Wednesday, 24 September 2014

25 Years Ago This Week: September 24, 1989

Sometimes it pays off for an artist to make a dramatic departure from the sound that made them a success in the first place - think U2's Achtung Baby, Kylie Minogue's Impossible Princess (in Australia, anyway). Sometimes it doesn't.

Eurythmics revived their chart career in 1989

This week in 1989, the highest new entries on the ARIA top 50 singles chart came from acts that had flirted with new styles with differing results.

ARIA Top 50 Singles Chart - week ending September 24, 1989

Still on top of the chart this week 25 years ago was a singer who stuck with one of the two things he knew best - heartfelt piano ballads. Yep, it was another week at number 1 for "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx.


Single Of The Week
"Close To The Edge" by De Mont
Peak: number 89
Australian record companies desperately wanted their very own hard rock band to rival the likes of Bon Jovi and Poison in the late '80s, but just as Roxus had so far failed to set the charts alight, so too did Sydney five-piece D'mont struggle. Not even a free cassette and badge could sway rock fans to snap up this second single by the band. I don't think I ever heard "Close To The Edge" at the time, but I don't mind it - and it was certainly energetic and catchy enough to have done better. 




New Entries
Number 48 "A New Flame" by Simply Red
Peak: number 48
Spending only a single week on the top 50 at this position, the title track from Simply Red's third album deserved to do much better. But, the law of diminishing returns was in effect and after two hit singles - including chart-topper "If You Don't Know Me By Now" - people were more interested in A New Flame (which had reached a new peak of number 2 in August and was sitting at number 6 this week on the albums chart) than "A New Flame".




Number 47 "My First Night Without You" by Cyndi Lauper
Peak: number 47
Also only managing a solitary week on the top 50 was this second single from A Night To Remember. Despite being quite a fan of Cyndi's '80s output, I find this follow-up to "I Drove All Night" pretty much unlistenable thanks to the screechy chorus. Unfortunately, it would be Cyndi's final appearance on the ARIA top 50, with her career taking all sorts of unexpected musical turns in the '90s and '00s.




Number 42 "Get Out Of The House" by Boom Crash Opera
Peak: number 24

I've never understood why Boom Crash Opera weren't bigger than they were. Sure, compared to the last two entries, a number 24 position is not so bad, but "Get Out Of The House", like many of the Aussie rock band's other singles, wouldn't have been out of place in the top 10. Thanks to its sing-along chorus and anthemic production, the second single from These Here Are Crazy Times is my favourite song by BCO and made my top 20 for 1989





Number 38 "Revival" by Eurythmics
Peak: number 14
Meanwhile, this comeback single by Eurythmics - last seen on the top 50 with 1988's "Shame" - achieved a peak 10 places higher than "Get Out Of The House" despite being one of the worst songs the British duo had released. Not as bad as "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)", granted, but it was a return to the overly American feel of songs like "Missionary Man". With the exception of "Would I Lie To You?" (which topped the chart in Australia but was a flop back home in the UK), I've always preferred Eurythmics in their more British synthpop guise - and it's clear there was a great deal of push and pull between the two sounds throughout the latter part of the '80s, with Annie Lennox said to favour their more electronic side while Dave Stewart championed the rock style.




Number 37 "She Has To Be Loved" by Jenny Morris
Peak: number 5

Another artist who explored new musical directions was New Zealand-born, Australian-based singer Jenny Morris, whose previous single "Saved Me" was all world music rhythms and Latin lyrics. Thankfully, she found her way back to the type of records she made best - straightforward pop/rock - with follow-up "She Has To Be Loved", and was rewarded with her biggest solo hit to date.





Next week: the return of three acts that'd had considerable success earlier in the decade - with two doing much better this time round than the other. Plus, Australia's own teen sensations hit with their second single, and even attract some overseas attention.



Back to: Sep 17, 1989 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Oct 1, 1989


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The Best Of 2008 - part 4

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


As our trip back to 2008 draws to a close, I'm reminded of some of the interviews I did with music acts throughout the year. After some time just focussing on TV shows, I was back writing about music again - but things had changed a lot in the two-and-a-half years since I worked at Smash Hits.

Who knew just how massive Lady Gaga was to become?

With so many entertainment websites and bloggers now on the scene, access to stars became harder to come by - although TV WEEK's high circulation still counted for something. Plus, artists often had a small army of publicists and managers, which meant that a casual conversation between interviewer and interviewee now took place with several audience members. Some of the people I spoke to feature in my top 25 songs for 2008, so let's get in with, shall we?


Number 25 "Strangers" by Van She
Joining the Australian synthpop and dance acts we saw back in Part 2 was this new band from Sydney, who were also signed to the trail-blazing Modular label. Unlike label-mates The Presets and Cut Copy, Van She (named after bass player Matthew Van Schie) scored with their very first album, V, which went top 10 in Australia and featured the singles "Strangers", "Changes" (number 48 on this list) and a remixed version of debut release "Kelly" (number 92).




Number 24 "I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You" by Black Kids
Next up, a band I saw play in Sydney in early 2009 (with Van She as support act, coincidentally). Like so many American bands that I was into (Scissor Sisters, The Bravery, etc.), Black Kids did better in the UK than at home, with debut album Partie Traumatic (produced by Suede's Bernard Butler) making the top 5 there. Debut single "I'm Not Gonna Teach..." was followed up by "Hurricane Jane" and "Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)" (number 47 on this list).





Number 23 "Paris Is Burning" by Ladyhawke
Born in New Zealand, based in Australia and comprised of one woman (Pip Brown), Ladyhawke was yet another act signed to Modular - but the only one that took its name from a 1980s fantasy film. Another of the year's most buzzed about artists, Ladyhawke hit the ARIA top 10 with "My Delirium" (number 58 on this list), but it was "Paris Is Burning" that was my preferred single. The self-titled debut album also featured "Dusk Till Dawn" (number 100).




Number 22 "The Loving Kind" by Girls Aloud
Previously featured here

Number 21 "Be Mine!" by Robyn
2007's "With Every Heartbeat" had put her back on the international stage, and in 2008, the rest of the world got to catch up on the singles that'd already been hits in Sweden up to three years earlier. "Be Mine!" was one of those songs and a perfect example of Robyn's knack for crafting songs that sound uplifting but which are lyrically rather sad (in this case, dealing with a breakup).




Number 20 "Closer" by Ne-Yo
He was still working closely with Norwegian production team Stargate, but Ne-Yo shifted gears in 2008, with this much more synth-based single a change of pace from his normal R&B sound - as heard on follow-up "Miss Independent" (number 44 on this list). "Closer" went down a storm in Europe, reaching number 1 in the UK, while in the US it peaked at a more modest number 7, with the EDM explosion still a couple of years away there.




Number 19 "Never Miss A Beat" by Kaiser Chiefs
Wasting no time at all notching up their third album, Kaiser Chiefs continued to do what they do best - release crowd-pleasing indie anthems like this lead single from Off With Their Heads. The track, which was produced by Mark Ronson, and featured backing vocals from Lily Allen and thee members of New Young Pony Club, was also the first by the band to enter the ARIA top 50, reaching number 47.




Number 18 "Take It Or Leave It" by VHS Or Beta
The highest placed non-single on this countdown, "Take It Or Leave It" came from Bring On The Comets, the second album by VHS Or Beta, another American band that sounded more than a little like The Killers. 




Number 17 "Spaceman" by The Killers
Speaking of The Killers, the Las Vegas band released their third album, Day & Age, in 2008 and enjoyed one of their biggest hits with lead single "Human" (number 71 on this list) - a synthpop track that wouldn't have been out of place on a Pet Shop Boys album. Follow-up "Spaceman" was a much better song - and less lyrically annoying - but was a complete non-event on Australian, UK and US charts.




Number 16 "Go Go" by Alphabeat
Mentioned below

Number 15 "No Air" by Jordin Sparks / Chris Brown
She was a former American Idol winner, he was yet to become notorious for beating up girlfriend Rihanna - and together Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown not only made sweet music together on this ballad duet, but landed a number of chart hits in Australia and the US between them in 2008. Following "No Air", Jordin went uptempo with "One Step At A Time" (number 32 on this list), while Chris showed off his fancy footwork (and provided wedding video inspiration) with "Forever" (number 61).




Number 14 "Shake It" by Metro Station
Besides launching Miley Cyrus onto the world, Hannah Montana is also responsible for the creation of this band, which was formed by Miley's half-brother Trace and Mason Musso, the older brother of Miley's co-star Mitchel Musso. After a couple of flop singles, party-starter "Shake It" was a runaway hit for the group - and one which it seemed like they were already tiring of by the time they toured Australia towards the end of the year, likely because it overshadowed everything else they did, including follow-up "Seventeen Forever" (number 74 on this list).




Number 13 "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles
Written in response to her record company's request for a hit single to include on her album Little Voice, "Love Song" did the trick, reaching number 4 in Australia, the US and the UK. Until the past year and the success of "Brave", it also looked like being Sara's only chart hit in Australia, with none of her intervening singles breaching the top 50 here.




Number 12 "American Boy" by Estelle featuring Kanye West
Like Natasha Bedingfield, who we saw in Part 2, focussing on America worked well for British singer Estelle in 2008, with this tune about dating a guy in the US giving her by far the biggest single of her career in Australia and the UK, and her one and only major hit on the Billboard Hot 100. Estelle had some heavyweight support on the track - besides Kayne West featuring on "American Boy", the song was produced by Will.i.am and John Legend, who'd signed Estelle for America, popped up in the music video (as you can see below).




Number 11 "10,000 Nights" by Alphabeat
Mentioned below

Number 10 "Into The Nightlife" by Cyndi Lauper
After her '80s heyday, Cyndi Lauper had tried her hand at a number of different styles and projects, including a Christmas album, a jazz standards covers album and an acoustic album. For her ninth studio release, Cyndi hit the clubs, collaborating with the likes of Basement Jaxx and Kleerup on Bring Ya To The Brink. Despite "Into The Nightlife" (which was co-written by Max Martin) being her best song in decades, it unfortunately didn't set the charts alight (unless you count the Billboard dance charts). 




Number 9 "We Keep On Rockin'" by Alcazar
After a three-year break, Swedish pop act Alcazar returned in 2008 - and were once again a trio, with Magnus Carlsson concentrating on his solo career, and new member Lina Hedlund replacing Annika KjærgaardDespite all the line-up changes, they were still as cheesy as ever - as demonstrated by "We Keep On Rockin'", which returned them to the Swedish top 5.




Number 8 "16" by Sneaky Sound System
They took their time getting around to releasing the best track from their second album, 2, as a single, with "Kansas City" (number 86) and "When We Were Young" coming before it. But, by the time "16" was lifted, the buzz around the Australian pop/dance trio that'd kept them in the charts for months on end had passed - and this ended up narrowly missing the ARIA top 50.




Number 7 "See You Again" by Miley Cyrus
We saw Jonas Brothers back in Part 1, and if there was any teen act even more of a sensation in 2008 it was Miley Cyrus, who successfully made the transition from singing as her TV character, Hannah Montana, to becoming a pop star in her own right. As well as featuring one of the best pop lyrics of the decade in "my best friend, Lesley, said, 'Oh, she's just being Miley'", "See You Again" became Miley's first single released under her own name - and the first of many Australian and US top 10 hits.




Number 6 "Boyfriend" by Alphabeat
Mentioned below

Number 5 "Wow" by Kylie Minogue
Mentioned in Part 3 and previously featured here

Number 4 "Spiralling" by Keane
Up until this point, they'd been known for indie rock piano ballads like "Somewhere Only We Know" and "Bedshaped", but Keane defied expectations with the Perfect Symmetry album, which featured a more energetic rock and synthpop sound. Unfortunately, singles like "Spiralling" and "The Lovers Are Losing" were chart disappointments in the UK, where they were used to top 10 hits - but the album gave them their third consecutive chart-topper there.




Number 3 "Just Dance" by Lady Gaga featuring Colby O'Donis
It's easy to forget all these years later now Lady Gaga fatigue has set in, but back in 2008, she turned the music scene on its head. It wasn't immediately apparent just what an impact she would have and I'll admit that when I interviewed her as "Just Dance" was taking off, I wasn't quite convinced. But as the music videos and outrageous outfits kept coming - not to mention killer songs like "Poker Face" (number 40 on this list) and even album track "I Like It Rough" (number 34) - it was obvious she had much more to offer than just writhing around with an inflatable orca in a wading pool. Still my favourite single of hers, "Just Dance" could have just been a great party song, but instead it became the start of an intriguing career that no doubt has plenty of life left. Meanwhile, whatever happened to Colby O'Donis?




Number 2 "I'm Not Over" by Carolina Liar
With one of the biggest pop choruses of the year, "I'm Not Over" could only have originated from Scandinavia - and it was no surprise to discover that Max Martin (him again!) was one of the producers of this debut single by the predominantly Swedish (only lead singer Chad Wolf is American) band. The album, Coming To Terms, also featured pop/rock ballad "Show Me What I'm Looking For" (number 78 on this list) and was criminally underrated.




Number 1 "Fascination" by Alphabeat
More Scandipop now, and not only did this super-perky pop tune by Danish band Alphabeat become my favourite song for 2008, it moved past Steps' "Stomp" (from 2000) and paulmac's "Just The Thing" (from 2001) to become my favourite track for the entire decade. Effortlessly feel-good, "Fascination" was actually released as the band's debut single in Denmark in 2006, but it wasn't until they were launched internationally in 2008 that it crossed over, becoming a UK top 10 hit as the follow-up to "Fantastic 6" (which just missed my top 100 for 2007). The pop perfection continued, with "Boyfriend" (number 6 on this list), "10,000 Nights" (number 11) and "Go Go" (number 16) all helping Alphabeat dominate my chart for the entire year.




My top 200 for 2008 in full:

1          FASCINATION Alphabeat
2          I’M NOT OVER Carolina Liar
3          JUST DANCE Lady Gaga featuring Colby O’Donis
4          SPIRALLING Keane
5          WOW Kylie Minogue
6          BOYFRIEND / PETE HAMMOND MIX Alphabeat
7          SEE YOU AGAIN Miley Cyrus
8          16 Sneaky Sound System
9          WE KEEP ON ROCKIN’ Alcazar
10        INTO THE NIGHTLIFE Cyndi Lauper
11        10,000 NIGHTS Alphabeat
12        AMERICAN BOY Estelle featuring Kanye West
13        LOVE SONG Sara Bareilles
14        SHAKE IT Metro Station
15        NO AIR Jordin Sparks / Chris Brown
16        GO GO Alphabeat
17        SPACEMAN The Killers
18        TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT VHS Or Beta
19        NEVER MISS A BEAT Kaiser Chiefs
20        CLOSER Ne-Yo
21        BE MINE! Robyn
22        THE LOVING KIND Girls Aloud
23        PARIS IS BURNING Ladyhawke
24        I’M NOT GONNA TEACH YOUR BOYFRIEND HOW TO DANCE WITH YOU Black Kids
25        STRANGERS Van She
26        PROPANE NIGHTMARES Pendulum
27        4 MINUTES Madonna with Justin Timberlake
28        THIS LOVE The Veronicas
29        WOMANIZER Britney Spears
30        GRACE Will Young
31        CRY FOR YOU September
32        ONE STEP AT A TIME Jordin Sparks
33        DISTURBIA Rihanna
34        I LIKE IT ROUGH Lady Gaga
35        IN MY ARMS Kylie Minogue
36        DON’T YOU WANNA BE MINE (BIMBO JONES REMIX) Denise Lopez
37        WORK / FREEMASONS MIX Kelly Rowland
38        I DON’T CARE Fall Out Boy
39        I KISSED A GIRL Katy Perry
40        POKER FACE Lady Gaga
41        MIRACLE CURE Blank & Jones featuring Bernard Sumner
42        ALWAYS WHERE I NEED TO BE The Kooks
43        YOU KNOW ME BETTER Róisín Murphy
44        MISS INDEPENDENT Ne-Yo
45        THE PROMISE Girls Aloud
46        GREAT DJ The Ting Tings
47        LOOK AT ME (WHEN I ROCK WICHOO) Black Kids
48        CHANGES Van She
49        BURN Jessica Mauboy
50        MOVIE STAR Róisín Murphy
51        DO IT AGAIN Kylie Minogue
52        INSOMNIA Craig David
53        MY LOVE IS PINK Sugababes
54        SPOTLIGHT Jennifer Hudson
55        HOT N COLD Katy Perry
56        SO WHAT Pink
57        LIGHTS & MUSIC Cut Copy
58        MY DELIRIUM Ladyhawke
59        THIS BOY’S IN LOVE The Presets
60        DANCE DANCE Booty Luv
61        FOREVER Chris Brown
62        I DECIDED / FREEMASONS MIX Solange Knowles
63        WHEN YOU TOUCH ME Freemasons featuring Katherine Ellis
64        POCKETFUL OF SUNSHINE Natasha Bedingfield
65        OUTTA MY HEAD (AY YA YA) Ashlee Simpson
66        BREAK THE ICE Britney Spears
67        GUILTY Kosheen
68        ALL I SEE / REMIX (featuring Mims) Kylie Minogue
69        MIRACLE Deepest Blue
70        FAR AWAY Cut Copy
71        HUMAN The Killers
72        BLACK & GOLD Sam Sparro
73        ROAD TO RECOVERY Midnight Juggernauts
74        SEVENTEEN FOREVER Metro Station
75        HEARTS ON FIRE Cut Copy
76        NO STRESS Laurent Wolf
77        EVERYTHING’S GONNA BE ALRIGHT James Doman
78        SHOW ME WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR Carolina Liar
79        KIDS MGMT
80        PJANNO Eric Prydz
81        SHINE ON The Kooks
82        CHANGES Will Young
83        MILES AWAY Madonna
84        PRETTY PLEASE (LOVE ME) Estelle featuring Cee-Lo
85        GIRLS Sugababes
86        KANSAS CITY Sneaky Sound System
87        KEEPS GETTING BETTER Christina Aguilera
88        SKIN DIVERS Duran Duran
89        LOW Flo Rida featuring T-Pain
90        LET IT ROCK Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil Wayne
91        EVERYTHING BUT MINE Backstreet Boys
92        KELLY Van She
93        DON’T WANT TO GO TO BED NOW Gabriella Cilmi
94        BURNIN’ UP Jonas Brothers
95        WE BREAK THE DAWN Michelle Williams
96        ARE YOU WITH ME The Potbelleez
97        LUV Janet Jackson
98        THE RIGHT LIFE Seal
99        VICTIMS OF LOVE Good Charlotte
100      DUSK TILL DAWN Ladyhawke
101      RUN Gnarls Barkley
102      THE ONE / FREEMASONS MIX Kylie Minogue
103      ELEVATOR Flo Rida featuring Timbaland
104      GHOSTS Ladytron
105      COME ON GIRL Taio Cruz featuring Luciana
106      SOMETHING GOOD 2008 Utah Saints
107      IF THIS IS LOVE The Saturdays
108      CHERRY BOMB Kylie Minogue
109      WHAT YOU’RE ON Rogue Traders
110      UP The Saturdays
111      WHEN I’M GONE Simple Plan
112      BEGGIN’ Madcon
113      FREEZE Jordin Sparks
114      NO CAN DO Sugababes
115      GREEN LIGHT John Legend featuring Andre 3000
116      SWAY The Kooks
117      SOMETHING RIGHT Westlife
118      DENIAL Sugababes
119      RUNAWAY Ladytron
120      WHAT IS HAPPENING Alphabeat
121      WHO’S THAT GIRL Robyn
122      NOW YOU’RE GONE Basshunter
123      SINGLE LADIES (PUT A RING ON IT) Beyonce Knowles
124      WE R ONE Same Difference
125      DISCO LIES/FREEMASONS MIX Moby
126      CATCH ME IF YOU CAN M.Pokora
127      LIES McFly
128      TALK LIKE THAT The Presets
129      GOOD DAYS BAD DAYS Kaiser Chiefs
130      THE LOVERS ARE LOSING Keane
131      BE THE ONE The Ting Tings
132      TAKE ME ON THE FLOOR The Veronicas
133      IT’S OVER Jesse McCartney
134      SOS Jonas Bros
135      CIRCUS Britney Spears
136      YOU WILL ONLY BREAK MY HEART Delta Goodrem
137      YIPPYO-AY The Presets
138      DREAM ON Christian Falk featuring Robyn
139      BRAVE Jennifer Lopez
140      BETTER IN TIME/FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND Leona Lewis
141      IF I NEVER SEE YOUR FACE AGAIN Maroon 5 featuring Rihanna
142      NITE RUNNER Duran Duran
143      HOMECOMING Kanye West featuring Chris Martin
144      LITTLE MISS OBSESSIVE Ashlee Simpson
145      BROKEN STRINGS James Morrison / Nelly Furtado
146      MAD Ne-Yo
147      FORGIVE ME Leona Lewis
148      CAN’T SPEAK FRENCH Girls Aloud
149      CHIMMY A GO GO Short Stack
150      GOING ON Gnarls Barkley
151      DISCO LIGHTS Ultrabeat vs Darren Styles
152      SHADOWS Midnight Juggernauts
153      NINE IN THE AFTERNOON Panic! At The Disco
154      BUTTONS Sia
155      CAN’T STOP MOVIN’ Sonny J
156      BREAKIN’ DISHES Rihanna
157      REACH OUT Hilary Duff
158      21ST CENTURY LIFE Sam Sparro
159      RADAR Britney Spears
160      WHAT’S YOUR NAME Usher featuring Wil.i.am
161      NOTHING ELSE I CAN SAY (EH EH) Lady Gaga
162      SLEEPWALKING Faker
163      ARE YOU MAGNETIC? Faker
164      L.E.S. ARTISTES Santigold
165      PERMANENT MONDAY Jordin Sparks
166      DECODE Paramore
167      PICK YOU UP Dash & Will
168      HURRICANE JANE Black Kids
169      I HATE THIS PART Pussycat Dolls
170      DAYLIGHT Kelly Rowland featuring Travis McCoy
171      I CAN BE Taio Cruz
172      YOU MAKE IT REAL James Morrison
173      SOONER OR LATER N*E*R*D
174      REHAB Rihanna
175      WHATCHA THINK ABOUT THAT Pussycat Dolls featuring Missy Elliott
176      IF I WERE A BOY Beyonce Knowles
177      WHEN WE WERE YOUNG Sneaky Sound System
178      DANCE WIV ME Dizzee Rascal featuring Calvin Harris & Chrome
179      I KNOW UR GIRLFRIEND HATES ME Annie
180      COBRASTYLE Robyn
181      ROCK WITH U Janet Jackson
182      LOVE LIKE THIS Natasha Bedingfield featuring Sean Kingston
183      HEARTBEAT Scouting For Girls
184      EMBRACE Pnau
185      PRAYING FOR TIME Carrie Underwood
186      TAKE A BOW Rihanna
187      LOVE IS A LIE Simple Plan
188      TONY THE BEAT The Sounds
189      RAINDROPS (ENCORE UNE FOIS) Sash! featuring Stunt
190      LIVE YOUR LIFE T.I. featuring Rihanna
191      CRUSH Amerie
192      CHASING PAVEMENTS Adele
193      SUPERWOMAN Alicia Keys
194      WHEN WE WERE KIDS The Galvatrons
195      SAVE THE LIES Gabriella Cilmi
196      MERCY Duffy
197      LOVE YOU ANYWAY Boyzone
198      I THOUGHT IT WAS OVER The Feeling
199      LEAVIN’ Jesse McCartney
200      READY FOR THE FLOOR Hot Chip


That's it for my look back at 2008. I have my 2009 list all ready to go, so look out for that in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I'll continue to travel back 25 years to check out what was happening on the ARIA singles chart each Wednesday.


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 2007 II 2008 II 2009
2010 II 2011 II 2012 II 2013 II 2014 II 2016

Friday, 19 September 2014

The Best Of 2008 - part 3

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


We're at the halfway point of my top 100 for 2008, and we didn't know it at the time, but it would prove to be an important year for emerging pop stars, with two of the biggest female performers of the past decade both debuting that year.

Katy Perry started her chart domination in 2008

I'm talking, of course, about Katy Perry and Lady Gaga - and I was lucky enough to see both of them perform intimate shows on their first visits to Australia that year. It was nice to be there to see them as they were starting out, little knowing how they'd come to dominate pop culture in the ensuing years. They even managed a few tracks on my chart that year, as we'll see as we dive into my top 50...


Number 50 "Movie Star" by Róisín Murphy
Mentioned below

Number 49 "Burn" by Jessica Mauboy
There's a theory that you're better off not winning a reality talent show but instead coming in second place - and the career trajectory enjoyed by Australian Idol season four runner-up Jessica Mauboy would seem to support that. Along with American Idol's Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert, and Australian Idol's Anthony Callea, she has actually done better in the long run than the winner of her season, Damien Leith. 
After a brief tenure in ex-Idol girl group Young Divas, Jessica's solo career began in earnest in 2008. Key to her success - beyond her brilliant voice - was the decision to team her up with emerging rapper Flo Rida on her debut single, "Running Back", and give her songs of the callibre of "Burn", which was as good as any pop track being released overseas and hit number 1 in Australia (despite its release being unfortunately timed to coincide with that summer's severe bushfires).




Number 48 "Changes" by Van She
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 47 "Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)" by Black Kids
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 46 "Great DJ" by The Ting Tings
I found some of their bigger hits, like "That's Not My Name" and "Shut Up And Let Me Go", to be a bit nursery rhyme-ish but I was a big fan of this single, which preceded both of those for the duo comprised of multi-instrumentalists Katie White and Jules De Martino. 




Number 45 "The Promise" by Girls Aloud
Previously featured here

Number 44 "Miss Independent" by Ne-Yo
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 43 "You Know Me Better" by Róisín Murphy
As part of Moloko, Róisín Murphy had always been on the more experimental end of the pop spectrum - and that continued with her debut solo album, Ruby Blue, which yielded no big hits. The singles from her second album, Overpowered, didn't exactly scale the chart heights either - but tracks like "You Know Me Better" and "Movie Star" (number 50 on this list) were definitely more commercial.




Number 42 "Always Where I Need To Be" by The Kooks
Appearances can sometimes be deceiving - and while it looked like The Kooks were doing better than ever with their second album, Konk (which reached number 1 in the UK), and this lead single (which gave them their biggest hit), they were selling a lot less records. After the quadruple platinum success (1.2 million copies in the UK) of debut album Inside In/Inside Out, Konk only went gold (100,000 copies). Second single "Shine On" (number 81 on this list) put things into perspective when it only reached number 25 in the UK.




Number 41 "Miracle Cure" by Blank & Jones featuring Bernard Sumner
He featured on Sub Sub's "This Time I'm Not Wrong" in my top 100 for 1997 and "Out Of Control" by Chemical Brothers in 1999, and a decade later, New Order's frontman Bernard Sumner lent his distinct vocals to dance duo Blank & Jones for this first single from The Logic Of Pleasure.




Number 40 "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 39 "I Kissed A Girl" by Katy Perry
It's almost hard to remember back to a world before Katy Perry, but in 2008, the singer born Katheryn Hudson caused a stir online with "Ur So Gay" before her first commercial single, "I Kissed A Girl", really got people talking - and, apparently, sent sales of cherry-flavoured ChapStick soaring. 
In a post-t.A.T.u. world, the suggestion of experimental lesbianism wasn't actually so shocking and "I Kissed A Girl" became a six-week chart-topper in Australia and lasted one week longer in the US. 
Luckily for Katy, she had another massive hit waiting in the wings in the form of "Hot N Cold" (number 55 on this list), which prevented her from becoming a novelty single one-hit wonder. Of course, none of us had any idea just how many hits she'd end up accruing.




Number 38 "I Don't Care" by Fall Out Boy
Fall Out Boy's career had definitely peaked with the Infinity On High album, with this lead single from follow-up Folie à Deux starting the decline that probably resulted in the band taking a four-year hiatus shortly after. "I Don't Care", written about how superficial pop culture had become, was only a moderate hit, reaching number 20 in Australia and number 21 in the US.




Number 37 "Work (Freemasons mix)" by Kelly Rowland
Back in Part 2, we saw both a track from Freemasons in their guise as recording artists and another in their role as remixers (on the Solange single "I Decided"). And, here they are again, revamping a song for Solange's sister's former bandmate. "Work" started out as the more provocatively titled "Put It In" and featured in its original form on the Ms Kelly album. 




Number 36 "Don't You Wanna Be Mine (Bimbo Jones remix)" by Denise Lopez
The original version of this song by freestyle performer Denise Lopez featured on my top 100 for 1991, and I can't say I was ever expecting to hear of it again - but 17 years later, remix and production team Bimbo Jones brought it right up to date, with no involvement from Denise herself.




Number 35 "In My Arms" by Kylie Minogue
Her ill health behind her, Kylie was able to get back to the business of being a pop star in 2008, with a multitude of singles from X - including twin releases "In My Arms" and "Wow" (number 5 on this list), which were issued as the second or third single from the album depending where you lived, and "All I See" (number 68), which was a US single. She also released some of her best B-sides in the form of "Do It Again" (number 51) and "Cherry Bomb" (number 108).




Number 34 "I Like It Rough" by Lady Gaga
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 33 "Disturbia" by Rihanna
Before she got into the pattern of releasing a new album every year, Rihanna instead tried to make an album last as long as it could - milking the Good Girl Gone Bad album for singles, then repackaging it with new tracks like "Disturbia" and "Take A Bow". This track was co-written by Chris Brown and originally intended for his own revamped album before passing it on. It wasn't the only link between the two in 2008, with their ill-fated romance also kicking off that year.




Number 32 "One Step At A Time" by Jordin Sparks
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 31 "Cry For You" by September
Originally released in Sweden in 2006, it took a couple of years (as well as a remix and new video) for this Eurodance track to reach the UK top 10 and Australian top 20. Based around a sample from Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy", "Cry For You" remains the biggest hit for the singer born Petra Marklund.




Number 30 "Grace" by Will Young
2008 was the year I celebrated my 10th anniversary with my partner and he gave me tickets to see Will Young perform in London as a gift to mark the occasion. It helped that we were actually visiting London at the time of the concert. As a result, I got to hear Will perform this single from the Let It Go album, which may not be something that happens that often since it didn't end up being one of his more successful singles. In fact, it missed the UK top 10 by quite a margin, peaking at number 33 - his worst performing single up until that point and his first not to manage at least a top 11 placing, something that was achieved by Let It Go's lead single, "Changes" (number 82 on this list).




Number 29 "Womanizer" by Britney Spears
Returning Britney to the top of the US singles chart for the first time since debut single "...Baby One More Time", "Womanizer" was the sound of a pop superstar back at the top of her game. Although she'd had success with the singles from the Blackout album - the last of which was "Break The Ice" (number 66 on this list) - that project was still overshadowed by everything that had been going on in her personal life. By the time "Womanizer" kicked off the Circus album campaign, it felt like the black cloud that had hung over Britney for the previous few years had finally lifted. 




Number 28 "This Love" by The Veronicas
Clearly Jess and Lisa learnt nothing from Dannii Minogue and Jennifer Lopez, and chose to feature their then-boyfriends, former Popstars contestant Azaria Byrne and ex-Australian Idol finalist Dean Geyer respectively, in the music video for this third single from Hook Me Up. Neither relationship lasted the distance, but this song, co-written by a pre-fame Ke$ha, became the twins' sixth top 10 hit in Australia out of eight singles.




Number 27 "4 Minutes" by Madonna with Justin Timberlake
Previously featured here

Number 26 "Propane Nightmares" by Pendulum
In 2014, drum and bass is more popular than it's ever been - and that can be traced back to the mainstream breakthrough of Australian dance act Pendulum, who by 2008 had set up shop in the UK and started incorporating rock elements into their sound. "Propane Nightmares" was their first big hit, reaching the UK top 10 despite some drum and bass purists decrying the genre clash contained in the song.




In Part 4: some more Australian-based electronic acts made waves with their breakthrough/debut albums, while an unusual star from the '80s returned with a surprising change of musical direction and a poptastic group from Denmark dominated my year-end top 25.


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