Sunday, 13 December 2009

I ain't guilty, it's a musical transaction

The top three of the noughties then;

3. Shakira feat Wyclef Jean - Hips Don't Lie - 2006

Shakira is easily one of my favourite artists of the noughties. I love her quirky nature, shown in her lyrics, her personality and her style. Laundry Service and its singles were all fantastic, absolute classics. I waited and waited for a follow up English album and it finally surfaced right at the end of 2005 in the form of Oral Fixation Volume 2. There was still something missing though - a killer hit single. Fast forward a couple of months and in early 2006 a new song, Hips Don't Lie, a reworking of a 2004 Wyclef Jean single that was featured on the Dirty Dancing 2 soundtrack, surfaced. I was aware of the original because my sister was a fan of the film, but Shakira's new version added something special to the track - a life. The song was bland before, quite good at best, but it was transformed by Shakira and Wyclef who you really could feel the connection between, both being superstars who had come from countries you don't associate with mainstream success - Colombia and Haiti. The song grew and grew on me with each listen and by the time it finally got a UK release I was absolutely obsessed with the thing - it was my big summer anthem of 2006 but I still expected it to flop in the charts. However, it rose slowly to #1 in the UK for a week before being knocked off for three weeks. It then returned to the top for a further month showing how huge the song was - spending an incredible 12 consecutive weeks in the top 3 - unrivalled in the noughties. The song is the biggest single of the decade worldwide, and deservedly so - it's a pop masterpiece that never gets boring for me.

2. Delta Goodrem - Believe Again - 2007

Late 2007 and having loved her two debut albums, I was obviously eagerly awaiting Delta Goodrem's third album - cunningly titled Delta. The album wasn't as strong as the first two in my opinion - certainly happier and more mature, showing musical growth, but had more filler on it than the first two. It was still incredibly good though, better than most albums - it just didn't emotionally affect me as much. It had a great lead single though - In This Life - which could have easily been a big UK hit, but alas nothing from the era was ever released in the UK thanks to Brian/Kerrygate with many people in the UK believing that Delta was solely responsible for breaking up the UK's then favourite couple. First time I listened to the album though, I was amazed at one particular track - the opening song Believe Again. The most glorious pop song I've ever heard - the track was so perfect that i couldn't believe that I was hearing it. A monumental production sounding like something that Disney producers must have been jealous that they didn't get for one of their soundtracks. A beautiful string drenched introduction leads into a gorgeous multi layered song, which gets better and better as it goes along. The epic song is essentially a mid-tempo, somehow even dancy track, disguised as a ballad in places. I can't really describe how brilliant it is - it has to be heard, in all it's near 6 minute glory. To be honest, the song was far too good to be a single, it being butchered down to a 4 minute radio edit for the Australian release - which took the single to an impressive #2 there - but it chopped out a lot of the emotion in the process. It did however have a graphically stunning music video. This is the career high of my favourite artist of the decade. I can't see how she will ever better this but every era she seems to exceed my expectations, so who knows!?!

1. N-Trance feat Kelly Llorenna - Set You Free 2001 (Rob Searle Remix) - 2001

Edging in front of Shakira and Delta to be crowned my favourite single of the noughties then is in fact a remix of a song that was one of the biggest #2 hits of the 1990's!!! I was of course a fan of Set You Free, a fantastic Northern dance song that came out during the height of the 90's dance/rave craze in the early 90's. All Around The World obviously felt that it could be a hit again in the new millennium and commissioned a new set of remixes in 2001. By far and away the best new remix was by trance producer Rob Searle who breathed completely new life into the track, turning it from a techno classic into a magical trance moment - giving a new feeling of sadness to a song which had previously been so uplifting. I still recall the first time I came across the song on a music channel. I just wanted to hear it again - but I had no means of doing so as my internet access was limited. So I put a video tape in the recorder and left the channel on...for hours...after about four hours, it finally came on again and I recorded it. Over the next few weeks I must have watched it hundreds of times. I bought both CD singles - on the day which happened to be September 11th 2001 - linking the song also to those tragic events. The sorrow that had been added in the new remix almost made me link the song to these sad events and it became very hard hitting, moreso than ever. I could not stop listening to the song probably until mid-2002, I have never been so obsessed with a song in my life. It relaunched the careers of both N-Trance and Kelly Llorenna as the song exceeded all expectations thundering back into the UK top five after a six and a half year absence - and all thanks to this magnificent remix, which truly is a life defining song for me.

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