t started as more of a joke than an article pitch. “Hey boss, how about I sit down and listen to every British number one single of the decade in order, and then write about them?” Annoyingly, he called me up on it. So after nearly 200 records and 12 and a half hours worth of music, the Manic Street Preachers through to Gnarls Barkley, taking in such myriad wonders as DJ Sammy, DJ Otzi, DJ Pied Piper, DJ Casper, and nine songs by fucking Westlife, my sanity, the last month of my life, and my suspicion of Roger Sanchez’s oeuvre have all been taken away. Enjoy.
Manic Street Preachers - The Masses Against the Classes
[01/16/2000; 1 week]
What else sums up music from the turn of the millennium more than a sample taken from a Noam Chomsky speech, backed by a homage to Bowie doing a homage to the Beatles? Yeah, it seemed incongruous six years ago when the number one spot was the sole preserve of US imports and the mighty Ian “H” Watkins.” “The Masses Against the Classes” seemed like the last hiccup from the decade that bought us the never-ending vomiting that was Britpop. Joke was on us though, because rather than being the end of the 90s this really was the beginning of the 00s—a template for so much of what would follow: a number one single getting to the position on fanbase rather than mass appeal (combined with the “delete on day of release” technique” that all your favourite low level indie bands now use) and chock-full of all those clever self-referential lyrics that would plague the pop world in the mid 00s (“Hello, it's us again, and we're still so in love with you,” do you see?). White guys with guitars. Fantastic. The song itself? Well, “masses” and “classes” doesn't actually rhyme unless you were born within a five mile radius of Toxteth, and this is where ol' Bono Vox got the inspiration for “Vertigo,” so... Not the best of starts.
Britney Spears - Born To Make You Happy
[01/23/2000; 1 week]
If you ignore the myriad travesties wrenched from Britney, this is Louisiana's finest's worst single to date—a bit of straight forward barefoot-and-pregnant-by-the-stove “Stand By Your Man” balladry with not a single second of memorability about it. Thankfully Ms. Spears turns up a few more times over the rest of this article, so we can discuss the meat she's added to our decade's pop cultural stew there.
[01/30/2000; 2 weeks]
Vacuum cleaner-voiced boomer fave Bob Dylan never managed a number one single in his own right in the UK, but thank Gabrielle for giving him a chance to piggyback on her fame to the top of the charts. Yep, the zany-eyed soulstress sampled Zimmerman's “Knocking on Heaven's Door” mumblings, slapped her own inimitable kitchen sink R&B stylings over the top, and created the exact feeling you get when you realise that it's only 2:57pm and you're working till six tonight. FM radio hell.
Oasis- Go Let It Out
[02/13/2000; 1 week]
Their fifth #1 single, but, man, there's more than enough to follow... Coming off a two year break, the anticipation was high amongst simpletons for the coketastic “Go Let It Out.” They weren't disappointed. However, those of us capable of describing music without using the phrase “a stunning return to form” instead realise that the sole remarkable aspect of this song is that it’s the #1 single that sounds most like a Cast album track in history, and nothing else. Liam sneers, guitars jangle, and we're at one of the inaugural low points of the decade. Hang on, though: we will plunge much, much lower.
All Saints- Pure Shores
[02/20/2000; 2 weeks]
The last time any member of All Saints, William Orbit, and Leonardo DiCaprio were worth a collective damn, and the first great number one of the decade, all pouting urbanisms that were ten-a-penny at the time but now feel like the first flush of “retro” that the 00s will be known for. Appleton, you'll be delighted to know, never made it to number one, so sadly we won't be covering them.
Madonna- American Pie
[03/05/2000; 1 week]
It takes a bad, bad song to make a man feel sorry for Don McLean, but this is that song. Don's version, for all its faults, was at least a cryptic crossword that gave dullards something to decode before their next CAMRA meeting. This, on the other hand, is more like The Sun's coffee break crossword, with the official first appearance of “SHOCKING LESBIAN OVERTONES” in a #1 song (more will follow) of the millennium. Whatever last vestiges of “not-horrid” this song has are wiped out by the backing vocals, deep in the mix, sounding eerily like Terence Trent D'Arby speaking at you through a medium. In the chronology of Madge #1’s, this comes between “Frozen” and “Music.” It's a trough between those two moderate peaks.
Chicane ft. Bryan Adams
[03/12/2000; 1 week]
Someone got a chill-out track to #1! No, “Orinoco Flow” doesn't count. Hilariously, other than those wonderful four months in the summer of 1991 he spent there, this is our Bryan's only entry to #1, a far too obvious attempt at appealing to both Dave Pearce and Ken Bruce at the same time. Bizarrely enough, time has revealed it to actually be the colour negative of “Emerge” by Fischerspooner. Except this actually sold some copies.
Geri Halliwell- Bag It Up
[03/19/2000; 1 week]
The third in a run of four consecutive number one singles for Geraldine (and that must seem so, so, so long ago now...), this was her G-A-Y moment (The video featured shirtless men in bunny costumes.). Actually, “Look at Me” was supposed to be her G-A-Y moment, but that went down like Geri Halliwell at a BBW fan convention. This was more popular, being as it was a string of “You go girlfriend” rhetoric over a pub band version of “Automatic” by the Pointer Sisters. I motion that no artist to have had four or more #1 singles is as fucking useless as Geri.
Mel C ft. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes- Never Be The Same Again
[03/26/2000; 1 week]
And make that a Spice double shot, as the completely heterosexual Melanie Chisholm seeks assistance from the only person to cark it after having a #1 single this decade, Lisa Lopes, to have a bit of discussion about MEN. By this time, Chisholm had realised that the youth weren't ready for her tracksuited-Lyndonisms, so this was a duck straight back to the Spice Girls formula: simple chorus, clean production, Left-Eye filling the Mel B “mediocre rap” segment. By the book, and as such it gets a:
Westlife- Fool Again
[04/02/2000; 1 week]
Do you perhaps get the suspicion that by the end of this article Westlife reviews will just read “STOP. PLEASE, FOR THE FUCKING LOVE OF GOD, STOP”? The second most successful band in UK chart history here have decided that what 2000 needed more than anything was Boyz II Men entirely devoid of any soul whatsoever. I suppose thanks to his fantastic solo career you can now play “Spot which bit Briyiyian is singing,” but other than that, you're getting very little joy from this one.
Craig David- Fill Me In
[04/09/2000; 1 week]
“Fill Me In” deserves an extended entry because it's the first #1 single of the decade that actually felt like it was the start of something, rather than a continuation of what came before. Admittedly, instead of taking over, garage just came in fits and spurts for a few years before dying a death mid 2002, and it never reached commercial (and, arguably, critical) peaks as high as this, but back in April 2000 none of that really mattered. The boy was even on the cover of NME! And here he was in song, bringing that 2-step thing over this R&B thing and...wait. That's the problem here. “Fill Me In” is a perfectly serviceable R&B track (and someone like Mario Winans or Omarion or whoever could cover it straight and knock up a US top 10 with it even now), ruined by the 2-step beat. It's not immediate enough to dance to, it’s not discordant enough to matter, it's just like hearing rogue radio frequencies slip into the song and ruin it. It's no wonder Craig is just a straight-up Roachford clone these days, you can tell his heart isn't in this at all.
Fragma- Toca's Miracle
[04/16/2000; 2 weeks]
It's more spiritual, what I need.... Trance-pop, clubtrance, Eurotrance, soft-trance... whatever the fuck this was, it was amazing. And not just for the video, which inspired legions of funky-house acts to realise all they needed to get on The Box was some jiggling titties (here encased in sports bras though, which kinda negates the point). Fuck the purists, there's a reason why the superclubs and the dance magazines died, and it’s because they were going apeshit over tedious shit like Daft Punk when they had joys like this in front of them.
Oxide and Neutrino- Bound 4 Da Reload
[04/30/2000; 1 week]
“Can everyone... stop....getting...sshhhhhhhhhorrrrrrrtttttttt.” Remember this bunch? Meathead and peanut-head, complete with Flat Eric-fart noises and the theme tune to Casualty (back when Charlie had things on lock), attempt to bring a gritty urban realness to the charts: slightly less successful than completely forgotten CBBC sitcom Ker-Ching.
Britney Spears- Ooops!... I Did It Again
[05/07/2000; 1 week]
“But didn't the old lady drop it in the ocean?” Did we actually realise she was an Important Cultural Figure by this point? Was she still doing skits when she came on SM:TV Live, or was it just live performances and respectful interviews on CD:UK? Anyway, here she was, leading off her second album with that camel-toe and the reference to Titanic or something in the middle eight for no reason... this is actually “better” than “Baby One More Time” because this isn't Max Martin being oh so tied up in the need to record a Classic Pop Song, and instead this is just big dumb vaguely Swedish “make up your own dance routines in your bedroom” pop music. She still does the little girl vocals here as well. I've missed them a lot. Not to mention that layered chorus that sounds like “I'm Not in Love” on a budget. Bubblegum pop *should* rot my teeth, or else it's just twee.
Madison Avenue- Don't Call Me Baby
[05/14/2000; 1 week]
My old, rubbish, sociology teacher Mr. Evans once attempted to “bond” with his students by informing us, and I kid ye not, that this was a “big tune.” He wasn't completely wrong. If this had been recorded by Basement Jaxx it would have topped year-end polls and be acknowledged as a modern day classic. As it was, Madison Avenue were dumper bound a few months later. They did actually have two more top 40 singles of cocktail-bar house, but naming them is a matter for pub quiz nights, not an article proclaiming them “Kinda good, I suppose.”
Billie Piper- Day And Night
[05/12/2000; 1 week]
I remember around the time of its release, Melody Maker made much roffles about Billie's “new” “indie” “direction,” which is bizarre as “Day And Night” actually sounds like the Backstreet Boys played at a third of the speed. Like Madison Avenue, Billie was soon bound for the pop scrapheap (a #4 single followed by the outright bomb “Walk of Life”).
Sonique- It Feels So Good
[05/28/2000; 3 weeks]
If you really want to look back at a song from this list and go “Wow, 2000 sure was a long time ago,” then “It Feels So Good” is it. Not least because you'd completely forgotten Sonique, despite this being the third biggest selling single of the year. She beat Dido for the 2001 Best Female Artist Brit Award as well, you know? Plus: can you imagine a song being a hit just because it was big in Ibiza these days? It just wouldn't happen. Sure, this is vocodery Ibiza shit, but its vocodery Ibiza shit of the highest quality. “And that's what takes me.... hiiiiiiiiiiii”
Black Legend- You See the Trouble With Me
[06/18/2000; 1 week]
“1975, we brought you an album.” One of the rarities of early 00s chart pop...a song based around a guy covering Barry White's stage banter (because they couldn't clear samples of the Walrus ripping it in front of a crowd himself), named after the literary term for virulent anti-Catholic attitudes amongst the Spanish. As brilliant now as it was then, despite the video and the fact that it really could do with ending about 45 seconds earlier, but just for the sheer incongruity of it...
What really becomes apparent listening to these tracks in this order is how unsure the chart buying public were at the start of 2000. They knew they kinda liked pop princesses, but they weren't sure if they were “allowed” to. They liked paying £30 to get into a nightclub, but they knew if they were going to pay that much, they wanted to dance. And they knew that the past was a quite enjoyable place, as we will see....
Kylie Minogue- Spinning Around
[06/25/2000; 1 week]
But this is the first real important cultural shift #1 of the decade. Kylie Was Back. Nearly six years divorced from her last top 10 single, and finally devoid of the need to be indie, to work with Nick Cave, or to do guest appearances on The Vicar of Dibley. She was back, and with her arse she could disguise the fact she had the body of a 12 year-old boy. Kylie is the great card trick of popular music from the last 20 years. Everybody will agree that Kylie is a Great Pop Star. Now, go and look at a list of her hit singles. Notice how many of them you love. That'd be about two of them then, wouldn't it? And a lot of forgettable crystal-meth-and-Southern-Comfort provincial gay bar fodder. This is amongst them. Disco with a tenth of the vibrancy required.
Eminem-The Real Slim Shady
[07/02/2000; 1 week]
Why didn't “Bawitdabaa” ever go top 40 in the UK?
The Corrs- Breathless
[07/09/2000; 1 week]
The only number one single for the ever-beloved purveyors of Celtic instrumentation, trip-hop beats, and, I dunno, Fleetwood Mac or something, coming roughly fourteen months after their genuine commercial peak (at which point they had both the #1 and #2 album on the fifth anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. Kerrang was reported to have been “shook”). Anyway, these days, what with The Corrs charting closer to #71 than #1, we can view them free of the context and irritation that accompanied them when they carpet-bombed the radio with incessant play... and, yep, they're still unremittingly dull.
Ronan Keating- Life Is A Rollercoaster
[07/16/2000; 1 week]
Between the aforementioned Corrs, this joke, and the forthcoming orgy of U2 smash singles I'll be dealing with later on, it's hard to know what the Emerald Isle has really done for the top of the charts this century—especially considering the unfortunate failure to break through of Buffalo G. Anyway, what with Brian Adams spending this decade alternately recording chillout music and talking about how he knobbed Lady Di, his spiritual successor broke free of the boyband ghetto to bore the living shit out of all and sundry with this song. This may be the one of his singles written by the slaphead from the New Radicals, I honestly don't care enough to check.
Five featuring Queen- We Will Rock You
[07/23/2000; 1 week]
At this point, 5ive were still the number one boyband in the UK, although the baton was teasingly within Westlife's reach (and who can forget the awesome war of words between the two acts: “They probably wear dresses,” indeed). Fellow Stylus scribe Edward Oculicz pointed out to me that the very idea of this song was flawed, because the worst 5ive singles are immensely preferable to the best Queen ones. He's right of course, “We Will Rock You” is horrendous, as is Roger Taylor's face these days. However, this is “We Will Rock You” reimagined as a Run DMC beat (surprisingly well), rhymed over by that guy from House of Pain who wasn't Everlast cloned five times. It's no “Slam Dunk Da Funk.”
Craig David- 7 Days
[07/30/2000; 1 week]
And so he realised that R&B is what he was born to do, along with those great wavy-hand note-hittings. You know what I'm talking about. Of course, this was the beginning of Craig sabotaging his own career by giving third-rate comedians oh-so-much material to mock (What would Craig David do if he was a fisherman? Krill on Sunday!), but... it's not as if you can feel any great loss for the man's career: he quite clearly is a complete bell-end, he's never recorded a great song: you know, when you're playing with the big boys (like, um, Fragma and Black Legend), you have to up your game. Craig David is nothing but the Stan Collymore of R&B musicians.
Robbie Williams- Rock DJ
[08/06/2000; 1 week]
You see, ideally this would have come directly after “The Real Slim Shady” as a #1 single, so we could have directly compared the American Robbie Williams to the English Eminem. Fuck it, we'll do it anyway. Most people seem to be sure that Williams and Mathers are transatlantic cousins, but can't put a finger on why (and it's not due to ability to spit eight bars: “Kids” is still to come, remember). It appears to be a false correlation anyway: Williams' appeal has always been his “man of the people” schtick: Americans don't love “plucky underdogs,” they like to win—if American tennis players had the same level of success as English ones, you can bet the response wouldn’t be: “Well done Tim, better luck next year.” And nowadays it seems more about 50 Cent and Will Young (note: you cannot compare these two, don't try), so maybe they were proper pop stars: massive, and then scaled back on their own terms (that's how Abba and the Beatles did it, it’s how everyone else should as well). And their musical output for this year? Vaguely confrontational and vaguely “shocking,” but, hey, we're all in on the joke right? Nobody need get hurt. Perhaps if someone did get hurt during Robbie Williams' songs I'd care for them a little more. Actually: “Give no head, no backstage passes” is the worst song lyric of 2000. Just behind “I've got the gift, going to stick it in the goal.” I've spent so long talking about Robbie Williams the construct I've not properly discussed Williams the musician: FUCKING AWFUL. This is painful.
Melanie C- I Turn To You
[08/13/2000; 1 week]
OK, so she tried pop-punk about five years too early to have a #1 hit with it, and then she went back to her usual Spice Girls-isms, and now.... trance? If Ms. Chisholm (we can safely assume she isn't married) wants to know why her career is currently on a level of success roughly equivalent to that of, I don't know, the former bassist from My Life Story, then she may want to examine her Dice Man-esque career decisions around this time. “I Turn to You” is water-weak trance, and couldn't fill up the dancefloor of a 20 capacity youth club, let alone one of those superclub things that were so popular back then.
Spiller featuring Sophie Ellis-Bextor- If This Ain't Love
[08/20/2000; 1 week]
And so the planet's Greatest Living Pop Star (2002 edition) was plucked from indie band obscurity and doing adverts for video game magazines to take her rightful position at number one, aided solely by a very tall Italian guy and a chorus written by the bassist from Mud or The Sweet or something. In case you didn't realise how tall Spiller was, the video was filmed in Japan to hammer the point home and features a plotline rife with the light-hearted racism that would eventually form the central spine of the hit movie Lost in Translation. Handbag house's last hurrah, except we'd stopped drinking Hooch by then and it was all about sambucca...
[08/27/2000; 1 week]
“Ah would. Ah definitely would.” You lucky Americans, you finally got introduced to the never-tiresome comedy stylings of Sacha Baron Cohen with this track, whilst the rest of us were finally reintroduced to the Madonna we actually wanted: dancefloor diva Madonna, rather than “dressed as a geisha incanting tales of winters past” Madonna, or whatever the hell “Frozen” was meant to be. It was “Windowlicker” tidied up for your four-year old sister, but, man, after “American Pie” I was happy for what I was given, y'know?
A1- Take on Me
[09/03/2000; 1 week]
There was always something vaguely European about A1 (not least the fact that one of their members was actually Scandinavian, I suppose). But the cheapness of the videos, the homoeroticism of the outfits, and stuff like this... you know, you can't ruin “Take on Me” at all, but if you have to do a cheep-and-cheerful twink take on it, surely you get the A*Teens (god rest their souls) in to do it instead? Ben Adams wasn't that attractive back then either.
Modjo- Lady (Here Me Tonight)
[09/10/2000; 2 weeks]
You get a Chic sample on your track, you're gonna get people listening, you're gonna get them dancing, and here you get a Franco-house #1 single. It's as canonical as any of the #1 singles from the first few years of the decade (“Groovejet” aside), but it does raise the question as to how many of the hits from this decade have been on a continual play loop in Yates' Wine Bar since release. I can't listen to this song without thinking “Wow, I wonder how much money I could save if I bought two bottles of Blossom Hill Rose together?”
Mariah Carey & Westlife- Against All Odds
[09/24/2000; 2 weeks]
This is going to get worse before it gets better.
All Saints- Black Coffee
[10/08/2000; 1 week]
Strangely arrhythmic down-tempo sub-Timbaland farewell from the stars of the critically acclaimed movie Honest. There was actually a further All Saints single to come at the start of 2001 entitled “All Hooked Up,” and I will send a shiny penny to anyone who can remember the slightest bit of how that sounded. I really do think I should be making some Appleton gags about this point, or at least some I'm a Celebrity ones, but I don't think I have it in me....
U2- Beautiful Day
[10/15/2000; 1 week]
So, at this point in time, what with the Spice Girls' fame stumbling (see two entries time), Limp Bizkit's entire career being a slow ascent to the precipice of a massive fall, and the French Kicks' debut album still eleven months away, the title of “World's Biggest Band” was up for grabs. And, yay, the gods decided in their infinite wisdom that U2 deserved that title. Like most Brits, I find it impossible to listen to this track nowadays without thinking of ITV's awesome The Premiership TV show, so instead of Bono completely failing to sound happy when he's divulging details of his wonderful 24 hours, I can only think of Andy Townsend dropping science on Aston Villa centre-backs in the Tactics' Truck. Ah well.
[10/22/2000; 1 week]
Steps, as well as easily being the most disturbing band to look at ever (there is something unholy in Lee's eyes, trust me on this), only had two number one singles. The first was “Tragedy,” a song so wondrous I am pretty confident than 60% of Britain's gay population switched their sexual preference just so they could hear that song every time they went out. The second was this slice of Eurodisco, seeping from the same vein that both S Club and Kylie were drawing blood from in 2000. But Steps had much better singles—so the whole thing feels like giving a band a #1 because they deserve one: kinda like John Wayne's best actor Oscar, except with frosted tips.
Spice Girls- Holler
[10/29/2000; 1 week]
Another one bites the dust... they lost the biggest band in the world tag to U2, they'd lost the biggest pop group in Britain accolade to Westlife, and they'd lost their and personality to the fantastically cack-handed production skills of Rodney Jerkins. “Holler” is my personal pick for the worst production job in musical history, ol' Darkchild took the most unique, epoch-defining, cultural maelstrom of a group he could find, and turned them into a facsimile of Fanmail-era TLC.
Westlife- My Love
[11/05/2000; 1 week]
Better than “Against All Odds.”
A1- Same Old Brand New You
[11/12/2000; 1 week]
Probably the most contemporary sounding of 2000's #1 singles (starts off as male vocal harmony balladry, then the beat drops and we're grinding on nubile models, in a platonic yet cheeky manner), except if released nowadays it would get to #13 and the band would dropped after about a month. This is boy bands as they're supposed to be: dumb teenage sexuality used as an excuse to dance your fucking arse off. If you can't make your own dance routine up to a song, what's the point of it?
LeAnn Rimes- Can't Fight the Moonlight
[11/19/2000; 1 week]
That intro is how I imagine the guitar going through the wall sounded in the “Walk This Way” video. And then... pop. Just pure, air-light, pop majesty. “Underneath the starlight starlight, there's a magical feeling so right, HERE TO STEAL YOUR HEART TONI-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-TE.” It's a Britney-lite “Zorba's Dance” urging you onto the floor more and more and more aggressively until only those with the functional IQ of squirrels can resist. Sass personified.
Destiny's Child- Independent Women Pt. 1
[11/26/2000; 1 week]
“Question!” Not so much sass personified as sass parodied. There always was something distinctly unlikable about Destiny's Child, maybe it was Beyonce's cheeky “Fags shall burn in hell” rhetoric, maybe it was the fact they came out with “The shoes on my feet, I bought it” after previously advocating financial submission in “Bills Bills Bills,” or maybe it’s that vocal miasma
S Club 7- Never Had a Dream Come True
[12/03/2000; 1 week]
Ah, nothing like releasing an obvious attempt at a Christmas single a week to early in order to assure that it'll reach the top of the charts in the wrong week. Whatever happened to the fat one's nu-metal side project anyway? Fuck a Fightstar, that's what the kids want to hear. Anyway, “Never Had a Dream Come True” was S Club's second number one single, and reminds one of that old breakfast zoo radio stand-by where they isolated Wyclef's contributions to various Fugees tracks to reveal he just grunted “Uh. Uh. One time” over and over again, but in this case Wyclef is replaced by “the six members that aren't Jo.” Pleasant enough for an anodyne copy of “Just the Way You Are” with dumb snow noises.
Eminem & Dido- Stan
[12/10/2000; 1 week]
Subtlety, hidden meanings, stuff that requires a repeat listening in order to full grasp the meaning... Marshall ain't fucking with that. No, “Stan” was a straight up six-minute slice of “DO. YOU. SEE?” style antics with Detroit's finest making a determined attempt to become the poet of his ages, a “George Bush don't care about etc. etc.” for the early 00s. The song itself is dull, goes nowhere, and if you listen to it properly you'll realise that the guy is actually writing his missive with a pencil rather than a pen. How can I take you seriously when you can't even pay attention to your fucking sound effects, hmmm? And, anyway, the only time I will ever agree with Chris Moyles is with regards to the supreme piece of Popjustice that was this being knocked off the number one spot (and prevented from being the Xmas #1) by....
Bob the Builder- Can We Fix It?
[12/17/2000; 3 weeks]
Ah, the only Morrissey who'll ever have a number one... Kids TV themes getting to number one is a thing to be savoured, especially when a) it stops pretentious tosh like “Stan” from reigning at the top of the charts b) when it actually has a much better 2-step beat than any of the garage number ones from the previous 18 months. It also interprets the Beatles/Bowie style intro infinitely better than the Manics did 41 number ones back, and, you know, fuck it, Bob the Builder is for the kids. God bless them.
Rui Da Silva ft. Cassandra- Touch Me
[01/07/2001; 1 week]
The first ever number one single by a Portugese artist! The first ever progressive house single to get to number one! And easily the most forgotten number one of the decade.
Jennifer Lopez- Love Don't Cost a Thing
[01/14/2001; 1 week]
Man, listen to those drums at the start of the track! Something BIG is about to happen! The Queen or something must be coming through, listen to those drums echo throughout the hall! Oh, wait, it's just Jennifer Lopez doing the same “running out of air” each line intonation she did on all her tracks up until mid 2002. Seriously, did she learn breath control from Big Pun or something? This was our Jen's first UK #1, and... big flossin' R&B divas don't really make as much sense to a British audience as they do to the Yanks, which could be why, apart from piggy backing Westlife, Mariah hasn't reached the top of the charts over here in twelve years. Still, Lopez singles are kind of comforting: they're along regularly, they're not too catchy or memorable or successful, and then they piss off again before you can get bored of them.
Limp Bizkit- Rollin'
[01/21/2001; 2 weeks]
BACK UP BACK UP TELL ME WATCHOO GONNA DO NOW? Fred Durst is the only person to have had a number one single and be a worse dancer than Debbie Harry. Eventually the Bizkit critical reappraisal will be upon us, but not within the confines of this paragraph. Limp Bizkit, like the Smashing Pumpkins, always seemed to have the creamy filling of a half decent band, but instead of being coated in chocolate, they were coated in the annoying turd of their lead singer. “Rollin'” does actually ROCK for a number one single (the kudos Borland gets in those never ending stream of tedious guitar player magazines in your local newsagents is deserved), but, man, Durst... there's that bit where he puts his own little addendums to the end of each line (Oh? Uh-huh? What? etc.) and you're just thinking... “Why are you deliberately ruining your own song you badly dressed midget?” It could have been a beautiful career...
Atomic Kitten- Whole Again
[02/04/2001; 4 weeks]
Ah, songs that save bands from being dropped. We'll come to another one in just over a year's time with “Freak Like Me.” This... isn't as good as “Freak Like Me.” By a long shot. But it does prove that bizarre piece of chart arithmetic: Jenny Frost = sales figures. The daughters of OMD (remember: Andy McCluskey was the man who put this lot together) specialised in a kind of specifically sterile kitchen-sink pop, back from the time where you could just knock out a “pop” song and get it to number one, without having to worry about superstar bedroom producers and appealing to readers of Dazed and Confused magazine. Doesn't excuse the song for being dick, though.
Shaggy ft. RikRok- It Wasn't Me
[02/04/2001; 1 week]
“Open up man... my girl just caught me.” Those of you returning from serving in Iraq, please pay attention. Don't sit around moping about having your leg blown off, or mourning all the corpses of kids you've seen/caused. Don't become a bouncer/contract killer/homeless like the rest of your brethren. No, instead, take a tip from everyone's favourite veteran of the first Gulf War, Shaggy. Have a big hit, fuck off for four years, have another big hit, wash, rinse, repeat. A tightly packed and plotted relationship drama (no doubt a big impact on the writers of Desperate Housewives), Shaggy bellows like a town crier through the verses, and, thanks to it being mentioned by the math enthusiast/ bad ass MC guy in “Mean Girls” in his rap, it will thankfully live long in the public's memory long after the rest of these songs have faded away.
Westlife- Uptown Girl
[03/11/2001; 1 week]
Worse than “My Love.”
Hear'Say- Pure and Simple
[03/18/2001; 3 weeks]
The timeline for this seems all wrong. In my mind (and I'm guessing to yours as well) “It Wasn't Me” came a lot (maybe as much as eighteen months) later than “Pure and Simple.” But, yes, Hear'Say came a mere five years ago, left a mere three and a half years ago, and somehow released one of the biggest selling records in UK history here. The genesis of reality pop (there are maybe one or two other reality pop records to come...), and it's a lacklustre start. A cover of a song by the completely forgotten Girl Thing, it reeks of that whole sophisto-pop ideology that was starting to creep into the charts, a move away from the Spice Girls' Willem de Kooning approach to pop, and towards something a lot more mannered and presentable (some would say “manageable,” but they would obviously be complete cynics). This is the kind of shit that killed off Smash Hits in the end: pop music has much more of a mandate to offend than, say, horrorcore or shock-rock does. When it just washes over you, it fails. And this is why Hear'Say exploded so badly. More on them later.
Emma Bunton- What Took You So Long?
[04/08/2001; 2 weeks]
And our Emma became the fourth and final Spice Girl to have a number one (insert hysterical laughter aimed at Victoria's direction here), and all she had to do was channel the spirit of Lene Marlin from a mere two years prior. All of the Spice Girls had to stumble around in order to find their preferred solo genre of choice (Mel C went from pop-punk to trance to Lilith acoustic, Geri tried twenty different flavours of diva, Mel B... did something), and this was basically a way of getting Emma out there as quickly as possible so nobody forgot her. Of course, her crowning glory was her sophomore album, a stunning cocktail of Bebel Gilberto and Sandie Shaw and, as a result, it produced no singles that even came within spitting distance of the #1 spot.
Destiny's Child- Survivor
[04/22/2001; 1 week]
“You know I'm not gon' diss you on the internet.”
S Club 7- Don't Stop Movin'
[04/29/2001; 2 weeks]
The sheer volume of pro-tooling that is required to get Rachel Stevens' voice to listenable levels is a thing of wonder. Anyway, by this point S Club had officially wrestled the kiddy-pop crown from Steps, and this was filling up floors at your local youth club for a good nine months. Seriously, bitch about the death of pop all you want, but it solely comes down to people not putting together good enough dance routines for their songs anymore. S Club had a great dance routine, and they put it to a great song, exuberant faux-”Billie Jean”isms filtered through distorted vocals and Sunny Delight levels of endurance. Until Girls Aloud came along, this was the high water mark of “capital p” Pop in the 2000s.
Geri Halliwell- It's Raining Men
[05/06/2001; 2 weeks]
“So, we have an artist who patronises gay men as if they were a breed of miniature dog, and we're coming up with the soundtrack to a chick flick blockbuster... what on earth can we get her to cover?” “The Riverboat Song?” “No, no....”. “It’s Raining Men” circa 2001 comes with a completely pointless squelching bass and farting alien—or, more accurately, it’s the Pet Shop Boys taking the piss for four minutes whilst a self-obsessed anorexic midget dances badly over it. And, anyway, “From LA To New York” > “It's Raining Men”
DJ Pied Piper and the Masters of Ceremonies – Do You Really Like It?
[05/27/2001; 1 week]
Ten reasons why “Do You Really Like It?” deserves 10/10:
01. This song was my 2001. Not that I ever owned it, or deliberately sought it out, but that entire summer seemed to consist of hearing this song played to death on the radio, from car stereos, and from the shittiest of shitty nightclubs, where it was usually mixed into “Sambucca” by the Wideboys ft. Dennis G (which only made it to number fifteen in the hit parade, under-rated Italian spirit fans).[10/10]
02. One of the “Masters of Ceremonies” was actually Kamanchi Sly under a pseudonym. You probably remember Kamanchi best from his time in proto-horrorcore hip-hop act Hijack, who used to hang around with Ice T and cut moody promo shots where they stood around waste sites holding baseball bats.
03. “Bass is kickin'/ Drums is drummin'.”
04. When it comes to songs that are two or three different songs stapled together with very little concern for an overall structure, this is better than “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Paranoid Android,” and “Take Me Out” put together.
05. “Is it is it wicked?”
06. There is something much more enjoyable about bad MCing than there is about good MCing. You can't enjoy yourself if you're worried about triple-metaphors, off-meter rhymes, and other crap. Here they actually sound like they're freestyling at various times, such is the speed at which they say things that make no sense (that Alice in Wonderland bit), are ridiculously corny (see #3), or just randomly repeat the song's title and go “dur-dur-dur.”
07. Andres Segovia never made Spanish guitar sound as good as the sample in this does.
08. The guy in the middle eight who just repeats “Ayia Napa” over and over again, except he can't pronounce “Ayia Napa” properly, so it just sounds like “Ay-uh ah-bar.”
09. “For the summertime crew.” That's how it should be, summer anthems fade with the autumn, one-hit wonders have second singles that bomb, and they never get around to their album. Balance is restored.
Shaggy ft. Rayvon- Angel
[06/03/2001; 3 weeks]
So I suppose the most admirable trait about Shaggy is that he can lift up what would otherwise be a limp-as-a-dishcloth ballad into something vaguely more listenable simply by bellowing all over it, but there comes a point when Jamaican foghorns aren't enough to save a song from mediocrity. 6/10, though, because I find it funny that he's sold more records than Bob Marley.
Christina Aguilera, Lil' Kim, Mya and Pink- Lady Marmalade
[06/24/2001; 1 week]
Not so much a song as the aural equivalent of the feeling you get when trapped in a pub with a hen night party. In terms of Baz Luhrman's crimes against humanity, it is slightly better than “Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen),” but between Xtina's yodelling, Lil' Kim talking about Ataris, and Mya... does she actually do anything here? No, she doesn't. And well done on making stockings seem unsexy: quite a feat.
Hear'Say- The Way to Your Love
[07/01/2001; 1 week]
OK, you can stop laughing now. No, please, stop laughing. So, yeah, Hear'Say wilted after this one, and you may just have forgotten how this song sounds by now, considering that it hasn't been played anywhere ever since the 13th of July 2001. So, I am pleased to remind you it sounds like the music from the Lindt chocolate advert, with David-Foster-in-a-private-hospital sterile production. It probably sounds less like a number one than 98% of the records written about here, but then again, this was when reality pop was new. Oh, how fickle we are...
Roger Sanchez- Another Chance
[07/08/2001; 1 week]
What a nutcase. That obnoxious moron belongs in a mental institution. How would you like a four-foot high heart shoved in your face? This reminds me of some of Michael Jackson's later videos. Maybe the two freaks should hook up sometime. Wait, actually that won't work. I forgot that Wacko only likes little boys. Oh well, they still belong in a nuthouse together.
Robbie Williams- Eternity
[07/15/2001; 2 weeks]
His fourth number one, and it's scary to think that he'd only finally seen off the advances of Gary Barlow two weeks earlier. This is Guy-Chambers-by-numbers, the same formula followed on “Supreme” and “Let Love Be Your Energy” (and, outside of Robbie, “Real to Me” and “Irish Son”), and, y'know, there's a reason nobody recalls World Party with any fondness these days.
Atomic Kitten- Eternal Flame
[07/29/2001; 2 weeks]
Everyone loves “Eternal Flame,” right? It's like the Morgan Freeman of love songs. So you can see why a band who'd just been saved from the dumper were so keen to cover a “banker” for their follow-up, but... maybe they should have stuck to a song nobody would have minded them butchering with wafer-thin drums and a steadfast refusal to stretch to any notes they can't reach so that the whole thing ends up sounding like someone humming along to the song that's just finished on the radio rather than something that spent TWO weeks at number one.
So Solid Crew- 21 Seconds
[08/12/2001; 1 week]
HAR HAR HAR- WATCHA LAUGHIN' AT? The closest we came to a “MUST WE THROW THIS POP FILTH AT OUR KIDS?” commotion (well, until taTu rolled up two years later), it's amazing to think that this group of colourful characters, Slipknot by way of The Outhere Brothers, were ever considered “dangerous.” “21 Seconds” is basically an updated version of Kriss Kross’ “Jump.” In that spirit, it’s one of the finest number ones of the decade—a ridiculously goofy stumble through a shuffly beat and “Did you see me in the video, oh no.”
5ive- Let's Dance
[08/19/2001; 2 weeks]
The best thing about boy bands is their inevitable implosion. Indie bands just drift apart slowly and end up recording together again under 27 different pseudonyms because their members have no other friends. Boy bands, on the other hand, collide a la Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage at Wrestlemania V. 5ive's split is a perfect example of this: by this point in their career (we're just a year shy of Busted turning up—boy bands are about to evolve not revolve) Sean hated the rest of the band so much his role in the video is taken by a cardboard cutout of him. The song brings little of interest: the usual dance-pop with occasional rap stylings that 5ive brought to the table. Abs is probably a great lost popstar, Richie Neville, on the other hand, isn't.
Blue- Too Close
[09/02/2001; 1 week]
Blue! Considering “All Rise” (massively extended court metaphor) and “Fly By II” (Notorious BIG sample) cemented Blue as perhaps one of the more original and definitely one of the more insane pop acts of the post-Spice pre-Girls Aloud era, it's depressing that their number one singles were all sub K-Ci and Jojo up-tempo ballads. “Too Close” was textbook enter-the-club R&B that exists solely as a showcase for Simon Webbe's admitedly impressive baritone. “Black guy has deep voice” isn't exactly headline news enough to conjure a good song up, though.
Bob the Builder- Mambo No 5
[09/09/2001; 1 week]
So, as the Twin Towers collapsed around us, what was soundtracking us at the top of the charts? “A little bit of digging up roads/ A little bit of moving heavy roads.” Hilariously enough, this was banned from UK radio post-WTC attack in case people got upset by jovial songs about building renovation. So, in effect, a second week of this at number one was the 3,001st casualty of that fateful day in September....
DJ Otzi- Hey Baby
[09/16/2001; 1 week]
So Princess Diana's death got “The Drugs Don't Work” to number one, reflecting a national mood of mourning, loss, and of a desire to “work together” and overcome. Mohammed Atta and pals' day trip to New York left us with an Austrian man doing a Vengaboys-minus-the-E shout-through of a song by someone like Herman's Hermits except not them. Someone really should have alerted Little Green Footballs on this one.
Kylie Minogue- Can't Get You Out of My Head
[09/23/2001; 4 weeks]
It's hard to write something “new” about “Can't Get You Out Of My Head,” because Important Music Critics like that chubby guy what managed Frankie Goes To Hollywood or something have already declared it a Classic Record, like “Imagine” or “Unfinished Sympathy” or “Movies” by Alien Ant Farm. This is how to explain it: Kylie to indie kids is like David Beckham to Americans: indie kids “assume” Kylie must be the greatest pop artist currently going because, why, they've heard of her so she must have transcended boundaries with her greatness. Pop kids realise, however, that she's a petulant cheat with no left foot and a reluctance to track back when the game's not going in his favour, which is why he hasn't won a major trophy in four years. “Can't Get You Out of My Head” is a Good song, but it’s nowhere near as good as, say, “21 Seconds,” “Toca's Miracle,” “The Trouble With Me,” or a good fifteen/twenty other songs that have come this decade, and it seems that music critics “discovering” pop around 2001 discovered it completely on the wrong terms, misunderstood everything, and this is why we have to put up with fucking Goldfrapp these days. Cheers Paul.
Afroman- Because I Got High
[10/21/2001; 3 weeks]
He wasn't gonna gamble on the boat, but then he got high! Who hasn't been there, huh? The only number one single to ever explore the vast comedic opportunities of paraplegia, you can't help but feel aggravated this got to #1 whilst “I Don't Smoke” by DJ Dee Kline stunted at #11 a year earlier. But, yes! Afroman! What crazy japes will he get up to today?! He has a dirty room! He failed class! He lost his wife and kids! He's sleeping on the sidewalk! He has a vocal delivery that will make you want to stick pins in your ears! When it comes to Kevin Smith's innumerable list of crimes against humanity, this comes slightly above “Being friends with Ben Affleck” and slightly below “Being an odious misogynistic purveyor of shit films for the kind of objectionable student wasters that bought this fucking single in the first place.” 3 weeks!
Westlife- Queen of My Heart
[11/11/2001; 1 week]
Better than “Uptown Girl.”
Blue- If You Come Back
[11/18/2001; 1 week]
Holy shit, until listening to this track I'd completely forgotten all about the existence of Another Level! Remember Another Level?! They gave Ghostface Killah eight bars on a top ten single! Anyway, so Blue were always an “amiable” bunch of guys in between their discussions of the relative merits of dead Americans and dead whales, so it’s no surprise really that this stuff was bread and butter to them when they were in need of a number one single. Although it always strikes me as a vote of no-confidence from a record label if they let you release something in mid November: “No, we don't think you're good enough to try for Christmas number one.” Poor chaps.
S Club 7- Have You Ever
[11/25/2001; 1 week]
Jo Jo Jo Jo Jo. Seriously, what were the other six members of the band doing all this time? If I was Ms. O'Meara I'd be slightly pissed off that my paychecks were getting split seven-ways when I was working overtime. I'd also be pissed off that I was recording such twinkle-eyed dull mimsy and releasing it as the traditional “end of November S Club wintery” single.
Daniel Bedingfield- Gotta Get Thru This
[12/02/2001; 3 weeks]
“When your love comes pouring like the rain/ I close my eyes and it's gone again.” Now, considering how Mr. Bedingfield has spent the rest of the decade as a roly-poly purveyor of crap acoustic singer-songwritery and nearly dying in car crashes, some have suggested that this may have been the work of another songwriter, perhaps a cult pop producer who had a couple of top 10s of his own in mid 2003. Absolute poppycock, obviously. Anyway, at this point Bedingfield was exciting and new, one-part White Town and two-parts N'Sync, and this was genius, a tugging-at-the-heartstrings piece of singer-songwriter Radio 2ness sexed up with bedroom pop and speed garage aspirations, and, you know, you can dance to it and you can cry to it, and there's very little other uses for music than dancing and crying. Much respect for the Beppe DiMarco leather jacket/black t-shirt/goatee combo he sports in the vid as well.
Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman- Somethin' Stupid
[12/16/2001; 3 weeks]
I am the only person who actually liked “How Wonderful You Are?” by Gordon Haskell, huh? Anyway, this kept that off of number one, from the era where Robbie wasn't happy merely to ape Sinatra but developed the need to parrot him as well. He's no Frank, Nicole is certainly no Nancy, and the all-important incest vibe is replaced with two people who appear to have never met each other before (and have no desire to meet each other again). So, all we end up with is chocolate box romance—to rot the teeth and blunt the senses.
Aaliyah- More Than a Woman
[01/13/2002; 1 week]
George Harrison- My Sweet Lord
[01/20/2002; 1 week]
Too much is made of the success of dead musicians. 2Pac would have gotten to #1 with “Ghetto Gospel” even if he was still alive. Ditto Gentleman Jim Reeves back in the 60s. However, Hendrix wouldn't have had a cat in hell's chance, and ditto for these two. Baby Girl and the Quiet One, the first felled by a coked-up pilot and overloaded luggage, the latter cancered-up, and considering how much was made of “Back to back posthumous number ones,” it makes a perverse sense to review them together. They're both down-tempo but danceable, the first stirrings of rhythm at the wake rather than the dirge at coffinside. Aaliyah covers the Bee Gees, George opts for Hinduism, and you just nod appreciatively rather than wail because, y'know, they weren't going to record much better than this if they'd kept on living anyway.
[8/10] and [10/10]
Enrique Iglesias- Hero
[01/27/2002; 4 weeks]
I suppose the only real fair litmus test to apply to this song is: “When you've been in the midst of pathetic love have its pretensions ever seem applicable?” The annoying thing is that yes, they have. It took Enrique three years to record something after “Bailamos,” and at least he bothered with a number one when he came back, something to soundtrack kissing scenes in movies and failed romantic meals in real life. Dude still can't dress for shit though.
Westlife- World of Our Own
[02/24/2002; 1 week]
Much better than “Queen Of My Heart.”
Will Young- Evergreen
[03/03/2002; 3 weeks]
At this point we didn't know that Will Young was the Greatest Living Male Pop Star, he was just a gay politics graduate with a plum in his mouth who had been handicapped with his first song by being handed something that was obviously intended for the guy that came in second (it’s actually a cover of a Westlife album track, and would have suited Gareth's twinkle-eyed boyishness rather than Will's funny looking mouth). So this is before the Top Gun and Blue Peter pastiches, the dressing up as an Italian communist leader, taking world music acts on tour with him, and working with Nitin Sawhney. And it's not very good. It's also proof that Simon Cowell makes much better TV than he does decisions about an artist's direction...
Gareth Gates- Unchained Melody
[03/24/2002; 4 weeks]
Cowell thankfully didn't fuck up Will's career as he was too busy fucking up Mr. Gates' over a period of three years. Gates was prone to some fuck-ups of his own though, specifically fucking up “Unchained Melody”... except you can't. You can't ruin this song. The fact that Gates possibly holds the world record for the voice with the least soul ever can only drag this down to “above average.”
Oasis- The Hindu Times
[04/21/2002; 1 week]
I really am beginning to regret using the throwaway one-line review structure on Westlife singles when they could have so easily have been use to save me thinking about Oasis tracks for longer than four seconds after they've finished. “The Hindu Times,” as is the fashion for “event” Oasis singles is basically T-Rex if Marc Bolan had never gotten laid, and goes on for about 47 minutes. Liam claims that god gave him soul (in his “reeeeoock and rowowoowowelllll”). He's lying.
Sugababes- Freak Like Me
[04/28/2002; 1 week]
Fourteen months after Atomic Kitten, a much more palatable way to rescue your career. Whereas now lazy bastard music journalists can formulate a “thought piece” by randomly using the words “Myspace” “Arctic Monkeys” and “iPod generation,” back then all your friendly neighbourhood hack had to do was say the word “mash-up,” and everyone would nod at him and go “Ahhhhhhh.” So it fell to the Sugababes, who at this point were a failed urban act with no personality and even less commercial appeal, to jump on the bandwagon, possibly making “choo-choo” noises with it, and flower into the wonderful Heathers-of-R&B that we now know them as. This was revolutionary back then (or at least different), but being impressed by this song now is like being impressed by the graphics for Virtua Racer on the Sega Saturn.
Holly Valance- Kiss Kiss
[05/05/2002; 1 week]
“Tonight you're gonna get my... mwah-mwah.” So, when it comes down to it, what do the British actually like? Two things: Australian soap stars in their pants, and kebab shops. So why not get an Australian soap star in the nuddy to cover one of those ever-popular Turkish MTV hits that accompany the cry of “You want special sauce with that boss?”, and land yourself an ever-easy number one single? Valance, of course, is more famous these days for being dropped from a record deal roughly every six weeks (and, sweet mother of God, “working” with Har Mar Superstar).
Ronan Keating- If Tomorrow Never Comes
[05/12/2002; 1 week]
The Alan Shearer of pop returning to bore everyone into yet more sleep apnea wouldn’t be worth noting, if not for the fact that this is a Garth Brooks cover (apparently he's quite a big star in America?), making “If Tomorrow Never Comes” the first country #1 in the UK since “Coward of the Country” 22 years prior. And you wonder why everyone hates country over here?
Liberty X- Just a Little
[05/19/2002; 1 week]
They just want to get with your flow! Fantastically enough, Liberty X were somehow even more hopeless than Hear'Say, but pop gods have been known to smile on lesser bands occasionally and give them something you can actually dance to. Anyway, so Liberty X were the bandmembers too useless to actually get into Hear'Say, and who for one shining moment allowed entertainment mag writers to pen dreary “WHY BRITAIN LOVES AN UNDERDOG” articles when they briefly outsold their elder brothes and sisters. However, then they did the Eastenders variety hour, and everything goes a bit cloudy after that. One member of Liberty X was last seen on the series prior of The Games, breaking his leg.
Eminem- Without Me
[05/26/2002; 1 week]
“Obie Trice, real name no gimmicks.” So, whilst this song helped transform Obie Trice into the multi-million selling household name he is today, it also marked the last time a Mathers' solo single didn't actually cloud the eyes over to listen to. Incidentally, no song has been written as badly about this decade as “Without Me,” this is from the dawn of the, cough, “blogosphere” so we were treated to a thousand badly penned missives about the “irony” of the “Nobody listens to techno” line (“it is techno, I declare it the whimsical jape of the season”), or the “significance” of him dressing up as Osama to close the video (no good music review has ever contained the phrase “post-9/11.” Fact.), or myriad other inanities. It's just an above-average hip-pop track with vaguely EDGY lyrics. You know, like “Because I Got High.”
Will Young- Light My Fire
[06/02/2002; 2 weeks]
Better. Not “good” yet, but better. This did have the further downside though of making it impossible to go to a coffee shop or wine bar or twenty percent of gigs for the following six months without some cretin with an acoustic guitar offering you their version of “Light My Fire.” Yes, we get it, you're “reclaiming” the song. You're also murdering it.
Elvis vs. JXL- A Little Less Conversation
[06/16/2002; 4 weeks]
See the forthcoming entry for “Make Luv” by Room 5.
Gareth Gates- Anyone of Us (Stupid Mistake)
[07/14/2002; 3 weeks]
So many artists over the past three years had tried to copy the early-period Britney Spears hit formula, some successfully (LeAnn Rimes), some not so (Mandy Moore), but... this is total Spears-carbon copying. Twinkly pianos, big-wide puppy dog eyes, big key change for the final chorus... just listen to that “I made a stupid mistake” line. He even sounds like Britney! Despite the fact he has a Y-chromosome! High concept, that.
[08/04/2002; 2 weeks]
I suppose the stability of this chart period (four singles in a row spending over a week at number one) was something to cherish, if not some of the songs... anyway, yes, Darius, twelve-foot tall Scotsman, former reality TV joke, then reality TV plucky underdog, now reality TV nobody and no doubt lined up for the next series of I'm A Celebrity. He wore kilts sometimes, he used to have a ponytail, he looked like a rapist. His discography ran the usual “have acoustic guitar plus the accepted “pop” noises of the day, will travel” gamut, and, fuck it, we don't need a new Wet Wet Wet.
Sugababes- Round Round
[08/18/2002; 1 week]
Xenomania's first number one single! Higgins and Cooper may be fetishized to an unhealthy degree by pop kids, but that's because until they started working with Texas and New Order and other joke bands of the late 80s they were pretty much unimpeachable as producers. “Round Round” is how simple pop music should be: an identifiable motif (the song is called “Round Round,” the music has a sound of swirly effect to it, thus to dance to it you must go “Round round”), the title is repeated to hell (31 uses of the word “round” in three minutes), and they have some wacky hair-dos in the video. Of course, Xenomania's true moment of greatness was still four months away...
Blazin' Squad- Crossroads
[08/25/2002; 1 week]
The first time I tried to “acquire” this track to review it again, I accidentally downloaded a 30 second clip of it being played with the Nokia 3310 Composer. Y'see, kids with their Realtones or whatever they're called nowadays don't know that back then we had to make do with a choice of 32 different bleepy noises, from which we all formed “Ugly” by Bubba Sparxxx. Anyway, the Squad, as the story goes were two rival gangs brought together by a youth group project to form the only ever garage boyband. Except this has as much influence from garage music as it does from, say, Pearls Before Swine. Instead, it's yet more of the spawn of Another Level (most influential band of the past ten years, obviously), wrapping their lips around the Bone Thugs-n-Harmony “classic,” and adding their own personalized four bar raps to help establish their identity on the track. Possibly the most Estuary #1 single ever.
Atomic Kitten- The Tide is High (Get the Feeling)
[09/01/2002; 3 weeks]
I remember some uber-douche writing into The Guardian (where else would they write to, huh?) to say “Hah, my daughter wants the ringtone for “The Tide Is High” by this Atomic Kitten beat combo. I say to her “Why can't you have the ringtone for the original version?”, which as everybody knows was recorded by Blondie.” It's believed this letter was the original inspiration for the “roll eyes” smiley, so popular on message boards these days.
Pink- Just Like a Pill
[09/22/2002; 1 week]
“You're just like a pill / Instead of making me better / You keep making me ill.” So we all know that Pink is the worst living lyricist. And she makes horrid videos as well, metaphors so tortured as to make her a visual Tomás de Torquemada. So, really, her entire oeuvre is nothing more than Meatloaf without the rock opera.
Will Young and Gareth Gates- The Long and Winding Road
[09/29/2002; 2 weeks]
Remembering that the original of this song was so shit that Paul split up the Beatles as soon as he realised what he'd done, did it really need bringing back, accompanied by the spirit of Simply Red smiling malevolently over the whole enterprise? Look, it's this simple: reality pop stars are judged (in theory) on their ability to SING. Thus, the first album for reality pop stars consists of them HITTING NOTES and SHOWING THEIR RANGE. This means the albums are, by default, popular but dull. It's when the second albums comes along that they get to show they're POP ability, and so they either swim (Will Young, Kelly Clarkson, Lemar) or sink (pretty much everyone else).
Las Ketchup-The Ketchup Song (Aserje)
[10/13/2002; 1 week]
“Y la baila / And he dances / Y la canta!” A vast improvement on DJ Otzi when it comes to what package holidayers were bringing back from their vacation and into the charts, “The Ketchup Song,” as well as being my mother's favourite song of the past twenty years, is also a slice of dumber-than-dumb Europop that's matched in its greatness only recently by O-Zone. The Spanglish inanity, the driving lyrics, the incessant “Dance y'bastards” beat, the fact that they do “Rapper's Delight” roughly 26 times better than Sugarhill Gang ever managed... and they dance on bars in the video! There are no bad songs that involve people dancing on the bar in videos. Fact.
Nelly ft. Kelly Rowland- Dilemma
[10/20/2002; 2 weeks]
A fantastic exercise in self-aggrandisement from ol' elastoplast features, wherein he gets her to turn up on a track and read a pre-written statement including the lines “Nelly, I love you,” “Even when I'm with my boo, boy you know I'm crazy over you,” and “I need you... more than you'll ever know.” Nelly, obviously so used to the fawning attention despite being around 5 foot 3, returns the favour by shouting out various plots of land he's visited, occasionally pausing to point out that the hook is a woman telling him how great he is. Never before has someone wanked themselves so hard into the top 40: “fuck you Nelly,” as I believe the song goes.
DJ Sammy & Yanou ft. Do- Heaven
[11/03/2002; 1 week]
Oh, wait, I've just discovered who killed trance. Stunningly joyless synth-farts for people too unable to find themselves caught up in the moment to dance that they need the distance of irony (look! Uncool song remixed!) in order to get them to appreciate anything.
[11/10/2002; 1 week]
Worse than “World of Our Own.”
Christina Aguilera ft. Redman- Dirrrty
[11/17/2002; 2 weeks]
“If you ain't dirrty, you ain't here to PAR-TAYYYYYYYYYYY!” Paradigm shift ahoy as pop discovers skankiness, aided solely by Redman gutting one of his own songs for Xtina, simulated fellatio, and some dog noises. Thoughts:
1) How do you “sweat until your clothes come off,” unless your attire is made of some sort of rice paper-esque material?[5/10]
2) Considering she appears to be taking part in a boxing match (there's cornermen and the referee separates them for clinching), why is Xtina's opponent wearing a luchador mask?
3) How camp is Redman? He actually minces at the end of the video.
4) Were there really adverts for child prostitutes in the original version of this?
5) I apologise for the sub-observational comedy routine, but this song has bad memories for me, as it was the big song of the Xmas 2002 period when I was employed as a bartender for office parties. Just hearing this song gives me a Pavlovian desire to serve yet another Bailey's.
Daniel Bedingfield- If You're Not the One
[12/01/2002; 1 week]
Yay, he's dull again. He'd actually released “James Dean (I Wanna Know)” in one final attempt at bedroom bounce-pop weirdness before he finally resigned himself to providing the closing credits music for rom-coms, but as soon as he let himself go, he really went. His sister should be along in a couple of years though, so maybe we'll get some joy there.
Eminem- Lose Yourself
[12/08/2002; 1 week]
“There's no Mekhi Phifer, this is my life.” The high point of Eminem's worldwide commerciality (#1 in 19 countries!), it's like a Springsteen song with no women, all blue-collar escapism and Protestant work ethic. It's just stunningly joyless though, driven by one of those “Eminem can't produce” beats that never goes anywhere and you can't feel happy for the guy because he barely sounds happy for himself. Still... 19 countries!
Blue ft. Elton John- Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
[12/15/2002; 1 week]
OK, so this time around they were thought worthy of a run at the Xmas #1. They weren't good enough for it, but at least they tried. It should’ve worked: Blue stumbled across a sure-fire formula for low-level chart smashes by getting a name attached to the song (they did a similar thing later with Stevie Wonder), but to be honest it would’ve been so much better if they could have gotten someone other than Elton John to karaoke with. Maybe Stan Ridgway: a Chrimbo cover of “Camouflage” would have been just the ticket in those dark days before we solved terrorism.
Girls Aloud- Sound of the Underground
[12/22/2002; 4 weeks]
If you thought this was getting anything other than 10/10, you probably had us mistaken for another site. This single is the one that launched the best pop group ever, killed off One True Voice, pissed off Pete Waterman, proved Louis Walsh wasn't a total imbecile, gave us Nicola Roberts, and just happened to be the first decent Xmas #1 since the Pet Shop Boys 15 years previously. Anything other than 10/10 would just be churlish.
David Sneddon- Stop Living the Lie
[12/01/2003; 2 weeks]
Actually, I was a bit hasty there in calling “Addicted To Bass” the single of the decade. It may be top 20, but it's not as good as, oooh, the following: “Party Up (Up in Here),” “Ante Up,” “Who's Got the Crack?,” “Love Machine,” “If I Ever Feel Better,” “Babe, I'm on Fire,” “Left Outside Alone,” “Valentine,” and that soca track with the dude toasting over “Bittersweet Symphony.” At no point has David Sneddon ever been a single of the decade, year, month, week, or second contender.
taTu- All the Things She Said
[02/02/2003; 4 weeks]
“They say it's my fault... BUT I WANT HER SO MUCH!” A much better Springsteen-style “Me and you against the world, sugar” track than “Lose Yourself,” possibly because here “sugar” = lesbian nymphs and in Mr. Rabbit's case it was a microphone. Teenage sexuality > recording equipment. This track is notable for many things, but let’s talk about two: 1) Trevor Horn warming up for producing Belle and Sebastian by basically recording the equivalent of a platoon of tanks bumping Eurohouse from their stereo whilst driving over your house. 2) Faux-lesbian Russians bringing the sole true pop outrage to the papers this decade. I mean, that guy from So Solid Crew actually fucking killed someone, and the papers gave this at fifteen times as much coverage and disgusted-in-Tunbridge-Wells shock. Shit like this has a mission statement to offend and knock hats off of people's heads. Otherwise, you end up with David Sneddon.
Christina Aguilera- Beautiful
[03/02/2002; 2 weeks]
Y'see, when you combine this song with “Dirrrty” you get all the knowledge you'll ever need about women: chicks that put out on the first date are all insane and suicidal. Anyway, we're back to Xtina's TECHNICAL ABILITY that was her original selling point and “Official Reason She's Better Than Britney,” before she discovered the joy of whale's tail thongery. And look what a cast of wacky character she's dragged along with her! There's Dave the Drag Queen, Comedy Weightlifter, The Gayz, Anorexic Liz, and Bus Punk. It's the power ballad equivalent of those Orson's Farm cartoons they used to intersperse Garfield with.
Gareth Gates and The Kumars- Spirit in the Sky
[03/16/2002; 2 weeks]
“Not Wembley you idiot, he means Heaven!” Now, if Sanjeev Bhaskar in a jumpsuit doesn't scream out “comedy” to you, then I don't know what does. Should you cut dreadful songs some slack just because they're done for charity? Well, considering we're a mere 20 months away from Band Aid 20 at this point, no. Especially because hearing Dizzee rap about “help for the helpless” is a lot funnier than Meera Syal doing her “Look! Old woman! But randy! From hence the humour arises” routine. Anita and Me was good, though.
Room 5 ft. Oliver Cheatham- Make Luv
[30/03/2003; 4 weeks]
So, as I was saying about JXL, there's something rather unedifying about... OK, sampling a well-known and played-out song is good, everyone knows it and you give it a breath of life and turn it all around. Similarly, crate-digging to find this obscure record that was originally heard by just four people, and turning that into your dancefloor smash is also admirable. However, letting someone else discover a forgotten track (i.e., the soundtrackers for either Ocean's Eleven or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City), then just going “Yeah, we'll remix that, do either Nike or Lynx need some advert music?” is the sound of a scoundrel, my dear. At least JXL was vaguely pleasurable to listen to. This is just an old bloke coughing over the beats one would associate with much loved low-level drinking establishment Edward's on a Friday night.
Busted- You Said No
[04/27/2003; 1 week]
Yeah, we all did.
[05/04/2003; 1 week]
This was the song Judge Jules played at midnight New Year's Eve 2002. You can tell how far in the past we still are here because we're talking about a time when people actually knew who Judge Jules was and what he was playing made any difference to the charts. Is it recorded what Zane Lowe played at midnight last New Year's Eve? No, no it isn't. Anyway, post-“Zombie Nation” po-faced German hilarity, but you need a support act before the big show, right? And the fucking Cirque du Soleil of 00s pop is just around the corner...
R. Kelly- Ignition (Remix)
[5/11/2003; 4 weeks]
Can any more really be written about how great this song is? Of course it can. Singing with the pleasure of enjoying a weekend out as only a man that has just have gotten off a long-term prison sentence on a technicality can, Bobby seems to be running on a list of pure quote-worthiness (“Toot toot, beep beep,” “So what I'm drunk,” “You must be a football the way you got me playing the field,” “Take it to your room and (pause) somebody”). Seriously, post- “Ignition (Remix),” Oscar Wilde having more entries in “Notable Witticisms” books than Kels is nothing short of a disgrace. It makes me worry about the future of mankind that there may be one or two amongst us who don't dance in a similar fashion to the Arcade Fire-dude at the end of this video whenever “Now, errr... usually I don't do this” hits the speakers. Stylus single of the decade, remember?
Evanescence- Bring Me to Life
[06/08/2003; 4 weeks]
Well, after the party we have the penance. Walking around any town centre these days, you can see aged-Goths pushing prams around. It's at this level of societal permeation that you can actually have a Goth-rock AM smash. It's good though, if a little too goofy: the “Well, if we put a rap at the end here we can probably get some nu-metal cache, right?” moment still seems as incongruous as it did three summers back, the lyrics are dreadful, and there still is something a little unnerving with having guitars that are, you know, LOUD at number one. Still, four weeks of a guy that pisses on children followed by four weeks of “How great is Christ?” at number one proves the UK top 40 is far superior to any other country’s chart. You know it's true.
Beyonce- Crazy in Love
[07/06/2003; 3 weeks]
“Tex-churrrr.” Remember when she danced on that dead president's tomb? Of course the girl's handicapped by going on straight after “Ignition (Remix)” and “Bring Me to Life,” but, I dunno... she doesn't help herself. She has no charisma whatsoever. Some fashion photographer or other argued that what stopped Claudia Schiffer from becoming a true-superstar was her lack of sex appeal, and her lack of sex appeal came from the fact that she was just an anthropomorphic Barbie doll.
Daniel Bedingfield- Never Gonna Leave Your Side
[07/24/2003; 1 week]
A kind of bland, flavourless one week sorbet after the epoch-defining three course, three week meal that came before it. I've managed to go throughout this entire article so far without using the word “drippy.” This is where I use it.
Blu Cantrell ft. Sean Paul- Breathe
[08/03/2003; 4 weeks]
“Remix gon' make their heads swell.” As far as porn stars turning to pop goes, it definitely has a few points up on “Touch Me (I Want Your Body),” or that Manics track with Traci Lords. Post-“In Da Club” drumbeat of doom, Blu loses her mind but still manages to do her make-up perfectly, and then Sharni Par... 2003 was his year, and it’s a shame, a damn shame that this was the only number one single he managed. Look: “Gimme the Light,” “Get Busy,” “Breathe,” and “Like Glue”: no artist has put out four singles in a row that good since Prince's heyday. Prove me wrong. “Baby Boy” and “I'm Still in Love with You” were gash though.
Elton John- Are You Ready for Love?
[08/31/2003; 1 week]
Used by Sky to promote the start of the 2003/04 Premiership season, the theory perhaps being that the existence of Big Sam Allardyce gets anyone, male, female, gay, or straight ready for love. Anyway, if you're gonna dig up some minor hit from the mid-70s and relaunch it for a new generation, can't you at least give it a perfunctory bad remix, like those dudes did with “Satellite of Love”? It just sounds like I've tuned into Classic Gold by accident otherwise.
Black Eyed Peas ft. Justin Timberlake- Where Is the Love?
[09/07/2003; 6 weeks]
Holy shit, that's a 42 day period I never want to repeat ever again. Not even for this article.
Sugababes- Hole in the Head
[10/19/2003; 1 week]
Well, when it comes to songs that reference Ricki Lake it certainly has the dukes over “Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” and “Strong” by Robbie Williams but... I dunno. I think critical history may be slightly unfair to the Sugababes solely because we'd already (the critics, if not the record buying public) elevated Girls Aloud to the status level of The Girl Band of the 00s. The Sugababes always seemed more interchangeable (Mis-Teeq were always around to play the Other R&B act, Girls Aloud ran uncontested), and of course there's the great Pop Kid “Fear of Urban Music” factor, but... well, GA were just better. Mutya et al. weren't bad though, and no band can point to their asses like the 'babes did.
Fatman Scoop/Crooklyn Clan- Be Faithful
[10/26/2003; 2 weeks]
“What's your zodiac sign? What! What's your zodiac sign? What!” It must have been so easy for the office party DJ this year. R. Kelly, Beyonce, and BEP had all gone number one, not to mention the aforementioned Sean Paul four-play and some song called “Hey Ya” spending NEARLY FIVE MONTHS in the top ten, but this was such an obvious party starter to get Steve from accounts and Debbie in HR moving around after their third Schnapps. It's the most fun insanity we've had this decade: Faith Evans and Black Sheep put in a blender before some guy shouts some of the most inane call-and-response lines ever (the call for astrological definition is merely the start of it, it reaches its pinnacle during the weave discussion). It's instant floor-filler in a can. A big fat can.
Kylie Minogue- Slow
[11/09/2003; 1 week]
Kylie does German minimalistic techno. Reinhard Voigt reported “shook.”
Busted- Crashed the Wedding
[11/16/2003; 1 week]
Charlie Busted really is the worst person from pop music in the past six years. I include Megaman in that, and he killed someone. But throughout Busted's career, passable power-pop numbers were ruined by his face and desire to inject REAL PASSION into the songs, mainly by caterwauling over them in some sort of weird impression of that dude from Staind.
[11/23/2003; 1 week]
Worse than “Unbreakable.”
Will Young- Leave Right Now
[11/30/2003; 2 weeks]
Better. Much, much better. By this time Will was comfortable as a popstar, prepared to add a little WTF to his videos (here he has a fight with the viewer in an art gallery), and had his style down pat: jacket and jeans rocked to a level not seen since Lovejoy and Tinker were bossing things in the late 80s. He had songs to match as well: “Leave Right Now” is just one of the most English songs ever, which is understandable: what could be more English than a privately educated homosexual? The guy's a moderate genius—Dido with testicles and a heart.
Ozzy & Kelly Osbourne- Changes
[12/14/2003; 1 week]
If the stupid cunt hadn't have crashed his buggy this never need have gotten to number one. However, on the other hand, if he had died in that crash this would have been the Christmas number one, so we can thank the Lord for small mercies. But anyway, hello and welcome to the worst number one single of the past six years. Or ever. I'm not too sure. You have two people who can't sing. Firstly, you don't get them to do a fucking ballad, as a result. Secondly, Ozzy and Kelly appear to be having a contest as to who can add the most whine to their vocal track. Kelly in particular sounds like someone had to explain the concept of “singing” to her shortly before the recording session, and they got to take 37 before someone said “Fuck it, she's never going to get it, let's stick with what we've got.” Oh. And the piano sounds like a blind guy has tuned it. HOLY SHIT THEY'VE BROUGHT A GOSPEL CHOIR IN. THIS IS THE WORST THING EVER. Except... except “Dry Your Eyes” is still to come.
Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules - Mad World
[12/21/2003; 3 weeks]
Because nothing says Christmas like Jake Gyllenhaal. Look, it kept “Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End)” off of the number one spot, it's churlish to ask any more of it. Dumbly catchy for a suicide anthem, but then again so was the theme to M*A*S*H*.
Michelle McManus- All This Time
[01/03/2004; 3 weeks]
Simon Cowell Don't Care About Fat People. So Michelle McManus takes the Pop Idol victory at the precise moment when the general public are getting a bit “hang on a minute...” about reality pop. Indeed, you can claim that her victory was a reaction to what was seen as a sterile and factory farmed musical environment: here was someone who was Different. 20 stones worth of difference. So, what a sane person would have done is send them out there to do “Fuck you” diva tracks, launch her career with a cover of “Be a Man” (either the one by Divine or Hole, it doesn't really matter), and consider yourself a success for launching a force of nature into the charts. Nope, Simon knows best: instead we get Celine 2K4. Michelle is currently more famous for having Gillian McKeith pore through her feces on primetime television than her recorded output.
LMC vs. U2- Take Me to the Clouds Above
[02/01/2004; 1 week]
I was really looking forward to listening to this song again after two years, and then I remembered I was actually thinking about “Lola's Theme” by Shapeshifters. Ah well. U2 without Bono but with a vocal-house diva singing Whitney Houston lyrics may sound like a good thing, on account of it not containing Bono, but there are certain downsides. These being: the rest of U2, a vocal house diva, and Whitney Houston lyrics. Also paved the way for Mylo's “Dr. Beat,” which is something like being the doctor that delivered Stalin.
Sam and Mark- With a Little Help from My Friends
[02/15/2004; 1 week]
Greater men than I have already discussed this.
Busted- Who's David
[02/22/2004; 1 week]
Haven't McFly turned up yet? Anyway, with “Who's David” Busted invented Hard-Fi, which just adds to their Eichmann-sized list of crimes against popular music. It’s a touching slice of dinner-plate-crashing-against-the-wall misogyny, the extent of which would even have MC Ren castigating the young upstarts for not treating women with enough respect.
Peter Andre- Mysterious Girl
[02/29/2004; 1 week]
Hmmm. It was all a scam of course. The record label had decided to re-release this long before Pete's six-pack had returned to our screens courtesy of I'm A Celebrity..., and considering Chris Moyles doesn't care for music one iota, he was the perfect person to launch a bogus “WE MUST GET THIS SONG RERELEASED. Do you remember the 90s? Do you? We all wore flares and deely boppers and ate prawn cocktails and drank Rubicon” campaign. Victoria Newton probably joined in as well, as is her want. And so we all felt like we “achieved” something, and then bought a record to soundtrack our nights of post-modern pre-irony student disco triple vodka/double Red Bulls. Or something. I can't hate on it to any intense degree, because stripped of the bullshit that surrounds it, it's a perfectly serviceable slice of mid 90s pop ragga, and as Chaka Demus and Pliers didn't seem too keen on a reality TV comeback, Andre had to do it. Note: this does not absolve him of his later sins.
Britney Spears- Toxic
[03/07/2004; 1 week]
Cathy Dennis lands Stateside, channels Xenomania, and we're left with a song that's as tightly choreographed as any of La Spears' stage show dance routines. Sure, her acting ability didn't pull up any trees in Crossroads, but this is an Oscar-winning display, because before now you couldn't picture her as a slinky seductress. Try-too-hard 15 year old Perverted-Justice.com bait, yes. Disinterested stripper, yes. But film noir tear-your-heart-out-and-then-ask-you-to-pay-the-wine-bill? Never. When was the last time Cathy Dennis ever let you down? Oh yeah, Jentina. Right.
DJ Casper- Cha Cha Slide
[03/14/2004; 1 week]
“One hop this time!” So, yes, the song written with the intent of being a Serious And Canonical Pop Classic was knocked off the number one spot by the release of a song that came out in America in something like 1947, consisting of a fat MC Hammer look-alike shouting instructions to non-existent dances. The truly annoying thing about it is that it isn't actually good enough to be subversive: it's just an over-promoted work-out tape, and if there's one thing the 00s didn't need, it was more of them. Also: how does one “Charlie Brown”?
Usher ft. Lil' Jon and Ludacris- Yeah
[03/21/2004; 2 weeks]
This is how you do a guest rap. Nobody else in this entire article managed it right, but Luda knows what's up. Usher spends an entire evening with us, the finest food, the most expensive wines, the best service, the most exclusive nightclub, the sweetest dancing, before coming home and spending four hours just teasing every single each of our body, until we're crying out for it so much. Then he continues even further and further... and then Ludacris turns us, longdicks us for three strokes, and we squirt all over the sheets. The wet patch in this metaphor is Lil Jon, obviously.
McFly- Five Colours in Her Hair
[04/04/02004; 2 weeks]
As one wit on my MSN list once put it: “Jan and Dean as recorded by Status Quo.” Oh, with that weird stolen-from-“Mrs Robinson” bit as well. Anyway, so by this time Busted were old and, um, Busted, and McFly were here to save the day from Busted turning themselves into Saves the Day. The project was partially successful, possibly because it's more enjoyable for a band to model themselves on Green Day than The Offspring, or probably because Charlie Eyebrows wasn't actually a member of the band. Written about the lead actress in As If... fact fans, and when we get to writing “Dom Passantino's survey of the new millennium's teen-orientated dramas,” that will likewise be a...
Eamon- F**k It (I Don't Want You Back)
[04/18/2004; 4 weeks]
Frankee- F.U.R.B (F U Right Back)
[05/16/2004; 4 weeks]
And so the 2000s equivalent of the Roxanne Wars began, claiming Morrissey's only ever realistic chance of a number one single in collateral damage. But there were downsides as well. For instance, two months saw the charts being ruled by a Jamie Lynn DiScala lookalike, and Eamon, who permanently looked like he was being birthed. M.O.P. and the Super Furry Animals both got more swearing into the top 40 (“Ante Up” and “The Man Don't Give a Fuck” respectively”), but they didn't THROW A PEPPERONI PIZZA OFF A DINNER TABLE. That's when you knew Eamon meant business. Anyway, “ho-wop” never really happened as a movement, and Frankee's version is better for the “Fuck it, I faked it” line.
[5/10] and [6/10]
Mario Winans ft. Enya and P.Diddy- I Don't Wanna Know
[06/06/2004; 2 weeks]
So it took four and a half years for Diddy to ascend to the top of the UK Charts this decade, and he brought Enya along with him for the ride, as well as Mario Winans, who doesn't have a strong enough voice to carry a track like this. It's effectively a well-prepared soup with no seasoning, all the ingredients are there but it just falls flat and you end up wondering when Pras Michel is gonna turn up. He never does...
Britney Spears- Everytime
[06/20/2004; 1 week]
If you listen to certain gossip columnists, you can go “Kurt Cobain to Michael Stipe to Stephen Dorff to Britney Spears,” which is possibly the funniest chain in page seven history. Don't let it detract though: crippled ballerina music boxes take the number one spots, because if there's any way a star like Britney is going to kill herself, she's going to have do something pretty while she still can first. Eventually this is probably going to feel like the last Spears single before she went in at the deep end, but just listen to those pauses in this track... for a woman who has gone over the top as much as Britney, it's a blessing for her to learn that what you don't do is a lot more important than what you do.
[06/27/2004; 1 week]
Teen angst dethrones mid 20s angst at the number one spot, as four puppy dogs (well, three puppy dogs and a man channelling the spirit of that dude from Reef), to tell the story of how the girl they love is dating a man who is, get this, 23 years old. He may as well be dead, huh? Yeah, McFly always have been doing it for the kids, but then again they've been pretty undernourished this decade with pop, so it's not as if one can fault them for it. Bringing back the strained acoustic-rock track, a la Extreme, though is something you can fault them for.
[07/04/2004; 2 weeks]
Who wouldn't be upset after Ludacris stopped hanging out with them? I'll tell you who: a fool, and Usher Raymond's poppa didn't raise no goddamn fool. A completely rote “We've done the club anthem, we gotta do the down-tempo break-up track now” construct, but again, Usher's fame was so big at this point (as a solo artist, nobody peaked as highly on both sides of the Atlantic at the same time since arguably Michael Jackson) that it hardly mattered. Note: Usher's like that chick in the “88 Lines About 44 Women” with his way of turning sex into a song.
Shapeshifters- Lola's Theme
[07/18/2004; 1 week]
Summer anthem 2004 and a heady throwback to those long days of plucky Greek underdogs, Victor and Jason bossing things proper in the Big Brother garden (“I. Am. Getting. The. Sniffles.”), and 400 people dying in a Paraguayan supermarket fire. Happy times. “Lola's Theme” brought to mind “Flawless” by The Ones (another song that should have gotten to number one), but with less of an emphasis on V.I.P. only fashion label launches, and instead with an eye towards the kind of nightclub where you go to the toilet and come back to discover a large pool of blood on the middle of the dancefloor. “Lola's Theme” is the true sound of bored provincialism.
The Streets- Dry Your Eyes
[07/25/2004; 1 week]
Wilmott-Brown felt a brief moment of regret, but he continued raping Kathy anyway.
[08/01/2004; 2 weeks]
Wow, I'd completely forgotten that they'd brought a Thunderbirds movie out. Anyway, this is Busted's best single ever, it sounds like Lit or The Living End or some other Anzac punk-pop 98 vintage, with the Thunderbirds theme played on power chords like any good local band would know how (you gotta bring the punters in with HUMOUR). Charlie's voice is completely swallowed by the other two realising that they've got three minutes of record material left to get paid—definitely on some Fleetwood Mac “the band all hate each other so they finally start making good music” shit.
3 of a Kind- Baby Cakes
[08/15/2004; 1 week]
“I just want you to know: oh oh!” 2-step three summers after they shut Ayia Napa down, 3 of a Kind were basically the Showaddywaddy of speed garage. But it's churlish to knock anyone down for achieving notoriety through nostalgia for what has only just passed (heck, it's the basis for this entire article), so we cut slack. And, as... arse-clenchy corny as this song was, it did bring back what was good about the original 2-step movement, a kind of dumb sun-drenched approach to skittish pop, except this time paired with the kind of rap skills they teach at young offenders' workshops.
Natasha Bedingfield- These Words
[08/22/2004; 2 weeks]
“Read some Byron, Shelley, and Keats.” Tash Bedders' first single was the stiletto-in-your-eye feminism of “Single,” so obviously the record label pushed for a second single that had her enthralled to a Man. Kinda like when the Beano gave Minnie the Minx a boyfriend in case anyone suspected she was up to some monkey business with Ivy the Terrible. Or Toots. Anyway, the fact that it's a song about how hard it is to write lyrics is cleverly illustrated by how fucking awful the lyrics are. Written by the same guy that did “Genie in a Bottle,” y'know?
Nelly- My Place
[09/05/2004; 1 week]
So the world sent a message to Nelly: stop sweating, and start, umm, suiting. He responded by continuing his career with a stream of urban lullabies, complete with the production values of someone who saw a Kanye West video in a bar last night. The sound wasn't on, but he got the gist of it.
Brian McFadden- Real to Me
[09/12/2004; 1 week]
Brian McFadden, the obvious spiritual heir to Bill Hicks (he's got a beard, he has a guitar, the similarities are endless), here rebels against his Westlife past and drops undiluted pure science about how hard it is being famous and 4Real like him. He then split from his wife and sent her to the loony bin.
Eric Prydz- Call on Me
[09/19/2004; 5 weeks]
Philip Larkin may have gotten all emo over the 60s not starting until 1963, but we had to wait four whole damn years for the 00s to turn up, and our John, Paul, George and Ringo were a bunch of legwarmer-wearing models thrusting their butts into the camera. So here begins filter-interpretations of 1980s pop hits accompanied by videos full of titz. But it was a pretty awesome way to start a movement, all base-sexuality, confused beats, and the triumphant return of BASS to the top of the charts. “Dry Your Eyes” was the completely wrong way to bring Nuts/Zoo culture into pop. This is completely the right way.
Robbie Williams- Radio
[10/10/2004; 1 week]
Having junked Guy Chambers, Britain's #1 solo artist/irritant instead started having his songs written by Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy. You know, the guy from Me Me Me. It also signalled Williams' desire to stop being Tortured Artist Williams, and instead some sort of Terry-Thomas/Marilyn Manson hybrid, all inverted crucifixes and moustache-twitching caddishness. This is as catchy as a stream-of-consciousness number one single is ever going to be (although it's probably about The Drugs), but as with so much of Williams' latter-day output, it’s simply three minutes of flirting and a failed attempt at getting us into the taxi home.
Ja Rule ft. R Kelly and Ashanti- Wonderful
[10/31/2004; 1 week]
My guess was that Ja got shook when he saw a year wherein Sam and Mark, The Streets, and Brian McFadden topped the charts, and he needed to get himself a slice of that cake as well. One of the lowest selling number ones in history, Ja grunts, Ashanti simpers, and R. Kelly doesn't even have the decency to wear a gay Zorro mask.
Eminem- Just Lose It
[11/07/2004; 1 week]
Yes. Yes, you have.
[11/14/2004; 1 week]
Before Ultragrrrl took up the good fight, it rested on U2's self-righteous, arrogant, decrepit, try-too-hard, mewling shoulders to bring Steve Jobs' favourite son into the nation's conscience. Therefore, they opened the door for The Vines, The Caesars, and fucking Steriogram. Seriously, fuck Bono.
Girls Aloud- I'll Stand by You
[11/21/2004; 2 weeks]
Fun fact: if you added up the budget for every single Girls Aloud video, you'd nearly have enough money to rent a three star hotel room in Devon for two nights. Anyway, so their second, and probably last, number one single stunk of desperation to actually get to the top of the charts (no originality, cover version, charity single), but Maradona on his worst day > Titus Bramble on his best. And again, it requires some sort of crazy pixie-dust magic powder to make a Pretenders song remotely listenable, so I gotta give credit for that.
Band Aid 20- Do They Know It's Christmas?
[12/05/2004; 4 weeks]
Is this the moment pop music just threw its hands into the air and went “That's it, I quit. Do what you want”? Dizzee Rascal could be caught buggering a goat and he'd still feel less shame than he must listening back to his rap on this. HOLY SHIT NEIL FUCKING HANNON FROM THE DIVINE COMEDY why why why? It's just a great barrage of the objectionable. Justin Hawkins, Ms Dynamite, and Estelle all turn up, possibly to ask, “Right... how exactly do you sell records again? I appear to have forgotten.” When Robbie Williams is the best thing on your track, you need to quit. I believe 1 Giant Leap followed these exact principles.
Steve Brookstein- Against All Odds
[01/02/2005; 1 week]
It's actually depressing how many of the acts we've covered in this article later got dropped from their record label. Geri, Mel C, Holly Valance, Frankee, 3 of a Kind (not to mention those who jumped before they were pushed like Hear'Say and So Solid). Here's another one: the great oddity of 00s pop. I voted for Brookstein to win The X-Factor, mainly to piss Sharon Osbourne off, but also partly because the thought of G4 or Tabby having any extra help in their careers made me lose faith in God. Brookstein was the unshaven stereotype of a lecherous milkman who'd shagged half the housewives down your street, and his recorded output (all ten songs of it) bore this out, tender “Hey... who's to say two divorcees in their 40s can't have some fun?” piano ballads. Of course, he then fell out with Simon Cowell over artistic direction (yep, we've been there before), and is now back playing the chicken in a basket circuit in his hometown. How the mighty have...
Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock
[01/09/2005; 1 week]
Elvis Presley – One Night
[01/16/2005; 1 week]
Elvis Presley – It's Now or Never
[01/30/2005; 1 week]
Prison sex, “O Sole Mio,” whatever “One Night” is about... is there anything Elvis can't do? Again, what's the actual point of writing about Elvis? Are you going to learn anything new from this, especially when foremost on my mind is “Hmmm, what can I think to write about “Dakota” by The Stereophonics?” Needless to say these are three Elvis singles from when he was still sexy (it was the second chin that finally killed off his mystique, we should be thankful that James Dean died before he suffered the same fate as Elvis and Brando), “Jailhouse Rock” is great, the other two are proof that although Presley bit his ballad style entirely from Dean Martin, he didn't copy the right bits.
[8/10] and [3/10] and [5/10]
Ciara ft. Petey Pablo- Goodies
[01/23/2005; 1 week]
Yeah, this is that week of the year when records that wouldn't get within spitting distance of the top five in the rest of the year somehow go to number one. Thus Ciara is the new Dexter Holland. Petey Pablo is no Noodles, however.
Eminem- Like Toy Soldiers
[02/06/2005; 1 week]
It's funny how when Eminem released “Just Lose It,” we thought that he was taking the piss, and then “Like Toy Soldiers” and “Ass Like That” came out, and we realised this was the 00s equivalent of Ali quitting on his stall against Trevor Berbick. So, yeah, Marshall comes with the top tips for people not getting hurt in rap beef, which sadly doesn't include “try not to pistol whip people over a fucking pool game, you stupid idiot.”
U2- Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own
[02/13/2005; 1 week]
So Eminem thinks that rappers should stop dying all over the gaff. Bono, the Eminem of sanctimonous Irish wankers, has similar feelings towards fathers. At least Em brought Martika along for the totally unlistenable ride, here we have to make do with The Edge. These two songs fucking deserve to have followed each other in the charts.
Jennifer Lopez- Get Right
[02/20/2005; 1 week]
After that run of complete agony (with the exception of those Elvis tracks (they don't count), the Band Aid 20 through to U2 run may be the worst five single #1 run in UK chart history), who else could save us from the fires than J-Lo. Rich Harrison was seemingly distracted by the thought of the upcoming “1 Thing,” and instead of The Meters, decided to hook Ms. Lopez up with a saxophone loop seemingly recorded solely to aggravate dogs. Under Rover gets sent insane by that sax in the middle eight though someone told Jennifer to at least temper her worst excesses (and with Lopez, excesses are all she does sometimes), and as a result its her best single since... y'know. That other good one she did.
Nelly ft. Tim McGraw- Over and Over
[02/27/2005; 1 week]
Have you ever heard that Wyclef track where he gets Pharoahe Monch and Willie Nelson to collaborate? That song is actually worse than a tumour. This, on the other hand, is the proper way to do country/rap big bucks crossover. Nelly and Tim find common ground, both in the song (gentle slow dance territory, nobody wants Nelly to shout anymore) and in the video (what do rappers and country musicians have in common? Light aircraft, of course). Sometimes, though, finger-picked guitar is the only way a man's gonna sing your pain...
The Stereophonics- Dakota
[03/06/2005; 1 week]
Looking at the notes I made on the release of this song, it seems I wrote “This sounds like the Warm Jets crossed with Readymade.” I'm not sure if that was an attempt at self-parody, but I stand by it today. Anyway, this is The Stereophonics stab at RELEVANCY with the NME crowd, except it sounds more like Razorlight covering “She's Electric.” The great thing about already having a fanbase is that you can mimic other bands and then sell more than them. Kelly Clarkson did the “Formerly widely considered totally useless artist has a bash at nu-garage indie” so so so much better...
McFly- All About You
[03/13/2005; 1 week]
“Obviously” was a starter clue, but with this... why do McFly want to be Extreme? I harbour suspicions that one of the band is poisoning the other three. The one who looks about twelve years old with the pronounced chin is my guess. Anyway, it's all for charidee, innit?
Tony Christie ft. Peter Kay- (Is This the Way To) Amarillo?
[03/20/2005; 7 weeks]
You know, nothing says funny to me like a short-arsed 80 year-old comedy legend with an inflamed prostate falling off a treadmill. And that's not all Peter “Paul McShane twenty years later” Kay brings to the table. Midgets! “Sir” Jimmy Saville! Some people what were in Rainbow! Is this a number one single or a list of ideas for a freshers' fancy dress pub crawl? Anyway, Christie brings some working men's club dignity to the student union iron-a-thon, hands in the air “Sing along now, you all know the words,” and there's nowhere near enough handclaps in the charts these days anyway.
[05/08/2005; 2 weeks]
Although El Hadji Diouf is unimpeachable in his position as Britain's favourite Senegalese, Akon could probably run him a close second. And Akon don't deal in petty sports field petulance and spit, he deals in cloying R&B and what one hopes was a clever parody of chipmunk soul samples. But there's a point when a certain savantness comes through in any act of idiocy, and “Lonely” just sneaked under the barrier of “being a bad song” into “being an act of insane genius.” Lyrics about how sometimes, if you treat your women like complete shit, she may leave you, and how upset that might make you is paired up here with some guy from the 60s singing at 1.8 speed. Somewhere you're grinning almost as much as the guy who came up with this rubbish.
[05/22/2005; 1 week]
“Street Fighting Man” times “Mona” by Craig McLachlan equals “care”?
Crazy Frog- Axel F
[05/29/2005; 4 weeks]
Obviously, it was a UK number one single, hence its appearance here. However, it also topped the charts in 12 other countries, including New Zealand, Denmark, and the Ukraine. It went top three in, amongst others, Finland, Poland, and Italy. However, it barely scraped the top ten in Israel (#9), and only just made the charts in Argentina and Brazil (charting at #40 in both). The Japanese obviously have enough nonsensical pop culture memes (#46), and the USA were just sitting around waiting for us to give them James Blunt (#50). What conclusions can we draw from all this? “Axel F” really isn't a very good song.
Tupac Shakur ft. Elton John- Ghetto Gospel
[06/26/2005; 3 weeks]
Good ol' Reginald, he's twigged that dead blondes ain't selling in the noughties, and now if you wanna stack units, you gotta take an interest in dead sex crime offenders. It's funny, both Elton and 2Pac were only ever interesting when they were being complete douche assholes (“Hit 'Em Up” and Elton's mid-70s bitch period respectively), and yet all they wanted to do was let you see what sensitive souls they really were. Elton John more and more resembles a supply teacher attempting to reach out to the kids by sharing his knowledge of bands who were popular five years ago and assuming that his students will care. They don't.
James Blunt- You're Beautiful
[07/17/2005; 5 weeks]
Right, at one point Jimbo is pretty brash on us: he's seen this chick on the underground (or subway, if you want to sell records to Americans), but he's “got a plan.” He's pretty steadfast in his determination here, he's gonna get to the chorus and just drop science on us, teach us all how to get our fuck on. So he gets to the chorus... how does he end it? “I don't know what to do / Because I'll never be with you.” What on earth is that? If that’s the kind of leadership our boys in Iraq are getting, it’s no wonder our boys are getting blown to fuck over there.
McFly- I'll Be OK
[08/21/2005; 1 week]
This doesn't sound like a band's fourth number one single. It sounds like a mid 90s one-hit wonder that just happened to be the theme tune to a successful sitcom, The Rembrandts or The Gigolo Aunts or something. It also sounds far too much like “Don't Stop Me Now” by Queen at various intervals than is healthy. Thankfully, the “Sounds like Extreme” count for this is quite low, so they get let off somewhat.
Oasis- The Importance of Being Idle
[08/28/2005; 1 week]
I'll be honest, I have ulterior reasons for fond memories of this song, as it was the tune I broke up with my 2005 girlfriend to. But maybe, just maybe, it's as simple as giving Noel the vocals? Their best single for twelve years, mainly because it sounds like the Sensational Alex Harvey Band.
[09/04/2005; 1 week]
Wow, it's just like the Battle of Britpop all over again or something. Almost Troy McClure-like in its “Let's get Shaun Ryder out of a council house and into financial solvency” attempt, “DARE” runs along the normal aimless Gorillaz route of “Wow, I wonder what it'd be like if we tried this microgenre” (answer: it sounds exactly the same as your attempt at all other genres). I'm sure Kermit from Black Grape can't be doing too great either, why not invite him along to bless us with eight bars?
Pussycat Dolls ft. Busta Rhymes- Don't Cha
[09/11/2005; 3 weeks]
Like The Doors, the Pussycat Dolls were a band floundering until Will Young covered one of their songs. Perhaps. Quite easily the most sexless band ever (and I include, like, The Shop Assistants in that), even Busta Rhymes sounds completely bored here, albeit one that’s busy staring at the girls through his bedroom curtains. He's not needed on this track, and it doesn't even need the PCD themselves. You could have just had the Microsoft mechanical voice singing it over the dead-in-the-water beats and it'd have more of a chance of raising your prick into tumescence.
Sugababes- Push the Button
[10/02/2005; 3 weeks]
This is kinda why the Pussycat Dolls suck, because the Sugababes know sexy. Three minutes of continually harassing a boyfriend to, how can we put this nicely, “move north” when engaging in cunnilingus, with just enough kiddy-friendliness (you can vaguely envisage Jem singing this (1980s cartoon, not the lesbian-haired sub-Dido) to stop it from being too obvious. Plus: “My sexy ass has got him in a new dimension” is just far and away the best lyric I've encountered during this feature. Perhaps banking on a sexy ass should have been James Blunt's plan?
Arctic Monkeys- I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
[10/23/2005; 1 week]
Been there, done that.
Westlife- You Raise Me Up
[10/30/2005; 2 weeks]
Better than “Mandy.”
Madonna- Hung Up
[11/13/2005; 3 weeks]
ANDREW SULLIVAN KNOWS POP
The DP already has the "Hung Up" song blasting through the apartment all day and half the night, and if it's any indication of the rest of the album, it's going to be superb. Madonna has always understood pop music in a way that most Americans don't (I exclude gay men). By "pop," I mean popular music that isn't rock, country or hip-hop. So it's unsurprising that the most ecstatic reviews for her new pop-dance album, Confessions On A Dance Floor, come from the culture that gets pop more than any other: Britain. We have almost a month more to wait?
Pussycat Dolls- Stickwitu
[12/04/2005; 2 weeks]
They do sexy worse than the Sugababes (or Madonna, Westlife, and the Arctic Monkeys for that matter), but they do Mariah a hell of a lot better than Mariah does these days. One of the more depressing ideas for a song this decade (a woman isn't going to find anyone to treat her better than her current guy does, so she might as well stay with him because she ain't gonna get owt better), but the one that actually does the singing (America finally found its own Jo O'Mara, and not just in Cody Banks 2) seems to have some appreciation for R&B walking-down-a-staircase ballads.
Nizlopi- The JCB Song
[12/18/2005; 1 week]
Fuck folk music.
-The guy shoehorns the word “bloody” into the track with almost as little conviction as James Blunt does “fuck.”Seriously, fuck folk music.
-Is this a song about the joys of causing massive problems for other motorists? It is!
-Oh, wait, it's a song about the joys of a father allowing his son to play truant. So he's celebrating the fact his dad's a criminal, then.
-He got bullied at school? Maybe if his dad hadn't let him skip all those lessons solely to piss off people trying to get to work on the motorway he wouldn't have been thumped at school for being such a thicko.
- “BA Baracus” and “nunchakas” is the worst rhyme in history.
-Steve Brookstein ended his career because he thought that the track he was meant to be releasing for Mothers' Day was too emotionally manipulative. Nizlopi have less artistic integrity than Steve Brookstein.
-It's very dangerous to sit a kid on a fucking toolbox with no seatbelt. So as well as being a criminal, his dad played fast and loose with his son's life.
-Each year we have a “Real Music That Is Real” contender for the Christmas number one. At least Gary Jules had the decency to sing about suicide. This is just... wretched.
Shayne Ward- That's My Goal
[12/25/2005; 4 weeks]
“You know where I come from, you know my story / You know why I'm standing here tonight.” Ridiculously meta-pop, the message of which is “I know reality TV stars ain't too popular around these parts anymore, but heck, I'm going to do my damnedest to make you like me.” Shayne Ward is meant to be the great white hope of British pop, the guy who overcame a hard background to blossom into some kind of British Timberlake. Except... I've heard the forthcoming material. Think less “Cry Me a River,” and more “Yep, Cowell done messed up again.” Ah well, at least he had four weeks at number one before it all went to shit.
Arctic Monkeys-When the Sun Goes Down
[01/22/2006; 1 week]
You want incisive political commentary? Arctic Monkeys (who invented the internet) done got you covered like a jimmy hat. Prostitution isn't a fun job! More often than not, pimps are bad people! As are the guys who hire prostitutes! Not so much a number one single as a Very Special School Assembly.
The Notorious B.I.G. ft. Diddy, Nelly, Jagged Edge and Avery Storm- Nasty Girl
[01/29/2006; 2 weeks]
First off, fuck your bitch and the click you claim. Secondly of all, fuck all of those wonderful people running your estate. I mean, at least Hendrix gets lent out to car companies occasionally to provide the boomers with a happy soundtrack. What's Biggie got left for him? At this rate he'll be dropping eight bars on the end of the inevitable Preston and Chantelle cover of “I Got You Babe.” For a man so concerned with his own mortality it's funny he should find so many fates worse than death...
Meck ft. Leo Sayer- Thunder in My Heart Again
[02/12/2006; 2 weeks]
Formerly seen portraying the ironic past-it celebrity on the advertising bumpers for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, Leo Sayer returned, sans perm, and sans him actually really having anything to do with this track. It wasn't “Roger Sanchez featuring Toto” now, was it? Or “Eric Prydz featuring Stevie “Blind Faith” Winwood.” But I suppose Leo Sayer is something special, just like “Thunder in My Heart Again” is something special, yet more filter-disco house, yet another track for the middle disc of those three CD “Bar/Club/Morning after” compilations (do people really spend as long at the bar as they do recovering from a hangover? Amateurs...).
[02/26/2006; 1 week]
I mean, yeah, what have the 2000s actually been all about? Paris Hilton? War On Terror? Wagamama? Nah, it's all about retro-gaming this decade. And if there's one person who knows the right moment to jump on a bandwagon it’s our Madge, here getting those of us weaned on a pre-8 bit generation excited by the fact she's singing over the loading music for Ocean software games on the Commodore 64. She needs to rip it over the Mayhem In Monsterland soundtrack next though.
Chico Slimani- It's Chico Time
[03/05/2006; 2 weeks]
I'm sorry, is this a single or the extended jingle to an instant coffee advert from 1988? In these times of socio-political strife it’s a testament to this nation's ability to not let bigotry get in the way of its need for useless cunts clogging up the charts that a Moroccan Muslim can get to number one whilst dancing around schoolchildren, but still... no. Just no.
Orson- No Tomorrow
[03/19/2006; 1 week]
“Let's go to a rave and pretend that we're tripping / Simply cuz we're so in love.” Do Me Bad Things, El Presidente, Orson... it's a basic fact of music criticism that bands who desperately want to be the Scissor Sisters are all better than the Scissor Sisters. Here, Orson give us some of that Eels/Fun Lovin' Criminals style “superstars in the UK, but couldn't get arrested in their own country” style goodness, but then again it takes a talented band to match the sound of latter-day Duran Duran with the listenability of the 83 vintage. I'll make a bold prediction and guess that they'll never have another number one.
Ne-Yo- So Sick
[03/26/2006; 1 week]
Stargate return to the charts. Other pop production teams reported “shook.”
Gnarls Barkley- Crazy
[04/02/2006; 3 weeks +]
And so it ends with history. The first number one from downloads alone. The first ever song to get A-listed at the same time on Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 6, and 1Xtra. And a 200,000 seller from a guy who's still going to be releasing albums on Lex Records this year. The idea always was “We need a new “Hey Ya,” don't we?”, but the result was more... yeah, yeah it does sound like Moby circa Play. But then it also sounds like the most “for the record books” number one since “Toxic,”, and the most danceable number one since “Call on Me,” and the most sophisticated number one since “Leave Right Now,” and if we have to end the article at any given point, it may as well be with the something that helped keep Morrissey off number one.
By: Dom Passantino
Published on: 2006-04-10