the final four albums that were the closest to making my top 50 of the decade but fell at the final hurdle;
All Saints - Studio 1 - 2006
A ridiculously underrated album here...released around the same time as the MIGHTY Take That comeback album, Beautiful World, All Saints comeback was a complete and utter flop, this album barely scraping into the top 40 and disappearing instantly, despite the fantastic comeback single, Rock Steady. Its flop was far from deserved, this album being a more upbeat take on the ska-pop sound that Lily Allen had perfected a few months earlier on Alright Still. Rock Steady was the highlight but second single, Chick Fit was also great, although not as good as the classic mid-tempo radio friendly song On & On, which should have been released second, Flashback, Headlock, Scar and One Me & U. I was fortunate enough to see the girls live in 2006, where they performed Pure Shores, Scar, Black Coffee and Rock Steady and it was brilliant. Shame it all went wrong...
Kelly Clarkson - My December - 2007
So it was no Breakaway, and the lead single, Never Again was an absolutely dire choice, something that wouldn't have even sufficed as a b-side in her previous era. However, this much criticised third album from the first American Idol winner had more than its fair share of gems. The haunting and beautiful Sober summed up what was wrong with this album; a brilliant song but no really huge radio hook, therefore there were no obvious singles on the album and radio by and large refused to play them. Eventual single, Don't Waste Your Time was amongst the weakest on the album too, and sunk it into oblivion. The far superior Judas, How I Feel and Irvine or two of my favourites, Be Still and the hidden track Chivas were all completely ignored in favour of melody free sub-Breakaway material for the singles...shame, because hidden underneath is a fantastic album, and one I prefer to her 'comeback' album, All I Ever Wanted, which I find slightly too shiny and overproduced to be a true classic.
Girls Aloud - What Will The Neighbours Say - 2004
Marking huge progression from their first album, WWTNS as it's affectionately known by fans, was far from a tricky second album and improved on the girls patchy debut in every way, building the foundations for the Girls Aloud sound as we know it now. Singles The Show, Jump, Love Machine and Wake Me Up were fun and edgy, whilst the I'll Stand By You cover did its job. The rest of the album was far from filler though; Big Brother and Here We Go could have easily been singles and Deadlines & Diets and I Say A Prayer For You were gorgeous ballads that provided a nice balance. Fantastic album that still sounds fresh five years on.
James Blunt - Back To Bedlam - 2005
Just missing out on the top 50 is what I believe is the biggest selling album of the decade in the UK, although Blunty seemed to be a bit of a one album wonder with the second album selling a small fraction of his debut. Now seen as a bit of a joke due to ridiculous overplay of his songs throughout 2005/2006, James Blunt's debut album, in my opinion, was very strong. The classic You're Beautiful was the standout but other singles, High, Wisemen and Goodbye My Lover were all excellent too. At only ten tracks long, it was short but I loved the other six tracks too, and odd as it may seem, James Blunt was one of two artists (along with Daniel Powter) that flicked a switch in my mind and finally made me start listening to male artists, having previously only really listened to female artists before, with the odd exception. There must have been something in the water in summer 2005...
that's it for now...my top 50 albums and top 100 singles of the decade shall be revealed in the coming weeks, stay tuned!