65. Rihanna - Disturbia - 2008
Relaunching her huge Good Girl Gone Bad album in mid 2008, Rihanna scored another #1 single with the gorgeous ballad Take A Bow. However, there was more to come from the Barbados born singer. Disturbia was easily the best of the three additional tracks and my favourite Rihanna single to date, beating the likes of Umbrella, Unfaithful, Russian Roulette and Shut Up And Drive!!! A dark pop song with a dark music video, bridging the gap nicely between the pop of Shut Up & Drive and Don't Stop The Music and the darker urban sounds on new album Rated R. Owing more than a bit to Europop, I always thought that it was quite like Eiffel 65's Blue (Da Ba Dee) although all comparisons disappeared when Flo Rida released Sugar, which literally did sample that song!!!
64. Lily Allen - Smile - 2006
Londoner Lily Allen, daughter of comedian Keith Allen, infamously burst onto the scene with the help of MySpace in 2006, bringing pop back into the mainstream. She had a massive charm in her cockney singing accent, (see Kate Nash for further examples). Her debut album was full of ska-influenced summery pop tunes, and Smile, the first major release of Lily's, was one of my three big summer anthems in 2006, which was easily my favourite summer of the decade, it was very feel good for some reason. A great pop song, catchy, excellent production and breathed fresh air into a music scene drowning in throwaway indie tracks. Excellent.
63. D.H.T. - Listen To Your Heart - 2005
Sadly a one hit wonder, despite the surprising strength of their debut album of the same name, Belgian duo D.H.T. preceeded Cascada by a year by taking a dance anthem into the US top ten, a country notorious for completely ignoring dance music. I could count on one hand the number of dance songs that have gone top ten in the US in the noughties. Their only hit here then, around the 2005 Christmas period, was a cover of Roxette's Listen To Your Heart. The song was available (and popular) in two versions, both of which received airplay on music channels. The standard 'techno' version, and the ballad version, which was a more stripped back piano ballad cover that really showed off singer Esmee's gorgeous voice. A bit forgotten these days but it really was everywhere at the time, and deservedly so.
62. Rogue Traders - Voodoo Child - 2006
Onto the second of my big 2006 summer anthems, Australian dance act Rogue Traders, who were then led by Neighbours actress Natalie Bassingthwaighte (who played Izzy in the soap), launched onto the music scene here with the storming edgy dance song Voodoo Child. A very odd video and a killer chorus made this song one of 2006's defining dance anthems, along with Everytime We Touch and From Paris To Berlin, but unfortunately they were more or less a one hit wonder here with second single, Watching You, making a lowly top 40 appearance for one week. Hardly a surprise, no other song I've heard of theirs even comes close to this.
61. Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo - Knock You Down - 2009
Previously really only known for featuring on other people's songs, most notably The Way I Are, Timbaland's #1 hit from 2007, US R&B singer Keri Hilson finally launched her debut album, In A Perfect World in 2009, stepping to the forefront for once. Easily the standout track, and biggest hit from the album was the fantastic Knock You Down. A collaboration with two of the genres finest, the soulful singer Ne-Yo and ubiquitous rapper Kanye West, the song quickly wormed its way into my head to the point that I still always find myself singing/rapping along to every word of the song. Definitely the best urban song of 2009 with a fantastic video (if slightly unbelievable...), a killer chorus from Keri and some excellent verses from Ne-Yo and Kanye. Would it have been a hit without those two? Is Keri destined never to be a proper solo star? who knows, but this song needed to be a collaboration or it just wouldn't have worked.