Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Best Of 2005 - part 1

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

In my household, 2005 is remember as "the year of new things" - new house, new car, new computer and new jobs. Yep, after four years working at Smash Hits, I made the move to weekly publications and started a stint at TV WEEK.

Nat Bass brought a whole new audience to Rogue Traders

The change meant giving up writing about music for the time being, but I did get to write about my second favourite subject matter: television. And 2005 was a great year for TV, with the local launches of Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, all of which were must-watch shows at that point. Here are a few of my must-listen songs from 2005...

Number 100 "Push The Button" by Sugababes
Mentioned below

Number 99 "Caught Up" by Usher
Four singles from Usher's Confessions album had reached the top of the US chart - but this fifth release ended that run, peaking at number 8. After three slower singles - "Burn", "Confessions" and "My Boo" - "Caught Up" brought the party vibe of "Yeah!" back, and I have to say it's how I like my Usher singles, since I find his downtempo songs fade into the background a bit.

Number 98 "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey
Mentioned below

Number 97 "Sunshine" by Ricki-Lee
The Jennifer Hudson of Australian Idol season two, Ricki-Lee Coulter was also shockingly eliminated from the reality show in seventh place - but hasn't left the public eye since thanks to a combination of music releases, radio show hosting stints and regular cover stories in the tabloid press. On the music side of things, Ricki-Lee turned down a contract with Idol label Sony BMG and went with the much smaller Shock Records, thereby retaining a level of control over her career that may not have been otherwise afforded her. Her debut single, "Hell No!", was a top 5 hit, but it was this follow-up that I preferred. The musical equivalent of cosmetics line Covergirl, "Sunshine" is as easy and breezy as pop gets.

Number 96 "Get Your Number" by Mariah Carey
After a few years in the pop wilderness (thanks to the terrible adventure in film that was Glitter and dud album Charmbracelet), Mariah was back bigger than ever with hit-laden album The Emancipation Of Mimi. It's also Mariah's first appearance in one of my year-end charts since 1998's "My All" and the first time I'd like an album of hers since 1993's Music Box.
Big ballad "We Belong Together" was the monster single from Emancipation, spending 14 weeks at number 1 in the US, but she mixed things up with this track, which, like PM Dawn's "Gotta Be... Movin' On Up", sampled Imagination's "Just An Illusion". "Get Your Number" was my favourite single from the album, with other singles like "Shake It Off", "It's Like That" and "Don't Forget About Us" landing between numbers 101 and 200 on this list.

Number 95 "I Wanna Hold You" by McFly
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 94 "Suddenly I See" by KT Tunstall
Scotland's KT Tunstall (real name: Kate) owes a lot of her success to her songs being licensed out for films and TV shows, especially in the US, where "Black Horse And The Cherry Tree" shot up the charts after being memorably performed by American Idol runner-up and future Smash star Katharine McPhee. In the case of "Suddenly I See", which was initially released in 2005, greater exposure came following its use in 2006 chick flick The Devil Wears Prada, and then a bunch of other movies and TV shows. As for me, I'll always associate this song with a crunch track in a Pilates class I took around the time. The opening bars always make me feel like I should be down on the ground doing sit-ups.

Number 93 "No Worries" by Simon Webbe
Mentioned in Part 2

Number 92 "Love Generation" by Bob Sinclar featuring Gary "Nesta" Pine
At the start of the decade, his songs like "I Feel For You" and "Darlin'" were part of the wave of French disco-influenced house that swept the world, although it wasn't until this Australian chart-topper from 2005 that Bob Sinclar landed the type of chart hit that Daft Punk and Modjo had when the genre took off. Owing a large part of success to its catchy whistled hook, "Love Generation" also continued the tradition of dance tracks with young kids in the video (see also: Bomfunk MC's "Freestyler", Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You").

Number 91 "Oh My God" by Kaiser Chiefs
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 90 "I Like The Way" by BodyRockers
It'd been a few years since Madison Avenue and Josh Abrahams had taken Australian dance music internationally, but in 2005, two more singles broke through from the local scene, including this debut single by the duo comprised of Dylan Burns and Kaz James. "I Like The Way", which didn't quite reach the ARIA top 10, got all the way to number 3 in the UK - but it would be the one and only hit for the pair, who disbanded a couple of years later.

Number 89 "Voodoo Child" by Rogue Traders
Here's the other Australian dance track that broke into the UK chart in 2005, also reaching number 3 there. Although her involvement was downplayed, it was clear the song's cause was given a helping hand by the profile of the actress/singer who became the new regular vocalist for Rogue Traders. The latest star from Neighbours to make the leap into the charts, Natalie Bassingthwaighte not only had a surname that was impossible to spell but brought the feistiness of her character Izzy Hoyland to this Elvis Costello-sampling smash hit. Unlike BodyRockers, "Voodoo Child" was no one-off. Not only had Rogue Traders already registered a hit without Natalie (2003's INXS remodel "One Of My Kind"), but they would enjoy a fruitful relationship for the next few years.

Number 88 "1, 2 Step" by Ciara featuring Missy Elliott
The hottest new name in US R&B in 2005 was undoubtedly Ciara, who'd hit number 1 there with "Goodies" and followed it up with this seven-week number 2 smash. While I liked this song, I wasn't as enamoured with Ciara as the Americans, who also sent third single "Oh" to number 2. Ciara repaid the favour and appeared on Missy Elliott's "Lose Control" as well as guesting on Bow Wow's "Like You" - both of which were number 3 hits on the Billboard chart. Not bad for a year's work.

Number 87 "All The Way" by Craig David
He'd been one of the UK's most promising new talents at the start of the decade and even broken into the US market, which for a British R&B artist was kind of like selling ice to eskimos. So where did it all go wrong for Craig David? The way I see it, instead of continuing to be at the cutting edge of pop (as he was with the 2-step hits from his debut album and the inventive "What's Your Flava?"), Craig's music started to become too palatable. In place of fresh sounds were generic ballads and mid-tempo R&B songs. Some, like this lead single from third album The Story Goes..., were perfectly good tunes, the excitement just wasn't there anymore.

Number 86 "Round And Round" by Amiel
After her aforementioned collaboration with Josh Abrahams on "Addicted To Bass" and the success of the singles from her debut solo album, expectations were high for the second album by Amiel Daemion - but it never ended up seeing the light of day in Australia and was only released in Japan. Why? Well, the fact that this lead single only crept to number 64 didn't help matters, but the real problem was the fact that Amiel's record company, Festival Mushroom Records, was bought out by Warner Music in 2005 and These Ties got lost in the shuffle. I have a promo copy of the album from when it was first scheduled for release in Australia and actually think it's pretty much as good as her debut, Audio Out, but its release was pushed back and back until eventually it just fell of the schedule altogether. Amiel was released from her contract a few years later.

Number 85 "Krafty" by New Order
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 84 "Nice" by Duran Duran
Mentioned below

Number 83 "Been Good" by Deepface
More locally produced dance music now from the duo comprised of Chris Corby and Francine Power with vocals by Shirley Davis. This track was actually featured in an ABC documentary series called The Hit Game, which, in a world gone Idol crazy, aimed to show what it was really like to break into the music industry. Unlike Rogue Traders and BodyRockers, Deepface didn't land a chart hit, but did score an ARIA nomination for Best Dance Release for this song.

Number 82 "Stickwitu" by Pussycat Dolls
Since female pop stars were wearing less and dancing more provocatively than ever, it kind of made sense for America's preeminent burlesque troupe to have a stab at making music - although they needed an actual singer to do so. Enter former American Popstars contestant Nicole Scherzinger, who'd been a member of girl group Eden's Crush in the early '00s, and Pussycat Dolls went from stripper poles to pole position on global charts with debut single "Don't Cha" and this ballad follow-up.

Number 81 "Wonderful Life" by Tina Cousins
For whatever reason, Australia had always given Tina Cousins a warmer reception than back in the UK, with two of her singles, "Pray" and "Forever", becoming much more sizable hits locally. Half a decade later, her pop/dance cover of the 1987 classic from Black returned her to the ARIA top 20 for a third and final time as a solo artist.

Number 80 "What Happens Tomorrow" by Duran Duran
Interest in the reformed Duran Duran dropped off just as quickly as it had returned, with this second single from Astronaut becoming a blink-and-you-missed-it top 20 hit in the UK and third single "Nice" (number 84 on this list) not even getting a full release. As a long time Duranie, I thought the singles from Astronaut were their best tracks in well over a decade, but they'd become a band who really just catered to their existing fanbase. Coincidentally or otherwise, Andy Taylor re-abandoned Duran Duran in late 2006.

Number 79 "Modern Way" by Kaiser Chiefs
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 78 "Sex Is Not The Enemy" by Garbage
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 77 "Filthy/Gorgeous" by Scissor Sisters
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 76 "Ugly" by Sugababes
Interestingly, for me if no one else, Sugababes' fourth album, Taller In More Ways, is my favourite of all the albums released by any incarnation of the group - but it contained my least favourite selection of singles from any album they'd released until that point (and was even bettered by the singles on fifth album Change). In 2005, those singles were "Push The Button" (number 100 on this list and their biggest hit in Australia) and "Ugly". I liked them both enough for them to rank within my top 100, but much preferred album tracks like "Ace Reject" and "Bruised". Turns out I wasn't the only one feeling a bit unsure about Sugababes at this stage - with original member Mutya Buena departing at the very end of the year.

In Part 2: a former member of Blue enjoys solo success, as does the lead singer of one of my least favourite American rock bands. Plus, a new teen sensation arrives on the scene and, in Australia at least, disappears just as quickly.

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