#BILLCSTop30 #580, February 3/20

When One Direction last recorded about 5 years back – and they never appeared on this chart – no one could have told me that three of the members would be on this chart years later at the same time!  And for a second chart in a row, there are three Harry Styles songs in the Top 10.  And there’s a long line up of songs waiting to get into both the Top 10 and the Top 30!

So the second 1D member to reach #1 on this chart after Harry is… Zayn!  I didn’t care for his first solo album at all, but the second, the overlooked Icarus Falls, is really quite intriguing.  I was happy for him to spread his wings and work with a dance dynamo like R3HAB in partnership with fellow producer Jungleboi.  So it’s the stunning “Flames” that is on top, just in time for the arrival of its official video (above)! Although we can pretend that the mystery man in black is Zayn, alas he is not in the video.

And speaking again of Harry, and his supurb Fine Line album, “Adore You” advances 7-3 and seems like it might be the logical choice to succeed “Flames” at the top, fanciful video and all.

And right behind is L.A. alt.rockers Awolnation who climb 8-4 with their latest, with an incredibly infectious hook, “The Best”.

The Weeknd’s retrotastic “Blinding Lights” (above) becomes his 4th Top 10 hit on this chart, moving 11-9, while Autograf’s classy deep house track “Ain’t Deep Enough” (below), featuring singer Jared Lee, climbs 12-10.  It’s Jared’s second recent appearance in the Top 10 after last year’s #5 with Midnight Kids, “Those Were The Days”.

“Storm” by Famba and Kyra Mastro climbs 14-11 and is the current #1 dance song in the USA.  Check out his new EP Wishes Vol. 1, which features his other two big Canadian radio hits “Swear To God” and “Wish You Well”, plus three more new songs.

Ekali is only playing one Canadian date on his upcoming tour, but I’m sure more will follow as the producer has a flair for remembering to make up previously cancelled shows (like in Toronto).  From his new album A World Away comes his collaboration with Illenium, “Hard To Say Goodbye”, featuring the voice of Chloe Angelides, which moves up 17-12.

“Starlight” is a quiet, sweetly soulful winner for producer ZEROBADDAYS and singer/songwriter Victor Perry, as it glides up the chart from 19-14.

The Fastest Riser is the previous chart’s highest debut, “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” by the immensely talented Jessie Ware, which advances 23-17.  Don’t this silky slice of UK soul slip through the cracks!  And if some of the melody sounds slight familiar, and perhaps may have been an unintended source of inspiration, you might catch yourself singing parts of Shannon’s “Let The Music Play”…

Also holding its own amid a busy chart featuring a lot of power players is Toronto area duo Homestead, from their debut EP Beacon, with the danceable rocker “Lifeline” climbing 28-23.  Joël and Liam will be performing the entire EP and some new songs this coming Thursday in Toronto at the Northern Maverick Brewing Company, and I’ll be there to check it out!

The Highest Debut at #24 belongs to Russian producer Arty with vocalist Cimo Fränkel on the delightful “Daydreams”, soon to be a festival favourite in its Sultan + Shepard Echoes of Life remix, which sounds like a Coldplay song that’s taken a dive into melodic house.  It follows Arty’s 2018 instrumental tribute to Avicii called “Tim” which got to #3.  Official video of “Daydreams” is above, the Sultan + Shepard remix is below.

A third One Directioner arrives on the chart for the first time – it’s Louis Tomlinson with his captivating and incredibly sincere ballad “Don’t Let It Break Your Heart” at #27. He co-wrote it with the likes of James Newman, singer Wrabel, producer Stuart Crichton, and Cole Citrenbaum from the duo Opia, so lots of fine hands were in the mix.  It’s also from Louis’ debut album Walls, after over 3 years of singles-only releases.  And the 1D fans are incredibly happy about that.  Watch the video for a rather unbelievable ending!

The third debut is “Better Off Without You” by chart returnees Becky Hill and Shift K3Y at #28.  These Brits have both been in the Top 10 before.  Becky was the voice on Matoma’s “False Alarm” which got to #6 in 2016, while producer Shift K3Y got to #7 in 2015 with one of his early releases, “I Know”.  A bit of trivia for you: Shift K3Y’s real name is Louis Jankel, and he is the son of singer, songwriter and producer Chaz Jankel, who not only was a key member/songwriter with Ian Dury & The Blockheads (“Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick”) but also was prominent on the US dance charts in the early 80’s with the funky “Glad to Know You” and “Ai No Corrida” (later covered by Quincy Jones).

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

 

 

#BILLCSTop30 #579, January 20/20

Older favourites depart to make room for five new songs in this edition of my bi-weekly personal chart.  For those new to reading about my chart, there are very few rules, it’s just a list of my current favourites, stylized after the radio charts of yore.  The only rule is that songs that reach 10 appearances (20 weeks) depart the chart – unless they are rising up the chart, which has only happened once (with Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep”, which had an 11 appearance run).

Two veteran electronic dance acts vie for #1 in two weeks.  For now, “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark (above) grabs #1 for a second appearance.  It’s a mellow dance song with a chanting chorus sung in Sanskrit that’s set to a fantastic deep house rhythm, which you will undoubtedly hear at upcoming music festivals.  Moving up 3-2 is the moody but riveting latest release by R3HAB in collaboration with Jungleboi and a stellar vocal by Zayn bringing life to the devil or demon persona in “Flames”

Look who has three songs in the Top 10 – it’s Harry Styles!  Former #1 “Lights Up” is now at #3, while “Adore You” (above) and “Watermelon Sugar” (below) both continue to climb to #7 and #10 respectively.  The last time this happened was back in July 2011, when Simon Curtis was in the Top 10 with “Flesh”, “Superhero”, and “The Puppet Who Gave Himself Strings”.

L.A.-based Canadian singer/songwriter Peter Foldy keeps busy between film-making, photography, and music.  “Toxic World” climbs 8-5 and is starting to receive airplay on some Canadian radio stations thanks to its warm and timely message.  Peter tells me he is working on more new music which we may hear by spring or early summer!

The only other new entry to the Top 10 besides “Watermelon Sugar” is Florida singer/songwriter John.k’s slice of life song “if we never met”, which rises 12-9.  

The Weeknd has an album forthcoming – he’s just not saying what it is or when just yet.  In the meantime, the 80’s retro-tastic “Blinding Lights” advances 18-11.

The Fastest Riser on the chart belongs to “Ain’t Deep Enough” where a classic deep house vibe will grab you underneath the sterling vocal by Jared Lee, courtesy of Chicago duo Autograf.  “Ain’t Deep Enough” climbs 20-12.

“Storm” continues to ride the Top 10 of American dance charts, yet for some reason hasn’t followed up Famba’s Canadian radio hits in his own country (the producer recently relocated from Halifax to Toronto too).  Featuring a vocal by fellow Canadian Kyra Mastro, “Storm” moves up 21-14.

Ekali’s new album A World Away will be dropping soon while the producer teases with previews on social media.  In the meantime, the Vancouver-born Nathan Shaw collaborates with his buddy Illenium for “Hard To Say Goodbye”, featuring the voice of Chloe Angelides, which climbs 23-17.  “Hard” will also appear on A World Away.

“Starlight” continues to be off to a great start for Germany’s ZEROBADDAYS and U.S. singer/songwriter Victor Perry, and rises 26-19.

While she awaits the birth of child #2, England’s Jessie Ware is releasing some of the best songs of her career, with R&B flavours that only seem to get captured by the best British women singers – Dusty Springfield, Lisa Stansfield, Beverley Knight, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Mica Paris to name a few.  “Mirage (Don’t Stop)” follows up last year’s “Overtime” and “Adore You” – it might be the best of the bunch and bows at #23.  It’s her 7th appearance on this chart, which started with a featured vocal on an alternate version of Miguel’s “Adorn” in 2013.

The next two entries are guaranteed to shake the snow off those winter boots and get you dancing.  Veterans Chocolate Puma and Firebeatz (who I saw perform in Miami last year) join forces for a fantastic house track, “Soul Fifty” (above) at #24.  NYC-based, Montreal-born A-Trak is on a real roll with releases on his Fools Gold label.  Essentially a double “A” sided single with “What Can I Do” (featuring Loods), “Blaze” (below) is the epitomy of slick house and features Friend Within.  “Blaze” arrives at #25.

To date, Vancouver production duo Young Bombs have only appeared on this chart as remixers, including with a #1 for Connor Phillips with “Lost” in 2016.  The lads had a Canadian radio hit and US dance hit last year with “Starry Eyes” after signing with Astralwerks.  Their latest single “Better Day” (#27) offers brightness and positivity in the bleaker months of winter, and brings us another dynamic vocal by Aloe Blacc, still on the chart with Hellberg’s “Punching In The Dark” at #20.

The fifth debut belongs to Canadian duo Homestead with “Lifeline” at #28 from their debut EP Beacon.  The duo of Liam DeBoer and Joël have been collaborating for years, withJoël first appearing on this chart in 2016 with the fantastic storytelling of “You Fucked Up” (#12).  “Lifeline” is much edgier musically, featuring standout guitar work and Joël’s fiery vocal style alongside a danceable rhythm.

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog are featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA. You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m the new music consultant for the station so you can expect even more in 2020 🙂  You can start by joining our new interactive Facebook group too!!

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

#BILLCSTop30 #576 – December 9/19

It’s the second last BILLCS Top 30 of 2019 already!  Unlike others I don’t tally up my year end chart until after my last chart is published.  In the meantime, I have a new chart that is chock full of debuts… in fact, there are six of ’em, with another lineup of songs waiting to join them in two weeks.  So this blog post will be focused on the newcomers!

A reminder that the music from my chart and blog will be featured regularly on the new online radio station Radio GTA.  You can hear their Big 20 on Wednesday evenings with ‘The Musicman’ James Rogers and listen for songs from the chart too 🙂 Scroll down the station’s main page to listen to lots of variety from across the decades!  I’m driving Russ Horton crazy each week by sending him lots of new music from the blog and chart to join the mix too!

It’s amazing how pop music can cause you to shift styles and genres at the drop of a hat.  So while I’ve been caught up with Illenium’s music these past few months – and he’s still on the chart with “Broken Ones” joining the Top 10, and another collaboration, this time with Canada’s own Ekali, on deck in two weeks – all ears are now on Harry Styles as “Lights Up” (above) continues at #1.  Not only that, but “Watermelon Sugar” debuts at #25, and the third single from Fine Line, “Adore You” (below, if you haven’t seen it yet) has arrived with a triumph of a video and is also in waiting for the chart for two weeks from now.  

Talk about staying power!  Lostchild’s “Like Like” in its OKJAMES remix gets a fourth appearance at #2 (that’s eight weeks).

Slow-burners “Breaking Hearts” by Benedict Cork (4-3, above) and “Flicker” by Anden (6-4, below) both move up to new peaks.

The remaining new arrival in the Top 10 is also the Fastest Riser on the chart.  It’s the intense, provocative, and joyous banger “Shivohum” by Tritonal and Henry Dark, which soars 21-9, with designs on the top of the chart!

There are several songs waiting to make their big moves mid-chart, but the ones making the most noise on their own are Sam Smith’s jolting cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” (17-13, above); Peter Foldy’s pensive and positive ode to today with “Toxic World” (19-15, also above); and John.k’s delightful “if we never met” (27-21, below).

And I have to get a quick word in about Sam Fender, who is selling out shows across the UK thanks to the success of his album Hypersonic Missiles.  “Will We Talk” is from that album and climbs 20-17.  And one of the happiest moments on Twitter that you will see this week is Sam greeting a really young fan backstage.  That’s what magic moments are made of!

Leading the six debuts at an impressive #20 is “Flames” by R3HAB, Zayn and Jungleboi.  Dutch legend R3HAB is having a monster year, with one of his biggest club hits being the cover of the A*Teens’ “All Around The World”.  And on “Flames”, his second chart entry here following “All Into Nothing” with Mokita (#15), he and Jungleboi manage to pull out what I believe is Zayn’s best vocal to date.  “Flames” isn’t really a dance song, it’s definitely more pop radio friendly, and a nice follow up on Zayn’s underrated Icarus Falls album.

It seems that it’s time for alt.rock and dance music to become friends again, and I’m hearing more successful blends of these genres for the first time in many years.  Is it the ‘new’ new wave when songs like “The Best” by Los Angeles group AWOLNATION start to get my attention?  It’s the band’s first appearance on the chart, bowing in at #22.

The Weeknd is back and has been listening to a lot of 80’s new wave, if the keyboard riffing in “Blinding Lights” is any indication.  The song arrives at #26 – a far cry from his other single “Heartless”, which I don’t care for at all – becoming my Scarborough neighbourhood boy Abel Tesfaye’s 6th chart entry.  The Weeknd got to #1 on the chart in 2016 with “Starboy”.

Battling it out for the last two positions on the chart are:  “Dirty Mirrors” by Scotland’s Ben Davidson and England’s Sean Smith in a smashing duet that lands at #29 in its Matt Pop edit (above).  It’s Ben’s debut on the chart, while Sean has got to the Top 10 twice, with the Andy Sikorski remix of “Magic” in 2017, and last year with Peter Wilson in another duet called “Verona”; and at #30 is “Ain’t Deep Enough” (below), slick Chicago house from production duo Autograf featuring a fine vocal by Jared Lee, who just left the chart with Midnight Kids on “Those Were The Days” (#5).

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!  Click on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

 

#BILLCSTop30 #533 – April 16/18

Despite so much activity on the chart, including a new #1 song and SIX debuts, this will be a shorter blog post than usual about the new chart.

The Top 10

  • It’s one of the more unusual #1 songs that I’ve had in years, but to me it’s absolutely irresistible.  Norwegian singer/songwriter/producer Dyrisk scores with “Smile” along with producer Nik Ernst.  There is so much potential and for anyone who loves dance music that’s a little left of centre, this one is for you.  In particular, it is of great interest to fans of Massive Attack and Radiohead’s 90’s output.

  • “Sick Boy” by The Chainsmokers follows “Smile” right behind, up 4 to 2, but will likely get locked out in favour of the rising “Everybody Hates Me”(up 24-15, below).

  • The fastest riser on the chart arrives in the Top 10 up 22-9.  French producer Mercer’s non-stop fun with “Satisfy” features an excellent vocal by Chicago’s Ron Carroll.
  • Also new to the Top 10 is “Baby I’m A Queen” from Sofi Tukker’s brand new album Treehouse.  “Queen” moves up 17-10 becoming their second Top 10 here after 2016’s “Drinkee” (#5).

Movin’ On Up

  • Both “Sanctify” by Years & Years (20-16) and “White Lies” by The Him (21-17) (both above) don’t move up as much due to a busy chart, but should see more upward action next week.  The Him recently released a remix to Avicii’s “Without You” – check out the busy boys’ latest below 🙂  More new music coming soon!

SIX DEBUTS

#22 is “Butterscotch” an unexpectedly funky slice of electronica by Canadians Robotaki, Jamie Fine and Falcxne – it joins Robotaki’s “I Want You” on the chart (#5).

#25 is “Better With You” by Jesse McCartney, his first entry since 2009’s “How Do You Sleep”, and co-written by Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore.

#26 is “Lost In Japan” by Shawn Mendes, a Justin Timberlake-inspired romantic throwback to songs of the pre-rock era.

#27 is “Be Like You” by Chicago’s Whethan, who performed at Coachella on the weekend, with vocals by Georgia of Broods.

#28 is “Hurt You”, a collaboration of The Weeknd and French producer Gesaffelstein, from The Weeknd’s new EP My Dear Melancholy.

#29 is “Cautious” in a remix by Halifax’s Famba, from Canadian singer Tyler Shaw, who has a national radio hit with it.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right hereClick on the hyperlink on the song titles to hear the songs or watch the videos!

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify! Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify: BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Check out and ‘like’ the new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 500th Edition! – January 9/17

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It would likely be over 1,000 editions had I published my chart weekly, but from January 1998 to January 2017 and we are at 500 charts 🙂  Thanks to all of you who continue to follow my personal chart, which is exactly that – personal.  No mathematics, very few rules (only to keep the chart fresh with new music), these are my favourite 30 songs of the moment.  This edition has a bit of post-holiday housecleaning with 5 debuts and The Weeknd & Daft Punk give way to a new #1 by some familiar faces…

The Top 10

  • While they would have had several chart toppers in their popularity heyday, Pet Shop Boys make it twice to grace the top of my chart with the disco-tastic “Burn”.  The song is not a single, but I’m hoping it will be #4 from the album Super, following #3 “The Pop Kids” (#17 of 2016), “Twenty-Something”, and “Say It To Me”.  Their other #1 on my chart was in 2013 with “Vocal” from Electric, which was also my #1 song of that year.
  • New to the Top 5 are “Brothers” by Saxity featuring Strøm (above), vaulting 8 to 4 and still available for free download, as well as Stefan Alexander’s compelling “Skeleton” (below) which climbs 6 to 5.

  • Two newcomers to the Top 10 are the Fastest Riser on the chart, “Say Yes” by Tony Moran & Jason Walker (ab0ve), which rises 16-9 and their second Top 10 following last year’s “So Happy” (#3 and #20 of 2016), followed by Victor Perry’s lovely take on Everything But The Girl’s “Missing” (below), also his second Top Tenner following last year’s “Rainbows” (#7 and #42 of 2016).  It’s still available as a free download too!

Movin’ On Up

  • “False Alarm” by The Weeknd encroaches on the Top 10, but it’s a powerful song that’s been in the shadow of “Starboy”.  We’ll see what the next single from the album will be.  “False Alarm” jumps 13-11.
  • Big things are coming from young Dutchman Steve Void in 2017, and his pairing with No Mondays featuring vocalist Clara Mae on “Chemistry” leaps 19-13.
  • Right behind is Canada’s Felix Cartal with “Drifting Away” (featuring vocalist Ofelia K) as we all daydream about driving down the east or west coasts of the States in perfect warm weather.  It moves up 22-17, and Felix has another song debuting on the chart below…
  • “Light” by The Netherlands’ San Holo is raising a lot of ears with its infectious but low key EDM, and it rises 23-18.
  • The last chart’s other two debuts make fine inroads, both climbing 7 notes to #19 and #20.  #19 is Molly Moore’s “Imaginary Friends” (above), also in Telykast and Pluto remixes, and #20 is JPB’s “For You” (below) featuring a soulful vocal from British singer Luke Cusato.

5 Debuts

  • As his remix of “Closer” by Brandyn Burnette (#7 and #51 of 2016) departs the chart, another Sean Turk remix arrives with the sexy ‘bedroom bass’ style of EDM in “Sleeping In” by Phil Good at #22.  And of course the song is more about what we do when we’re ‘sleeping in’ rather than actually sleeping… it’s also a free download for now.

  • And keeping sex centre stage at #25 is an excellent album track by DNCE from their self-titled album called “Naked”.  I saw them first perform this one in November 2015 and I’m glad it made the cut for the album because it was one of the least things we thought Joe Jonas might be singing about 😛  DNCE’s “Cake By The Ocean” reached #2 on my chart well before it was in the Top 10 nationally, and was my #15 song of 2015.
  • Definitely something a little different for us in 2017 comes from rising young Australian producer Throttle (aka Robbie Bergin), who has taken Michael Buble’s cover of Frank Sinatra’s “My Kind Of Girl” and juggled the jazz rhythms with some riveting house beats.  While it’s not to everyone’s taste, it’s a whole lotta fun and arrives at #26.  “My Kind Of Girl” was Throttle’s Christmas present to his listeners, and it’s a free download.
  • At #27 is the second entry from Felix Cartal, this time featuring prominent session vocalist Steph Jones on “Keep Up”, as an official remix by fellow Canadian Ben Zamora.  Felix is on a roll with much more to come in 2017.  This remix and others are also available as free downloads for now.

  • And the last debut at #29 is a real rebel-rouser, perfect for sporting events… It’s “#Bomber!” by Italy’s BeatmartHz and DJ Mirko B, a classic mix of Italohouse and techno.  

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me on http://www.planetradio.ca live on Tuesday evenings, and with my Pick of the Week segment throughout the week 🙂  See below for details!

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#BILLCSTop86Songsof2016

Trying to find time to write everything I want is always an issue.  I present to you my Top 86 Songs of 2016, with this blog post based on the radio program which aired on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂  Here’s my commentary on my Top 30 Songs with the complete list following.  Links to my Top 10 Songs are featured further down…

#30:  Brandyn Burnette’s “Made Of Dreams”, the title song from his first EP, and the first of four songs by or featuring him on this year end list. The song was greatly enhanced by a feel-good tropical mix from Chicago remix duo Win & Woo collaborating with Kiso Armic, also from Chicago.

#29 – L.A.-based singer/songwriter Simon Curtis with “Super Psycho Love” from his album Super 8bit Heart, first of two songs from that album in this list. That album was a 2016 reimagining of Simon’s 2010 free online mixtape still available from his website called 8bit Heart, which to me is one of the most endearing recordings of the decade. “Super Psycho Love” benefited most from an update and appeared on my chart for the first time.

#28 – courtesy of Canadian duo Young Bombs, who also have two remixes in my list. They brought the bounce to a fine record out of Norway from a young newcomer named Jesper Jenset called “High”.

#27 – belonging to Canadian brothers Chris and Alex from Orangeville Ontario – DVBBS! They’ve been on this list before (in 2015 and 2014), but this year they included Toronto’s Dante Leon on vocal for the toe-tapper “Angel”.

#26 – a taste of 80’s flavoured funk courtesy of NYC producer/remixer Jenaux with the rollicking original “Get It On”. Jenaux also partnered with Texas duo Tritonal for the song “Broken” (#45), and has another remix in this list.  

#25 – more Canadians 🙂 with a creative and funky remix by Chicago’s Snøwmass of a song by Montreal production duo Sterling Grove who are paired with Toronto pop/jazz vocalist Ellyn Woods for the mysterious “Sound Of Home”.

#24 – one of the most provocative and surprising albums of 2016 was Blue Neighbourhood by South Africa-born, Australia-based singer Troye Sivan, who had a world-wide following on You Tube before making records. It consists of beautifully crafted, poignant songs which meant a lot particularly to many teens, and scored the Top 20 hit “Youth”. I dove deeper into the album for the evocative “Talk Me Down”.  My bigger list also includes “Wild” (#35)  and “Fools” (#40), all BILLCS Top 30 Top 10 songs.

#23 – belongs to California duo Mako with their dance radio hit “Smoke Filled Room”. As remixed by Elephante, who appears two more times in this list, “Smoke Filled Room” set the stage for a crush of a now-grown up woman.

#22 – on the rise in 2016 was L.A. producer and singer Mi Disguise (aka Louie Garcia), and with his pal Rouse created a wonderful dance mix EP called NGHT LFE for summer clubbing. Their song “Her And Him” is an inspiring song for late night romance.

#21 – the song I liked best on Adele’s album 25 next to last year’s “Hello”, “All I Ask” is another knockout performance and stood out from the rest of the songs on the album.

#20 – if there was any song in 2016 that would instantly make you feel good it’s one by veteran producer Tony Moran and singer Jason Walker and his amazing range. “So Happy” was a deserved #1 Billboard club hit.

#19 – I was wowed by MAX when I saw him perform in October 2015, and since then he has been a steady presence on the BILLCS Top 30. Singer and actor Max Schneider brought us a full album called Hell’s Kitchen Angel. The album contained a sweet ballad called “Lights Down Low”, but it was the smashing uptempo remix by L.A. duo Two Friends that took it to new heights. It’s the first of two in this list by MAX.

#18 – producer/remixer Tim Wu calls himself Elephante and from his EP I Am The Elephante recorded “Plans” featuring BILLCS favourite Brandyn Burnette on vocals, and I hope the pair will repeat this collaboration soon.

#17 – back and as grand as ever in 2016 was the classic dance duo Pet Shop Boys from their album Super with the lead off single “The Pop Kids”, which got club goers out onto the dance floor in the Spring.

#16 – a very distinct song that found its way out of its native Norway to become a worldwide pop and dance club hit. Featuring a unique vocal by a singer named Iselin Solheim, it’s “Faded” by newcomer Alan Walker.

#15 – Dutch duo The Him released an irresistible deep house club hit “Balance”, which features L.A. based Dutch singer/songwriter Oktavian. Watch for more great music from The Him in 2017 as they wrapped up the year opening for The Chainsmokers on their European tour.

#14 – one of the most poignant songs of 2016 is based on a coincidence of real-life events of loss, by Brandyn Burnette called “Lost” from his EP Made Of Dreams. Brandyn auditioned for American Idol at the top of the year and took a risk by performing this original, which the judges loved, though Brandyn chose not to continue on the show. “Lost” is the third of four songs in the Top 30 by or featuring Brandyn.

#13 – preceding Hell’s Kitchen Angel in 2016 was MAX’s EP Wrong. The title song is a hip hop flavoured rave up featuring rapper Lil Uzi Vert who scored with his own album and songs in 2016 as well. A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#12 – featuring an incredible gritty vocal by American singer Brayton Bowman is “Shy” by Belgian producer The Magician, who released “Shy” and songs by others in 2016 on his own label Potion Records. Watch for more of this incredible music from The Magician and his stable of artists in 2017.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#11 – “Kiss The Sky” by NYC duo The Knocks featuring none other than The Fugees’ Wyclef Jean on vocals. The Knocks created a grand party when I saw their show in January, proving themselves to be slick entertainers as well as producers. Their album 55 continued the dance party, and they found themselves opening for Justin Bieber on his European tour in the latter part of 2016. “Kiss The Sky” is sheer dance music escapism at its best.  A BILLCS Top 30 #1.

#10 – the third entry on the list by Elephante is “Closer”, which became his signature song after being heard in many remixes which included worthy ones by the likes of producers Aash Mehta and Speaker Of The House. The vocalist on “Closer” is Portland, Oregon’s Bishøp and it’s one of the best of 2016. 

#9 – “Dreamin’” by British producer/remixer Embody featuring fellow Brit vocalist Camden Cox. It’s somewhat hard to believe that the song that could transport you most to a hot beach party in 2016 was brought to us from two talented Brits. “Dreamin’” is 2016’s best tropical mix.

Songs 8 through 1 all were BILLCS Top 30 #1’s 🙂

#8 – belonging to my fellow Canadian The Weeknd, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, and Abel grew up not far from where I grew up, but in a community of 90’s Ethiopean immigrants, which makes his success all the more formidable. The Weeknd collaborated with the award-winning French duo Daft Punk for “Starboy”, from the diverse album of the same name, which also gave him his first Billboard #1 hit. 

#7 – Brandyn Burnette has his final song of 4 in the Top 30 (and 8 on the full list, plus one by his duo Cosmos & Creature with his gal Molly Moore) from his special EP Made Of Dreams with “Nothing At All”. It’s a sparse production that brings out the progressive soul vibe of the song, which made the Made Of Dreams EP all the more listenable. Brandyn’s putting finishing touches on his third release due in January.

#6 – one of the most emotional songs of the year, the second one on the list called “Lost”, this one by British Columbia native Connor Phillips. In its original version, the song is a short acoustic ballad, but Canadian remix duo Young Bombs once again gave their redux an extra wow factor by washing it in enough synths to make your eyes wet. If you find yourself wanting to hug someone, blame it on the power of music.

free download:

#5 – the second song from Super 8bit Heart on this list is “8bit Heart”, a personal favourite of mine from 2010 that was redone for 2016. “8bit Heart” is a song like none other to me, it’s a song full of love and heart that totally captivated me 6 years ago in its original version, and was my #4 song of that year. Simon kept it real in 2016 and made the redux of “8bit Heart” the lead companion song for his book Boy Robot. 

#4 – released in late July, it was hard to believe that “Closer” by The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey would become one of the biggest hits of the decade, with 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Chainsmokers, who are the NYC duo of Alex Pall and Drew Taggart, appeared on my list last year but more than any act in 2016 outdid themselves with their relentless performing and recording schedules. But the best of it all, is that they remained truly down-to-earth and supportive of other breaking acts in the dance community. “Closer” resonated with me too.

#3 – this song really kicked a funky butt into the proceedings in 2016, being the song that followed The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” at #1 on my regular chart of the BILLCS Top 30. It’s “Native Son Prequel” by producer/remixer Gramatik featuring London-born American vocalist Leo Napier. It’s a song told from the perspective of a pimp, and aside from that odd story angle, NYC remixer Jenaux gave it a spirited 70’s funk flavour that could only make you think of the character Huggy Bear from TV’s Starsky & Hutch 😛 

#2 – Toronto duo Dzeko & Torres collaborated with Sweden’s Hellberg for their free download release of “Care For Me”, which is my #2 song of 2016. While the performers may have considered “Care For Me” to be a great free promotional vehicle for their music in 2016, it was in fact a fabulous arrangement featuring an uncredited vocal, whose lyrics also struck an emotional nerve with me. Dzeko & Torres have since decided to pursue other efforts, with Julian Dzeko continuing to record while Luis Torres ventures into the production side of things, and I’m glad I caught their show in Toronto in April. Jon Hellberg on the other hand featured prominently on the BILLCS Top 30 in 2016 with both “Synchronize” and “All The Way”.

#1 – my favourite song of 2016 was brought to my attention courtesy of an excellent innovative remix, one of the best of the year, by relative newcomers EDWYNN x TIKAL (also known as Swedes Thor Lundberg and Leonard Palmberg) and Spirix (who is American producer/remixer Devain Doolaramini). The song is “So Bad” by L.A. singer/songwriter Brandon Skeie, who didn’t release more than a handful of songs in 2016 but is set out to conquer 2017. A protege of Semi-Precious Weapons frontman and noted songwriter Justin Tranter, who co-wrote Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries” among others, Brandon has an amazing high register, which helped send “So Bad” into the history books for me. It’s one of the best songs ever about longing for someone who you may or may not get to have in your life. 

Original:

Remix (free download):  

The full list, web version:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

Spotify playlist of most of the songs:  BILLCS Top 86 Songs of 2016

#BILLCSTop30 #499 – December 26/16

As my bi-weekly chart heads towards its 500th edition in two weeks, it looks like the top of the chart will be shaken ‘n stirred a bit.  I keep the chart to a Top 30 but my new music iPod playlist is around 80 current songs 🙂  Two Canadians lead the new list!

The Top 10

  • The Weeknd and Daft Punk score the top spot again with “Starboy”, which will cause it to rank highly in my upcoming Top 86 of ’16 list 🙂
  • The big question is, which song will follow “Starboy” at #1 in two weeks?  Songs 2, 3 and 4 all make big cases to succeed it.  Another Canadian, Halifax’s Famba, rises 3-2 with his funky and fun “Right Here Right Now”.  L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand climbs 5-3 with his EDM and hip hop mix “D E E P In NY”, featuring rappers D.O.C. and Goodmorning.  Both are above.  And the venerable Pet Shop Boys score their second Top 5er this year with “Burn” (below), moving 6-4.

  • NYC’s Stefan Alexander’s “Skeleton” busts upward 9-6 – check out the intriguing new video below.

  • I had a little hand in connecting lyricist to performers/producers with the song “Brothers” which evolved out of the collaboration.  Germany’s Saxity brought in Norway’s Strøm for the vocal, and the rest is history as the passionately performed song climbs 16-8.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is a vibrant and happy instrumental by Sweden’s Hellberg called “All The Way”, and it vaults 19-9.
  • The last of three new entries to the Top 10 is the infectious, 90’s influenced song “The Thirst” by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Zhao, rising 14-10.

https://soundcloud.com/ericsharp/eric-sharp-the-thirst-ft-zhao

Movin’ On Up

  • Victor Perry is headed for his second Top 10 song on this chart with his brilliant soft piano-led cover of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”, which moves up 23-14.  Get it for free on his Soundcloud page!
  • It recently went to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart, but Tony Moran & Jason Walker’s “Say Yes” is so bright and bubbly it deserves to stick around for longer.  It climbs 24-16.

  • Kid Cudi’s new album Passion, Pain & Demon Slayin’ should be an interesting listen if its lead single “Surfin'” (featuring Pharrell Williams) is any indication, and it jumps 25-17.

  • Canadian Felix Cartal is one of the most prolific dance producers/performers around in 2016.  His uplifting single “Drifting Away”, featuring Ofelia K., rises 28-22.

Premieres

  • The Netherlands’ San Holo has offered up some often infuriatingly experimental progressive EDM of 2016, so it was intriguing to see him land near year’s end with a gorgeous chilled out pop record called “Light”, which arrives at #23.  It’s also on its way up the Billboard Dance/Electronic Songs chart, where it resides in its Top 20 🙂  You can still get it for free, for now, via his Soundcloud page above.  It’s also a feather-in-the-cap for new label Bitbird!
  • Molly Moore’s songs have a way of sticking in your head.  So with recent outstanding remixes by teenager Pluto and duo-on-the-rise Telykast (both above and free downloads), “Imaginary Friends” (initially from her Now You See Me EP) began to resonate with me more.  The song in all of its versions bows at #26.
  • Another teen debuting on the chart is Germany’s JPB, who has released a debut three song EP called For You, and the title song, featuring increasingly in-demand British vocalist Luke Cusato, debuts at #27 from the Heroic label.  The song is also available for free download at the Soundcloud link above.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesdays at 9pm EST! :)

#BILLCSTop30 #498 – December 12/16

The top of the chart becomes unzipped after a slew of long-lasting favourites give way, resulting in some huge moves, and other favourites depart, meaning that there are six debuts on the new chart, giving us a good sign of what’s in store for 2017 🙂

The Top 10

  • #1 and #2 duke it out and once again “Starboy” by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk stays ahead of “Plans” by Elephante featuring Brandyn Burnette.  What a fine pair of songs to lead a very busy pack below!
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Halifax’s Famba, whose fun and mainly narrated “Right Here Right Now” soars 16 to 3.  The song would make a good mix with 90’s hits “The Rockafeller Skank” by Fatboy Slim or “People Are Still Having Sex” by LaTour, to name two tunes that come to mind…
  • Amid the three songs that vault into the Top 10, “Just A Dream” by Molly Moore featuring Brandyn Burnette finds its way to #4, from Molly’s terrific Now You See Me EP.
  • Also sailing into the Top 5 from #17 is “D E E P In NY” by Bobby Nourmand featuring rappers DOC and Goodmorning.  “D E E P” is a unique record, originally a house instrumental that has been taken to another level with the hip hop vocals, and has found a place on Pete Tong’s renown show!  More to come I’m sure of it!
  • Pet Shop Boys look like they could be headed to the top with third single “Burn” from their album Super.  “Burn” ignites and rises 18-6.

  • Hey even Rihanna is in the picture – her gorgeous “Love On The Brain” moves 9-7.

  • Also new to the Top 10 is NYC singer Stefan Alexander with his pensive “Skeleton” climbing 15-9.
  • The 5th debut in the Top 10 belongs to Fabian Luttenberger whose laid back grower “Vague” climbs 11-10 in a Stan Sax remix.

What else could be movin’ up?

  • “The Thirst” is an infectious house track by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Kenny Zhao that rises 20-14 with much thanks to some guitar effects which sound like Stardust’s classic “Music Sounds Better With You”.
  • “Brothers” by German duo Saxity featuring Norway’s Strøm on vocals is a sax-led dance track to warm your soul at this time of year.  It soars 25-16.

https://soundcloud.com/hellbergmusic/allthewayvip

  • “All The Way” by Hellberg continues to have long legs after premiering this past summer, climbing 26-19, and now the prominent Swedish producer has released a VIP mix to add to the fun.  Check it out above.

SIX Debuts

  • What a way to lead a fine group of debuts than with American pop/R&B singer Victor Perry’s beautiful rendition of Everything But The Girl’s “Missing”.  The piano-led cover bows at #23 and is available at Victor’s Soundcloud page above as a free download 🙂

  • It quickly scurried to #1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Play chart this past week, and like with its predecessor, the #1 “So Happy”, Tony Moran and Jason Walker have created another instantly memorable, fun, upbeat song with “Say Yes”, which arrives at #24.

  • Kid Cudi makes his debut on this chart with a somewhat provocative but good timey single “Surfin'”, featuring Pharrell Williams, and it premieres at #25, in advance of an album due next year.
  • I wrote about “Chemistry” by talented and affable young Dutchman Steve Void & No Mondays back in the Fall, but it has endured, and recently Epic Records picked it up for release!  After winning a remix contest, Syence presented their version this past week too.  “Chemistry”, featuring singer Clara Mae, bows at #26.  Listen to the original and remix above:)
  • L.A. producer Mahalo and vocalist Cat Lewis are quite the pair with a great song called “Be My Love”, which lands at #27 out of the gate.

https://soundcloud.com/felixcartal/drifting-away

  • After a great year of songs it seems only fitting that Canadian Felix Cartal should appear on the chart with the pop radio-worthy “Drifting Away”, featuring frequent vocal collaborator Ofelia K.  It debuts at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear this Wednesday (December 14) and next Tuesday (December 20) at 9pm EST! :)

#BILLCSTop30 #497 – November 28, 2016

Only three more charts until 2016 is over, and some favourites will depart in the next few weeks, making room for a lot of new music that’s been waiting patiently to get into the higher reaches of my chart.  As a result, there are only two debuts this week, but a changeover at the top…

The New Number One

  • The power of a fantastic melody and amazing production is what gives The Weeknd his first #1 on this chart with “Starboy”, featuring Daft Punk, who also get their first #1, after having three previous Top 10 entries (“One More Time” in 2001; “Stronger” with Kanye West in 2007, and “Get Lucky” in 2013).  It’s so great seeing someone from my neck of the woods – Abel grew up near my neighbourhood in Scarborough, Ontario (east Toronto) – knock it out of the park and I look forward to hearing the entire album.  “False Alarm” (below) also moves up 27-21.  And part of what has helped the appeal of “Starboy” for me is the cover also below by producer/remixer Koni featuring vocalist Johannes Weber, the best one I’ve heard to date (and a free download).  “Starboy” replaces Gramatik & Leo Napier’s “Native Son Prequel” (Jenaux remix) after three appearances at the top (now down to #4), which will depart the chart after the maximum 10 appearances.

The Top 10

  • Elephante’s “Plans”, featuring Brandyn Burnette, advances to #2, one of the top songs from the I Am The Elephante EP.  Brandyn also figures prominently in the Top 10 with his gal Molly Moore at #6 with “Just A Dream” (below) and at #7 in a Sean Turk remix of his own “Closer”.
  • “High” (Young Bombs remix) by Norway’s Jesper Jenset remains at a strong #3, and has been followed up by his great new single “Lies”, which I wrote about recently.
  • “In My Head” by Steve James featuring vocal duo RKCB, continues to move up 6-5.  Check out the recently released remix with Australia’s Joe Mason below, which is a free download 🙂
  • “Luminary” by NYC trio Liquid Diet from their Double Life album (below) grabs #8 on the new chart, while Rihanna’s retro-flavoured “Love On The Brain” advances to #9, and Bright Light Bright Light’s disco-tastic “I Only Want To Please You” (featuring Scissor Sisters’ Ana Matronic) climbs to #10.

Movin’ On Up

While a continuing log-jam below the Top 10 results in new peaks by songs by Fabian Luttenberger, Satchmode, Cole Plante, and Stefan Alexander, most of the bigger moves are from our debuts two weeks ago (such as the aforementioned “False Alarm” by The Weeknd).

  • “Right Here Right Now” is a fun EDM track with a cool narration by Halifax native Famba, which rises 20-16.
  • “D E E P in NY” by Bobby Nourmand featuring DOC & Goodmorning is Bobby’s hip hop reinvention of his infectious instrumental “D E E P”, which advances 22-17.  It recently received release on The Magician’s Potion label 🙂

  • The fastest riser on the chart is “Burn” by Pet Shop Boys from their album Super, musically a throwback to their 1987 hit “It’s A Sin”.  It climbs 26-18.
  • Despite its title, “The Thirst” by Eric Sharp featuring vocalist Kenny Zhao is a more seductive and memorable house track rather than an aggressive one.  It moves up 25-20.
  • NYC singer/songwriter Ayer mixes emotional pop with lighter EDM for “My Hands” which moves up 28-22.

Two Debuts

  • “Brothers” by German producers/DJs/musicians Saxity and featuring Norwegian vocalist Strøm arrives at #25.  It’s a charming, warm song that I wrote about a while back, and I was the one who instigated the connection between the Saxity lads and the songwriters, which led to the birth of “Brothers” 🙂
  • I wrote about “All The Way” by Sweden’s Hellberg late in the summer, but it has stuck with me so much that I had to add it to the chart.  It’s a potent feel-good EDM instrumental from this talented producer who brought us “Synchronize” and “Care For Me” (with Toronto’s Dzeko & Torres) earlier this year.  “All The Way” bounces on to the chart at #26.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear Tuesdays at 9pm EST! :)

 

#BILLCSTop30 #496 – November 14/16

Some favourites remain at the top while others tumble this week to make room for songs that have been waiting patiently in line…

The Top 10

  • “Native Son Prequel” by Gramatik and Leo Napier (Jenaux remix) (above) and “Balance” by The Him (below) have been my one-two punch now for three charts (six weeks), and it looks like they will yield to other songs in two weeks – but exactly which ones I do not even know yet!!
  • “Plans” by Elephante and Brandyn Burnette is definitely a contender for the top as it climbs 7 to 4.  Check out the new Acoustic version below 🙂
  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs somewhat surprisingly to The Weeknd and Daft Punk, whose “Starboy” rockets 12-5, to become the highest ranking song by The Weeknd on my chart to date.  And… he has one of four debuts too!

  • L.A.-based producer Steve James pairs up with fellow L.A. duo RKCB for a fine blend of EDM and soul on “In My Head”, which rises 9-6.
  • And you’ll see Brandyn Burnette two more times in the Top 10 as his duet with his gal Molly Moore on “Just A Dream” (above, from her brand new EP Now You See Me, which he produced) leaps 13-8, while the Sean Turk remix of his own “Closer” (below) moves up 11-9.  Brandyn has achieved this feat before and most of his songs just make a bee-line for the Top 10 anyway 😛  It’s also the third song called “Closer” to reach my Top 10 this year, following songs by Elephante and The Chainsmokers.

Movin’ On Up

  • NYC trio Liquid Diet close in on the Top 10 with their Eurotastic “Luminary” and its provocative video, up 14-11 from their album Double Life.
  • That unassuming instrumental “Vague” by Fabian Luttenberger in its playful Stan Sax remix continues to gain momentum, climbing 17-14.

  • Cole Plante’s reworking of Womack & Womack’s classic “Teardrops” from 1988, featuring a powerful vocal by Bobi, rises 21-16 and is currently a Top 5 Billboard Club Play hit 🙂
  • My fun, fun, fun trio of debuts from two weeks ago are on the move:  “Right Here Right Now” by Halifax’s Famba (above) jumps 26-20, while Bobby Nourmand’s rework of his instrumental “Deep”, now called “D E E P In NY” featuring rappers DOC and Goodmorning (below), rises 25-22, and Convex & Titus get naaasty in a Snøwmass remix of “Bad Kids” (27-23, also below).

Four Debuts

  • Released by The Disco Fries’ new label Liftoff, producer Eric Sharp and vocalist Zhao have a powerhouse deep house tune called “The Thirst”, which is the highest debut at #25.
  • Pet Shop Boys put on an amazing show last week mixing in old with new and even a bit obscure, and one of the best songs from their latest album Super came out sounding quite grand.  “Burn” isn’t a single – but it should be – and arrives on the chart at #26.

  • If you’re used to the slick and soulful side of The Weeknd then you may be taken a bit aback as he lets loose with the rock-flavoured “False Alarm” at #27, from the upcoming Starboy album.  Not of course to be confused with the Matoma/Becky Hill song which hangs in at #21.

  • One of the nicest and most uplifting songs around right now is the EDM pop ballad “My Hands” by NYC vocalist Ayer, and it lands on the chart at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here, and be sure to click on the photos to hear all of the songs.

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!  Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify:  BILLCS Top 30 Songs

Listen for me with my Pick of the Week at 2:20/6:20/10:20 AM/PM EST on http://www.planetradio.ca most days Monday through Sunday, and my flashbacks to a Toronto Top 10 of yesteryear this Wednesday (Nov 16) and next Tuesday (Nov 22) at 9pm EST! :)