Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Best Of 2003 - part 4

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


There was a bit of a changing of the guard in pop in 2003, with the boy bands, girl groups and other pop combos of the late '90s and early '00s dying off (another example of which we'll see shortly). In their place came the solo acts who'd formerly been members of boy bands or girls groups (two of whom we'll see shortly) and reality show winners (two of whom we'll also see shortly).

Kelly Clarkson established how to have success after Idol

At the end of 2003, a collection of Idol champions from around the globe came together to compete in World Idol. At the time, being an Idol victor meant you were in very select company. As the franchise grew, and The X Factor and The Voice were also launched, we ended up with more reality show winners than we knew what to do with. In 2003, that hadn't yet become a problem.


Number 25 "Are You Ready For Love 2003" by Elton John
First, however, a solo artist whose career began earlier than most people competing and voting in reality show competitions were even born - and this song dated back almost that far. Originally released in eight-and-a-half minute form back in 1979 on The Thom Bell Sessions EP, "Are You Ready For Love" had played second fiddle to another track from the EP, "Mama Can't Buy You Love", which was a US top 10 hit at the time. Remixed by X-Press 2 member Ashley Beedle in 2003, the new version of "Are You Ready..." gave Elton only the third solo number 1 of his career in the UK.




Number 24 "Lost Without You" by Delta Goodrem
After almost ruining her career before it had even got off the ground, Sony Music Australia realised it was better to stop trying to turn local singer/songwriter into Australia's version of Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera and to let her sing her own songs. That decision, together with more than a little help from Delta's role on Neighbours, made her the most successful new local artist in years.
"Lost Without You" was the second single from Delta's Innocent Eyes album and was my favourite of the five singles - all of them Australian chart-toppers - lifted from the million-selling CD. In fact, all but lead single "Born To Try" make this chart - with Lost Without You" followed by "Innocent Eyes" (number 136 on this list), "Not Me, Not I" (number 36) and "Predictable / Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" (number 76).
It would have been the perfect year for the then 18-year-old, but Delta's diagnosis with Hodgkin's lymphoma halfway through 2003 was a shock no one saw coming. As tragic as the illness was for such a young artist, it did prevent the inevitable tall poppy backlash starting against Delta as it had at a similar point in Kylie Minogue's early career and Delta remained Australia's sweetheart through her recovery and follow-up albums.




Number 23 "No Good Advice" by Girls Aloud
Mentioned in Part 3 and previously featured here

Number 22 "Stuck" by Stacie Orrico
Mentioned below

Number 21 "Fool No More" by S Club 8
With S Club 7 now known as S Club, S Club Juniors also underwent a slight rebranding to become S Club 8 - and their musical style received a minor makeover to become less cutesy and slightly more sophisticated. The shift worked, with the five-girl, three-boy collective maintaining their UK top 10 strike-rate with both this song and follow-up "Sundown" (number 61 on this list), the title track of their second album.




Number 20 "Don't Wanna Lose This Groove" by Dannii Minogue
Mentioned below

Number 19 "Twist Of Fate" by Siobhan Donaghy
Sugababes had survived her departure and were in the throes of becoming one of the UK's top girl groups, so it was nice to see Siobhan Donaghy also emerge from the split and return to the music scene with her first solo album in 2003. Not a cover of the Olivia Newton-John song of the same name (although I'd be curious to hear that), "Twist Of Fate" was Siobhan's second single - a much better track than its predecessor, "Overrated", which only just dented the UK top 20 and wound up as my number 107 for the year. Had the release order been reversed, I wonder if "Twist Of Fate" would have managed to chart higher than its UK peak of number 52.




Number 18 "The Wreckoning" by Boomkat
Brother/sister duo Boomkat were one of the freshest sounding acts to emerge in 2003, with both singles from debut album Boomkatalog.One, "The Wreckoning" and "What U Do 2 Me" (number 89 on this list), sounding different from anything else on the charts. Despite that, the group never quite broke through in a big way (although "The Wreckoning" did manage to crack the Australian top 20) - and even though they have continued to release music every so often, singer/actress Taryn Manning is now better known for her role in Orange Is The New Black and having once appeared in the Britney Spears movie, Crossroads.




Number 17 "It's My Life" by No Doubt
They'd always worn their '80s influences on their sleeve, and so when it came time to record a new track for their greatest hits album, No Doubt chose to remake this Talk Talk track over INXS's "Don't Change", which they also considered. The original version of "It's My Life" featured prominently in my top 100 for 1984, but nearly 20 years later, I liked this update almost as much.




Number 16 "How Soon Is Now" by t.A.T.u.
Previously featured here

Number 15 "Miss Independent" by Kelly Clarkson
American Idol wouldn't screen in Australia until the third season and so this track probably got more publicity locally thanks to Christina Aguilera being one of the song's co-writers than because of Kelly's victory on the singing show. After charting well in the States with the obligatory winner's single, "Before Your Love / A Moment Like This", Kelly proved she had some attitude to go with the big ballad-worthy vocal chops. In one of my favourite Smash Hits Challenges (a regular feature we had in the mag) of all time, I made Kelly prove just how independent she was by cleaning up her hotel room and ironing.




Number 14 "Say Goodbye / Love Ain't Gonna Wait For You" by S Club
As I noted in my top 100 for 2002, things had started to go downhill for S Club and so the remaining six decided to call it a day before their collective hand was forced. An appropriately titled farewell ballad was chosen and it was backed with a slightly remixed version of one of the stronger tracks from their final studio album, Seeing Double. I'd never been a massive fan of S Club 7 ballads like "Never Had A Dream Dome True" and "Have You Ever", but I did like "Say Goodbye" - and not just because it established exactly why Tina and Hannah were never usually allowed to sing lead.




Number 13 "(There's Gotta Be) More To Life" by Stacie Orrico
The Amy Grant of the new millennium, Stacie crossed over from the Christian music market with her second, self-titled album, and singles like this and "Stuck" (number 22 on this list). Ever since, she's divided her time between irregular music releases and other projects like humanitarian work.




Number 12 "I Like Love (I Love Love)" by Solitaire
I always assumed this was the latest in a long line of French disco tracks to grab my attention, but turns out Solitaire was a British duo, who built their Australian top 30 hit around Norma Jean Wright's "I Like Love".




Number 11 "Leave Right Now" by Will Young
While Gareth Gates spent 2003 recording his dodgy cover version of "Spirit In The Sky" and an album packed mostly with generic Scandinavian pop, the singer who beat him to the title of Pop Idol in the UK proved why he'd been the better choice with this lead single from his Friday's Child album. The thoughtful ballad, which was written by one-time Brother Beyond member Eg White, was a sign that Will's career wasn't going to be so predictable.




Number 10 "Scandalous" by Mis-teeq
Mentioned in Part 2 and previously featured here

Number 9 "Crazy In Love" by Beyoncé Knowles featuring Jay-Z
Her Destiny's Child band-mate Kelly Rowland might have got off to an early lead with her solo career, but Beyoncé followed up the lacklustre "Work It Out" with this lead single from her debut solo studio album, Dangerously In Love, and blasted all thoughts of a competition between the two out of the water. Featuring future husband Jay-Z and sampling the horns from The Chi-Lites' "Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)", "Crazy In Love" was almost enough to single-handedly justify Beyoncé dropping her surname and joining the ranks of Madonna, Cher and Prince as music superstars. Time - and several more massive hits to come - would prove she could lay claim to membership of such an illustrious group.




Number 8 "All The Things She Said" by t.A.T.u.
Previously featured here

Number 7 "Bring Me To Life" by Evanescence
The Russian faux-lesbians may have stolen the title of 2003's most talked about new act, but goth-lite rockers Evanescence were certainly right up there in terms of instant and widespread success. The track that had everyone listening was "Bring Me To Life", written by singer Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody, who quit the band just as they cracked the big time due to "creative differences". Evanescence would land a few more hits over the coming years, but none which quite recaptured this excitement.




Number 6 "Rock Your Body" by Justin Timberlake
It's telling that while Michael Jackson rejected this track for inclusion on his unfortunately titled Invincible album, a young singer who derived much of his skill set from the King of Pop turned it into his third massive solo hit in a row at a time when Jacko would have killed for a song to perform even half as well. "Rock Your Body" was the song that convinced me JT had what it took to be a solo superstar. Sure, I'd warmed to "Like I Love You", while "Cry Me A River" (number 33 on this list), with its Britney-baiting video and Timbaland production, was a very slick affair, but this track was cool without seeming to try hard at all. I've always been surprised that Vanessa Marquez, who supplied the female vocals on "Rock Your Body" never parlayed the guest spot into a significant career boost.




Number 5 "I Begin To Wonder" by Dannii Minogue
Released in 2002 by Jean Claude Ades under the pseudonym J.C.A., "I Begin To Wonder" was reworked for Dannii Minogue's comeback album, Neon Nights, and became her highest-charting UK hit and one of her more successful singles in Australia. She stayed on a roll with follow-up "Don't Wanna Lose This Feeling" (number 20 on this list), which, in an alternate version, was seamlessly mashed up with Madonna's "Into The Groove" to become "Don't Wanna Lose This Groove". The two singles followed earlier hits "Put The Needle On It" and "Who Do You Love Now?", which were both included on Neon Nights, with the entire period becoming the most consistently successful of Dannii's career.




Number 4 "Move Your Feet" by Junior Senior
I always thought Danish duo Junior Senior were so named because one member was really old and the other was quite young, but it turns out they're less than two years apart in age. Jesper and Jeppe took the world by storm with this infectious track and then slowly faded back into obscurity.




Number 3 "Teardrop Hitting The Ground" by Kelli Ali
In 1996, back when she went by the name of Kelli Dayton, she was Sneaker Pimps' lead singer, performing on tracks like "Spin Spin Sugar" and "6 Underground". Having parted company with the trip-hop act shortly after, Kelli eventually got around to releasing her underrated debut album, Tigermouth, in 2003. None of the three singles, which also included "Inferno High Love" (number 41 on this list) and "Kids" (which just missed my top 100 for 2002), managed to hit the UK chart and the album sank without a trace. In fact, I think I had to hit the local record company up for a promotional or import copy since it didn't get an official release here at the time.




Number 2 "Closer To Perfection" by A*Teens
Over the years, I've been very strict about what songs qualify for my year-end charts and what don't. Until 2008, only songs that had been released as singles counted - but sometimes the definition of what constituted a single was stretched as far as I could take it to include Japan-only releases, withdrawn singles, promotional singles or radio-only singles. Here is the exception to the rule, but for some time I genuinely believed this track from A*Teens' New Arrival album had been released as a single. By the time I found out, it was kind of too late to go back and so here it remains - a shiny pop gem that should've been a single for the Swedish four-piece, who would go their separate ways the following year.




Number 1 "Hole In The Head" by Sugababes
Previously featured here


My top 200 for 2003 in full:

1        HOLE IN THE HEAD Sugababes
2        CLOSER TO PERFECTION A*Teens
3        TEARDROP HITTING THE GROUND Kelli Ali
4        MOVE YOUR FEET Junior Senior
5        I BEGIN TO WONDER Dannii Minogue
6        ROCK YOUR BODY Justin Timberlake
7        BRING ME TO LIFE Evanescence
8        ALL THE THINGS SHE SAID t.A.T.u.
9        CRAZY IN LOVE Beyonce Knowles featuring Jay-Z
10      SCANDALOUS Mis-teeq
11      LEAVE RIGHT NOW Will Young
12      I LIKE LOVE (I LOVE LOVE) Solitaire
13      (THERE’S GOTTA BE) MORE TO LIFE Stacie Orrico
14      SAY GOODBYE / LOVE AIN’T GONNA WAIT FOR YOU S Club
15      MISS INDEPENDENT Kelly Clarkson
16      HOW SOON IS NOW t.A.T.u.
17      IT’S MY LIFE No Doubt
18      THE WRECKONING Boomkat
19      TWIST OF FATE Siobhan Donaghy
20      DON’T WANNA LOSE THIS FEELING / DON’T WANNA LOSE THIS GROOVE Dannii Minogue
21      FOOL NO MORE S Club 8
22      STUCK Stacie Orrico
23      NO GOOD ADVICE Girls Aloud
24      LOST WITHOUT YOU Delta Goodrem
25      ARE YOU READY FOR LOVE 2003 Elton John
26      ALL IN MY HEAD Kosheen
27      FIGHTER Christina Aguilera
28      WE USED TO BE FRIENDS The Dandy Warhols
29      SUPERSTAR Jamelia
30      FINEST DREAMS Richard X featuring Kelis
31      TOO LOST IN YOU Sugababes
32      LOVE STORY [VS FINALLY] Layo & Bushwacka!
33      CRY ME A RIVER Justin Timberlake
34      LONELINESS Tomcraft
35      MISS PERFECT Abs featuring Nodesha
36      NOT ME, NOT I Delta Goodrem
37      MIXED UP WORLD Sophie Ellis-Bextor
38      ONE FINE DAY Jakatta featuring Beth Hirsch
39      GIVE ME A REASON Triple 8
40      AM I ON YOUR MIND? Oxygen featuring Andrea Britton
41      INFERNO HIGH LOVE Kelli Ali
42      MIRACLES Pet Shop Boys
43      THE WAY (PUT YOUR HAND IN MY HAND) Divine Inspiration
44      NOTHING FAILS / LOVE PROFUSION Madonna
45      MAYBE Emma Bunton
46      JUMP Girls Aloud
47      EASY Groove Armada
48      BABY LIKES IT Isaac James
49      WHERE IS THE LOVE The Black Eyed Peas featuring Justin Timberlake
50      IGNITION (REMIX) R.Kelly
51      CAN’T HOLD US DOWN Christina Aguilera featuring Lil’ Kim
52      BREATHE Michelle Branch
53      ON THE HORIZON Melanie C
54      HOLLYWOOD Madonna
55      OK / ROCK REMIX Big Brovaz
56      NUMB Linkin Park
57      MAKE LUV Room 5 featuring Oliver Cheatham
58      STOP SIGN Abs
59      HEY YA! Outkast
60      AUTOMATIC Sarah Whatmore
61      SUNDOWN / ALMIGHTY MIX S Club 8
62      FAMILIAR FEELING Moloko
63      OOH WEE Mark Ronson featuring Ghostface Killah, Nate Dogg and Trife
64      BIG SUR The Thrills
65      COMPLETE Jaimeson
66      STYLE Mis-teeq
67      REAL THINGS Javine
68      HOW DID YOU KNOW Kurtis Mantronik presents Chamonix
69      MY TIME Dutch featuring Crystal Waters
70      HOLD ON ME Phixx
71      SENTIMENTAL / ALMIGHTY MIX Kym Marsh
72      ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? Michelle Branch
73      SLEEPING SATELLITE Aurora featuring Naimee Coleman
74      SUNSHINE Gareth Gates
75      OBSESSION (I LOVE YOU) Amiel
76      PREDICTABLE / HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER) Delta Goodrem
77      MELT / YEH, YEH, YEH Melanie C
78      TURNTABLE TLC
79      FALLEN Mya
80      U MAKE ME WANNA Blue
81      SPEECHLESS D-Side
82      LOVE DOESN’T HAVE TO HURT Atomic Kitten
83      DEEPEST BLUE Deepest Blue
84      BREATHE Blu Cantrell featuring Sean Paul
85      THE WHIRLED YOU LIVE Etherfox
86      MY LOVE IS ALWAYS Saffron Hill featuring Ben Onono
87      SURRENDER (YOUR LOVE) Javine
88      COME ON OVER Kym Marsh
89      WHAT U DO 2 ME Boomkat
90      MANDY Westlife
91      I MUST NOT CHASE THE BOYS Play
92      HARDER TO BREATHE Maroon 5
93      INVISIBLE D-Side
94      BEING NOBODY Richard X vs Liberty X
95      FALLING Candice Alley
96      DAMAGED Plummet
97      STAND BACK Linus Loves featuring Sam Obernik
98      HEAVEN IS CLOSER (FEELS LIKE HEAVEN) Dario G
99      DESTINATION DT8 featuring Roxanne Wilde
100    SUNLIGHT DJ Sammy
101    DON’T BELIEVE ANYMORE The Whitlams
102    SWEET DREAMS (MY LA EX) Rachel Stevens
103    STATE OF MIND Holly Valance
104    CRY LITTLE SISTER (I NEED U NOW) The Lost Brothers featuring G Tom Mac
105    SUNRISE Simply Red
106    OUT OF THE CITY 2 Heads
107    OVERRATED Siobhan Donaghy
108    CLOCKS Coldplay
109    ARE YOU GONNA BE MY GIRL Jet
110    I WANT YOU Thalia featuring Fat Joe
111    HIDDEN AGENDA Craig David
112    NO LETTING GO Wayne Wonder
113    WORLD FILLED WITH LOVE Craig David
114    GET IT TOGETHER Seal
115    THE VOICE WITHIN Christina Aguilera
116    GET READY Shawn Desman
117    FREE ME Emma Bunton
118    WHITE FLAG Dido
119    GOOD BOYS / GIORGIO MORODER REMIX Blondie
120    INTO YOU Fabolous featuring Tamia
121    SHAKESPEARE’S (WAY WITH) WORDS One True Voice
122    TIMES LIKE THESE Foo Fighters
123    SHOW ME A SIGN Kontakt
124    BROKEN BONES Love Inc
125    TIME OF OUR LIVES/CONNECTED Paul van Dyk featuring Vega4
126    LOVE ME RIGHT (OH SHEILA) Angel City featuring Lara McAllen
127    DAVID GusGus
128    CAN’T NOBODY Kelly Rowland
129    THE NIGHT / ALMIGHTY MIX Soft Cell
130    SHAPE Sugababes
131    GOING UNDER Evanescence
132    SOMEWHERE I BELONG Linkin Park
133    LOVESONG Amiel
134    WITHOUT YOUR LOVE Tom Novy featuring Lima
135    DO YOUR THING Basement Jaxx
136    INNOCENT EYES Delta Goodrem
137    TONIGHT Amiel
138    SEVENTEEN Ladytron
139    GOD PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE Coldplay
140    WASTING MY TIME Kosheen
141    RE-OFFENDER Travis
142    I CAN’T READ YOU Daniel Bedingfield
143    DANCE (WITH U) Lemar
144    TURN ME ON Kevin Lyttle
145    STAB Mandy Kane
146    SHUT UP Black Eyed Peas
147    CLUBBED TO DEATH Rob Dougan
148    NOT GONNA GET US t.A.T.u.
149    GIRLS AND BOYS Good Charlotte
150    FEEL GOOD TIME Pink
151    HERE IT COMES AGAIN Melanie C
152    ANGELS BROUGHT ME HERE Guy Sebastian
153    I CAN’T BREAK DOWN Sinead Quinn
154    LOW Kelly Clarkson
155    DIRTY STICKY FLOORS David Gahan
156    RISE & FALL Craig David featuring Sting
157    SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS Postal Service
158    I’M IN HEAVEN Jason Nevins presents UKNY featuring Holly James
159    LOVE LIFE Alcazar
160    NOTHING BUT SONG Siobhan Donaghy
161    MISFIT Amy Studt
162    YOU MIGHT BE WRONG Nicole Russo
163    WHAT CHU WANT J-Wess
164    GUILTY Blue
165    YOU DON’T MISS YOUR WATER (’TIL THE WELL RUNS DRY) Craig David
166    LIFE FOR RENT Dido
167    SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL Robbie Williams
168    DON’T WORRY Appleton
169    LATELY Lisa Scott-Lee
170    IF YOU COME TO ME Atomic Kitten
171    DO ME WRONG Mel Blatt
172    EVERYTHING EVENTUALLY Appleton
173    THE BEAUTIFUL OCCUPATION Travis
174    SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS Blue featuring Angie Stone and Stevie Wonder
175    LIFE GOT COLD Girls Aloud
176    TONIGHT / MISS YOU NIGHTS Westlife
177    SOFT LIKE ME Saint Etienne
178    WORK IT Nelly featuring Justin Timberlake
179    WHAT’S YOUR NAME Morcheeba
180    THE DISTRICT SLEEPS ALONE TONIGHT Postal Service
181    LADIES NIGHT Atomic Kitten
182    SHAPE OF YOU (RESHAPED) Beverley Knight featuring Hollywood
183    STRICT MACHINE Goldfrapp
184    PANDORA’S KISS Louise
185    SHOOK Shawn Desman
186    CAN’T GET IT BACK Mis-teeq
187    JUMPIN’ Liberty X
188    MY LOVE IS LIKE…WO Mya
189    SENORITA Justin Timberlake
190    03 BONNIE & CLYDE Jay-Z featuring Beyonce Knowles
191    SUPERSTAR Ruben Studdard
192    SPANISH Craig David
193    AIN’T WHAT YOU DO Big Brovaz
194    TOO FAR GONE Lisa Scott-Lee
195    LESS TALK MORE ACTION Tim Deluxe
196    HEY WHATEVER Westlife
197    BABY BOY Beyonce Knowles featuring Sean Paul
198    EXCUSE ME MISS Jay-Z
199    CRY Kym Marsh
200    BABY BOY Big Brovaz


That's it for another year's recap - and I'll tackle 2004 towards the end of this month. Tomorrow, as always, we'll look back to 1989 to find out what was happening on the ARIA chart this week 25 years ago.


MY YEAR-END CHARTS
1979 II 1980 II 1981 II 1982 II 1983 II 1984 II 1985 II 1986 II 1987 II 1988 II 1989
1990 II 1991 II 1992 II 1993 II 1994 II 1995 II 1996 II 1997 II 1998 II 1999
2000 II 2001 II 2002 II 2003 II 2004 II 2005 II 2006 II 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2015 II 2016


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