dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Chart Rigger's Top 15 Songs Of '05 (Sorta)

As it pours down rain on this New Year's Eve in Los Angeles, there's no better time to get to the inevitable year-end lists. 2005 was certainly a turning point for pop, namely for two reasons: 1) the inclusion of digital downloads in the tallying of U.S. and UK pop charts, and 2) the creation of Chart Rigger, hookers!

Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" became the first single to top 1 million downloads this year, ushering in a whole new rebirth of (an interest in) the single format. And while the list here isn't entirely made up of actual songs released in single format, they're what J'ason D'Luv listened to the most this year.

The method for compiling the list was simple -- it's the top 15 most-played songs on my iPod. And so, let's get to it!


1. Kelly Clarkson - "Since U Been Gone" (90 plays)


My favorite memory of this song is walking around Dallas last April and hearing it blasting out of cars, buildings and stores across the city. The morning I packed to fly back to L.A., I had it on repeat for an hour in my hotel room. It went to #2 for a zillion weeks in the U.S., and heralded the return of pop maestro Max Martin.


2. Kelly Osbourne - "One Word" (76 plays)


I really think this is one of the best pop songs to come out of 2005. Forget who's singing it, it's just a great, mesmerizing tune (yeah, yeah, it rips off Visage's "Fade To Grey," too). I downloaded this at some point in early spring and must have taken at least a dozen walks around UCLA playing it on my headphones then.


3. B-Boys International feat. Paul M. - "One Step Closer" (67 plays)


I found an MP3 of this on some other music blog early in the year, and was blown away by how blantantly poppy it was! It's a typical boy band concoction -- some guy rapping the verses and then an uplifting chorus with modulated vocals -- straight out of Sweden. The "band" competed in some Eurovision-esque competition (may even have been the actual Eurovision). At any rate, I never get tired of hearing this one.


4. Kelly Clarkson - "Behind These Hazel Eyes" (52 plays)


Somehow, this just wasn't as good as "Since U Been Gone." But, it was the next best thing. Another great Max Martin-produced track, and a #6 chart hit in the U.S.


5. Mariah Carey. - "We Belong Together" (51 plays)


Oh, Mimi. For only the second time in your treacherous history, you managed to craft a song that I actually like. Apparently, I wasn't the only one, since it spent 14 weeks at #1, easily capturing listeners for the entire summer. When I visited my parents back in Pennsylvania in May, even my mom, who once referred to MC as a "slut," said she loved this song.


6. The Killers - "Smile Like You Mean It" (47 plays)


This was always my favorite song off The Killers' Hot Fuss album. And even though I discovered them in 2004 when they opened for Morrissey here in L.A., their album didn't really fully grow on me until this year. I played up my obsession for the band a lot on this site, much to the amusement of some and the frustration of certain others. A highlight was suprising Moogaboo with tickets to see them in Cleveland the day of the concert last May. "Smile Like You Mean It" reached #11 in the UK in May. It was never actually released as a single in the States.


7. Gwen Stefani - "The Real Thing" (45 plays)


Initially, this was the only song I liked off Gwen's album when it came out last November. It's got New Order's Bernard Sumner singing backing vocals on the chorus and Peter Hook playing bass, and it's just a fun dance-pop tune! As "Hollaback Girl" hit #1 in the spring, I decided to give the album a second chance (I'd actually forgotten I even had it), and put a few of the songs on my iPod. Had I done this when I first got the album, "The Real Thing" might actually have gotten a higher ranking here. It was never released as a single.


8. Paris Hilton - "Screwed" (40 plays)


This is actually some sort of remix of the original version that's been doing the rounds on the internet since late 2004 (if anyone knows the name of this mix -- I think it's the only one out there -- lemme know!). At first I was totally like, "Whatever!" But then I took a second listen earlier this year and totally fell in love with "Screwed." Who knew the broad could actually sort of sing? Word is that her album is finally getting released this coming May, and there was a brief stir a month ago when it was rumored that the newly reformed Stock Aitken Waterman were to be involved.


9. Interpol - "Evil" (39 plays)


I bought Interpol's Antics CD in New York City last November, and it really became the soundtrack to the dark feelings I had in the weeks following the '04 presidential election. In 2005, I saw the band twice in concert, and they really are one of the greatest acts to come out of this decade. This isn't my favorite song of theirs, but since I often played the Antics album from the start and "Evil" is the second track, it probably got played more than the others. It hit #18 in the UK in January.


10. Real McCoy - "Another Night" (38 plays)


Certain songs will always be intertwined with key events in my life, and "Another Night" is always going to remind of my first semester away at college (fall 1994 - I did two years at community college prior to this), discovering the love that dare not speak its name and going to my first gay club! Since the disappearance of Real McCoy after their 1997 album One More Time, I'd occassionally look around online for any signs of life from the group's former members. In March, I happened upon founding member O-Jay's (aka Olaf Jeglitza) blog, and we struck up a correspondence for a few months. He even commented here on Chart Rigger once! At any rate, he hasn't updated his blog in a couple months, but there are some great videos and live performance clips on there worth checking out if you were ever a fan of '90s Eurodance music. "Another Night" hit #3 in the U.S. charts, and spent an entire year in the Hot 100. I just read last week that it's the #1 song by a German act in the U.S. in rock history.


11-12. Bananarama - "Move In My Direction (Angel City Remix Edit)" (37 plays)


The return of Bananarama was long overdue! Too bad there seemed to be some sketchy stuff going on with the release of their album, Drama, in the UK (i.e., it being pulled from certain stores at the last minute the first week it was out for some reason). Anyway, this certainly wasn't my favorite song off the album, but the Angel City mix is quite good! "Move In My Direction" went to #14 in the UK in August, becoming their first hit in 12 and a half years there.

TIED WITH

Darren Hayes - "So Beautiful (Spike's Radio Edit)" (37 plays)


I flew over to London (I did a lot of flying this year!) in early November and ran around town with Mr. Brady for 4 days. I heard this song repeatedly over the course of my trip, as it was released as a single that week. I've always liked Darren Hayes more as a solo artist than I liked Savage Garden, though this song was a return to the sound of that band (hence its inclusion on SG's greatest hits). Nevertheless, as far as ballads go, you can't beat this one! It hit #15 in the UK, which I thought was kind of disappointing. A slightly different edit of the song is available at the U.S. iTunes store.


13-14. Bananarama - "Look On The Floor [Hypnotic Tango] (Angel City Remix Edit)" (34 plays)


In my opinion, this is a much superior pop song to "Move In My Direction," though it disappointingly only charted at #26 in the UK. Angel City, who also put out their own amazing album (also in the UK) this year, did a great job remixing this one.

TIED WITH

Darin - "Stand By Me" (34 plays)


Darin won some sort of Swedish Pop Idol contest earlier this year, and I believe this was his first single, written and produced by Max Martin. Again, I found this one on some MP3 blog in the summer. Unlike the Kelly Clarkson songs Max did, this was a return to the more traditional, late-90s sound Max was famous for (i.e., "I Want It That Way.") Though it's not immediately that catchy, it eventually grew on me. If you wait for it, the chorus is lush and way over-produced... so in other words, it's perfect!


15. Backstreet Boys - "Just Want You To Know" (33 plays)


I was pretty excited when I heard that Backstreet Boys had a new album coming out earlier this year. After all, they were working with Max Martin again, and, hell, I got a rush of nostalgia thinking about what it would all sound like. As it turned out, this was really the best song on the album -- which was pretty sparse of actual good songs to begin with. "Just Want You To Know" was the 2nd single off the set, and it sounds just like "Since U Been Gone." It got close, but didn't quite chart in the U.S. Top 40, though it went to #8 in the UK in November. In the end, times have certainly changed since the boy band's heyday -- Backstreet Boys had the #1 album of 2000 with Black And Blue according to Billboard, with sales of 8 million copies to date. This year, Never Gone scraped in at #98 on the year-end chart on sales of 1 million copies.

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4 Comments:

  • At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Kelly Kelly Kelly! said…

    eat your heart out, all of you Kelly-haters!

    oh j'ason, mimi on your countdown? WTF? the only song of her you like? say what? scariah's good songs are only found on her first 2 albums, the rest is absolute rubbish!

    kelly osbourne? paris hilton? there really is no accounting for taste.

    in regards to that other hooker, the remix is called Alex G. Mix.

     
  • At 3:52 PM, Blogger MrBrady said…

    Nice s'election, D'Luv! "So Beautiful" is definitely *the* record of our mad London whirl.

    B-Boys International failed to qualify for Eurovision - they entered the Swedish preselection contest known as Melodifestivalen. The Swedes actually sent a far worse song than that one to Kiev!

     
  • At 10:48 PM, Blogger J'ason D'luv said…

    Thanks, Kelly Kelly Kelly for the info on the remix.

    And thanks for the info on B-Boys, Brady. I think I knew both of those facts that you guys pointed out at one point, but of course, like most things, they entered one ear and went out the other as time wore on.

     
  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger The Duke said…

    It's sad that your Number One pick is the same number one on most other '05 Top Song Lists -- way to be a conformist, Chartrigger!

     

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