Sunday, 11 June 2017

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2017 // Volume 6

1. Danny L Harle - 1UL
2. Sanna Nielsen - Inte OK
3. Saint Etienne - Sweet Arcadia
4. Missy Higgins - Torchlight
5. Alyss - Pyramid
6. Pound Shop Boys - Fireman Sam (It's Pontypandemonium)
7. Carly Rae Jepsen - Cut To The Feeling
8. Mastrovita - Invsbl Dreams
9. Jasmine Thompson - Old Friends (Jonas Blue Remix)
10. Katy Perry feat Migos - Bon Appetit
11. Ariana Grande - One Last Time
12. Liam Gallagher - Wall Of Glass
13. Katy Perry - Roulette
14. Jonas Blue feat William Singe - Mama
15. Shakira - Nada
16. Helena Paparizou - Haide
17. The Veronicas - The Only High
18. Katy Perry - Pendulum
19. Miley Cyrus - Malibu
20. Katy Perry feat Nicki Minaj - Swish Swish

Monday, 15 May 2017

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2017 // Volume 5

1. Steps - Story Of A Heart
2. Steps - Neon Blue
3. Emma Bale - Worth It
4. Salvador Sobral - Amar Pelos Dois
5. Steps - Firefly
6. Oonagh - Aule Und Yavanna
7. Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee feat Justin Bieber - Despacito
8. Drifters - Om Du Fick Se Mig Ga
9. Lady Gaga - The Cure
10. Steps - I Will Love Again
11. Leah - Met Jou Klere Aan
12. Helene Fischer - Achterbahn
13. Cazzi Opeia & Jin X Jin - Batman & Robin
14. Anton Powers & Pixie Lott - Baby
15. Carl Louis - Matinee
16. Claudia Faniello - Breathlessly
17. DJ Khaled feat Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance The Rapper and Lil' Wayne - I'm The One
18. Bleachers - Don't Take The Money
19. Disciples - On My Mind
20. Kristian Kostov - Beautiful Mess

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2017 // Volume 4

1. Steps - Scared Of The Dark
2. Huntza - Aldapan Gora
3. Clean Bandit feat Zara Larsson - Symphony
4. The Kelly Family - Fell In Love With An Alien
5. Robin Bengtsson - I Can't Go On
6. Emma Watson - Belle
7. Zara Larsson - Funeral
8. Jowst - Grab The Moment
9. Marble Sounds - If You Stay Then I Can't Go
10. Jana Burcheska - Dance Alone
11. Blanche - City Lights
12. Frances - Cloud 9
13. Francesco Gabbani - Amen
14. Sheppard - Keep Me Crazy
15. Harry Styles - Sign Of The Times
16. Nelly Furtado - Sticks And Stones
17. Sigrid - Don't Kill My Vibe
18. Take That - New Day
19. The Sound Of Arrows - Beautiful Life
20. Koit Toome & Laura - Verona


Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2017 // Volume 3

1. Wiktoria - As I Lay Me Down
2. Loreen - Statements
3. Katy Perry feat Skip Marley - Chained To The Rhythm
4. Tina Guo - Super Mario Bros.
5. Ed Sheeran - Galway Girl
6. Take That - Giants
7. Troll - Jimmy Dean 
8. Ed Sheeran - Perfect
9. SHELLS - Gold
10. Mariette - A Million Years
11. FO&O - Gotta Thing About You
12. Lorde - Green Light
13. Heathers - Call Home
14. Owe Thörnqvist - Boogieman Blues
15. Bella & Filippa - Crucified
16. Anton Hagman - Kiss You Goodbye
17. Anja - Where I Am
18. O'G3NE - Lights & Shadows
19. Francesco Gabbani - Occidentali's Karma
20. Niké Jemiyo - Dive

It's Eurovision national finals season and therefore no less than half of my favourite new tunes from the past month are either confirmed Eurovision 2017 entries, are still hoping for the chance to represent their country, or are out of the running altogether.


Top of the pile is Sweden's Wiktoria with her second Melodifestivalen entry, As I Lay Me Down. Following last year's Save Me, this catchy track is a classic pop song in the late 90s/early 00s mould, but brought bang up to date with contemporary production. Essentially, it's like a country-pop mash-up of something B*Witched or Vanessa Amorosi might have put out at the turn of the century. Wiktoria herself has a look of Faye from Steps (it must be the big frizzy blonde hair) and a distinctive, but admittedly shrill, voice that I nevertheless absolutely adore.


 


Controversially out of Melodifestivalen before the final, I'm not entirely sure what Sweden were thinking by dumping out former Eurovision winner Loreen's fantastic Statements. Ok, it's not Euphoria, but then it's not supposed to be. This is a very different track that certainly does make a statement. A dark and brooding grower for sure but once it's ingrained its way into your head it never leaves. A really powerful moment from one of Europe's finest artists, it's just a shame that her message is unlikely to make it out of Sweden this time.




Also in from Melodifestivalen are the country's premier boyband FO&O (previously The Fooo and then The Fooo Conspiracy). The trio made their way through to the final of Melodifestivalen from Andra Chansen at the weekend and it's easy to see why - and it's not just because of the support from their hoardes of loyal teenage girl fans. Gotta Thing About You is the sort of thumping and melodic pop track that *N'Sync were smashing with back in 2000. It's a rather wonderful example of its genre and written by no less a figure than Robert 'Mutt' Lange, who co-wrote many of Shania Twain's biggest hits and Breathless for The Corrs.




Also in the 'teenage girl appeal' bracket is Anton Hagman, another Andra Chansen qualifier with his very Shawn Mendes-esque - and very good - debut single, Kiss You Goodbye. Very much not appealing to the same crowd, but confirmed as an instant Melodifestivalen finalist a few weeks ago, is 87-year-old legend Owe Thörnqvist with the unexpectedly charming and catchy Boogieman Blues.


The other Melodifestivalen entries here are Bella & Filippa's lovely country-pop strummer Crucified and Mariette's sparkling dance-pop number A Million Years - a strong follow up to 2015's Don't Stop Believing that could easily have fit onto Delta Goodrem's recent Wings Of The Wild album.




Three entries that have already been selected for Eurovision in the last few weeks are also here, from Italy, Denmark and The Netherlands. The former's Sanremo victor Occidentali's Karma by Francesco Gabbani, is one of the favourites to win, and it's easy to see why - a charming song, performer, staging and message, it's a compelling package. Denmark and The Netherlands have both turned in 90s-inspired ballads of very different kinds. Anja - who was born in Australia to Danish-born parents and won The Voice Australia in 2014 - has turned up with a single Eternal would have been proud to release in 1996. Where I Am may be dated but it has a killer melody and Anja's voice is indeed pretty incredible. Girlband O'G3NE, from The Netherlands, meanwhile have a lovely track called Lights & Shadows that harks back to the 1990 classic Hold On by Wilson Phillips.




Stepping away from Eurovision related music now and the highest current chart hit here is Katy Perry's comeback single, Chained To The Rhythm, a pop track with a slight reggae feel that is somehow both instant and a grower at the same time. Bob Marley's grandson Skip provides a rather excellent rap feature on an incredibly strong comeback single from Katy, who proves that her star has barely dimmed in the four years since Prism was released.


To say he's dominating the charts would be an understatement - this week Ed Sheeran's third album ÷ was released and every song from the deluxe 16 track album is now set to chart in the UK top 20...how's that for a washout! Anyway, it is a very strong album overall and my two picks from it - aside from the ubiquitous singles Shape Of You and Castle On The Hill - are the inspired Irish jig/rap hybrid Galway Girl and the instant classic ballad Perfect, which will no doubt follow Thinking Out Loud's lead to become one of the biggest love songs of the decade.




Chinese cellist Tina Guo's profile is currently rising and her latest album, Game On, is an inspired collection of her versions of some of the most iconic video game soundtracks of all time. My pick of the bunch is her excellent medley of three scores from the Super Mario Bros. series - namely levels 1-1 and 1-2 from the original NES game, the latter somewhat brilliantly performed in a hard rock style, and the Whomp's Fortress stage from Super Mario 64.




Otherwise unmentioned are Take That's anthemic comeback single Giants, which has shades of M83's Midnight City, Gold, a rather lovely, shimmering electropop track from British newcomer SHELLS, and Swedish one-hit wonder Troll's Jimmy Dean, a single I recently discovered that was released right at the end of the 1980s. How this rather epic schlager pop song and its accompanying video have never gone viral or broken out of Sweden I'm not entirely sure.




Finally, Irish twin sister duo Heathers appear with their melodic Tegan and Sara-esque single Call Home, London-based singer-songwriter Niké Jemiyo pops up with the stunning ballad Dive, and Lorde's long-awaited comeback single, Green Light, is oh so different to the music from her debut album Pure Heroine - released way back in 2013 - but also so very brilliant. It may sound like three different songs rolled into one but then, all the best pop songs do. Just ask Girls Aloud.


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2017 // Volume 2

1, Black Motion feat Nokwazi - Imali
2. Ed Sheeran - Shape Of You
3. Ed Sheeran - Castle On The Hill
4. Alma - Requiem
5. Lucie Jones - Never Give Up On You 
6. Norma John - Blackbird
7. PANG! - One Big Laugh
8. Tone Damli - Pinnacle
9. Ace Wilder - Wild Child
10. Anne-Marie - Breathing Fire
11. Pegboard Nerds - Melodymania
12. Elk Road feat Natalie Foster - Hanging By A Thread
13. Salena Mastroianni - I Don't Wanna Fight
14. La La Land Cast - Another Day Of Sun
15. Ten Fé - Another Way
16. Jamiroquai - Automaton
17. Julia Michaels - Issues 
18. Shakira feat Maluma - Chantaje
19. Courtney Marie Andrews - Irene
20. Lebo Sekgobela - Lion Of Judah



Monday, 2 January 2017

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2017 // Volume 1

1. Alan Walker - Alone
2. Sia - Never Give Up
3. Balbina - Die Regenwolke
4. Shotgun Fakes - Depression Intervention
5. Erato - Dancing Queen
6. Zara Larsson - I Would Like
7. Anne-Marie - Alarm
8. JP Cooper - September Song
9. Tom Odell - Silhouette
10. Neiked feat Dyo - Sexual (Oliver Nelson Remix)
11. Christine and the Queens feat Perfume Genius - Jonathan
12. Louis Tomlinson & Steve Aoki Just Hold On
13. Pete Tong feat Cookie - Lola's Theme
14. Robbie Williams - Love My Life
15. Dua Lipa - Be The One
16. Zayn & Taylor Swift - I Don't Wanna Live Forever
17. Sigala & Digital Farm Animals - Only One
18. Christine and the Queens - Saint Claude
19. Magnus Carlson - Eternal Love
20. Jax Jones feat Raye - You Don't Know Me

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Top 100 songs of 2016

100. Chloe Rose - For Me
99. Real Lies - One Club Town
98. LP - Lost On You
97. Calvin Harris feat Rihanna - This Is What You Came For
96. Sia - Never Give Up
95. Darline - Until Tomorrow
94. Little Mix feat Jason Derulo - Secret Love Song
93. Sigala feat Imani & DJ Fresh - Say You Do
92. Alan Walker - Alone
91. Kungs vs. Cookin' On 3 Burners - This Girl
90. Delta Goodrem - Just Call
89. Craig David - 16
88. The Chainsmokers feat Halsey - Closer
87. Smith & Thell - Row
86. The Rhythm Method - Party Politics
85. Måns Zelmerlöw - Glorious
84. The Flavor - Shosholoza
83. Emeli Sandé - Breathing Underwater
82. Frances - Say It Again
81. Only Girl - Remains
80. Charly Cole - February 29 (Marry Me)
79. ROMANS feat Rejjie Snow - Prisoner
78. Clean Bandit feat Louisa Johnson - Tears
77. Douwe Bob - Slow Down
76. Lady Gaga - Perfect Illusion
75. Offaiah - Trouble
74. Sigma feat Take That - Cry
73. Scala & Kolacny Brothers - Barbie Girl
72. Craig David & Big Narstie - When The Bassline Drops
71. Delta Goodrem - The River
70. Ira Losco - Walk On Water
69. Shotgun Fakes - Slow Motion
68. Honey Ryder - Years From Now
67. Lauren Aquilina - Thinking About
66. Justin Bieber - What Do You Mean It's 1985
65. Sheppard - We Belong
64. Matoma & Becky Hill - False Alarm
63. Wiktoria - Save Me
62. All Saints - This Is A War
61. 99 Souls feat Destiny's Child & Brandy - The Girl Is Mine
60. Shotgun Fakes - Out Of The Blue
59. Danny L Harle - Broken Flowers
58. Sigala feat John Newman & Nile Rodgers - Give Me Your Love
57. The Corrs - I Do What I Like
56. Craig David & Sigala - Ain't Giving Up
55. The Strumbellas - Spirits
54. Christine and the Queens - Tilted
53. Matt Simons - Catch & Release (Deepend Remix)
52. Alyss - T S I E R
51. Stereoact feat Kerstin Ott - Die Immer Lacht
50. Al Gibbs - Asked Me To Dance
49. Little Mix - Touch
48. NEIKED feat Dyo - Sexual
47. Kate Rusby - Big Brave Bill
46. Ward Thomas - Boomerang
45. KOLAJ - Hitchhike
44. Amir - J'ai Cherché
43. Ellie Goulding - Still Falling For You
42. Kosmonova - Danse Avec Moi
41. Robin Bengtsson - Constellation Prize
40. Lady Gaga - Million Reasons
39. Blonde & Craig David - Nothing Like This
38. Lukas Graham - 7 Years
37. Jorja Smith - Blue Lights
36. SaRaha - Kizunguzungu
35. The Veronicas - In My Blood
34. Zara Larsson - Lush Life
33. Tigertown - Papernote
32. Theia - Roam
31. Douwe Bob - Jacob's Song
30. Joe and Jake - You're Not Alone
29. TheFatRat feat Laura Brehm - Monody
28. Starley - Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)
27. Imany - Don't Be So Shy (Filatov & Karas Remix)
26. The Weeknd feat Daft Punk - I Feel It Coming
25. Sia feat Sean Paul - Cheap Thrills
24. K3 - 10.000 Luchtballonnen
23. Alan Walker - Faded
22. Jonas Blue feat JP Cooper - Perfect Strangers
21. Alan Walker - Sing Me To Sleep
20. Delta Goodrem - Dear Life
19. All Saints - One Woman Man
18. Pixie Paris - Es Rappelt Im Karton
17. Frans - If I Were Sorry
16. EFF - Stimme
15. Little Mix - Shout Out To My Ex
14. Real Lies - North Circular
13. Olivia - I'm Not Your Lady
12. Sia feat Kendrick Lamar - The Greatest
11. Natalia Nykiel - Error
10. Sia - Move Your Body (Alan Walker Remix)
9. Pegboard Nerds - Emoji
8. Ortiga - Ilumbarada
7. KOLAJ - The Touch
6. All Saints - One Strike
5. Daithí - Mary Keanes Introduction
4. Frances - Don't Worry About Me
3. Delta Goodrem feat Gizzle - Enough
2. Poli Genova - If Love Was A Crime
1. Clean Bandit feat Sean Paul and Anne-Marie - Rockabye


Released late on in the year - and indeed still sitting at #1 in the UK on its eighth week as I type - Clean Bandit's Rockabye was the sound of the UK's premier (only?) classical dance outfit channeling Ace Of Base. With rising UK star Anne-Marie providing some very strong, almost Rihanna-esque vocals and the legendary Sean Paul providing some memorable catchphrases, such as 'daily struggle', it could hardly miss.

The track features a sun drenched 90s-influenced production, so perhaps it would have been an even bigger hit if released in summer, but who can argue with a Christmas #1 (which won me £200 after betting £8 on them at 25/1 to do just that) and two months at the top of the chart at the busiest time of year?

It's quite easy to see why it's done so well, an accessible tune to people of all ages, with relevant 2016-esque production flourishes but also appealing to those born in the 90s, due to the Ace of Base influence, and the 00s, with the Sean Paul feature. Plus the lyrics, unlike many songs that go to #1 these days, tell a thought provoking and heartfelt story, apparently influenced by the reality of one of the songwriters, Ina Wroldsen. And thats all topped off with a gorgeous string outro and probably the best chorus of the year. 

Absolutely sublime track and easily the best UK #1 since their own Rather Be in 2014 or - going further back - On The Floor by Jennifer Lopez feat Pitbull in early 2011. After a year of being incredibly bored with the generic and average songs doing well, it's been so refershing to see a genuinely great and well made song strike such a chord with the public.

I haven't been very keen on many of the other UK chart toppers this year, with only Little Mix's Shout Out To My Ex (#15), Lukas Graham's 7 Years (#38) and Closer by The Chainsmokers feat Halsey (#88) registering on my top 100.

Not far off Rockabye at all in second place for 2016 was If Love Was A Crime, the unexpectedly phenomenal pop song that Bulgaria brought to Eurovision, finishing a highly respectable fourth in the contest for Poli Genova. Delta Goodrem and US rapper Gizzle, finishing at #3 here, teamed up for an undeserved summer flop with Enough, a stunning blend of Delta's soaring vocals, gorgeous string laden production and Gizzle's unique rapped verses.

Elsehwere in the top ten are Don't Worry About Me, a beautiful piano ballad by English singer-songwriter Frances (#4) and Mary Keanes Introduction, a unique dance track from Irish producer Daithí (#5), featuring spoken word samples from his 90-year-old grandmother reflecting on growing up. 

Multiple entries in the top 100 come from Clean Bandit, Delta Goodrem, Frances, All Saints, KOLAJ, Sia, Real Lies, Little Mix, Alan Walker, Douwe Bob, Craig David, Lady Gaga, Sigala and Shotgun Fakes, all of whom really impressed me this year.