Tag Archives: John Legend

Top 11 Albums of 2005

And so begins my obsession with making my ‘Top 11’.

Firstly, why eleven? A combination of a Spinal Tap joke, that eleven is obviously one better than ten, the need to be that little bit different and the fact that when you make top tens, you’re always plagued by that one you had to leave out! 11 is quite an aesthetically pleasing numeral as well, don’t you think? All long leggy streamlined strokes… (ok, obsessing too much now, please stop).

Secondly, this list required a lot of editing. When this was originally published, I included greatest hits collections, frankly because I hadn’t been bothered or inclined to listen to many other albums that year (the top seven on this list are still some of my favourite albums of all-time and completely hogged my CD player… yes, back in the days when we all still listened to CDs). I’d still love to include Basement Jaxx’s Singles Collection in the list as it’s a totally perfect record but it really doesn’t seem fair. Meanwhile, Natalie Imbruglia’s Counting Down The Days has always quietly been one of my all-time favourites without me ever having any conception of when it was released; also, with the benefit of hindsight, age and wisdom (ha!), two albums that actually made my ‘Worst’ list also reach the top eleven! So you can’t say I never admit to being wrong!

The Top 11 Albums of 2005 include the first great Girls Aloud album, the last great Sugababes album and the only great Rachel Stevens album. Enjoy!

1.            Girls Aloud Chemistry
Words cannot express the pure unadulterated joy and pleasure Chemistry brought me. In fact, it’s orgasmic stuff. Girls Aloud took every rule about pop music and stomped all over them in white stilettos, whilst rapping nonsense, slinging hooks like a heavyweight boxer, making train noises and generally looking rather beautiful. Vive la Aloud.

2.         John Legend Get Lifted
There has not been a more beautiful voice, or a more beautiful album, this year… FACT. Legend lives up to his name with this absolutely stunning debut, whilst that super-smooth voice slips down like errrr… a really lovely cough lozenge?! OK so the similes aren’t really working for me tonight…

3.         KT Tunstall Eye To The Telescope
People tried to say she was the new Dido, the new Melua or the new *insert boring female singer-songwriter here* but trust me, she’s much much better. The heartbreakingly beautiful Other Side of the World meant fans of afore-mentioned boring female singer-songwriters bought the album, only to be surprised by this surprisingly varied and accomplished debut. The real highlight – Tunstall’s gorgeously throaty voice and the amazingly infectious, potentially defined as folk but never mind Black Horse and The Cherry Tree. All together now… (it’s off the ads) woooooohoooooooo….

4.            Rachel Stevens – Come And Get It
The British public didn’t really go and get it but more fool them. For sheer pop, it’s hard to better Rachel’s sophomore effort, which sees her spin an electro tour-de-force with the might of pop’s best producers behind her. Ignore the personality vacuum that is Rachel herself, quietly sucking away all charisma with Dyson-esque efficiency, and instead concentrate on pop gems that sparkle even more brightly than Queen Madge’s disco-ball.

5.            Madonna – Confessions On A Dancefloor
With Confessions, the Queen of Pop returned, polished crown and lyrca leotard in tow, to create her best album in years. Disco taken to new levels of sleek and shiny glamour, this was an album that really worked well as one (ultra-toned) body of work, proving the 47 year-old still has what it takes. Dancefloor euphoria, plus it has an Abba sample… awesome.

6.            Sugababes – Taller In More Ways
Missing Mutya already (actually scrap that, because Amelle is my new favourite girl-group member since the halcyon days of Ginger Spice and whichever member of Girls Aloud I’m into this week), Taller In More Ways marked a triumphant comeback for Britain’s coolest girl group. Showcasing a perfect blend of vocal harmonies, the Sugababes dish up plate after plate of daily specials, proving why they’re still the best in the business. Pulsating electro, cool r n b, lush balladry and pure pop storms are all served with consummate ease – and not a dance routine in sight.

7.            Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway
Worth a place just for the anthemic Since U Been Gone and Behind These Hazel Eyes, Miss Clarkson’s album is perfect for anyone whose love life makes the comings and goings at Hollyoaks seem pedestrian. Or just anyone who appreciates the best pop-rawk you’ll find this decade. Full of throaty gutsy angst, backed by tunes strong enough to blast your ex back to the hole from which he crawled, Breakaway is the album Avril Lavigne should have made… if she was actually any good.

8.            Natalie Imbruglia – Counting Down The Days
An album far more delicately beautiful than you’d expect with a Neighbours alumni at the helm, Counting Down The Days made no bones about its main asset – glorious, ethereal loveliness seeping from its every pore. In fact, it just about makes up for the days when Natalie and her artfully floppy hair was never off our screens during the Torn-era.

9.            Kaiser Chiefs – Employment
Jollier than Santa after a dozen brandies, the enjoyable thing about the Kaisers is that they take themselves far less seriously than the likes of other supposed indie bands, instead making songs that just holler to be pogo-ed along to on a Saturday night out. ‘Ooooooooooo… watching the people get lairy’ is possibly one of my favourite opening lyrics… ever.

10.            Pussycat Dolls – PCD
Sexy, skanky, slutty – but hey, they have great dance routines! Less an album and more a smorgasbord of hit after hit, if you can ignore the fact that the PCD have less soul than they do revealing clothing, this was a great party album.

11.            Goldfrapp – Supernature
Black Cherry will forever be my favourite Goldfrapp album, but Supernature does a decent job of diluting Black Cherry’s dark sparkle to a more mainstream audience. From the irresistibly sexy Ooh La La to the swoonsome slink of Number 1, this glacial glide through electro couldn’t be more cohesive unless it was held together with Superglue.

21 Best Singles Of 2005

Believe it or not, back in the heady days of 2005, I wasn’t Teentoday’s only writer. Consequently, I wasn’t the one who got to write the Best Singles Of 2005 list – a crying shame, as it was a stellar year for pop music. Obviously, I couldn’t let this pass and cobbled up my own list retrospectively instead.

Looking back, I was amazed how many amazing songs there were that didn’t ever make number one (the UK chart peak is listed in brackets). Oh well, they have the last laugh – who’s singing The Crazy Frog now?!

1.            Biology – Girls Aloud (4)
Not content with making one stellar pop song, Xenomania decided to make three instead, then squish them all into the same record – just because they can. Countless hooks jostle for breathing space amongst ridiculous dance routines and even more ridiculous lyrics. Best pop song of the noughties? I think we have a winner.

2.            Ordinary People – John Legend (27)
Beauty, class and feeling encapsulated into four minutes and forty-one seconds that goes by all too quickly. Subtle but soaring.

3.         Since U Been Gone – Kelly Clarkson (5)
Best break-up song, evah?! Slinging drippy-eyed ballads to the wayside, Clarkson sings, shouts and stomps her way to post-Idol brilliance. All together now – ‘I’m so moving on, YEAH YEAAAAAAAAH!’ How was this not number one?!

4.         Feel Good Inc – Gorillaz (2)
Despite beginning with a sinister cackle, babbling on about windmills for most of the rest of the song and then sneaking up on you with a brilliant rap section, Feel Good Inc is the very definition of effortless cool. The sound of summer… and autumn… and winter.

5.         Cool – Gwen Stefani (11)
Am I being swayed by the gorgeously-shot Sophie Muller video? Oh, who cares! Cool is a marvellous misty-eyed cruise through getting closure, courtesy of some stunning New-Wave synths. Lush.

6.         I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor – The Arctic Monkeys (1)
The Arctic Monkeys basically played the best trick in the book – took a top-quality pop choon, added guitars and Northern accents, and suddenly even lemon-sucking NME editors were hailing their greatness. Obviously, I’d be listing the even more poptastic Sugababes cover if I could.

7.         Time To Grow – Lemar (9)
Where would the MOBOs be without him?! Time To Grow is a silky-smooth ballad that could sell the idea of moving on to even the most bitter-faced bunny-boiling harpie. Just gorgeous.

8.         Push The Button – Sugababes (1)
Minimalist Dallas-Austin produced electropop, sold with trademark sulky swagger by the Britain’s coolest girl group. Hypnotisingly good.

9.         I Said Never Again (But Here We Are) – Rachel Stevens (12)
Rachel Stevens gets guitars! And drums! And some semblance of a personality! The prospect of letting someone in through your back door never sounded so appealing.

10.            Dakota – Stereophonics (1)
Any song that mitigates Kelly Jones’ insufferable smugness must indeed be a thing of greatness. Dakota grows in magnitude with each listen, until you’re forced to admit it simply is one of the finest rock anthems of the decade. Even if you still want to slap Kelly Jones round the face.

11.       Hung Up – Madonna (1)
Take one Abba sample, add a fluorescent pink leotard and mix in a dance routine so hardcore that most lithe-limbed teenagers would bust a muscle even attempting it. Hung Up is a delicious slice of disco, the kind of which you thought died out with Studio 54. Euphoric.

12.            Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire (19)
Astonishingly different and wonderful all at once. If being featured on every soundtrack/advert/epic moment can’t ruin Arcade Fire’s majesty, then you know you’re onto a good thing. [Wake Up is similarly magnificent.]

13.       I Predict A Riot – The Kaiser Chiefs (9)
Making our chart courtesy of a sneaky re-release, I Predict A Riot is a little bit cheeky, a little bit naughty and a whole lot of fun. If there was ever a track that made us consider risking our blow-dry for a spot of high-energy moshing, this was it. *Makes unconvincing rawwwwk hand gesture*

14.       All About You – McFly (1)
Arguably McFly’s last great moment, this awfully pretty love song straddles the fine line between sweet and saccharine. For the most part, it delivers the perfect amount of ‘awwww’, courtesy of touching lyrics and a stirring orchestral section… until the bizarre mention of kitchen tiles, of course.

15.       Switch It On – Will Young (5)
Sounding like early George Michael crossed with a guilty pleasure from an 80s film soundtrack, Switch It On marked young Willard’s first foray into the uptempo. With pounding beats, tap-tastic rhythms and impassioned vocals, we deem it an all-round success. More please.

16.       Do You Want To – Franz Ferdinand (4)
We’re confused. We thought we liked pure pop. But suddenly there’s all these indie bands making what, by any other name, we thought were pure pop choons. Except floppy-haired indie types seem to be enjoying them too. This witty hook-laden track is the perfect example and it’s guaranteed to have you playing air guitar within seconds, even on public transport. Madness.

17. Gold Digger – Kanye West (2)
We don’t really like rap music round these parts. Sounds like talking to us. But even we have to admit that, courtesy of a platinum-plated sample from one of the best (Ray Charles), Kanye created a hand-clapping, hip-grinding, booty-shaking hip-hop classic. WE WANT PRE-NUP!

18.       Fix You – Coldplay (4)
It’s not cool to like Coldplay, but when they create songs this stunning, who cares? Tear-sheddingly beautiful.

19.       Hard To Beat – Hard-Fi (9)
A love song cunningly disguised as a hipster tune. Clever stuff.

20.       Crazy Chick – Charlotte Church (2)
Half barnstorming country record, half unhinged Love Machine rip-off, with vocals set to belt from Wales’ favourite fallen angel.

21.       Oh My Gosh – Basement Jaxx (8)
Quirky, quality dance music, delivered with charm to spare. Enough to make us consider having a mini rave-up at two in the afternoon and we’ve not even had our first rum n’ coke yet. ‘Forget about sugar, have a spoonful of me!’

Three nearly but not quites…
Ooh La La – Goldfrapp, Ticket Outta Loserville – Son Of Dork, Other Side Of The World – K T Tunstall