Monday, 27 January 2014

The Best Of 2000 - part 4

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

One of the things I was saddest to leave behind in the UK when I returned to Australia in 2000 was Top Of The Pops. In the pre-download, pre-YouTube era, it wasn't always easy to keep up with the music TV institution (and therefore British pop music) in Australia and while quite a few of the pop acts made it to our shores, there were many that didn't.

No matter the music genre, Melanie C gave it a try in 2000

From memory, a friend sent a couple of care packages containing a few episodes of TOTP and CD:UK over on video. Who could've known that in just a few short years both programs would be no more and there'd be much easier ways to keep tabs on British music. 

We're up to my top 25 for 2000 - and British pop acts make up a healthy percentage of this final batch...

Number 25 "Proud" by Heather Small
I always thought this single would have been bigger - but then maybe people really were that sick of M-People, who'd been inescapable for much of the '90s, particularly in the UK. Heather, of course, was the big-voiced singer for the dance act and "Proud" was her first solo effort - a stirring, inspirational song with a soaring chorus that got nowhere near the top of the British singles chart. Although its number 16 peak might have been a disappointment, "Proud" has taken on a life of its own, being used in numerous ad campaigns and TV series ever since. The original video is above, while the clip to coincide with the song's use in the UK's 2012 Olympics bid is below.

Number 24 "Ordinary World" by Aurora featuring Naimee Coleman
They'd been in a number of groups previously - notably Dive and Think Twice (who featured on my top 100 for 1995) - but Aurora was the outfit that gave producers Sacha Collison and Simon Greenaway their first major hit. And, the song that did it was this cover version of Duran Duran's 1993 comeback song, with Aurora giving "Ordinary World" a pop/trance makeover in keeping with the sound of their previous single, "Hear You Calling" (number 75 on this list).

Number 23 "My Love" by Westlife
The Irish quintet were really on a roll, with this lead single from their second album, Coast To Coast, landing them another UK number 1 - their seventh in two years, including "Fool Again (number 98 on this list) and their duet with Mariah Carey on a cover of "Against All Odds".
Like Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, Westlife were sourcing a lot of their biggest tracks from Sweden's Cheiron hit factory, where the songwriters were positively churning out music. Miraculously, each boy band managed to sound slightly different despite many of the songs having a fairly similar structure and feel.
Westlife's run of number 1s would come to a shuddering halt by the end of 2000 when "What Makes A Man" became their first single to miss the top spot in the UK - and quite rightly so, since it wasn't one of their best and doesn't even rank on my top 200 for the year. Adding insult to injury, the track was beaten to the British Christmas number 1 by Bob The Builder's "Can You Fix It?".

Number 22 "Born To Make You Happy" by Britney Spears
Mentioned below

Number 21 "Spinning Around" by Kylie Minogue
Previously featured here

Number 20 "Movin' Too Fast" by Artful Dodger and Romina Johnson
It had originally been released prior to "Rewind", but "Movin' Too Fast" only became a hit the second time around once Artful Dodger had made a name for themselves (and Craig David). Romina Johnson was one of a handful of hitherto (and thereafter) unknown singers that the 2-step producers featured throughout the year - a list which also included Lifford (on "Please Don't Turn Me On") and Robbie Craig (on "Woman Trouble").

Number 19 "I'm Outta Love" by Anastacia 
The highest-selling single of 2000 in Australia, "I'm Outta Love" was the debut release for late bloomer Anastacia - her 31 years of age relatively old compared to all the 17- and 18-year-olds clogging up the charts. Of course, no one knew Anastacia was actually 31 since she lied about her age at the behest of her record label and claimed to be five years younger than she was. I doubt the subterfuge made any difference because "I'm Outta Love" would've been a hit no matter who was singing it (or how old they were) - at least in Australia and Europe, with Anastacia struggling on the charts back in her home country of America.

Number 18 "It's Gonna Be Me" by *NSYNC
Here's an act that did anything but struggle on the US charts in 2000. It was a very good year for the boy band, who dropped the apostrophe, added an asterisk and went all caps. Typographical changes aside, *NSYNC also scored the fastest-selling album of all time in America and landed a slew of hits like this track (their sole US chart-topper), "Bye Bye Bye" (their sole Australian chart-topper and number 28 on this list), UK-only single "I'll Never Stop" (number 31) and obligatory ballad "This I Promise You" (number 193).

Number 17 "I Turn To You" by Melanie C
Her first solo single, "Goin' Down", had a rock edge; follow-up "Northern Star" was a ballad; and, in 2000, Sporty Spice tried her hand at R&B with "Never Be The Same Again" (number 34 on this list) and dance with this track, remixed from her album by Hex Hector. All the genre-jumping paid off with the two singles from 2000 hitting number 1 in the UK and the parent album, Northern Star, becoming the most successful solo project by a Spice Girl - but it did also suggest that Mel didn't quite know what kind of artist she wanted to be.

Number 16 "He Don't Love You" by Human Nature
Previously featured here

Number 15 "Sweet Love 2K" by Fierce
In 1999, they'd released a trio of pop/R&B singles - two of which, "Dayz Like That" and "So Long" just missed my top 100 for the year. So, in 2000, Chantal, Aisha and Sabrina did what any girl group in search of a big hit would do and recorded a cover version. In this case, they took on Anita Baker's Grammy Award-winning single from 1986 and turned the soul ballad into more of a pop track. It worked, giving the girls their biggest hit by far in the UK - but poor albums sales led to the inevitable departure from their label.

Number 14 "On A Night Like This" by Kylie Minogue
Previously featured here

Number 13 "Same Old Brand New You" by a1
Previously featured here

Number 12 "For Sure" by Scooch
Mentioned below

Number 11 "Stronger" by Britney Spears
Mentioned below

Number 10 "Day And Night" by Billie Piper
Her surname was reinstated to suggest the singer of tracks like "Because We Want To" and "Girlfriend" was all grown up - and this lead single from second album Walk Of Life was certainly a world apart from those tween anthems. Now more Britney than Lolly, Billie might actually have settled into a lasting music career, but by the end of 2000 it was all over. Following the release of "Something Deep Inside" (number 44 on this list) and the album's title track, Billie, who has since written about her discomfort with her recording career, decided to give it up and focus on acting instead. It turned out to be a smart move - not only has she become one of Britain's most popular young TV stars but she quit music while she was still on top.

Number 9 "I Want Your Love" by Atomic Kitten
Sampling strings from the theme to western film The Big Country (which had also been heard in "The Only Rhyme That Bites" by MC Tunes vs 808 State in 1990), "I Want Your Love" was Atomic Kitten's third straight top 10 hit in the UK following debut single "Right Now" and "See Ya" (number 85 on this list). Why then, with such a successful start to their career, was the girl group in danger of being dropped by their label before "Whole Again" turned things around in 2001? Well, fourth single "Follow Me" tanked at number 20 and debut album Right Now only just crept into the UK top 40, and due to the costs associated with launching and maintaining pop acts, record companies had little patience with those sorts of performances.

Number 8 "Gotta Tell You" by Samantha Mumba
Like Sugababes, Samantha Mumba was an artist I first saw on one of those videos sent over to me from the UK - and as a result I also pushed TV Hits to let me cover her in the magazine ahead of this debut single being released in Australia. This time, my prediction of a major hit came true with "Gotta Tell You" peaking at number 3 in Australia, one place lower than it had in the UK and one place higher than it would in the US.

Number 7 "Rewind" by Precious
Mentioned in Part 2 and previously featured here

Number 6 "More Than I Needed To Know" by Scooch
The poor man's Steps took advantage of the New Year lull by releasing this track and improving on their top 30 performance with "When My Baby" by scoring a UK top 5 position in January of 2000. Two more singles - "The Best Is Yet To Come" (number 26 on this list) and "For Sure" (number 12) - followed, but then it would be another seven years before the group would return to the charts with the UK's 2007 Eurovision entry, the non-Stock and Aitken camp-tacular "Flying The Flag (For You)".

Number 5 "When I Said Goodbye / Summer Of Love" by Steps
Mentioned below

Number 4 "Deeper Shade Of Blue" by Steps
Mentioned below

Number 3 "Oops!...I Did It Again" by Britney Spears
Proving she was no one-album wonder, Britney wasted no time following up ...Baby One More Time with the equally ellipsis-dependant Oops!...I Did It Again. In fact, this title track was released just two months after "Born To Make You Happy" (number 22 on this list) became the final UK single (and second number 1 there) from her debut album. 
With its Titanic-referencing spoken bit and that red catsuit in the video, "Oops!..." quickly became every bit as iconic as her first single - just the other day I stumbled across the Will & Grace episode in which Jack and Grace perform the dance routine from the clip. The track was quickly followed by "Lucky" (number 150 on this list) and "Stronger" (number 11), ensuring Britney was a chart force for the entire year.

Number 2 "Reach" by S Club 7
Album number two for S Club 7 (confusing titled 7, but since the group weren't ever likely to make it to a seventh album, it was probably going to be OK) was kicked off by this perky little number. Their third number 2 hit in a row in the UK, "Reach" was possibly too cheesy for the Australian market and the song only just dented the top 40 here. It was a pretty good year for the group in the UK, though, with subsequent singles "Natural" (number 39 on this list) and "Never Had A Dream Come True" (number 96) maintaining their top 3 strike rate.

Number 1 "Stomp" by Steps
A group who by now were definitely too cheesy for Australia (despite landing some massive hits early on in their career), Steps continued an impressive release rate in the UK with all three of their singles from 2000 hitting the top 5 and "Stomp" giving them their long-awaited second chart-topper. The single featured an homage to Chic's "Everybody Dance" and a thank you message in the CD single artwork in lieu of a writer's credit for Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, since the usage was just different enough to get away with it. Steps' other tracks from 2000 can be seen just above on this list at number 5 ("When I Said Goodbye/The Summer Of Love") and number 4 ("Deeper Shade Of Blue").

My top 200 for 2000 in full:

1        STOMP Steps
2        REACH S Club 7
3        OOPS!...I DID IT AGAIN Britney Spears
7        REWIND Precious
8        GOTTA TELL YOU Samantha Mumba
9        I WANT YOUR LOVE Atomic Kitten
10      DAY AND NIGHT Billie Piper
11      STRONGER Britney Spears
12      FOR SURE Scooch
14      ON A NIGHT LIKE THIS Kylie Minogue
15      SWEET LOVE 2K Fierce
16      HE DON’T LOVE YOU Human Nature
17      I TURN TO YOU Melanie C
18      IT'S GONNA BE ME *NSync
19      I'M OUTTA LOVE Anastacia
20      MOVING TOO FAST Artful Dodger and Romina Johnson
21      SPINNING AROUND Kylie Minogue
22      BORN TO MAKE YOU HAPPY Britney Spears
23      MY LOVE Westlife
24      ORDINARY WORLD Aurora featuring Naimee Coleman
25      PROUD Heather Small
26      THE BEST IS YET TO COME Scooch
27      SAY MY NAME Destiny's Child
28      BYE BYE BYE *NSync
29      WHEN A WOMAN Gabrielle
30      KIDS Robbie Williams / Kylie Minogue
31      I'LL NEVER STOP *NSync
32      GIRLS ON TOP Girl Thing
33      SHAPE OF MY HEART Backstreet Boys
34      NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN Melanie C featuring Lisa 'Left-eye' Lopes
35      IT FEELS SO GOOD Sonique
36      DON’T WANT YOU BACK Ellie Campbell
37      SKY Sonique
38      THESE DAYS Bardot
39      NATURAL S Club 7
40      BAG IT UP Geri Halliwell
41      ROME WASN'T BUILT IN A DAY Morcheeba
42      OVERLOAD Sugababes
43      DOESN’T REALLY MATTER Janet Jackson
44      SOMETHING DEEP INSIDE Billie Piper
46      ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY Vanessa Amorosi
47      TOCA'S MIRACLE Fragma
48      THE BEST THING Adam Rickitt
49      ONE MORE TIME Daft Punk
50      DON'T GIVE UP Chicane featuring Bryan Adams
52      FADED souLDecision featuring Thrust
53      PURE SHORES All Saints
54      THE TIME IS NOW Moloko
55      COME ON OVER BABY (ALL I WANT IS YOU) Christina Aguilera
56      WALKING AWAY Craig David
57      SHACKLES (PRAISE YOU) Mary Mary
58      CRAZY LOVE MJ Cole
59      STAND TOUGH Point Break
60      LOVE ON THE NORTHERN LINE Northern Line
61      NEW BEGINNING Precious
62      PLEASE STAY Kylie Minogue
63      THE ONE Backstreet Boys
64      DESIRE Ultra Nate
65      LADY (HEAR ME TONIGHT) Modjo
66      COULD I HAVE THIS KISS FOREVER Whitney Houston & Enrique Iglesias
68      DON’T TELL ME Madonna
70      DON’T MESS WITH MY MAN Lucy Pearl
71      INDEPENDENT WOMEN PART 1 Destiny’s Child
72      FEEL THE BEAT Darude
74      WE THINK IT'S LOVE Leah Haywood
75      HEAR YOU CALLING Aurora
76      LUCKY STAR Superfunk featuring Ron Carroll
77      COME AND GET ME Cleopatra
78      ALL AROUND THE WORLD Northern Line
79      WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO sister2sister
80      TELL ME WHY (THE RIDDLE) Paul van Dyk featuring Saint Etienne
81      JUMP DOWN B*Witched
82      NEW BEGINNING Stephen Gately
84      IT’S GONNA BE MY WAY Precious
85      SEE YA Atomic Kitten
86      BINGO BANGO Basement Jaxx
87      COFFEE Supersister
88      MUST BE THE MUSIC Joey Negro featuring Taka Boom
89      (JUST) ME & YOU New Vision
90      MUSIC Madonna
91      FREAKYTIME Point Break
92      GLORIOUS Andreas Johnson
94      WHERE IS THE LOVE Kamasutra
95      HOLLER / LET LOVE LEAD THE WAY Spice Girls
97      DON'T FALTER Mint Royale with Lauren Laverne
98      FOOL AGAIN Westlife
99      FEEL GOOD Madasun
100    BLACK COFFEE All Saints
101    FREEDOM Erasure
102    IN YOUR ARMS (RESCUE ME) Nu Generation
103    YOU USED TO HOLD ME Scott & Leon
104    FREAK LIKE ME Tru Faith & Dub Conspiracy
105    BODY GROOVE Architects featuring Nana
106    MONEY (OLD SKOOL REMIX) Jamelia featuring Beenie Man
107    THE LONELY ONE Alice Deejay
108    SANDSTORM Darude
109    HE WASN'T MAN ENOUGH Toni Braxton
110    DON’T THINK I’M NOT Kandi
111    I’M OVER YOU Martine McCutcheon
112    STOP PLAYING WITH MY MIND Darryl D’Bonneau featuring Barbara Tucker
113    SOMETHING ABOUT THE MUSIC Da Slammin Phrogz
114    HAMMER TO THE HEART Tamperer featuring Maya
115    BREATHLESS The Corrs
116    GIRLS LIKE US B-15 Project featuring Chrissy D & Lady G
117    SUMMER MOVED ON a-ha
119    TAKE ON ME a1
120    IT'S MY TURN Angelic
122    MOVE YOUR BODY Eiffel 65
123    JUST AROUND THE HILL Sash! featuring Tina Cousins
124    HOLDING ON Heather Small
125    MY FEELING Junior Jack
126    I GOT THIS FEELING Baby Bumps
127    I BELIEVE Stephen Gately
128    IRRESISTIBLE The Corrs
129    BE WITH YOU Enrique Iglesias
130    WE ARE ALIVE Paul van Dyk
131    SO REAL Mandy Moore
133    PLEASE DON’T TURN ME ON Artful Dodger featuring Lifford
134    DON'T YOU WORRY Madasun
135    PRIVATE EMOTION Ricky Martin & Meja
136    I WANNA BE WITH YOU Mandy Moore
137    JUMPIN’, JUMPIN’ Destiny’s Child
138    IT’S MY LIFE Bon Jovi
139    FEELIN’ SO GOOD Jennifer Lopez
141    WOMAN TROUBLE Artful Dodger with Robbie Craig featuring Craig David
142    BE YOURSELF Morcheeba
143    FLOWERS Sweet Female Attitude
144    BECAUSE OF YOU Scanty Sandwich
145    I SINGS Mary Mary featuring BBJ
146    WEEKENDS The Black Eyed Peas
147    SING-A-LONG Shanks & Bigfoot
148    GIVE ME YOU Mary J Blige
149    FOLLOW ME Atomic Kitten
150    LUCKY Britney Spears
151    YOU Point Break
152    THE POWER OF LOVE (ROB SEARLE REMIX) Frankie Goes To Hollywood
153    EX-GIRLFRIEND No Doubt
154    FREESTLYER Bomfunk MCs
155    CHAINED TO YOU Savage Garden
156    IF I TOLD YOU THAT Whitney Houston & George Michael
157    BODY TO BODY Samantha Mumba
159    THE FACTS OF LIFE Black Box Recorder
160    PASILDA Afro Medusa
161    SUMMER OF LOVE Lonyo aka Comme Ci Comme Ca
162    COMING AROUND Travis
163    FILL ME IN Craig David
164    DO IT TO ME AGAIN Soulsearcher
165    ACHILLES HEEL Toploader
166    GENERATOR Foo Fighters
167    O.T.B. (ON THE BEACH) York
168    (WELCOME) TO THE DANCE Des Mitchell
169    WON'T TAKE IT LYIN' DOWN Honeyz
170    MY HEART GOES BOOM (LA DI DA DA) French Affair
171    LIFE STORY Angie Stone
172    RISE Gabrielle
173    TRY AGAIN Aaliyah
174    CALL ME Jamelia
175    KILLER 2000 ATB
176    THE BAD TOUCH The Bloodhound Gang
177    LET ME BE YOUR FANTASY (REMIX) Baby D featuring MC Tails
178    I FEEL FOR YOU Bob Sinclar
179    OUT OF YOUR MIND Truesteppers and Dane Bowers featuring Victoria Beckham
180    SUNSHINE ON A RAINY DAY Christine Anu
181    SUPREME Robbie Williams
182    NOTHING TO FEAR Tina Cousins
183    DON’T THINK OF ME Dido
185    LET’S GET LOUD Jennifer Lopez
186    JUMP TO LOVE Christine Anu
187    U GOT IT Cleopatra
188    2 FACED Louise
189    IN DEMAND Texas
190    BABYLON David Gray
191    WILL I EVER Alice Deejay
192    SHOULD I STAY? Gabrielle
193    BE THERE WITH YOU Human Nature
195    I WISH Carl Thomas
197    BUGGIN True Steppers featuring Dane Bowers
198    7 DAYS Craig David
199    WHAT ABOUT US Point Break
200    I TURN TO YOU Christina Aguilera

As years go, 2000 was a pretty good one. I'll revisit 2001 some time in February and until then will continue to step back in time to 1989 and the ARIA charts from 25 years ago every Wednesday.

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Friday, 24 January 2014

The Best Of 2000 - part 3

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

If you think there's been a lot of pop in my list of favourite songs from 2000, you ain't seen nothing yet. It was almost as if the '90s didn't happen, with all that grunge and indie music swept aside and more pop than there'd been since the '80s flooding out instead.

From reality fame to pop acclaim: Bardot came good in 2000

Not all the pop music around was good, however, and for every Britney, Five, Steps or Craig David there were a raft of imitators with tunes from the A-list songwriters' bottom drawer. Hopefully you won't see any of those pretenders here...

Number 50 "Don't Give Up" by Chicane featuring Bryan Adams
His duet with Melanie C had been such a success than Canadian balladeer Bryan mixed things up even more with this guest appearance with dance act Chicane, who'd previously remixed his "Cloud #9" single and were also making a bit of a name for themselves for unexpected collaborations. "Don't Give Up" was a UK chart-topper - his first since the months-long number 1 "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" in 1991 - and did pretty well in Australia, reaching number 6.

Number 49 "One More Time" by Daft Punk
They'd helped turn the world's attention to French music with their 1997 album, Homework, but that didn't mean Daft Punk was going to let the new wave of acts like Modjo and Superfunk reap all the benefits. This lead single from Discovery became the enigmatic duo's biggest hit and would remain as such until a certain mega-hit from 2013.

Number 48 "The Best Thing" by Adam Rickitt
I may well be the only person on the planet who rates all three of Adam's singles so highly - "The Best Thing" certainly didn't perform very well and it was back to the soaps for the pretty boy actor/singer. After a return stint on Coronation Street (which included his character being involved in the show's first gay kiss), it was over to the other side of the world and a role on New Zealand's Shortland Street.

Number 47 "Toca's Miracle" by Fragma
Long before Glee stumbled onto the concept of the mash-up, instrumental tracks were combined with vocal tracks to great success in the late '90s/early '00s - none more so than this combination of Fragma's "Toca Me" and Coco's "I Need A Miracle" (which just missed my top 100 for 1997). That's Coco Star in the clip, and although it was the last time we saw her on the charts, Fragma weren't quite done yet. The 2008 remix is mostly what's on YouTube, so there's an audio link in the song title above and a Top Of The Pops performance below of the original 2000 version.

Number 46 "Absolutely Everybody" by Vanessa Amorosi
The first of two acts in this batch of songs who were well on their way to stardom in Australia by the time I got back from the UK in May, Vanessa was the big-voiced teenager who'd hit the top 20 with her debut hit, "Have A Look". Although she was never completely convincing as a pop star (I always got the impression in interviews that she'd rather be a Janis Joplin-type performer), her biggest hits have come from out-and-out pop tracks like this song, which as well as hitting number 6 in Australia also reached the top 10 in the UK and across Europe.

Number 45 "Per Sempre Amore (Forever In Love)" by Lolly
Now, I know this probably falls into the questionable pop basket, what with the shouty singing and pre-teen target demo, but as I always say, "a good song is a good song, no matter who's singing it" (or, in the case of Milli Vanilli, not singing it). Trying to tap into the Latin music craze (because nothing says Latin music more than a video filmed at a bowling alley), "Per Sempre Amore" was the fourth single from the pop creation otherwise known as Anna Kumble, who'd most recently covered "Mickey" and "Rockin' Robin" in a similarly unsubtle fashion - and next remade "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" before moving on to a career in Christmas pantomimes.

Number 44 "Something Deep Inside" by Billie Piper
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 43 "Doesn't Really Matter" by Janet Jackson
A one-off single from the soundtrack to Nutty Professor II: The Klumps, in which Ms Jackson co-starred, "Doesn't Really Matter" was the first solo record we'd heard from Janet since 1998's "Every Time". Since it was a brand new track, it naturally flew to number 1 in the US, a position she'd visit on only one more occasion. There's a link to the music video in the song title above.

Number 42 "Overload" by Sugababes
I knew the minute I heard this song that Sugababes weren't your run-of-the-mill girl group and I remember insisting we cover them in TV Hits (from memory, the story had the headline "The Anti-Spice") as early as possible before. As it turned out, "Overload" was a success but not the monster smash I was hoping it would be and it'd be a couple more years (and one member change later) before things really took off. I've counted down my top 10 Sugababes songs before, and "Overload" just misses that list - but it was a fantastic start to what would be a roller-coaster career for the group.

Number 41 "Rome Wasn't Built In A Day" by Morcheeba
Morcheeba have never really been a singles act, with their laidback style more suited to the albums chart, but on "Rome Wasn't Build In A Day" the trio discovered their inner pop stars. As a result, the band ended up on Australian commercial radio and the song entered our top 30, which was higher than it managed in the UK - although its number 34 peak there is still the band's highest chart position to date.

Number 40 "Bag It Up" by Geri Halliwell
Camper than Supersister (who we saw back in Part 1), Geri Halliwell's fourth single packed a whole lot of cheese into just under four minutes - and somehow she managed to get away with it. "Bag It Up" was another number 1 in the UK and her BRITs performance (which you can watch below) was one of the highlights from that year's show.

Number 39 "Natural" by S Club 7
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 38 "These Days" by Bardot
When I arrived back in Australia, everyone was talking about Popstars, a new reality show in the days before reality shows were even a thing. "You'll love it!" my friends told me. While I only caught the very end of the series, I was here for the release of "Poison", the debut single by girl group Bardot, who'd been put together on the show.
Although "Poison" rushed to the top of the Australian chart, I was completely underwhelmed - as I was with follow-up "I Should've Never Let You Go" (side point: the word "should've" should never be used in a song title).
Then "These Days" came along and I began to think there might be something to Bardot after all. A much more sophisticated pop song, it forestalled the inevitable drop-off in interest in a reality show creation by actually being really good and, for the time being, it looked like Bardot were here to stay.

Number 37 "Sky" by Sonique
Mentioned below

Number 36 "Don't Want You Back" by Ellie Campbell
We'd had Christina, Mandy and Jessica - and in Ellie Campbell we had the British version of Britney Spears. At least that's the way the media saw it, even though Ellie had released her debut single before Britney. The fact that "Don't Want You Back" (which did come out in a post-Britney world) aped the Cheiron sound that Britney made her own didn't help Ellie's cause and, despite being a pretty great song, it tanked. A follow-up cover of Linda Ronstadt's "You're No Good" didn't improve Ellie's fortunes.

Number 35 "It Feels So Good" by Sonique
Back on my 1998 countdown, I included Sonique's cover of "I Put A Spell On You", which I bought at the time. I didn't buy this follow-up, although I remember it creeping in to the UK top 30. That might have been that, but unexpectedly, "It Feels So Good" became a hit in the US and it was only a matter of time until it was re-released in the UK. What a difference 18 months makes - on its second outing, it hit number 1 in Britain and Sonique's career was back on track. Follow-up "Sky" (number 33 on this list) peaked at number 2 in the UK and, in Australia, even outperformed "It Feels So Good".

Number 34 "Never Be The Same Again" by Melanie C featuring Lisa 'Left-eye' Lopes
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 33 "Shape Of My Heart" by Backstreet Boys
Backstreet were back... again in 2000 with a new album, Black & Blue, and a sales record to try and wrestle back from competitors *NSYNC, whose No Strings Attached had shattered the previous highest week one sales tally registered by BSB's own Millennium in 1999. Although they didn't best *NSYNC, BSB did improve on Millennium's opening figure and set a new high for global album sales, so that's something. Facts and figures aside, the album was packed with pretty standard Backstreet fare - with "Shape Of My Heart" following on nicely from the final two Millennium singles, "Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely" (number 67 on this list) and "The One" (number 63).

Number 32 "Girls On Top" by Girl Thing
In a move so cynical only Simon Cowell could've been behind it, Girl Thing were launched just as Spice Girls were on their way out. But, what had worked once (five girls with a cheeky attitude and distinct looks) didn't take off a second time, especially with the disappointing "Last One Standing" as the group's debut single. Follow-up "Girls On Top", however, was another matter as far as I was concerned. Although it was a much better track with a hint of disco to it, its disappointing UK chart performance sealed the girl group's fate. Unexpectedly, Girl Thing has been announced as part of the line-up for the second season of The Big Reunion - an inclusion which is puzzling to say the least.

Number 31 "I'll Never Stop" by *NSYNC
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 30 "Kids" by Robbie Williams / Kylie Minogue
Previously featured here

Number 29 "When A Woman" by Gabrielle
The title track of her 1999 album, Rise, had returned Gabrielle to the UK number 1 spot seven years after her debut with "Dreams", but it was this third, retro-flavoured single that I preferred from the year 2000. A song so infectious it's impossible not to like, "When A Woman" duly became another UK top 10 hit for Ms Bobb.

Number 28 "Bye Bye Bye" by *NSYNC
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 27 "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child
Mentioned in Part 2 and previously featured here

Number 26 "The Best Is Yet To Come" by Scooch
Mentioned in Part 4

In Part 4: well, obviously some Scooch and *NSYNC, as you can see just above. And, if you've been wondering where Steps' singles from 2000 are... well, they're coming. All of them. Plus, the lead singer of one of my favourite ''90s groups goes solo, a teenage star grows up and a solo Spice tries a bit of everything.

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