Friday, 17 October 2014

The Best Of 2009 - part 3

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

Why release an album once if you can release it twice, three times or even more often? That seemed to be the principle guiding record companies in 2009, with more special and deluxe editions than ever before. It got to the point where it seemed foolish to buy an album when it first came out, since there was likely to be a better version with more songs released down the track. 

Ke$ha glitter bombed the charts in 2009

Of course, in the digital era, you could just pick up the bonus tracks when they surfaced, but the constant revision changed the definition of what constituted an album. Gone were the days where you could talk about an album's tracklisting and have that mean one fixed thing - which would cause difficulty when it came to calculating chart records and best albums lists. As we venture into my top 50 songs for 2009, we'll find several artists who released their albums more than once that year.

Number 50 "Paparazzi" by Lady Gaga
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 49 "Did You See Me Coming?" by Pet Shop Boys
Previously featured here

Number 48 "Empty" by Jessica Mauboy
After an impressive start to her solo career in 2008, Australian Idol runner-up and temporary Young Diva Jessica Mauboy kept the momentum going in 2009 with four more singles from her debut album, including "Because" (number 89 on this list) and "Been Waiting" (number 103). But, it was album track "Empty" that I liked better than any of those songs - would seven singles really have been too many? That may have been normal in 1989, but in 2009, that many singles didn't occur without an album receiving the deluxe version treatment.

Number 47 "If I Can't Have You" by Kelly Clarkson
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 46 "Hush Hush; Hush Hush" by Pussycat Dolls
Here's another act with an album revision - Pussycat Dolls, whose second album, Doll Domination, went through countless versions following its 2008 release. This remix of original album track "Hush Hush" wound up, along with "Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny)", on Doll Domination 2.0 . Both the "I Will Survive"-sampling single remix, redubbed "Hush Hush; Hush Hush", and the revamped album would be the final releases from the girl group as Nicole Scherzinger departed to take another stab at a solo career and tour the world appearing on various The X Factor judging panels.

Number 45 "Don't Upset The Rhythm (Go Baby Go)" by Noisettes
With a subtitle like "Go Baby Go", this breakthrough hit for the British trio (now a duo) was custom built to be used in a car commercial - and its placement in a Mazda ad in the UK goes some way to explaining how it outperformed everything else released by the band by some margin. That, and it's a really good song.

Number 44 "Young And In Love" by Jordin Sparks
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 43 "I Can't Stay Away" by The Veronicas
Back-to-back album tracks here, with this track from The Veronicas' Hook Me Up side by side with a non-single from Jordin Sparks' debut album. Yes, Hook Me Up had been out for quite a while by 2009 - but I kept expecting "I Can't Stay Away" to be released as a single and, when it wasn't, took matters into my own hands.

Number 42 "Bodies" by Robbie Williams
Robbie Williams had had an interesting time of it in the second half of the '00s and was not the guaranteed hit-maker he'd once been. In fact, his last single, 2007's under-rated "She's Madonna" had peaked at a disappointing number 16 in the UK. The pressure was on, then, for this first single from eighth album Reality Killed The Video Star - and it delivered the goods, reaching number 2 in the UK and equalling his highest chart position in Australia (number 4). The epic sounding "Bodies" was also my favourite track of his since "Kids" and harked back to the Robbie of old.

Number 41 "In The Heat Of The Night" by Star Pilots
Sounding like a Eurodance cover of a long-lost '80s classic (and with a video referencing Top Gun), this debut single by Swedish group Star Pilots was actually an original track. Lead singer Johan Becker was a former contestant on Swedish reality series Fame Factory, which was similar to the UK's Fame Academy).

Number 40 "Boys & Girls" by Martin Solveig featuring Dragonette
Another song added to a preexisting album, "Boys & Girls" was a new track on the "definitive" edition of Martin Solveig's C'est La Vie. The collaboration between the French DJ/producer and Canadian synthpop band Dragonette obviously went smoothly - they've reteamed on two subsequent occasions, most successfully on 2010's "Hello". Dragonette also released their second album, Fixin' To Thrill, in 2009 - and the title track wound up as number 70 on this list.

Number 39 "Left My Heart In Tokyo" by Mini Viva
One of the most exciting new acts of 2009 was this pair (one of my all-time favourite female duos), who were championed by Xenomania - with Brian Higgins and Miranda Cooper from the production team co-writing this debut single with Annie (who we saw back in Part 2) and French producer/DJ Fred Falke. The buzz around "Left My Heart In Tokyo" was huge and it duly made the UK top 10, but follow-up "I Wish" (number 100) bombed. More on Mini Viva in my 2010 countdown... 

Number 38 "Celebration" by Madonna
Previously featured here

Number 37 "Don't Trust Me" by 3OH!3
Featuring the worst lyric of 2009 - "shush girl, shut your lips/do the Helen Heller and talk with your hips" - this was the breakthrough single for Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte. Named after the area code of their hometown (Boulder, Colorado), 3OH!3 would end up amassing three appearances in the Australian top 5, but this is the only time they've made my rankings.

Number 36 "Good Girls Go Bad" by Cobra Starship featuring Leighton Meester
They might have had the support of Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz and released two albums already, but it took a guest appearance by a certain Gossip Girl star for Cobra Starship to break through. That, and a song that, while not as trashy as "Don't Trust Me", wouldn't win any respect from feminist groups. "Good Girls Go Bad" was co-written and co-produced by Kevin Rudolf, who we saw back in Part 1.

Number 35 "Heart" by Bertie Blackman
I feel like I need a wash after those last two songs. How's this for a palate cleanser - independent Australian artist Bertie Blackman with the lead track from her ARIA Award-winning album, Secrets And Lies. "Heart" was the first song I'd heard by Bertie, thanks to it receiving a healthy amount of airplay at the time. Unfortunately, that didn't translate into sales.

Number 34 "Don't Stop" by Innerpartysystem
The rockier end of the electronic rock genre, this debut single by the now defunct Innerpartysystem was actually first released in 2008 before a remix and re-release in 2009. The song's music video also went through some editing, with the "shocking" visuals of the original toned down by some networks and an alternate version also filmed.

Number 33 "Silly Boy" by Eva Simons
Her two big Australian hit singles have been as a featured vocalist (on Afrojack's "Take Over Control" and's "This Is Love"), but it's this debut single by Dutch singer Eva Simons that I prefer. After being leaked onto the internet in April 2009, "Silly Boy" was officially released four months later.

Number 32 "Dawn Of The Dead" by Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Prize for the oddest name of the year goes to this British band, whose debut album bore the even lengthier title You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into. "Dawn Of The Dead" was a Triple J favourite and narrowly missed the UK top 40 - the best performance by anything they've released.

Number 31 "Fugitive" by Pet Shop Boys
It only took three years, but Pet Shop Boys finally made a single version of "Fugitive" available in 2009. And when I say "available", I mean "included as a bonus track on German-only single, 'Beautiful People'". The Richard X-produced song had originally appeared in extended form on Fundamentalism, the limited edition companion to 2006's Fundamental, but as a fan of neatly trimmed radio edits, this version quickly became my favourite one. There's never been a clear statement as to the meaning of "Fugitive", but there are some well-considered fan theories.

Number 30 "TiK ToK" by Ke$ha
The queen of trash pop, Kesha Sebert has made a lack of class into an artform - but the brilliance of this debut single was hard to deny. I quickly tired of her half-spoken vocals and sleazy image, but I might be alone in that, since she's so far racked up nine top 10 hits in Australia, either as lead or featured artist, and shows no sign of going away any time soon. "TiK ToK" was also another worldwide smash for songwriter/producer Dr Luke, who actually signed Ke$ha, having first collaborated with her on Paris Hilton's "Nothing In The World" - but things have turned incredibly sour between the two of late.

Number 29 "Sweet Dreams" by Beyonce Knowles
At the start of this post, I talked about how seven singles would've been too many to release from one album in 2009 - but if any artist could be the exception to that statement it was Beyonce, who squeezed seven singles out of the standard edition of I Am... Sasha Fierce and another two from various special editions. By far my favourite of them all was single number six: "Sweet Dreams", which originally went by the title "Beautiful Nightmare" and leaked months before the album's release in November 2008.

Number 28 "Straight Through My Heart (Soldier Down)" by Backstreet Boys
Back with their second studio album as a four-piece, Backstreet Boys made even less of an impression with This Is Us than they did with Unbreakable - which was a shame, since "Straight Through My Heart (Soldier Down)" was as catchy as anything they'd released. And, even though it was produced with the man behind Lady Gaga, RedOne, the song still missed the top 50 in Australia, the US and the UK.

Number 27 "California Bound" by Carolina Liar
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 26 "Bad Boys" by Alexandra Burke featuring Flo Rida
After season four champ Leon Jackson failed to follow in Shayne Ward and Leona Lewis's footsteps and only managed to release one successful single away from the UK version of The X Factor, fifth season victor Alexandra Burke seemed certain to put things right again. After the obligatory Christmas release (a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"), Alexandra settled into her groove on UK number 1 hit "Bad Boys" and the future looked bright - for her and the talent competition.

In Part 4: Alexandra Burke's X Factor mentor, Girls Aloud's Cheryl Cole, starts her solo career, while one of my other all-time favourite girl groups makes a stunning return. Plus, music television takes on a whole new meaning with the debut of a series that changed the charts forever.

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  1. I reckon that part of the reason that "Heart" didn't sell too well is that it was a Free Single of the Week on iTunes a few weeks before it had its stint at #99. It's the only reason I own it but I do still love it.

    Also will use this as a chance to say that I've really enjoyed seeing you roll out these charts (and the blog in general) even if I've never really said anything before :)


    1. Yeah, I scored a few things from iTunes single of the week. Don't know why I stopped checking that out - I used to religiously.

      Thanks for reading!