“Believer” is the optimistic new song and video from @MajorLazer & @Showtek

MAJOR LAZER & SHOWTEK, “Believer”

It may seem an unlikely move, but in a classic teaming of Major Lazer and Dutch EDM veterans Showtek, the artists have made their new song “Believer” into an affecting video (above) that sympathizes with the plight of refugees, in particular those from Syria.  The song itself has a great synth hook, trading off a progressive techno vibe against some Caribbean flavours, totally fitting the story line that has been crafted to show that there is still hope amid tragedy.  You’ll be wanting to watch this one multiple times, and “Believer” is definitely a must for dance clubs and radio.  Another score for Diplo’s Mad Decent label with almost 2 million views for the video in four days.  🙂  

Published in: on January 8, 2017 at 1:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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BILLCS Top 30 #442 – October 20, 2014

Time isn’t standing still, but when you’ve got a 1,2,3,4 kapow like what’s happening at the top of my new chart, you’re gonna have to be patient to find out when they all get shook loose.  And it could happen as early as the next chart in two weeks but until then, enjoy:

#1 “I’m Not The Only One” by Sam Smith

samsmith6#2 “Smile” by Mikky Ekko

mikkyekko#3 “Afterglow” by Harriet

harriet3#4 “Thanks For Nothing” by Brandyn Burnette

Brandyn Burnette has a new acoustic set available on Soundcloud above and lots of free songs as well so I’ll be keeping you posted on the prolific singer’s new songs very soon!

ON THE RISE

The lone new entry to the Top 5 isn’t actually new, but it does sound significantly different from the original version which got to #5 in 2011.  I’m talking about the mid-tempo Aron Friedman house remix of “I Won’t Let You Go” by Adam Tyler of course, which climbs 8-5.

As her album Tough Love enters the UK Top 10 and her October 26 show in my city approaches, Jessie Ware is the gal-most-likely-to as “Say You Love Me” continues to rise quickly, up 9-6.

It’s now due on November 10 (in Canada anyway), but if you go to iTunes you’ll find 3 more songs to preview from Jamie Scott’s My Hurricane album, including a duet with Christina Perri called “Gold”.  In the meantime, his latest single “Unbreakable” moves up 11-9, joining his band Graffiti6 with their Top 5 entry from last year, “Free”.

Music fans are the always the first ones to get “Zeppelin” by Eli Lieb but even if you’re not familiar with the famous band’s songs or why friends might be jamming to Zeppelin in the car, then you can still revel in the positive and nostalgic vibe of the song.  It anchors the top songs on the chart at #10.

Chromatone is out gigging in the London, England area quite regularly, so do try to catch one of his performances!  His latest song “Play For Me” continues to advance on the chart 17-13.

It’s one of the more discreet songs on the chart, but it’s heartwarming and holds within its lyrics reams of truth.  The fastest riser on the chart is “Stage Fright” by Jake Barker.

It’s not easy to find different love songs to write about but Semi-Precious Weapons has done just that with “Brando”.  Hopefully a video is in the works and can make it out before their next album, still expected before year end.

I caught Smallpools’ set back when they opened for Neon Trees back in July, and with new songs like “Killer Whales” I look forward to their next album release.  The band plays in my city on October 24 too.  “Killer Whales” swims upstream to #18!

Between her acting career and her singing career, Jane Badler travels all over, and will next perform a concert in Paris at the end of November.  Her beguiling single, featuring Spanish guitar via 70’s new wave via torch ballad, “Losing You”, lands at #20 on my chart, from her new album Opus.

Those Janoskians are still making their way across North America promoting their latest single “That’s What She Said”, which lands at #21 this week.  The teens definitely like their Aussie boys when they get even a little more than naughty, and that’s what makes watching their success unfold rather interesting! Yes, this blogger likes The Janoskians 🙂

There’s nothing stopping Sam Smith short of exhaustion, and he’s announced another North American tour, including a stop in my city on January 20 at the biggest venue in town!  I was fortunate to see him at the 500 person Virgin Mod Club last Spring for $15.00!  “Restart” moves up to #22.

NEW TO THE CHART

Keep those dancing shoes on for “Arms Of Another” by Bright Light Bright Light, which I wrote about recently as the extra song (or ‘B’ side as we used to call them) on the new single for “An Open Heart”.  The latter song already conquered this chart back at the top of the year, and now “Arms Of Another” arrives at #24.

And now I return you to the explosive and diverse dubstep/trap and other EDM scene.  “Gold Skies”, brought to you by the quartet of Sander van Doorn, Martin Garrix, and DVBBS, and featuring vocalist Aleesia, sounds like a radio hit in the making, and it’s included on Martin’s EP of the same name on iTunes, which also features two of my 2014 #1’s, “Animals” and “Proxy” (previously a free download).  “Gold Skies” bows at #27.

It’s been since 2011 that The Script last landed on my chart, and to me have returned to the sound now which got them popular in the first place back in 2009.  “Superheroes” is the first single from No Sound Without Silence, the Dublin, Ireland trio’s fourth album.  And they are well worth seeing in concert!  “Superheroes” premieres at #28.

EXTRA! EXTRA!

While “Hang On To Your Love”, the Penguin Prison free download cover of the 1984 Sade debut glides up the chart at #19, the singer (aka Chris Glover) released his first solo single in three years last week.  He’s not breaking a formula that won over fans like me either with “Calling Out”.  It’s as simple a song as “The Worse It Gets”, with similar late 70’s early 80’s inspirations like “Kiss On My List” by Daryl Hall & John Oates or “What A Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers, but spun Penguin Prison style:  Danceable ear candy!  Can’t wait to hear more from PP’s upcoming sophomore album.  Listen below and get it on iTunes.

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 chart.

01 01 I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE Sam Smith
02 02 SMILE Mikky Ekko
03 03 AFTERGLOW Harriet
04 04 THANKS FOR NOTHING Brandyn Burnette
08 05 I WON’T LET YOU GO (Aron Friedman remix) Adam Tyler
09 06 SAY YOU LOVE ME Jessie Ware
07 07 GET TO KNOW YOU Corey Niles featuring Ish
05 08 NO FUN The Presets
11 09 UNBREAKABLE Jamie Scott
12 10 ZEPPELIN Eli Lieb
14 11 AMNESIA 5 Seconds Of Summer
15 12 CRIMINAL Adam Tyler
17 13 PLAY FOR ME Chromatone
06 14 MUSIC GODS Davis Redfield featuring Carl Man
23 15 STAGE FRIGHT Jake Barker
10 16 THIS COULD BE SOMETHING Anton Ewald featuring Medina
24 17 BRANDO Semi-Precious Weapons
21 18 KILLER WHALES Smallpools
22 19 HANG ON TO YOUR LOVE Penguin Prison
26 20 LOSING YOU Jane Badler
27 21 THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID The Janoskians
28 22 RESTART Sam Smith
13 23 JUST SAY HELLO Lyonn
New 24 ARMS OF ANOTHER Bright Light Bright Light
16 25 I BELIEVE Bright Light Bright Light
18 26 STRANGER Chris Malinchak featuring Mikky Ekko
New 27 GOLD SKIES Sander Van Doorn, Martin Garrix & DVBBS featuring Aleesia
New 28 SUPERHEROES The Script
19 29 TIME HAS COME Hannis
20 30 TEN FEET TALL Afrojack featuring Wrabel

Listen for My New Music Pick Of The Week on D-Moos.com!

As many of you are already aware, after many years away from the microphone, I am now pleased to be back as a voice on D-Moos.com Canada’s National Internet Radio Station, which mainly plays a selection of oldies, mostly from the 50’s to the 90’s, with soon to be more intrusions from the 2000’s and other new music.

Do listen in for my New Music Pick of the Week feature on D-Moos.com 8 times per day starting at 2:05 AM EST on Mondays, and while the station is only live in the evenings from 9:00 pm to midnight (with my long-time musical partner in crime “The Musicman” James Rogers), you can hear my voice at other odd times, particularly if you’re an oldies loving night owl on the weekend overnights 🙂

Dancin’ Up A Storm: @DJEsQuille features @JaneBadler on “My Skin On Your Skin”

DJ ESQUILLE featuring JANE BADLER, “My Skin On Your Skin”

“My Skin On Your Skin” is a sensational new dance club floor pleaser by Swedish DJ/producer EsQuille that just happens to feature a vocal by the ever-diverse Jane Badler.  It’s a real throwback to some of the songs on the racier side of disco such as Musique’s “In The Bush” or Poussez’s “Come On And Do It”, but with a trendy techno-sounding vibe that gives it 90’s qualities.  In any case, it’s a fast listen under 3 minutes, but you can go with the full blown Stonebridge club mixes which are available as a separate single on iTunes.  I’ve loved hearing Jane in a dance music setting since the commanding remix of “Yesterday’s Tomorrows” a few years ago, she has just the right voice to help take “My Skin On Your Skin” that much further, so this is a great pairing!  Don’t forget also to check out Jane’s new album Opus on iTunes, which features the engaging and dramatic new single “Losing You” which I wrote about recently.

Published in: on October 1, 2014 at 11:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dubstep Drops Meet Lots of Melody with @Convulsic’s “Love Space” and “The Day You Left”

CONVULSIC, “Love Space” and “The Day You Left”

Convulsic (aka Erik Hale) is a relatively new DJ/producer based out of San Diego whose music will totally slay and sway you with lots of energetic shifts and drops, without sacrificing melody.  In fact melody is essential in both “Love Space” and “The Day You Left”.  It makes both songs a lot more accessible than heavier songs in the EDM genre, while still retaining plenty of crunch, which makes both songs quite memorable, if not somewhat dazzling 🙂  The vocal sample in “Love Space” sounds like Bjork (but is not) and also adds to the ear-catching proceedings.  “The Day You Left” is much more frantic and full of countless effects that draw you in and keep you there.  Convulsic has an innate ear that knows what works.  Listen to “Love Space” above and “The Day You Left” on his Reverb Nation page.  A video is coming for “Love Space” – check out the preview below.  Both songs are available on iTunes for purchase – also check out the very cool artwork for “The Day You Left” below.

Convulsic_The_Day_You_Left_Album_Art

Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 4:15 pm  Comments (2)  
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@ThePresets Mach 2014: “Goodbye Future”

presets5

THE PRESETS, “Goodbye Future”

The Presets toured the hell out of their 2012 album Pacifica, so it’s amazing that they found the time to record new music.  Thus we have “Goodbye Future”, which is a house-flavoured EDM song with a warmer set of lyrics that recalls songs like “If I Were You”.  It’s in a bit of a contrast to the music on Pacifica which was often anthemic and futuristic, but ultimately somewhat distant.  “Goodbye Future” bodes very well for Jules and Kim, who are currently in the throes of touring just about everywhere in Australia imaginable (Aussie readers, if you haven’t seen their high energy and often intense show, please go!).  I would gather that another album is in the works, and hopefully that will arrive when the duo makes their next roundabout in North America.

Published in: on February 3, 2014 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BILLCS Top 30 #423 – January 27/14

The end of January sees a cold, cold winter continuing… but with extra hot EDM/dance music, if our three debuts (with thanks to Matthew Koma on two of them 🙂 ) and the new #1 song – which you may not have expected – have any say in the matter.

martingarrix2

The New Number One

  • “Animals” by Martin Garrix!!  Surprised??  The song has grown immensely on me during the month, and the young Dutchman already seems to have a signature sound of his own, judging by his subsequent collabo “Wizard” and a newer song which you’ll find under the extras below.  But will “Animals” get more than one appearance at #1?  Find out in two weeks!  Love the above photo!  Martin is in my city (Toronto) in a sold out show on February 7 at Uniun.

The Rest of the Top 10

  • “Easy” by Travis Garland continues its climb to #2 in its 8th appearance on the chart, while “Motel Pool” sits comfortably at #6.
  • Bright Light Bright Light gives up #1 with “An Open Heart” and moves to #3, while the equally pensive “In Your Care” moves up 13-10!
  • Singles holding steady:  SIRPAUL’s “Every Single Moment” at #4 and “Breathe Me”, the thoughtful Sia cover by Carlos Nóbrega at #7 🙂
  • Into the Top 5 she goes!  New UK singer Eurielle’s gorgeous “Gold” (video below) moves up 6-5!
  • The last new Top 10 entry is Adam Lambert’s highest on the chart thus far, the “Glee” take on “Marry The Night” at #9.

On The Rise

  • Canadian quartet Neverest is at it again, after the #1 success of “Rewind”, almost in the Top 10 a few weeks after “Take Cover” (video above) appeared on their Facebook page as a free download.  It’s the fastest riser on the chart, climbing 21-11!
  • And speaking of “Rewind”, its songwriter Corey Niles and pal Dru continue to rise up the chart with a fine slice of pop/hip hop, “Rollercoaster” at #12.
  • New L.A. resident Jake Miller is fresh out of the Grammys and zipping up my chart 22-13 with a fun pre-summer anthem “Collide”.
  • While “Do What U Want” has slowed down at #14, Lady GaGa’s rollicking “MANiCURE” jumps 18-15.
  • He’s got an Oscar nomination, won a Grammy as Producer of the Year, provided vocals on Record of the Year “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk (which got to #2 on my chart and was #16 for 2013) – Pharrell Williams oughta be “Happy”, as the former UK #1 climbs 27-21.
  • Lastly, the eclectic and most listenable “Talking To The Walls” (video below) has an outstanding vocal by its singer, newcomer Své, and it moves up 25-22.  It’s available on iTunes.

The Debuts – Power EDM Trio!

  • Storming the chart at #17 is the irresistible and indefatiguable “Cannonball (Earthquake)” by Dutch producers/DJs Showtek & Justin Prime, which started life as an instrumental two years ago, but has been transformed into an incredible vocal anthem courtesy of singer/songwriter Matthew Koma.  This needs a worldwide release!!

  • I got so tired of Wake Me Up soooo fast that I went silent on Avicii’s album True.  That has all changed with the arrival of “Addicted To You” at #20, featuring a unique standout vocal performance by American singer Audra Mae.  A short song at 2:28, it has all the boom you need to make you want much more!

  • Lastly, we have more Matthew Koma vocalizing and songwriting courtesy of the UK Top 20 hit “Dare You” by another well-established Dutch producer/DJ, Robbert Hardwell.  This gorgeously melodic EDM song arrives at #25 and I’m looking forward to the official remixes 🙂

Extra! Extra!

Several songs are on deck or are awaiting official release before they arrive on my chart.

Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige, “F For You”

Kylie Minogue, “Into The Blue”

People Like You, “Have Some Pride” (teaser video!! – official release is February 3)

Bassjackers, “Crackin'” (Martin Garrix edit)

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 chart.

05 01 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
03 02 EASY Travis Garland
01 03 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
04 04 EVERY SINGLE MOMENT SIRPAUL
06 05 GOLD Eurielle
09 06 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
07 07 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
02 08 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi featuring A*M*E
11 09 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast featuring Adam Lambert
13 10 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
21 11 TAKE COVER Neverest
15 12 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles featuring Dru
22 13 COLLIDE Jake Miller
14 14 DO WHAT U WANT Lady GaGa featuring R. Kelly
18 15 MANiCURE Lady GaGa
17 16 I CAN’T HELP IT Dangerous Muse
New 17 CANNONBALL (EARTHQUAKE) Showtek & Justin Prime featuring Matthew Koma
20 18 COME A LITTLE CLOSER Cage The Elephant
08 19 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
New 20 ADDICTED TO YOU Avicii featuring Audra Mae
27 21 HAPPY Pharrell Williams
25 22 TALKING TO THE WALLS Své
10 23 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
12 24 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
New 25 DARE YOU Hardwell featuring Matthew Koma
16 26 KEEP ME RUNNING Andy Suzuki & The Method
19 27 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
23 28 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
24 29 JULIET Lawson 
26 30 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis

“Dare You” to Party Hard with @Hardwell and @Matthew Koma

HARDWELL featuring MATTHEW KOMA, “Dare You”

Ready now for imminent takeover of the worldwide dance club charts is “Dare You”, combining the many talents of Dutch DJ/producer Robbert Hardwell and the always splendid Matthew Koma, who copped two of my Top 10 Songs of 2013 with “1998” and “Parachute”.  It’s great to see Matthew’s continued connection to the dance community with such a strong song, which sets out its lyrical intentions early on so you can jump and bounce and do whatever after the first minute or so.  Bound to be one of the biggest dance records of the year, I hope it crosses over to pop like Matthew’s work with Zedd.

Published in: on January 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BILLCS Top 30 #421 – December 30/13 – Plus, New Songs by Neverest, Remy Shand, and Matt Blue

The last chart of 2013 is also my first chart of 2014, when last year’s favourites start to fade a bit and new ones start to take charge.

  • The Top 4 are exactly the same as two weeks ago:  Bright Light Bright Light’s “An Open Heart” (#11 for 2013) and “What’s Going On” by Monsieur Adi & A*M*E (#17 for 2013) are still too hard to dislodge, with Anton Ewald’s “Can’t Hold Back” (#21 for 2013) about to give way to Travis Garland’s “Easy”.

  • SIRPAUL busts a move right into the Top 5 with “Every Single Moment” (8-5), which not only can swirl you out onto the dance floor but dazzle you with its excellent lyrics.  It’s a grower, but a winner!
  • I am by no means nowhere near done with Martin Garrix’s “Animals” as it continually lodges itself inside my head.  It would have made for some appropriate party music in last night’s festivities.  “Animals” moves up 11-6.

  • “Gold” by UK singer Eurielle vaults into the Top 10 at #7, from her compelling 3 song EP The Incarnation.  Watch the tantalizing video above.

  • “Breathe Me” is a poignant and minimal cover of the Sia song by Portugal’s Carlos Nóbrega, climbing 15-10 and becoming his second Top 10 placing on my chart.
  • The middle of the chart finds songs still on the rise from Jarell Perry, “Glee”/Adam Lambert, Lady GaGa & R. Kelly and Corey Niles & Dru.

  • Debuts from the last chart are all taking off smoothly.  Bright Light Bright Light’s “In Your Care” is the fastest riser, up 24-16, making this a double whammy week for Rod Thomas who also has the #1 song.  Lady GaGa’s “MANiCURE” and Cage The Elephant’s “Come A Little Closer” (coming closer to becoming a pop hit, I think) climb 28-21 and 29-23.

  • I’ve written about both of our newcomers.  It’s no surprise that “Motel Pool” by Travis Garland bows at #22 complete with its damn proper sexy video.  Travis’ self-titled album is my go-to when I don’t know what to listen to.  The song is also from the new Motel Pool EP available on iTunes.  “Talking To The Walls” got a flood of attention right away when I wrote about it in October, but it’s gone a little too quiet.  I’ve not forgotten about this hypnotic song from new singer Své.  Watch the video below, which has some strange twists and a cameo from “Go For Gold” and former Click Five singer Kyle Patrick.  It debuts on my chart at #28.

EXTRAS:

neverest4

  • If you thought Neverest might go back to a ballad for their next single, you might not be prepared for the techno/dubsteppy power in “Take Cover”, which was released today as a free download from their Facebook page (you have to “like” it of course) right here.  Like “Rewind” (my #13 song of 2013), “Take Cover” is an ambitious and tight record that will slide into their set list rather neatly.  Can’t wait to hear it in concert!  There’s no link yet for me to provide – just take my word on this one folks!

remyshand

  • Juno Award winning Canadian R&B/pop singer Remy Shand has eased back into the music scene this year after being away from it for a decade.  He’s very active on Twitter, often providing many links to some great obscure and not-so-obscure songs which obviously shape his styles of music.  His new song released today on Bandcamp, “The Best In Me”, starts off with a low vocal register introduction, but doesn’t venture much beyond what he gave us in the past, which is not a bad thing at all.  Slick production and some amazing guitar work that rounds out the end of the song make it more than worthwhile.  You can hear and purchase the song right here.

mattblue

  • Dutch singer Matt Blue keeps issuing fine singles that hopefully one day will make an EP or album.  Released on You Tube just before the New Year is “Fireworks”, a bit slighter than past efforts “Can’t Help Myself” and last year’s #32 song “Outta My Mind”, but still in a positive and upbeat vein.  And when there’s such a fine voice singing the song you can’t help but be impressed.

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

01 01 AN OPEN HEART Bright Light Bright Light
02 02 WHAT’S GOING ON Monsieur Adi F/ A*M*E
03 03 CAN’T HOLD BACK Anton Ewald
04 04 EASY Travis Garland
08 05 EVERY SINGLE MOMENT   SIRPAUL
11 06 ANIMALS Martin Garrix
13 07 GOLD Eurielle
05 08 I HAVE A NAME Osvaldo Supino
07 09 DO I HAVE TO DANCE Simon Curtis
15 10 BREATHE ME Carlos Nóbrega
06 11 WE CAN’T STOP SUMMERTIME SADNESS   DATABOY
14 12 4TH OF JULY Jarell Perry
18 13 MARRY THE NIGHT Glee Cast F/ Adam Lambert
09 14 JULIET Lawson
19 15 DO WHAT U WANT Lady Gaga F/ R. Kelly
24 16 IN YOUR CARE Bright Light Bright Light
22 17 ROLLERCOASTER Corey Niles F/ Dru
20 18 KEEP ME RUNNING Andy Suzuki & The Method
21 19 I CAN’T HELP IT Dangerous Muse
10 20 BERLIN WALL Simon Curtis
28 21 MANiCURE Lady Gaga
New 22 MOTEL POOL Travis Garland
29 23 COME A LITTLE CLOSER Cage The Elephant
12 24 SOMEBODY LOVES YOU Betty Who
16 25 ADORN Miguel F/ Jessie Ware
17 26 APPLAUSE Lady Gaga
23 27 IMPOSSIBLE Ryan Star
New 28 TALKING TO THE WALLS Své
25 29 HEADHUNTER Parralox
26 30 MA RADIO Osvaldo Supino

 

Bill’s Top 75 of 2013 – Songs 40 to 421

My year end countdown continues with songs #40 through 21 🙂

40.  DATABOY  We Can’t Stop Summertime Sadness (PP #6)

Among their many projects amid preparations for their sophomore album, Austin TX duo DATABOY (aka Cameron Maxwell and Adam Bailey) dropped one of the biggest surprises of 2013 – not just a mashup of Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” and “Summertime Sadness” by Lana Del Rey, but one that pretty much stands alone as a song itself.  It’s a supurb end of summer song, combining the invincibility of “We Can’t Stop” and the defeat of “Summertime Sadness”.  Plus, as is the theme of this year’s songs, the guys gave one of their best ever vocals, and showed themselves at last in the accompanying video.  Available for free download too.

39.  THE WALLFLOWERS featuring MICK JONES Reboot The Mission (PP #6)

“Reboot The Mission” served as a classy homage to The Clash, what with reference to “the mighty Joe Strummer” in the lyrics as well as supporting vocal from Clash member Mick Jones.  It’s probably one of The Wallflowers’ funkiest numbers too, a real throwback to how The Clash incorporated funk and R&B into their songs like “This Is Radio Clash”, “Rock The Casbah”, and “The Magnificent Seven”.  Jakob Dylan also has never sounded so fine, an enthusiastic yet sultry vocal.

38. OSVALDO SUPINO I Have A Name (PP #5)

“I Have A Name” became the standout song from the blissful dance compilation This Beat Is… Poptronik Volume 2 as the year went on.  It’s as different from Italian singer Osvaldo Supino’s more outrageous songs as it is from his other charting song (the incredibly playful “Ma Radio” at #67).  His vocal here is extremely touching and the beautiful lyrics – the song was written by ace team Charlie Mason, Daniel Volpe, and Thomas Lipp – to me could also serve as a theme of sorts against bullying.

37. ROBIN THICKE featuring T.I. & PHARRELL WILLIAMS  Blurred Lines (PP #4)

There is no denying that “Blurred Lines” is one of the catchiest pieces of business that 2013 offered.  I’m not about to debate the lyrics; to me this is all just fun and other songs have been targeted in the past for their words, yet it didn’t stop radio from playing them either.  Robin Thicke is no stranger to making songs about sex, they comprise pretty much most of his repertoire (and he’s been married for over 20 years too).  It’s great to have him back with some friendly rivalry, he last appeared on my Best of 2008 with “Magic” (in duet form with Mary J. Blige) after first appearing on my chart back in 2002 with his “A Fifth Of Beethoven” mashup, “When I Get You Alone” (billed under his last name only).

36. DAVIS REDFIELD  A World Apart (PP #4)

Davis Redfield is a German DJ/producer who appears to be well-established in Europe.  His song “A World Apart” came to my attention through its impeccable songwriting pedigree (Charlie Mason/Mans Ek/Johan Aberg and Redfield).  It also has a bit of bizarre history to itself as the fantastic (and hitherto unknown) session vocalist bailed from the project after it was recorded, and that’s not her in the accompanying video.  Nevertheless it’s one of the year’s very best dance recordings that should not be disregarded! 🙂

35.  BONGIOVANNI  I Think I Love You (Kwik Fiks & Bongiovanni remix) (PP #6)

It’s Montrealer Victor Bongiovanni’s second entry (the other is much higher up!) on this list, a deep house rework of rapper Dwele’s song that emphasizes over the full song an irresistibly oversized bass sound and atmosphere featuring minimal vocals.  Eventually the full lyrics come along about half way through but by then you are sold entirely.  I heard no other song that was quite like this one in 2013, and look forward to Bongiovanni’s upcoming projects (usually with partner-in-crime Kwik Fiks).

34. ARMIN VAN BUUREN featuring TREVOR GUTHRIE  This Is What It Feels Like (PP #6)

Dutch DJ/producer has been no stranger to my chart over the past 10 years and in fact has scored two #1’s, 2003’s “Yet Another Day” and 2008’s “Going Wrong”.  This time though, “This Is What It Feels Like” crossed over to pop radio around the world thanks to inclusion of the instantly recognizable voice of former soulDecision vocalist, Canadian singer Trevor Guthrie.  It’s garnered the pair a deserving Grammy nod for Best Dance Recording amid a lot of competition.

33. PARRALOX featuring RYAN ADAMES  Silent Morning (PP #5)

It literally took months for me to buy into this song – a return of the Freestyle sound amid so much techno and dubstep through a cover of Noel’s seminal 80’s hit “Silent Morning”??  And the first recorded version of “Silent Morning” by the Australian duo led by John von Ahlen, simply featuring former member Amii Jackson on vocal duty, was just fine.  Then came the brilliant idea of adding rising L.A.-based singer/actor/dancer Ryan Adamés to the mix, and suddenly the record was transformed into something immediately more contemporary, with a video showcasing Amii and Ryan that added a little intrigue to the story.  Many mixes followed, including a rock-inflected one by Cherry Cherry Boom Boom which still turns my head.  “Silent Morning” is also one of the showcase songs from This Beat Is…Poptronik Volume 2.  Parralox also features at #59 with their out-of-the-blue cover of Front 242’s “Headhunter”, sung by John, from their ambitious album of cover songs, Recovery.

32.  MATT BLUE  Outta My Mind (PP #3)

He doesn’t do it very often, but when 21 year old Dutch singer Matt Blue releases something, it’s generally pretty ear-catching and danceable.  Such is the case with “Outta My Mind”, guaranteed to make you smile and give you happy feet, in follow up to his late 2011 #1 on my chart “Can’t Help Myself”.  He’s just released a new song called “Fireworks” and I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it very soon!  But I’m selfishly looking forward to a full EP or album from the talented Mr. Blue.

31.  LAWSON  Learn To Love Again (PP #5)

UK quartet Lawson was one of my bands of the year, even though they haven’t released more than two singles in North America.  I saw them twice in concert this year (along with Canadians Neverest), and they put on a stadium-worthy show for a smallish (350-400) club audience.  Almost all of their songs (ironically except “Learn To Love Again”) have garnered Top 10 status in the UK, and their albums Chapman Square and Chapman Square Part II, have also sold well.  North America has to be their next destination, right Universal Music?? 🙂  “Learn To Love Again” is one of those emotional pop songs that instantly sticks in your head, and it was followed this year by the rocking duet with B.o.B. “Brokenhearted” (#52) and the Bruno Mars-ish ska-inflected “Juliet” (#60).

30. TRAVIS GARLAND  Homewrecker (PP #6)

L.A. based, Texas-bred singer Travis Garland ultimately recorded my favourite album of 2013, his self-titled debut.  Produced along with The Stereotypes, the album offers a diverse R&B/pop sound like no other (no, not even close to Justin Timberlake or Robin Thicke).  Its songs ranged from out-and-out dance, through to sexy balladeering, and then to something as offbeat as “Homewrecker”, a dark tale with production effects that would not have sounded out of place on JMSN’s 2012 album Priscilla.  Nonetheless it’s a captivating song that shows Travis Garland’s versatility and deservedly ranks highly at year’s end.  Travis has one more song, much higher up, on this list 🙂

29. BASTILLE  Pompeii (PP #6)

After hearing “Pompeii” at the time of its UK release and seeing it soar to #2 for the British band Bastille, I was hooked thanks to its unforgettable refrain:

“And if you close your eyes,
Does it almost feel like
You’ve been here before?
How am I gonna be an optimist about this?”

These are some of the best lyrics of the year.  And by year’s end, the rest of the world was catching on as “Pompeii” moved towards the Top 20 in North America.

28. BLAKE LEWIS  Your Touch (PP #5)

“Your Touch” is another song with a memorable refrain, combined with an urgent performance by Blake Lewis, which was a most welcome return for the singer/songwriter whose “Heartbreak On Vinyl” was one of the more touching songs of 2009.

“I’m thinking you and I
Should roll the dice, get lost in love forever
Cause I’m feeling intoxicated
I wanna taste the air that you’ve been breathing

So haunt me, and feel me
I’ve been waiting for your touch”

We’re still waiting for the album Portrait Of A Chameleon to surface, so I’m hoping it’s not buried in record company tape.  “Your Touch” became a Top 40 hit in the UK.

27. KYLIE MINOGUE  Skirt (PP #4)

A gal’s just gotta have some fun, right?  The Aussies got it, dance clubs got it, but very few others did.  “Skirt” is one of Kylie’s more uninhibited numbers (“and then my skirt came down…. down…. down….”), and one of my most favourite, particularly after last year’s glistening “Timebomb”.  And while “Skirt” may have been unjustly ignored, Warner Music decided to add her to their roster, so we should have new Kylie to look forward to in 2014.

26. CHRIS WALLACE  Time Bomb (Walk Away) (PP#4)

“Time Bomb” is Chris Wallace’s 2nd entry on this list, following #44 (and current single/video “Keep Me Crazy) and of course my last year’s #2 favourite “Remember When (Push Rewind)”.  “Time Bomb” is another equally thoughtful and energetic song, which, who knows (and hint, hint) could be the third single from his long-lasting Push Rewind album.  Chris has been performing relentlessly across the USA this year, which has resulted in “Keep Me Crazy” receiving enough airplay to rank in the Top 40 radio songs.  This is helped by the power of an indie label (Think Say) with one or two strong performers on their roster.  More power to Chris and all of them for 2014!  Hope Canada’s on your radar for next year!

25.  TAO HYPAH  Play The Girl (PP#4)

Early 2013 started off with “Play The Girl”, a most danceable and ear-catching song from young Dutch singer Tao Hypah, who graced last year’s list with the memorable “Celeb”.  The video is a great piece of eye-candy with some decent choreography.  Tao Hypah has the intriguing looks and the voice to match, and was willing to take a risk with a song that could be perceived from its title to be about more than what it actually is.  In mid-2013, Tao Hypah auditioned for The Voice of Holland and made it through under his own persona, Darren Van Der Lek (pic below).  He got to the first battle round before being eliminated.  Tao Hypah/Darren definitely has the voice to be successful however he wants to be, and I look forward to more in 2014.

taohypah_darren

24.  ELI ESCOBAR featuring NOMI RUIZ  Somebody To Love Me (PP #4)

I fell in love with “Somebody To Love Me” at first listen, thanks to the breathtaking vocals of Nomi Ruiz from NYC trio Jessica 6, but had no idea that it was a rework/cover.  The original was performed by Mark Ronson featuring Boy George and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt back in 2010 from Ronson’s album at the time.  I only found this out because I was curious why Nomi was singing the song as if she was a boy and figured it must be a cover.  Nonetheless, Eli Escobar fashioned the better version as a showcase for Nomi – probably one of the best dance records of the year that you didn’t hear.

23. FRANKMUSIK  Captain (PP #4)

Oh what a year for FrankMusik, who has already placed three other songs (out of 5 – still one more to go!) in my Top 75.  I remember him posting a clip of the instrumental track for “Captain” before it was released, and I was wondering how he could possibly write a lyric to overlay on top of such a frenetic melody.  But he did, and “Captain” is one of the key songs from the Between album, it is the storm that’s raging while you are in the throes of trying to salvage a relationship.  You want someone to steer it for you, but the two of you are the only ones to do that.  It’s such a difficult subject, and part of the amazement of hearing the Between and Between Us projects is to live through the painful, sad lyrics with Vince, often set to unbridled and happier-sounding melodies.  “Captain” is one crazy story and tune – listen to the bare-bones acoustic version on Between Us for full effect.

22.  DAN BLACK featuring KELIS  Hearts (PP#3)

After his smashing debut album UN from 2009, and a few guest appearances here and there since, Dan Black quietly resurfaced (after starting a family) with “Hearts” this past Spring.  It was accompanied by a very creative video which used time lapse photography having been shot over 24 hours.  Incorporated into the mix is an appropriately dry vocal by Kelis that acts as a perfect foil to Dan’s ideas.  It’s such a shame that this was all we heard and saw in 2013 and 2014 could use more  Dan Black on the music scene 🙂

21.  ANTON EWALD  Can’t Hold Back (PP#3)

While Sweden’s reigning king of pop, Eric Saade, delved into quieter, personal pop rather than continue with dance-oriented, synth-heavy songs, his young friend Anton Ewald surfaced at Melodifestivalen and won over Swedish audiences with his TV-ready personality and some slick dance moves (he’s also a choreographer).  This led to the release of his EP called A, and every song within hits the same places that Eric found with his Saade Volumes 1 & 2 albums.  “Can’t Hold Back” should have done better as a second single with its snappy melody and singalong chorus.  It’s also strange how his music is released internationally yet we in North America are unable to see some of his videos.  I’d love for Eric Saade and Anton Ewald to tour outside of the Nordic countries on a double bill!  What exposure! 🙂

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

It Was All About The Great Voices

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

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

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

Newcomers:

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

Continuing from 2012…

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

Returning Favourites:

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

SONGS 75 to 41

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

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