Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Best Of 2006 - part 2

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

I mentioned in Part 1 of my look back at my favourite songs of 2006 that downloads were integrated into singles charts around the world for the first time that year - but as we'll see in this batch of songs, it took a while to determine just how wide to open the gates to the new format. 

With "Crazy", Gnarls Barkley ushered in a new era for the charts

In the UK (the nation that's always had the world's superior chart, in my opinion), the eligibility of a digital download for the singles chart was dependent on there also being a physical CD single release. It was very much a case of testing the water - and even if I still preferred my music to come on CD format at that stage, I was happy to see the download sales counting towards chart positions since, after all, a sale is a sale. I haven't been quite as open to streaming counting towards the UK chart (which happened recently), but that's a conversation for another time...

Number 75 "I Still..." by Backstreet Boys

The third and final single from Never Gone (except in the States, where "Crawling Back To You" was released instead) was another Max Martin/Rami power pop ballad. "I Still..." would also turn out to be the final single (for the time being) released with Kevin Richardson, who departed the boy band for six years in mid-2006.

Number 74 "Crash" by Gwen Stefani

Six singles from Love Angel Music Baby and Gwen Stefani still didn't manage to release "The Real Thing" or "Serious", but this final single, which catered more to US tastes, was a decent end to what was a pretty impressive debut solo outing. 

Number 73 "SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake

Speaking of solo outings, Justin Timberlake had pretty much written the rule book for going it alone after leaving a hit pop group with 2002's Justified. In a smart move, he didn't rush to follow that up, with this first taste of FutureSex/LoveSounds coming three years after Justified's last single. With super-producer Timbaland once again on production and songwriting duties, "SexyBack" further established JT's cred and cool factor, and came with a flashy music video shot in Barcelona.

Number 72 "Ride A White Horse" by Goldfrapp

It can't be a coincidence that Supernatureone of the most commercial albums by the British duo of Alison Goldfrapp (that's her real name) and Will Gregory, is still their most successful. Although having said that, a far more mainstream sound was a couple of albums away. This third single references the manner in which actress Bianca Jagger once made an entrance to legendary disco Studio 54.

Number 71 "Naïve" by The Kooks"

Mentioned below

Number 70 "Never Be Lonely" by The Feeling

Mentioned in Part 3

Number 69 "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado

Mentioned in Part 4

Number 68 "Amazing" by Westlife
After a couple of cover versions - including an ill-conceived duet with Diana Ross on a remake of her early '90s hit "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" - Westlife returned to an original song with this typically mid-tempo Scandipop track. As the third single from the Face To Face album, it did well to get to number 4 in the UK - even if that was a flop by their standards.

Number 67 "I Can't Hate You Anymore" by Nick Lachey

Mentioned in Part 4

Number 66 "No Promises" by Shayne Ward

The first winner of the UK version of The X Factor, 36-year-old Steve Brookstein, wasn't exactly the type of hot pop act Simon Cowell envisioned when he launched the new reality show in 2004 - so it must have come as something of a relief when season two was taken out by pretty boy Shayne Ward. Not only did he look like a pop star, but with songs like this Westlife-style ballad, he slotted right into the gap left behind by Gareth Gates and countless other former teen idols.

Number 65 "Irreplaceable" by Beyoncé Knowles

Like Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé had triumphed with her first post-Destiny's Child solo effort and went from strength to strength second time around. Far and away the most successful single from the original tracklisting of the B'Day album was this Australian and US chart-topper, which was co-written by then-emerging star Ne-Yo together with Norwegian production teams Stargate and Espionage.

Number 64 "John The Revelator / Lilian" by Depeche Mode

In 2005, they'd returned with their best single in years, "Precious", and the quality tunes kept coming from Depeche Mode's 11th album, Playing The Angel - including this double-A side release and "Suffer Well" (number 18 on this list). By the end of the year, the band also issued the rather random The Best Of Depeche Mode Volume 1 (there's yet to be a second volume), which contained new track "Martyr" (number 61).

Number 63 "Pictures" by Sneaky Sound System

Mentioned in Part 4

Number 62 "Horny As A Dandy" by Mousse T vs The Dandy Warhols

Both songs have featured individually (and higher) on previous year-end countdowns - "Horny" in 1998 and "Bohemian Like You" in 2002 - but the Mousse T club track and the Dandy Warhols indie rock anthem also worked incredibly well when mashed up together.

Number 61 "Martyr" by Depeche Mode

Mentioned above and previously featured here

Number 60 "Angel" by Pharrell Williams

He might have been massively successful as a songwriter, producer and featured artist, but as a solo performer, Pharrell Williams only enjoyed mid-level success with the singles from his debut solo album, In My Mind. In fact, "Angel" wasn't even released in the States, where the album's other singles, "Can I Have It Like That" and "Number One", failed to set the charts alight despite featuring Gwen Stefani and Kanye West respectively.

Number 59 "Sexy Love" by Ne-Yo

Mentioned in Part 3

Number 58 "Runaway" by Jamiroquai

After a career which began way back in 1992, it was greatest hits time for the man who'd given acid jazz a commercial face. As is so often the case with best ofs, High Times: Singles 1992-2006 was a contractual obligation that brought at end to the band's relationship with Sony Music, with "Runaway" included as one of two new songs on the release.

Number 57 "Love Declaration" by paulmac featuring Aaradhna

For the final single from his Panic Room album, paulmac recruited yet another female artist to join the ranks of Peta Morris, Abby Dobson, Jacqui Hunt and Ngaiire. On "Love Declaration", he introduced Australian audiences to New Zealander Aaradhna Patel, who was best known back home for proving vocals on the chart-topping single "Getting Stronger" by duo Adeaze.

Number 56 "When You're Mad" by Ne-Yo

Mentioned in Part 3

Number 55 "Afterglow" by INXS

Once all the fuss around Rockstar: INXS had died down, the real test of whether the new incarnation of the band would work depended in part on songs like this second single from the Switch album becoming hits. And, while rock ballad "Afterglow" did give INXS another top 30 hit in Australia, it would be their final singles chart appearance with a new release. Unsurprisingly, once touring commitments were complete, INXS parted ways with new singer JD Fortune (who'd only been contracted for a fixed period of time) - although reports conflict about exactly how that split went down.

Number 54 "She Moves In Her Own Way" by The Kooks

In between The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs and Keane, there were a lot of indie bands I liked in the mid-'00s that had names starting with K - and added to that list in 2006 were The Kooks. Each of the band's first four singles steadily improved on the last in terms of UK chart positions, with fourth single "Naive" (number 71 on this list) becoming the first to crack the top 10. "She Moves In Her Own Way" repeated the trick (reaching number 7), helping parent album Inside In/Inside Out to go quadruple platinum in the UK in the process.

Number 53 "Bones" by The Killers

Mentioned in Part 3

Number 52 "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley

Here's the song - one of the year's biggest global hits - that tested the new download rules in the UK when it became the first release to hit number 1 there purely on digital sales. The debut single by the duo formed by singer CeeLo Green and producer Danger Mouse, "Crazy" spent so long (9 weeks) on top of the British singles chart that it was eventually deleted so as not to fall victim to the Bryan Adams or Wet Wet Wet effect - although it has indeed overshadowed everything else the group has released. 
Two weeks after being deleted, "Crazy" fell out of the UK top 40 despite still selling healthy quantities on download. Chart rules at the time only allowed download songs to chart one week before and two weeks after physical release availability. In 2007, when the chart rules changed again and any song became eligible for the chart, "Crazy" miraculously reappeared.

Number 51 "Minimal" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here

In Part 3: the mainstream breakthrough of a French DJ/producer we'd be seeing a lot of in years to come, the latest Disney-related music phenomenon to invade the charts and a song which owed a lot of its success to a treadmill-featuring video.

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1 comment:

  1. I forgot about the period where there also had to be a physical release to be eligible to chart in the UK, once downloads were included. Although I was never a big fan of deletion (though it occasionally provided some hilarious backfiring - e.g. when people didn't rush to buy Baha Men's album), it's a pity that there isn't really a digital equivalent of it, hence the more boring, stagnant charts we have now.