Saturday, 13 September 2014

The Best Of 2008 - part 1

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

Time for another trip back to years gone by - and 2008 was the year I finally accepted that the age of the CD single was over and that I could cope with only owning an MP3 of a song I liked if need be. The absence of a physical copy of a single or album was a lot to get used to for a music fan such as me who'd spent countless hours trawling record shops around the world since the '80s.

New girl group The Saturdays started racking up hits in 2008

But, with the shift to downloads came a new freedom - I no longer relied on there being an official single release for a song to qualify for my charts. After all, if it was good enough for singles charts around the world to allow multiple entries from a just-released album, it was good enough for me to include B-sides, bonus tracks and album cuts in my year-end countdown. Exciting stuff, right?

Number 100 "Up" by The Saturdays
Mentioned below

Number 99 "Dusk Till Dawn" by Ladyhawke
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 98 "The Right Life" by Seal
To start us off, a second and final single from Seal's System album, which gained even less attention than 2007's return to form "Amazing". With the exception of the odd Heidi Klum duet, System was an excellent album that could've spawned several singles. Had it made more of an impact, Seal might've been spared the need to record a couple of soul covers albums and Australia might've been spared having him as one of the coaches on the local version of The Voice a few years later.

Number 97 "Beggin'" by Madcon
This cover of the 1967 single by The Four Seasons took Nowregian duo Madcon international - although not as far as Australia, where this European hit failed to make an impact.

Number 96 "Something Good 2008" by Utah Saints
The original version made by top 5 for 1992, and although this update didn't end 2008 quite as high in my estimations, it was still a worthy remix - courtesy of Australian dance act Van She, who we'll be seeing a lot of on this countdown. The Kate Bush sample was actually re-recorded for this version, which returned to the UK top 10, no doubt thanks in no small part to its fun music video.

Number 95 "Are You With Me" by The Potbelleez
Thanks to the ubiquity of "Don't Look Back" and "Hello" in advertisements in recent years, I'd completely forgotten about the existence of this ARIA number 15 hit, which was released as the follow-up to "Don't Look Back".

Number 94 "Disco Lies (Freemasons mix)" by Moby
By 2008, it'd been almost a decade since Moby's career had gone through the roof and things had settled down for the genre-jumping artist, so much so that this single from his eigtht album, Last Night, passed a lot of people by. Its apperance on this list is thanks to the remix by Freemasons, who are responsible for a number of tracks in my top 100 in one way or another.

Number 93 "Cherry Bomb" by Kylie Minogue
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 92 "If This Is Love" by The Saturdays
Formed by the same record company that had Girls Aloud on their roster, The Saturdays went on tour with and were offered songs not suitable for the more established girl group - a situation (no pun intended) a couple of the members would have been familiar with, having previously been part of S Club Juniors. But with songs like this Yazoo-sampling debut and follow-up "Up" (number 100) on this list, The Saturdays quickly became one of the UK's premier pop acts, although not so big in Australia.

Number 91 "We Break The Dawn" by Michelle Williams
She took her time venturing out of the world of gospel music, but Michelle became the third Destiny's Child member to try her hand at a solo pop release with this lead single from the aptly named Unexpected album. Keeping it in the DC family, "We Break The Dawn" was co-written by Beyoncé's sister, Solange, who we'll be seeing later on in this countdown - but despite that fact, as well as the accompanying press interest and a music video featuring hottie dancers, the single was only a club hit.

Number 90 "Don't Want To Go To Bed Now" by Gabriella Cilmi
Another artist who had a brief but lucrative period of hit-making was Australian teenager (well, she was then - she's 22 now) Gabriella Cilmi, who was signed to Island Records UK and won six ARIA Awards on the strength of one single: "Sweet About Me". I was never a huge fan of that five-week chart-topper and preferred the other singles from Lessons To Be Learned, including this follow-up, which peaked at a disappointing number 28 in Australia.

Number 89 "Kelly" by Van She
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 88 "Ghosts" by Ladytron
Their 2005 single "Destroy Everything You Touch" made by year-end chart for 2007, thanks to a re-release, and synthpop group Ladytron returned with a new album in 2008. "Ghosts" was the lead single from Velocifero, while follow-up "Runaway" ended up just outside my top 100.

Number 87 "The One / Freemasons mix" by Kylie Minogue
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 86 "Everything But Mine" by Backstreet Boys
This song from BSB's Unbreakable album was pegged to be a single at some point, but no doubt the disappointing performances of "Inconsolable" and "Helpless When She Smiles" prompted all plans for further singles to be abandoned. Of course, an uptempo song like "Everything But Mine" might've worked where those two ballads didn't - but I guess we'll never know now.

Number 85 "Kansas City" by Sneaky Sound System
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 84 "Pretty Please (Love Me)" by Estelle featuring Cee-Lo
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 83 "Miles Away" by Madonna
Previously featured here

Number 82 "Changes" by Will Young
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 81 "Shine On" by The Kooks
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 80 "No Stress" by Laurent Wolf
Big in Europe, not so much everywhere else, this Continental chart-topper followed years of under-the-radar releases by the French DJ/producer. Vocals were performed by Eric Carter, while in recent years Laurent has featured Andrew Roachford on a couple of his singles.

Number 79 "Seventeen Forever" by Metro Station
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 78 "Black And Gold" by Sam Sparro
More dance music now - and like Gabriella Cilmi, Aussie-born singer Sam Sparro (real name: Samuel Falson) was signed to Island Records UK, and like MGMT's "Kids" (below), "Black And Gold" had existed in a previous version before being given the major label push in 2008. The buzz surrounding Sam in the UK led to Australia also sending "Black And Gold" (written about his religious beliefs) into the top 5 locally, and he was suddenly the hottest artist in town (when he returned home for promotional visits, that is). Unfortunately for Sam, he's been unable to live up to that promising start.

Number 77 "Pjanno" by Eric Prydz
This was the third UK top 2 smash from the Swedish DJ/producer who'd been at the forefront of all those club hits sampling '80s songs with 2004's "Call On Me". Unlike that Steve Winwood-inspired tune and his 2006 Pink Floyd reworking "Proper Education", "Pjanno" was all-original and actually dated back to 2006, but didn't take off until two years later. Not one to flood the market, Eric's next single wasn't until 2011.

Number 76 "Kids" by MGMT
Another song which took a while to emerge as a hit was this track from American band MGMT's debut album, Oracular Spectacular. And, even though "Kids" originally appeared on the We (Don't) Care EP in 2004, it didn't change an awful lot in the intervening years.

In Part 2: a heck of a lot of Australasian dance music and more Freemasons remix magic, as well as a song by the dance act themselves.

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