BILLCS Music Blog’s Top 75 Songs of 2012 – #30 to #21

#30  John De Sohn featuring Andreas Moe “Long Time”

One of Sweden’s best exports in 2012 is “Long Time”, a huge domestic hit that became a Top 25 North American dance club hit as well.  It also had the distinction of being picked up for Tiesto’s Club Life Miami Calling Volume 2 compilation alongside of tunes by its creator and remixes of songs by Gotye, Coldplay, The Young & Famous, Afrojack and more.  It was also the first time some of you heard Andreas Moe, who is one of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13 and had my #36 hit of 2012, “Collecting Sunlight”.

 

#29  Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield “Between The Raindrops”

While it may not have been a complete surprise that Natasha (long a friend of the band) was featured on the lead off single from Lifehouse’s Almeria album, it may have struck fans that this country-tinged song took two steps back from those on their rocking last album Smoke And Mirrors.  But “Between The Raindrops” is a real grower and the harmonies between Jason Wade and Natasha couldn’t be better.

 

#28  Adam Tyler “Music Freak”

The last of two songs from Shattered Ice to appear in this list, “Music Freak” is one of Adam Tyler’s songs that I can totally identify with 🙂  So it’s great for the rest of us long time music fans and chart buffs to know that the singer is in this club too.  It’s also one of his best singalong songs to date.  Hear the song on Spotify at the link below, and watch the video below when Adam performed in Miami (he also performed in Stockholm, London, and Barcelona this year!).

#27  The Wanted “Glad You Came”

A #1 hit in the UK in 2011, it was no shocker that both The Wanted and One Direction arrived on the scene at the same time and have both had significant success, not unlike Backstreet Boys and *N Sync at the end of the 90’s.  What makes “Glad You Came” stand out is the lilting melody that transforms into an almost traditional UK folk-oriented club hit, complete with soulful vocals from guys who can sing.  The Wanted are expected to release two albums in 2013, one that is scarily replete with major guest stars.  We’ll wait to see if their talent shines through and they have the same caliber of songwriting (keeping Ed Drewett in the mix might be worthwhile).

 

#26  Colin Munroe featuring Pusha T “The Fight Of My Life”

After disappearing from view for a while to regroup after personal and professional losses, Toronto’s Colin Munroe came out punching with a free download album Unsung Hero, which attracted names like Pusha T, RZA, Kendrick Lamar, and Cassie to the table, as well as a new record deal.  It’s an outstanding album that’s hard to classify (lots of pop, R&B/soul, and rap within) full of soaring, triumphant moments like “The Fight Of My Life”.  Colin’s vocals are alternately heartfelt and soaring – let’s hope his next release brings him the commercial success that he deserves.

 

#25 Foster The People “Call It What You Want”

No, Foster The People are not one-hit wonders after last year’s massive hit “Pumped Up Kicks”.  Follow up singles “Don’t Stop” and “Helena Beat” did moderately well in North America (better in places like Australia), while clubs favoured two other songs, one being the playful “Call It What You Want”.  The video is also kind of irresistible and enjoyable in a ‘what will happen next’ sense.

 

#24 Graffiti6 “Free”

After being lavished with praise by bloggers and tastemakers a few years back, London duo Graffiti6 (Jamie Scott and Tommy Danvers) signed to a major label in 2011 and by the end of the year released an EP followed by the album Colours in 2012.  “Free” became one of a few songs on this listing ‘that could’ – it gradually found fans, radio station adds, sales, and even airplay in supermarkets.  Its vibrant melody as well as vocals by Jamie that are exuberant and full of personality completely sold me, and I expect great things from Graffiti6 to follow.

 

#23 Tao Hypah “Celeb”

It was pretty instantaneous… the best dance compilation of 2012 This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One already featured songs that were known to me, and it got better with the inclusion of others that weren’t familiar to me like #53 “How It Feels To Be A Man” by Markus Riva, “Pitiful” by Carlos Nóbrega (one of my 13 Performers to Watch in ’13), and “Celeb” by half-Japanese Netherlands singer Tao Hypah.   “Celeb” is one of the most original records of the year, offered initially as a free download, which spins the tale of a guy who catches the coattails of an A list gal on the way back to the D list (one specific name comes to mind!).  Its refrain will leave you humming for weeks and if you catch yourself singing, just mind the line about snorting cocaine out in public 😉

 

#22 Stone Walters “Home”

Another of my 13 Performers To Watch For ’13 is UK soul singer Stone Walters.  His song “Home” (a free download) is one of those songs of the year that became my rock, that would ground me when I was pondering other important issues – you can never reinforce the importance of home and family enough, and “Home” celebrates just that.  Stone is a diverse singer who can sing R&B/soul one moment, and pop/rock the next.  I think he has a great future ahead.

#21  RAC featuring Penguin Prison “Hollywood”

RAC stands for Remix Artist Collective, a trio of US based DJ/producers who have remixed or worked with the likes of Foster The People, Gossip, Tokyo Police Club, U2, Bloc Party, and Chromeo.  “Hollywood” is their first single release, with no one better to sing it than Chris Glover of Penguin Prison (who has another song higher in the list).  Its funky groove, sense of whimsy, and interesting story along with Chris’ trademark vocals made it one of my go-to songs mid-year.  Penguin Prison also performed the song in concert when I saw them in June, which was a treat.  

13 Performers To Watch for ’13

One of the most popular blog post’s I’ve written – even these past three years, it still receives many views – is 10 Performers to Watch in 2010.  I revived the format of that post for 2013, as there are too many promising performers who should not go without notice.  My criteria for this list is that the performer is releasing songs either for purchase or free download, and did not just issue one song in 2012.  The performer could be releasing a debut or sophomore album, and may already be signed to a major label.

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BAIYU   exquisite vocalist to soar beyond “The Next”

I was absolutely delighted when New York singer Baiyu was set to appear as a contestant on the CW’s talent contest “The Next”.  She also released a high quality mixtape called Hunter, which contained beautiful ballads, such as the duet with American Idol contestant Paul Kim on “Make Believe” (video below), and sinewy uptempo songs such as the title song.  She didn’t win the New York auditions on “The Next” (to me the show compromised the singer’s style with what they wanted to show on TV) but received exposure to-die-for, and recorded a few other viral cover versions including Melanie Fiona’s “4 AM” and even the Jonas Brothers’ “Paranoid” to tantalize Jonas Brothers fans who got to know her through “The Next” (since Joe Jonas was a judge).  I’m not sure what Baiyu has planned for ’13, but I expect it will be well-planned and chosen, and I can’t wait.  Her gorgeous Beyoncé-like voice at times could put her easily in the big leagues.

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CODY BELEW  our likeable multi-talented underdog from “The Voice”  

Nobody, but nobody, captured my attention on this past season of “The Voice” like Cody Belew.  From his initial performance of “Hard To Handle” (which caused coach Cee-Lo Green to turnaround at the last moment) through compelling renditions of “Jolene”, “Somebody To Love”, the deliberately and massively campy “Crazy In Love” (video below, because it’s just so much fun), and especially George Michael’s “One More Try”, it was easy to root for Cody, who just seized every opportunity to win over both coaches and fans alike.  The transition to nation-wide concerts will be easy, but more critical will be what he records.  All eyes and ears on Cody in ’13!

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BIM   UK duo flaunts their emotions

As I predicted last September, Bim’s EP Lifelines has become one of my favourite and most consistent records of 2012, and their second album is on deck for early ’13.  I stand by my earlier statement that every song within Lifelines – particularly “Lights Out”, current single “Burn” (video below), and “Scream” – is full of intense emotion, powerful vocal interaction, and key lyrical moments that resonate long after the song is over.  Rebecca Rosier and Denmark Davis are a dream team, and I for one can’t get enough.

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GENTLEMEN HALL  Boston collective’s fans are its anchor

After catching the sextet’s appearance at Canadian Music Week in March, I found their EP When We All Disappear growing on me throughout the year, and it is one of my most played records.  The multi-layered instrumentation (including glorious flute) and compelling lead vocals from Cobi Mike and Gavin Merlot made each song from the record a rich experience, especially “All Our Love”, “Blush”  (below), and “Take Me Under”.  Gentlemen Hall has a dedicated following, and quite frankly they could be contently touring every club in North America to appease their fans instead of signing their lives away to a record deal.  But I think the right deal will come along in ’13 for Gentlemen Hall that will take them to the next level for which they clearly are more than ready.

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IN MY COMA  Toronto trio brings out the rocker in you

It’s been on release for more than a year now, but Magnets & Miracles, the debut album by Toronto rockers In My Coma, definitely has durability with its contemporary take on 90’s alt.rock styles through songs like “Believe Me” (video below), “Dreamers”, “Hit Them Down Kid”, and “Losing Sleep”.  Part of the reason for the appeal, which seems to be increasing month-by-month, is the band’s ability to connect with fans and pull out the rockers in them which keeps them coming back to their shows, to the point where they won a contest to open for Sum 41 in Toronto in the Fall.  Keeping this strategy in place, the next logical step is a new record of songs, always tough to do when gigs are what bring fans to the table.  Timing will be everything for In My Coma in ’13 to maintain their momentum – but with their determination they can do it!

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MATTHEW KOMA  major pop voice sounds like no other

Regular readers will know that part of the last quarter of 2012 was spent with me raving about Matthew Koma, his collaboration with Zedd on Billboard’s #1 Dance Club Play chart single of the year “Spectrum”, and his diverse EP Parachute.  Matthew is Major Pop 2012, signed to Cherrytree/Interscope, and his distinct voice sounds like no other – in fact you might think on “Spectrum” and other songs that he is a teen instead of a mid-20-something.  Matthew’s finishing off his upcoming album which is a high priority for me to hear in 2013.  That he is also guy-friend to my fellow Canadian Carly Rae Jepsen is pretty sweet, too.

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MATTHEW KURZ  supurb singer/songwriter has it almost in spades

Matthew Kurz has tantalized me throughout the last two years, first with his free mixtape from last year featuring the gripping and emotional “Fix Me”, and then with a series of originals and cover versions that were posted through You Tube.  Though he hasn’t released much for commercial sale or for free this year, 2012 is pointing in all of the right directions for Matthew with “Moving On” (available on iTunes), but most particularly “One Night (Damn!)” (below), and an absolutely stunning rendition of David Guetta & Sia’s “Titanium”.  While the latter wisely does not attempt to replicate Sia’s higher register, Matthew makes the song his own with its raw urgency.  While I believe he has a songwriting publishing deal, Matthew Kurz’s many talents and music should find a wider audience in ’13.

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LAWSON  UK quartet on the bubble for North America

While the year started off with talented UK foursome Lawson opening in North America for The Wanted, the band was also in the process of recording its debut album for Polydor/Universal UK, Chapman Square.  So once that was done they made a retreat to their native UK to promote singles  “When She Was Mine” (video below), “Standing In The Dark”, and “Taking Over Me”, all significant hits in the UK.  Chapman Square was released… but not in North America.  But upcoming club dates over here should draw out the fans who have become familiar enough with this band that writes its own songs and plays its own instruments to divert their attention from One Direction and The Wanted.  Lawson has the goods and 2013 should be a breakout year for them.

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ANDREAS MOE  can sing anything. writes his own songs too.

2012 has been a whirlwind for Swedish singer/songwriter Andreas Moe.  Dance music fans discovered him as a featured vocalist on songs by Avicii (with whom he performed in Japan!) and John De Sohn (“Long Time” is one of the biggest hits of the year in Sweden).  But Andreas wisely used these successes as a springboard for his own solo work, captured beautifully in his EP Collecting Sunlight, and especially on the title song (animated video below), “My Side Of The Bed”, and his acoustic rendition of “Long Time”.  He even posted a sparkling acoustic performance of Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” right after its release.  But Andreas has one of those grounded and diverse voices that can sing anything.  I think greater things are in store for him as both a songwriter and a performer in ’13!

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CARLOS NOBREGA  balancing the pop and EDM worlds and more

Like a few other performers this year, I first discovered Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega through the essential dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume One, where his plaintive pop song “Pitiful” was featured.  With the EDM community embracing the singer as a result of this affiliation, Carlos next released “Turn It Up” in June, and the infectious chorus of this song will lift you up and keep you on a high.  Then he collaborated with producer/DJ Sky Santos for the sultry “I Miss You”, which led in nicely to one of the best (and still somewhat undiscovered) dance party songs of the year, “Music Makes You Lose Control”, a record that reached #1 on my personal chart.  Carlos is another performer who can do it all – sing, write, act, dance, and release all of his songs independently.  The sheer quality of his releases and his determination should make heads turn when his album is released in 2013.

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RIVER TIBER  engaging and unique talent not to be missed

The music of Toronto’s River Tiber has been discussed at length in these posts since the Spring, after I became acquainted with their album From Now On, from which three songs landed on my personal chart, with “Someday” at #1 for six weeks and “Symmetry” reaching #2.  Three concert performances later, and the third one, which I wrote about right here a few weeks ago, speaks for itself.  River Tiber releases its next effort Synapses on January 1, and there will be much more influence in this record by experimental electronica than in From Now On.  It is not to be missed.  Let the additional raves begin.  Watch out 2013!

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STONE WALTERS  honest-to-goodness earthy UK soul

One of the first free downloads I heard to make its way up my personal chart in 2012 was “Home” by Stone Walters.  The song has lyrics rooted in values that anyone can relate to – you know the same ones that you feel at the end of “The Wizard Of Oz”.  Stone has one of those silky smooth voices that could be as easily influenced by classic Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding and Stevie Wonder, as it could by more contemporary singers like Terence Trent D’Arby or Jay Kay of Jamiroquai.  Stone also showed that his boundaries stretch beyond soul with the pop tune “World Keeps Turning” and his softened-down version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”.  While he had a taste of some success a few years back, his more recent songs sound more honest-to-goodness.  Stone Walters deserves another shot as he will easily find an audience that will gravitate to his style and music.


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ZAC POOR  no vocal talent contest required

L.A. based singer/songwriter Zac Poor came to my attention a few years back with an initial release of his own songs such as “She’ll Be Breaking Hearts” and “Silver Screens”, which all attracted some significant buzz… and then it went quiet for a bit.  I think Zac has either a songwriting or record deal that has not yet come to fruition.  But two cover songs he released this past year will surely change that.  The first one is his take on Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper”.  It’s been oft-covered, but never this well, and it totally blows the doors off of the original with a vocal performance that is sheer perfection, and understated production by MdL.  Had it seen proper release, it could have been a hit all on its own!  Next up was an appealing version of Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House”.  All of this bodes very well for something significant to happen for Zac Poor in ’13.

End Of Summer Pop Blast

BT & Arty featuring Nadia Ali “Must Be The Love”

BT is back and ready to take over dance clubs and radio with “Must Be The Love” in partnership with Arty and featuring the always compelling Nadia Ali on vocals.  It’s a radiant 9:52 that moves by in the blink of an eye.  That’s because its gradual buildup lasts three and a half minutes, but by the four and a half point, you are now hostage with no way out but to revel in it till the end.  This is 2012’s return to Trance the way it should be done, and there’s no one who can take you for a better ride, with all of the glorious details, than BT.

Lifehouse featuring Natasha Bedingfield, “Between The Raindrops”

I was so worried when I found out the new single by Lifehouse would include a featured artist.  But it was all for nought when I found out that Natasha Bedingfield was the collaborator on “Between The Raindrops”.  In advance of the band’s sixth album, I find that this might be a little softer pop for Lifehouse outside of its ballads, but Jason Wade’s convincing vocals countered by Natasha’s charm make this way better than what I might have imagined.

Richard Barone “I Belong To Me”

It’s not a new song, but not one that you’re likely to know.  You can change all of that with this free download which precedes the 25th anniversary of Richard’s seminal Cool Blue Halo album, from which the song comes.  I’m a huge fan of the former Bongos singer’s solo albums Primal Dream, Clouds Over Eden, and 2010’s Glow.  At the time, I found Cool Blue Halo to be offbeat for me and I didn’t enjoy its stripped away production.  But after Richard’s impressive body of pop music work, I’m looking to get reacquainted with its songs again.  Watch a recent video of Richard performing “I Belong To Me” below and find out more about the celebration around Cool Blue Halo at Richard’s website.


Adaku “Silent Treatment”

I introduced you a little while ago to Nigeria-born Adaku, with her comfort food for the soul in the form of “Or You Can”.  She continues to dazzle, in a quiet but confident and impressive way with alternative soul in the form of “Silent Treatment”.  The song sits comfortably next to others by Frank Ocean, Jill Scott, Eric Benet, and Alicia Keys.  Download “Silent Treatment”  for free right here, and keep your ears peeled for more Adaku.

Stone Walters “Dancing In The Dark”

UK singer Stone Walters has been a constant in this blog throughout the year, starting with the stunning heart tugger “Home”, and then with the hopeful “World Keeps Turning”.  Now he takes a chilled out approach to Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”- and you can’t mess with a song like this unless you can truly sing it.  Listen to the song below, and download it for free by heading over to Stone’s website with your email address.

Nik Miles “Beautiful People” (live snippet)\

Not many pop singers will abandon everything at their fingertips in New York City for Malmo, Sweden.  But as you know from these pages and from those of other bloggers, Sweden could at any point take over the pop world, and not just in a retro Ace Of Base kind of way.  So singer/actor Nik Miles is in good hands if the danceable pop of “Beautiful People” is any indication.  He has a powerful, versatile voice that can transform nicely if given the right kind of song to sing.  But as you’ll see from the live snippet, he’s got the personality, energy, and commitment to make it happen too.  Much is in the works, so look to hear more from Nik Miles before the end of the year.

And don’t forget to check out:

The mind-blowing Skrillex-influenced Birdy Nam Nam remix from left field of Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Could Happen” that blew up last weekend.

The lyric video for “Dreams Are Gold”, the first single and title track of the debut album by DATABOY, which you owe it to yourself to have in your collection.

And one of the best and wildest EP’s you’ll hear all year from the reliable and unpredictable FrankMusik (in disguise as his Vincent Did It moniker) with The SOPA Opera EP, now available to hear via Soundcloud.  Plus, Vince has a daffy and funky instrumental “Grasping At Nothing” available for free download, as well as his remix of “Flesh” by Simon Curtis.

Mid-Summer’s Mix featuring Jeronimo, Carlos Nobrega, Stone Walters, Adaku, Maskerade, Jon McLaughlin, Tone Damli & Eric Saade

There will be more blog posts to come this weekend as I get caught up after a bit of an unintended hiatus.

Jeronimo “Some Other Way”

Jeronimo’s debut album One Kiss is one enjoyable pop ride through thoughtful but generally positive ballads and amazingly infectious dance songs, such as the title track confection currently near the top of my chart.  I didn’t think we’d see another song/video from the album so soon after “One Kiss”, but “Some Other Way” shows the singer in soft pensive mode in a deserted room full of covered objects hiding memories, all sure to acquire more fans in the process.  Jeronimo’s charm is in his unique voice, and his production and songwriting teams knows how to match him up with the words and the flow that makes “Some Other Way” work so well.

Sky Santos featuring Carlos Nóbrega “I Miss You”

It’s only a snippet right now, but “I Miss You” will be released next week by Portuguese DJ Sky Santos, featuring none other than Poptronik artist Carlos Nóbrega, about whose songs “Pitiful” and “Turn It Up” I’ve recently written.  I’ve had the pleasure of hearing the extended mix of “I Miss You”, and being a sucker for Eurodisco and House music of just about any shape and form, I can say that this is a slamming track that would attract attention in the middle of a stomping DJ mix.  Starting with a rather simple percussive beginning and building from there, the song would sound great played outdoors (think Ibiza) and is enhanced by a spoken word break in the middle that allows the song to soar even more right after.

And it wasn’t originally posted when I wrote about it, so I’m posting the full version of Carlos’ “Turn It Up” a second time.  The absolutely contagious positive energy of this song has the potential for a dance smash – I’m waiting for the remixes!!

Stone Walters “World Keeps Turning”

Adaku “Or You Can”

Two new softer R&B songs bring a quiet old school charm to the usual dance-laden proceedings on my stereo.  I can’t get enough of R&B that takes me back to my younger days of the heartfelt sounds of Motown, Stax, Atlantic, and the list goes on.  

You already know UK singer Stone Walters from the beautiful ballad that will turn you into a puddle called “Home”, which flew to #4 on my chart earlier this year.  Stone is in the process of recording his album and has unleashed “World Keeps Turning”, another genuine but slightly more uptempo original which highlights the singer’s classic dulcet tones.  You can help Stone build his album by clicking right here.

Adaku is a new singer based in the US who is originally from Nigeria.  This gal’s got not only got the talent but the brains to go along with it in the form of a Master’s degree in electrical engineering.  Like Stone Walters, I’m really pleased to hear a return to styles of yore, and Adaku takes the best of people like Anita Baker and Janet Jackson (when she sings ballads) to find a happy mid-point.  “Or You Can” is jazzy gentleness incarnate, persuading you to “lay your head on my big ass ‘fro”, but she throws in a few solid high range notes for good measure, and of course makes you want more.

Listen to “World Keeps Turning” (download it with an email subscription) and “Or You Can” below.  

World Keeps Turning:

Or You Can:

Maskerade “Come To Me”

Maskerade is a relatively new R&B singer from California who has released a few acclaimed independent records already.  Literally hot off the presses, “Come To Me” is a sultry mid-tempo love song that will appeal to fans of Usher and Ne-Yo with Maskerade’s colourful vocals.  Consisting of a timeless melody and a familiar theme of longing concocted by songwriter JBreathless, “Come To Me” has punch provided by producer Ray Taylor which makes it instantly memorable.  Listen below.

Jon McLaughlin “Promising Promises” (acoustic video)

I’ve throughly enjoyed “Promising Promises” since I first heard it last Fall on Jon’s album Forever, If Ever.  With a positive reaction to the album’s re-release, you’ll watch the newly christened title track gets a fantastic acoustic workout by this wicked piano man by viewing this video – proof enough that you should get out to see Jon on his next go ’round the country.

Tone Damli featuring Eric Saade “Imagine”

Has it been a hot minute since I wrote about Mr. Saade and the wonderful songs from Saade Volumes 1 & 2 which till recently graced my chart?  In case you haven’t heard, he teamed up with lovely Norwegian singer Tone Damli and promptly went to Spain with her.  At least to shoot the fine, sexy video below, which greatly enhances the song’s appeal.  You can get “Imagine”, already a Top 10 hit in Norway, on iTunes everywhere – still unlike the rest of Eric’s songs, which seem to be mainly limited to Europe.  Hopefully that changes soon.  

BILLCS Top 30 #373 – February 27/12

Much of my personal chart stays the same in this end of February edition, but there are always the requisite new songs on the rise.  The big mover on this week’s chart is the increasingly infectious “Free” by Graffiti 6, which jumps 20-8.   The British duo of Jamie Scott and Tommy Danvers comes off with a unique pop sound amid so much autotuned dross on the charts.  As testament to this, you’ll find an acoustic video of “Free” below as well as the official video.  As bloggers have claimed for the last few years, Graffiti 6 continues to impress and acquire new fans (me, among them).

You can view the full chart 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.

The top of the chart continues to be a friendly battle between “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy, which continues in the lead, and “Backseat” by Eric Saade.  The former’s intriguing story sweatered in electropop and the latter’s rock-flavoured sensual dance pop are both fantastic detours in the current pop world.  Not far behind is “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas at #3, which like “Backseat” throws a little aggression into the mix.  The sensitive old-school R&B/pop of “Home” by Stone Walters continues at #4, and then it’s that guy Saade again at #5 with the mysterious and danceable singalong that is “Fingerprints”.  Aside from “Free” by Graffiti 6, the only other new entry to the Top 10 is another Jonas-should-be-smash done up as a break-up cha cha called “Not Right Now” at #10.

While the fine “Fallout” by Marianas Trench (video below) and “Born To Die” by Lana Del Rey each inch up a notch, Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself” comes up the middle as Top 10 bound at #12.  JMSN’s intriguing “Something” is on the move at #14 (yes, more weird and wonderful videos are on the way), with “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles climbing to #16.  M83’s “Midnight City” continues to get stuck in my head for long periods of time and jumps to #17, while Fallulah’s “Out Of It” as remixed by the ingenious Monsieur Adi is equally captivating at #20.  The crowd pleasing “Believe It” by Spencer & Ross and Nadia Ali rounds out the songs to watch at #21.

I’ve already written about our four debuts in past posts.  But in case you haven’t got the tip from the above paragraphs, a lot more rock flavour seems to be finding its way into my personal chart.  Three out of the four debuts can attest to this.

At #25 is New Yorker Ryan Star, whose songs have fared extremely well on the chart since 2008, all reaching the Top 5:  “Right Now” (#2), “Start A Fire” (#3), “Last Train Home” (#4), and “Breathe” (#5).  “Stay Awhile” is no exception – a fine emotionally-charged and thoughtful rock ballad.  The video is below, as is Ryan’s rendition of “I Won’t Back Down”, a late 80’s hit for Tom Petty.

Then we have River Tiber, the band name for Canada’s Tommy Paxton-Beesley, which hits with “Someday” at #26.  It’s another song with genuine emotional fervour and highly-charged guitar playing that is made even better by Tommy’s Jeff Buckleyesque vocals which now give me goosebumps.  Catch the video below and become a believer, along with another one of River Tiber’s songs called “Symmetry”.  Be sure to download a new EP, hot off the presses, called Massachusetts, from River Tiber’s website.

Bowing at #27 is “The Fight Of My Life” by Colin Munroe featuring Pusha-T.  The duo concocted a wicked blend of pop, rock, R&B, and rap in this powerful song, which should put Toronto’s Colin back into the international scene handily.  A lot of people, myself included, can relate to the lyrics and Colin’s soulful and honest vocal.  Colin’s had two chart entries, “Will I Stay” (#8) and “Bulletproof Monster” (#12).  Listen to “The Fight Of My Life” below, as well as lending an ear to Colin’s affecting revox of Sky Ferreira’s “One”.

The last debut at #29 focuses on a retro new wave vibe, in a kind of Animotion-meets-Divinyls kind of way (and they would do a great version of the former’s hit “Obsession”, hint hint).   I’m talking about fun trio Liquid Diet, who have released a 3 song self-titled EP that puts ears foremost on “Hand Dance”, their ode to self-pleasure.  It’s kitschy for sure but not only instantly likeable but hard to get out of your head, and before you know it you’ll want more… And that must be why the duo also recorded a danceable cover-with-a-twist of George Michael’s “Father Figure”.  As with “Hand Dance”, vocalists Georgia and Billy trade off well and what sounds like it could have been a train wreck in principle actually works out just fine thank you.  The EP rounds out with “Nude”, which manages to name-check bloggers among a cast of thousands.  Watch the video for “Hand Dance” below and listen to “Father Figure” as well.

BILLCS Top 30 #372

Yeah I know it’s late for the first time but there are neither as many words nor much energy behind it this week.  Expect several videos 🙂

You can view the full chart 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.

“Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy continue with a tight grip at the top (video is at the bottom of the blog), with “Backseat” by Eric Saade (which I’m hoping will be the follow up to “Hotter Than Fire”, but I think it will be something a little lighter and less risque) as runner-up.  Joe Jonas climbs to #3 with “Make You Mine”, while gorgeous soul ballad “Home” by new UK singer Stone Walters is now at #4.  Listen to “Home” below.

Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” climbs to #9, while the cheery “Champagne” by Nelson Clemente becomes his fourth top tenner on my chart.  But it’s “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler that makes a nice surge up to #7.  The snazzy video is below.

The mostly upwardly mobile songs in the teens are by Eric Saade, The Midway State, Lana Del Rey, Marianas Trench, and Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles, but they’re punctuated by some faster risers.  Joe Jonas once again has the fastest climber on the chart with “Not Right Now” from the Fastlife album at #15.  Right below is Adam Lambert’s “Better Than I Know Myself”, which has a really strong video that shows a softer, vulnerable side of Adam (below) – and I love the high notes in this song.  And “Something” by JMSN is both well worth hearing and watching ( below – you have already been warned in previous posts).  The talented Detroit singer climbs to #18 on the chart.

The newbies this week are almost all dance-oriented except for the one that leads the pack.  Graffiti 6 are on the rise, long after many bloggers have praised their glory over the last few years.  But “Free” is definitely the song to cut it for them, featuring a beautiful vocal from singer Jamie Scott.

Then we have at #22, M83 with “Midnight City”, a song that I’ve been listening to for quite a while now but now the melodic hook is completely entrenched in my brain.  I don’t usually mention covers in conjunction with a newly charted song or one on the rise, but I must say that the rendition by the much-praised The Knocks featuring Mandy Lee is a swift alternate version well worth checking out, with a free download on Soundcloud right here.

It’s nice to have the divine Nadia Ali back in the chart at #26, this time in the hands of producers Spencer & Hill.  “Believe It” has already had significant club play but it’s also great for blasting out the car window on a bad day.  Nadia has previously charted with #2 “Love Story” in 2009, plus of course as part of duo iio with “Rapture”, “At The End”, and “Smooth”.

Lastly, the Monsieur Adi remix of “Out Of It” by Fallulah is such a humdinger that it enters the chart at #27, and you can buy it on iTunes too!

Bill’s #1 song:  “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy

BILLCS Top 30 #371 – Jan 30/12 – Rune RK & Databoy’s “Memorize Me” Returns – At The Top

Oh the joys and sometimes pain of making a chart and being consistent!  Be prepared for a bit of a ramble…

Back in November, I got so excited about a song that I put it on my chart right away, anticipating a release.  The release, unfortunately got delayed… and delayed… and delayed.  So in ways that only chart geekdom will explain 😉 I have two rules about my chart:  1) If a song is on the way down the chart or holding, it will be removed from it after 10 appearances (20 weeks); and 2) A song must be officially released and commercially available somewhere, either as a free download or for purchase, it can’t exist strictly on a video that people can’t buy or download legally.

So I was thrilled last week when the official release of “Memorize Me” by Rune RK & Databoy happened!!  But it created both a dilemma and strange chart situation.  The dilemma:  Eric Saade’s “Hotter Than Fire” and “Backseat” ruled the top.  Could they make room for “Memorize Me”?  The strange chart situation:  I removed “Memorize Me” from the chart after three appearances (all in the Top 5) because it wasn’t released.  Returning it to the chart would allow a consecutive 10 appearance chart run, like anything else, and it may join Nelson Clemente’s “You Want Me Don’t You” (16 appearances, two chart runs, in 2008 and 2009) and Ryan Star’s “Last Train Home” (the record holder at 17 appearances, two chart runs, also in 2008 and 2009) as one of the three longest running songs on my chart.  The longest consecutive run is Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which moved upward in its 11th appearance to peak at #2 last year.  In any case, “Memorize Me” manages to re-enter the chart at #1, the only song ever to do so in the chart’s 14 year online history.  Another song did re-enter the chart and got to #1, but it didn’t re-enter at the top.  That was “Millennium” by Robbie Williams, my #1 song of 1999.  “Memorize Me” is in great company and will certainly rank highly at year’s end!

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

With all of that chart madness out of the way – it doesn’t happen too often thank goodness – Eric Saade’s “Backseat” holds hard at #2, while “Hotter Than Fire” gives way and lands at #3.  “Make You Mine”, the snappy album track by Joe Jonas, holds tightly at #4.  Further into the Top 10, the beautiful soul ballad “Home” by UK singer Stone Walters rises 8-6, with fellow Brits Labrinth and Tinie Tempah up to #7 with the Benny Benassi remix of “Earthquake” (watch the snazzy video below).  Jon McLaughlin’s piano-laden “Promising Promises” jumps to #8, with The Midway State’s rocking “Fire!” at #9.  Rounding out the Top 10 is “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler.  I posted about the slick video earlier in the week and you can watch once again below.

All of the songs ranked 6 through 17 are movin’ on up.  They include songs by Jason Mraz (which alas is slowing down, I thought it would have more staying power), Lady GaGa, Nelson Clemente, Marianas Trench, The Midway State’s “St. Paul and the Wolf”, and Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die”.  In the middle of the chart is the fastest riser, another Eric Saade would-be-smash called “Fingerprints” which climbs 21-15.  Also Top 10 bound is Adam Lambert’s latest, “Better Than I Know Myself”, which climbs to #21.  “Summer Is Over” by Jon McLaughlin & Sara Bareilles should move up more in the coming weeks but for now rises 28-24.

There are four debuts this week, and I did warn you previously about another Joe Jonas song from Fastlife making an appearance.  “Not Right Now” bows at #23, and it’s a real hum-dinger… a beautiful and romantic contemporary cha-cha number.  I would love to hear a remix of this one for clubs.  Hear the song below.

A couple weeks back, I posted about JMSN’s fascinating and mysterious debut album †Priscilla, which contains several songs of note, including the new single “Something”, which arrives at #25.  Its video is definitely worth a look, but is not for those of you who might squirm.

Florence & The Machine’s “No Light, No Light” bows at #27, and the clip below is from the excellent Saturday Night Live performance in December.  I’m finding Ceremonials a bit heavier hitting than Lungs at times, it seems fairly relentless, but still marvel at Flo’s Annie Lennox-meets-Sinead O’Connor voice – best of both worlds there.

And after arriving with a big splash in the UK, singer Yasmin has the last debut on the chart with the percolating “Light Up The World”, featuring Shy FX and Ms Dynamite at #28.  It gets stuck in your head and keeps your foot tapping away.

BILLCS Top 30 #370 – When will the rest of the world get the Eric Saade albums?

OK, Nordic countries, it’s time to share.  While it’s a mean feat to cop a release in the UK, the rest of the world awaits.  Of course I’m referring to Saade Volumes One and Two, my favourite albums of 2011 by 21 year old Eric Saade.  His duet with Dev, “Hotter Than Fire” continues to lead my personal chart at the top.  The fastest riser is right behind at #2, none other than (surprise, surprise) “Backseat”, also from Volume Two.  No singer has started to dominate my chart this way since Simon Curtis (oh, and they should do a duet – but that’s a whole other story 🙂 ).

You can view the full chart using the link under ***BILL’S PERSONAL CHART*** to the right, or you can click right here. You can hear all of the songs on the chart or watch their videos by clicking on the pics on the chart page.

In addition to “Hotter” and “Backseat” (which is a really sexy song, if you haven’t already got that), I’ve debuted another song at #21 this week, and that’s the anthemic “Fingerprints”.  Despite a little too many effects on Eric’s voice, the song is just too damn catchy for you to miss.  Listen below.

This will be a shorter chart blog than usual because I’ve already blogged about the other new songs on the chart.  We have Jason Mraz’s tender and hopeful “I Won’t Give Up” bounding onto the chart at #13 and Top 5 bound.  Adam Lambert (and it’s hard to believe he’ll be 30 in a few weeks!) makes his premiere appearance here – “Whataya Want From Me” and “If I Had You” came close – with “Better Than I Know Myself” at #26, which sounds like it’s a whole new chapter in the making with such a stunning vocal.  Adam’s upcoming sophomore album is called Transmission.  And the teaming of Jon McLaughlin and Sara Bareilles couldn’t be better on “Summer Is Over” at #28, from Jon’s upcoming album due in May called Promising Promises – the song of the same name strolls into my Top 10 on this chart 🙂

Closer to the top, most noteworthy is “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas, which climbs handily to #4 (listen below).  I can’t say enough how much his album Fastlife is such a joy.  While R&B ballad “Just In Love” slides down the chart, you can expect another song from the album to debut in a few weeks.  Sounds absolutely great up loud!  Other upward moves in the Top 10 come from the late lamented Boy Banned, Darren Hayes’ “Black Out The Sun”, and the stunning soul/pop ballad full of things important and personal, “Home” by UK singer Stone Walters at #8.

The middle of the chart is looking mighty fine with nice moves from songs by Labrinth & Tinie Tempah, The Midway State (both “Fire!” #12 and the increasingly infectious “St. Paul & The Wolf” at #20 – listen to remixes on the band’s Soundcloud page), Lady GaGa, Adam Tyler (just a forthnight away from the video for #15 “Like A Drug”), Nelson Clemente’s cheery “Champagne”, the fine “Fallout” from Marianas Trench, and of course the gothic sound of “Born To Die”, the title track from the upcoming debut album by Lana Del Rey.  Lana’s “Blue Jeans”, in its spunky Penguin Prison remix, still resides at #5.  Frankmusik is no more in favour of independence for Vincent Did It, but “Wrecking Ball” nonetheless climbs to #22.

I’ve been listening to lots and lots of new music – you should see my Internet bookmarks – so more news on songs you should hear will be coming your way over the next two weeks.  Don’t forget to bookmark this blog too please 🙂

Saade’s Hotter… with the Highest Debut: BILLCS Chart – January 2, 2012

It’s a new name for the blog and personal chart, but the number one song on the chart looks to remain the same for the next while anyway.  Eric Saade & Dev hold at the top with “Hotter Than Fire”, but the 21 year old Swede also has the highest debut in this edition.  I love so many of the slamming electropop on Saade Volume Two that it was tough to choose another one… so this will probably be the second in a series of songs to chart from that album.  Nonetheless, the most rocking track “Backseat” bows at #11.  This song has major international fan appeal.  I don’t think it will be the second official single but it shouldn’t be overlooked as one of the best songs on the record.

You can view the full chart 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.

Some songs didn’t appear in my year end Top 75 Songs list because they carried over into the current year.  So “Don’t Fuck With My Money” by Penguin Prison gets cozy at #3, while Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” (Penguin Prison remix preferred) slides into the #5 spot, and “Black Out The Sun” by Darren Hayes lands inside the Top 10 at #8 with “Bloodstained Heart” hanging in at #4.   Also new to the Top 10 are the riveting “Make You Mine” by Joe Jonas at #6, fastest riser “Home” by UK soul singer Stone Walters at #10, and “The Stars Are Saying Yes” by Boy Banned at #7.  You can listen to the former and watch the latter below.  But alas Boy Banned has called it a day, so in the coming weeks you will hear more about the upcoming activities of two of the quartet, Paul (Pob) O’Brien and Ethan Bourne.

The middle of the chart is absolutely crammed with songs vying for the Top 10 by Jon McLaughlin, Joe Jonas (again), Mika, and The Midway State.  It’s rather ironic that “Fire!” by The Midway State precedes fast riser “Earthquake” by Lanbrinth featuring Tinie Tempah, which soars 23-16.  Other recent tunes by Lady GaGa, Adam Tyler (whose video for “Like A Drug” arrives in a few weeks), and Nelson Clemente all continue to climb.

Four more debuts arrive on the chart.  I’ve already blogged about the second entry by Lana Del Rey, whose stunning video for “Born To Die” (#24) arrived a few weeks before the holidays.  The gal is one to watch, as she has signed to Interscope for her upcoming album of the same name.  Above “Born To Die” is the second single from Marianas Trench’s third album Ever After.  I enjoyed first single “Haven’t Had Enough” but other songs prevented it from entering my chart in the Fall.  So their second single “Fallout” is that much more unique and is actually the core of the Ever After album.  I’m enjoying the album immensely and expect to have a full review of it later in the week.  Listen below – an official video for “Fallout” is coming soon!

Frankmusik gave us an enjoyable animated video for “Wrecking Ball” which I blogged about before the holidays, and as “No I.D.” drifts down the chart, “Wrecking Ball” debuts at #26.  Just above that, I’ve dug deeper into The Midway State’s Paris Or India album.  My impressions of the record keep changing as I listen to it.  The group performed “St. Paul & The Wolf” with a local college’s marching band’s members when I saw them in concert on December 17.  The song’s storytelling and anthemic sound continues to win me over and arrives at #25.  Watch a live clip of the band below performing the song this past summer.

Tuned-On! Top 30 #368 – December 19/11… plus Frankmusik, Adam Lambert, Lana Del Rey and more

Well if you’ve been reading this space these past several weeks, then it’s no surprise that Eric Saade & Dev have dethroned Matt Blue’s “Can’t Help Myself” at the top of my personal chart in this edition.  “Hotter Than Fire” is a highly appropriate 2011 finale for this chart, since my next one won’t be posted till January 2 or thereabouts.  It looks to have a nice long stay at the top, unless either a long-awaited release of another song I love happens, or unless another Eric Saade song catches hold of me like “Hotter” and sails to the top.  Watch the spiffy video above; the camera takes great advantage of Eric…

You can view the full chart 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.

This won’t be a long blog because the rest of the top stays the same, and while both New Yawkers Penguin Prison’s “Don’t Fuck With My Money” and Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans” (in a Penguin Prison remix no less) are on their way to the Top 5, both “Then I Go Twisting” by Erasure and “White Horse” by Jessica 6 sneak into the Top 10 for what look like peak appearances.  In the meanwhile, take a gander at the provocative video by Lana Del Rey, “Born To Die”, which is one of the best you will see these days, tragic story and all.  Her voice almost has a Rufus Wainwright-like quality to it at times in this song.

Just outside of the Top 10 is another story entirely, for four songs look to storm the Top 10 in two weeks.  Keep your eyes on Boy Banned, for “The Stars Are Saying Yes” will getcha when you’re not looking!  It climbs 20-11 this week.  Right behind is the second entry for Darren Hayes currently on the chart, “Black Out The Sun”.  The Fastest Riser on the chart follows, and that’s “Make You Mine”, the big surprise that is within Joe Jonas’ Fastlife album.  It soars 24-13.  Jon McLaughlin’s “Promising Promises” continues to climb at #14.  Rounding out the movers are The Midway State’s “Fire!” at #18, Lady GaGa’s “Marry The Night” which is up to #21, and “Like A Drug” by Adam Tyler jumps 28-24.

I talked about two of the three debuts recently.  “Home” by Stone Walters is a stunning but low-key release from the UK soul singer which hits your heart in all of the right places.  It’s one to watch and debuts at #20.  It’s available for free download right here with an email subscription.  “Champagne” by Nelson Clemente is either a great way to end the current year or a great starter for the next year.  Its lightheartedness is contagious and premieres at #27.  Nelson has already attained a number of Top Tenners on this chart, with “You Want Me Don’t You” (in both its original 2008 release and 2009 Spekr Freks remix) and “90 Days” both cracking the Top 5.  Ninthwave Records has made it available as a free download on Soundcloud right here.  Lastly, producer/remixer Benny Benassi has made some intoxicating music for the dance floor this year, so he gets a hat-trick of sorts with his remix of Labrinth & Tinie Tempah’s “Earthquake” arriving on my chart at #23.  The other two songs to reach the chart?  Chris Brown’s “Beautiful People” and Benassi’s “Cinema” (featuring Gary Go) were on the chart concurrently this summer, peaking at #10 and #11 respectively.  Listen to his remix of “Earthquake” below.  Your body may start moving without you.

A few more tidbits before I wrap up…

Ever the busy guy, Frankmusik recently unveiled a delightful animated video for his Do It In The A.M. track “Wrecking Ball”.  Mr. Frank’s full of ideas… watch for more next year.  In the meantime, watch “Wrecking Ball” below.

And welcome back, Adam Lambert, though you didn’t seem away for more than a hot second.  The most important thing about his upcoming single “Better Than I Know Myself” is that it does away with the dramatic, almost over-the-top high notes of songs like “Whataya Want From Me” in favour of cleaner, richer, and more classic production.  But everything you ever liked about Adam is much intact!  The new album’s gonna be even better, I think.  Listen to “Better Than I Know Myself” streaming from his official website right here.

And I leave you with two more songs for the season.  He was Warbler #6 on “Glee” for a time, and recorded a terrific EP about a year ago along with a bang-on cover of George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex”.  It’s a pleasure to hear Chris Mann so beautifully sing “Silent Night” below.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you, I said it was coming.  Here’s Joshua Desjardins’ heartwarming and humourous video for “Macauley Culkin (Home Alone at Christmas)”.  You will have a smile on your face when it’s finished 🙂