Troubled Diva’s Favourite Singles Of 2005.

I’m particularly struck by the concentration of material from the second quarter of the year, which – perhaps not surprisingly – more or less coincides with my spell on the Stylus Singles Jukebox. That aside, there did seem to be a sharp reduction in decent new releases towards the end of the year. Choosing a #1 was difficult, but I’ve opted for the song which I’ve consistently enjoyed the most over the last few months, and the song which I’m most likely to remember 2005 by. Finally, those of you who have known me a long time may well be gobsmacked by the appearance at #3 of an act who have always left me cold…

1 Hard To Beat – Hard-Fi
2 Side Streets – Saint Etienne
3 Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own – U2
4 I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor – Arctic Monkeys
5 Hope There’s Someone – Antony & The Johnsons
6 Negotiate With Love – Rachel Stevens
7 Oh My Gosh – Basement Jaxx
8 Signs – Snoop Dogg ft Justin Timberlake
9 Hung Up – Madonna
10 Ooh La La – Goldfrapp
11 Do You Want To – Franz Ferdinand
12 Appropriation (By Any Other Name) – The Long Blondes
13 1 Thing – Amerie
14 In My Arms – Mylo
15 Push The Button – Sugababes
16 Be Mine – Robyn
17 Only U – Ashanti
18 Stay With You – Lemon Jelly
19 Goodies – Ciara ft Petey Pablo
20 Black & White Town – Doves
21 My Friend Dario – Vitalic
22 Hounds Of Love – The Futureheads
23 So Much Love To Give – The Freeloaders ft The Real Thing
24 Giving You Up – Kylie Minogue
25 Avalon – Juliet
26 What Else Is There? – Röyksopp
27 Je Hebt Me Duizend Maal Belogen – Laura Lynn
28 Graffiti – Maxïmo Park
29 Juicebox – The Strokes
30 The One You Love – Rufus Wainwright
31 Taste The Last Girl – Sons And Daughters
32 Crazy All The Time – 33hz
33 Emily Kane – Art Brut
34 Give It – X-Press 2 ft Kurt Wagner
35 We Belong Together – Mariah Carey
36 Love’s A Game – Magic Numbers
37 You Are My Sister – Antony & The Johnsons
38 Fallen Leaves – Teenage Fanclub
39 Love And Pain – Clor
40 Love Is A Deserter – The Kills
41 22: The Death Of All The Romance – The Dears
42 Grass – Animal Collective
43 It’s A Hit – Rilo Kiley
44 Make Things Right – Lemon Jelly
45 Random – Lady Sovereign
46 Lose Control – Missy Elliott
47 Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
48 It’s Like That – Mariah Carey
49 Decent Days & Nights – The Futureheads
50 Love Me Like You – Magic Numbers
51 Join Me In The Park – Nathalie Nordnes
52 Tied Up Too Tight – Hard-Fi
53 Biology – Girls Aloud
54 Don’t Cha – Tori Alamaze
55 I Said Never Again (But Here We Are) – Rachel Stevens
56 Angel Eyes – Raghav
57 Long Hot Summer – Girls Aloud
58 Number 1 – Goldfrapp
59 Harvey Nicks – The Mitchell Brothers ft Sway
60 Wait And See – Tiefschwarz ft Chikinki
61 L.i.p.s.t.i.c.k. – Ralph Myerz & The Jack Herren Band
62 Itch U Can’t Skratch – Junior Senior
63 Changes – Tahiti 80
64 Blue Orchid – White Stripes
65 It Ended On An Oily Stage – British Sea Power
66 Switch It On – Will Young
67 Crazy Chick – Charlotte Church
68 Believe – Chemical Brothers ft Kele Okereke
69 Chicken Payback – The Bees
70 Wake Me Up – Girls Aloud
71 So Good – Rachel Stevens
72 No Sleep Tonight – The Faders
73 Future – Cut Copy
74 Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson
75 Love Is An Unfamiliar Name – The Duke Spirit
76 1-2-Step – Ciara ft Missy Elliott
77 Snowden – Doves
78 Lazer Beam – Super Furry Animals
79 Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat) – Les Rythmes Digitales
80 Move In My Direction – Bananarama

Singles of the year: #1

But first: the albums countdown (as it stood at the end of 2004; if I were doing it now, a few positions would be adjusted).

40 – bjork – medulla
39 – lhasa – the living road
38 – gwen stefani – love angel music baby
37 – ilya – they died for beauty
36 – boredoms – seadrum/house of sun
35 – kerrier district – kerrier district
34 – the earlies – these were the earlies
33 – the streets – a grand don’t come for free
32 – prince – musicology
31 – warsaw village band – uprooting
30 – nellie mckay – get away from me
29 – nancy sinatra – nancy sinatra
28 – the fiery furnaces – blueberry boat
27 – the go! team – thunder lightening strike
26 – annie – anniemal
25 – kings of convenience – riot on an empty street
24 – jane birkin – rendez-vous
23 – lambchop – aw c’mon/no you c’mon
22 – mbilia bel – belissimo
21 – junior boys – last exit
20 – hot chip – coming on strong
19 – animal collective – sung tongs
18 – franz ferdinand – franz ferdinand
17 – morrissey – you are the quarry
16 – omara portuondo – flor de amor
15 – kanye west – the college dropout
14 – nick cave & the bad seeds – abattoir blues/the lyre of orpheus
13 – stereolab – margerine eclipse
12 – cesaria evora – voz d’amor
11 – sons and daughters – love the cup
10 – tinariwen – amassakoul
9 – dani siciliano – likes
8 – chungking – the hungry years
7 – mylo – destroy rock ‘n’ roll
6 – air – talkie walkie
5 – phoenix – alphabetical
4 – youssou n’dour – egypt
3 – brian wilson – smile
2 – scissor sisters – scissor sisters
1 – hidden cameras – mississauga goddam

But second: the compilation albums countdown.

10 – original soundtrack – lost in translation
9 – tom middleton – the trip
8 – various – eurovision song contest istanbul 2004
7 – various – biba – champagne & novocaine
6 – norman & joey jay – good times vol. 4
5 – snow patrol – the trip
4 – various – froots #23 (covermount)
3 – bbc radio 3 – awards for world music 2004
2 – coldcut – life:styles
1 – sean rowley – guilty pleasures vol. 1

But third: the “best gigs” countdown.

15 – cesaria evora
14 – basement jaxx/audio bullys
13 – pet shop boys: battleship potemikin
12 – glenn tilbrook & the fluffers
11 – bent/chungking
10 – duran duran/goldfrapp
9 – violent femmes
8 – white stripes
7 – franz ferdinand/fiery furnaces
6 – scissor sisters/phoenix (nottingham rock city)
5 – hidden cameras
4 – fiery furnaces/sons and daughters/red organ serpent sound
3 – scissor sisters/syntax (leicester charlotte)
2 – the magic band/wreckless eric
1 – omara portuondo/javier rubal

But fourth: the full singles countdown, from 90 to 2.

Click on each song title for a write-up. Items listed in bold denote a write-up which is longer than the usual.

90 – bloc party – she’s hearing voices
89 – keane – everybody’s changing
88 – ignition – love is war
87 – franz ferdinand – michael
86 – air – surfing on a rocket
85 – franz ferdinand – matinee
84 – deep dish – flashdance
83 – the killers – somebody told me
82 – jamelia – see it in a boy’s eyes
81 – will young – your game
80 – the fiery furnaces – tropical ice-land
79 – phoenix – run run run
78 – eminem – mosh
77 – annie – chewing gum
76 – hidden cameras – i believe in the good of life
75 – kings of leon – the bucket
74 – green day – american idiot
73 – gwen stefani – what you waiting for?
72 – lcd soundsystem – yeah
71 – will young – friday’s child
70 – animal collective – who could win a rabbit?
69 – mu – paris hilton
68 – rachel stevens – some girls
67 – dogs die in hot cars – godhopping
66 – maroon 5 – this love
65 – morrissey – i have forgiven jesus
64 – scissor sisters – take your mama
63 – nick cave & the bad seeds – there she goes, my beautiful world
62 – rex the dog – prototype
61 – ruslana – wild dances
60 – the walkmen – the rat
59 – morrissey – let me kiss you
58= – the delays – long time coming
58= – sons & daughters – johnny cash
57 – pay tv – trendy discotheque
56 – mcfly – 5 colours in her hair
55 – ce’cile – hot like we
54 – wolfman ft peter doherty – for lovers
53 – the concretes – you can’t hurry love
52 – phoenix – everything is everything
51 – jamelia – thank you
50 – sex in dallas – everybody deserves to be f**ked
49 – girls aloud – the show
48 – morrissey – first of the gang to die
47 – usher ft ludacris & lil’ john – yeah
46 – alexandra & konstantin – my galileo
45 – ana da silva – the lighthouse
44 – ramón – para llenarma de ti
43 – the thrills – whatever happened to corey haim?
42 – annie – my heartbeat
41 – pet shop boys – flamboyant
40 – graham coxon – freakin’ out
39 – alicia keys – you don’t know my name (reggae remix)
38 – girls aloud – love machine
37 – gene serene & john downfall – i can do anything
36 – kylie minogue – i believe in you
35 – the fiery furnaces – single again
34 – alcazar – this is the world we live in
33 – mylo – drop the pressure
32 – britney spears – toxic
31 – air – cherry blossom girl
30 – mylo – destroy rock ‘n’ roll
29 – the prodigy – girls/rex the dog mix
28 – keane – somewhere only we know
27 – scissor sisters – mary
26 – chungking – making music
25 – o-zone – dragostea din tei
24 – ce’cile – rude bwoy thug life
23 – lena philipsson – it hurts
22 – jc chasez – all day long i dream about sex
21 – estelle – 1980
20 – nick cave & the bad seeds – nature boy
19 – 3 of a kind – babycakes
18 – junior boys – high come down
17 – chromeo – needy girl
16 – kelis – trick me
15 – the knife – heartbeats/rex the dog mix
14 – the streets – blinded by the lights
13 – belle & sebastian – your cover’s blown/wrapped up in books (ep)
12 – kelis ft andre 3000 – millionaire
11 – kanye west – through the wire
10 – eamon – f**k it (i don’t want you back)
9 – johnny boy – you are the generation that bought more shoes and you get what you deserve
8 – belle & sebastian – i’m a cuckoo/avalanches remix
7 – the streets – dry your eyes
6 – portobella – covered in punk
5 – morrissey – irish blood, english heart
4 – franz ferdinand – take me out
3 – kanye west ft twista & jamie foxx – slow jamz
2 – basement jaxx ft lisa kekaula – good luck

Back later, when I’ll be appending this post with the Number One single of 2004.


1. Lola’s Theme – Shapeshifters

1999: Westside – TQ
1994: Bits And Pieces – Artemisia
1989: She Bangs The Drums – The Stone Roses
1984: Relax – Frankie Goes To Hollywood
2004-01

How unexpected that, in a year where it became less relevant to my life than ever before, my favourite two singles of the year should both have emerged from “dance” culture. But then there’s no arguing with this kind of sheer, unassailable magnificence.

What makes Lola’s Theme so special is simply this: that it can single-handedly turn a shit night out into a great night out. Instantly. For during the few minutes that it’s playing, even the bleakest, shoddiest dive on the planet can glimpse transcendence – and even the most wretched of lost souls can experience redemption. As for me, I’m not ashamed to say that I have openly wept to this record in the middle of a crowded dancefloor – and have felt all the better for having done so.

All of which means that, thanks to a cannily timed vote earlier in the day, WE HAVE A WINNER!

Step forward Chav Gav: citizen of Leith, frequently mentioned in dispatches at Naked Blog, and even a very occasional blogger in his own right. (I remember this lurid tale particularly vividly.) E-mail me with your address, and I’ll stick the CDs in the post.

However. I do feel that a consolation prize is due to one poor soul: a dogged tryer in this contest, who has dolefully admitted that he never wins anything, and who came so agonisingly close to tasting victory this week.

dave: The CDs are yours as well, mate.

(How could I ever refuse? You’ll feel like you win when you lose! Oy!)

I hope that at least some of you have enjoyed this ridiculously long and drawn-out spectacle over the last few weeks. It has probably cost me what little chance I had of winning a Bloggie, but f**k it: I still have my integrity, and isn’t that infinitely more important than these mere baubles?

(You know: for a moment there, I almost convinced myself.)

To the rest of you: thank you for bearing my indulgence with such good grace, and I hope that you managed to mine at least some small measure of value from all the trainspotterishness. I know this isn’t a music-blog, and I’ve not even been particularly aspiring/adhering to music journalist values during this series. What I’ve really been trying to do – especially in some of the longer pieces, as highlighted in bold in the list above – is talk about music as it relates to my own personal experience, rather than to the world at large. In this respect, maybe I haven’t really departed so far from “personal” blogging after all.

There will now be a brief refractory period, during which I shall endeavour not to talk about music at all for a couple of weeks or so – at least until the next overblown blog stunt comes along. (Long-standing readers will know of what I speak.) Wish me luck!

Listed:
#1 Lola’s Theme – Shapeshifters (chav gav) · #4 Take Me Out – Franz Ferdinand (Blue Witch) ·#7 Dry Your Eyes – The Streets (dave again) · #15 Heartbeats – The Knife (Swish David) · #16Trick Me – Kelis (Ben) · #19 Babycakes – 3 Of A Kind (dave) · #29 Girls (rex the dog mix) – The Prodigy (Waitrose David) · #32 Toxic – Britney Spears (Angus) · #36 I Believe In You – Kylie Minogue (Joe) · #38 Love Machine – Girls Aloud (Alan) · #49 The Show – Girls Aloud (Paul) ·#64 Take Your Mama – Scissor Sisters (Chig) · #85 Matinee – Franz Ferdinand (timothy)Not listed:
Tits On The Radio – Scissor Sisters (Todd) · Filthy/Gorgeous – Scissor Sisters (asta) · Common People – William Shatner & Joe Jackson (Gary F.) · Real To Me – Brian McFadden (Alan again) ·Music Is My Boyfriend – Hidden Cameras (timothy again) · Double Drop – Fierce Girl (Chig again) · Galang – MIA (dave, for the third time)

Singles, Albums & Gigs of 2003.

Singles of 2003

1 ignition (remix) – r.kelly (if you’re wondering why, then this might help…)
2 comfortably numb – scissor sisters
3 no letting go – wayne wonder
4 hey ya! – outkast
5 club “kung fu” – vanilla ninja
6 rock your body – justin timberlake
7 crazy in love – beyoncé & jay-z
8 in da club – 50 cent
9 i luv u – dizzee rascal
10 hurt – johnny cash
11 laura – scissor sisters
12 milkshake – kelis
13 strict machine – goldfrapp
14 out of time – blur
15 open your heart – birgitta
16 never leave you (uh oh, uh oh) – lumidee
17 bad day – rem
18 frontin’ – pharrell williams feat. jay-z
19 good boys – blondie
20 are you ready for love – elton john
21 don’t look the other way – pleasure feat. justine frischmann
22 ooh wee – mark ronson feat. ghostface & nate dogg
23 eighties coming back – ruffus
24 the seed – the roots
25 forever more – moloko
26 lucky star – basement jaxx feat. dizzee rascal
27 lose yourself – eminem
28 bitch at the brits – readers wifes
29 maybe – emma bunton
30 superstar – jamelia
31 feel good time – pink feat. william orbit
32 no good advice – girls aloud
33 birthday – junior boys
34 tour de france – kraftwerk
35 cry me a river – justin timberlake
36 mad world – michael andrews feat. gary jules
37 seven nation army – white stripes
38 hooked on radiation – atomizer
39 i believe in a thing called love – the darkness
40 leave right now – will young
41 all over – lisa maffia
42 me and giuliani down by the schoolyard (a true story) – !!!
43 all the things she said – tATu
44 el papichulo – ragga reyes
45 train – goldfrapp
46 sweet dreams my la ex – rachel stevens
47 real things – javine
48 mundian to bach ke – panjabi mc
49 stole – kelly rowland
50 gay bar – electric six
51 step into my office baby – belle & sebastian
52 the golden path – chemical brothers feat. wayne coyne
53 house of jealous lovers – the rapture
54 red morning light – kings of leon
55 hot in herre – tiga
56 crazy beat – blur
57 where is the love? – black eyed peas feat. justin timberlake
58 fix my sink – dj sneak
59 satisfaction – benny benassi
60 we want your soul – free*land

Delayed from 2003:
losing my edge – lcd soundsystem
witness the pitness – pitman

Albums of 2003

1 johnny cash – the man comes around
2 goldfrapp – black cherry
3 blur – think tank
4 mariza – fado curvo
5 kraftwerk – tour de france soundtracks
6 yo la tengo – summer sun
7 david bowie – reality
8 moloko – statues
9 john boden & jon spiers – bellow
10 steely dan – everything must go
11 john cale – hobo sapiens
12 hidden cameras – the smell of our own
13 erlend oye – unrest
14 ibrahim ferrer – buenos hermanos
15 madonna – american life
16 robert wyatt – cuckooland
17 manitoba – up in flames
18 outkast – speakerboxx/the love below
19 belle & sebastian – dear catastrophe waitress
20 dizzee rascal – boy in da corner
21 super furry animals – phantom power
22 radiohead – hail to the thief
23 massive attack – 100th window
24 basement jaxx – kish kash
25 rokia traore – bowmboi
26 joss stone – the soul sessions
27 justin timberlake – justified
28 kings of leon – youth & young manhood
29 white stripes – elephant
30 kelis – tasty
31 chicks on speed – 99 cents
32 bonnie prince billy – master & everyone
33 zongamin – zongamin
34 mountain goats – tallahassee
35 calexico – feast of wire
36 richard x – richard x presents his x-factor vol.1
37 yat-kha – tuva.rock
38 amy winehouse – frank
39 ojo de brujos – bari
40 bent – the everlasting blink

Duds / disappointments / can’t-see-what-all-the-fuss-is-abouts:
1 elvis costello – north
2 colder – again
3 vivian green – a love story
4 four tet – rounds
5 grandaddy – sumday

Delayed but played:
1 red hot chilli peppers – by the way
2 mariza – fado em mim
3 ulrich schnauss – far away trains passing by
4 duoud – wild serenade
5 interpol – turn on the bright lights
6 johnny cash – american vol.3
7 remy shand – the way I feel
8 omara portuondo – omara portuondo
9 mr. scruff – trouser jazz
10 amalia rodriguez – the art of amalia
11 susana baca – espiritu vivo
12 john peel – fabriclive 07
13 the roots – phrenology
14 four tet – pause
15 the datsuns – the datsuns

Compilations:
1 hotel pelirocco: music from the legendary hotel
2 pet shop boys – pop art
3 peanut butter wolf – badmeaningood vol.3
4 joey & norman jay: good times vol.3
5 chris coco & rob da bank – the blue room
6 sex: too fast to live too young to die
7 jacques lu cont – fabriclive 09
8 jamiroquai – late night tales
9 bent – fabriclive 11
10 4 hero – life: styles
11 andy smith – the document II
12 swayzak – fabric 11

Gigs of 2003

1 goldfrapp
2 datsuns, polyphonic spree, interpol, the thrills
3 mariza
4 scissor sisters
5 rem
6 rolling stones
7 david bowie
8 radiohead
9 daevid allen’s university of errors, here and now
10 scissor sisters, atomizer, readers wifes, synthetic pleasures
11 polyphonic spree, mull historical society
12 flaming lips
13 yo la tengo
14 arthur lee & love
15 manitoba, four tet
16 yes
17 calexico
18 ulrich schnauss
19 jon spencer blues explosion
20 broadcast
21 chicks on speed
22 mark gardner
23 the music
24 sophie ellis bextor
25 gotan project

Troubled Diva’s Albums Of 2002.

1. the streets – original pirate material
Maybe not the most played – but certainly the most original, arresting and affecting. And funny. Entirely new, and yet fitting into a fine tradition of “urban” albums which stretches back through Ian Dury, The Specials, Blur, and Those Of That Ilk.

2. lemon jelly – lost horizons
Because every time I hear it, it just puts me into the best mood possible. Deliciously inventive.

3. jim o’rourke – insignificance
OK, so this is the very template of Uncut magazine approved, finely honed, intelligently crafted, Neo-Americana Nouveau, or whatever we’re supposed to call it. But in a good way. Endless richness, variety, subtlety and depth – and I never even got round to analysing the lyrics. Simply put, I didn’t tire of playing this all year.

4. ms. dynamite – a little deeper
Because sometimes, the Critical Consensus does get things absolutely right. Admirable, noble, mature beyond its years and – surely? – impossible to dislike.

5. the coral – the coral
Gawd, I’m a bit bloody Mercury Music Prize in my tastes this year, aren’t I? I can see why this album might irritate some people (too precocious, too derivative, too bloody Scouse by half) – but for all that, it still scratches where I itch.

6. salif keita – moffou
A late climber up my chart of 2002. In strict musicianly terms, this would be my album of the year without a shadow of doubt. But hey, since when has this been solely about the musicianship? Immaculate stuff, though. If you only listen to one “world music” album from last year, then I urge you to make it this one.

7. solomon burke – don’t give up on me
Deep soul legend returns after many years, with songs donated by all the best people. The result is a slow-burning, smouldering triumph.

8. dj shadow – the private press
Surprise of the year, as I was far from convinced by his alleged “classic” debut, Endtroducing. Can’t argue with friskily inventive electronica like this though. We don’t still call this Trip Hop, do we?

9. aim – hinterland
Bought it – quite liked it – went right off it – re-discovered it – ended up loving it. Slow burner of the year.

10. charles webster – born on the 24th of july
Moody mood music from Nottingham’s erstwhile Mister Moody of deep house, now gone all languidly downtempo and sounding even better for it. Sounds particularly great in the car, when tootling round the Peak District on a moody afternoon.

11. david bowie – heathen
Oh no, honestly, he’s really back on form these days! Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look – I’ve heard Earthling, okay? Except…well, whaddya know? He really is back on form these days. Easily his best album since Scary Monsters. And ooh, don’t he look well for his age? And him such a heavy smoker and all…

12. soulwax – 2 many djs
Bootlegs and electroclash: the two big fads of the Spring were combined to stonking effect on this monster monster party jam of a mix CD. “Danger! High Voltage!”

13. papa noel & papi oviedo – bana congo
Congolese-Cuban fusion music. Not half as silly as it sounds. There is the most wonderful sense of freedom, abandonment and experimentation on this record – and yet it is all so exquisitely marshalled into shape.

14. missy elliott – under construction
Back to her hip-hop block party roots, and all that (you’ve read the reviews, right?) Just the sort of re-connection that hip-hop sorely needs, if you ask me.

15. city rockers present futurism vol.1
A monument to all that was cool and groovy about electroclash (and there was plenty of it, make no mistake). Most of the genre’s top tunes can be found right here.

16. koop – waltz for koop
We don’t still call this Acid Jazz, do we? A perfect soundtrack for the early evening cocktail hour.

17. herrmann & kleine – our noise
Leftfield obscurity of the year. Everything that Boards Of Canada’s Geogaddi promised to be, but wasn’t.

18. doves – the last broadcast
And I don’t even like overly earnest Epic Rock! No arguing with this, though.

19. blind boys of alabama – higher ground
Ancient old blues codgers show us all how it’s done. Just like they did the previous year, in fact.

20. youssou n’dour – nothing’s in vain
Diluted with commercial Western influences, you say? Well – yes, I can see that. Still bloody good, though. Unfairly dismissed by the self-appointed world music cognoscenti, in my humble opinion.

21. lambchop – is a woman
22. beck – sea change
23. cornershop – handcream for a generation
24. joni mitchell – travelogue
25. beth gibbons & rustin’ man – out of season
26. fc kahuna – machine says yes
27. groove armada – another late night
28. warchild: 1 love
29. a late junction compilation vol.1
30. orchestre baobab – specialist in all styles

Bubbling under:
chemical brothers – come with us
death in vegas – scorpio rising
flaming lips – yoshimi battles the pink robots
groove armada – lovebox
masters at work – our time is coming
mum – finally we are no one
my computer – vulnerabilia
norah jones – come away with me
pet shop boys – release
sigur ros – ()
soft cell – cruelty without beauty
thievery corporation – the richest man in babylon
underworld – a hundred days off

Delayed but played:
angie stone – mahogany soul
black rebel motorcycle club – b.r.m.c.
blind boys of alabama – spirit of the century
fischerspooner – #1
ladytron – 604
shuggie otis – inspiration information
susheela raman – salt rain

Disappointments:
boards of canada – geogaddi
wilco – yankee hotel foxtrot

Dud:
india.arie – voyage to india

Troubled Diva’s Singles Of 2002.

Note that these have been chosen just as much for personal, sentimental, soundtrack-to-my-life reasons as they have been for objective, music-critic, landmarks-in-the-evolving-history-of-pop reasons. Because, at the end of the day, these are singles. That’s how they work.

1. the streets – weak become heroes
2. doves – there goes the fear
3. pet shop boys – home and dry
4. sugababes – freak like me
5. x-press 2 featuring david byrne – lazy
6. narcotic thrust – safe from harm
7. pink – family portrait
8. david bowie – everyone says ‘hi’
9. missy elliott – work it
10. db boulevard – point of view
11. truth hurts featuring rakim – addictive
12. shakira – wherever, whenever
13. angie stone – wish i didn’t miss you
14. queens of the stone age – no one knows
15. fischerspooner – emerge
16. doves – pounding
17. sugababes – round round
18. manic street preachers – there by the grace of god
19. frou frou – breathe in
20. tweet – oops (oh my)
21. belle lawrence – evergreen
22. ms. dynamite – dy-na-mi-tee
23. beyoncé – work it out
24. underworld –two months off
25. mull historical society – watching xanadu
26. aaliyah – more than a woman
27. brandy – what about us
28. bright eyes – lover i don’t have to love
29. the coral – goodbye
30. jakatta featuring seal – my vision
31. cornershop – lessons learned from rocky i to rocky iii
32. dj shadow – you can’t go home again
33. who da funk featuring jessica eve – shiny disco balls
34. layo & bushwacka! – love story
35. puretone – addicted to bass
36. chemical brothers – star guitar
37. badly drawn boy – silent sigh
38. the coral – dreaming of you
39. my computer – vulnerabilia
40. the bellrays – they glued your head on upside down

Bubbling under:
alizee – moi…lolita
the d4 – party
liberty x – just a little
justin timberlake – like i love you

Worst single of the year:
atomic kitten – the tide is high

Troubled Diva’s Gigs Of 2002.

Note that reviews of a lot of these gigs can be found by following the links from the we saw… (live reviews) section on my sidebar.

1. Le Tigre / Valerie
Attitudinous, shouty, colourful, eloquent, angry, groovy, cool, sussed, delirious, provocative, visual, inspirational, timeless/contemporary, femino-punk heaven. As perfect a gig as anyone could ever wish for. What’s more, Kathleen Hanna seemed to think the same way. We all struck it lucky that night.

2. Kevin Ayers
Some old heroes actually won’t let you down. More than made up for the disappointment of 22 years ago. Great guitarist he’s got with him these days.

3. Brian Wilson
Despite some early wobbles, this is a concert that – in my memory of it – has steadily grown in stature ever since. Always a good sign. And he played Pet Sounds in full, and I ask you: what could be better than that?

4. Neil Diamond
A masterclass in how to work an arena crowd. The most extraordinary synergy between performer and audience that I have ever seen.

5. Patti Smith
Age has not dimmed her. Incandescent, righteous stuff.

6. Groove Armada / Dirty Vegas
Groove Armada smash up the coffee table and get back to their dance roots. If only their new album had sounded half this good. Dirty Vegas: best received support act of the year.

7. The Bellrays / The D4
Rock. And. F***ing. Roll!!!

8. Doves / The Coral / Athlete
While the much anticipated Coral mostly disappointed, the previously dismissed Doves had me converted in a trice. Best set opening of the year (Pounding, There Goes The Fear). So good that I even moshed – and I do not mosh. Oh, and we liked Athlete. Nice boys.

9. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
The Jesus And Mary Chain re-incarnated. Actually, I remember very few details from this gig. Which is sometimes the best indication.

10. Butterflies Of Love / Tompaulin / The Chemistry Experiment
And the same thing applies for the Butterflies. Soundtrack to a damned good piss-up, essentially.

11. Richard Ashcroft
First half: pleasant, competent, somewhat dull. Second half: just stunning. Best vocal performance of the year.

12. The Streets / Blackalicious
Mike Skinner makes it all look so deceptively easy. Much sharper than he likes to pretend he is.

13. Kylie Minogue
And she even reached all the right notes, bless her! Spectacle of the year. If only we had danced a bit more.

14. Oasis
This one was all about the crowd. Plus, Liam was born to sing My Generation. He may be a twat, but he still makes a damned good rock star.

15. The Libertines
Full on! An unstoppable force of nature. Shortest set of the year. Not a minute wasted.

16. Badly Drawn Boy
Surprisingly charming. Longest set of the year. Not a minute wasted.

17. Pulp
In Sherwood Forest, no less. Will we ever see their like again?

18. The Musical Box
Genesis tribute band! Oh yes! That Selling England By The Pound tour in full! Yougoddaproblemwiddatorsumpin?

19. Pet Shop Boys
Real instruments! Musicianly values! No dancers! The occasional faint glimpses of emotion! Whatever next?

20. Manic Street Preachers / Ian Brown
The Manics started brilliantly, sagged badly, then rallied just in time. Ian Brown is an arrogant, talentless wanker with no singing voice whatsoever, and turned in by far the worst performance of the year.

Honorary Mentions:

Damo Suzuki’s Network / The Telescopes
Hours and hours of densely improvised goobeldygook which trod a fine line between genius and tedium. And he hugged us! Each and every one!

Mudhoney / The Alchemysts / The Catheters
Skull-crushingly heavy. Not Really My Thing, but plenty of good reasons for being plenty of other people’s Thing.

J Mascis
Amazing guitar work and all that, BUT I COULDN’T BLOODY SEE ANYTHING!

Duds:

The Thrills
The next big thing? With the amount of money that is being spent on them, this is entirely possible, I’m afraid. Some undeniably great hooks, but minimal stage presence, communication or (most fatally of all) passion. Careerists through and through. Looked like they were quickly, grudgingly “paying their dues” before that all-important Glastonbury tea-time slot next summer (er, whoops!)

Beth Orton / Ed Harcourt
Suffocatingly one-dimensional niceness without end.

Bryan Ferry
Just another day at the office, was it?

Alicia Keys
Oh dear, she’s gone Pop. And stretched every number out to ten minutes plus. Woefully short on focus and…you know…Soul?

Troubled Diva’s Best Albums of 2001

1 ryan adams – gold
call it trad dad retro rock if you must, and sure it’s derivative as hell, but – like oasis in their glory days – ryan’s happy to wear his influences on his sleeve, and he transcends them magnificently.

2 charlatans – wonderland
their best yet – classic rawk swagger, in which timmy discovers falsetto and drops the angst.

3 super furry animals – rings around the world
vastly ambitious, endlessly inventive, never a dull moment: a “pet sounds” for the new millennium.

4 dolly parton – little sparrow
abandoning the nashville rhinestones, getting back to her bluegrass roots, and revealing her true vocal talent.

5 spacek – curvatia
moody mix of d’angelo style funk with downbeat electronica, which takes a few listens before worming its way into your skull – perfect weekend morning music (but be warned: it needs a decent hi-fi to avoid sounding muddy).

6 basement jaxx – rooty
more consistent than “remedy”, though maybe lacking its highlights – a whole heap of eclectic fun in a crisis year for dance.

7 whiskeytown – pneumonia
the “other” ryan adams album this year (though “heartbreaker” would have been album of the year if it hadn’t been released in 2000).

8 alicia keys – songs in a minor
took a long time to get into this one, but it’s the classiest soul collection of the year, from “a major new talent” (hopefully).

9 pulp – we love life
their third album in a row which accurately mirrors my current state of mind – is jarvis telepathic or what?

10 leonard cohen – ten new songs
simple language (and fewer jokes), but the songs are as complex as ever; allegedly his “dance album”!

11 herbert – bodily functions
if cherry red records had ever released jazzy deep house, it might have sounded like this – wet tuesday afternoon music which you can still twitch to.

12 daft punk – discovery
an album which I returned to at the end of the year, only to discover it sounded fresher than ever.

13 radiohead – amnesiac
“kid a” did it better, but this will do fine for now (I’m biased) – only could we have some more songs next time, please?

14 röyksopp – melody a.m.
in a sudden glut of chillout cds, this one stood out as having noticeably more rhythms, guts and ideas – my prediction for 2002’s slow burning word of mouth hit (like goldfrapp in 2001).

15 gotan project – la revancha del tango
accordion-led tango meets slinky electronica – dinner party cd of the year!

16 r.e.m. – reveal
I preferred them when they were being leftfield, but you can’t argue with accessible, commercial tunes like these.

17 missy elliott – miss e ..so addictive
can’t believe this is only #17, but it’s been an unusually strong year for albums – top 10 in any other year.

18 india.arie – acoustic soul
creamy classic soul with an acoustic leaning, like the lady says.

19 turin brakes – the optimist
on paper, everything I hate (travis meets del amitri meets crowded house), but somehow, it really works.

20 white stripes – white blood cells
great for when you’re doing the washing up late at night, pissed.

21 sunshine anderson – your woman
22 bjork – vespertine
23 playgroup – playgroup
24 avalanches – since i left you
25 mercury rev – all is dream

Delayed but played:
ryan adams – heartbreaker
lemon jelly – lemon jelly.ky
goldfrapp – felt mountain
slaid cleaves – broke down

Troubled Diva’s Best Singles of 2001

1 missy elliott – get ur freak on
2 kylie minogue – can’t get you out of my head
3 dandy warhols – bohemian like you
4 the ones – flawless
5 india.arie – video
6 charlatans – a man needs to be told
7 squarepusher – my red hot car (girl)
8 sunshine anderson – heard it all before
9 pulp – the trees / sunrise
10 ryan adams – new york, new york
11 andrew wk – party hard
12 new order – crystal
13 s club 7 – don’t stop movin’
14 daft punk – digital love
15 basement jaxx – romeo
16 ben folds – rockin the suburbs
17 photek feat robert owens – mine to give
18 destiny’s child – bootylicious
19 alicia keys – fallin’
20 aaliyah feat timbaland – we need a resolution
21 avalanches – since i left you
22 outkast – ms. jackson
23 roger sanchez – another chance
24 felix da housecat – silver screen shower scene
25 5ive – let’s dance
26 ben & jason – the wild things
27 super furry animals – (drawing) rings around the world
28 groove armada – my friend
29 super furry animals – juxtapozed with u
30 jakatta – american dream
31 jon cutler feat e-man – it’s yours
32 basement jaxx – where’s your head at
33 destiny’s child – survivor
34 ash – shining light
35 britney spears – i’m a slave 4u
36 radiohead – knives out
37 ash – burn baby burn
38 r.e.m. – imitation of life
39 charlatans – love is the key
40 pj harvey – this is love

Troubled Diva’s Best Films of 2001

1. Memento
2. Together
3. Moulin Rouge
4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
5. Shrek

Troubled Diva’s Best Books of 2001

1. Last Night A DJ Saved My Life – Bill Brewster
2. The Rotters Club – Jonathan Coe
3. The Night Listener – Armistead Maupin

Troubled Diva’s Best Gigs of 2001

1. Yes
2. Gong / Hawkwind
3. Madonna (twice!)
4. John Martyn
5. Goldfrapp
6. Super Furry Animals
7. Slaid Cleaves
8. Pulp
9. Air
10. Pernice Brothers
11. Ryan Adams
12. Gorkys Zygotic Mynci

Top 20 singles & albums of 2000.

1. eminem – stan
2. bloodhound gang – the bad touch
3. ronan keating – life is a rollercoaster
4. pj harvey – good fortune
5. kelis – good stuff
6. damage – ghetto romance
7. eminem – the real slim shady
8. angie stone – life story
9. moby – porcelain
10. wookie – battle
11. ruff endz – no more
12. badly drawn boy – disillusion
13. robbie williams – rock dj
14. azzido da bass – dooms night (timo maas mix)
15. cousteau – she don’t hear your prayer
16. madonna – music
17. britney spears – oops!…i did it again
18. aaliyah – try again
19. lambchop – up with people
20. laurent garnier – the man with the red face

1. Madonna – Music
2. Radiohead – Kid A
3. Kathryn Williams – Little Black Numbers
4. Kelis – Kaleidoscope
5. Cousteau – Cousteau
6. Jill Scott – Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds Vol. 1
7. Lambchop – Nixon
8. St. Germain – Tourist
9. Dusted – When We Were Young
10. Wookie – Wookie
11. Chicks On Speed – Will Save Us All!
12. Robbie Williams – Sing When You’re Winning
13. PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
14. Bent – Programmed To Love
15. Thievery Corporation – The Mirror Conspiracy
16. Calexico – Hot Rail
17. Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour Of Bewilderbeast
18. Brothers In Sound – Family Is For Sharing
19. Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now
20. Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain

Delayed but played:
Angie Stone – Black Diamond

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