Eight years ago - W/E 20/09/2008, I liked it
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Sep 15 2016, 07:53 AM
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It's September 2008, and while most of what we take for granted today has already made its mark - Twitter was a small but growing community, Facebook was supreme with most having long ditched Myspace for its bluer, cooler rival, and hundreds and counting were regular users of a music forum called Buzzjack - there's still a fair few things that make eight years ago seem almost caveman-like to present day eyes. If you wanted one of those 'smartphone' devices, your best shot was the new iPhone 3G, with its whopping 2-megapixel flashless, focusless and videoless camera. Music downloads were established and the iPod reigned triumphant, but a revolutionary 'streaming' service called Spotify was agonisingly close to being launched, finally hitting desktops at the beginning of October - and even then you needed an invitation to sign-up for it, so good luck going through your Messenger contacts for someone who knew what the hell you were talking about (or was that just me). Otherwise, almost all of the top 40 were still available on shiny physical compact-disc singles, although even just compared to the start of the year you won't find much evidence of that in music stores.
But it was also the month that truly set off one of the biggest events of the decade. On September 15th, Lehman Brothers collapsed and what became known as the global recession really kicked into gear. Was I worried? Hell no, I was nineteen!! My twentieth birthday was a week away, I was just starting uni, and surely by my eventual graduation everything would be ok again (hahaha no) - I was too busy partying, getting absurdly drunk and generally bidding farewell to my teens in style to care or realise the impact it was about to have on the world. While time-travel remains regrettably impossible, here's the chart from the last full week of my 19th year, eight years to the day the world said goodbye to Lehman and the chaos that followed. As with previous charts I've reviewed, I'll do the top 40 up to #11 in a block and the top 10 in video-vision, so let's boogie our way to #40 and begin:
40: Sonny J - CAN'T STOP MOVING
Starting with one of the cruellest 'misses' and something of a chart injustice. When I first heard this feelgood track in the summer of 2007, I was absolutely enamoured by it and saw a potential massive #1 in the making. But a combination of terrible weather and generally half-assed marketing saw it completely flop, apologetically reaching #80 in September that year.
Thankfully it was given another chance the following year. The song was remixed by French DJ Mirwais, adding a stronger beat and some vaguely electro-ish synths in the verses, this time it looked to finally be huge...but, again, the weather was awful and was perhaps released just too late to be a summer anthem. It sneaked up the top 75 but this one week at #40 was the best the track got, with even future appearances on The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent never giving it the high position it's always deserved. Maybe one day it'll 'do an Elbow' (bear with me), for now it's the potential smash that - sadly - never grabbed.
39: Basshunter - ALL I EVER WANTED
At our first day at uni we did one of those 'name games' where we say our name and something we enjoy beginning with the same letter as our first. My name's Charlie and I like chocolate, I'm Lucy and I like Lost, I'm Xavier and I adore Xeroradiography etc. Mine, with a stupid smile on my face, was "My name's Billy, and I like Basshunter!".
But yeah, I was a huge fan of him back in the day, his synth-mad dancepop hugely refreshing after years of landfill indie and a key part of the random but welcome Eurodance 'revival' of the era. This reached #2 a few months earlier and was just still in the top 40, originally a Swedish track called 'DotA' - about, of all things, a custom map of the game World of Warcraft - and uses the melody of a massive early-noughties Eurohit called Daddy DJ, which bafflingly never reached these shores despite its major success across the continent. For DotA's English-language release, the Warcraft lyrics were completely ditched to be about some dull generic love story instead ("All I ever wanted was to see you smiling..." ugh) but no matter as it smashed here anyways. Cheesy to some, horrific to others, I still enjoy it for the happy late-teenage memories it conjures up. I'd go on but there's more of this dude to come...
38: Little Jackie - THE WORLD SHOULD REVOLVE AROUND ME
One-hit wonder who passed me by at the time, but when I grabbed a second-hand copy of Now 71 a few years later this blew my mind. This is AWESOME, brilliant retro-pop banger that just gets everything right - the strong beat, the quirky orchestral backing, the sassy and clever vocals (which aren't censored on the Now version *at all* despite some fairly strong profanities at points), this shouldn't have just peaked at #14, this should have been a multi-week #1! That the duo behind this (vocalist Imani Coppola and producer Adam Pallin) have never appeared in the charts since is just ridiculous. Give it a listen, it rocks.
37: MIA - PAPER PLANES
Though Sonny J may have underperformed and Little Jackie's success all too brief, here's a great example of a success story with MIA *finally* getting a significant chart hit. I'd loved 'Galang' from a few years earlier, a mad but infectious genre-mashup that was perhaps a bit too uncommercial to chart higher than the #77 peak it reached here. Now she was back and yeah this is much more commercial but still one heck of a tune, its memorable half-vocal half-sound effect chorus of "All I wanna do is *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* and a *click* *CHING* and take your money" making it stand out pretty quickly and a big iPod fave for me that autumn. Managed to make it all the way to #19 in the end, and got an even bigger audience when used in the movie hit 'Slumdog Millionaire', released here a few months later in January '09. Unbelievably it was even more massive in the US where it reached #4, an incredible achievement.
36: Sam Sparro - BLACK & GOLD
The music of 2008 has a huge amount of good memories for me, but christ did I overplay some of them at the time. I'd only got my first iPod at the end of '07 so at first I had a limited number of songs to choose from, and when this was released I played it to death to the point I'm not sure if I bothered with it at all for at least the next five years as I'd heard it enough to last a lifetime. This was one of the biggest songs of the year, peaking at #2, but seems bizarrely forgotten now and Sam - who I saw live at that year's Wireless Festival - never managed another major hit.
Listening to it now, time's been really kind to it, an electro-pop sizzler with a distinctive repetitive thudding synthline which pretty much *was* my summer that year. As I listen to it a whole host of various partying memories zoom across me, many with friends no longer in my life (as in they've moved on rather than no longer being alive, at least I presume they are) but no matter, I'll always have the music. One that feels like it'll have a deserved second lease of life when the "noughties revival" begins in a few years, even if it's just as a crap cover version by Calum Scott.
35: Elbow - ONE DAY LIKE THIS
Ah-ha, told you to bear with me at #40! The big and infamous indie hit which, for years, had reached its chart peak this week at #35, and immediately became one of those songs far more well-known than its chart position suggested as it hung around in the lower reaches for ages. An appearance at the Olympics Closing Ceremony four years later finally saw it get its well-deserved new peak of #4, although it half-reached #1 if you count its appearance in the Peter Kay Animated All-Stars Medley that hit the top in 2009.
It doesn't really need much else introduction - the one that goes "Throw those curtains wide" etc etc, used in so many uplifting montages over the years it's now become little more than a cliché, although that's actually my least favourite bit of the song - the bit that I keep coming back to is those first few verses, which are a song in their own right until the memorable singalong chorus kicks off a few minutes in. Love it or hate it, it's an anthem of the noughties, and one of the last significant 'indie' hits of the decade along with one we'll be seeing much later.
34: Madonna - GIVE IT 2 ME
Nearing the end of the days when Madonna was guaranteed a megahit no matter what she released, I was a bit stunned when I first heard this - having fell in love with her previous Confessions on a Dancefloor album and the #1s it spawned, followup Hard Candy's shift into more R&B territory seemed something of a shame. But a year later when I bought the album for three quid in Fopp, this track especially really stood out, absolutely filled full of different ideas and segments to keep you interested for the whole length of the song - I'd even go as far to say it's one of my fave Madonna tracks, if not up there with the gold dust she was releasing in her peak years of awesome that were 1989 and 1990. Peaked at #7, could have happily gone higher.
33: Queen & Paul Rodgers - C-LEBRITY
Or technically just 'Brian May, Roger Taylor And The Bloke Who Sung 'All Right Now'", this was a mid-noughties project with two members of Queen and the former Free/Bad Company singer. They'd spent the last few years touring, and just before the end of the project they released the album 'The Cosmos Rocks' featuring this single, a comment on modern-day fame. Ok, it's not got Freddie's famous voice, but this is fairly close to a Queen track of old, and you can genuinely imagine this being a real release had the band kept themselves together/alive into the new millennium. Happy it reached top 40, but let's face it, this wouldn't reach anywhere near this high today - physicals (which this probably sold most copies on) are now dead other than the niche vinyl market and Spotify would chart a million Drake singles over this.
32: Chris Brown - FOREVER
I have to listen to a Chris Brown song? Ugh, and it lasts bloody ages too. Pre the days before we all found out he was a massive violent expletive, he was on fire that year and had Spotify existed he could well have been the Bieber of his day, with this, 'With You' and some other collaboration all charting top 10 within a few months of each other. It still sickens me a little that he still has a career, let alone all the huge #1 singles he's amassed since his 2011 post-assault comeback, but even without that this song would bore me, just your typical meandering and plodding R&B chill track which doesn't take me back to good times on dancefloors, more like shouting "TWO CORONAS AND A STRONGBOW" over the music to a miserable bartender as you fork out a battered £20 note from your jeans pocket. And then inevitably spilling one of them on your way back through the club to your mates. Usually yours.
31: Taio Cruz - SHE'S LIKE A STAR
One of my jams of the first half of the year was 'Come On Girl', the debut #5 hit from Mr Cruz which won me over with its synthy-R&B/pop backing and guest verse from Luciana of Yeah Yeah fame. Followup 'I Can Be' only reached #18, and this one only just sneaked into the top 20, so you'd be forgiven for deducing Taio's three-minutes-twenty-four-seconds of fame were long over. In fact he was just getting started, two major #1s to come and chart success right up to 2012, but I can see why this one wasn't one of his biggest - kinda dull, a world away from the more instant pop tunes he's more remembered for. He got a bit irritating eventually ("I THROW MY HANDS UP IN THE AIR SOMETIMES" oh shove off) but the best of his earlier stuff still sounds immense today.
30: Glasvegas - DADDY'S GONE
More indie-disco from the last year of the genre's major success, before the early beginnings of 2010s EDM pushed it all out the charts the following year. I was *really* tired of the sound by then, hence my leanings towards the Euro-synth-dancier stuff, so Glasvegas and James Allan's memorable OTT Glasgow-sounding vocals weren't on my musical radar at the time. This reached #12 and was their biggest, and before this writeup I don't think I'd actually heard it before. And I'm enjoying what I hear, most of the track being a massive anthemic buildup with a monumental 'wall of sound' production likened to peak-era Phil Spector, before eventually kicking off drums 'n all at the end. Not quite sure the payoff is as big as the build suggests but still a very neat Strongbows-in-the-air singalonger, and listening to this as a gorgeous September sunrise streams through the windows makes it sound even better.
29: Flo Rida feat. will.i.am - IN THE AYER
Not a misprint, that's how Will sings it - presumably it was just meant to be 'In The Air' but when they listened back to the vocals thought "Lol it sounds like 'ayer'" and just titled it that, either that or they really love a small village in the district of Sierre, Switzerland. From Flo's album 'Mail on Sunday', so called as it was given free with the newspaper of the same name (not really) it's got a fantastic backing track, but other than that it's just three minutes of people rapping about...stuff, I'm not particularly sure what, and even the backing is (as usual) sampled from another song so you might as well just listen to that. But it's not bad, it's quite catchy really and enjoyably quirky at points especially when Will's vocals pitch-shift up at the end for no obvious reason, a trick he'd later use on the Black Eyed Peas tracks that would dominate the end of the decade and early next. Indeed it sounds so much like the sort of thing that would be a major hit in a year or two I'm amazed that the #29 here was this song's peak (a top 10 in the US and New Zealand), especially with the names involved although I suppose Flo was still building his fanbase and Will a few months before the BEP comeback regenerated his. Said Swiss village merged with several other villages to form a new municipality just four months later, presumably due to the huge influx of tourists they were getting throwing their hands in the Ayer, A-Ayer, Ayer, A-Ayer. Or not.
28: Duffy - STEPPING STONE
Soul-voiced former megastar who in true Welsh fashion has the hardly-spellable first name 'Whateverhappenedto', or that might just be how everyone refers to her now. Ah no I can't be too cruel, this was one of the many 'new Amys' flung onto the scene in 08-09 when the real Miss Winehouse got too out of control, Duffy's first name *genuinely being* Amy (ok, 'Amie' but same thing amirite) for added lolz. It all looked so promising at one point, a sheepload of hits throughout the year including one of the biggest-sellers of the era with 'Mercy', this reached #21 but isn't one of her most memorable, a downtempo number that you could easily imagine as a Massive Attack single with a beat and Tricky rap thrown over the top - interestingly this *was* at one point planned to be the big uptempo banger that 'Mercy' later became, which I can certainly hear in my head but not quite sure it would have had the same impact. Was it really just a slightly misguided Diet Coke that ended the run of fortune? Maybe, but more the lack of any obvious hits on the second album and Adele completely dominating the sound just as she returned. Surely she'll have another hit one day but for now 'Rockferry' remains a good listen and nicely evocative of the year.
27: Ne-Yo - CLOSER
Our first former #1, no relation to the Chainsmokers hit that's currently #1 as I type. Ok, in theory this isn't too far off the dirge that is 'Forever' we heard earlier, but with a stronger beat, a catchier chorus and generally a slightly more exciting sound, this all works much better even if it still runs out of ideas before the end of its almost four-minute runtime. I may be biased as this was a club fave for years, but for a genre I've never been massively keen on this certainly has its fun moments and up there with the better ones.
26: Artists Stand Up To Cancer - JUST STAND UP
Blimey, a charity single I don't remember at all. The artist and song names indicate the possibility of it just being a kind of 4'33/Two Minute Silence style masterpiece of just the sound of loads of famous people standing up, but while it isn't quite that it does have a fairly impressive lineup of artists - Mariah, Beyonce, Rihanna, Leona and more, turns out it's from a US telethon that aired on several TV networks stateside that month and no music video was made for it, perhaps explaining why the #26 here was its peak. And that it isn't really a memorable song, just people singing over the top of each other that at times sounds so disjointed it's like you're in an LA music recording studio hearing loads of megastars recording different songs at once. But hey, it's fighting cancer, and cancer sucks, so I'll give them credit all the same.
25: Keane - SPIRALLING
I wrote in my last chart review how Keane went from one of the best albums of the noughties (2004's Hopes & Fears) to steadily more underwhelming releases after, this was the lead track from their third album which somewhat underperformed by only peaking two places higher than this, a fairly major drop from the #3 that Is It Any Wonder achieved when released as second-album's opener two years later. Startling new territory with its great opening disco-electro backing and "Woo!" vocals, but I'm not quite sure the rest of it lives up to its promise despite making a good effort throughout. The Wikipedia page for it has the baffling statement that the song became "the most broadcast song of the world" during its first week of release which sounds a bit exaggerated.
24: Basshunter - ANGEL IN THE NIGHT
Jonas Altberg returns with more freshly-hunted bass! Single #3 and one that didn't quite match the #1 and #2 of Now You're Gone and All I Ever Wanted, but still did well by rising to #14. It's more of the same, and is missing the big synth hooks that the first two singles had in favour of what sounds like him frantically hitting the keyboard until a strong melody comes out. But for now at least the formula's still just working, and he remained a big name enough to headline Ministry of Sound's Dance Nation tour in April the following year, one I attended and got to see the dude live! To be fair he stormed it, the crowd loved him and the various 'comedy' skits he took part in between songs bizarrely amusing in an eccentrically-Scandinavian sort of way. A few more top 40 tracks carried on until 2010, as did a Celebrity Big Brother appearance (it says here) until a new generation of DJs arrived. But Sweden remains a hit-making powerhouse, so give him a Zara Larsson track to collaborate on and he could very well make the comeback of the decade! Well, behind Daft Punk. And Timberlake. And Bieber, Maroon 5, PJ & Duncan...
23: McFly - LIES
Oh was it cool to hate on these guys in the noughties. Floppy-haired kids making crap guitar music for ten-year-old girls, songs that would reach #1 and then fall out the top 20 the following week (or something), indeed it's only once I left my twenties that I began to view them as a little better than my sneering teen self saw them at the time - ok, some of their cover versions belong in a landfill but you can't hate on Five Colours In Her Hair and Obviously too much, they're pop anthems of the decade. By '08 we're in their later phase as they tried modernising and updating their sound to stay relevant to their increasingly-aging fanbase, and this one's from the album 'Radio:Active' which was released free with the Mail on Sunday, although quite why Flo Rida fans would be interested in new McFly songs is anyone's guess (oh I *know*, I'm just being silly) - and I actually really like this! Still very poppy, but sonically at another level from the stuff they were releasing before and combines both a catchy guitar-hook and chorus, and today I'll listen to this and other McFly tunes without shame.
22: Alphabeat - BOYFRIEND
Another act, like Sam Sparro and his black and gold, that I overplayed the living life out of through the year, their sugar-coated guitar-pop an absolute joy to listen to as the optimistic 19 year old I was. 'Fascination' is the one everyone remembers, their biggest hit peaking at #6 in the Spring and hanging around for ages, but when followup '10,000 Nights' reached #16 there was worry that their success was going to be brief. I'd seen them live in the June, and as they announced one of their "favourite tracks on the album" - Boyfriend - the crowd cheered like crazy before a single note was played, making it the obvious choice for the next release. And it ended up slightly improving on single 2 by reaching #15, there was hope after all! And again it's great, easily one of the best on the album and came with an actually-quite-brilliant retro 80s sounding remix by Pete Hammond that turned it into a first-album Kylie-sounding single. Two further hits would follow through 2009-10, but peaking at #20 and #29 the novelty of them was sadly wearing off here, lead singer Stine Bramsen later enjoying a major Scandinavian solo hit with Prototypical. Odd to listen to them now after how much I overplayed them at the time, and occasionally painful when I see the album I paid £10 for new in a ton of charity shops for less than a quid, but it's great how a a fun-loving bubblegum Danish pop group managed to briefly make it big here a decade after the last fun-loving bubblegum Danish pop group did. Sadly the Aqua vs. Alphabeat single of our dreams has yet to materialise.
21: Iglu & Hartley - IN THIS CITY
This is another one I don't really remember new, but discovered years later on that copy of Now 71 when I fell in love with Little Jackie's single. And this, again, is brilliant, another one-hit wonder lost in the black hole midsts of time between "old school" (any year up to about 2006) and "recent" (2011 or so to present). People harp on about 'summer' songs but this is a great example of an autumnal one, a style hard to explain but a sort of wistful, looking-back, end-of-the-road-but-a-new-one-ahead type of sound that always sounds fantastic as the leaves turn brown and the nights get longer. See also Chipmunk's 'Oopsy Daisy' from the following year for another great example, and late 2007's charts a year earlier were full of them - Young Folks, Hey There Delilah, Dream Catch Me etc. I really can't imagine them working at any other time of year, and this midtempo pop-rap track was a deserved top 5 hit a couple weeks later. One to rediscover now as September rumbles on and the last of the summer weather slips away.
20: Steve Mac - PADDY'S REVENGE
Back to dance music and this had a ton of hype attached to it at the time, so much so that the #17 peak it eventually got felt a bit disappointing. It's all based around a simple gimmick - an 'Irish jig' turned techno - and the video plays this up to somewhat OTT levels with violins and pots of gold and an over abundance of green throughout, along with your typical-for-the-era scantily-clad women to seal the deal. The full mix at almost 7 minutes is a bit pisstakingly long, but cut down to 2:30 for radio play it's not a bad listen, even if you've heard the whole thing by a minute in. But if you've got Now 71, be warned that you're not quite listening to the right version - something's gone weirdly wrong with the mastering on Now 71's copy and it's been sped up to almost chipmunky levels (if there were vocals, which there aren't), either that or it's an alternate mix/edit they put on the album accidentally or not. Or the compiler just hated it and wanted it to be over as quick as possible, I dunno.
19: Noah & The Whale - 5 YEARS TIME
Something of a summer '08 anthem, this extremely pleasant guitar ditty was an unexpected smash a few weeks earlier, peaking at #7 - a simple love story entertaining the notion that in five years time, "we" - as in, the female sung about by vocalist Charlie Fink, rather than the actual person listening to the song which would be a bit creepy - could be walking around a zoo, sun shining down and all that, but as the song goes on the idea that things could all go horribly wrong and they might hate each other is also theorised. Backing vocals provided by Laura Marling of Laura Marling fame, this is another one I seriously overplayed that year but there's still something wonderful about it all, a nice break from the shouty pop and bass-heavy dance elsewhere in the chart and on a sunny day this continues to sound perfect. Five years later, sadly no follow-up single was released detailing whether they really did make it to that zoo or not - not even a photoshoot with the band comically posing next to some penguins or anything - and they eventually split last year, but luckily I got to see them at V Festival 2012 to an obviously adoring audience while they were still active.
18: Flobots - HANDLEBARS
So this one escaped me so much that I don't even know what genre I'm about to listen to as I hover over the Spotify link - I'm presuming obscure indie, but maybe R&B? Even dance?
Turns out it's actually something rather clever, starting out as a few plucked guitar strings with the singer informing us he can ride a bike with no handlebars, no handlebars, no handlebars, before slowly losing his mind as he starts nu-metal style rapping/eventually shouting about all the other things he can do as the backing gradually turns into a madhouse of distorted guitar and drumrolls, some trumpet thrown in for good measure. As a one-off gimmick it's pretty memorable, peaking at #14, but it remains Flobots' only hit which is understandable as a whole career of this sort of thing would probably get a little stale after the fifth single or so. Even so I *really* rate this, a more-than-interesting track with a fun build-up throughout, god knows how I missed it at the time but I was probably playing Noah & The Whale too much to notice it.
17: Coldplay - VIVA LA VIDA
Another former #1, and astonishingly Coldplay's first ever, after 2005's 'Speed of Sound' was narrowly beaten to the top by a novelty computerised unhinged frog. I went to Italy that summer and this was playing all the time, so straight away I'm taken to 30+ Milan sunshine which is never a bad thing. As with most Coldplay tracks it's got that grand and 'epic' quality that sometimes veers into cliché - I can't listen to 'Fix You' seriously anymore thanks to all the times it's been parodied - but this is one of the best #1s of the year all the same, a soaring string-heavy track up there with my Coldplay faves. The Pet Shop Boys covered this on their tour the following year and released it as a track on their Christmas EP, but nah, stick to the original.
16: Jordin Sparks feat. Chris Brown - NO AIR
Oh christ, not him again...well, at least he's just a 'featuring' on this one. This is actually a slickly-produced American pop-ballad featuring the winner of 2007's American Idol series (Jordin, not Chris) and is generally her biggest hit in most countries, top 3 here although in some countries she managed at least three more top tens during her few years at the top. As with a lot of US pop, particularly of this era, it's not really hitting me, too fancy and Disneyfied without an 'edge' that I presume they tried to bring in with Chris Brown, but he can naff off. Later single 'Battlefield' from her next album is way better, which just missed the top 10 when it peaked at #11 the following year.
15: The Verve - LOVE IS NOISE
Downbeat indie kings of the late 90s with a much-hyped comeback, one that ended soon after as the other band members felt like pawns to help lead singer Richard Ashcroft's solo career, a problem we haven't seen the last of in this chart. To reach #4 with your first release in ten years is pretty good going, though like Queen earlier you can't imagine them doing so well in the Spotify era - the Stone Roses came pretty close earlier this year though, so who knows. It's not bad, fitting in perfectly with late noughties indie despite their decade away, but not as instant as their 90s stuff for me.
14: Ne-Yo - MISS INDEPENDENT
Follow-up to the Closer we've already seen and another eventual top ten, this bored the life out of me when I first heard it and it's not doing much for me now either, although the opening synthy bit is something of a grower. The start suggests a Kevin Lyttle 'Turn Me On' style banger, but then it all goes smugly downtempo and chilled and I'm asleep a minute in. God knows how this did so well, I'm obviously 'miss'ing (ha!) the point. Maybe people were drawn to the song's message of a hard-working woman who does her own thing without others getting in her way, although the video somewhat destroys the point by showing Mr Yo in an office setting ogling every woman he sees. Ends with "the boss" (one of said women) apologising for cutting him off, asking if there's anything she can do for him. "What did you have in mind?" asks Ne-Yo, grinning into the camera like he's in a Carry On film. I presume they cut the comedy trumpet noise and the ghost of Kenneth Williams shouting "Ooh, matron!" at the last minute.
13: Dizzee Rascal, Calvin Harris and Chrome - DANCE WIV ME
Well, this one doesn't need much introduction. I remember when this first hit Youtube, and wow, the fury of some of the comments - "THIS IS F&@%ING POP!" screamed one fan in a way I presume was negative. Yep, this is the moment former Grime king decided, screw it, I want #1 hits and enough money to retire on and ditched the musical creativity and hard-hitting lyrics for a radio-friendly pop track about 'dancing' with women in clubs ("I'm still hardcore!!" he desperately pleads) helped by some bloke called Calvin Harris who had yet to legally add the word "Featuring" to the end of his name by deed poll. Yeah, I loved this at the time, I'd been listening to Dizzee since 2004's second album Showtime, and while I secretly knew this wasn't as good as the older stuff I still played the hell out of it that year, and to be fair it *is* hella catchy. I just wish it was some new rapper who didn't have the baggage of groundbreaking grime behind him, and while the Rascal himself would go on to create some of the biggest and most memorable hits of 2009, it would lead to all sorts of similar artists ditching their roots for mainstream party songs like this over the next few years which always felt something of a shame.
I ended up seeing Dizzee live three times, once supporting The Prodigy in early '09, again later that year at the Wireless Festival, and a third time supporting Muse (I know, I'm not sure of the logic either) in 2013. The two '09 shows featured pretty much his entire grime back catalogue with this and a couple more recent hits thrown in every so often, and were awesome. The 2013 show only had one pre-Dance Wiv Me song, Fix Up Look Sharp, and was an immense disappointment in comparison. How the mighty fall...
12. Gym Class Heroes feat. The Dream - COOKIE JAR
Now this felt like a surprise at the time, I wasn't expecting the singers of previous year smash 'Cupid's Chokehold' to return with another top ten hit with their next album. This reached #6, and the UK was the only territory where it charted so significantly, missing top 40 in most countries. It does have a really nice backing, I'm presuming the cookie jar of the title is some kind of metaphor for women or something given how much the singer moans about not able to keep his hands, his hands, his hands off it. Or he just seriously likes cookies and couldn't resist making a song about it, your guess is as good as mine. It's ok, good for the odd listen.
11: Miley Cyrus - SEE YOU AGAIN
Oh, we certainly will. Wasn't quite expecting a wrecking ball but you did half-warn us all the same. The first ever hit for who was then a squeaky-clean fifteen year old Disney star, and I'm fairly sure this is the first time I've heard it - I was expecting something a little more early S-Club than this, instead it's a pop-rocky track about teen love which was presumably seen as edgy enough to release as her debut at the time. I don't really have much opinion on it - Miley's later HEY LOOK MEDIA LOOK WHAT I'M DOING NOW bollocks would go on to irritate the hell out of me five years later, but at this point she was an inoffensive teen act I could happily ignore.
So we reach the top ten, and video time for what everyone was downloading (and in one significant case, physically buying) this time eight years ago:
10: Biffy Clyro - MOUNTAINS
Down from its #5 peak two weeks earlier, the biggest hit for the Scot-rockers although a retitled version of 'Many of Horror' would be a #1 for some X Factor bloke a few years later. He is the mountain, he is the sea and apparently you can't take that away from him. Fair enough, give it a (Eve)rest - keep them, cus this isn't doing much for me at all, the type of dull indie that I've already mentioned I was sick of by now. I like the piano work during the bridge about two minutes in, but while it could be a grower it's not immediate enough for me right now. Give me a few ciders, blast it out in a club at 3am and turn the clocks back eight years and maybe my opinion could change tho.
9: Kid Rock - ALL SUMMER LONG
A shock #1 at the time, and even more of a headscratcher now, someone who'd had their first hit here in 1999 and never charted higher than #25 randomly striking gold with this, a top seller all over Europe, Oz and New Zealand with ironically the only real underperformer being his native United States where this missed top 20.
I remember comparisons with 'Dance Wiv Me' above at the time, former credible performer releases his most commercial thing ever and immediately reaches #1. This is *desperate* in its ultimately successful hit-making attempt, taking two memorable riffs from two famous 70s tracks - Warren Zevon's 'Werewolves of London' for the piano and Lsomething's Skysomething's 'Sweet Home Alabama' for the de-de-de-deow de-de-de-de-deow guitar - and singing some wistful 'nostalgic' nonsense of being young and carefree and "smoking funny things" over the top, although oddly using the year 1989 as the era in question, which although fits Rock's age (he'd have been 18) is a bit anachronistic when it comes to the songs sampled from a decade previous, a better choice surely being a Back To Life/Pump Up The Jam mashup. Both songs sampled were major hits in North America but few places else, which perhaps explains the big-everywhere-except-the-US chart story. But really, it was still *that* massive? Still baffles me, one of those odd megahits I'll never truly get and really my summer was preoccupied with other songs rather than this.
8: Madcon - BEGGIN'
Norway make a rare appearance in the UK charts, not that I knew at the time as I assumed it was two blokes from North America - neither did I know it was based on an old Four Seasons track from the 60s, with some rap thrown in to be down with da kidz. A year earlier there was a dance remake of the Four Seasons original by a DJ called Pilooski, presumably Madcon saw an opportunity for a easy hit and released this a few months later - either that or it's just one of those odd chart coincidences. Anyway Madcon won in the charts with Pilooski's remake charting here at #34 and Madcon reaching #5. It's ok, and I remember enjoying at the time, but not one I'd listen to tons today, once you've got past that initial sample there's not much else here.
7: The Script - THE MAN WHO CAN'T BE MOVED
Poundland's Coldplay who deserve credit for battling indie's 2010s downturn and surviving well into the next decade, even if it's taken middling will.i.am collaborations to do it. Until 'Hall of Fame' became their first #1 in 2012, this was their biggest hit, a #2 in August '08 and hung around the top 10 for ages. I do enjoy some of their tracks, 'Breakeven' makes deserved re-appearances every so often and 2010's 'For The First Time' a nice listen, this one's never hit me for some reason. It's just a bit too bland, background music rather than something I'd actually sit down and listen to.
6: Eric Prydz - Pjanoo
Oh I adored this, a rare instrumental dance track that they could have easily spoilt by slapping vocals by a rising soul-voiced star of the moment over the top (who then 'mysteriously' appears in the BBC's Sound of 20xx as if it wasn't planned all along) but major respect to the Call On Me/Proper Education DJ for taking the risk and just releasing the instrumental, all based on a simple piano riff that could easily have come out of 1995 and building on it throughout before reaching a huge hands-in-the-air last minute or so. Like Paddy's Revenge earlier, the full mix - 7 and a half minutes! - labours it a bit too long, but it's full of power in its short but extremely sweet two minutes forty. And check out the video, finally something original without resorting to women-in-bikinis-being-sexy for once - which given how 'Call On Me' kinda started that era off is all the more impressive! Smashed at #2, not quite enough to unseat one of the most irritating tracks of the era - one which, regrettably, is still in the top five...
5: Rihanna - DISTURBIA
...but not this one. From the album Good Girl Gone Bad, still being mined for singles despite being over a year old, but with everything Rihanna released charting high at this point you can't blame them. We're a couple years away from her truly being the biggest singer in the history of the planet ever (or at least that's what her hype circa 2011 suggested) but she'd already had the 10-week #1 that was 'Umbrella' so she was certainly already part of pop's A-list.
There's only a few of her tracks I genuinely enjoy listening to, the occasional hit that grabs me but a lot of dull mainstreamity to sift through first, and this one unfortunately bores me, not uptempo enough to be a club banger but not slow enough to work as a chillout track and just ends up in the middling middle. And that 'bam bam de um' hook that runs throughout just *irritates* me, which perhaps doesn't help. I have the same issue with a lot of Beyonce stuff from this era, with it sometimes feeling like people are just buying the track because IT'S BEYONCE/IT'S RIHANNA rather than, you know, actually being good...but they're mega-famous billionaires and I save up £1.99 burger & fries McDonalds vouchers from newspapers, so what do I know.
4: Nicole Scherzinger feat. Some Backing Singers - WHEN I GROW UP
Oh alright, yeah this was credited to 'The Pussycat Dolls' but infamously this really is just Nicole front stage with four increasingly irritated women mixed so low you can barely hear them behind her - no wonder they split up just a few singles later. I do remember liking this one when it first hit but now I'm wondering what the hell I was on, there's barely *anything* in this other than some dross about growing up and being famous and having...yeah, I thought they were singing "boobies", but it is apparently "groupies" which isn't that better. Ironic or not, it's seriously dreary and belongs in the depths of the noughties past. Will admit to loving Nicole's later (real) solo track 'Don't Hold Your Breath' a couple years later though, great memories attached to that.
3: Cliff Richard - THANK YOU FOR A LIFETIME
Yep. Uh-huh. This so easily could have been #1. Imagine that - Cliff, who by now was 68 and celebrating 50 years of his music career, becoming the first and only person to have a #1 single in every single decade the charts have ever existed. He's the only one to do it from the 50s to the 90s - last #1 'The Millennium Prayer' infamously selling a TON at the end of 1999 - and as the noughties reached its close, the campaign for this single began, a major attempt to give Cliff his first noughties #1 and continue an unmatched record. And just a couple years earlier when CDs were bigger, this would have done it - it shot with ease to the top of the physical singles chart by a massive margin, 31,765 physical copies sold and some assumed he had this in the bag. But on downloads? About 1,600. Had Cliff's fans realised how big iTunes had become, and bought even just *half* of the CD sales total on downloads (to be fair, if they had computers at all they probably didn't have iTunes installed) then this would have done it, so despite selling more copies than he managed when 2006's '21st Century Christmas' reached #2, a top 3 place was the best he got. Really can't see him ever reaching #1 again now unless some epic Major Lazer collaboration is in the works, and stranger things have happened.
From what I can see, there's no official video for this - the only ones on youtube are fan-made from the same time this was out, including the above. Really there's not much point trying to review the song itself - an inoffensive ballad thanking his fans, various looking-back lyrics in an All Summer Long stylee - as the campaign is the reason for this being here, rather than the song itself. But while it's extremely fashionable to sneer at Cliff, I give him credit for managing to keep his chart career alive a whopping half-century, something barely anyone else still alive (McCartney I suppose) has managed to do.
And I prefer listening to this than the single below.
2: Katy Perry - I KISSED A GIRL
GOD did I hate this. The first single for a future megahitmaker who chooses to break into the charts with a track giggling about kissing a girl and liking it. The sort of thing a two-year-old would find edgy, a track based on a 'gimmick' as a sort of 'All About That Bass' of its day, and just generally on a desperation level of Kid Rock times ten. And, no, she's not a lesbian so you can't even say this is a positive message for anyone struggling with their sexuality - this is cheapening it all to get played on the radio and written about in the media and getting the huge #1 that she did with ease. Hated, hated, hated it, in a way that might seen overly harsh to those who enjoyed this but the OVERPLAY it proceeded to get over the next six months or so (until the slightly-better-but-still-not-great'Hot N Cold' replaced it) made it even worse, the only joy being ironically shouting the lyrics in clubs in a comedy manly laddish voice ("HOPE MY BOYFRIEND DON'T MIND IT") which would always amuse at least someone on the dancefloor.
She has done some better songs since, with the 'Prism' era being genuinely quite brilliant, along with a few oh-god-please-make-it-stop overplayed monsters ("Do you ever feel..." NO GO AWAY) so does deserve her continued success, but at the time this felt like an awful cheap one-hit-wonder that I wanted away with as soon as possible.
But, thankfully, it wasn't #1 this week at least. That honour goes TO...
1: Kings of Leon - SEX ON FIRE
This one. Surely the biggest rock 'anthem' of the late noughties, as overplayed as Perry and went top ten all over again a year later. Can't really say much that hasn't been said here, I didn't like it at the time and its overplay right into the next year made me briefly despise it, until a fair few happy memories put it finally in the don't-mind-it level I'm with it today.
Thanks for reading and looking back with me to 2008 good/bad/ugly times!
This post has been edited by BillyH: Sep 15 2016, 08:09 AM
Sep 16 2016, 04:11 AM
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Actually, All Summer Long was every bit as huge in the US as it was everywhere else...but it wasn't available for download!! There was no way to purchase the song so it charted just on the strength of airplay, where it got to #3, which means it actually did quite well to be #23 overall. Kid Rock was claiming to be anti-iTunes and wouldn't put his music on there, but he clearly wasn't too serious since All Summer Long was on iTunes everywhere else. That still aggravates me a bit but I very much love the song. A better example of big-everywhere-but-the-US was Sex On Fire, as Kings of Leon didn't break through here until they performed Use Somebody at the MTV Movie Awards, so that's the song they're best known for here.
This was suuuuuuch a good read as always! 2008 is one of my favorite music years, when I started paying attention to British music and I was just months from discovering the UK charts, so I look back on all of these very fondly. Little Jackie's song is indeed amazing, and Ne-Yo's Closer is far superior than the Chainsmokers' song of the same name. I wish I'd been paying more attention at the time to really experience these songs' chart dominance...although that second wind for Sex On Fire in 2009 was close enough for me! What a fantastic chart to re-live, thanks so much for this.
|Lo-Fi Version||Time is now: 25th October 2016 - 04:57 AM|