#BILLCSTop30 #515 – August 7/17

My final week of vacation begins with a new chart, and the Top 10 gets turned inside out a bit as a new #1 leads the pack.

The Top 10

  • Bright Light Bright Light gets his 6th #1 on my chart since 2010 with the spectacular “New York Pretty”.  And he also has one of four debuts on the chart with a second song from the Tales Of The City EP with “Into The Night” (below) at #26.  Both videos are stellar, heartwarming, and important statements about loving yourself and self-empowerment.  “New York Pretty” was preceded at #1 by BLx2’s 2010’s “A New Word To Say” and “Love Part II”, 2012’s “Waiting For The Feeling”, 2013’s “An Open Heart”, and 2014’s “I Believe”.  He ties Simon Curtis with most #1’s on the chart – though one of Simon’s songs, “8bit Heart”, got to #1 twice in two different versions.

  • If “New York Pretty” had lagged behind by two weeks, then Axel Mansoor would have got a second #1 with “Out Of My Head”, but it has to settle for a 3rd appearance (6th week) at #2.  More to come thought from this great new singer/songwriter!

  • Martin Garrix gets back-to-back Top 5 songs on the chart as his pairings with Troye Sivan and Brooks, “There For You” (above) and “Byte” (below), climb to #4 and #5 respectively.  All of Martin’s songs that have appeared in the chart have reached the Top 5, with two, “Animals” and “Proxy”, getting to #1 in 2014.

  • Cosmos & Creature continue to be one of the most prolific pairs in music today, either through creating their own work or collaborating with others.  Their most recent single “Bad Drug” climbs 8-6.

  • Like Martin Garrix, every song that has appeared for Anton Ewald on this chart has reached the Top 10.  The sinfully catchy and funky “L.I.L.Y.” (like I love you) keeps it going by moving 12-18.
  • The last new entry into the Top 10 is a first for Florida’s Tipsy label.  Danish producers Boye & Sigvardt and singer Uhre, as well as Scottish producer MAGNÜS leap 13-10 with the infectious and engaging “Astronauts”, with remixes now available.

Movin’ On Up

  • “Magic” by UK singer Sean Smith, in its classic house Andy Sikorski mix, is headed for the Top 10 as it climbs 15-11.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is the last chart’s highest debut by Oregon’s CVBZ with “Be Like You”.  In its ‘bedroom bass’ Sean Turk remix, “Be Like You” bounds 20-12.

  • In a common theme with this week’s chart – some excellent videos, starting with those by Bright Light Bright Light above – the colourful and sexy visuals for Dan Talevski’s “Birthday Suit” all came to life recently and a really great time was had by all.  “Birthday Suit” climbs 19-14.

  • The Killers announced their latest stadium tour as their single “The Man” continues to rise 21-18, feeling very much like when the band arrived in 2004.  It’s from their upcoming 5th album Wonderful Wonderful.
  • Toronto’s Blajk makes its first appearance since playing the NXNE festival in June.  The quartet rocks The Drake Hotel on Thursday August 10, and new single “Gunshot” rises 24-20.

  • “Suitcase” marks Matthew Koma’s 10th appearance on this chart since 2012, and it moves up 26-21.

The Remaining 3 Debuts

  • The highest debut on the chart at #22 is “Show Me” by Toronto production duo Loud Luxury featuring fellow Torontonians Nikki’s Wives.  If you haven’t yet caught the fun video, Ron Jeremy stars in his second appearance in recent years – remember the video for Armin van Buuren & Trevor Guthrie’s “This Is What It Feels Like”, which got to #6 on my chart in 2013?

  • One of the most aimiable songs of late is an independent release that has suddenly become a national hit in both Canada and the UK – we’re waiting on YOU, USA!  American singer/songwriter Lauv arrives at #27 with “I Like Me Better” – check out both the original above and Canadian producer Famba’s recent remix below.

  • The final debut is one of the most unique songs of 2017.  Its video was released last week and is a travel ode to Los Angeles.  Iowa’s Kid Froopy precedes his upcoming EP with the single “Drive Slow” which bows at #30.

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

Planet Radio Canada is on hiatus and will return http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #513 – July 10/17

The chart has a new #1 and a high-flying debut to watch in the coming weeks!

The Top 10

  • “Attention” by Charlie Puth slides in at #1 as the title for his upcoming second album has been announced:  Voice Notes.  The song’s slick bassline and honest delivery made it a sure thing for the top of my chart.  Like many of you, I hadn’t known of Charlie Puth till I heard “See You Again”, but he’s a stadium concert headliner in the making 🙂  Catch him on tour opening for Pickering, Ontario native Shawn Mendes (below), who also arrives at #10 this week with “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”.

  • While Axel Mansoor had to give up the top spot held by “Wasted My Love” during June, he glides to #2 with its follow up, “Out Of My Head”.  Like “Wasted”, “Head” is a free download, as are many songs in the upper reaches of this chart 🙂
  • When you can sing a good, interesting story, it resonates and stays in your head.  Such is the case with “Silent Games” as sung by Hawaiian singer Zekt, and produced by Germany’s Lars Beck and Henri Purnell.  It soars 11-5.
  • Right behind “Silent Games” is Bobby Nourmand’s summer song “D U S T”, which climbs 10-6.  Bobby has new music coming very soon for Potion Records once again, so you will know where to read about it!
  • The third entry into the Top 10 is “Byte” by Dutchmen Martin Garrix and Brooks.  It’s a feisty instrumental that doesn’t let up and is accompanied by a flashy video.  “Byte” rises 12-9.

Movin’ On Up

  • Cosmos & Creature – Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore to you and me – appear to be on deck for their first Top 10 as a lead artist under this project name with the engaging “Bad Drug”, which sails 17-11.  The duo got to the Top 10 (#7) as a featured artist on Vicetone’s “Bright Side” last year.  We need to see C&C more on the east coast please!!
  • Sweden’s Anton Ewald is also heading for the Top 10 – where all of his charted songs have landed in the past, but as high as #2 – with “L.I.L.Y.”, or “like I love you”, promoted by a video that is all Anton.  The song’s obvious Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake influences are more inspiring rather than obvious borrowings.  “L.I.L.Y.” moves up 20-14.

  • Martin Garrix’s second entry shows the best of his pop side, and with Troye Sivan on vocals for “There For You” it’s taken to another level entirely.  It’s his best ‘pop’ single to date, aside of course from “Animals”, and charges up the chart 22-15.

  • “Astronauts” is one of the catchiest and most energetic songs of the year, EDM or otherwise.  It’s brought to you by a wide collaboration of three Danes and a Scot:  Boye & Sigvardt & MAGNÜS – the lone Scot – featuring vocalist Uhre.  It leaps 23-18.
  • The fastest riser on the chart is a classic house remix with an equally classic piece of storytelling to make it all gel.  I’m talking about former Same Difference member Sean Smith’s “Magic”, which in its Andy Sikorski remix, soars 28-20.

  • You can now check out the video to The Killers’ latest single “The Man”, which moves up 27-24.

Three New Entries

  • He’s back and stronger than ever, a fixture on the BILLCS Top 30 these past 7 years, Bright Light Bright Light.  Following his album Choreography, he’s just released his second EP as well in 2017, Tales Of The City, which is a huge warm musical hug for NYC and to anyone who feels they are simply not good enough for even themselves 🙂  And he’s given the city a new theme song, “New York Pretty”, with a vibrant video that makes the package a full circle.  BLx2 has already had 5 #1’s on this chart, will “New York Pretty” be his next one?  It arrives out of the gate at #16.

  • While previous single “I Wonder” still hangs in at #28, Dutch duo The Him are back with another impressive single, the R&B-flavoured “Secrets”, featuring a glistening vocal by L.A. singer Cub Rayan.  It bows at #23.

  • After enticing us with thoughtful but sultry singles like “Guilty As Sin” and “My Religion” in 2015, Toronto’s Dan Talevski is back with the fun and light-hearted “Birthday Suit”.  Debuting at #25, we’ll have to see if the upcoming video is saucy or playful or a bit of both 🙂

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

Planet Radio Canada is on hiatus and will return http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #512 – June 26/17

The Top 10

  • L.A.’s Axel Mansoor acquires another rare feat on this chart in his second appearance at #1 with the pensive “Wasted My Love” (above).  He scores a simultaneous Top 5 entry with the soulful post-breakup song “Out Of My Head” (below), which also has designs on #1 but I’m afraid may have to wait its turn.  The best thing about all of this is that both songs are available for free download – get ’em while they last!
  • Charlie Puth’s bass-laden “Attention” climbs to #2 and appears to be the successor to “Wasted My Love” at the top, but we will see in two weeks…

  • Not to be discounted, Philadelphia’s NiGHTS keep it going, rising 5-3 with the quirky and infectious indie release “P A R T Y”.
  • Bubbling under the Top 10 has paid off for “Never Been Better” by Dutch producer/DJ Steve Void, which climbs 11-8, becoming Steve’s second Top 10 solo entry following “Chemistry” (#10) earlier this year.
  • UK producer Murky arrives at #9 with the lovely “Heavy-Hearted”, featuring Polish singer Anuka, currently available as a free download.
  • And another free download gives L.A.’s Bobby Nourmand his second Top 10 entry, “D U S T”.  It follows the #1 hip hop/EDM grabber “D E E P in NY”.

Movin’ On Up

  • There aren’t many ‘story songs’ on the dance music scene, but one that works very well is the tell-it-like-it-is “Silent Games” by Lars Beck & Henri Purnell featuring Hawaiian vocalist Zekt.  It climbs 16-11 and is also a free download!

  • Besides Axel Mansoor, Martin Garrix is the other performer in the chart who has two entries.  The fun instrumental club banger “Byte” (above), with fellow Dutchman Brooks, soars 19-12, while Martin’s pop collaboration with Troye Sivan on “There For You” (below) moves up 29-22.

  • Welcome To The Hotel’s indie pop release “Darlin”, featuring vocalist Brandon Serafino, gets transformed with a clubby sax break by remix duo Saxena, and climbs 22-15.  It’s available as a free download too!
  • The fastest riser on the chart should come to you as no surprise.  Cosmos & Creature are BILLCS Top 30 chart veterans Molly Moore and Brandyn Burnette with their best collaboration yet “Bad Drug”, which vaults 26-17.
  • One jam you should definitely give a chance is Anton Ewald’s “L.I.L.Y.” (Like I Love You), which climbs 27-20.  Check out the flashy ‘all Anton’ video directed by his fiancée.

  • Singer/songwriter/actor Reeve Carney continues on his club tour in North America to support his debut album Youth Is Wasted.  From that album, the soulful and gritty “Truth” moves up 28-21.

Three Debuts

  • The highest debut on the chart at #23 looks to be a long-term favourite of mine for 2017, the joyous “Astronauts”.  It’s a collaboration between three Danes and a Scot and it’s absolutely magnetic.  It will be hard to remember the artists – Christian Boye & Christian Sigvardt & MAGNÜS featuring vocalist Uhre – so best to go pick it up at your favourite digital store now!

  • The second debut is the first appearance on this chart by Las Vegas’ Killers since 2009’s “A Dustland Fairytale”.  Brandon Flowers are back in the form that we enjoyed them best with their new wave/disco splashed “The Man” at #27.

  • One half of the UK X Factor contestants Same Difference, which achieved some popularity domestically, is singer Sean Smith, who is now solo with the gorgeous “Magic”, which has international club potential thanks to a thoughtful remix by Andy Sikorski.  “Magic” bows 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

Planet Radio Canada is on hiatus and will return http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂

 

#BILLCSTop30 #511 – June 12, 2017

The new chart is definitely shakin’ and stirred – many songs make big leaps while other favourites tumble.  Yet there somehow is still room enough for four debuts.

I’m not sure if this has ever happened before on my chart in its 19 year history, but the both new #1… and the fastest rising song on the chart… belong to one performer, who happens to be L.A. indie singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor.

The Top 10

  • The sweet-voiced pop/R&B singer who tells it like it is climbs to #1 with a song that draws you in from first listen, “Wasted My Love” (up top).  And not too far behind at #8 is his follow up, the lovely and resolute “Out Of My Head” (below), the fastest riser on the chart, soaring 21-8 in its second appearance.  They are both free downloads for now so pick them up while you have access to them 🙂  Axel is a talent who won’t go unnoticed!
  • Also making a huge move 15-3 is a number one contender, “Attention” by Charlie Puth, becoming his highest placing song on the chart thus far.  That R&B bassline seals the deal!

  • I still can’t get enough of Alesso’s “Falling”, which is up a notch 5-4.

  • The song that moves up 11-5 has a wonky kind of charm with its rhythm, matched up with a soulful vocal with a dash of grit, and a chorus that will get stuck in your head and stay there.  It’s by Philadelphia duo NiGHTS with “P A R T Y”.
  • L.A. based producer/remixer Spirix is getting comfortable again in my Top 10, following last year’s #5 “Take Me Apart” and a #1 remix of Brandon Skeie’s “So Bad”.  Paired with Floridians Xuitcasecity “Runaway” has a lot of charm and climbs 8-6.

  • L.A. pervades my Top 10 with Virginian transplant Eddy Faulkner obtaining his first Top Tenner here with “Cruel” moving 12-9.  Though his voice is front and centre, I love the rich backdrop of production that surrounds it.

Movin’ On Up

  • It’s hard to stop listening to a song that’s been out for a while but has a killer vocal and rhythm track.  That happens to be “Never Been Better” by young Dutchman Steve Void, which continues to rise, up 14-11.
  • One of the most downright intriguing songs of the year is “Silent Games” by German producers Lars Beck and Henri Purnell, with vocals from Honolulu native Zekt.  Remixer UOAK recently gives it a lush deep house flavour while retaining the song’s mystery.  Get it for free at the link below.  “Silent Games” rises 20-16.
  • Martin Garrix and his Dutch bro Brooks move up 24-19 with their hard-to-ignore instrumental “Byte”.  And joining it on the chart is “There For You”, with Martin’s other bro, one Troye Sivan, and it bows at #29.

  • The other two debuts from two weeks ago will be contenders in the coming weeks.  I honesty never thought Shawn Mendes would appear on my chart but he’s here with the Bryan Adams-ish “There’s Nothing Holding Me Back” up 27-21, while right behind it is the Saxena house remix of “Darlin'” by Welcome To The Hotel featuring singer Brandon Serafino, climbing 28-22.

The Remaining Three Debuts

  • Despite Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore’s own many chart entries, their duo Cosmos & Creature lands on the chart with an original, the total winner “Bad Drug”, at #26.  CnC first appeared on the chart as featured in Vicetone’s “Bright Side” about a year ago.
  • Sweden’s Anton Ewald returns with just his first name but also with a very hot R&B-influenced song (and a flashy, all-Anton video), “L.I.L.Y.” (aka “Like I Love You”) at #27.  It’s his first appearance in about two years, and all of his songs that have appeared in this chart have reached the Top 10.  “L.I.L.Y.” looks like it could follow that trend 🙂

  • He’s played Spider-Man on Broadway, and both Dorian Gray and Rocky Horror’s Riff Raff on TV, but before all of that he was a NYC local with his brother in their band Carney.  Reeve Carney finally has his debut solo album out called Youth Is Wasted.  I got to see his set and meet the man a few weeks back, and “Truth” is a highlight from the set and the album, arriving 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

Planet Radio Canada is on hiatus and will return http://www.planetradio.ca 🙂

Unlikely pairing of @MartinGarrix and @TroyeSivan is a total winner, “There For You”

MARTIN GARRIX & TROYE SIVAN, “There For You”

One thing’s for sure – we need more Troye Sivan music after the remarkable pop transformation that was his Blue Neighbourhood album, which should have yielded more pop and dance club hits than “Youth”.  Some things happen in strange ways, and the thought of a collaboration between Troye and Martin Garrix may not have been expected, until it actually debuted on stage at Coachella in April.  Martin can still dazzle his hardcore EDM fans with his originals and remixes, but it’s totally refreshing to hear “There For You” as his non-instrumental follow-up to collabs with Bebe Rexha and Dua Lipa.  It’s the most unique of all three, with Troye lending that earthy, sincere vocal quality that brought the songs vividly to life on Blue Neighbourhood.  I think you’ll be hearing this one on the radio sometime soon, and then hopefully with dance mixes for clubs to follow – I’d love to see this one at the top of the club charts.  

martingarrix_troyesivan

Published in: on June 3, 2017 at 5:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#BILLCSTop86Songsof2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

free download:

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

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

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

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

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

Original:

Remix (free download):  

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

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

Dance floor magnet: @YoungBombs take “Wild” by @TroyeSivan and @AlessiaCara to a beautiful place

TROYE SIVAN x ALESSIA CARA, “Wild” (Young Bombs remix)

They’ve done it again, the red hot Canadian duo of Young Bombs have managed to transport a favourite song of mine into a totally different place than I’d expected.  The first verse and affecting vocal in the original version of “Wild” last Fall convinced me that Troye Sivan really was someone who had grown considerably and that I needed to watch, and then I saw the Blue Neighbourhood album (along with hit single “Youth”) explode and it’s still going strong.  Despite the original intent and video, “Wild” recently became a duet as a reissued single and addition to Blue Neighbourhood featuring my fellow Torontonian, Juno Award winner Alessia Cara, which totally works.  And now Young Bombs have transformed “Wild” into a dance floor magnet, with a wondrous and inspiring electronic break midway that to me says more about this version than the song or duet itself.  So you too can fall in love with it all over again, and I hope we can purchase it soon.  For now, you can listen above or stream the Young Bombs remix of “Wild” on Spotify.

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#BILLCSTop30 #478 – March 7, 2016

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

The Top 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Movin’ On Up

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

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

Premiering

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

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

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

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

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

 

#BILLCSTop30 #477 – February 22, 2016

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

With that update provided, on to the new chart 🙂

simoncurtis_boyrobot

The Top 10

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

More Songs Movin’ On Up

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

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

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

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

Debuts

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

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

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

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

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

 

#BILLCSTop30 #474 – January 11, 2016

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

The Top 10

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

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

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

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

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

Movin’ On Up

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

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

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

Six Debuts!

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

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

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

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

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

The Full Chart

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

Listen to the BILLCS Top 30 Songs on Spotify!

Click on this link to take you there, and follow me on Spotify 🙂 BILLCS Top 30 Songs

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