Friday, 10 October 2014

The Best Of 2009 - part 1

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

Just three years left of my year-end charts to recap - and next up is 2009, a year in which I gave up working on staff at magazines to go freelance. The freedom that came with working for myself was amazing, while covering music, movie and home entertainment releases from the comfort on my home office and lounge room was pretty much the dream situation.

If you seek a great live performer, Britney Spears might just disappoint

Despite what everyone always assumed, I wasn't one of those freelancers who stayed in their pyjamas all day - although I may have taken the odd work-related call while soaking in the bath. And now, let's kick off the countdown of my favourite songs from 2009...

Number 100 "I Wish" by Mini Viva
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 99 "Tell Me It's Not Over (Thin White Duke mix)" by Starsailor
They'd landed a surprise top 5 hit in Australia with the Thin White Duke remix of "Four To The Floor" in 2004 - and five years later, producer Stuart Price repeated the trick of transforming the indie band's music into something more pop with this lead single from the All The Plans album. Despite the great remix, the song and album were major chart disappointments in the UK, leading to a hiatus from which the band has just emerged.

Number 98 "Like It Like That" by Guy Sebastian
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 97 "Boys And Girls" by Pixie Lott
With her cutesy nickname and stage school background, Victoria Lott is kind of asking to be derided by critics - and she has certainly come in for her share of flak since her 2009 debut. But, she's also racked up three UK number 1 singles in her relatively short career - including this boppy little number which proves lightweight doesn't need to equal bad.

Number 96 "Tomorrow" by Ladytron
"Ghosts" and "Runaway" just missed my top 100 for 2008, but this third single from Ladytron's fourth album, Velocifero, manages a year-end berth. In the real world, the synthpop band were still very much an under-the-radar concern, with no major chart action for any of the singles or the album.

Number 95 "For Your Entertainment" by Adam Lambert
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 94 "Welcome To The World" by Kevin Rudolf
The follow-up to Kevin's breakthrough hit, "Let It Rock", "Welcome To The World" also existed in alternate versions featuring either Rick Ross or Kid Cudi. The next trend in collaborations - the substitution of alternate featured artists depending on a song's format and intended demographic was something that was becoming more commonplace.

Number 93 "Down" by Jay Sean featuring Lil Wayne
Next up, two of Kevin Rudolf's label-mates on the debut American single for British performer Jay Sean. After enjoying a middling career at home - previous biggest hit "Stolen" reached number 4 in 2004 - Jay (real name: Kamaljit Singh Jhooti) signed to Cash Money Records and released this multi-million selling monster. Jay was one of two Brits to go on to bigger and better things in the States around that time - Taio Cruz repeated the feat in 2010 with his 2009 single "Break Your Heart".

Number 92 "Love Me Already" by Black Kids
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 91 "Death" by White Lies
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 90 "Do It Again" by Cassie Davis
Here's one of the artists I interviewed in 2009 and one who was being heavily pushed by Sony Music Australia at the time. But, don't let her pop princess looks deceive you - Cassie is also a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, and although her debut album, Differently, performed moderately well, she shifted focus to behind-the-scenes studio work in the '10s, co-writing Havana Brown's international hit "We Run The Night" among other projects. Incidentally, Cassie's third single, "Do It Again", was co-written by another singer who gave up to spotlight: Leah Haywood (who we saw back in my top 100s for 2000 and 2001).

Number 89 "Because" by Jessica Mauboy
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 88 "The Fame" by Lady Gaga
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 87 "Better Than This" by Keane
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 86 "Stuck On Repeat" by Little Boots
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 85 "Live In My Head" by Zoot Woman
Another entry linked to Stuart Price, who formed dance act Zoot Woman with schoolmate Adam Blake in the mid '90s. The two were later joined by Adam's brother, Johnny, and "Live In My Head" was one of the singles from 2009's Things Are What They Used To Be album. 

Number 84 "Falling Rockets" by Cicada
I may be mistaken, but I have a feeling this synthpop track was an iTunes Single of the Week - those tracks given away to promote an artist or album. Apart from the fact that you get music free of charge, it's a great way to discover new acts and something I used to religiously check in 2009. It's been a long time since I looked at the iTunes SOTW, but I'll always be thankful for it introducing me to Cicada.

Number 83 "Fever" by Cascada
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 82 "Wish We Were Older" by Metro Station
In 2008, they wanted to be "Seventeen Forever", while on this track from their self-titled debut album, Metro Station wished they were older - a fairly accurate representation of the contradictory emotions at that on-the-cusp age. Those raging emotions probably led to a rift between Metro Station's core members Trace Cyrus and Mason Musso, who stopped working together in 2010 and have only reconciled in the past few months. Meanwhile, the world (well, a small percentage of it) still waits for a second album.

Number 81 "Method Of Modern Love" by Saint Etienne
A new track on what was beginning to feel like an endless stream of greatest hits collections for the enduring indie pop group, "Method Of Modern Love" was co-written and produced by Richard X, whose gorgeous synth soundscape made this the best Saint Etienne single since 1995's "He's On The Phone".

Number 80 "If U Seek Amy" by Britney Spears
Britney was back on a roll with the singles from Circus, and this cheekily named ditty (say the title quickly if you're one of the few people who never got the gag) gave her another top 20 hit in Australia, the US and the UK. 2009 was also the year Britney finally toured Australia - and sparked controversy thanks to her largely lip synced show.

Number 79 "The End" by Simple Plan
In 2005, they were the cover stars of the last issue of Smash Hits I edited, but it wasn't until 2009 that I actually really liked a Simple Plan song - and it was because the Canadian punk/pop band discovered synths. The best song on their self-titled third album"The End" was never released as a single.

Number 78 "Left Behind" by CSS
The only musical act from Brazil to make one of my year-end countdowns, CSS was the latest in a long line of female-fronted electro-rock acts (see also: New Young Pony Club, Ladyhawke, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) to impress me towards the end of the decade. 

Number 77 "New In Town" by Little Boots
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 76 "Sometimes" by Miami Horror
Mentioned in Part 4

In Part 2: one of the biggest - and most over-played - singles of 2009, plus the end of the road (for the time being) for one of my favourite girl groups and Whitney Houston's last great single.

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