|Unfortunately, I didn't get to use the headline "Up the Duff" in 2004|
Scarred by my experience at a Daniel Bedingfield showcase the previous year (no food plus lots of wine equals... well, you can imagine), I became adept at locating the kitchen at such events and standing outside it since the complimentary finger food would constitute my dinner. Oh, and sometimes I'd get to hear great music for nothing. Here are some more great songs from 2004...
Number 75 "Just A Little While" by Janet Jackson
Mentioned in Part 3
Number 74 "Car Wash" by Christina Aguilera featuring Missy Elliott
Following their 2001 collaboration on "Lady Marmalade", X-tina and Missy teamed up for another movie soundtrack in 2004: animated film Shark Tale. The Rose Royce cover was one of two big hits Christina was involved in between studio albums - and we'll see the other one shortly.
Number 73 "Straight Ahead" by Tube & Berger featuring Chrissie Hynde
Sometimes it seems like Billboard magazine has so many different charts that someone who'd been around as long as The Pretenders vocalist Chrissie Hynde must have hit number 1 on at least one of them - but it took until 2004 and her guest vocal on this dance track from German duo Arndt Rörig and Marco Vidovic for her to hit the top... of the Hot Dance Airplay chart. Although Chrissie is the featured vocalist, it's not her who utters the song's title, with the line "straight ahead in one direction" performed by the song's co-writer Liz Winstanley.
Number 72 "Not In Love" by Enrique Iglesias featuring Kelis
Collaborations, duets and featured vocalists had been around for a long time, but in 2004, the practice really started to become commonplace. Before long it would be unusual for a rap, R&B, pop or dance track to not be credited to at least two different artists.
This song, taken from Enrique's album 7, is another example (like J.Lo's "Baby I Love U", which we saw in Part 1) of a singer being added for the single release, with the Latino performer taking advantage of Kelis' red-hot popularity at the time.
Thanks to hits like "Milkshake" and "Trick Me" (number 83 on this list), Kelis had a much better 2004 than Enrique - although "Not In Love" did well in the UK and Australia, he wasn't enjoying his usual chart-topping levels of success and he wouldn't release another single for three years.
Number 71 "The Sun Is Shining" by DT8 Project
We saw this dance act back on my top 100 for 2003, when the alias for DJ/producer Darren Tate was known more economically as DT8 and released trance records. By 2004, the newly monikered DT8 Project had moved on to vocal house.
Number 70 "Fly" by Hilary Duff
One of the benefits of my Smash Hits job was free concert tickets - and Hilary (or "The Duff", as we referred to her) was one of the gigs to which I got to take my music-loving nephew. He's now a 19-year-old DJ who'd probably cringe at the memory of liking Hilary Duff, but I have no such shame. In fact, I'll happily admit the Lizzie McGuire star actually started making some decent pop tunes in 2004, like this lead single from her self-titled album and "Little Voice" (number 96 on this list).
Number 69 "Five Colours In Her Hair" by McFly
Mentioned in Part 3
Number 68 "Golden Touch" by Razorlight
For a brief period in the mid-'00s, Razorlight were one of Britain's biggest bands, much to the chagrin of the group's original fans. This fourth single became their first UK top 10 single and paved the way for accusations of selling out. Naturally, I was less interested in earlier more alternative singles like "Rip It Up" and "Stumble And Fall", and found this more mainstream sound perfectly palatable. No surprise there, then.
Number 67 "Numb/Encore" by Jay-Z & Linkin Park
See, I can be edgy when I try. OK, maybe not - since both Jay-Z and Linkin Park were two of the biggest acts in the world at this point. Their union on the Collision Course album was a clash of styles that worked incredibly well - especially on this one and only single from the project, which merged Linkin Park's "Numb" and Jay-Z's "Encore", both originally released in 2003. Although a number 3 hit here in Australia, the song didn't make the top 10 in either the UK or US but is one of those songs that sold solidly for months and years after thanks to the advent of the iTunes store.
Number 66 "Flamboyant" by Pet Shop Boys
The second of two new songs on PSB's Pop Art compilation, "Flamboyant" was co-produced by German DJ/producer Tomcraft (aka Thomas Bruckner) - and you can hear a snatch of his hit "Loneliness" (which featured on my top 100 for 2003) on this single. Like many Pet Shop Boys singles around this time, the song pretty much appealed only to existing fans and had a fleeting appearance in the UK top 20.
Number 65 "Blood, Sweat And Tears" by V
Number 64 "Lose My Breath" by Destiny's Child
You've got to give Beyoncé a fair bit of credit, since there was probably no need for her to reunite with Kelly and Michelle for a fourth Destiny's Child album given the runaway success of her solo career the year before. Whether it was to satisfy contractual obligations or out of a sense of loyalty to the girl group that had launched her, she did just that and the trio unleashed this musical assault on the world. Far and away the best single from Destiny Fulfilled, it would have been a great swan song for the group, but instead they ended up petering out with a series of bland ballads like "Cater 2 U" and "Stand Up For Love" over the next year.
Number 63 "Taste You" by Cheyne
And now here's a singer who would never escape the shadow of the group that'd made her famous - mostly because of a terrible performance at the 2000 ARIA Awards as singer for Madison Avenue that has haunted her ever since. Following the demise of the dance duo behind "Don't Call Me Baby", Cheyne launched herself as a riding crop-wielding solo artist, and although her debut single, "I've Got Your Number", reached the ARIA top 30, this far superior follow-up tanked at number 69.
Number 62 "Angel Eyes" by Paulini
So successful was the first season of Australian Idol that each of the final four landed a number 1 single on the ARIA chart in 2004 - some even managed it more than once. Fourth-placed singer Paulini Curuenavuli scored with this soulful cover of The Jeff Healey Band's US top 5 from 1989 - a release which probably benefitted from the song being relatively unknown in Australia, allowing Paulini to "make it her own", to use an over-used platitude from the reality series.
Number 61 "If I Ain't Got You" by Alicia Keys
Number 60 "The Hype" by The Hampdens
Here's a band that shared a record company (Sony BMG, as it was then called) but very little else with the Idol finalists, with the major label releasing the Perth band's Even World EP, which featured this beautiful song as its lead track.
Number 59 "Karma (Karmastition remix)" by Alicia Keys
Despite releasing some of her most popular songs during this period of her career, Alicia Keys and her second album, The Diary Of Alicia Keys, were all but ignored by Australia. Granted, that album's first single, "You Don't Know My Name", wasn't the most dynamic track to lead off with, but it is pretty surprising that songs like "If I Ain't Got You" (which would prove especially popular in reality show singing contests and is at number 61 on this list) and "Karma" did nothing on the chart locally. Even a mash-up of "Karma" and Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" couldn't do the trick - and it's almost compulsory to love "Superstition", right?
Number 58 "Flashdance" by Deep Dish
They'd been remixing other people's songs and releasing their own records since the early '90s (notably their collaboration with Everything But The Girl on "The Future Of The Future (Stay Gold)" in 1998) - but "Flashdance" was far and away the most successful track for the duo of Ali "Dubfire" Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi. The song, which sampled Shandi's "He's A Dream" from the soundtrack to the 1983 dance movie, peaked at number 3 in the UK and number 14 in Australia.
Number 57 "Tilt Ya Head Back" by Nelly featuring Christina Aguilera
Here Christina is again, collaborating with another artist who was no stranger to popping up on other people's songs. "Tilt..." was taken from Nelly's album Sweat, one of two he released in 2004 - the other being Suit, with each album featuring a different side to the ubiquitous rapper. Sweat included the party tracks, like this song and "Flap Ya Wings", while Suit featured the sweeter side of his repertoire, like "My Place" and upcoming singles "N Dey Say" and "Over And Over".
Number 56 "Not Too Late For Love" by Beverley Knight
Mentioned in Part 4
Number 55 "These Words" by Natasha Bedingfield
With brother Daniel's career starting to burn out, younger sibling Natasha entered the fray to keep the family name at the top of the charts in 2004. And, she succeeded, with this second single reaching number 1 in the UK, and performing well in Australia and the US. In fact, for a British artist, Natasha did quite well in America, where hit acts from the UK were few and far between at that point. Her follow-up, "Unwritten" (number 77 on this list), did even better in America, reaching number 5 and going on to be used as the theme song to reality series The Hills. Both tracks followed her debut single, which was called, er, "Single" (number 91 on this list) - although it ended up as her third US release.
Number 54 "Take Your Mama" by Scissor Sisters
Mentioned in Part 4
Number 53 "Guilty" by The Rasmus
Mentioned in Part 4
Number 52 "Hip To Hip / Can You Feel It" by V
Their management team had had great success with pop/rock "boys in bands" acts Busted and McFly, but somehow more typical boy band V didn't quite work. Sure, debut single "Blood, Sweat And Tears" (number 65 on this list) and this double A-side follow-up both reached the UK top 10, but at this stage of the fast-moving British chart's history, anything less than a number 1 for a pop act was seen as a bit of a failure. It wasn't without some effort on the managers' part, with Smash Hits UK forced to cover V in return for access to the much more successful McFly and Busted.
Number 51 "Suga Suga" by Baby Bash featuring Frankie J
When it comes to collaborations, it was often a case of one good turn deserving another - with rapper Baby Bash (aka Ronnie Bryant) returning the favour and appearing on singer Frankie J's (aka Francisco Javier Bautista) 2005 hit, "Obsession (No Es Amor)". I wasn't a fan of the latter, but I did like this tune, which sampled Barry White's "I'm Gonna Love You Just A Little Bit More, Baby".
In Part 3: reality TV didn't just launch performers (and we'll see a few more of those), it also helped revitalise the careers of pop stars. Plus, one of my favourite songs from 1990 received a 2004 makeover.
Before that, though, it was an exciting week this week in 1989 - with landmark singles by Madonna and Kylie Minogue hitting the chart. I'll recap those on Wednesday.
MY YEAR-END CHARTS