Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Best Of 2015 - part 5

JUMP TO: 100-81 II 80-61 II 60-41 II 40-21 II 20-1

As we prepare to bid farewell to 2015, we've reached my top 20 for the year, which includes a few career bests, a couple of returns to form and something that hasn't happened on my year-end charts for 17 years. Excited? Well, read on anyway...

Number 20 "Paradigm" by CamelPhat featuring A*M*E

The award for this year's most unique artist name goes to CamelPhat, who seem to like to maintain an air of mystery, but - if is to be believed - are a British duo comprised of Mike Di Scala and Dave Whelan. Vocals on "Paradigm" are provided by A*M*E, who continues to show excellent taste when choosing songs to feature on, after 2013's "What's Going On?" by Monsieur Adi and Duke Dumont's "Need U (100%)".

Number 19 "Ocean Drive" by Duke Dumont

Speaking of... Duke Dumont encountered something of a reversal of fortune in 2015, with his two singles, "The Giver (Reprise)" (number 162 on this list) and "Ocean Drive", not following his three previous releases into the UK top 2. By contrast, "Ocean Drive" became Duke's first massive hit in Australia, reaching the top 5 locally. The cruisy track features uncredited vocals by Boy Matthews, who co-wrote the song, and was taken from the Blasé Boys Club Part 1 EP, with Duke continuing to eschew the traditional album format for the first in what I assume will be a new series of EPs.

Number 18 "New Love" by Arches featuring Karen Harding

We saw Karen Harding back in Part 3 with her solo single "Say Something", and here she is with the first of two featured appearances in my top 20. On "New Love", she teamed up with Belgian duo Arches, who are signed to Potion, the label run by fellow countryman The Magician (who we saw in my top 100 for 2014).

Number 17 "Cheyenne" by Jason Derulo

I'd kind of given up on Jason Derulo, who featured prominently on my year-end chart in 2010 but whose more recent hits like "Trumpets", "Talk Dirty" and "Wiggle" did nothing for me. But just when I thought he'd traded in his glossy pop/R&B sound to go off in that minimal hip-hop direction for good, he returned to his roots with "Want To Want Me" (number 163 on this list) and the incredibly underrated - and disastrously performing - "Cheyenne", which was his least successful single in the US in some time and of all time in the UK. Quite what went wrong is unclear, since the song about a woman getting under Jason's skin came with an incredibly expensive-looking music video and is as catchy as all get out. Ideas, anyone?

Number 16 "No Words" by Erik Hassle

Next up, a male singer who narrowly missed my top 100 for 2010 with the delayed international release of his debut single, "Hurtful". Swedish artist Erik Hassle received a lot of positive coverage in the blogosphere with "No Words", but the attention failed to translate into chart success.

Number 15 "When It Feels So Good" by Strange Talk

And here's an Australian synthpop band I'm starting to think might never get their chart breakthrough, despite the fact that they released their strongest songs yet in 2015. For the fifth year in a row, Strange Talk feature on my year-end top 100 - although the band has slimmed down from a quartet to a duo now comprised of just singer/keyboardist Stephen Docker and bassist Gerard Sidhu. "When It Feels So Good" was featured on the aptly named E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. - and another track from the EP is still to come...

Number 14 "Sacred" by Erasure

We now move from a relatively recent synthpop band I love to one of my all-time favourites, with Erasure proving in 2015 that they've still got what it takes after 30 years of making music. The third (and easily the best) single from the Richard X-produced album, The Violet Flame, "Sacred" is their highest placing on my year-end chart in 20 years - and pretty much makes up for the glitch in their back catalogue that was the mostly unlistenable Tomorrow's World album.

Number 13 "Something In The Way You Move" by Ellie Goulding

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Ellie Goulding - or rather a love-disinterest relationship would be a better way to describe it, since I don't actively hate any of her songs, but an awful lot of them just don't excite me. But with 22 tracks on the deluxe edition of her Delirium album, there had to be something I liked. In fact, there are probably quite a few tracks I enjoy (although single "On My Mind" isn't one of them) - but I haven't waded through the album enough times to sort out the good from the blah. Promotional single "Something In The Way You Move" did jump out at me, though, and it's actually now my favourite Ellie Goulding song to date.

Number 12 
"Heroes" by Måns Zelmerlöw

In 2012, "Euphoria" by Loreen became the first Eurovision-winning song to make my year-end chart in 25 years - and the first Eurovision-related song to top my year-end chart since 1996. Three years on, and those Swedes have done it again - with "Heroes" by Måns Zelmerlöw taking out the competition and finding a place in my annual countdown. If the Avicci-ish tune wasn't enough on its own to win Eurovision, the former Idol finalist and winner of Sweden's Dancing With The Stars gave a performance that left the rest of the competition in its wake. 

Number 11 "Without You" by Great Good Fine OK

In case you hadn't noticed, I've always got time for another synthpop duo - and here's one from New York consisting of singer Jon Sandler and producer Luke Moellman. The falsetto-tastic single "Without You" was taken from Great Good Fine OK's second EP, 2M2H, and preceded their other 2015 offerings, "Take It Or Leave It" and a cover of the Phil Collins/Philip Bailey duet, "Easy Lover".

Number 10 "Save My Soul" by JoJo

It's been a while since we've heard from JoJo - not intentionally on her part. In the almost-decade since her last major hit, record company disputes have mostly left her unable to release music. That changed when she signed a new deal with Atlantic Records last year and, following covers EP #LoveJo, finally got to put out some original music. That came in the form of the III EP, which, as the name suggests, consisted of three tracks. My favourite of the trio was big ballad "Save My Soul", which sounded like a natural progression from "Leave (Get Out)" and "Too Little Too Late", both of which just happened to end up at number 20 on their respective year-end charts.

Number 9 "Pressure Off" by Duran Duran featuring Janelle Monáe & Nile Rodgers

So far, we've seen entries from New Order, Chic and Erasure - and our next legacy act to appear is Duran Duran, who released their 14th studio album this year. "Pressure Off" was the lead single from Paper Gods, and as well as featuring guest vocals from Janelle Monáe, it's the third song in my top 100 contributed to by Nile Rodgers, who last worked with Duran Duran almost 30 years ago. The album as a whole is a bit of a collaboration-fest, with everyone from Kiesza to Lindsay Lohan popping up - and seems to have been better received than either All You Need Is Now or Red Carpet Massacre. Meanwhile, "Pressure Off" is Duran Duran's best showing on my charts since 2004, when reunion single "(Reach Up For The) Sunrise" wound up at number 3 for the year.

Number 8 "Hurts" by Kove featuring Moko

Like the Blonde song at number 6, this dance track unites two acts that have featured on my year-end chart separately. Last year, Kove's "Way We Are" was my 19th favourite song while singer Moko was at number 28 with solo track "Your Love". Together, they made beautiful drum and bass music on "Hurts", which, also like Blonde's "Feel Good...", was a chart disappointment.

Number 7 "Pray To God" by Calvin Harris featuring Haim

Twenty-five. That's how many singles Scottish dance act Calvin Harris has released since his 2007 debut - 22 as lead artist. And yet, people don't seem to be sick of him. Including me - single number 24, "Pray To God", ranks as my favourite of his so far. Crucial to Calvin's continued success is the fact that you never know who's going to pop up on one of his songs next. I certainly wouldn't have predicted that three-piece girl band Haim would join the long list of his collaborators. Co-written by the band and co-produced by their regular producer, Ariel Rechtshaid (who was also behind songs on this list by Brandon Flowers, Rae Morris and Charli XCX), "Pray To God" really does feel like a musical meeting of the minds, rather than another act phoning in their vocals - and that makes all the difference.

Number 6 "This Ain't Love" by Jessica Mauboy

Here's an artist who's been around almost as long as Calvin Harris and also released what I consider to be her best single this year. Co-written by another former reality show contestant, Fame Academy season one winner David Sneddon, "This Ain't Love" saw Jessica jump on the pop/drum and bass bandwagon. I was a bit sceptical about the change in musical direction at first, but there's very little Jessica's voice doesn't sound good on - and the song stands up alongside others from the genre. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with in 2016, that is if she's not too busy becoming a TV star in upcoming Channel 7 series The Secret Daughter to keep on top of her recording career.

Number 5 "Feel Good (It's Alright)" by Blonde featuring Karen Harding

In 2014, Blonde teamed up with in-demand guest vocalist Melissa Steel on my 13th favourite song for the year. This year, the British duo, who we also saw back in Part 3, went a few spots better with this track, featuring 2015's MVP, Karen Harding. Unfortunately, the pairing didn't pay off, with "Feel Good (It's Alright)" not doing anywhere near as well as either party's previous efforts.

Number 4 "Shut Up And Dance" by Walk The Moon

There was a certain point during the year when I had to stop listening to this song - not because I didn't like it, but because I knew if I heard it too much, "Shut Up And Dance" would become as played out as one of the classic '80s tunes that inspired it. First released towards the end of 2014, the lead single from the American band's second major label album, Talking Is Hard, took its time to build up momentum. But, once it started climbing international charts, it became a fixture - remaining in the ARIA top 50 for seven months and performing similarly in the US and the UK. With no follow-up performing anywhere near as well, there's every chance this could become the band's "Teenage Dirtbag". Time will tell.

Number 3 "Something's 'Bout To Change" by Strange Talk

Had it not been for a certain British synthpop trio, Strange Talk might have topped off their best year yet with my favourite song for 2015 - but that wasn't to be. Instead, the Melbourne duo have to settle for third place with the song that popped up on Soundcloud as the first taste of E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.  in July and then frustratingly didn't appear on iTunes until mid-October. Talk about making a fan (who still likes to own rather than stream music) wait.

Number 2 "Shine" by Years & Years

It hasn't happened on my year-end charts since 1998 and the days of my obsession with Steps, but Years & Years have also done it - finishing the year with my two favourite songs. Runner-up for 2015 is "Shine", which reached number 2 in the UK to become the trio's second big hit of the year. Although four co-writers are listed besides singer Olly Alexander - his two band-mates, co-producer Matt Ralph and hitmaker Greg Kurstin - he was clearly in charge of the lyrics, given the song is about his boyfriend, Neil Milan Amin-Smith from Clean Bandit.

Number 1 "King" by Years & Years

And my favourite track for 2015 is the song that turned Years & Years from just another on-the-rise synthpop band - they were at number 78 on my top 100 for 2014 with "Desire" - into an international success story. A UK number 1 and an Australian top 10 hit, "King" was a much bigger song than anything the trio had released before. With its soaring chorus, driving synth hooks and simple but effective music video, it got everything right. Released early in 2015, it also managed to remain as exciting in December as it was when I first heard it in January - a rare feat for a song that received as much airplay throughout the year as "King" did.

My top 200 for 2015 in full:

1           KING Years & Years
2           SHINE Years & Years
3           SOMETHING’S BOUT TO CHANGE Strange Talk
4           SHUT UP AND DANCE Walk The Moon
5           FEEL GOOD (IT’S ALRIGHT) Blonde featuring Karen Harding
6           THIS AIN’T LOVE Jessica Mauboy
7           PRAY TO GOD Calvin Harris featuring Haim
8           HURTS Kove featuring Moko
9           PRESSURE OFF Duran Duran featuring Janelle Monáe & Nile Rodgers
10         SAVE MY SOUL JoJo
11         WITHOUT YOU Great Good Fine OK
12         HEROES Måns Zelmerlöw
13         SOMETHING IN THE WAY YOU MOVE Ellie Goulding
14         SACRED Erasure
15         WHEN IT FEELS SO GOOD Strange Talk
16         NO WORDS Erik Hassle
17         CHEYENNE Jason Derulo
18         NEW LOVE Arches featuring Karen Harding
19         OCEAN DRIVE Duke Dumont
20         PARADIGM CamelPhat featuring A*M*E
21         BETTER LOVE Foxes
22         DANCING ON GLASS St Lucia
23         LOVE LIKE MINE Miami Horror
24         PAY NO MIND Madeon featuring Passion Pit
25         CAN’T DENY MY LOVE Brandon Flowers
26         KISS ME Olly Murs
28         REMEMBER ME Roger Sanchez featuring Stealth
29         PLASTIC New Order
31         LONELY PEOPLE iLL BLU featuring James Morrison
32         BELIEVER DJ Fresh & Adam F
33         BOOKS Swiss Lips
34         DOING IT Charli XCX featuring Rita Ora
35         CAN’T FEEL MY FACE The Weeknd
36         PUSH A-Trak featuring Andrew Wyatt
37         I CAN CHANGE Brandon Flowers
38         HOME Chelsea Lankes
39         THE OTHER BOYS NERVO feat. Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears & Nile Rodgers
40         HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE Calvin Harris & Disciples
41         COMING WITH YOU Ne-Yo
42         PAPERNOTE Tigertown
43         EMBRACE (LE YOUTH MIX) Goldroom featuring George Maple
44         UNDER THE SHADOWS Rae Morris
45         COLORS VÉRITÉ
46         DELIRIOUS Susanne Sundfør
47         THRESHOLD Redlight featuring Melisa Whiskey
48         TRUE LOVE SURVIVOR Freemasons featuring Solah
49         100 DEGREES Kylie Minogue & Dannii Minogue
50         LET THE NIGHT FALL Dragonette
51         CRIMINALS MS MR
52         NOT AFRAID Basic Tape
54         IN THE NIGHT The Weeknd
55         ALL CRIED OUT Blonde featuring Alex Newell
56         JEALOUS Nick Jonas
57         AFRAID TO LOVE Philip George
58         I REALLY LIKE YOU Carly Rae Jepsen
59         JUST WHAT I NEEDED Wonderful Humans
60         I’LL BE THERE Chic featuring Nile Rodgers
61         TETHER Eric Prydz vs CHVRCHES
62         COOL FOR THE SUMMER Demi Lovato
63         LONELY TOWN Brandon Flowers
64         FIREBIRD Galantis featuring Dragonette
65         RUN AWAY WITH ME Carly Rae Jepsen
67         CUT ME LOOSE LYON
68         SAY SOMETHING Karen Harding
69         ONE NIGHT ONLY Krystal Klear featuring Yasmin
70         TWO MINDS Nero
71         WHITE LIGHT Shura
72         SAVING MY LIFE Gorgon City featuring RØMANS
73         TUTTI FRUTTI New Order featuring Elly Jackson
74         THE TOUCH KOLAJ
75         BLACK & BLUE Guy Sebastian
76         LIKE A RIVER Will Young
77         I CAN’T LOSE Mark Ronson featuring Keyone Starr
78         FAHRENHEIT XY&O
79         DO IT WELL XYConstant featuring Tom Aspaul
80         COMING HOME Sigma & Rita Ora
81         STATE OF WAR paulmac featuring Kira Puru & Goodwill
83         REDEMPTION Sigma & Diztortion featuring Jacob Banks
84         WINGS Delta Goodrem
85         ONE LAST TIME Ariana Grande
86         TALKING BODY Tove Lo
87         BODY TALK Foxes
88         DON’T LOOK DOWN Martin Garrix featuring Usher
89         THE BEST Lenno featuring Dragonette
92         I THINK I’M FALLIN’ Dominique
94         GET AWAY Paperwhite
95         FIRESTONE Kygo featuring Conrad Sewell
96         YOUR TYPE Carly Rae Jepsen
97         HERE FOR YOU Maraaya
98         LOVE REVOLUTION Will Young
99         REVIVE (SAY SOMETHING) LuvBug featuring Mark Asari
100        CAN’T STOP PLAYING (MAKES ME HIGH) (OLIVER HELDENS REMIX) Dr Kucho! & Gregor Salto featuring Ane Brun
102        GET READY FOR IT Take That
103        RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW Giorgio Moroder featuring Kylie Minogue
104        TROOPER Vanbot
105        IF I CAN’T HAVE YOU Kylie Minogue + Garibay featuring Sam Sparro
106        WHEN LOVE HURTS JoJo
107        TONIGHT AGAIN Guy Sebastian
109        GOOD TIMES Ella Eyre
110        HIGHER Sigma featuring Labrinth
111        GROOVE THE PHYSICAL Client Liaison
112        BAD Lost Kings featuring Jessame
113        TOGETHER The Magician
114        DESIRE (GRYFFIN REMIX) Years & Years
115        LEVELS Nick Jonas
116        HEARTBEAT SONG Kelly Clarkson
117        GLITTERBALL Sigma featuring Ella Henderson
118        YEAH YEAH YEAH Jax Jones
119        GO The Chemical Brothers
120        HEADLIGHTS Robin Schulz featuring Ilsey
121        CELLOPHANE (SO CRUEL) Miami Horror featuring Aaron Miller & Gavin Turek
122        KEEPING YOU UP KStewart
123        DO IT Tuxedo
124        STYLE Taylor Swift
125        EASY LOVER Great Good Fine OK & Panama Wedding
126        HARD FOR A MAN Say Lou Lou
128        SOME KIND OF HEAVEN Hurts
129        INVINCIBLE Kelly Clarkson
130        DON’T WORRY Madcon featuring Ray Dalton
131        TRUE CONFESSIONS Blondfire
132        SWEET HARMONY Monarchy
133        HOME Madeon
134        WILD Troye Sivan
135        NOTHING BUT A HEARTBEAT Say Lou Lou
136        TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT Great Good Fine OK
137        SEARCHLIGHT Hermitude featuring Yeo
138        THEY DON’T KNOW Disciples
139        GHOST TOWN Adam Lambert
140        LAY IT ALL ON ME Rudimental featuring Ed Sheeran
141        SAX Fleur East
142        LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO Ellie Goulding
143        CRUEL (CLIENT LIAISON MIX) The Preatures
144        TOGETHER Ella Eyre
145        PAINTED MS MR
146        KISS ME CLEAN Scavenger Hunt
147        BIG GIRLS CRY Sia
148        NONSENSE Madeon featuring Mark Foster
149        JOY Will Young
150        DRAG ME DOWN One Direction
151        ALONE NO MORE Philip George & Anton Powers
152        HOLIDAY FROM ME paulmac featuring Kira Puru
153        IMAGINATION Gorgon City featuring Katy Menditta
154        BLOODSTREAM Ed Sheeran & Rudimental
155        CRAZY Thief
156        INTO THE NIGHT Nero
157        REALITI Grimes
158        I’M IN IT WITH YOU Loreen
159        NEXT TO ME Otto Knows
160        LIGHTS Hurts
161        BE RIGHT THERE Diplo & Sleepy Tom
162        THE GIVER (REPRISE) Duke Dumont
163        WANT TO WANT ME Jason Derulo
164        CRUEL The Veronicas
165        NEVER LET YOU GO Rudimental featuring Foy Vance
166        RESTLESS New Order
167        DÉJÀ VU Giorgio Moroder featuring Sia
168        INTOXICATED Martin Solveig & GTA
169        EGO Tove Styrke
170        SUGAR Maroon 5
171        U GOT THE POWER Swiss Lips
172        ALL OF THIS AND NOTHING Dave Gahan & Soulsavers
173        WILDEST DREAMS Taylor Swift
174        STOLE THE SHOW Kygo featuring Parson James
175        WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? Duran Duran
176        BRAVE MAN Will Young
177        ALRIGHT WITH ME Wretch 32 featuring Anne-Marie & PRGRSHN
178        NEVER FORGET YOU MNEK & Zara Larsson
179        TALKIN’ CRAZY Syron
180        RUNAWAY (U & I) Galantis
181        BLACK MAGIC Little Mix
182        AIN’T NOBODY KStewart
183        SWEET LOVIN’ Sigala
184        THE THRILL Nero
185        ANOTHER LONELY NIGHT Adam Lambert
186        MOMENTS Tove Lo
187        USED TO LOVE YOU Gwen Stefani
188        COME AND GET IT John Newman
189        CRAZY ON MY MIND All About She
191        EYES SHUT Years & Years
192        SEASONS Olly Murs
193        DIFFERENT COLORS Walk The Moon
194        LEAN ON Major Lazer & DJ Snake featuring MØ
195        WAIT Nicole Millar
196        HERE FOR YOU Kygo featuring Ella Henderson
197        YOUNGER (KYGO REMIX) Seinabo Sey
198        THE BUZZ Hermitude featuring Mataya & Young Tapz
199        RUMOUR MILL Rudimental featuring Anne-Marie & Will Heard
200        IT’S YOU The Shapeshifters featuring River

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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Best Of 2015 - part 4

JUMP TO: 100-81 II 80-61 II 60-41 II 40-21 II 20-1

We've seen plenty of new artists on my top 100 for 2015 so far, but if there's a pattern to the songs appearing in this part, it's appearances by regulars on my year-end charts - including a collaboration between an artist and producers who used to dominate my charts. As much as I like discovering new artists, sometimes it's nice for things to be familiar, too.  

Number 40 "How Deep Is Your Love" by Calvin Harris & Disciples

These days, when every man, his dog and the lady down the road who pops by occasionally to water the plants receives a credit on a single, it's always remarkable when someone quite involved in a song doesn't get any billing. That was the case with "How Deep Is Your Love", a collaboration between Calvin Harris and British production trio Disciples (two of whom are signed to Calvin's publishing company). While both of those acts are named, there's no featuring credit given to the actual singer (and co-writer), Norwegian songwriter Ina Wroldsen. "How Deep Is Your Love" was Calvin's first project after he'd finished lifting singles from his Motion album (one of which is still to come on this list), while Disciples just missed my top 100 with their own single, "They Don't Know" (number 138 on this list).

Number 39 "The Other Boys" by NERVO featuring Kylie Minogue, Jake Shears & Nile Rodgers

In a year when she didn't even release a proper studio album, Kylie Minogue sure has a lot of entries on this top 100. Here's another of the one-off singles she appeared on this year - "The Other Boys" by Australian dance duo NERVO. Sharing vocal duties with Kylie is BFF and frequent collaborator Jake Shears, while Nile Rodgers pops up on guitar, but was obviously too busy also appearing on a million other songs to share in the music video's warehouse party fun.

Number 38 "Home" by Chelsea Lankes

With its gentle vocal and layers of synths, you'd be forgiven for mistaking this single for just another Scandipop track. But Chelsea Lankes actually hails from Texas, USA, which probably explains why one of the other tracks she released in 2015 was a reinterpretation of a Mötley Crüe song.

Number 37 "I Can Change" by Brandon Flowers

In which Brandon Flowers wears his '80s influences on his sleeve. The fourth single from The Desired Effect, "I Can Change" not only contains a rather prominent use of the synth hook from Bronski Beat's "Smalltown Boy", but a small vocal contribution from Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tenant (yes, that's him in the video below). The track was originally co-written with a more modern act: Swedish DJ/production duo Axwell Ʌ Ingrosso.

Number 36 "Push" by A-Trak featuring Andrew Wyatt

Next up, one half of Duck Sauce and friend of Kanye West, A-Trak (real name: Alain Macklovitch). "Push" saw the Canadian DJ/producer team up with Miike Snow singer Andrew Wyatt. 

Number 35 "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd

We saw "In The Night" back in Part 3, and it's no coincidence "Can't Feel My Face" is the only other song by The Weeknd to feature on my top 100 - both were co-written by Swedish pop maestro Max Martin. I wasn't as taken with The Weeknd's other big international hits, "Earned It" and "The Hills"

Number 34 "Doing It" by Charli XCX featuring Rita Ora

Like Kylie, Rita Ora has already appeared on this list in a featured artist capacity - and here she is again, this time with fellow Brit singer Charli XCX. Originally a solo track, "Doing It" was revised to include vocal input from Rita - and the European release of Charli's Sucker album was delayed as a result. The first song by Charli (real name: Charlotte Aitchison) I've liked, it's a lot less shouty than the likes of "Boom Clap" and "Famous".

Number 33 "Books" by Swiss Lips

Thanks to this blog, which I've been maintaining for the past three-and-a-bit years, regular readers have come to know what sort of music I like - and this track is here thanks to a recommendation from one such visitor. An anthemic slice of British synthpop, it was pretty much a given I was going to like it, and I quickly downloaded the band's self-titled debut album. Whether or not I would otherwise have heard of Swiss Lips is unclear, although maybe not - I had no idea the band had split up in 
August just as they released their second album in under a year, so it shows how much attention I've been paying.

Number 32 "Believer" by DJ Fresh & Adam F

At the start of the decade, songs like "Hot Right Now", "Gold Dust" and, my personal favourite, "Louder", had made DJ Fresh one of the biggest names in British dance music. And although the hits (in the UK) kept coming for the DJ/producer born Daniel Stein, I haven't really liked anything he's released since then. That changed in 2015, thanks to this collaboration with club legend Adam F, with whom DJ Fresh owns drum and bass label Breakbeat Kaos. Naturally, "Believer" defied my expectations to become his worst performing single since before he broke through on the British charts.

Number 31 "Lonely People" by iLL BLU featuring James Morrison

Here's another song I was convinced would be massive in Britain - but then the UK charts aren't what they used to be. An unlikely collaboration between husky-voiced balladeer James Morrison and the dance duo comprised of one-time rapper Darius "Dary" Ellington and producer James "Jreel" Grant, "Lonely People" deserved better than to not even reach the UK top 100. Nice music video, too.

Number 30 "Catch Me If I Fall" by LYON

The second appearance from LYON on the top 100, and like "Cut Me Loose", "Catch Me If I Fall" still isn't available on the Australian iTunes store. Someone might want to do something about that at some point.

Number 29 "Plastic" by New Order

Next up, another act with their second track on this list - although New Order are no strangers to my year-end countdowns. "Plastic" was rushed out as a promotional single after the reaction to Music Complete's official lead single, "Restless" (number 166 on this list), was underwhelming to say the least. With its "I Feel Love"-style bassline and driving house beat, this is New Order at their most club-friendly - and as good as they've ever sounded.

Number 28 "Remember Me" by Roger Sanchez featuring Stealth

It's been a decade since legendary DJ/producer Roger Sanchez released "Turn On The Music" - the last song of his that I own - and even longer since he topped the UK chart with "Another Chance", so it was nice to hear something new from him this year. Piano house anthem "Remember Me" features drum and bass DJ/producer Ali Pearce (aka Stealth, which just happens to be the name of Roger's own record label), who it turns out is also something of a vocalist.

Number 27 "Every Day's Like Christmas (Stock Aitken Waterman remix)" by Kylie Minogue

If you'd asked me at the start of the year (or decade or millennium) whether we'd ever see Kylie Minogue work with Stock Aitken Waterman again, I would almost certainly have said no. Surely, the closest she was ever going to get was letting Pete Hammond remix "Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love)" in 2011. But then a Christmas miracle happened, with Kylie's former producers completely reworking the Chris Martin and Stargate-penned "Every Day's Like Christmas" from her festive album. From the moment the beat kicks in, this is unmistakably a SAW production, although it also somehow manages not to sound like a relic from the 1980s. And while I'm not often a fan of seasonal releases, the song works as a pop tune in its own right. Besides, given my track record with Stock Aitken Waterman and Kylie, did anyone ever expect this not to rate highly with me? 

Number 26 "Kiss Me" by Olly Murs

With "Seasons" (number 192 on this list) becoming his worst performing single in the UK in four years, Olly Murs did what any artist with an album that'd only been out for a few months would do - he started looking towards the deluxe edition. New track "Kiss Me" was one of seven songs added to the Never Been Better tracklisting and, in the UK at least, restored his singles chart fortunes.

Number 25 "Can't Deny My Love" by Brandon Flowers

Making his third and final appearance on this list is Brandon Flowers with the lead single from his solo album, The Desired Effect. And despite a big budget music video co-starring Evan Rachel Wood, "Can't Deny My Love" set the pace for singles from the albums by doing about as well on the charts as any single by The Killers since "Human".

Number 24 "Pay No Mind" by Madeon featuring Passion Pit

It'd been a long time coming, but French producer Madeon finally released his debut album, Adventure, in 2015, and included singles dating all the way back to 2012 on the deluxe edition. "Pay No Mind" was one of three new tracks from the album released this year as singles - and was followed by "Home" (number 133 on this list) and "Nonsense" (number 148). 

Number 23 "Love Like Mine" by Miami Horror featuring Cleopold

They've been regulars on my year-end charts since 2009 - and in 2015 released their best single since that initial year's "Don't Be On With Her" from the Bravado EP. "Love Like Mine" was featured alongside this year's "Cellophane (So Cruel)" (number 121 on this list) on the All Possible Futures album, which mopped up all the band's singles from the past few years.

Number 22 "Dancing On Glass" by St Lucia

Taking me completely by surprise in the final months of 2015 was this brand new single from an artist who's making his fourth consecutive appearance on my year-end charts. The first taste of upcoming album Matter, "Dancing On Glass" is as good as anything St Lucia has released before - and is actually only his second official single (the other being "Elevate").

Number 21 "Better Love" by Foxes

Here's another act who made her debut on my year-end chart for 2012 and has featured every year since - either with her solo efforts or various collaborations. And also like St Lucia, Foxes has a new album due in early 2016. The forthcoming All I Need will feature the incredibly under-rated "Better Love" as well as her other should've-been-bigger track from 2015, "Body Talk", which we saw back in Part 1

In Part 5: my top 20 for 2015, including something that hasn't happened on my chart for 17 years. Plus, two '80s bands make their best showings in years, while a song from a new band sounds like it comes straight out of that era.

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