chart entry, including 3 songs on which he was featured, since “Delusional” arrived on the chart just over 10 years ago.  Check out the lyric video for “Love”, above.

Next up at #24 is the second chart entry for Nashville singer Mokita with “London”.  He’s already up at #17 with R3HAB on “All Into Nothing”.  Like that song “London” is also a ballad, but more in the indie singer/songwriter style, and it has lyrics that will just make you melt.

At #25 is the 11th chart appearance for Sam Smith since 2014 with “Dancing With A Stranger” featuring US singer Normani.  It’s a great song that mashes up perfectly with Majid Jordan & Drake’s “Hold On, I’m Coming Home”!  It’s Sam’s first entry since songs from his fine second album The Thrill Of It All.

Dutch producer John Christian has a #26 debut with “Let’s Get This Thing Started”, a fun mix of deep house and booming big room sounds.  It also uses the music from the 70’s hit “Popcorn” by Hot Butter as a hook.  Listen for it!

The fifth debut belongs to L.A. producers Two Friends with the fun tease of “Take It Off” at #27.  It follows last year’s “Just A Kid” which peaked at #13 and itself followed numerous remixes which also charted.  About “Take It Off”, the guys say “this song is about being with someone who’s super guarded & all you wanna do is scream TRUST ME! but they still have trouble letting you in.”

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 🙂

“Love” is a warm, beautiful return for L.A.-based singer/songwriter @SimonCurtis

SIMON CURTIS, “Love”

Putting his previous musical personas on hold – the lonely boy robot of the 8bit Heart mixtape  who stole our heart, and the intense rebel of the album R∆ – L.A.-based singer, songwriter, and author Simon Curtis makes a more than welcome return with “Love”, his first new music since 2013’s Love, S EP.  Instead of being brokenhearted and/or looking for love or sex, “Love” is about being comfortably, rapturously in love, spiritually and physically.  It’s a beautiful and warm song, accenting a soulful side of Simon that hasn’t really shone through in his other works.  His on-point high register amid his always fine vocal draws with familiarity from the music of one of his inspirations (and fans!), Darren Hayes, while the music has a sexy groove with an instrumental pause 3/4 way through that parallels any soft, romantic, and speechless interlude that you might have with a partner.  It helps “Love” reach its 4 minute length without issue.  With “Love”, Simon Curtis offers the aftermath of what is sometimes a lifetime journey to get to all of the right moments we want and more.  It reassures us that “Love” is indeed out there waiting for all of us.  I can’t wait to find out where Simon will take us next!

Published in: on February 14, 2019 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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 #478 – March 7, 2016

A scorching new #1 and 4 debuts highlight edition my 478th bi-weekly chart since 1998 🙂

The Top 10

  • MAX Schneider’s “Wrong” hangs in long enough to score an appearance at the top 🙂  I couldn’t let all of those Prince-ly high notes get away just yet!  This is because MAX has already released a video for a song from his upcoming album Hell’s Kitchen Angel, out on April 8.  Check out “Holla” below.

  • Congratulations to The Knocks for their excellent long-awaited album 55, which was released this past Friday.  The Wyclef Jean-led “Kiss The Sky” climbs 4-2 and undoubtedly more songs from 55 will prevail on this chart 🙂

  • Troye Sivan is a vivid force on this chart with three showings:  “Talk Me Down” (below) glides 7-5, while “Wild” climbs 9-6 and “Fools” rises 17-13.  All songs are from his continually impressive Blue Neighbourhood album.  “Youth” is beckoning from outside of the Top 30 too.

  • While Simon Curtis’ redux of “8bit Heart” slips to #4, the Super 8bit Heart version of “Super Psycho Love” continues to climb 10-7 as Simon’s “Boy Robot” novel gets an earlier October release!

  • Fun on the dance floor continues as Craig David & Big Narstie arrive at #9 with “When The Bassline Drops”.  It’s Craig’s first Top Tenner here since “7 Days” in 2002.

  • The fastest riser on the chart has its designs on #1 – soon!  Canadians DVBBS and Dante Leon should be all over dance club charts – and maybe even pop charts too – with the irresistible “Angel”, which soars 23-10.

Movin’ On Up

  • The Voice Season 10 has started up again with some interesting contestants, including Nick Hagelin, who I’ve written about many times and will be writing about soon again.  Clinton Washington gave an excellent showing two seasons ago and has produced some beautiful songs lately.  Despite the emphasis on my chart towards dance music, his gorgeous ballad “Frozen” rises 14-11.

  • The rest of the last chart’s debuts all break into the Top 20.  The joyous and anthemic Cloudchord remix of Jamie xx & Romy’s “Loud Places” bounds 24-17, and right behind it is the Norwegian EDM grace of “Faded” by Alan Walker (featuring the gorgeous voice of Iselim Solheim) up 25-18 (both above), and rising 27-20 is the both truthful and amusing “u suck” by Minnesota’s Call Me Karizma (below), featuring a cool interpolation of “Why Don’t You Do Right” as recorded by Bev Lee Harling.

Premiering

  • It takes a lot for me to enjoy a cover version as much as or even maybe more than the original.  I love the way that Jonas Blue and Dakota have made Tracy Chapman’s  huge 1988 hit “Fast Car” into this introspective song for a highway drive along a beach coast.  And of course you can dance to it too, so I’m looking forward to official remixes!  This Top 5 UK hit should do the same on North American shores.  I particularly enjoy covers when they don’t take anything away from the original.  This one expands on that and runs with it 🙂  “Fast Car” arrives at #23.
  • Another song for warm, late nights and dancing on the beach is “Beat The Sunrise” by SNBRN featuring vocalist Andrew Watt, as remixed by Dutch producer/DJ Steve Void.  It’s all warm and good natured for middle-of-the-night grooving and bows at #24.
  • Sweden’s Hellberg is on a breakthrough with the emotional EDM of “Synchronize” featuring a fine vocal by American singer Aaron Richards.  This is just a taste of great things to come from this talented producer/DJ and debuts at #25.

  • Miguel’s Wildheart naughtiness has caught up with me and I have completely given in.  And it makes me ask, almost belatedly, why “Waves” isn’t all over everywhere yet?  It could still happen with new remixes by the likes of Tame Impala and one featuring Travis $cott.  But I like the sexy original best and it jumps onto the chart at #26.  It’s Miguel’s first appearance here since “Adorn” went to #1 in 2013 in his UK duet version with Jessie Ware.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chart. Go on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

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

You can now hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Tuesday at 9:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear, and then again every Thursday in a rebroadcast at 7:00 a.m. EST on WROCK http://www.wlor.net!

 

#BILLCSTop30 #477 – February 22, 2016

I’m humbled by the amount of new visitors I’ve had recently to this blog and Twitter.  The BILLCS Top 30 is my personal chart of favourites which started out online in 1998 as the monthly Tuned-On! Top 10 and quickly grew into a bi-weekly Top 30 on a web page hosted by Geocities (remember them?).  Its focus over the years has shifted depending on what styles of music I’ve been drawn to the most.  It largely focuses on singles but album tracks are included.  Songs can only appear on the chart for 10 appearances (20 weeks) which keeps the new songs flowing.  In 2003, music was becoming much more globally in sync and I allowed songs to appear on the chart providing they were released … somewhere.  In 2009, a free download hit #1 for the first time.  A song must be ‘released’ (for pay or for free) in order to qualify to appear on the chart – a You Tube or Soundcloud post that is not consumable does not qualify.  Official remixes may chart instead of the original if that’s the version I prefer.

With that update provided, on to the new chart 🙂

simoncurtis_boyrobot

The Top 10

 

 

 

  • The ongoing revival of Simon Curtis “8bit Heart” continues to grow as the cover to his upcoming book “Boy Robot” (cover above) was premiered by Just Jared Jr.  The book would not be forthcoming without Simon’s original 2010 mixtape (still available for free at http://www.simon-curtis.com) which has recently been re-recorded as Super 8bit Heart and now available everywhere for purchase.  “8bit Heart” is still so much of a personal favourite, and continues at #1 for a second appearance in its delightful redux version.  The new version of “Super Psycho Love” joins “8bit Heart” in the Top 10, rising 16-10.
  • MAX (Schneider) holds at #2 with “Wrong”.  Do check out the infectious remix recently unleashed online by RyanEXOE featuring Taylor Bennett, above.

  • Before my next chart, the album 55 by The Knocks will finally be on release and should be the soundtrack to the first part of 2016, given that I heard most of the songs at their Toronto concert in January.  “Kiss The Sky”, featuring a fantastic vocal by Wyclef Jean, climbs 7-4 and is definitely eyeing #1.

  • Coincidentally, The Knocks are back-to-back with their own label signees, Sofi Tukker.  The NYC duo holds steady at #5 with the irresistible “Drinkee”.  Yeah it’s all in Portuguese, but no matter!

  • This chart marks the mini-invasion of the Top 10 by songs by the latest boy wunderkind, Troye Sivan.  The glorious “Talk Me Down” advances 12-7 while the heart-wringer “Wild” climbs 14-9 (both above).  And Troye’s “Fools” (below, rounding out the Blue Neighbourhood trilogy of videos) is the fastest riser, movin’ on up a few notches below 26-17.  This only means one thing: If you haven’t heard Troye’s Blue Neighbourhood, you are missing out.  Troye is playing a sold out show at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto next week.

More Songs Movin’ On Up

  • Brandyn Burnette’s hip hop flavoured “Down” from his Made Of Dreams EP rises 15-12.  He and his gal Molly Moore (sitting pretty at #8 with “Blood. Sweat. Tears.”) have joined forces as Cosmos & Creature and will appear as the featured voices in an upcoming song by dance music performer Vicetone called “Brightside”!  Watch for it!

  • Elephante’s original “Age Of Innocence” (featuring Trouze and Damon Sharpe) is one pumped up slice of emotional EDM with a melody that stays with you for days.  It moves up 18-15.

  • Like “Hello”, it looks like Adele’s “When We Were Young” is about to dominate the dance charts in its remixed version.  But the still stunning original from the 25 album climbs 21-16.

  • Calvo’s “Vicious Girl” continues to be embraced by DJs throughout the world thanks to a memorable keyboard melody and an odd vocal that works quite well.  It jumps 27-20 and is well on its way.  It’s also a co-write by the talented Daniel Volpe (who as a performer is none other than Zorro Blakk).

Debuts

  • It may be their best song yet.  Canadian bros DVBBS feature a Torontonian singer Dante Leon on “Angel”, which bows at #23.  DVBBS have previously charted with MOTi with “This Is Dirty” (#9) and with Sander van Doorn and Martin Garrix on “Gold Skies” (#3).
  • A bit of summer is upon us courtesy of the driving beat of the Cloudchord remix of “Loud Places”, an alternative hit last year for Jamie xx featuring Romy, from Jamie’s Grammy-nominated album In Colour.  This tropical anthemic remix stands on its own and arrives at #24.

  • Sweden will simply have to share its current #1 with us.  That song is “Faded” by Norwegian producer/DJ Alan Walker, which originally started as an instrumental called “Fade”.  It premieres at #25.
  • And at #27 is “u suck” by Minnesota rapper/producer Call Me Karizma (aka Morgan Parriott).  Its clever featured chorus from the song “Why Don’t You Do Right” is sung by UK vocalist Bev Lee Harling.  “u suck” is a wonderful slice of what sounds like ‘new era rap’.

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

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

Although it will not air this week, you can usually hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 9:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear, and then again every Thursday in a rebroadcast at 7:00 a.m. EST on WROCK http://www.wlor.net!

 

#BILLCSTop30 #474 – January 11, 2016

It’s a new year, beginning with a new #1 by a performer who holds both #1 and #2 spots, and six debuts make their presence known.  Some recent EP’s and albums are causing multiple appearances by the same performers, after a year like last year where multiple entries by the same performers didn’t occur too often.

The Top 10

  • As I’ve been tweeting the past few days, if you missed Brandyn Burnette’s one-of-a-kind audition on American Idol last Thursday, you need to see it so go to the link right here.  So while Brandyn got his golden ticket, he also starts off 2016 with a bang on this chart, with the alternative old soul of “Nothing At All” ascending to the top, while the song he performed in his audition, “Lost (Stripped)”, advances 5-2.  2016 shows every sign of being a great year for Brandyn, and he has one other entry further down on the chart, though his fourth from two weeks ago, “Life’s A Beach” drops off.  A video for “Nothing At All” will arrive very soon!

  • “I Wish (My Taylor Swift)” by The Knocks and Matthew Koma stays put at #3, and a third New Yorker, Penguin Prison, has remixed the song in his own inimitable style, stripping away the SoCal vibe of the song and turning it into something more NYC club ready.  Give a listen above.  I’m very happy to be seeing The Knocks on January 22 in my city 🙂

  • I was beginning to feel lonely in my enjoyment of Mako’s “Smoke Filled Room”, but in fact the song soared into Billboard’s Dance Radio Airplay Top 5 over the holidays, so the cat is out of the bag.  Members Alex and Logan have a standout beauty here with this song, particularly in the Elephante remix, and it climbs 6-4.  A new video for the song is coming too!

  • MAX Schneider is working double-duty on the chart this week with songs from each of his recent EP’s.  Not only does his collaboration with Jared Evan, “Ms Anonymous” (above) rise 7 to 6, but his new club-banger-in-waiting “Wrong” (below), featuring Lil Uzi Vert, is the fastest riser on the chart, zooming 22-13 and is set to close in on the upper reaches in a few weeks.

  • The only new entry to the Top 10 belongs to the crazy vibe and Portuguese lyrics of “Drinkee” by NYC duo Sofi Tukker, climbing 12-9.  The duo will also be on that January 22 bill for The Knocks I mentioned above.

Movin’ On Up

There’s so much activity below the Top 10 besides MAX’s “Wrong” as the fastest riser that I won’t be able to write about all this week.

  • Suffice it to say, one’s feet can continue dancing past New Year’s Eve.  The songs to do just that for you as they eye the Top 10 in two weeks?  “The Shadows Of The Moon” (above) by the venerable veteran Rozalla along with producers/DJs House Of Virus, advancing 14-11, along with German DJ/producer Final DJS wisely working with Bright Light Bright Light on vocals for the free download of “Lost In Feelings” (below), which moves up 16-12.

  • My dream team of Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore appropriately have songs side-by-side on the chart.  Molly’s touching and incisive “Blood. Sweat. Tears.” (above) could be a Jessie Ware song in disguise from her EP Shadow Of The Sun and rises 25-20, while her beau Brandyn’s third song from his Made Of Dreams EP, “Down” (below), jumps 28-21.

Six Debuts!

I’ve had to save most of the space in this post for our six stunning debuts, one of which sneaked onto the chart after only being released on Thursday at midnight.

  • Wither “Hello”, slipping from 1 to 5 after 4 appearances (8 weeks) at #1, but certainly not forgetting about other songs from the knockout album that is 25.  “All I Ask” (above) is almost equally as beautiful and touching, with another amazing vocal… can’t seem to find enough adjectives for this one!  It bows at #17, while subsequent single “When We Were Young” (below) also has no trouble finding its way onto the chart at #25.  Any performer signed to a major label with access to funds should aim to create as wonderful a record as this, style and genre notwithstanding.  25 is a once-in-a-long-time album experience for anyone.

  • Crashing onto all platforms on Thursday at midnight was the immense surprise that is Super 8bit Heart, the album redux of 2010’s 8bit Heart, one of my favourite releases of the decade by Simon Curtis (read my blog post from yesterday right here).  It’s not at all the same as the original and has its own highlights, but I’m so glad that “8bit Heart” was remade with the same warm touches as the original.  “8bit Heart” already reached #1 here in 2010 and remained on the chart for its maximum 10 appearances (20 weeks).  But I’m treating this new recording as a brand new entry and I sincerely hope it becomes the focus song for promotion of the new album.  So the redux of “8bit Heart” arrives at #19.

  • After listening to its initial singles, an album that I’ve grown to enjoy thoroughly over the holidays is South Africa-born, Australia-raised singer Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood.  Not only are the songs compelling, but the boy-next-door performance with so much improved vocals by Troye make them so unique next to what’s on the radio.  It’s no wonder listeners are flocking to his sold out shows and that people like Betty Who worked with him on the album.  I’m currently wrapped up in both “Talk Me Down” (above) and “Wild” (below), so each arrives on the chart, at #23 and #26 respectively.  Never did I think that Troye would grow so much after his You Tube performances.  He is indeed a talent to watch!

  • The last debut is “Age Of Innocence” by L.A.-based DJ/producer Elephante featuring Trouze and Damon Sharpe, which I wrote about not long ago and lands on the chart at #27.  Club DJ’s are totally on board with this one, currently in Billboard’s Dance Club Play Top 25.  The song is actually still available as a free download on Soundcloud too (below).  Elephante is one of those talented guys with great ears who we will see playing huge venues with superstar talent in the next year.

The Full Chart

Listen to the songs or watch the videos using the links on the pictures on the pretty and detailed web edition of my chartGo on, have a look and listen/watch 🙂

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

You can hear me online on http://www.planetradio.ca every Monday at 9:00 pm EST counting down a Toronto Top 10 chart from yesteryear, and then again every Tuesday in a rebroadcast at 7:00 a.m. EST on WROCK http://www.wlor.net!