Monday, 20 January 2014

The Best Of 2000 - part 2

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

In Part 1 of my trip back to my favourite songs of 2000, I mentioned that I started working in entertainment magazines that year - which was also when the internet started to have a real impact on circulation figures, especially in teen press. Just a few years earlier, with the likes of Spice Girls and Leonardo DiCaprio as cover stars, magazines like Smash Hits and TV Hits sold huge amount of copies - but the decline started in 2000, since readers were able to get a lot of what magazines had traditionally provided online.

Craig David became the face of UK garage in 2000

As we all know, the internet also adversely affected the music industry (until they worked out how to work with it instead of against it), and 2000 was the year Metallica sued Napster after discovering their songs were being shared using the peer-to-peer service. I remember the first time I ever saw Napster in use - the process of downloading a song took forever since it was being done on a dial-up service. I didn't bother with Napster but millions of others did, and it would change the music industry forever.

Number 75 "Hear You Calling" by Aurora
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 74 "We Think It's Love" by Leah Haywood
This first - and biggest - single for the New Zealand-born, Perth-based singer/songwriter was a catchy tune, but I always got the impression Leah wasn't really comfortable being a pop star - something that seems to have been borne out by her decision to shift to a role behind the scenes a couple of years later. Since the mid-'00s, she's worked in LA, writing and producing for pretty much every major former child star (Miley, Demi, Selena, et al) over the past few years.

Number 73 "Around The World (La La La La La)" by ATC
I'd forgotten the two important facts about this Eurodance quartet - 1) ATC stood for A Touch Of Class and 2) the four members came from different countries. I think I interviewed the Australian member, Sarah, at the time - and the presence of a local in the line-up just might have helped the song get all the way to number 11 locally (for three weeks). Thinking they were onto a good thing, the la la las of "Around The World" were followed by dam dam dams in second single "My Heart Beats Like A Drum", but it was much less successful.

Number 72 "Feel The Beat" by Darude
Finnish trance act Darude (real name: Ville Virtanen) was another artist I interviewed around the time - and back in those days, you'd get 20-30 minutes per interview slot, unlike now when you're lucky to get 10 minutes with someone. Of course, filling half an hour with a dance act who'd only had a couple of hits ("Feel The Beat" was the follow-up to "Sandstorm", which made my number 108 for the year) wasn't always easy, but it wasn't a bad problem to have.

Number 71 "Independent Women Part 1" by Destiny's Child
Their line-up now settled, Destiny's Child really consolidated their position as the world's top girl group in 2000 with the Survivor album (complete with "I ain't gonna dis you on the internet" taunts towards former band members in the title track) and this soundtrack hit from the movie version of Charlie's Angels.

Number 70 "Don't Mess With My Man" by Lucy Pearl
When I hear the term "supergroup", I usually think of a bunch of old rockers getting together for a jam session - but Lucy Pearl was an R&B supergroup featuring members from Tony! Toni! Toné!, A Tribe Called Quest and En Vogue. "Don't Mess With My Man" was the follow-up to debut single "Dance Tonight", which had been a bigger hit in the US - while this track was a greater success in the UK but would be Dawn's final contribution to the group. Neither crossed over in Australia.

Number 69 "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)" by 98 Degrees
Here's a group that did cross over in Australia - but were never as big here as they were back home in the States, placing four singles between numbers 21 and 27 on the ARIA chart in 1999-2000 compared to this track's number 2 position in the US. With its on-trend Latin influences (and subtitle), "Give Me Just One Night" was the first 98 Degrees song I liked - until this point, I'd found their ballads a bit too syrupy for my liking. The guys would score one more hit ("My Everything") before the requisite best of and a future in reality TV.

Number 68 "Don't Tell Me" by Madonna
Previously featured here

Number 67 "Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely" by Backstreet Boys
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 66 "Could I Have This Kiss Forever" by Whitney Houston / Enrique Iglesias
Another pop/Latin crossover here with this duet between the superstar diva and music's latest heartthrob. "Could I Have..." was the lead single from Whitney's first greatest hits album and, as you'd expect given the artists involved, it was a substantial hit in Australia, Canada and Europe. In the US, however, it could only manage a number 52 placing. It would only get worse for Whitney at home over the next few years, with her final chart position of number 100 for 2009's "Million Dollar Bill" summing up her fall from grace.

Number 65 "Lady (Here Me Tonight)" by Modjo
In Part 1, we saw Superfunk - and here's another slice of French disco from 2000. Sampling "Soup For One" by one of the most sampled bands in the world, Chic, "Lady (Hear Me Tonight)" went all the way to number 1 in the UK and was a top 10 hit here in Australia. Despite several more singles being lifted from Modjo's self-titled album, none were as big as "Lady", which returned to the UK top 10 in 2001 as part of the mash-up, "The Ladyboy Is Mine" by Stuntmasterz.

Number 64 "Desire" by Ultra Naté
She'd emerged from the club scene to score a string of chart hits in the late '90s, but it was back where she came from for Ultra Naté with this lead single from the Stranger Than Fiction album. As a consolation, "Desire" was yet another Billboard dance chart number 1 for her.

Number 63 "The One" by Backstreet Boys
Mentioned in Part 3

Number 62 "Please Stay" by Kylie Minogue
2000 was a massive year for Kylie, and although I've talked about her other hits from the year ("Spinning Around", "On A Night Like This" and "Kids", which are all still to come on this list) elsewhere on this blog, I haven't discussed "Please Stay", which at the time was a bit of a surprise single choice. Clearly, given its position here, it's a song I like but I wasn't alone in thinking there were plenty of other tracks from Light Years which would have made better and bigger singles.

Number 61 "New Beginning" by Precious
They channelled the Cheiron sound for "Rewind" (number 7 on this list), which would also be their biggest hit of the year in the UK - but follow-ups "It's Gonna Be My Way" (number 84) and "New Beginning" weren't anywhere near as successful for the former Eurovision competitors. As it turned out, "New Beginning" (which only just scraped into the UK top 50) would end up being an oddly fitting title since the girls went their separate ways shortly after - with Jenny Frost having the highest profile post-Precious career as a member of Atomic Kitten version 2.0 (or version 3.0 if you include the line-up featuring Heidi Range).

Number 60 "Love On The Northern Line" by Northern Line
Mentioned in Part 1 and previously featured here

Number 59 "Stand Tough" by Point Break
Time for another long-forgotten British boy band whose members, like Ant & Dec before them, came from kids' show Byker Grove. "Stand Tough" was Point Break's biggest single - in the UK, it reached number 7, while in Australia, it just slipped into the top 50 and, if memory serves me correctly, was used in an ad for rugby league (although I could be making that up). Subsequent singles "Freakytime" (number 91 on this list), "You" (number 151) and "What About Us" (number 198) had a similar drop-off in the UK and, well, record companies would only pay for expensive videos and glossy photo shoots for so long...

Number 58 "Crazy Love" by MJ Cole
Just as UK garage moved into the mainstream in 2000, so too did pioneering producer MJ Cole (the MJ stood for Matthew James; the Cole was a shortening of his surname Coleman), who hit the UK top 10 with "Crazy Love" and saw his 1998 minor hit "Sincere" almost achieve the same result after being remixed and re-released. But, like most 2-step acts, MJ's time in the spotlight was brief.

Number 57 "Shackles (Praise You)" by Mary Mary
Gospel isn't a genre that often finds its way onto the pop charts, but sisters Erica and Tina Atkins-Campbell bucked that trend with their debut single, which became a worldwide hit in 2000. Second single "I Sings" (number 145 on this list) wasn't anywhere near as big, but Mary Mary maintained a following on the gospel scene and continue to record to this day.

Number 56 "Walking Away" by Craig David
The biggest act to emerge from the UK garage scene, Craig David parlayed his guest appearance on Artful Dodger's "Rewind" (which we saw on my 1999 countdown) into an even bigger solo career in 2000. "Fill Me In" and "7 Days" were both UK chart-toppers, but it was this third single which was my favourite - and showed more of a range for Craig, who, unlike MJ Cole, managed to outlive the 2-step craze and become a major force in British R&B for the next few years.

Number 55 "Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)" by Christina Aguilera
Given a complete overhaul from the version of the song that appeared on her self-titled album - right down to the addition of the word 'baby' in the title - this duly became Christina's fourth big hit and third US chart-topper (after "Genie In A Bottle" and "What A Girl Wants"). In Australia and the UK, it did much better than third single "I Turn To You" since, at that point, Christina was much more successful as a pop singer than a balladeer. As we all know, that would change over the next couple of years. 

Number 54 "The Time Is Now" by Moloko
Following their recent success with the remix of "Sing It Back", Moloko fans (of whom there were suddenly a lot more) snapped up this lead single from new album Things To Make And Do. A successful mix of the band's inherent quirkiness and their new pop sensibility, it became their biggest UK hit, reaching number 2 there. It would, however, take them another three years to return to the top 10 with the follow-ups to this falling a little too much on the quirky side.

Number 53 "Pure Shores" by All Saints
Mentioned in Part 1 and previously featured here

Number 52 "Faded" by soulDecision featuring Thrust
Canadian pop/R&B isn't a term you hear every day, but that was the genre of choice for this short-lived trio, who landed a number 23 hit in Australia (and a chart-topper back home) with this track. The rest of the album was more Savage Garden than 112, and "Faded" was easily soulDecision's biggest hit. Since then, I hadn't heard a thing about the group with the annoying capital D until last year, when vocalist Trevor Guthrie popped up on Armin van Buuren's "This Is What It Feels Like".

Number 51 "Groovejet (If This Ain't Love) by Spiller
While the mid-'90s had seen the battle of the Britpop bands and in the late-'90s, two Spice Girls had gone head-to-head with single releases, the big chart battle of 2000 was between Sophie Ellis-Bextor and another Spice Girl, Victoria Beckham. Both were guest vocalists on huge dance tracks and the singles were released in the same week, leading to a massively hyped chart battle in the UK. In the end, both songs benefitted from the publicity, but it was Spiller's "Groovejet", which had started out as an instrumental, that triumphed. It would be the biggest hit for Cristiano Spiller, while it was only the beginning of Sophie's solo career. As for Victoria? "Out Of My Mind" with Truesteppers and Dane Bowers was easily her biggest solo success, selling way more copies than anything else she put her name to musically.

In Part 3: the arrival of my favourite act for the '00s, Australia's first Popstars and a British song that had to become a hit in the US before anyone back home noticed. Before we get to that, I'll recap the ARIA chart from 25 years ago as usual on Wednesday.

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