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 98) and "Mary" (number 182).

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
17         SHE WANTS TO MOVE N*E*R*D
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         LEFT OUTSIDE ALONE Anastacia
62         IF I AIN’T GOT YOU Alicia Keys
63         ANGEL EYES Paulini
64         TASTE YOU Cheyne
65         LOSE MY BREATH Destiny’s Child
67         FLAMBOYANT Pet Shop Boys
68         NUMB/ENCORE Jay-Z / Linkin Park
69         GOLDEN TOUCH Razorlight
71         FLY Hilary Duff
72         THE SUN IS SHINING DT8 Project
73         NOT IN LOVE Enrique Iglesias featuring Kelis
74         STRAIGHT AHEAD Tube & Berger featuring Chrissie Hynde
75         CAR WASH Christina Aguilera / Missy Elliott
76         JUST A LITTLE WHILE Janet Jackson
77         ON THE WAY DOWN Ryan Cabrera
78         UNWRITTEN Natasha Bedingfield
79         1980 Estelle
80         ROCK YOUR BODY ROCK Ferry Corsten
81         BABY I LOVE U Jennifer Lopez featuring R.Kelly
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         RED BLOODED WOMAN Kylie Minogue
91         STACY’S MOM Fountains Of Wayne
92         ALL I NEED IS YOU Guy Sebastian
93         BURN Usher
94         LITTLE VOICE Hilary Duff
95         I WON’T CHANGE YOU Sophie Ellis-Bextor
96         TALK ABOUT OUR LOVE Brandy featuring Kanye West
97         ROSES OutKast
98         LAURA Scissor Sisters
99         BOOGIE Brand New Heavies
100        BETTER WORLD Infusion
101        EVERYBODY’S FOOL Evanescence
102        SUMMER SUNSHINE The Corrs
103        BEDSHAPED Keane
104        BREATHE EASY Blue
105        SINGLE Natasha Bedingfield
106        SHOOTING STAR Deepest Blue
108        BREAKAWAY Kelly Clarkson
109        MY BOO Usher & Alicia Keys
110        LET’S GET IT STARTED The Black Eyed Peas
111        POPULAR! Darren Hayes
112        YOU WON’T FORGET ABOUT ME Dannii Minogue vs Flower Power
113        DON’T TELL ME YOU’RE SORRY S Club 8
114        WILD BOYS / ALMIGHTY MIX Phixx
115        DA HYPE Junior Jack featuring Robert Smith
117        I LIKE IT Narcotic Thrust
118        GOD IS A DJ Pink
119        SICK AND TIRED Anastacia
121        THROUGH THE WIRE Kanye West
122        CLOSER Slinkee Minx
123        PUSHIN’ ME OUT D-Side
124        VERTIGO U2
125        SHE’S GOT ME Daniel Merriweather
126        SLOW JAMZ Twista featuring Kanye West & Jamie Foxx
127        OUT WITH MY BABY Guy Sebastian
128        CITY RULES Daniel Merriweather
129        DO YOU KNOW (I GO CRAZY) Angel City featuring Lara McClaren
130        MATINEE Franz Ferdinand
131        HEAR MY NAME Armand Van Helden
132        BEST OF MY LOVE Javine
133        DROP THE PRESSURE Mylo
134        CHEWING GUM Annie
135        KRYPTONITE Guy Sebastian
136        STAY THE SAME Gabrielle
137        SAND IN MY SHOES Dido
138        SUNDAY MORNING Maroon 5
139        IS IT A SIN Deepest Blue
140        WE WANNA THANK YOU (THINGS YOU DO) Big Brovaz
141        BREATHE (DON’T STOP) Mr On featuring Jungle Brothers
142        I AM THA 1 mr Timothy featuring Inaya Day
144        R&B JUNKIE Janet Jackson
145        THIS IS THE LAST TIME Keane
146        AFRODISIAC Brandy
147        THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO Busted
148        WONDERFUL Ja Rule featuring R.Kelly & Ashanti
149        THE WAY YOU MOVE OutKast
150        BREAKING THE HABIT Linkin Park
151        THIS FIRE Franz Ferdinand
152        MY MY MY Armand Van Helden
153        MILLIONAIRE Kelis featuring Andre 3000
154        BUBBLIN’ Blue
155        GET IT ON Intenso Project featuring Lisa Scott-Lee
156        FLAWLESS (GO TO THE CITY) George Michael
158        MY PLACE Nelly
159        CURTAIN FALLS Blue
160        WHATEVER U WANT Christina Milian featuring Joe Budden
161        LUV YA J-Wess
162        DJ/STOP Jamelia
163        CHANGE CLOTHES Jay-Z
164        I DON’T WANNA KNOW Mario Winans featuring P.Diddy & Enya
165        I’LL STAND BY YOU Girls Aloud
166        LOVE’S DIVINE Seal
167        TEN YEARS TIME Gabrielle
168        DUMB The 411
169        NEVER FELT LIKE THIS BEFORE Shaznay Lewis
170        DON’T LEAVE HOME Dido
171        BREATHE ME Sia
172        PLUG IT IN Basement Jaxx featuring JC Chasez
173        ONE CALL AWAY Chingy
174        HEY MAMA The Black Eyed Peas
175        WALKING IN THE SUN Travis
176        NOTHING HURTS LIKE LOVE Daniel Bedingfield
177        SHE WILL BE LOVED Maroon 5
178        FRIDAY’S CHILD Will Young
179        BRING IT ON Alistair Griffin
180        THANK YOU Jamelia
181        TEARDROPS The 411
182        MARY Scissor Sisters
183        RUN Snow Patrol
184        EVERYBODY CRIES Liberty X
185        AS THE RUSH COMES Motorcycle
186        DARKNESS Darren Hayes
187        LOVE WILL COME THROUGH Travis
188        ON MY KNEES The 411
189        DIP IT LOW Christina Milian
190        NAUGHTY GIRL Beyonce Knowles
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
198        TRUTH IS Fantasia
199        ROUND HERE George Michael
200        CONFESSIONS PART II Usher

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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