Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Best Of 2005 - part 3

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

As well as being a year of change in my personal and professional lives, 2005 was also a time when I was enjoying some unexpected music. With pop on the wane, I had to look further afield for good songs, which led me to... bands.

2005 was all about bands. Old bands, new bands, even old bands with
new singers, like INXS

And not boy bands. Proper, instrument-playing bands with The at the start of their name. In reality, the transition had started in 2004, with the advent of The Killers and Franz Ferdinand, but a lot of the music I liked in 2005 came from those two bands and other similarly pop/indie/electro groups, including some you'll see in this batch of songs...

Number 50 "Wake Me Up" by Girls Aloud
Mentioned below

Number 49 "Pretty Vegas" by INXS
Speaking of bands, here is my favourite Australian band of the '80s - although, of course, the 2005 version of INXS was quite different from the group behind "Original Sin", "Need You Tonight" and "Burn For You". Eight years after the death of former lead singer Michael Hutchence, the remaining six members of INXS joined forces with Survivor head honcho Mark Burnett to launch Rockstar: INXS, a worldwide talent search for a new vocalist. As a reality show, the series was fantastic - the contestants were all pretty talented and each week's performances blew those by most Idol finalists out of the water. Plus, by including females in the pool of contenders, there was always the possibility of INXS completely reinventing itself.
In the end, the band chose the most Michael Hutchence-y of the final three: JD Fortune, who actually slotted into the band quite well. This first single by the new-look band was the result of a challenge during the series in which two teams of four finalists were given music by Andrew Farriss to compose lyrics for. JD clashed with his group and wrote the words to "Pretty Vegas" on his own - which was a pretty good indication that he was rock star enough to front the band. We'll pick up the story of INXS 2.0 in my top 100 for 2006.

Number 48 "Smile Like You Mean It" by The Killers
Now they'd got their career off and running, the hits kept coming from Hot Fuss, with both "Smile Like You Mean It" and "All These Things That I've Done" (number 62 on this list) climbing charts around the world - albeit, not quite as high as the album's earlier two singles. The two tracks were the third and fourth singles from Hot Fuss, but the order depended on which nation you lived in. Australia followed America's lead and enjoyed "Smile..." before "All These...".

Number 47 "Seasons Of Love" by Cast of Rent
I'd seen the stage show in London back in 1999 (featuring no less a talent than Rachel McFarlane among the cast), but it wasn't until Hollywood made a movie adaptation of Rent that the show's best known tune could feature in my charts. This rendition actually featured most of the original Broadway cast like Idina Menzel and Taye Diggs (who I always forget were married at one point), as well as Rosario Dawson, who hadn't appeared in the show on stage.

Number 46 "Sunshine Eyes" by paulmac featuring Peta Morris
Mentioned below

Number 45 "Mesmerized (Freemasons mix)" by Faith Evans
Mentioned below

Number 44 "Long Hot Summer" by Girls Aloud
While Sugababes were in a state of flux by the end of 2005, their rivals for Britain's top girl group went from strength to strength that year - winding up the What Will The Neighbours Say? campaign with another UK top 5 hit in the form of "Wake Me Up" (number 50 on this list) and moving on to album number three: Chemistry.
"Long Hot Summer" launched that album, while second single "Biology" (number 2 on this list and among my Girls Aloud top 10) was their best effort since "Love Machine". The only dampener on the year was their decision to release a cover of Dee C Lee's "See The Day" in time for Christmas. Not only did the remake fall way short of the coveted UK Christmas number 1 spot, but it felt like a cynical attempt to repeat what they'd achieved the previous year with "I'll Stand By You".

Number 43 "You And Me" by Uniting Nations
After covering Hall & Oates in 2004, Paul Keenan and Daz Sampson released this original composition before returning to the remakes with "Ai No Corrida" later in 2005. For "You And Me", the duo were joined onstage by Craig Powell - but it was actually singer Jinian Wilde who provided vocals for this song. Although Uniting Nations continued to release singles in subsequent years, Daz received more attention for representing the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 with the abysmal "Teenage Life".

Number 42 "Unconditional" by The Bravery
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 41 "Somewhere Else" by Razorlight
2005 was the year Razorlight became a big deal in the UK, with this bonus track from a re-release of debut album Up All Night reaching number 2 in Britain. Even bigger things were still to come for the band in 2006 - but so too was a massive backlash against self-aggrandising lead singer and guitarist Johnny Borrell.

Number 40 "Fearless" by The Bravery
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 39 "It's Not Me, It's You" by paulmac featuring Ngaiire
It's a shame paulmac (or Paul Mac, depending on how it was styled at any given point) hasn't released more music in his own right, because when he does - like this single from his excellent second album Panic Room - it's pretty flawless dance/pop. Guest vocalist Ngaiire Joseph was a semi-finalist from the second season of Australian Idol, while Paul also drafted in regular collaborator Peta Morris for the album's lead single, "Sunshine Eyes" (number 46 on this list).

Number 38 "Guilt Is A Useless Emotion" by New Order
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 37 "S.O.S." by A Studio featuring Polina
When I first looked up A Studio, an act I'd never bothered finding anything about before now, I discovered it was the name of a Kazakhstan pop group that'd been around since 1982. Thinking I had the wrong A Studio, I continued searching only to discover I had the correct information. Originally called Alma-Ata Studio, after the city in which the group was founded, A Studio changed vocalists in 2000 when original singer Batyrkhan Shukenov left and Polina Griffith joined. Shortly after, "S.O.S." was released in Russia, but it would take several years for it to gain exposure across Europe - and even an Australian release.

Number 36 "Love On My Mind" by Freemasons featuring Amanda Wilson
Emerging from the ashes of turn-of-the-millennium dance act Phats & Small, Russell Small and James Wiltshire launched Freemasons in 2005 with a two-prong assault on the charts. As artists themselves, they released this track, which lifts elements from both "This Time Baby" by Jackie Moore and "When The Heartache Is Over" by Tina Turner. And, as remixers, they totally reinvented Faith Evans' "Mesmerized" (number 45 on this list) - a sign of just what they had in their bag of tricks.

Number 35 "You Never Know" by Marly
Here's another slice of Eurodance with a performer I knew nothing about until now - but all I've discovered about Marly (who, don't ask me why, I always assumed was Italian) is that she is actually Danish singer Ditte-Marie Lyfeldt.

Number 34 "Call My Name" by Charlotte Church
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 33 "Better Luck" by Scissor Sisters
Although it never ended up being a single, this track from Scissor Sisters' debut self-titled album was at one point slated to be the next Australian release, was sent to radio stations accordingly and appeared in trade publication The Music Network. I assume it was felt that "Better Luck" had more chance of charting than "Mary", which had been the follow-up to "Take Your Mama" in the UK. However, plans for "Better Luck" were put on ice when "Filthy/Gorgeous" (number 77 on this list) was announced as the album's fifth single in the UK - and Australia jumped on that instead, resulting in the band's biggest hit to date locally. Despite its non-release, I decided an almost-release was good enough for me - and so here "Better Luck" is.

Number 32 "Rain / Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Anthony Callea
He may not have won Australian Idol season two, but like Shannon Noll before him, runner-up Anthony Callea was quickly snapped up by Sony BMG (the two companies having merged the previous year) and gave his season's winner, Casey Donovan, a trouncing on the ARIA chart. Unlike Shannon, Anthony didn't sing about driving a big black car or turn his hand to an Aussie rock classic like "What About Me". 
Instead, he followed up his multi-platinum debut single, the solo cover of the Celine Dion/Andrea Bocelli duet "The Prayer" he'd performed on Idol, with this double A-side release, which also topped the Australian top 50. "Rain" was a Westlife-like ballad (right down to its Scandinavian co-writers Quiz & Larossi), which suited Anthony's music-for-mums style, while "Bridge..." was another song he'd "made his own" on Idol. Anthony would release a handful more singles before settling into a career of covers albums and Carols By Candlelight appearances.

Number 31 "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter
One-hit wonder alert - although, by reaching number 43 in Australia with follow-up "Free Loop (One Night Stand)", he kind of broke that tag here. But, certainly in the US, "Bad Day" was the Canadian singer's one and only Billboard Hot 100 entry - and what an entry: topping the chart for five weeks and ending 2006 as America's number 1 single for the year. A number 3 hit in 2005 in Australia, it took a little longer for the track to break in the States, but did so with a little help from American Idol, which used "Bad Day" as the soundtrack to farewell eliminated contestants.

Number 30 "Do You Want To" by Franz Ferdinand
Like The Killers, Franz Ferdinand had made their mark in 2004, but while The Killers were still working their debut album in 2005, the Scottish band wasted no time moving swiftly on to their second album, You Could Have It So Much Better, which featured this lead single. It would be a much longer wait for the band's third album, which wouldn't arrive until 2009.

Number 29 "A Pain That I Am Used To" by Depeche Mode
Previously featured here

Number 28 "Why Do You Love Me" by Garbage
Here's another (partly) Scottish electro-rock band, but one who'd be making music for just over a decade. I'd always liked Garbage, but, given my musical tastes in 2005, their fourth studio album, Bleed Like Me, wasn't the exception to the pop rule as was usually the case for me with one of their records. The album featured some of the band's best tracks, like this lead single, "Run Baby Run" (number 56 on this list) and "Sex Is Not The Enemy" (number 78), but provided some of their most disappointing chart positions.

Number 27 "Natural" by Infusion
Like Razorlight's "Somewhere Else", "Natural" didn't originally appear on Six Feet Above Yesterday, the major label debut by Australian synthpop band Infusion - but was added onto a special edition of the album in 2005. Despite winning back-to-back ARIA Awards for Best Dance Release in 2004-05 - and having some quite good songs - Infusion never managed to turn their industry cred into chart success, with biggest hit "Natural" frustratingly peaking at number 51.

Number 26 "Breathe" by Erasure
Mentioned in Part 4

In Part 4: a solo release from the singer for one of my favourite groups of all time, and the return of three very different acts: a pop superstar, a hugely successful boy band and a couple of Russian faux-lesbians.

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