Sunday, 4 December 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 11

1. The Weeknd feat Daft Punk - I Feel It Coming
2. Starley - Call On Me (Ryan Ribeck Remix)
3. Little Mix - Touch
4. Måns Zelmerlöw - Glorious
5. Lisa Ajax - Santa Bring My Baby To Me
6. The London Hospices Choir and Paul Carrack - The Living Years
7. Little Mix - No More Sad Songs
8. Rag'n'Bone Man - Human
9. Weiss - You're Sunshine
10. The Weeknd - Rockin'
11. Rat Boy - Lovers Law
12. Dodie - Intertwined
13. Little Mix - Nothing Else Matters
14. CVA feat N-Trance - Only Love (Set You Free)
15. Amy MacDonald - Down By The Water
16. CUT - Tune In Tune Out (Anna Of The North Remix)
17. Busted - On What You're On
18. Otto Knows - Not Alone
19. Samantha Jade & Cyrus - Hurt Anymore
20. Dodie - Sick Of Losing Soulmates 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 10

1. Clean Bandit feat Sean Paul & Anne-Marie - Rockabye
2. Little Mix - Shout Out To My Ex
3. Sia - Move Your Body (Alan Walker Remix)
4. Tigertown - Papernote
5. Sheppard - We Belong
6. Lady Gaga - Million Reasons
7. Shotgun Fakes - Out Of The Blue
8. Emeli Sandé - Breathing Underwater
9. Jonas Blue feat Raye - By Your Side
10. Majestic - Raised In The 90s
11. Machine Gun Kelly feat Camila Cabello - Bad Things
12. Sia - Confetti
13. Smith & Thell - Row
14. Frida Sundemo - We Are Dreamers
15. Louisa Johnson - So Good
16. KOLAJ - Hitchhike
17. Tigertown feat Filous - Take Me Away
18. Busted - Easy
19. Oliver Heldens - Good Life
20. Starley - Call On Me

Monday, 3 October 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 9

1. Daithí - Mary Keanes Introduction
2. Alyss - T S I E R
3. Kate Rusby - Big Brave Bill
4. Sia feat Kendrick Lamar - The Greatest
5. Delta Goodrem - The River
6. Shotgun Fakes - Slow Motion
7. Craig David - 16
8. LP - Lost On You
9. Al Gibbs - Asked Me To Dance
10. Delta Goodrem - White Light
11. Still Corners - Bad Country
12. The Weeknd feat Daft Punk - Starboy
13. Craig David - Don't Go
14. Lady Gaga - Perfect Illusion
15. Armand Van Helden - Wings
16. Zun - U.N. Owen Was Her
17. Emeli Sandé - Hurts
18. ROZES - Under The Grave
19. Regina Spektor - Older And Taller
20. KT Tunstall - Hard Girls

Top of the pile this month is Irish producer Daithí with his incredibly charming dance track that features spoken word samples from his 90-year-old grandmother Mary talking about her youth. The unique track was released last year but I only heard it recently. Beforehand I had previously heard Asked Me To Dance by Al Gibbs, another Irish dance track which pulls a similar trick, with a few female voices talking about memorable events and places in their life, but which uses production reminiscent of Prayer In C by Lilly Wood and The Prick.

Brighton-based singer-songwriter Alyss has been growing in profile over the past few months and her latest single, T S I E R (which stands for This Shit Isn't Even Real fyi) is her best yet. Starting with a slightly ghostly voice, it soon transcends into a pretty hypnotic beat that sounds like an indie/house hybrid take on Move by Little Mix. A real earworm that adds extra layers of lush production as it goes along (and with lyrics inspired by Shaman teachings apparently), it deserves to be huge.

A popular British folk singer best known to me for her collaboration a decade ago with Ronan Keating on All Over Again, Kate Rusby has never particularly caught my attention much but the singer's new track about fictional Yorkshire Tea-loving superhero Big Brave Bill is one of the most unexpectedly brilliant things I've heard in a while. The production is very Leddra Chapman-esque and the lyrics are quintessentially British, in a very endearing way. 

UK hits that I'm loving this month include Sia's latest single, The Greatest, which features Kendrick Lamar and is another solid gold 10/10 pop banger, and Lady Gaga's comeback single Perfect Illusion, which is great for about two minutes but then runs out of ideas quickly. Straight in at No.3 in the UK last week, Canadian star The Weeknd's collaboration with French legends Daft Punk, Starboy, is probably my favourite thing he's done to date. And amazingly it's been nearly five years since Emeli Sandé released her debut album, Our Version Of Events. She's now back with the fantastic dramatic ballad Hurts, which will hopefully set her second album up to be a success. 

Taken from the album that will hopefully debut at No.1 this week to complete an astonishing comeback are two songs from Craig David; dance banger Don't Go and the fantastic 16, a new version of the singer's 2000 No.1 hit Fill Me In that now adds extra rap verses that bring it bang up to date and production from Where Are U Now by Skrillex, Diplo and Justin Bieber. If there's any justice this will be a huge hit over the next few months.

Delta Goodrem also has a double appearance with powerful and anthemic new single The River and leaked track White Light, an energetic electro-pop track that seems to be from around a decade ago but has just surfaced. South African duo Shotgun Fakes consists of honey-voiced Pamela Myburgh, the former lead singer of The Arrows, and her husband Stefan. Their new single Slow Motion is a reworking of an album track from Disaster Queen, The Arrows' final studio album before they disbanded. The cute romantic track was always a highlight of the album and it's good to see it get another outing, with a fresh 2016 production.

UK indie act Still Corners released a fantastic track called Fireflies a few years ago but I haven't followed them since. But I listened to their latest album a couple of weeks ago and the highlight is the brilliant Bad Country, with very relateable lyrics that almost make it seem like a post-Brexit anthem and a melody similar to Where Have All The Cowboys Gone by Paula Cole. American singer LP's track Lost On You has already started to smash in various parts of Europe, either in its original guise or the dance reworking by Swanky Tunes & Going Deeper. Both versions are great, it's a really fantastic song that sounds like an instant classic. And US dance veteran Armand Van Helden's new single Wings is probably my favourite single of his since Bonkers, an instantly catchy and memorable house track. 

Otherwise unmentioned are Hard Girls, the new single by KT Tunstall from her excellent new album Kin; Older and Taller, a quirky instant grat track from the brilliant Regina Spektor's new album Remember Us To Life; Under The Grave, a brilliant pop song from American singer ROZES, and a mad but fantastic instrumental track by Zun called U.N. Owen Was Her?

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 8

1. Theia - Roam
2. Ellie Goulding - Still Falling For You
3. Natalia Nykiel - Error
4. Lauren Aquilina - Thinking About
5. Kosmonova - Danse Avec Moi!
6. Chloe Rose - For Me
7. The Chainsmokers feat Halsey - Closer
8. NEIKED - Sexual
9. Craig David & Sigala - Ain't Giving Up
10. Britney Spears - Do You Wanna Come Over?
11. Lushington - You Got Me Baby
12. TIEKS feat Dan Harkna - Sunshine
13. Carly Rae Jepsen - Higher
14. Ward Thomas - Boomerang
15. Mark Sixma & Emma Hewitt - Restless Hearts (Ben Nicky Remix)
16. Eiffel 65 - Critical
17. Britney Spears - Man On The Moon
18. Celine Dion - Les Yeux Au Ciel
19. Offaiah - Trouble
20. Birdy - Wild Horses

A fantastic emerging talent from New Zealand tops the chart this month. Theia's Roam is like a brilliant fusion of the best bits from Lorde and Dua Lipa with a thoroughly 2016-friendly production running underneath an earworm of a chorus and a post-chorus hook that's just as catchy. Definitely one to watch for the future I feel.

Ellie Goulding returns with another big movie ballad, and while Still Falling For You doesn't *quite* hit the incredible heights of last year's Love Me Like You Do, it comes surprisingly close. It is much more subtle than that track though, with a gorgeous bassline and tender vocals from Ellie. Something very different is a recent Polish chart topper, Error by Natalia Nykiel, which has confident and hard hitting pop production that sounds like something The Saturdays might have come out with if they were still around now - and that language barrier is no barrier at all when something is this standout.

Lots of other good pop out at the moment, namely Chloe Rose's For Me, an infectious Mike Stock creation that updates the Steps/Scooch vibe to sound more like Carly Rae Jepsen Jr, Swedish producer NEIKED's raunchy but fantastic Sexual, and Carly Rae Jepsen herself with Higher, the highlight from the Canadian star's new album, Emotion Side B. Other good pop comes from Britney's brilliant new album Glory; namely the highlights Man On The Moon and Do You Wanna Come Over, which is perhaps the most fun she's had on record since 2004's In The Zone album.

Dance gems this month include the current UK No.1 single, and perhaps one of the best chart toppers of the year to date, Closer by US duo The Chainsmokers and emerging talent Halsey. Quite a simple song and drop but its simplicity is almost part of its charm, and who knew either of The Chainsmokers could sing! Craig David continues his excellent comeback with another fantastic smash, Ain't Giving Up, a collaboration with UK producer Sigala. Something rather older, but one I've been hammering this month nonetheless, is the 2000 European hit Danse Avec Moi! by German DJ Kosmonova, which criminally never got a UK release but would have surely been huge if it had done, despite the few vocals being in French (it never stopped Sash!)

Other great dance comes from Lushington with the 90s-esque house banger You Got Me Baby, Mark Sixma & Emma Hewitt's emotional trance track Restless Hearts, the return of Italian legends Eiffel 65 with Critical and a couple of great songs currently making big waves in the UK charts; Sunshine by TIEKS feat Dan Harkna and Trouble by Offaiah.

Otherwise unmentioned are British singer-songwriter Lauren Aquilina's best song to date, the beautiful and timeless sounding piano ballad Thinking About, UK country duo Ward Thomas' catchy album highlight Boomerang, Birdy's recent single Wild Horses, which has returned to my affections after being used just before nearly every X Factor ad break, and the surprisingly good album track Les Yeux Au Ciel from Canadian legend Celine Dion's new French language album.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 7

1. Justin Bieber - What Do You Mean It's 1985
2. Ortiga - Ilumbarada
3. Frances - Say It Again
4. Duke Dumont - Be Here
5. Imany - Don't Be So Shy (Filatov & Karas Remix)
6. cXo - Karma Chameleon
7. Matoma & Becky Hill - False Alarm
8. Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Come With Us
9. Major Lazer feat. Justin Bieber & MØ - Cold Water
10. M.O - Who Do You Think Of?
11. Feed Me feat Nina Nesbitt - What It Feels Like
12. Molly Nilsson - 1995
13. Jay Bovino feat Sahara Beck - Get You Alone
14. Nick Deboni feat Kelsey - Let Go
15. The Chainsmokers feat Daya - Don't Let Me Down
16. Allie X - All The Rage
17. Katy Perry - Rise
18. Delta Goodrem - Just Call
19. Robyn - With Every Heartbeat (Joakim Remix)
20. Mischief - Gold

Topping the list this month is a wonderful remake of Justin Bieber's What Do You Mean, which is completely restyled to sound as if it were released in 1985. The track features production straight from the radio playing in the Saved By The Bell diner, my personal highlights including a gorgeous piano melody after the first chorus and a mournful sax solo after the second. Bieber also pops up with the huge (and decent) new global hit Cold Water, alongside Major Lazer and Danish singer MØ.

German-based Chilean world music group Ortiga's 
Ilumbarada was originally released at the turn of the century but I've only recently heard it for the first time. It's rather Enigma influenced, and very very good, with an uplifiting melody and even a key change. After providing one of my favourite songs of the year in Don't Worry About Me, rising British star Frances' new 90s-esque single Say It Again is very instant and almost reaches those heights.

The best of a range of dance music this month is Be Here, the new single by Duke Dumont and for me the UK producer's best single since his huge 2014 UK #1 hit I Got U. French singer Imany has scored a huge European hit with the Filatov & Karas Remix of her song Don't Be So Shy, and I'm hoping it can get another chance in the UK fairly soon as it sounds like a smash.

Swedish producer cXo's tropical house reworking of Culture Club's Karma Chameleon sounds as you'd expect, but it's still a joy to listen to, while Norwegian producer Matoma has teamed up with former The Voice contestant Becky Hill on the beautiful False Alarm. Other dance entries include What It Feels Like by Feed Me and Scottish singer Nina Nesbitt, Sheppard member Jay Bovino's new house record Get You Alone, Brazillian producer Nick Deboni's Avicii-esque Let Go, an up-to-date remix of Robyn's 2007 UK #1 hit With Every Heartbeat and the current UK smash Don't Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers and Daya.

On the pop side of things we have Sophie Ellis-Bextor who returns with Come With Us, a slice of disco brilliance that sounds as if it could have come from her debut album, and rising British girlband M.O with their catchy new hit Who Do You Think Of? Canadian singer Allie X hasn't really impressed me that much so far but All The Rage changes that with its huge killer chorus. Also representing pop is Just Call, one of the highlights from Delta Goodrem's excellent new album Wings Of The Wild, Katy Perry's new single Rise, Australian girlband Mischief with Gold and Swedish-born singer Molly Nilsson with 1995.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 6

1. Real Lies - North Circular
2. Delta Goodrem feat Gizzle - Enough
3. Alan Walker - Sing Me To Sleep
4. The Veronicas - In My Blood
5. KT Tunstall - All Or Nothing
6. Real Lies - One Club Town
7. Christine And The Queens - Tilted
8. The Beach - Geronimo
9. Above & Beyond feat Alex Vargas - Blue Sky Action
10. Olivia - I'm Not Your Lady
11. KT Tunstall - Evil Eye
12. Jonas Blue feat JP Cooper - Perfect Strangers
13. Cilia - Hardcore Heartbreak
14. Celtic Woman feat Oognah - Tír na nÓg
15. Clean Bandit feat Louisa Johnson - Tears
16. Walking On Cars - Ship Goes Down
17. Scala & Kolacny Brothers - Barbie Girl
18. One Un1ted - The Animal Song
19. Kylie Minogue - This Wheel's On Fire
20. Drake feat Rihanna - Too Good

London electronic/rap trio Real Lies have been around for a few years but have only just come to my attention. North Circular is a stunning story about growing up in North London, set to an atmospheric backdrop that evokes Pet Shop Boys, New Order and The Streets. A really special song. One Club Town, meanwhile, which is also taken from the band's excellent debut album Real Life, is more catchy and bouncy with a chorus sampled from Bassomatic's early 90s hit Fascinating Rhythm.

Australian star Delta Goodrem continues the build-up to her new album, Wings Of The Wild - excitingly out in less than a week - with Enough, which features American female rapper Gizzle who raps the verses before Delta provides the bridge and chorus. Enough is a powerful string-laden beauty that could have fit on either the Mistaken Identity or Delta albums, with shades of songs like Nobody Listened and Believe Again, yet it also feels completely current and the album now sounds very promising indeed.

A great comeback this month from Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall, who was big in the mid-noughties, with two excellent tracks from her new EP The Golden State, All Or Nothing and Evil Eye. The songs hark back to the sound of her hit material and are already far better than her last album, which was incredibly forgettable. Also back are Australian twin sister duo The Veronicas with In My Blood, which could melodically have come from their debut album but has sparkling production reminiscent of Kylie Minogue's Light Years and Fever singles.

Dance entries this month include Norwegian producer Alan Walker's Sing Me To Sleep, the just-as-excellent follow up to recent huge hit Faded, Jonas Blue's Perfect Strangers, which is far better than his dull cover of Fast Car which was a hit earlier in the year, and Clean Bandit's collaboration with X Factor winner Louisa Johnson, Tears, which is already shaping up to be a bit of a nu-disco classic. Swedish duo One Un1ted have delivered a strong tropical house cover of Savage Garden's 1999 single The Animal Song while Above & Beyond's Blue Sky Action is a lush orchestral version of their excellent 2014 trance song of the same name.

Christine And The Queens has been huge in her native France for a few years and is now causing a stir in the UK ever since a Graham Norton performance of the brilliantly eccentric Tilted pushed her album Chaleur Humaine into the top ten here. Rising British male singer/songwriter The Beach could easily have a hit with the anthemic Geronimo, which sounds like an indie radio smash waiting to cross into the mainstream. Swedish teenager Olivia's debut single is a real statement of intent, a powerful pop track with an instant chorus and K-Pop meets turn of the century teen-pop production.

Otherwise unmentioned are fellow Swede Cilia's brilliantly emphatic Hardcore Heartbreak, Irish indie band Walking On Cars' Ship Goes Down (which reminds me of Artful Dodger's Twentyfourseven in the verses), Drake and Rihanna's latest duet, Too Good, and Tír na nÓg, a German/Irish collaboration by Celtic Woman and Oognah, which basically sounds as you would expect but is highly infectious nonetheless. Finally, there are two very different covers; This Wheel's On Fire by Australian icon Kylie Minogue - covering Bob Dylan for the soundtrack to the new Absolutely Fabulous film - and a haunting but great choral version of Aqua's Barbie Girl, by Belgian choir Scala & Kolacny Brothers.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Tunes I'm currently loving // 2016 // Volume 5

1. Douwe Bob - Jacob's Song
2. Delta Goodrem - Dear Life
3. Sigma feat Take That - Cry
4. The Flavor - Shosholoza
5. Jamala - 1944
6. Beyoncé - Hold Up
7. Craig David - One More Time
8. Calvin Harris feat Rihanna - This Is What You Came For
9. Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop The Feeling!
10. Ariana Grande - Into You
11. Salt Ashes - Save It
12. Christina Stürmer - Seite An Seite
13. DNCE - Cake By The Ocean
14. Drake feat Wizkid & Kyla - One Dance
15. Kungs & Cookin' On 3 Burners - This Girl
16. Dua Lipa - Hotter Than Hell
17. Måns Zelmerlöw - Fire In The Rain
18. Pink - Just Like Fire
19. Pet Shop Boys - Twenty-Something
20. Era Istrefi - Bonbon

Fresh from representing The Netherlands at Eurovision earlier this month with Slow Down, Douwe Bob also recently released his new album, Fool Bar, and from that is the gorgeous ballad Jacob's Song, which would have almost made for a more interesting entry, apart from the fact that it's more than five minutes long. Every minute is a stunner though, this track sounds like an instant classic.

Following last year's spectacular Wings, the brilliant Delta Goodrem returns with another great single, the beautiful and relateable string-laden ballad Dear Life, which has given the Australian star yet another top three hit in her home country. 

Dance entries this month come from Calvin Harris and Rihanna, with their latest excellent collaboration This Is What You Came For, Sigma and Take That with their unexpected but catchy new single Cry, Kungs & Cookin' On 3 Burners with their huge international house hit This Girl, The Flavor with the infectious tribal dance of Shosholoza, which harks back to the uplifting sounds of Dario G's Sunchyme and Colour The World by Sash!

Ukraine's Jamala took home the Eurovision trophy with the politically charged 1944. Despite topping neither the public vote or the jury vote, Ukraine were the most consistent overall and won with the Eastern meets trip-hop inspired track. And from one of the best albums of the year, Hold Up seems to be one of the most popular songs from Beyoncé's Lemonade, and it's not difficult to see why, it's rather excellent with an effective sample. And Craig David returns with One More Time, his third UK garage throwback in little under six months.

Elsewhere in the top 20 are strong new singles from Justin Timberlake, Pink, Pet Shop Boys, Salt Ashes, Dua Lipa and Ariana Grande as well as Drake's huge smash One Dance, DNCE's catchy Maroon 5-esque hit Cake By The Ocean, Albanian singer Era Istrefi's European hit Bonbon, Måns Zelmerlöw's latest single, Fire In The Rain, and Austrian singer Christina Stürmer's ballad Seite An Seite.