#BILLCSTop30 #529 – February 19/18

The new chart is being particularly good to my fellow Canadians.  With the addition of three more to the chart, the total number of Canadians on the chart is eight!!

The Top 10

  • As expected, South Africa-born, Australia-raised singer/songwriter Troye Sivan grabs his first #1 with “My My My!”.  It’s an energetic celebration of being head over heels for someone.  Troye letting loose with some dance moves in the video is the imagery that says it all 🙂  (I’m awaiting a remix from fellow Aussie Throttle too!)

  • If not for Troye, Toronto’s Loud Luxury would have another #1 with “Body” (featuring Brando), but nonetheless it does advance to #2 as radio and club play increases across the country for it.
  • L.A.-based ‘mystery’ production trio Giiants move up 5-3 with their debut single “Small Talk”.  We’ll be hearing more about these guys very soon I promise.  This is the highest placing for a Tipsy Records release on the chart thus far!
  • Tipsy does get a second song in the Top 5 with the inspiring “What We’re Made Of” by NYC producer Dave Edwards and featuring UK-based singer Mark Asani.  It climbs 8-5.

  • The beautiful “Breathe” by Mako busts into the Top 5, soaring 13-7, as Alex’s much more progressive sounding collaboration with Illenium and Kill The Noise arrives called “Don’t Give Up On Me” (below).

  • Equally touching and moving up right behind 14-8 is L.A. singer/songwriter Axel Mansoor with “Talk To Me”.  Watch the video for some insight into the song.  It’s Axel’s third Top 10 entry following last year’s #1 “Wasted My Love” and #2 “Out Of My Head”.
  • “You Found Me” by Saxity featuring Victor Perry moves up 11-9, becoming Saxity’s second Top 10 following last year’s #3 “Brothers”, and Victor’s fourth – his last Top 10, the #3 “Sail”, with German producer Levi, debuted on the chart exactly a year ago!
  • While “Pineapple Skies” slips out of #1, Miguel gets his third Top 10 from the War & Leisure album with the Prince-ly “Told You So” (12-10).  I’m sooo looking forward to Miguel’s show in Toronto next month!

Movin’ on Up

  • The Chainsmokers have the fastest riser on the chart with the uncharacteristic, alt.rock-flavoured “Sick Boy” (above), zipping up the chart 25-14.  I’m glad to see Alex and Drew pushing their boundaries and their songwriting in “Sick Boy” is top notch.  They’ve recently followed it up with an entertaining and unexpected video for “You Owe Me” (below).

  • NYC singer Reigen advances 21-15 with his lovely rendition of The Cranberries’ “Dreams”.  
  • Still in the midst of their “Just A Kid” tour, Two Friends take their same named song, featuring Kevin Writer, from 22-16 on the chart.
  • The rest of the last chart’s debuts all show promise: 
    • Italy’s IDEO takes a very different arrangement, featuring American hip hop singer J.Paulished, for “Multiply” (above), which moves up 26-21.    
    • Quebec’s Robotaki partners up with Manila Killa and vocalist Matthew John Kurz for the compelling “I Want You” (below), in haunting Spirix remix, climbing 27-22.
    • UK singer/songwriter James Poole has an important message about loving yourself and your body with “Perfectly Me” (also below) rising 28-23.

Three Debuts

  • The highest debut belongs to L.A. producer Bobby Nourmand, who returns with his unique deep house flavours mixed with gritty UK soul courtesy of a potent vocal by singer Laurent John.  “Prisoner” arrives at #26.
  • Vancouver’s Ekali bows with the dark deep house of “Blame”, featuring none other than ZHU on vocals for a powerful collaboration.  “Blame” debuts at #27.
  • At #29 are our remaining Canadians.  Toronto’s Keys N Krates is set to break out big time with their latest album Cura, which includes the spirited collaboration with Tory Lanez called “Music To My Ears”.

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 new BILLCS Music Projects Facebook page 🙂

#BILLCSTop30 #528 – February 5/18

As we enter the second month of year, new favourites keep on coming fast and furious, there is simply no shortage of great pop and dance music out there outside of commercial charts and major labels.  Songs from major labels make 7 out of my Top 30, with 4 more distribution/licensing deals.  There is always room for new and innovative music regardless 🙂

The Top 10

  • It’s such a phenomenal performance, and I expect Miguel to be right in there at Grammy time next year for his fine War and Leisure album, which contains “Pineapple Skies” (above), holding at the top for a fourth appearance (that’s eight weeks)!  Meanwhile, though “Sky Walker” has dropped from its peak of #3, there’s still “Told You So” (below) too, advancing 17-12.
  • The fastest riser on the chart, and almost 100% sure of #1 in two weeks, is Troye Sivan’s fun and unapologetic “My My My!”, which soars 16 to 2.  I can’t believe how much Troye has transformed into a superstar performer from his You Tube days.

  • Toronto’s Loud Luxury advances 5 to 3 with “Body”, featuring vocalist Brando, which now has a video (below), and is picking up on national radio airplay in Canada!

  • Right behind is NYC-based American singer YEBBA, whose great singing on “Evergreen” goes a long way, moving up 6 to 4.
  • Rounding out the Top 5 is L.A.-based production trio Giiants, who have a new single coming out this month, to follow up “Small Talk”, which climbs 7 to 5.  Giiants is a bit of a collective, using different vocalists, usually anonymously (such as with “Small Talk”), sometimes by the guys in Giiants too.  More to come on this mysterious project!
  • NYC producer Dave Edwards has a strong and inspiring winner with “What We’re Made Of” climbing into the Top 10, up 13 to 8, featuring UK-based vocalist Mark Asari’s soulful vocal.
  • Also new to the Top 10 is Toronto’s Ryan Shepherd, featuring Dirty Hary, with the dirty and gritty “Right Now”.  Ryan shared a #1 last year with Loud Luxury in their cover of Craig David’s “Fill Me In”.

Movin’ On Up

  • “You Found Me” by Saxity featuring Victor Perry, climbs 14-11, and is a great hybrid of lyrical pop refueled by saxophone-led house rhythms.  Get it as a free download while you can!

  • Alex Seaver, aka Mako, always puts on a high energy, crowd-pleasing performance as I witness in Toronto last week.  He also has some interesting, slightly heavier new music coming out, including one that’s a songwriting collaboration you won’t want to miss.  Mako’s latest single “Breathe” climbs 19-13 and is available on the Ultra Dance 19 compilation!
  • The mix of tropical and Eurohouse dance music styles is a big winner for me with “Moves” by Italy’s Big Fish featuring Xuitcasecity’s Mike Gomes on vocals.  “Moves” rises 21 to 17.
  • If you watched the Grammy Awards, you inadvertently heard Toronto’s River Tiber!  Yes, his song with Grammy nominee and Torontonian Daniel Caesar, “West”,  which I wrote about almost two years ago, is noticeably sampled in fellow Grammy nominee SZA’s “Broken Clocks”, which she performed live (below).  River Tiber’s latest single “Patience” moves up 20 to 18 (above).

  • NYC singer Reigen’s simply blissful cover of The Cranberries’ “Dreams” climbs 26 to 21.  So much deserved attention is currently being given to The Cranberries’ back catalogue.  This interpretation, recorded before (and not associated with) Dolores O’Riordan’s passing and for the wedding of Reigen’s friends, should also definitely be heard by the band’s fans.
  • “Just A Kid” by L.A. producers Two Friends featuring singer Kevin Writer is downright contagious, reminiscent in ways of early Blink-182, but much more of an anthem to which anyone can relate.  It climbs 27 to 22.

New to the Chart

  • When The Chainsmokers said they were coming back with something totally different, they were not bluffing!  “Sick Boy”, which arrives at #25, is a bold lyrical statement mixed with slick dance rhythms that seem to be as heavily influenced by hip hop as EDM.  While it’s not another “Closer” or “Paris”, “Sick Boy” is wildly original and a fine introduction to Alex and Drew’s next chapter.
  • Something weird and wacky out of Italy, courtesy of Balming Digital Recordings, is “Multiply”, by Italian producer IDEO but featuring an entertaining vocal by American hip hop artist J.Paulished.  It’s like 5 songs rolled into one… and a lot of fun.  “Multiply” debuts at #26.
  • L.A.-based producer Spirix is back on the chart, this time with his moving remix of Robotaki and Manila Killa’s “I Want You” at #27 (a Canadian-American collaboration too).  It features an amazing vocal by Florida-based Matthew John Kurz, who himself got to #6 back in 2011 with his cover of David Guetta & Sia’s “Titanium”, which he makes his own by not trying to emulate Sia’s multi-octave vocalizing.  The Spirix remix of “I Want You” is a free download!
  • The last debut belongs to UK singer James Poole, who has made an important and enjoyable song about positive body image and loving yourself for who you are.  “Perfectly Me” is a great companion song to Mika’s “It’s My House” (up at #16) and arrives at #28.

View the full BILLCS Top 30 right here!

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 #527 – January 22/18

Edition #527 of my chart, now in its 20th year, begs the question:  What do you do when you enjoy all of the songs at the top of your chart so much?

The answer:  You put them on hold!  But something’s gotta give in two weeks 🙂

There are three debuts, including the one right below:

The Top 10

So in a BILLCS Top 30 chart first, songs 1 through 7 remain the same.

  • Miguel’s “Pineapple Skies” gets its 3rd appearance (6th week, above) at #1, while Billboard Top 40 hit “Sky Walker” stays steady at #3, and “Told You So” (below) rises 20-17.  They’re all from the compelling and enjoyable War and Leisure album.
  • YEBBA’s “Evergreen” (above) holds tight at #6, while her duet with Sam Smith, “No Peace”, inches up to #12.  This compelling new singer continues to be one to watch, and more proof is available in the form of a song recorded live called “My Mind” (below), which is available for free download, or you can make a donation, with proceeds going to Bring Change To Mind, an organization to assist people with mental illnesses.  It’s available from her website right hereIts video has over a million views.

 

  • Nora En Pure’s gorgeous “Tears In Your Eyes” climbs 9-8, and I’d love to see this song set to some lovely choreography 🙂
  • New to the Top 10 is SoCal production duo waitwhat with “Alive” rising 11-9 featuring a provocative vocal by Rielle.

Movin’ On Up

The songs just below the Top 10 are kind of stuck this week, slinking up the chart by 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 positions, save one song, the fastest riser.

  • The fastest riser on the chart belongs to Mako’s “Breathe” which jumps 25-19.  And this is just as Alex’s tour kicks off, with a stop this week in Toronto on Friday January 26, as before, at The Velvet Underground 🙂
  • “Moves” will keep you dancing courtesy of Italy’s Big Fish featuring American singer Mike Gomes, rising 26-21.
  • It’s a 2-for-4 deal with River Tiber’s “Patience” (above) climbing 24-20, while K-POP stars BTS are up 27-23 with “DNA” (below).

  • Keeping the doors wide open is Mika with the jaunty and inspiring “It’s My House” climbing 22-18.

Three Debuts

  • Putting a huge wrinkle into the chart which will ultimately play out in two weeks is Troye Sivan’s new single “My My My!” (at the top), which soars into the chart at #16.  It would have been higher had most of the songs above it not been frozen this week.  This is the breakthrough single that everyone had hoped for, a joyous mid-tempo dance song that sees Troye flashing his moves in the fun video.  It was immediately followed up this week by the more pensive “The Good Side” (below performance from Saturday Night Live).

  • Arriving at #26 is NYC singer Reigen with “Dreams”.  I wrote about this cover of The Cranberries 1994 hit shortly before the sudden passing of its singer, Dolores O’Riordan.  Reigen recorded it as an ode to the marriage of his friends.  While his version has suddenly taken on a bittersweet quality with Dolores’ passing, Reigen’s cover should always be regarded for what was intended.  It’s Reigen’s second chart appearance, following 2014’s #2 “Come Back To Me”.

  • Debuting on the chart as lead artists rather than remixers are L.A. duo Two Friends with “Just A Kid” at #27, featuring a playful vocal by singer Kevin Writer.  Matt and Eli have already been to the Top 10 twice with their fine remixes of Mako’s “Way Back Home” (#10) and MAX’s “Lights Down Low” (#3), which looks to finally crack the Billboard Top 40 after nearly two years on release!!

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

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

 

“Just A Kid” is joyous pop/dance from @TwoFriendsmusic featuring #KevinWriter that gives back

TWO FRIENDS featuring KEVIN WRITER, “Just A Kid”

Continuing with more originals as they started last year with their EP Out Of Love, L.A.-based producers Two Friends put a special spin on their latest single “Just A Kid”, once again featuring vocalist Kevin Writer.  This joyous slice of pop features contributions from kids from the program United In Harmony, for homeless children, which Matt and Eli participated in back in 2016.  Proceeds from the song also give back to the summer camp run by United In Harmony.  That aside, the anthemic song is on-point for a kid-friendly vibe that will appeal to any age.  I think it’s perfect for the Radio Disney audience but has enough power to win over club audiences too.  Check it out at the link above.

Two Friends are in the midst of their “Just A Kid” tour, which stops in Peterborough, Ontario on Saturday, January 20 at Aria.

Published in: on January 6, 2018 at 11:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Remixing the remixers: @TwoFriendsmusic remix @TheChainsmokers and get remixed by Poland’s @Clarxpl

THE CHAINSMOKERS, “Break Up Every Night” (Two Friends remix)

TWO FRIENDS featuring JAMES DELANEY, “Emily” (Clarx remix)

While the ever-good-natured L.A. producers/remixers Two Friends (Matt and Eli) keep busy touring, producing their own songs, and remixing those by others, one of the guys’ recent songs in turn has been remixed.

I wasn’t quite sure why “Honest” by The Chainsmokers became the follow-up single to “Something Just Like This”, but the much better “Break Up Every Night” appears to be next, pumped by a number of remixes.  Two Friends give it a fun and zingy remix that helps capture the exaggerated nature of the song, which is actually a co-write with more L.A. denizens, Captain Cuts.  Like with Two Friends’ previous takes on songs by The ‘Smokers, such as their bouncy remix of “Roses”, “Break Up Every Night” should help enliven your Friday or Saturday evening. 

Poland’s Clarx has done great justice to “Emily”, Two Friends’ release which I wrote about last Spring and featuring a playful vocal by James Delaney.  Clarx steered the pop-oriented “Emily” into more of a traditional house rhythm in their remix, which is magnified by some pretty big futuristic synths.   This helps make what is a very good song even better, which is exactly what a top notch remix should do.

Check out both remixes at the above links 🙂

Chill ‘n sway: @SeanTurkmusic reworks “Out Of Love” by @TwoFriendsmusic & @CosmosnCreature bedroom bass-style

TWO FRIENDS featuring COSMOS & CREATURE, “Out Of Love” (Sean Turk remix) (free DL)

The title song from the recent EP of originals which I wrote about earlier this year by faves Two Friends and Cosmos & Creature – Molly Moore and Brandyn Burnette – receives the Sean Turk treatment bedroom bass-style.  You’ll recall that Sean also showed another side to Brandyn’s own “Closer” last year.  But bedroom bass-style for “Out of Love”  means he’s puts a laid back but sexy spin on the more urgent and anthemic original.  It’s never too chillaxed to move you entirely off the dance floor, in fact “Out Of Love” now inspires you to get closer to your partner than ever, sway and spin to the music, with release accomplished à la bedroom bass.  I guess what we need next is that EP of Sean’s remixes for the supreme Sean Turk experience.  Until then, partner or no partner, indulge in “Out of Love”, which you can pick up for free at the link above.

Irresistible “Emily” is another score for original music from @TwoFriendsmusic featuring #JamesDelaney

TWO FRIENDS featuring JAMES DELANEY, “Emily”

“Emily” is the latest rich catchy piece of business from Matt and Eli, aka much-respected and fun L.A. producers Two Friends, who have their friends at Armada Trice working on this one.  Continuing with more originals, like their best works, “Emily” will be irresistible for club-goers and DJ’s, thanks to a gorgeous high end piano chorus which is augmented by the splendidly unique vocals of James Delaney.  It’s not over-burdened by effects, which allows “Emily” to shine for exactly what it is.  You simply won’t be able to get it out of your head – so head over to your favourite digital music store and pick it up.

Published in: on May 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New EP Out Of Love by L.A.’s @TwoFriendsmusic features three danceable treats

TWO FRIENDS, Out Of Love (EP)

Their friendly and hook-filled style has had me listening for more than a year now, and L.A.’s Two Friends production duo (Matt and Eli) brings us their first all-original three song EP, Out Of Love.  It’s at this stage when musicianship takes over and we have before us three quite different songs which show that Two Friends are not at all stuck to the frenetic EDM of many of their fine remixes.  

And what would Two Friends do of course but to bring along more friends!  I’ve already written about their collaboration with Brandyn Burnette and Molly Moore, aka Cosmos N Creature, on the title song.  A second collaboration with the immensely talented MAX (aka Max Schneider) on “Pacific Coast Highway” follows their sparkling redux of MAX’s “Lights Down Low”.  It’s a wistful EDM remembrance meant for a late night drive down that long highway or one similar.  But the best of the lot is the harmonica-laden “Mona Lisa Eyes”, which sort of celebrates what Avicii brought to the EDM fold five years ago with country flavour and takes it a number of steps further.  It also happens to be a gorgeous song with an amazing vocal by an uncredited singer.

 Pick up Two Friends’ Out Of Love EP at your favourite digital store.

Insanely prolific @CosmosnCreature return on #EDM songs by @TwoFriendsmusic and @PLSandTYbased

The duo of Cosmos & Creature, aka Molly Moore and Brandyn Burnette, are so insanely prolific with their own recent and upcoming solo releases, being featured on other artists’ songs, and having side project Cosmos & Creature also release its own songs and be featured as well!  How they stay on top of all of this, I don’t quite know.  But everything Molly and Brandyn create has high quality rubber-stamped on it!

TWO FRIENDS featuring COSMOS & CREATURE, “Out Of Love”

Their pairing with L.A.’s Two Friends is on a new original by the in-demand and frequently touring production/remix duo called “Out Of Love” for Spinnin’.  It may be at the same time Two Friends’ most chilled out and anthemic song yet that’s also enhanced by some saxophone riffing.  Brandyn’s self-reflective leads the way on this one while the crowd-pleasing chorus will have you swaying away.

PLS&TY featuring COSMOS & CREATURE, “Good Vibes”

Also chilled out but with a more hip hop flavour running through it is “Good Vibes” by another L.A. producer, PLS&TY (that’s ‘please and thank you’), for the PMRD label.  PLS&TY has had his own share of steady remixes with a few originals under his belt.  In “Good Vibes”, Molly and Brandyn trade off vocals in a song that will set a positive stage for whatever you want to do, whether it’s a lazy Sunday or the start of an evening at a club.  They’re countered with a slick dubsteppy break that totally suits the song to give it some bounce.

Listen to both at the Spotify links above, and watch for Cosmos & Creature’s follow up to their debut single “Young” very soon!  Cosmos & Creature are also touring with Call Me Karizma on dates throughout select U.S. cities in March and April.

Published in: on February 11, 2017 at 11:09 pm  Comments (1)  
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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