Tuesday, 10 June 2014

The Best Of 2004 - part 4

JUMP TO: 100-76 II 75-51 II 50-26 II 25-1

Here they are: my favourite 25 songs for 2004. It was actually a pretty stellar year for music and my top 10 for 2004 is easily my favourite out of any year in the '00s. 

Brandon Flowers and the other Killers brought New Wave back to the charts

Here's why it was such a strong year...

Number 25 "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand
Later this month, it's the 100th anniversary of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand - the event that led to the outbreak of World War I in 1914. And it's 10 years since the Scottish rock band named after the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne blasted onto the scene with this critically beloved track. Among its many achievements, "Take Me Out" was voted number 1 on the Triple J Hottest 100 for the year - and is far and away my favourite song to ever top that list.

Number 24 "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams" by Green Day
What's this? Two back-to-back rock tracks on my chart? Yep, as well as pop and dance having a particularly strong year, I also enjoyed a handful of rock tracks - a sign of things to come in the next few years. Granted, this second single from American Idiot wasn't the typical thrashy pop/punk song you'd expect from Green Day, but instead a more subdued rock ballad that went on to win the Grammy Award for Record Of The Year. It remains the only Green Day song I've ever liked.

Number 23 "Don't Look The Other Way" by Pleasure
Right, back to something more my usual style, and the underrated Norwegian synthpop act Pleasure, who released one of my favourite albums of 2004 with their self-titled debut. But, in keeping with the indie and rock leanings of this batch of songs so far, this single from Pleasure came with guest vocals by former Elastica frontwoman Justine Frischmann.

Number 22 "The Weekend" by Michael Gray
Some out-and-out dance music now from the Scottish DJ, producer and member of house duo Full Intention - a guy who clearly knew that the line "I can't wait for the weekend to begin" was going to appeal to clubbers the world over. Vocals on this track were provided by regular house singer Shèna, who'd sung on most of JX's '90s hits and also popped up a couple of years later on Junior Jack's remix of "Stupidisco", which we saw back in Part 3.

Number 21 "In The Shadows" by The Rasmus
That didn't last long. It's back to rock music now, although this Finnish band have a typically Scandinavian pop sensibility about them - or at least they did on their fifth album, Dead Letters, which saw them break out internationally thanks to songs like this and "Guilty" (number 53 on this list). They've had many other hit singles and albums back home that I've never got around to exploring so who knows what other pop gems are still to be discovered?

Number 20 "Leave (Get Out)" by JoJo
Ten years ago, when this Soulshock & Karlin production became her debut single, Joanna Levesque was only 13 years old and fresh from being discovered on US reality show America's Most Talented Kid. For the mathematically challenged, that means she's still only 23 years old now. Interestingly, one of JoJo's competitors on AMTK was Diana DeGarmo, who would go on to appear in the third season of American Idol and come runner-up to...

Number 19 "I Believe" by Fantasia
Prior to 2004, I'd never been able to watch American Idol, but the third season aired in Australia - and what a season it was! From the shock elimination of Jennifer Hudson in seventh place (beating Cosima De Vito's withdrawal from Australian Idol to become the most shocking reality show results show ever) to some superb performances by eventual winner Fantasia Barrino, it was unmissable event TV.
When Fantasia was thankfully crowned victor, the biggest shock of all was that her winner's single, "I Believe", was a really good song, instead of the forgettable ballads Will Young, Kelly Clarkson and Guy Sebastian had been handed. However, while all three of those other winners went on to release much better songs, this was as good as it got for Fantasia. I even bought her first two albums only to be severely disappointed at the lack of hits.
These days, although chart success continues to elude Fantasia, she's quite at home on Broadway. In fact, just before sitting down to write this, I watched her perform with fellow After Midnight guest stars Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight at this year's Tony Awards. Not bad company.

Number 18 "Mr Brightside" by The Killers
Mentioned below

Number 17 "She Wants To Move" by N*E*R*D
A decade ago, Pharrell Williams wasn't quite as hot as he's been this past year, but he was still very much in demand. In between his production duties as part of The Neptunes (which, in 2004, included working on tracks by Gwen Stefani, Kelis and Nelly) and his guest appearances on other artists' songs (such as on Snoop Dogg's "Drop It Like It's Hot"), there was the second album by N*E*R*D, his genre-defying group with Shay Haley and Neptunes partner Chad Hugo. I hadn't really been a fan of N*E*R*D's first release, In Search Of..., but it was a different story with Fly Or Die, which featured this lead single and follow-up "Maybe" (number 34 on this list).

Number 16 "In The Middle" by Sugababes
Mentioned in Part 1 and previously featured here

Number 15 "This Love" by Maroon 5
He may not have looked like the rock star he does today, but there was one element of being a rock frontman that Adam Levine had down pat from the start - and that was dating and appearing with models in music videos. His co-star in "This Love" was his then-girlfriend Kelly McKee, the first of a number of glamorous ladies we'd see him with both musically and otherwise over the years to come.

Number 14 "Come As You Are" by Beverley Knight
UK soul singer Beverley Knight added a bit of rock into the mix with this storming lead single from the excellent Affirmation album, which she co-wrote with Robbie Williams' sometime musical partner, Guy Chambers. It worked a treat, with "Come As You Are" becoming her highest-charting UK single (at number 9), although follow-up "Not Too Late For Love" (number 56 on this list) didn't keep that momentum going, missing the UK top 30.

Number 13 "Somebody Told Me" by The Killers
Named after the band depicted in New Order's "Crystal" music video, electronic rock band The Killers' retro influences were clear from the outset. Leading a new wave of New Wave-inspired acts, the Las Vegas band were especially big in the UK and Australia, where their Hot Fuss album reached number 1. It took a while for both of the band's first two singles, "Mr Brightside" (number 18 on this list) and "Somebody Told Me", to reach their full potential with re-releases required in different countries for them to finally take hold.

Number 12 "Comfortably Numb" by Scissor Sisters
Here's another American band that found a more receptive audience in the UK - even more so in this case, with Scissor Sisters' '70s-era Elton John meets Rocky Horror Show sound unable to fit into the neat pigeonholes American radio stations like their music. This synth-laden cover of the Pink Floyd track was the single that really broke through for the band led by the flamboyant Jake Shears, but by year's end they'd also scored with "Take Your Mama" (number 54 on this list), "Laura" (number 93) and "Mary" (number 184).

Number 11 "SInce U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson
If Kelly Clarkson had been a promising ex-reality show winner in 2003, then in 2004 she turned into a bona fide music star - and it was all thanks to this Max Martin and Dr Luke track, which added a bit of a rock edge to the Swedish pop maestro's pure pop sound. With its in-your-face attitude and fist-in-the-air anthem status, it redefined power pop - and ensured Kelly's career surged to the next level.

Number 10 "Out Of Touch" by Uniting Nations
Back in Part 3, we saw dance versions of '80s hits by Steve Winwood and The Pointer Sisters, and now here's a '00s revamp of Hall & Oates' "Out Of Touch" (which features prominently on my top 100 for 1984) by pop/dance duo Paul Keenan and Daz Simpson, the latter of whom had been behind some fairly cheesy remakes in the late '90s as Bus Stop.

Number 9 "This Is The World We Live In" by Alcazar
Next, Swedish pop combo Alcazar also turned their attention to the '80s (after sampling '70s hits by Chic and Sheila B & Devotion on their previous album) - and incorporated elements of "Land Of Confusion" by Genesis and Diana Ross' "Upside Down" for this single. "This Is The World We Live In" was one of six tracks released from second album Alcazarized (although it hadn't featured on the original Swedish tracklisting), but was the only one to see the light of day in Australia.

Number 8 "The Show" by Girls Aloud
Previously featured here

Number 7 "Good Luck" by Basement Jazz featuring Lisa Kekaula 
They'd released some of the best dance records of the previous half a decade, but Basement Jaxx really outdid themselves with this second single from the Kish Kash album. Disappointingly, it wasn't their biggest hit - in Australia, that honour belongs to "Where's Your Head", while in the UK, it didn't even crack the top 10.

Number 6 "What You Waiting For?" by Gwen Stefani
Eschewing her rock background for pop, synthpop and R&B was a move I wouldn't have expected from No Doubt vocalist Gwen Stefani - and one that the US was initially reluctant to accept, with this Australian and UK number 1 only managing a chart peak of number 47 in America. "What You Waiting For?" was a brilliant repositioning for Gwen and one of several potential big hits from the Love Angel Music Baby album - pity she didn't end up releasing them all.

Number 5 "Toxic" by Britney Spears
I remember going over to the BMG offices to hear a sneak preview of Britney's In The Zone album in late 2003 and, although I'd been completely underwhelmed by her Madonna duet, "Me Against The Music", I had hope for the album when this track was played. Co-written by Cathy Dennis, "Toxic" was a hit waiting to happen - and it put Britney back at the forefront of pop's biggest stars. It's unlikely whether the follow-up, bland ballad "Everytime" (which ranks on this list at number 84 thanks to the Hi-Bias remix), would have been anywhere near as big a hit had it not come hot on the heels of this monster.

Number 4 "Love Machine" by Girls Aloud
Previously featured here

Number 3 "(Reach Up For The) Sunrise" by Duran Duran
Although the classic Le Bon, Rhodes, Taylor x 3 line-up had existed for only a fraction of the time Duran Duran had actually been around, it was the version of the band most people remember and was responsible for their best known singles. So, when the three Taylors rejoined Simon and Nick for the release of a new album, it was a major event.
In the UK, Astronaut became Duran Duran's highest-charting album since 1983's Seven And The Ragged Tiger, while this lead single reached higher than any single since 1985's "A View To A Kill".
My favourite part of the whole reunion was a launch the band held in Sydney, during which a friend of mine and I notched up photos with all five members amid a sea of middle-aged women reverting to giggling schoolgirls.

Number 2 "Lola's Theme" by Shapeshifters
Like many a great dance track, "Lola's Theme" started out as an instrumental. Originally using a direct sample of the intro to "What About My Love" by Johnnie Taylor, the track was completely re-recorded and a vocal added to create this club classic. Comprised of Simon Marlin and Max Reich, Shapeshifters have never been able to better this single, despite a steady stream of releases ever since.

Number 1 "Love Revolution" by Phixx
Previously featured here

My top 200 for 2004 in full:

1          LOVE REVOLUTION Phixx
2          LOLA’S THEME Shapeshifters
3          (REACH UP FOR THE) SUNRISE Duran Duran
4          LOVE MACHINE Girls Aloud
5          TOXIC Britney Spears
6          WHAT YOU WAITING FOR? Gwen Stefani
7          GOOD LUCK Basement Jaxx featuring Lisa Kekaula
8          THE SHOW Girls Aloud
9          THIS IS THE WORLD WE LIVE IN Alcazar
10        OUT OF TOUCH Uniting Nations
11        SINCE U BEEN GONE Kelly Clarkson
12        COMFORTABLY NUMB Scissor Sisters
13        SOMEBODY TOLD ME The Killers
14        COME AS YOU ARE Beverley Knight
15        THIS LOVE Maroon 5
16        IN THE MIDDLE Sugababes
18        MR BRIGHTSIDE The Killers
20        LEAVE (GET OUT) JoJo
21        IN THE SHADOWS The Ramsus
22        THE WEEKEND Michael Gray
23        DON’T LOOK THE OTHER WAY Pleasure
25        TAKE ME OUT Franz Ferdinand
26        STUPIDISCO Junior Jack
27        WAITING FOR YOU Seal
28        CALL ON ME Eric Prydz
29        ROCKING MUSIC Martin Solveig
30        YOUR GAME Will Young
31        KINDA LOVE Darius
32        PUT ’EM HIGH Stonebridge featuring Therese
33        AMAZING George Michael
34        MAYBE N*E*R*D
35        YEAH Usher featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon
36        CAN’T SAY GOODBYE Pop!
37        I BELIEVE IN YOU Kylie Minogue
38        GIVE IT AWAY Deepest Blue
39        ALL THINGS (JUST KEEP GETTING BETTER) Widelife with Simone Denny
40        SOMEBODY TO LOVE Boogie Pimps
41        SOME GIRLS Rachel Stevens
42        ENJOY THE SILENCE 04 Depeche Mode
43        PIECES OF ME Ashlee Simpson
44        I’LL BE THERE Emma Bunton
45        SEE IT IN A BOY’S EYES Jamelia
46        OBVIOUSLY McFly
47        PUSH UP Freestylers
48        ALL NITE (DON’T STOP) / I WANT YOU Janet Jackson
49        IF THERE’S ANY JUSTICE Lemar
50        WITH YOU Jessica Simpson
51        SUGA SUGA Baby Bash featuring Frankie J
53        GUILTY The Rasmus
54        TAKE YOUR MAMA Scissor Sisters
55        THESE WORDS Natasha Bedingfield
56        NOT TOO LATE FOR LOVE Beverley Knight
57        TILT YA HEAD BACK Nelly featuring Christina Aguilera
58        FLASHDANCE Deep Dish
59        KARMA / KARMASTITION REMIX Alicia Keys
60        THE HYPE The Hampdens
61        IF I AIN’T GOT YOU Alicia Keys
62        ANGEL EYES Paulini
63        TASTE YOU Cheyne
64        LOSE MY BREATH Destiny’s Child
66        FLAMBOYANT Pet Shop Boys
67        NUMB/ENCORE Jay-Z / Linkin Park
68        GOLDEN TOUCH Razorlight
70        FLY Hilary Duff
71        THE SUN IS SHINING DT8 Project
72        NOT IN LOVE Enrique Iglesias featuring Kelis
73        STRAIGHT AHEAD Tube & Berger featuring Chrissie Hynde
74        CAR WASH Christina Aguilera / Missy Elliott
75        JUST A LITTLE WHILE Janet Jackson
76        ON THE WAY DOWN Ryan Cabrera
77        UNWRITTEN Natasha Bedingfield
78        1980 Estelle
79        ROCK YOUR BODY ROCK Ferry Corsten
80        BABY I LOVE U Jennifer Lopez featuring R.Kelly
81        RED BLOODED WOMAN Kylie Minogue
82        CAUGHT IN A MOMENT Sugababes
83        TRICK ME Kelis
84        EVERYTIME / HI BIAS REMIX Britney Spears
85        YOU USED TO Richard X featuring Javine
86        WALK INTO THE SUN Dirty Vegas
87        WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF Lucie Silvas
88        OBVIOUS Westlife
89        FREE Estelle
90        STACY’S MOM Fountains Of Wayne
91        SINGLE Natasha Bedingfield
92        LET’S GET IT STARTED The Black Eyed Peas
93        LAURA Scissor Sisters
94        BURN Usher
95        ALL I NEED IS YOU Guy Sebastian
96        LITTLE VOICE Hilary Duff
97        I WON’T CHANGE YOU Sophie Ellis-Bextor
98        TALK ABOUT OUR LOVE Brandy featuring Kanye West
99        ROSES OutKast
100      BOOGIE Brand New Heavies
101      BREAKAWAY Kelly Clarkson
102      BREATHE EASY Blue
103      POPULAR! Darren Hayes
104      BETTER WORLD Infusion
105      LEFT OUTSIDE ALONE Anastacia
106      EVERYBODY’S FOOL Evanescence
107      MY BOO Usher & Alicia Keys
108      THROUGH THE WIRE Kanye West
110      YOU WON’T FORGET ABOUT ME Dannii Minogue vs Flower Power
111      DON’T TELL ME YOU’RE SORRY S Club 8
113      SUMMER SUNSHINE The Corrs
114      SHOOTING STAR Deepest Blue
115      CLOSER Slinkee Minx
116      BEDSHAPED Keane
117      DA HYPE Junior Jack featuring Robert Smith
119      PUSHIN’ ME OUT D-Side
120      OUT WITH MY BABY Guy Sebastian
121      SHE’S GOT ME Daniel Merriweather
122      SLOW JAMZ Twista featuring Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
123      WONDERFUL Ja Rule featuring R.Kelly & Ashanti
124      I LIKE IT Narcotic Thrust
127      MATINEE Franz Ferdinand
128      CITY RULES Daniel Merriweather
129      SICK AND TIRED Anastacia
130      VERTIGO U2
131      STAY THE SAME Gabrielle
133      BEST OF MY LOVE Javine
134      GOD IS A DJ Pink
135      CHEWING GUM Annie
136      LUV YA J-Wess
137      AFRODISIAC Brandy
138      DO YOU KNOW (I GO CRAZY) Angel City featuring Lara McClaren
139      HEAR MY NAME Armand Van Helden
140      KRYPTONITE Guy Sebastian
141      SUNDAY MORNING Maroon 5
142      SAND IN MY SHOES Dido
143      MY PLACE Nelly
144      IS IT A SIN Deepest Blue
145      DJ/STOP Jamelia
146      THE WAY YOU MOVE OutKast
147      MILLIONAIRE Kelis featuring Andre 3000
149      BREATHE (DON’T STOP) Mr On featuring Jungle Brothers
150      I AM THA 1 mr Timothy featuring Inaya Day
152      BREAKING THE HABIT Linkin Park
153      THIS FIRE Franz Ferdinand
154      MY MY MY Armand Van Helden
155      GET IT ON Intenso Project featuring Lisa Scott-Lee
157      I DON’T WANNA KNOW Mario Winans featuring P.Diddy & Enya
158      I’LL STAND BY YOU Girls Aloud
159      FLAWLESS (GO TO THE CITY) George Michael
160      BUBBLIN’ Blue
161      R&B JUNKIE Janet Jackson
162      SHE WILL BE LOVED Maroon 5
163      THIS IS THE LAST TIME Keane
165      HEY MAMA The Black Eyed Peas
166      ONE CALL AWAY Chingy
167      CURTAIN FALLS Blue
168      WHATEVER U WANT Christina Milian featuring Joe Budden
169      LOVE’S DIVINE Seal
170      BRING IT ON Alistair Griffin
171      TEN YEARS TIME Gabrielle
172      PLUG IT IN Basement Jaxx featuring JC Chasez
173      DUMB The 411
174      NEVER FELT LIKE THIS BEFORE Shaznay Lewis
175      DON’T LEAVE HOME Dido
176      NOTHING HURTS LIKE LOVE Daniel Bedingfield
177      FRIDAY’S CHILD Will Young
178      THANK YOU Jamelia
179      WALKING IN THE SUN Travis
180      DARKNESS Darren Hayes
181      NAUGHTY GIRL Beyonce Knowles
182      TEARDROPS The 411
184      MARY Scissor Sisters
185      RUN Snow Patrol
186      EVERYBODY CRIES Liberty X
187      ON MY KNEES The 411
188      BREATHE ME Sia
189      DIP IT LOW Christina Milian
190      AS THE RUSH COMES Motorcycle
191      OUTRAGEOUS Britney Spears
192      MILKSHAKE Kelis
193      I LIKE THAT Houston featuring Chingy, Nate Dogg & I-20
194      MORE MORE MORE Rachel Stevens
195      OUT OF THE BLUE Delta Goodrem
196      SORRY 2004 Ruben Studdard
197      ALL FALLS DOWN Kanye West featuring Syleena Johnson
199      TRUTH IS Fantasia
200      ROUND HERE George Michael

That's it for 2004. Tomorrow, we'll return to 1989 for my weekly look back at the ARIA charts from 25 years ago - and I'm already on the case readying my 2005 countdown.

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