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2008's Finest Five - Steve Perkins

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Fraser McAlpine | 11:08 UK time, Tuesday, 23 December 2008


2008 has been a rum old year, hasn't it? Bookended by X Factor winners whose impact could not be more different, and stuffed full of random pop thrills from unexpected places. Luckily, your friendly neighbourhood ChartBlog has been on hand to document the highs, the lows, and the wobbly middle bits of a confusing year. And as an extension of this service, the ChartBlog review team have come up with their personal Top 5 Songs Of The Year, starting with Steve Perkins.

Go to it, Stevie! - Fraser

Sugababes - 'Denial'

I feel the need to leap to the defence of this song, because it's one of my favourite tracks off 'Change' and yet has developed something of a reputation amongst pop-pickers as a rubbish song and a terrible single choice (actually, given that it only got to No.15, that second point may indeed be valid).

(Here's the video)

And while it's no 'Overload' or 'Hole In The Head', I think this song gets a raw deal - in an age where the Sugababes are on autopilot most of the time (see: 'About You Now', 'Change' and most certainly the wretched 'Girls'), the "how can a flower bloom just over a day and a night?" line in this is sung in such a beautiful and heartfelt way that it gives me shivers every time, and the bittersweet chorus is the cherry on the cake. And, most importantly, it is not any kind of cover of the song from the Boots advert.

Pull yourselves together, ladies!

Original ChartBlog Review


The Saturdays - 'Up'

Most support bands would be quite happy to have people even remember they exist five minutes after the headline act come on stage. However, when I went to see Girls Aloud live this year, it wasn't any of their songs I was humming when I left the arena - it was this one.

(Here's the video)

I didn't know the title, I barely knew any of the lyrics, but what I did know was that it was an amazing pop song that deserved to be a huge hit, to the extent that I couldn't believe they were going with 'If This Is Love' as their launch single rather than this one. It basically stands and falls on the strength of the chorus, but heck, what a chorus it is.

Original ChartBlog Review


Jordin Sparks ft. Chris Brown - 'No Air'

After rubbish grunge monkey David Cook took the American Idol crown this year, I needed a pick-me-up - how kind of 2007 champ Jordin Sparks to oblige. This song is ridiculously overwrought, but weirdly that's precisely what makes it work. Since Jordin and Chris are both teenagers, it makes sense for them to be singing about love as though it is literally a life or death situation, because isn't that what teenage love feels like? It's rare for any of the US idols (Kelly Clarkson notwithstanding) to make much of a dent in the charts over here, and it remains to be seen if there'll be any longterm success on the horizon for Jordin, but even if everything were to fall apart tomorrow, this is a great signature tune to be remembered by.

(Here's the video)

Also, it's extremely handy that people like myself who refuse to acknowledge the possibility of Katy Perry's 'I Kissed A Girl' being the summer anthem of 2008 can claim this song takes that honour instead.

Original ChartBlog Review


Little Jackie - 'The World Should Revolve Around Me'

As a nice contrast to Jordin and Chris, this song really doesn't take itself seriously at all - lyrics include "there's only one me in the galaxy, I am an endangered species" and "what came first, the chicken nugget or the Egg McMuffin?" It's silly, sure, but it's a deeply endearing silliness delivered with absolutely the right amount of sass. Also, on the EP that this song was a part of, there's a song called 'LOL', which is all about receiving a text that was meant for someone else. What's not to love about that?

(Note: You might need to seek this one out for yourselves, as the official video contains some swearing. As you know, cuss-words are like kryptonite to BBC bloggers)

Original ChartBlog Review


Amanda Jenssen - 'Amarula Tree'

I might be cheating slightly with this one because I don't think it was officially released in the UK at any point, but hey, it was a single released in 2008 somewhere in Europe - that's acceptable, right? Amanda was the runner-up on Idol in Sweden in 2007, and while the old "the runner-up does better in the long run" excuse is often trotted out fallaciously, I gather there's actually some truth to that in Sweden because the winner's album comes out a few weeks after the final show. Yep, not single - album.

(Here's the video...)

Anyway, this song is lovely - the lyrics to the verses are a bit rubbish, but the chorus is an absolute thing of beauty, both in terms of Amanda's raw and emotional vocal and the mournful brass section that runs underneath it. Maybe I'm a big girls' blouse, but it just moves me, every time. Note to all present and future 'kooky' and/or 'edgy' X Factor contestants (Vickers, White - this means you): this is how you're supposed to do it.


Bubbling Under:
Estelle - 'No Substitute Love'
(Shamefully overlooked)
Britney Spears - 'Womanizer'
(Woma womanizer you're a womanizer)
Alesha Dixon - 'The Boy Does Nothing'
(A novelty song, essentially, but a damn good one)
Kitty Daisy and Lewis - 'Going Up The Country'
(Still puts a smile on my face)

Coming Soon: Hazel Robinson's Top 5, and Fraser's too!



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