Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Best Of 2007 - part 4

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

Another year's countdown almost complete - and as we inch closer to the present day, we're seeing the beginnings of the music that forms my current taste in music.

Thnks fr th hts, Fall Out Boy

I call it, for want of a better term, future pop - named after a 2008 compilation of the same name that featured a lot of the synthpop, electro and dance music I was listening to in 2007, including three of the songs in this final batch and several more that have appeared on the top 100 so far.

Number 25 "The Take Over, The Break's Over" by Fall Out Boy
Mentioned below

Number 24 "Stop Me" by Mark Ronson featuring Daniel Merriweather
I was never a huge fan of The Smiths, so it didn't bother me one bit when Mark Ronson got inventive with their 1987 song "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" - weaving in elements of The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and shortening its name. On vocals: an Australian singer Mark had worked with before - he produced Daniel's 2004 singles, "City Rules" and "She Got Me". "Stop Me" was taken from Version, an album of covers that catapulted Mark into the big league, and which transformed songs originally by artists like Kaiser Chiefs and The Zutons.

Number 23 "Shine" by Booty Luv
Their ploy of revisiting a hit club mix of a chart flop had worked a treat with their cover of Tweet's "Boogie 2nite" and so Booty Luv repeated the trick by remaking the Freemasons mix of Luther Vandross's "Shine", which had been released seven months earlier. Cherise and Nadia next turned their hand to "Don't Mess With My Man" (number 64 on this list), originally recorded by Lucy Pearl (and as featured in my top 100 of 2000), before releasing their best single and first original track, "Some Kinda Rush" (number 4 on this list).

Number 22 "Makes Me Wonder" by Maroon 5
Maroon 5 had done well with the singles from Songs About Jane, but things went to a whole new level as this lead single from It Won't Be Soon Before Long became their first US chart-topper. Adding a bit of funk to their pop/rock sound, the band broadened their appeal - as did Adam Levine, thanks to his tuxedoed appearance in the music video.

Number 21 "Rain Down Love" by Freemasons featuring Siedah Garrett
Booty Luv might have stolen their thunder and turned "Shine" into a hit, but Freemasons weren't exactly idle in 2007, falling agonisingly short of the UK top 10 yet again with this track featuring the woman whose vocals also appeared on the Armand Van Helden track we saw back in Part 1.

Number 20 "UFO" by Sneaky Sound System
Despite the fact that their singles seemed to hang around the chart forever and sell in decent quantities, Sneaky Sound System have never had a top 10 hit in Australia - although "UFO" came close, peaking at number 11. Although incredibly successful locally, the group were never able to break through in the UK, where "UFO" was released as a follow-up to "Pictures" and peaked at number 52. In Australia, "UFO" was followed by "Goodbye" (number 100 on this list).

Number 19 "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arms Race" by Fall Out Boy
Mentioned below

Number 18 "Golden Skans" by Klaxons
Joining the ranks of what I called "the K bands" (The Killers, Kaiser Chiefs, The Kooks, Kosheen, etc.) in 2007 were Klaxons, who slotted in nicely among the rest with their electronic indie sound. "Golden Skans" was the band's breakthrough hit, while I also liked their take on Grace's '90s dance anthem, the slightly re-titled  "It's Not Over Yet" (number 65 on this list).

Number 17 "What Am I Fighting For?" by UnkleJam
British R&B trio UnkleJam had a couple of singles I enjoyed in 2007 - "What Am I Fighting For?" and "Stereo" (number 95 on this list), and despite both those songs reaching the UK top 10, I've heard nothing about them ever since.

Number 16 "Inconsolable" by Backstreet Boys
And then there were four. Backstreet Boys' first single without Kevin Richardson in the line-up was also the lead single from their sixth album, Unbreakable. But it seems the boy band could be broken, since "Inconsolable" became their least successful lead single from an album ever. Whether or not Kevin's absence had anything to do with it, the track peaked outside the Australian top 40 and the UK top 20, and as low as number 86 in the US.

Number 15 "Dance Floor Anthem (I Don't Want To Be In Love)" by Good Charlotte
As much as I liked Good Charlotte in theory (I'd interviewed them over the years during their regular visits to Australia and put them on the cover of the first issue of Smash Hits that I edited), I was never a massive fan of their pop/punk music. Whether it was because I'd gotten more into bands in the previous couple of years or due to the fact that Good Charlotte started incorporating more of an electronic sound to their music - probably a bit of both - I suddenly found myself quite enjoying their music in 2007. 
This second single from their Good Morning Revival album was easily the poppiest thing they'd done - and quickly became their biggest hit in Australia, peaking at number 2. Touching on Joel's relationship with Hilary Duff (who we saw back in Part 3), the track was one of several songs from the album I liked. The others: "The River" (number 28 on this list), the album's lead single in America, which featured M. Shadows and Synyster Gates from Avenged Sevenfold; "Misery" (number 53); and "Keep Your Hands Off My Girl" (number 105), the lead single in Australia.

Number 14 "With Every Heartbeat" by Robyn with Kleerup
This was the song that changed everything for Robyn, who'd actually released her fourth album in 2005. That album, Robyn, was the first she released on her own record label after leaving Jive Records, frustrated at being marketed as a pop princess. Two singles, "Be Mine!" and "Who's That Girl", were released in Sweden at the time, but "With Every Heartbeat" was the first single from the international version of Robyn. When the song, a collaboration with Swedish producer Kleerup, reached number 1 in the UK, the singer was well on her way to being a global star all over again - something that had happened way back in 1997, when she hit the UK and US top 10 with the Max Martin and Denniz Pop-produced "Show Me Love" and "Do You Know (What It Takes)".

Number 13 "About You Now" by Sugababes
Previously featured here

Number 12 "Soulmate" by Natasha Bedingfield
If you thought the Robyn backstory was complicated, here's another artist making things difficult in 2007. British singer Natasha Bedingfield had gone and become successful in the US, but seems like her second album, N.B., didn't quite suit her American label - and so the alternate album, Pocketful Of Sunshine, was released there instead. Both albums had overlapping tracklistings - and "Soulmate", which appeared on both albums and was released in both territories, was the best song to emerge from either.

Number 11 "Umbrella" by Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
There was nothing complicated about the overwhelming success of this track, the lead single from Rihanna's third album, Good Girl Gone Bad. "Umbrella" was number 1 in Australia for six weeks, in the UK for 10 (the highest tally in 13 years) and the US for seven - and topped charts in a bunch of other countries around the world. The Grammy-winning song was quickly covered by a cavalcade of recording artists in a variety of different genres, making it inescapable all year. Rihanna herself was ever-present on charts throughout 2007 - and it's been that way pretty much ever since. Her subsequent hits were: "Shut Up And Drive" (number 38 on this list), which is based on New Order's "Blue Monday"; Ne-Yo duet "Hate That I Love You" (number 47); and "Don't Stop The Music" (number 66), which samples Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Something" and became the first single only available as a download to reach number 1 on the ARIA chart.

Number 10 "Over It" by Katharine McPhee
She might have lost out on being crowned American Idol in 2006, but runner-up Katharine McPhee has gone on to be a much bigger star than Taylor Hicks. And, while her recording career might have faltered following this hit lead single from her post-Idol self-titled album, Katharine has transitioned smoothly into an acting career, even getting to combine both her talents on the short-lived musical drama Smash

Number 9 "Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control)" by Groove Armada featuring Mutya Buena
Mutya Buena didn't waste too much time after leaving Sugababes at the end of 2005, releasing her debut (and only, to date) solo album, Real Girl, in June 2007 and collaborating with Groove Armada on "Song 4 Mutya", the dance duo's best single. The track was actually originally entitled "Song 4 Estelle" and pitched to the singer of the same name, but that didn't work out the way Groove Armada had hoped, leading them to approach Mutya instead. Mutya's own singles - "Real Girl" and "Just A Little Bit" - had more of an R&B feel and both just missed a place in my top 100.

Number 8 "Me & My Imagination" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Mentioned below

Number 7 "What Goes Around... Comes Around" by Justin Timberlake
One of my chief complaints with Justin Timberlake's recent album, The 20/20 Experience, was how long all the songs were - but I'd forgotten that some of the tracks on FutureSex/LoveSounds were just as self-indulgent lengthy. This third single was one of the longest, clocking in at seven-and-a-half minutes - and fourth single "LoveStoned/I Think She Knows" (number 78 on this list) was about the same length. More compact radio edits were released for both, taking them down by about two minutes to a much more reasonable running time. They're both good tracks - in fact "What Goes Around..." is one of my favourite JT songs - but sometimes less is more. Of course, when it came to the Samuel Bayer-directed video for "What Goes Around...", restraint was not really in play.

Number 6 "Relax (Take It Easy)" by Mika
The first and final single from Mika's debut album, Life In Cartoon Motion, "Relax (Take It Easy)" was unsuccessful on its initial release. Following the string of hits that came in its wake - "Grace Kelly", "Love Today", "Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)", "Happy Ending" - the track was re-released as a double A-side with "Lollipop". For me, this song, which incorporated a snatch of Cutting Crew's "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" into its melody, is far and away the best single by Michael Penniman Jr. A subtle synthpop track, it doesn't grate the way Mika's more flamboyant hits do - many of which have not dated very well in the relatively short time since their release.

Number 5 "Shine" by Take That
The Take That comeback continued unabated in 2007 with this second single from Beautiful World. "Shine" is one of the few TT singles with lead vocals from Mark Owen - and I wasn't usually a fan of his strangled style of singing (see also: "Babe"), but it actually worked quite well on this showtune-style track. By the time further singles were taken from Beautiful World, everyone in the UK had already bought the album and so it wasn't until stand-alone track "Rule The World" (number 33 on this list and taken from the film Stardust) was released that the man-band were back near the top of the chart there.

Number 4 "Some Kinda Rush"
Mentioned above and previously featured here

Number 3 "Catch You" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Clearly marriage and motherhood agreed with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, because after a four-year break since her previous studio album in which she started a family, she returned in 2007 with her best work. The three singles from third album Trip The Light Fantastic - "Catch You", "Me & My Imagination" (number 8 on this list) and "Today The Sun's On Us" (number 43) - were among my favourites for 2007, while the album itself was my top album for the year. 

Number 2 "Discotech" by Young Love
Every so often, a former colleague of mine from Smash Hits will send me a link to a song or tell me about an artist she'll think I'll like - and this track by the band fronted by singer Dan Keyes was one of them. Clearly, she knows my taste pretty well since "Discotech" became my second favourite song for the year, and other singles "Find A New Way" (number 49 on this list) and album title track "Too Young To Fight It" (number 71) were also standouts.

Number 1 "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" by Fall Out Boy
I never would have predicted a year earlier that Fall Out Boy would end up with my favourite song for 2007 - especially since they only scraped in at number 100 on my 2006 chart. However, not only was "Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" better than anything released that year, but the rest of the singles from the Infinity On High album were also all pretty strong. Like Panic! At The Disco, who FOB bassist Pete Wentz had signed, Fall Out Boy love a ridiculously long song title - and so rather than write them out in full here, I'll just say that they had positions number 19, 25 and 57 as well. 

My top 200 for 2007 in full:

1          THNKS FR TH MMRS Fall Out Boy
2          DISCOTECH Young Love
3          CATCH YOU Sophie Ellis-Bextor
4          SOME KINDA RUSH Booty Luv
5          SHINE Take That
6          RELAX (TAKE IT EASY) Mika
7          WHAT GOES AROUND… COMES AROUND Justin Timberlake
8          ME & MY IMAGINATION Sophie Ellis-Bextor
9          SONG 4 MUTYA (OUT OF CONTROL) Groove Armada featuring Mutya Buena
10        OVER IT Katharine McPhee
11        UMBRELLA Rihanna featuring Jay-Z
12        SOULMATE Natasha Bedingfield
13        ABOUT YOU NOW Sugababes
14        WITH EVERY HEARTBREAT Robyn with Kleerup
16        INCONSOLABLE Backstreet Boys
17        WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOR? UnkleJam
18        GOLDEN SKANS Klaxons
19        THIS AIN’T A SCENE, IT’S AN ARMS RACE Fall Out Boy
20        UFO Sneaky Sound System
21        RAIN DOWN LOVE Freemasons featuring Siedah Garrett
22        MAKES ME WONDER Maroon 5
23        SHINE Booty Luv
24        STOP ME Mark Ronson featuring Daniel Merriweather
25        THE TAKE OVER, THE BREAK’S OVER Fall Out Boy
26        THE WAY I ARE Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson
27        READ MY MIND / PET SHOP BOYS MIX The Killers
28        THE RIVER Good Charlotte featuring M. Shadows & Synyster Gates
29        STRANGER Hilary Duff
30        OUR VELOCITY Maximo Park
31        CALL THE SHOTS Girls Aloud
32        AMAZING Seal
33        RULE THE WORLD Take That
34        YOU CAN’T HAVE IT ALL Ash
35        LEAVE ME ALONE (I’M LONELY) Pink
36        ONE MINUTE Kelly Clarkson
37        HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD Reverend And The Makers
38        SHUT UP AND DRIVE Rihanna
39        BECAUSE OF YOU Ne-Yo
40        EARLY WINTER Gwen Stefani
42        TOGETHER WE BELONG Kim Wilde
43        TODAY THE SUN’S ON US Sophie Ellis-Bextor
44        APOLOGIZE Timbaland featuring One Republic
45        INTEGRAL Pet Shop Boys
46        RUBY Kaiser Chiefs
47        HATE THAT I LOVE YOU Rihanna / Ne-Yo
48        OVERKILL Kosheen
49        FIND A NEW WAY Young Love
50        GOTTA WORK Amerie
52        HOOK ME UP The Veronicas
53        MISERY Good Charlotte
54        KINGDOM Dave Gahan
55        2 HEARTS Kylie Minogue
56        SHE’S MADONNA Robbie Williams with Pet Shop Boys
58        HOT STUFF (I WANT YOU BACK) Pussycat Dolls
59        MOONLIGHT PARTY Fonzerelli
60        THE SWEET ESCAPE Gwen Stefani featuring Akon
61        BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY Fergie
62        BELIEVE The Bravery
63        CUZ I CAN Pink
64        DON’T MESS WITH MY MAN Booty Luv
65        IT’S NOT OVER YET Klaxons
66        DON’T STOP THE MUSIC Rihanna
67        DON’T HOLD BACK The Potbelleez
68        WHAT YOU DO (PLAYING WITH STONES) Big Bass vs Michelle Narine
69        BONAFIED LOVIN’ Chromeo
70        LIL STAR Kelis featuring Cee-Lo
71        TOO YOUNG TO FIGHT IT Young Love
72        THE ANGRY MOB Kaiser Chiefs
74        LOVE IS GONE David Guetta featuring Chris Willis
75        4 IN THE MORNING Gwen Stefani
76        GREEN LIGHT / FREEMASONS MIX Beyonce Knowles
77        SEXY! NO, NO, NO… Girls Aloud
78        LOVESTONED/I THINK SHE KNOWS Justin Timberlake
79        HOT STUFF (LET’S DANCE) Craig David
80        BREAKING UP Eskimo Joe
81        WHAT I’VE DONE Linkin Park
83        I CAN’T STOP THIS FEELING I’VE GOT Razorlight
84        FALLING DOWN Duran Duran
85        HIT ME UP Gia Farrell
86        TAKE CONTROL Amerie
87        DO IT Nelly Furtado
88        GIRLS WHO PLAY GUITARS Maximo Park
89        WITH LOVE Hilary Duff
90        UNTOUCHED The Veronicas
91        D.A.N.C.E. Justice
92        FOR REASONS UNKNOWN The Killers
93        RIDE THE STORM Simon Webbe
94        I GET AROUND Dragonette
95        STEREO UnkleJam
96        I WANT YOUR SOUL Armand Van Helden
97        THE BOMB New Young Pony Club
99        MAKE MY DAY Eyerer & Chopstick featuring Zdar
100      GOODBYE Sneaky Sound System
101      THE PRETENDER Foo Fighters
102      LET’S DO IT AGAIN Brand New Heavies
103      REAL GIRL Mutya Buena
104      DON’T YOU WANNA FEEL Rogue Traders
105      KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY GIRL Good Charlotte
106      HOLD ON Razorlight
107      BLEEDING LOVE Leona Lewis
108      FANTASTIC 6 Alphabeat
110      GALLERY Mario Vasquez
112      IN THE BASEMENT Jade Macrae
113      I FOUND U Axwell featuring Max’c
114      HANDLE ME Robyn
115      GOOD LIFE Kanye West featuring T-Pain
116      ICE BOX Omarion
118      LET ME KNOW Roisin Murphy
119      CRASH AND BURN GIRL Robyn
120      LONG ROAD TO RUIN Foo Fighters
121      BELIEVE AGAIN Delta Goodrem
122      UNDISCOVERED James Morrison
124      JUST A LITTLE BIT Mutya Buena
125      NO MORE Jamelia
126      STRONGER Kanye West
127      ACCEPTABLE IN THE 80S Calvin Harris
128      SUMMER LOVE Justin Timberlake
129      HELPLESS WHEN SHE SMILES Backstreet Boys
130      WITH YOU Chris Brown
131      IN THIS LIFE Delta Goodrem
132      TIME WON’T LET ME GO The Bravery
133      NEW YORK Eskimo Joe
135      KISS YOU OFF Scissor Sisters
136      LOVES ME NOT t.A.T.u.
137      MEDEVAC Siobhan Donaghy
138      TAKE IT LIKE A MAN Dragonette
139      FLUX Bloc Party
140      THE GIRLS Calvin Harris
141      I BELIEVE Simian Mobile Disco
142      VALERIE Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse
143      LOVE STORY Katharine McPhee
144      SHE’S MY MAN Scissor Sisters
145      GRACE KELLY Mika
146      I NEVER LIKED YOU Rogue Traders
147      BIGGER THAN BIG Super Mal featuring Luciana
148      TURN ME LOOSE Young Divas
149      DO IT WELL Jennifer Lopez
150      GIMME MORE Britney Spears
151      LET GO Paul van Dyk featuring Rea Garvey
152      GLAMOROUS Fergie featuring Ludacris
153      END OF THE WORLD Ash
154      MERRY MAKING AT MY PLACE Calvin Harris
155      WORRIED ABOUT RAY The Hoosiers
156      REACH OUT Take That
157      GRAVITY’S RAINBOW Klaxons
158      GIVE IT TO ME Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake
159      CHANGE Sugababes
160      TELL ME WHERE IT HURTS Garbage
161      LONDON BOMBS Eskimo Joe
162      P.A.T.T. (PARTY ALL THE TIME) Sharam
163      SHE’S SO LOVELY Scouting For Girls
164      SEARCHIN’ Young Divas
165      BLEED IT OUT Linkin Park
166      UNINVITED Freemasons featuring Bailey Tzuke
167      TEARS DRY ON THEIR OWN Amy Winehouse
168      EVERY LITTLE TEARDROP Gabrielle
169      SHADOW OF THE DAY Linkin Park
170      THIS IS THE GIRL Kano featuring Craig David
171      GOODBYE MR A The Hoosiers
172      SLOW DOWN BABY Christina Aguilera
173      BABY OBEY ME Kim Wilde
174      SAY IT AGAIN Natasha Bedingfield
175      SUNDAY GIRL Erasure
176      NO U HANG UP / IF THAT’S OK WITH YOU Shayne Ward
177      YOUNG FOLKS Peter, Bjorn & John featuring Victoria Bergsman
178      HERE (IN YOUR ARMS) Hellogoodbye
180      LAST NIGHT A DJ SAVED MY LIFE Seamus Haji featuring KayJay
181      WAIT A MINUTE (JUST A TOUCH) Estelle
182      AS ABOVE, SO BELOW Klaxons
183      YOU KNOW I’M NO GOOD Amy Winehouse
184      WON’T GO HOME WITHOUT YOU Maroon 5
185      I’D LIKE TO Corinne Bailey Rae
186      ROSE The Feeling
187      OH MOTHER Christina Aguilera
188      BOOKS FROM BOXES Maximo Park
189      COVER ON MY HEART Guy Sebastian
190      HE’S THE GREATEST DANCER Dannii Minogue
191      LOVE IS ALL AROUND Ricki Lee
192      HOLD ON KT Tunstall
193      WAKE UP CALL Maroon 5
194      LOVE TODAY Mika
195      NEVER AGAIN Kelly Clarkson
196      LIKE A BOY Ciara
197      GET ME BODIED Beyonce Knowles
198      HAPPY ENDING Mika
199      LIKE THIS Kelly Rowland featuring Eve

Farewell, 2007 - it's been fun checking back in with you. I'm preparing my 2008 countdown as we speak so expect it in the next few weeks. And, as usual, I'll be looking back at the ARIA singles chart from 25 years ago every Wednesday.

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Friday, 22 August 2014

The Best Of 2007 - part 3

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

As I've been writing these posts covering my favourite songs from 2007, I've been reminded about how the UK chart adapted to the advent of downloads. The chart rules at the time dictated that a download was only eligible for the singles chart in the weeks leading up to the release of a physical (usually CD) copy of the track - and so, for the first time in years, songs actually climbed the UK chart instead of peaking where they entered.

The Midas of music: Timbaland was unstoppable in 2007

Generally, a song would debut lower down the top 40 on download sales and then reach its peak once the CD was released, and combined physical and digital sales were taken into account. As downloads took over and CD singles were fazed out, the UK chart reverted to its old ways, with songs peaking where they debuted, but it was a nice change while it lasted. And now, back to the countdown...

Number 50 "Gotta Work" by Amerie

Just a couple of years earlier, Amerie's unique brand of R&B has taken the world by storm as "1 Thing" hit top 10s around the world. But in 2007, the equally as sonically interesting "Gotta Work", which sampled Erma Franklin's version of "Hold On, I'm Comin'", and "Take Control" (number 86 on this list), which was co-written by Cee-Lo Green, contains a sample of "Jimmy Renda-se" by Brazilian musician Tom Zé and credits Hall & Oates for use of elements of "You Make My Dreams", only took off in the UK.

Number 49 "Find A New Way" by Young Love

Mentioned in Part 4

Number 48 "Overkill" by Kosheen

Another artist finding the going tough in the second half of the decade compared to the first was British drum'n'bass outfit Kosheen, whose third album, Damage, was pushed back from a 2006 release and came out in Europe before the UK, all of which suggests some behind-the-scenes hand-wringing going on. Although the album didn't perform as well as previous efforts, songs like "Overkill" were on a par with their earlier singles.

Number 47 "Hate That I Love You" by Rihanna / Ne-Yo

Mentioned below

Number 46 "Ruby" by Kaiser Chiefs

A band on the way up in 2007 was this rowdy lot who landed a UK number 1 single with this first taste of second album Yours Truly, Angry Mob. Follow-ups "Everything Is Average Nowadays" (number 82 on this list) and "The Angry Mob" (number 72) performed less well, but the parent album was another solid seller (even if it shifted less than half as many copies as debut Employment).

Number 45 "Integral" by Pet Shop Boys

Previously featured here

Number 44 "Apologize" by Timbaland featuring OneRepublic

Mentioned below

Number 43 "Today The Sun's On Us" by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Mentioned in Part 4

Number 42 "Together We Belong" by Kim Wilde

Another single from her comeback (in Germany) album, Never Say Never, "Together We Belong" doesn't seem to have had a video filmed for it, and so instead, please enjoy this TV performance, which finds Kim in fine voice indeed.

Number 41 "Destroy Everything You Touch" by Ladytron

As the turn-of-the-millennium golden age of pop faded around the mid-'00s, I'd found myself turning to electro-rock and indie bands to satiate my need for a sing-along hit - but in 2007, synthpop started to make a big comeback. British act Ladytron had been releasing great synthpop singles like 2002's "Seventeen" for years without ever managing a UK top 40 placement. Perhaps they were just too ahead of their time - that was certainly the case with this single, which originally surfaced in 2005 before being re-released in 2007. 

Number 40 "Early Winter" by Gwen Stefani

She might have kicked off her second album campaign with the abomination that was "Wind It Up" but it quickly became business as usual for Gwen Stefani, with lush synth-based tracks like "Early Winter" and "4 In The Morning" (number 75 on this list) rubbing shoulders with pop/R&B singles like title track "The Sweet Escape" (number 60) - many of which originated from the sessions for Love Angel Music Baby. Since I was a big fan of Gwen's debut album, I was happy to have more of the same, but she came in for criticism for what seemed to some like a rushed out clearance sale approach.

Number 39 "Because Of You" by Ne-Yo

By now established as a solo star in his own right and not just a songwriter for hire, Ne-Yo moved onto his second album, from which this title track was the only major hit, and popped up on Rihanna's "Hate That I Love You" (number 47 on this list), a song he co-wrote and co-produced.

Number 38 "Shut Up And Drive" by Rihanna

Mentioned in Part 4

Number 37 "Heavyweight Champion Of The World" by Reverend And The Makers

Not only was this debut single by the British band a top 10 hit in the UK, it quickly became the go-to music for any boxing coverage and was also used in promos for reality series The Contender. Who said you couldn't make money from music anymore?

Number 36 "One Minute" by Kelly Clarkson

While Kelly Clarkson's second album hadn't been at all difficult - yielding a swag of massive hits - her time came with album number three, My December, which eschewed catchy pop hits for tortured, angsty rock, like singles "Never Again" and "Sober". A bright spot in the otherwise depressing musical landscape was this Australia-only single. 

Number 35 "Leave Me Alone (I'm Lonely)" by Pink

Meanwhile, Pink, who often shared songwriters and producers with Kelly, realised that you could have edge without abandoning pop sensibilities. In the case of this sixth single from I'm Not Dead, that edge came from the F-bomb-laden lyrics. As usual, Australians couldn't get enough of Pink or the I'm Not Dead album - and so a seventh promotional single was released: "Cuz I Can" (number 63 on this list).

Number 34 "You Can't Have It All" by Ash

I'd gotten into a bit of a one album on, one album off routine with Ash, liking songs from both 1977 and Free All Angels, but not the albums either side. And so, if that pattern stuck, 2007's Twilight Of The Innocence was due to be the next album I liked, since 2004's Meltdown had completely passed me by. Thanks to this lead single and "End Of The World" (number 153 on this list), the pattern stuck for me - although neither were that successful in the UK and the album became the band's first studio album to miss the top 10 there. All that may have had something do with Ash's decision to return in 2009 with a series of 26 singles (released every fortnight) rather than another traditional album.

Number 33 "Rule The World" by Take That

Mentioned in Part 4

Number 32 "Amazing (Thin White Duke mix)" by Seal

He'd started his career as guest vocalist on 1990's club classic "Killer", but in the years since, Seal had moved from being a dance act to something much more middle of the road. He sought to remedy that with fifth album System, which was produced by Stuart Price (aka Thin White Duke), the man who'd taken Madonna back to the dance floor a couple of years earlier. Despite being his best single in years, "Amazing" - and System - wasn't a success, and Seal swiftly moved on to the more lucrative ploy of covering soul standards.

Number 31 "Call The Shots" by Girls Aloud

Mentioned in Part 1 and previously featured here

Number 30 "Our Velocity" by Max
ïmo Park
I even surprised myself a little by liking this lead single from Maxïmo Park's second album, Our Earthly Pleasures, which sounds like a cross between Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs and Klaxons. But, since I liked songs by those three bands, then it made sense than this frenetic track would fit right into my mid-'00s music taste. One of the follow-ups even made my top 100 - "Girls Who Play Guitars" at number 88 on this list.

Number 29 "Stranger" by Hilary Duff

Her 2005 compilation album, Most Wanted, had brought the first part of her music career to an end, and so in 2007, former Disney star Hilary Duff was finally able to grow up - with the requisite sexier image and more mature songs that usually entailed. Like most other pop acts of the time, Hilary moved on to a more electronic sound on the Dignity album. She also courted controversy, with reports "Stranger" was about ex-boyfriend Joel Madden's new girlfriend, Nicole Richie - it was actually about her father's affair. Despite the attention, "Stranger" ended up being much less successful than preceding single "With Love" (number 89 on this list).

Number 28 "The River" by Good Charlotte featuring M. Shadows & Synyster Gates
Mentioned in Part 4

Number 27 "Read My Mind" by The Killers

Two more singles were lifted from Sam's Town in 2007 - "Read My Mind", which came with a great Pet Shop Boys remix, and "For Reasons Unknown" (number 92 on this list). To round out the year, the band released Sawdust, an album of B-sides, alternate mixes and cover versions.

Number 26 "The Way I Are" by Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson & D.O.E.

His first solo album, Tim's Bio: Live From Da Bassment, had been met with indifference back in 1998, but almost a decade - and a stack of hits produced for other artists - later and it was a very different story. Timbaland could do no wrong with the singles from Shock Value, topping charts around the world with "Give It To Me", "The Way I Are" and "Apologize" (number 44 on this list), OneRepublic's 2006 single which received a new lease of life thanks to the producer's magic touch.

In Part 4: one of Timbaland's most regular collaborators returns with his second solo album, while a Barbadian singer and a group with a love for long song titles both had a massive year.

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