#BILLCSTop30 #565 – July 8/19

There’s a lot happening on the new chart.  And it’s a bit of a strange week, because most of the debuts from two weeks ago don’t move up very much, except one, which is the Fastest Riser on the chart.  That’s because a number of long-term favourites are still very much in play up near the top of the chart, and they’ve created a bit of a roadblock which will ease over the next month.  But two classic singers reappear on the chart along with a strong independent release on the rise.

Not about to let go of #1 anytime soon is “Good Things Fall Apart”, the definitive slice of emotional electronica which seems to have increased in popularity this year, by Illenium and singer/songwriter Jon Bellion.  

Nashville’s Mokita has a song about reconciling his feelings for a past relationship called “Kiss And Tell” (above) that advances to #3, which is where his previous song “London” peaked a couple of months ago.  And he’s followed up “Kiss And Tell” with a gentle new electronic pop song called “ICLYA”, which stands for “I Can’t Love You Anymore” (below).

Canadian producer Famba has his second solid radio hit locally with “Swear To God”, and it becomes his second Top 10 song on this chart, moving 11-6.  “Right Here Right Now” got to #2 back in late 2016.

A number of veteran dance producers are releasing some of the best music of their careers this year, and Australia’s Timmy Trumpet is one of them.  The compelling “World At Our Feet” (above) climbs 13-7.  Check our Danny Avila’s spot-on remix below.

Another producer making his Top 10 debut on the chart is France’s Kidswaste, with vocalist KOLE, with the slight melodies of “Sleeping Pills” climbing 12-10.

The next song is definitely competing with other strong songs from Mark Ronson’s Late Night Feelings album, including songs featuring Lykki Li and Camila Cabello.  But it’s “Don’t Leave Me Lonely”, featuring the stunning YEBBA, which takes hold of this chart and moves up 17-11.

Manila Killa recently announced another leg of his 1993 tour, which will actually stop this time in Toronto at the Velvet Underground in October 🙂  In the meantime “Atypical” (featuring GiGi) climbs up a few more notches 16-13.

Breaking through all six of the new entries from two weeks ago to become the Fastest Riser is “Monday Blues”, the super cool house track from L.A.’s Eric Sharp and vocalist Zhao.  It soars 25-18.

Also making a big move is “Even In Confusion” by Italy’s Eric Zava and DJ Mirko B featuring singer Daniel Gorash, rising 28-23.  Mirko previously appeared on the chart at the top of 2017 with “#Bomber” (#17) with Beatmarthz.

The Highest Debut at a stellar #16 is “Higher Love”, the cover of the 1986 #1 hit by Steve Winwood as recorded by Norway’s Kygo, who was given the opportunity of working with archive tapes from the estate of Whitney Houston to bring her classic voice, circa 1990, to a new audience.  It’s a timely release for its message; Arista Records wouldn’t include it in the I’m Your Baby Tonight album at the time because they wanted her to get away from recording cover versions, and the original was still fairly fresh at the time.  But bravo to Kygo and those on the estate who trusted him to represent the singer well – which he does perfectly 🙂  Strangely, it’s Kygo’s first appearance on this chart.  Last year’s “Remind Me To Forget” with Miguel should have charted but I didn’t hear it till well after it peaked.  Whitney only appeared three times on the chart in her lifetime, with “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” and “My Love Is Your Love” (both #9) in 1999, and the underrated duet with Enrique Iglesias, “Could I Have This Kiss Forever” (#15), in 2000.

After reaching #5 on this chart late last year with “Wild Sun”, UK singer/songwriter Sam Dickinson is back with the hearfelt “All We Are” at #26.  This one is receiving regular BBC radio play and hopefully its audience will grow with each spin.  Like with “Higher Love”, the message is extremely timely.  It’s from Sam’s new EP From The Glass House Part 2.  “All We Are”, like “Wild Sun”, is also available on an EP of a variety of remixes for your dancing pleasure.

The third debut is from a performer who last appeared on this chart in 2003, which to date has been her only appearance.  That’s Celine Dion, whose new song “Flying On My Own”, is nothing short of inspiring and bows at #29.  Her previous entry on the chart?  Her cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night”, which in its Hex Hector remix version reached #16. Watch the live performance of “Flying On My Own” above.

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 🙂

Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional” becomes reflective and @YearsandYears’ “Desire” full of intense longing, both in ballad form by @JonMclaughlin

JON MCLAUGHLIN, “So Emotional” and “Desire”

As readers of this blog are aware, I am not big on cover versions and they really have to impress me to write about them.  So when a singer/songwriter like Indiana’s Jon Mclaughlin decides to release a cover version – or two – then some undivided attention is a must. 

Jon boldly takes on Whitney Houston’s “So Emotional” (above) as a reflective ballad, and its transformation is a brilliant success.  It’s not sombre by any means, it has become a story about a past lover and the resulting feelings from that relationship.  Ballads can be sped up and dance songs can be slowed down, but it has to be done right.  And with his on point vocal and piano playing, “So Emotional” is given real credibility as a ballad. 

Also be sure to check out Jon’s cover of Years & Years’ “Desire” (below), which is the second part of this double-A sided single release.  I’m still a bit too attached to the original of four years ago but slowing down this particular dance song fleshes out the intense longing of the lyrics.

Whitney Houston: Remembering the Early Performing Days

I’m not going to dwell on the recent and mainly unhappy past of Whitney Houston, but rather I’ll focus on the brilliant start to her career.

If you knew 70’s dance music, you probably didn’t know that a 14 year old Whitney sung on a now obscure Michael Zager Band song called “Life’s a Party”.  You may know that she did contribute backing vocals a year later on Chaka Khan’s seminal “I’m Every Woman”, which Whitney herself later turned into an even bigger hit.  The first lead vocal by Whitney appears on avant funk band Material’s One Down album from 1982, but it’s on a tender ballad called “Memories”, which was very unlike Material’s other songs.  Listen below to the pure vocal.

She then did lead vocals on the late Paul Jabara’s 1983 “Eternal Love” from the Paul Jabara & Friends album (also recorded by Stephanie Mills), and performed that song in concert a number of times in the 80’s.  The first charted hit with Whitney billed was Teddy Pendergrass’ 1983 song “Hold Me”.    It reached #46 on the Billboard Hot 100, a rather plain introduction to the world if you ask me.  Our introduction to Whitney solo, from her debut self-titled album, was “You Give Good Love”.  And it got to #3.  But what followed, starting with “Savin’ All My Love For You”, were 7 consecutive number one songs, and the rest is simple history.

Shortly before her debut album was released, RCA Records Canada hosted an intimate industry-only party at Club Blue Note in Toronto.  I had been publishing my own magazine called Vinyl Performance with my partner-in-crime James Rogers, and got invited to attend by the RCA rep.  None of my music aficionado friends was available to attend at short notice, so Peter Russell was my lucky ‘plus one’.  Whitney performed about five or six songs from the album, singing live to backing tracks.  I remember “Thinking About You”, featuring Jermaine Jackson, sounding really good and like a possible hit (I think it ended up as a ‘B side’), along with my still-favourite “How Will I Know”.  After her set, I got to meet Whitney briefly.  We greeted and she put her arm around my upper back and asked “Would you have a picture with me?”  I have that photo somewhere, I must have hid it good when I last moved house.  She was cute, warm, and bubbly, and brimming with talent.

In lieu of that photo, as my memory of Whitney from 1985, I found the original RCA Records Canada press kit.  What follows is the text (rather than a scanned in copy).  Click right here to see the cover photo of that press kit.

There is in every decade one young performer whose inevitable rise to stardom is predicted by everyone with whom that artist comes in contact. In the 1980’s, that performer is Whitney Houston.

Stephen Holden in the New York TIMES said “She is a talent with tremendous potential”.  The VILLAGE VOICE first enthused “She has the looks, the voice and style of Lena Horne when she was that age.  Star Material. Sensational word-of-mouth has been going around about Whitney Houston.”  Later, they described her as “a chic-looking young Billie Holiday with a gorgeous vibrato.  She has a big voice, the kind that makes you laugh and weep at the same time.”

Nelson George in BILLBOARD Magazine labeled her “a thrilling young singer who performs beautifully.  Whitney has the pedigree and style to be a major vocalist.”

And that’s some pedigree!  Her mother, Cissy Houston, has been one of the most well-regarded singers in R&B for more than twenty years and Dionne Warwick is her first cousin.  Whitney has been in the studio as a background singer since she was twelve years old and recently has been featured as a backup vocalist on LP’s by Chaka Khan, Lou Rawls, The Neville Brothers and soloed on “Eternal Love” from Paul Jabara’s LP.  On Material’s “One Down” album, she did a solo called “Memories”, which Bob Christgau in the VILLAGE VOICE called, “one of the most gorgeous ballads you’ve ever heard.”  When she was 15 years old she toured Japan with her mother, Cissy Houston.  Whitney’s style, in part, echoes her mother’s gospel-rooted soulful delivery but contains a cool, pop quality all her own.

Even with the family exposure and the instant success that she has had both as a Wilhelmina fashion model and a singer, her controlled self-assurance is amazing in a nineteen year-old.

And yet, “amazing” is a comfortable fit for Whitney.  She has appeared on the cover of SEVENTEEN Magazine and appeared in GLAMOUR, COSMOPOLITAN and YOUNG MISS.  She has done national television commercials.  At a time when almost no new artists are being signed to record companies, Whitney has just been given a contract with Arista Records by its president, Clive Davis, one of the most highly regarded judges of talent in the music business.  In Arista’s own words, it was “an agreement that represents a major commitment to the young artist.  Her signing was one of the most eagerly sought at Arista in recent years.”

What is she like as a person?  She will tell you, emphatically, that her first love is singing and that above all else that is what she wants to be doing the rest of her life.  Whitney, whose “greatest influences, besides my own family, were Aretha, Natalie Cole, Donny Hathaway, and Quincy Jones,” wants to travel and perform all over the world.  Somehow, in the midst of all this, she’d also like to work toward a college education.  What’s more, she probably will.

Warm, observant, careful, ambitious, a charming balance of reserve and fun – Whitney sees singing, modeling and acting as her job.  She likes it, but she can take the glamour in stride and is only too aware of the pitfalls along the way – after all, you might say it’s the family business.

Published in: on February 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: , ,