Sunday, 29 November 2009

It's nearly time...

So, two (to be revealed) current songs have made a late surge into my top 100 of the decade meaning that two songs that had been due to feature at #100 and #99 have been cruelly knocked out at the last minute, but it's only fair that they get their moment in the limelight like all of the other shortlisted songs that missed out. So here we go;

Boyzone - Love You Anyway - 2008

I was quite intrigued to hear of Boyzone's comeback as I always had a soft spot for them. So when they returned in late 2008 with Love You Anyway, I was very pleasantly surprised. Not a comeback of Take That proportions but the song was modern, catchy (not a ballad thank god as was expected) and more to the point, relevant. It tapped perfectly into the Motown-pastiche pop that was all over the place in 2008. I absolutely loved it and also loved the other new tracks Better and Can't Stop Thinking About You, so was naturally very upset to hear about the recent death of Stephen Gately. Still, I'm hoping that the boyz' farewell album will be a fitting tribute next year.

Madison Avenue - Don't Call Me Baby - 2000

Technically from 1999, it first charted in the UK at #30 in that year, although hardly anyone, including me, took any notice of it. It was re-released 6 months later to much greater success for the Australian dance duo as they re-entered the charts at #1. Still a huge party anthem, it's still played a lot now and deservedly so. A brilliant club anthem, and so so nearly made it into my top 100 of the decade, but seeing as it is essentially a 90's song, perhaps its best that it just missed out!

and here are some interesting statistics of the top 100 singles (which will begin very soon)


2000: 14
2001: 10
2002: 7
2003: 6
2004: 11
2005: 11
2006: 12
2007: 10
2008: 8
2009: 11

Country of Origin

UK: 37
Australia: 18
US: 14
Germany: 6
Sweden: 6
Canada: 6
Netherlands: 4
Colombia: 3
Belgium: 3
Ireland: 2
Norway: 2
Estonia: 2
Finland: 1
Denmark: 1
Haiti: 1
Malta: 1
Barbados: 1
Spain: 1

Very interesting there, suggesting that 2000 and 2006 were in general my favourite years of the decade for music, and looking back, I think I'd agree with both of those. 2002, 2003 and 2008 were the worst. I don't recall 2002 or 2008 being that bad, but 2003 was certainly below par, interesting to see how this has worked out. As for the country statistics, the UK overwhemingly ahead, unsurprisingly!!! Australia take second place rather surprisingly though, ahead of the US!!! Germany and Sweden have a fair bit of the chart, the Netherlands somehow managed four entries and Estonia managed two!!! The chart will begin in the coming weeks...

Don't STOP Believin'

A song that everybody knows but has never been a big hit here before? Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah? Nope, Simon already used that one last year for Alexandra...ah of course, the rock anthem Don't Stop Believin' by Journey. Perfect choice for the X Factor winner's single this year. Clearly Joe McElderry is 'the chosen one' seeing as he sang the song triumphantly on the show a few week ago. I'm not unhappy about this either as I like the song, I thought that Joe sang it well, and he is by far and away the best vocalist in this year's competition so by default deserves to win it, even if he isn't exactly likely to be a huge recording artist after the competition finishes, seeming to fit into the Gareth Gates mould, yet somehow you can't imagine him having the same huge teenage girl fanbase of fellow contestant, Lloyd.

Bear a thought for the US phenomenon, TV show Glee, which launches here on E4 in a couple of weeks. Could it really propel their simulatenously released cover version of the song, featured in the pilot episode, up the charts? Let's face it, their excellent rendition of the song is likely to be five times better than the Simon Cowell bland winner's single by numbers production that Joe's is likely to have, if Joe even wins of course!!! Stacey could still steal it, appealing to the Kerry Katona/Jordan audience of the UK, and rumours are that she will record a cover of the terrible The Climb by Miley Cyrus should she win!!! But if Joe lives up the bookies predictions, we could well see the xmas top 3 this year look like this;

1. Joe McElderry - Don't Stop Believin'
2. Journey - Don't Stop Believin'
3. Glee Cast - Don't Stop Believin'

so get used to the song, because it looks as if it will be forced upon you in every way imaginable in the next month.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Top Songs/Albums; WB 30/11/09


1. Lady GaGa - Bad Romance (1)
2. HURTS - Wonderful Life (NEW)
3. Caroline Jönsson - By My Side (2)
4. Rihanna - Russian Roulette (NEW)
5. Cheryl Cole feat - 3 Words (14)
6. Leona Lewis - Stop Crying Your Heart Out (3)
7. Vanessa Amorosi - This Is Who I Am (6)
8. Leona Lewis - Brave (10)
9. Robbie Williams - You Know Me (5)
10. Aura Dione - I Will Love You Monday (365) (4)
11. Anna Abreu - Music Everywhere (7)
12. Queensberry - Hello (Turn Your Radio On) (9)
13. Lady GaGa feat Beyoncé - Telephone (NEW)
14. Michael Bublé - Haven’t Met You Yet (8)
15. Leona Lewis - Outta My Head (12)
16. Lily Allen - Who’d Have Known (19)
17. Pet Shop Boys - All Over The World (18)
18. Mariah Carey - I Want To Know What Love Is (NEW)
19. Alcazar - Last Christmas (NEW)
20. Shakira - Did It Again (16)


1. Lady GaGa - The Fame: Monster (2)
2. Leona Lewis - Echo (1)
3. Rihanna - Rated R (NEW)
4. Anna Abreu - Just A Pretty Face (3)
5. Now 74 (NEW) (CR-5)
6. Robbie Williams - Reality Killed The Video Star (4)
7. Vanessa Amorosi - Hazardous (5)
8. Mariah Carey - Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel (NEW)
9. Alphabeat - The Spell (6)
10. Shakira - She Wolf (9)

Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Music; Beautiful GaGa and her Wonderful Life

Jennifer Paige & Nick Carter - Beautiful Lie

1998 one hit wonder Jennifer Paige (her hit was Crush - 'it's just, a little crush' - you know it) has teamed up with nineties Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter to record a song that sounds like it should have come out in that era, but with some very up to date production. The song, which fuses Red One with Timbaland style beats and throws in a very strong chrous quite reminiscent of P!nk's Who Knew and of course an excellent string section, is set to be a hit in Germany. Of course, it's unlikely ever to get a UK release, and nobody would probably care anyway if the reception to Backstreet Boys' (excellent) recent single Straight Through My Heart - a #72 smash - is anything to go by. Still, it's well worth a listen.

HURTS - Wonderful Life

Apparently not new, it came out quite a few months back but I completely missed it...HURTS are a Mancunian duo who could be shaping up for big things in 2010. Wonderful Life is a moody electro masterpiece, borrowing a lot from the early 1980's, but somehow a lot more effective and gripping than a lot of the 80's rip-offs that 2009 has seen hit the mainstream. A huge hook in the chorus dominates an otherwise incredibly subtle yet very powerful song which also manages to make a saxophone sound good, unlike the dreadful sax solo in the new Spandau Ballet single. They have now been signed and this single will hopefully be out at some point in the new year. Definitely one to watch.

Lady GaGa feat Beyoncé - Telephone

So for the inevitable...every other blog is still talking about it; The Fame Monster. Lady GaGa's brilliant new mini-album/extended EP which is now packaged with The Fame adds eight frankly stunning new tracks, led by the incredible career high (in my opinion) that is Bad Romance, with that video. Second single, Telephone, features Beyoncé. The pair have also collaborated on her new single Video Phone as a nice tie-in. Telephone is the better of the two tracks, sounding like somebody ripped apart Mario Piu's Communication ('somebody answer the phone') threw away the entire song but retained part of the concept, added an effective Spanish guitar intro, the two biggest stars in the world, a brilliant and infectious melody, an aggressive verse from Ring The Alarm angry style Beyoncé, typical brilliance from GaGa and voila, a 2010 smash hit in waiting!!! I'm glad that these two will get the chance to dominate 2010 because I get the feeling that we haven't seen enough of them in 2009...they've only had about 49 hits between them...

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The ten best Christmas songs ever?

What better way to celebrate it being a month today to Christmas than a list of my ten favourite xmas songs no particular order;

Delta Goodrem - Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

Delta's beautiful 2003 take on the John Lennon classic was a #1 single in Australia as the double a-side to Predictable. It was released here as the b-side to Not Me, Not I at the same time, but could have easily been a xmas single here, if not for the fact that at the very same time, The Idols - the Pop Idol 2003 final 12 - unleashed (a shockingly decent in my opinion) cover of their own of the song!!! She even found time to perform it on CD:UK the following year;

Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

Who doesn't love this? Probably one of the first songs I ever recall hearing (and remembering), this Wizzard song reminds me of school fairs and the like in the (very) early 1990's!!! When you hear this song on heavy rotation, you know the festive season is impending, especially when they wheel out Roy Wood to sing it on GM:TV annually, and yes, he does still look the same as he did 35 years he eternally young, or did he just look really old when he was younger? Charlotte Nilsson ripped this song off beautifully in 1999 with Take Me To Your Heaven too...Swedish schlager owes a lot this song...

The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping

An alternative Christmas song, this wasn't very big at the time (not even reaching the top 40!) but going on to become an underrated Christmas classic! Capturing the spirit of the early 1980's music scene perfectly, but with enough festive instrumentation to suit the mood, it's a singalong classic for those sick of Wizzard and Slade!!!

Pet Shop Boys - It Doesn't Often Snow At Christmas

A 1997 fanclub release that nevertheless has received airplay since from various places, Pet Shop Boys are in fact finally releasing this commercially next month as the lead song on the 'Christmas EP'. Absolutely brilliant.

Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone

Another way you know xmas is here, is when you see THAT jumper...Shaky's famous christmas jumper was a key part in his hilariously cheesy video to the brilliant Merry Christmas Everyone which was released in 1985, delayed by a year to avoide clashing with Band Aid and Wham in 1984. It worked, as it was a xmas #1, and deservedly so...easily the best song of his career.

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You

From 1994, this quickly went into the book of classics...Mariah's stunning festive pop song, All I Want For Christmas Is You, has become a modern day anthem, and has returned to the UK top ten more or less every year since downloads were counted in the chart!!! An odd tempo song, it is essentially a mid-tempo ballad, but feels a lot faster due to the quick pace of the backing music. Everything about this song is perfect, and this will remain a classic forever.

Gabriella Cilmi - Warm This Winter

Only released last year but already set to become a xmas classic, this song, which can be heard on the Co-Op advert (!) prevented Australian singer Miss Cilmi from being a one hit wonder, but still criminially failed to reach the top 20...taking the essence of the best 70's and 80's xmas songs and giving it a modern touch, this should have been a lot more successful 12 months ago!!!

Cascada - Last Christmas

There's no denying that Wham's Last Christmas is one of THE defining Christmas songs, but I've never been a particularly massive fan, although oddly I love nearly all of the cover versions I hear of it...maybe I just didn't like Wham!?! Cascada's 2007 version is my favourite, giving it a modern eurodance twist. Released as the b-side to What Hurts The Most, it became very popular in its own right and the video has been viewed almost 3 million times on youtube!!! Alcazar's version is running it incredibly close though, it has to be said...

Tony Bennett - Winter Wonderland

Easily the classiest song here, crooner Tony Bennett fused Swing with Christmas for this absolute classic. It needs no introduction.

Band Aid (any version) - Do They Know It's Xmas

This song is of course so bad that it's incredible. A perfect idea for a charity single, gather together all of the most popular artists of 1984; Culture Club, U2, Paul Young, Bananarama...or 1989; Kylie Minogue, Bros, Jason Donovan, Bananarama (again)...or even 2004; Rachel Stevens, Jamelia, Busted and a tragic rap interlude from Dizzee Rascal...ok maybe that wasn't the best version of the song! Still, it signals the festive season in no other way, is the UK's second biggest selling song of all time and is surely going to come back again at some point? anything to stop the X Factor juggernaut from stealing the xmas #1...bear in mind that the 2004 version did indeed stop first X Factor winner Steve Brookstein from debuting at #1, his horrendous cover of Against All Odds debuting only at No.2!!! There should be a Band Aid every year, then again...this year's would probably be all of the artists featured on the Young Soul Rebels song, although they'd have to get Bananrama along again just for the sake of it!!! Just because it was hilarious hearing Kylie singing next to Cliff, here is the 1989 version;

Last christmas wasn't the same...

...because Alcazar were yet to cover the song that the world and his wife have had a go at, Wham's 1984 classic Last Christmas!!! Fear not though, because the Swedish trio, easily my favourite group of 2009, have returned with a cover of the song as one of the two bonus tracks on the re-release of their successful Disco Defenders album. Here's the ridiculously, or rather expectedly camp video featuring lots of Pink, lots of close-ups, lots of pouting, wind machines (in what is supposed to represent a house!) and of course, a tacked on key change! Brilliant!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Goodbye My Lover...

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 top 50 albums and top 100 singles of the decade shall be revealed in the coming weeks, stay tuned!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Are you ready to jump?

5 more albums that narrowly missed my top 50 of the decade;

Madonna - Confessions On A Dancefloor - 2005

After really disliking the singles from 2003's American Life, and not bothering with the album, Madonna was back on top form with the excellent dance album Confessions On A Dancefloor. Nothing like 1998's Ray Of Light, which was more experimental dance, this was actually trancy in places and the album was made as one long mix, a true dance album. Lead single, the ABBA sampling Hung Up was brilliant, her best in years whilst other singles Sorry, Get Together and Jump were also brilliant, although I would have put Jump after Sorry and released Push instead of Get Together personally.

DHT - Listen To Your Heart - 2005

A surprising addition perhaps? Duo DHT ignored the fact that the Belgian dance boom of 2002 was long over and unleashed a trance-pop cover of Listen To Your Heart in 2005, becoming one of the few true dance tracks to reach the top ten in the US charts, whilst it went to No.7 in the UK. I invested in their album expecting it to probably not be that great at all, and was pleasingly surprised to see a fantastic pop album!!! Singles Listen To Your Heart, Someone and I Go Crazy were standouts as were their Janis Ian cover, At Seventeen, the brilliant summer song Sun (the spiritual successor to Milky's Just The Way You Are, and the harder dance of I Can't Be Your Friend. Thoroughly overlooked and underrated album, in fact I'd forgotten how brilliant it was until I went back to it just now to write this overview!

Gwen Stefani - Love Angel Music Baby - 2004

Branching out from No Doubt into a solo career properly in 2004 after her Eve collaboration, Let Me Blow Ya Mind, in 2001, Gwen Stefani's quirky debut album was well ahead of its time. Pop masterpiece What You Waiting For is one of the decade's defining pop songs whilst follow up's Rich Girl, with Eve returning the favour, the anthemic Hollaback Girl and the brilliant Cool, were all excellent. The beautiful The Real Thing was another highlight of mine as well as the brilliantly odd Bubble Pop Electric. Excellent collection of songs.

Colbie Caillat - Break Through - 2009

Not quite the masterpiece of her debut, Californian singer Colbie Caillat nevertheless returned in 2009 with an album so anticipated that it flew in at #1 on the US charts!!! Carrying on from where her debut left off, the album was more summery pop with the lead single Fallin' For You and brilliant songs Break Through, Runnin' Around, I Won't and Begin Again providing highlights as well as the tale of the two Jasons. Jason Mraz duet Lucky has been a huge worldwide hit and deservedly so, and Jason Reeves duet, Droplets deserves to be just as big!!!

Cascada - Evacuate The Dancefloor - 2009

Returning this year with their third album, Evacuate The Dancefloor, this decade's shockingly enduring dance act hit gold yet again. An act that should by rights have been a one hit wonder scored their fifth UK top ten hit and first #1 with the fantastic GaGa goes cluubing-esque Evacuate The Dancefloor whilst the anthemic Fever and Breathless were other highlights. Dangerous was like a lot of their older flop singles, but worse, so it's choice as the second UK single was bizarre to say the least and clearly a key factor in sinking the album campaign. My personal favourite album track, Hold On, managed to be catchy as well as staying true to their old sound and bore more than a passing resemblance to the old Wish You Were Here theme tune!!!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Was the decade not that great then?

Shockingly, only one noughties 'hits' compilation album has ever been released to my knowledge; 100 Hits: 2000's last year. It seems rather odd that as the decade draws to a close no record company has taken advantage of releasing a best of the decade compendium. Anyway, I have of course decided to make one for myself which features five CD's, all with 21 tracks each, which I consider to be 105 of the most culturally impacting songs of the decade. These bear little relation to my personal favourite songs of the decade, these are moreso the songs that I think this decade will be remembered for by the public - the ones that will still be played on the radio for years to come. I have featured only one song by each artist, what I consider to be their biggest/most remebered hit. Some choices might seem questionable, i.e. the inclusion of Will Young's Evergreen, but seeing as it's the biggest selling single of the decade, it would seem odd to leave it off. The five discs are split as follows; 1) Pop 2) Dance 3) Singer/Songwriter/indie/rock 4) R&B/Hip-Hop 5) Pop (again - there was a lot of it!)...I think I've done a pretty accurate representation, hopefully I didn't miss anything blindingly obvious!!!

CD One

1. Lady GaGa-Poker Face
2. Shakira feat Wyclef Jean-Hips Don’t Lie
3. Leona Lewis-Bleeding Love
4. Kylie Minogue-Can’t Get You Out Of My Head
5. S Club 7-Don’t Stop Movin’

6. Britney Spears-Toxic
7. Madonna-Hung Up
8. All Saints-Pure Shores

9. Scissor Sisters-I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’
10. Mika-Grace Kelly
11. Suagababes-About You Now
12. Westlife-You Raise Me Up
13. Melanie C-Never Be The Same Again
14. Atomic Kitten-Whole Again
15. Daniel Bedingfield-If You’re Not The One
16. Pink-Get The Party Started
17. Lily Allen-Smile
18. Liberty X-Just A Little
19. Girls Aloud-The Promise
20. Christina Aguilera-Beautiful
21. Will Young-Evergreen

CD Two

1. Spiller feat Sophie Ellis Bextor-Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)
2. Eric Prydz-Call On Me
3. Shapeshifters-Lola’s Theme
4. Room 5 feat Oliver Cheatham-Make Luv
5. Modjo-Lady (Hear Me Tonight)

6. Daft Punk-One More Time
7. Sonique-It Feels So Good
8. Robyn with Kleerup-With Every Heartbeat
9. Fragma-Toca’s Miracle
10. Darude-Sandstorm
11. Ian Van Dahl-Castles In The Sky
12. DJ Sammy & Yanou feat Do-Heaven
13. Cascada-Everytime We Touch
14. Infernal-From Paris To Berlin
15. Basshunter-Now You’re Gone
16. Fedde LeGrand-Put Your Hands Up For Detroit
17. Bodyrockers–I Like The Way
18. David Guetta feat Akon-Sexy Bitch

19. Elvis vs. JXL-A Little Less Conversation
20. Tinchy Stryder feat Taio Cruz-Number 1
21. Dizzee Rascal feat Calvin Harris – Dance Wiv Me

CD Three

1. James Blunt-You’re Beautiful
2. Ronan Keating-Life Is A Rollercoaster
3. Robbie Williams-Rock DJ
4. Daniel Powter-Bad Day
5. Jason Mraz-I’m Yours
6. Take That-Rule The World
7. Coldplay-Viva La Vida

8. U2-Beautiful Day
9. Gorillaz-Feel Good Inc
10. Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars
11. Kings of Leon–Sex On Fire
12. Oasis -The Importance Of Being Idle
13. Kaiser Chiefs-I Predict A Riot
14. Franz Ferdinand-Take Me Out

15. Arctic Monkeys-I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor
16. The Killers-Mr Brightside
17. Linkin Park & Jay-Z-Numb/Encore
18. Evanescence-Bring Me To Life
19. Michael Andrews & Gary Jules-Mad World

20. Nickelback-Rockstar
21. Wheatus-Teenage Dirtbag

CD Four

1. Rihanna feat Jay-Z-Umbrella
2. Kelis-Milkshake
3. Flo-Rida feat T-Pain-Low
4. Blu Cantrell feat Sean Paul-Breathe
5. Gnarls Barkley-Crazy
6. Estelle feat Kanye West-American Boy
7. Destiny’s Child-Survivor
8. Nelly Furtado-Maneater
9. Timbaland feat OneRepublic-Apologize
10. 50 Cent-In Da Club
11. Black Eyed Peas-I Gotta Feeling
12. Usher feat Ludacris-Yeah!
13. R Kelly-Ignition (Remix)
14. Kanye West feat Jamie Foxx-Gold Digger
15. Shaggy feat Rikrok-It Wasn’t Me
16. Nelly feat Kelly Rowland-Dilemma
17. Fergie-Big Girls Don’t Cry
18. Jordin Sparks feat Chris Brown-No Air

19. Outkast-Hey Ya!
20. Beyonce feat Jay-Z-Crazy In Love

21. Pussycat Dolls feat Busta Rhymes-Don’t Cha

CD Five

1. Eminem feat Dido-Stan
2. Justin Timberlake-SexyBack
3. Kelly Clarkson-Since U Been Gone
4. Anastacia-Left Outside Alone
5. Alexandra Burke-Hallelujah
6. Cheryl Cole – Fight For This Love
7. Jamelia-Superstar
8. Gwen Stefani-What You Waiting For?
9. Sam Sparro-Black & Gold
10. Enrique Iglesias-Hero

11. Mark Ronson feat Amy Winehouse-Valerie
12. t.A.T.u-All The Things She Said

13. James Morrison & Nelly Furtado – Broken Strings
14. Duffy-Mercy

15. LeAnn Rimes-Can’t Fight The Moonlight
16. Sophie Ellis-Bextor-Murder On The Dancefloor
17. La Roux–In For The Kill
18. Katy Perry–I Kissed A Girl
19. Tony Christie-(Is This The Way To) Amarillo
20. Shayne Ward-That’s My Goal
21. Gareth Gates-Unchained Melody

Friday, 20 November 2009

Top Songs/Albums; WB 23/11/09


1. Lady GaGa - Bad Romance (1)
2. Caroline Jönsson - By My Side (NEW)
3. Leona Lewis - Stop Crying Your Heart Out (2)
4. Aura Dione - I Will Love You Monday (365) (NEW)
5. Robbie Williams - You Know Me (NEW)
6. Vanessa Amorosi - This Is Who I Am (5)
7. Anna Abreu - Music Everywhere (7)
8. Michael Bublé - Haven’t Met You Yet (3)
9. Queensberry - Hello (Turn Your Radio On) (4)
10. Leona Lewis - Brave (NEW)
11. Alphabeat - DJ (6)
12. Leona Lewis - Outta My Head (17)
13. Agnes - I Need You Now (9)
14. Cheryl Cole feat - 3 Words (11)
15. Anna Abreu - Capital C (8)
16. Shakira - Did It Again (NEW)
17. Carrie Underwood - Quitter (12)
18. Pet Shop Boys - All Over The World (NEW)
19. Lily Allen - Who’d Have Known (NEW)
20. Ich + Ich - Pflaster (13)


1. Leona Lewis - Echo (1)
2. Lady GaGa - The Fame: Monster (NEW)
3. Anna Abreu - Just A Pretty Face (2)
4. Robbie Williams - Reality Killed The Video Star (3)
5. Vanessa Amorosi - Hazardous (8)
6. Alphabeat - The Spell (5)
7. Ronan Keating - Winter Songs (NEW)
8. Carrie Underwood - Play On (4)
9. Shakira - She Wolf (9)
10. Will Young - The Hits (NEW)

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Black Jacks running down my back...

continuing my list of albums that narrowly missed the top 50 of the decade;

The Veronicas - Hook Me Up - 2007

Over to 2007 once again and Australian twin sisters The Veronicas unleashed their second album in Australia, although unbelievably it didn't come out here until just a few weeks ago!!! A huge step forward in sound from their debut, this electro pop stormer was well ahead of its time. Hook Me Up was an edgy comeback single and Untouched was pop perfection with strings to kill...the song of course later became huge in the US and UK two years later, despite being one of my favourite songs of 2007 haha! Other gems such as This Love, I Can't Stay Away, Revenge Is Sweeter (Than You Ever Were), and a personal favourite, In Another Life, made this a real gem.

Atomic Kitten - Feels So Good - 2002

One of my favourite girl groups of the decade, Atomic Kitten's second album after the Jenny re-working of their debut Right Now in 2001, Feels So Good was a far more polished affair than the edgy pop of the debut. Like most 2002 singles and albums, the songs were well produced, shiny and most likely had some involvement with various hit factories and song writers somewhere in Sweden. It did however rise above the generic pop of their Pop Idol contemporaries. Their reworking of The Tide Is High was excellent, as were the singles, The Last Goodbye/Be With You, It's OK, Love Doesn't Have To Hurt and the Kylie penned, Feels So Good.

Maria Haukaas Storeng - Hold On Be Strong - 2008

Any excuse to post Mine All Mine is a good one...Norway's 2008 Eurovision competitor, Maria Haukaas Storeng, managed to make a whole album full of soul pop that tapped perfectly into the boom of the genre in 2008. An excellent album and the perfect antiodte to the excellent but generally quite depressing debut from Duffy, the album unfortunately never made it over to the UK but almost certainly could have spawned some hit singles had she managed to get some airplay. Mine All Mine is of course one of the duets of the decade by the way...

Missy Higgins - On A Clear Night - 2007

Australian singer Missy Higgins' second album, On A Clear Night, was another triumphant second outing and most certainly not a victim of 'the sophomore slump'. A soundtrack to dramatic and expensively produced US TV shows for years to come, Where I Stood was a perfect album opener, Steer was an uplifiting first single, and the uptempo strummers Peachy and 100 Round The Bends were both just as good. Excellent album from a lady who should be massive worldwide.

Girls Aloud - Tangled Up - 2007

I think there was something in the water in 2007, there were an unbelievably high number of good albums!!! Girls Aloud's fourth album, Tangled Up was similar to the Atomic Kitten album just featured in that this was a much more polished and slick affair in comparison to previous more edgy albums. The 'perfect pop single' Call The Shots is one of their signature songs, the risky Sexy! No, No, No (at least the perfect Cheryl vocoder intro), the classic GA sound on Can't Speak French and then the fantastic unreleased moments Girl Overboard and Black Jacks, made this an absolute marvel. Stunning pop album showing the band's continuing evolution.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

I wish I was that brave...

So, the long awaited album by 'the voice' is here, Leona Lewis has finally unleashed Echo on us, the follow up to the near 3 million selling debut Spirit (and that's just in the UK!)...high things are expected and this album doesn't disappoint! A brief overview of this opus;

1. Happy - not in the same league as Bleeding Love or Run, although it tries its best to sounded decent enough as the lead single to me though, before I heard the rest of the album! I'm glad it only got to #2 in the UK as it's really not number one material, but it's still very decent, and a HUGE grower! 9/10

2. I Got You - uplifting pop here, more mid-tempo so nearer to Better In Time than Bleeding Love. Sounds like it could be a future single, very radio friendly. 9/10

3. Can't Breathe - here come's the money note. Showing off her vocal acrobatics in the chorus to this, there's no denying that she does it better than the rest, and this song is again, very good. 8.5/10

4. Brave - absolutely love this one. Almost egyptian sounding, it reminds me of the music in the pyramind/sand level in N64 game Banjo-Kazooie!!! Although the melody in the chorus is actually ridiculously similar to a slighty slowed down and more dramatic version of Got The Feelin' by 5ive!!! 10/10

5. Outta My Head - Leona in uptempo shocker!!! This is like the best song Katy Perry or even Alexandra Burke never got their hands on. A very relevant song for late 2009, drawing on the electro pop influences that have been prevalent throughout the last 18 months. She sounds excellent on this, and the song is brilliant. The next single apparently...not sure if it will go the same way of the other uptempo single, Forgive Me though, and only be a medium sized hit rather than the monsters that she's used to. 10/10

6. My Hands - the intro to this sounds exactly like Bleeding Love's intro!!! This would have been a decent lead single, it's very powerful. It's lacking something for me somehow to take it to EPIC status...not sure what it is. Still brilliant though. 8.5/10

7. Love Letter - another uptempo, although not as uptempo as Outta My Head. This would sound brilliant on the radio too, another potential single? this album is packed with them! 9/10

8. Broken - Another big ballad, no expense has been spared with the production on this album, everything is incredibly grand sounding and dramatic. This is very powerful and good but not one of my personal favourites. 8.5/10

9. Naked - something of a fan favourite so I's not one of my favourites as such but it's still excellent, and once again, very radio friendly and fresh. 8.5/10

10. Stop Crying Your Heart Out - we knew this was coming, surely!?! The Oasis song has been used to death in X Factor this year and there was always going to be a reason for it. Every creative decision that Simon Cowell makes has a money making reason behind it, and the reason for its repeated spins on X Factor was to raise public awareness of the song before Leona unleashed this. A Leona-by-numbers epic in the style of Run, surely they should wheel this out in a couple of weeks with a stunning video and an X Factor performance and voila, there's another number one single!!! I can see why people wouldn't like this, it's very obvious why it's here, but it's a formula that works, and she could sing the phonebook in this style and I'd think it was the best thing I'd ever heard. Brilliant. 10/10

11. Don't Let Me Down - I doubt this would have made the album had Justin Timberlake not had something to do with it. It's decent enough but it's the weakest song on a stunning album in my opinion, and the production is quite reminiscent to Dima Bilan's 2008 Eurovision winner, Believe, as well as countless Timbaland singles. Should have been left as a b-side but that would have been an insult to Justin. 7.5/10

12. Alive - see Broken, powerful/epic etc...great song but lacks some charm to make it perfect. I would have loved an acoustic/piano ending or something to show some emotion. 8.5/10

13. Lost Then Found feat OneRepublic - it's only fair that Ryan Tedder gives his band a guest spot on this album, after all, he is responsible for Bleeding Love and Happy!!! This is typically excellent, very Stop & Stare/Battlefield. All of his songs sound the same to be honest but the one song that he keeps reworking is a good one at least! 9/10

Hidden track - Stone Hearts & Hand Grenades - this is a great way to end the album. A lovely, much more stripped ballad as opposed to the very heavy production evident on the rest of the album. The melody of the chorus is practically a re-wording of Sarah Dawn Finer's Melodifestivalen classic I Remember Love, but that song has one of the most simple yet brilliant melodies seen on a ballad, so that's fine. 9/10

Overall - A rather stunning follow up to Spirit, which I absolutely loved, but had a couple of fillers. Dare I say that the Justin Timberlake song here is the only thing even approaching filler. A couple of songs seem to lack any emotion/connection, but the music and production is so good that you can forgive it. One of the albums of the year.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

How'ma spose to breathe with no ay-uh ay-uh..

These five were almost but not quite good enough for the top 50 albums of the decade;

Jordin Sparks - Jordin Sparks - 2008

American Idol winner Jordin Spakrs is arguably the third best one, after Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, although the second most successful on a global scale seeing as Carrie has criminally never ventured across the Atlantic. Her debut album was very decent I thought, I loved the singles, especially the masterpiece that was No Air, and album tracks such as Freeze and Next To You were also brilliant.

Agnes - Dance Love Pop - 2009

Swedish Idol 2005 winner Agnes Carlsson came into her own with this album. I'm not sure if it was released last year actually but I didn't get it until early this year, having become obsessed with Release Me sometime just before last xmas, a good six months before most people did anyway! This is a great album, mixing dance and pop songs with gorgeous ballads, and has gone through various different versions. The Love Love Love edition added her Melodifestivalen 2010 song and some videos and the forthcoming UK release includes that song and a clutch of other new songs!!! Whatever release though, they're all great :D

Amy MacDonald - This Is The Life - 2007

Onto a stunningly good, and surprisingly well received debut album, young Scottish singer Amy MacDonald launched with the fantastic Mr Rock & Roll, and other singles LA, Posion Prince, Run and of course the title track, This Is The Life, all became favourites of mine too and considering her strong Scottish accent, she was a surprisingly huge success around Europe too!!! My favourite song of hers though is the jaunty feel good anthem Barrowland Ballroom which was one of my anthems of summer 2007;

Carrie Underwood - Carnival Ride - 2007

The follow up to the stunning debut (the best country debut of all time in my opinion) American Idol's second best winner Carrie Underwood released her second album, Carnival Ride in 2007, and once again, I was blown away. Lacking the naive charm of her debut in places perhaps, in other areas it was stronger. The lead single, So Small, was a bit of a disaster seeing as it was amongst the few filler-y songs on the album. She probably should have led with the brilliant All American Girl but Last Name, The More Boys I Meet and the other singles she picked were all great.

Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad - 2007

2007 was pretty good for albums by the looks of this list!!! I didn't actually buy this until the third single, Hate That I Love You, although others didn't buy it of course until the 17th single from it, Rehab! I jest but Rihanna did produce by far her finest work to date with this stunning album. More or less every track could have been a single, and most of them were, with Umbrella, Shut Up & Drive, Don't Stop The Music and Take A Bow and Disturbia (from the re-release) all being modern day classics. Breakin' Dishes probably should have been slotted in somewhere too...

Say it again, say yeah!

5 more albums from the noughties vault;

Kylie Minogue - X - 2007

Not her best album of the decade due to the fact that it seems very incoherent, jumping from one genre to another without warning. There are however some very decent songs on here. I liked but didn't love 2 Hearts, although it did grow on me, loved Wow, The One and Cosmic too. One gripe is that White Diamond didn't make it on here officially, even the ballad version, but instead was left as an iTunes bonus track. Still, it was a vast improvement on the atrocious Body Language album.

Girls Aloud - Chemistry - 2005

The third studio album from the girls, 2005's Chemistry was a continuation of the sound found on What Will The Neighbours Say and was in parts absolutely brilliant. Biology was a stunning choice of lead single, completely unexpected because of its quirkiness and See The Day was a decent if unnecessary choice of cover for second single, they probably could have got away with releasing Models as a single in its place. Unfortunately, like See The Day, GA's other biggest flops came during this 'rocky patch', (the beautiful) Whole Lotta History which is their lowest selling single and the long forgotten Long Hot Summer. Still, flop or not, I loved this album, especially the bonus Christmas disc!!!

Gwen Stefani - The Sweet Escape - 2006

Squeezing out right at the end of 2006, No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani's second solo album, The Sweet Escape, was largely thought to be based on outtakes from first album Love Angel Music Baby. I expect some of the songs may have been, but obviously those sessions were incredible if this is the case. I loved the quirky lead single Wind It Up and the follow up The Sweet Escape, which radio have played to death now, but also the ballads 4 In The Morning, Wonderful Life and Early Winter. Very strong second album.

Precious - Precious - 2000

Righhhhhhhht back to the very start of the decade now and one of 2000's finest and completely underrated releases. Short lived girl band Precious represented the UK in Eurovision 1999 with Say It Again but instead of being a one hit wonder, went on to make this. The follow up single, 2000's Rewind, was incredibly Britney/Max Martin like, and owed a lot to Baby One More Time. The more chilled out follow up It's Gonna Be My Way and the great New Beginning were also great, but so were nearly all of the album tracks, particularly Heaven With You and Much Too Late. This is worth searching out for fans of pop of that era, although it sounds quite dated now.

Paolo Nutini - These Streets - 2006

In the space of three years, young Scottish singer Paolo Nutini seemed to age by about 20 years. His 2006 debut album, These Streets, was a surprise for me, delivering sing-a-long choruses with a bit of an edge, suggesting that maturity was to come, although even I didn't expect what was to come on the Sunny Side Up album!!! This album had the classic singles Last Request, Rewind, Jenny Don't Be Hasty and New Shoes and plenty of other decent songs and I really liked it and still do!!!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

A singer/songwriter invasion...

5 more albums that just missed my top 50 of the decade;

Natalie Imbruglia - Counting Down The Days - 2005

Despite surprisingly being a UK #1 album, I always feel that this was a bit underrated...I'm not sure that it even outsold her second album which was a flop by her standards. The lead single, Shiver, was absolutely excellent but this album is her finest work to date in my eyes, packed full of great pop. The radio friendly Satisfied and the brilliant ballad When You're Sleeping are amongst my favourite songs;

Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope - 2007

One of my favourite 'uni' albums, i.e. one of those that helped my many endless and tiresome 'reading sessions' in the library, Regina Spektor's quirky piano indie pop was at its most commercial on this album and it was packed with fun and bouncy songs, as well as more thoughtful ballads. I can't pick a favourite from Better, On The Radio, Samson and Fidelity though...

Jewel - 0304 - 2003

One of my first favourite singers, I've been a fan of Canadian singer Jewel since 1999's Down So Long. Her 2003 album, 0304 was hardly a fan favourite being far more pop orientated than Jewel's usual acoustic/singer songwriter/country sound. It was deliberately well produced with plenty of polish and catchy choruses. But for me, it really worked. Doin' Fine, Stand and Intuition are my favourites on here.

Timbaland - Shock Value - 2007

An album that needs no introduction, Timbaland was ubiquitos in 2007 with the huge #1 singles Give It To Me and The Way I Are and the played to death Apologize, which introduced One Republic. A great and very diverse album which featured some excellent collaborations, I doubt that the follow up Shock Value II will live up to it, but I look forward to hearing it anyway...

Jem - Finally Woken - 2005

Bristol based trip-hop/pop/singer songwriter Jem launched to fame in 2005 with the bizarre yet excellent single They, and its parent album was also absolutely excellent. An excellent collection of summery pop, such as the single Just A Ride, my favourite song was in fact the beautiful ballad Flying High. Her 2008 follow up, Down To Earth, was unfortunately a mess, and best avoided.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Top Songs/Albums; WB 16/11/09


1. Lady GaGa - Bad Romance (1)
2. Leona Lewis - Stop Crying Your Heart Out (NEW)
3. Michael Bublé - Haven’t Met You Yet (2)
4. Queensberry - Hello (Turn Your Radio On) (19)
5. Vanessa Amorosi - This Is Who I Am (3)
6. Alphabeat - DJ (16)
7. Anna Abreu - Music Everywhere (4)
8. Anna Abreu - Capital C (5)
9. Agnes - I Need You Now (14)
10. Sugababes - About A Girl (17)
11. Cheryl Cole feat - 3 Words (10)
12. Carrie Underwood - Quitter (NEW)
13. Ich + Ich - Pflaster (12)
14. Owl City - Umbrella Beach (NEW)
15. Cheryl Cole - Fight For This Love (7)
16. Anna Abreu - Impatient (8)
17. Leona Lewis - Outta My Head (NEW)
18. Kesha - Tik Tok (9)
19. Leona Lewis - Happy (6)
20. Owl City - Fireflies (11)


1. Leona Lewis - Echo (NEW)
2. Anna Abreu - Just A Pretty Face (1)
3. Robbie Williams - Reality Killed The Video Star (NEW)
4. Carrie Underwood - Play On (2)
5. Alphabeat - The Spell (3)
6. Clubland 16 (NEW)
7. Cheryl Cole - 3 Words (4)
8. Vanessa Amorosi - Hazardous (NEW)
9. Shakira - She Wolf (5)
10. Madonna - Celebration (7)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

She's a crazy chick!

So...I made a shortlist of my absolute favourite albums of the decade to compile a top fifty next month, but first I will reveal the 34 albums that were also on the shortlist (and are also brilliant) but failed to make the cut, a few at a time of course;

Charlotte Church - Tissues and Issues - 2005

A surprisingly decent pop album from the child opera star turned media favourite, Charlotte Church's 2005 album, Tissues and Issues spawned four brilliant hit singles; Crazy Chick, Call My Name, Even God and Moodswings. My favourite song however was the gorgeous string laden beauty, Show A Little Faith, which had more than a whiff of late 90's pop about it.

Pixie Lott - Turn It Up - 2009

A very recent album now...I first heard of Pixie when I stumbled across her MySpace well over a year ago now. It was quite basic looking and hadn't had many visitors at the time but I thought that the songs on there, namely Boys & Girls and The Fall, were brilliant. The former later became a UK #1 single and The Fall made it onto the album as Turn It Up. The album is great, pure pop at its best, very young and fresh and a real mix of styles, like a young Natasha Bedingfield. The Lady GaGa inspired Here We Go Again is one of my favourites;

Andrea Corr - Ten Feet High - 2007

Currently it's her sister Sharon going it alone but Corrs' lead singer Andrea's 2007 solo album was a hugely underrated and fantastic album, which owed quite a lot to early Corrs material. I was quite annoyed that was a complete and utter flop, in fact I expect few people are even aware of its existence. As pleasant as the dancy lead single Shame On You, it's the Corrs-esque Stupidest Girl In The World and Ten Feet High that were the standouts for me, sounding like they could have come from the classic Forgiven Not Forgotten album.

KT Tunstall - Drastic Fantastic - 2007

I first heard of Scottish singer KT Tunstall in late 2004, just before she became huge, and saw her in concert early in 2005 when the album Eye To The Telescope had done nothing in the charts. That all soon changed and finally people started to see what the fuss was about!!! 2007 follow up Drastic Fantastic wasn't anywhere near as strong and a few of the songs on it were rather old to me as they were actually some of her old demos from 2000 that she'd spruced up for this album. However, it did have some real gems; Little Favours, If Only, Hopeless and Paper Aeroplane were all as good as anything on the first album, as was the great lead single, Hold On;

The Saturdays - Chasing Lights - 2008

The debut album from Britain's new favourite girlband The Saturdays, Chasing Lights was an excellent first album featuring all of the excellent singles; If This Is Love, Up (albeit in a far inferior version here), Issues and Work. Later versions also featured their cover of Just Can't Get Enough. Most of the other album tracks were single worthy as well, particularly Lies, Chasing Lights and Set Me Off. Their new album Wordshaker is just as good as this too, but doesn't feature here for the inexcusable fact that they picked the worst song on the album, Forever Is Over, as the first single as well as the fact that it is just that bit too recent...

New Music

Alphabeat - DJ

Rumoured to be the second single from second album The Spell, so far yet to receive a UK release, despite having come out in their native Denmark, DJ owes a hell of a lot more to the more general early 90's vibe of the album as opposed to lead single The Spell which was like a mid-80's Madonna production. I thought this was good on first listen but it keeps growing with subsequent listens. Is it up to the standard of Fascination, Boyfriend and 10,000 Nights? Probably not, but then few pop songs are...This album and its singles are hardly comparable to those from This Is Alphabeat as the sound is so completely different this time. The stuttering beats and sliced vocal effects in this song remind me of early 90's Kylie singles such as Step Back In Time and What Do I Have To Do. I don't expect it will be a big UK hit if The Spell couldn't be, but it's brilliant nonetheless.

Robbie Williams - You Know Me

Having never been a Robbie fan before as such, I was surprised to find that I really loved comeback single Bodies when others were calling it average. Whereas that was a high budget pop song in the Supreme mould, second single You Know Me is more of a classic production, a very classy pop song. To me this is like a slower version of Something Beautiful, but a lot more classy. The doo-wop backing vocals remind me funnily enough of many of the songs on the recent 60's girl group inspired recent album, Standing Tears Apart by Remi Nicole. I bought Robbie's new album on Monday and though I don't love every song on it, there are certainly more than enough excellent tunes to justify its purchase. You Know Me is excellent and is already knocking on the door of the top ten on the iTunes chart before promotion even kicks in, so hopefully it will be another big hit for the comeback king.

A1 - Take You Home

Mere days after it emerged that British/Norwegian boyband A1 had reformed and were rumoured to be participating in MGP next year, do I find this!!! Take You Home, A1's first single since 2002's Make It Good seven years ago, very much picks off where they left of, but with a modern sound like a much poppier Coldplay. The song is the official single for Red Nose Day in Norway and has entered the Norwegian charts at #12 this week, although no UK release appears to be on the agenda at the moment unfortunately. Here are Ben, Mark and Christian performing the song on Norway's X Factor a few days ago;

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

So...these were good albums...

following the list of the songs that failed to make my yet to be revealed top 100 singles of the decade, I will also be compiling my top 50 albums of the decade next month, although will only be counting studio albums. In subsequent days I shall reveal the 34 albums from my original shortlist that just failed to make my top 50 albums of the decade, although bear in mind that I still absolutely love everything featured. But first, taking into account that I'm only including studio albums, here are my top ten Best Of/Greatest Hits/retrospective collections of the noughties along with my favourite track from each one;

1. Kylie Minogue - Ultimate Kylie - 2004 ---> highlight: What Do I Have To Do

2. Shakira - Grandes Exitos - 2003 ---> highlight: Antologia

3. Mariah Carey - Greatest Hits - 2002 ---> highlight: Thank God I Found You

4. The Corrs - The Best Of - 2001 ---> highlight: Runaway

5. Girls Aloud - The Sound Of Girls Aloud: The Greatest Hits - 2006 ---> highlight: Love Machine

6. Boyzone - Back Again...No Matter What: The Greatest Hits - 2008 ---> highlight: Love You Anyway

7. Sash! - The Best Of - 2008 ---> highlight: Mysterious Times

8. Kelly Llorenna - All Clubbed Up - 2002 ---> highlight: Set You Free

9. Texas - The Greatest Hits - 2000 ---> highlight: In Our Lifetime

10. Madonna - Celebration - 2009 ---> highlight: Hung Up

I'll tell you lover oh lover it feels so strong

2005 Idols finalist turned Swedish star Måns Zelmerlöw has been confirmed as one of three hosts of Melodifestivalen 2010!!! Although comedienne Petra Mede will be an incredibly hard act to follow in my opinion, I'm sure Måns will more than make up for it. I had the opportunity to meet him earlier in the year in the hotel I was staying at in Sweden and he was very nice and personable, staying to chat and pose with fans (mostly teenage girls) for quite a long period of time. Måns is of course something of a Melodifestivalen legend giving us the 2007 classic Cara Mia and the equally brilliant Hope & Glory which provided my moment of the year earlier in the year.

As much as I love the song, and like Måns, I really didn't want to see it in the Eurovision Song Contest as it was practically a male version of 2008's Hero. So when he led the jury voting convincingly, it looked like game over for everyone else, until he stumbled in towards the back of the public voting instantly scuppering his chances and ensuring a highly memorable 'I'm pissed off but I'll try and look grateful' facial expression and subsequent tussle for victory between opera diva Malena Ernman and legendary oddball Caroline Af Ugglas. The uproar in the audience when we all realised what had happened was absolutely brilliant, as shocked silence gave way to excited chatter. Easily my favourite six minutes of 2009;

Either way, he's a great artist, his recent album MZW was very diverse and is amongst my favourites of the year, and I expect he'll be a very charming and professional presenter, and he'll need to be with an actor and a comedian by his side!!!

Monday, 9 November 2009

A milky treat...

Here are the final batch of songs that failed to make my top 100 singles of the decade;

Milk Inc - Land Of The Living - 2002

I think this came out in the UK in the first week of 2003, although it could have been the last week of 2002, I can't remember...I know that I first fell in love with it in 2002 anyway. Following their two excellent top ten singles, Walk On Water and In My Eyes, Belgian dance act Milk Inc's next single, Land Of The Living was slightly less successful but is the best of the three songs in my opinion. Nothing original, but incredibly catchy and one of my anthems of 2002!!!

Sarah McLachlan - Fallen - 2004

One of the most underrated singers of the last 15 years in the UK, Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan was massive in the US with classic hits such as Angel, Sweet Surrender and Building A Mystery. Her 2004 single Fallen, the lead from the fantastic album Afterglow, is absolutely gorgeous, as were the other nine tracks on the album. It wasn't one of her most successful singles commercially and like her, was criminally underrated.

Gabriella Cilmi - Sweet About Me - 2008

One of my favourite singers of 2008, it's a shame she seems to have been a one hit wonder but I still hold out hopes that she returns with a great second album. Australian teenager Gabriella Cilmi's Sweet About Me took absolutely ages to properly grow on me, which was echoed across the country as it took near enough four months to reach it's chart peak of #6 here!!! Whether it was on adverts, commercial radio or god knows what else, this song was impossible to escape last year, and it's refreshing listening back to it now, 18 months on, to realise that it lived up to every bit of its hype!

Mad'House - Like A Prayer - 2002

And now for another dodgy dance cover version, 2002 of course being absolutely littered with cheap covers of 80's songs. Somehow though, this Dutch group's take on Madonna's timeless classic Like A Prayer worked exceptionally well turning the dramatic pop song into a thumping club song which was an absolutely huge hit. The accompanying album of danced up Madonna songs was also a reluctant favourite of mine!!!

Nelly Furtado feat Timbaland - Promiscuous - 2006

Surprisingly enough, my favourite single from the fantastic Loose era, and the third to feature in this 'nearly made it' list after Maneater and Say It Right. Timbaland featuring Promiscuous was a brilliant club banger which went down extremely well in the US, even though the latter two songs are remembered better here. I'm not entirely sure why I find this to be my favourite Nelly Furtado single but it's definitely the one I go back to the most.

The Corrs - Baby Be Brave - 2004

2004's Borrowed Heaven is one of the greatest albums I own. Surprisingly still relevant six years after the huge success of Talk On Corners, songs such as Summer Sunshine, Angel, Goodbye, Long Night and Humdrum proved that The Corrs still had it in them to make a stunning song or two. Baby Be Brave was one of my highlights of the album, and one of the highest non-singles in my favourite of the decade rundown. It wouldn't have worked as a single at all, it's too dark, but as an album track, it's perfection.

Birgitta - Open Your Heart - 2003

And the best song that couldn't quite squeeze into the top 100, Iceland's 2003 Eurovision entry Open Your Heart by Birgitta opened that contest and it was all downhill from there. One of Iceland's finest entries to the contest, it could only manage a low top ten placing as everyone was obsessed with rubbish songs and of course the controversy surrounding tATu, who couldn't even win in the end!!! This schlager-pop classic is something that Sweden would have been proud of, and I only wish I could have found a way to squeeze it into my top 100, but ultimately I love the 100 songs above it even more!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Ladies you're damn right, you can't read a man's mind

Another five songs that missed the top 100 of the decade by a whisker;

Zero 7 feat Sia - Somersault - 2004

One of the most underrated groups of the decade, chillout dance act Zero 7 have had some relatively large albums but their singles have all been rather unfortunate flops. 2001's Destiny and In The Waiting Line are near perfection and this 2004 comeback single Somersault, featuring recurring guest vocalist, Australian Sia Furler, absolutely blew me away, and still does now. Gorgeous song.

Girls Aloud - Love Machine - 2004

From one extreme of 2004 to the other, Girls Aloud's finest hour at that point came with the brilliant and completely unexpected pop classic Love Machine. A UK No.2 single, it definitely deserved to be a chart topper for the girls and is now seen as one of their signature songs along with Sound of the Underground, Biology and The Promise. Great lyrics, great energy, excellent video. Perfect pop.

The Corrs - Would You Be Happier - 2001

Onto what I feel is one of Irish family band The Corrs' most underrated singles. Best Of contractual bonus track singles are rarely seen as exciting songs with Madonna's Celebration, Robbie Williams' Radio, Britney Spears' 3 for example hardly going down as classics in the grander scheme of things. The Corrs launched their 2001 Best Of with the most out and out pop single that they'd ever produced. Complete with a rather random video of the band experimenting with different images, I found the song to be absolutely excellent. They obviously didn't feel the same way as following on from the release, the single was never performed live at concerts and left out of all future hits compilations...

Serebro - Song #1 - 2007

Russia's finest Eurovision hour came just two years ago in 2007 before they criminally went on to win the following year with a far inferior song. Either way, thrown together at the last minute girlband Serebro produced a song worthy even of the Girls Aloud/Sugababes canon which was feisty, fresh and instantly infectious. It finished 3rd in the contest but was my favourite from that year.

Malena Ernman - La Voix - 2009

Over to Sweden's flop Eurovision entry from this year now, although this will always relate more to me as the triumphant Melodifestivalen winner as opposed to an ESC failure. Having gone to Sweden and seen Melodifestivalen live for the first time this year, the quality of the show was incredible, the production values were through the roof, but nothing was more stunning than Malena Ernman's reception. When she was announced as the winner, the crowd went wild, and she thoroughly deserved it for her techno-opera-pop song which owes more than a little to Nessun Dorma. So uplifting, so brilliant, no moment this year comes close to screaming this at the top of my lungs with thousands of other people in the vast Globen arena, it will always be a winner to me.