Tuesday, 3 November 2009

My 1997 Obsessions

A delicate shift sharpens my 1997 countdown - from adult-contemporary ballads and jangly indie tracks to foaming eurodance.

Dannii Minogue's plaintive opera-esque cascade All I Wanna Do pined its way into the British top 4 - I have a soft-porn spot for the high-camp video featuring some fantastic images of the sculpted singer juxtoposed with some very awful ones. Upon seeing Dannii's Adidas ensemble nightmare on TOTP singing the introverted Everything I Wanted with her ill-advised 'bounce bounce' freestyle dancing, I was oddly taken in by its skin-crawlingly sparse arrangement. The rest is history.

Unlike my 1996 list, this is fairly authentic in terms of no later discoveries ingratiate their way in.

01. All I Wanna Do - Dannii Minogue (UK#4, Aus#11)
Dannii's narcassitic masochism remains her best single to date: like Kylie's The One, the intimate pathos is generated through the feeling that she is most likely singing to herself.

02. Freed From Desire - Gala (UK#2, Ita#1)
Gala's skyward arms and overall lesbionic androgyny in the video catapulted my adoration for the singer, not to mention cryptic lyrics that synge more sharply than a heroine addict.

03. Spice Up Your Life - Spice Up Your Life (UK#1, US#18)
I don't think any other all-female act who can't sing have surpassed such epic expectation before so breathtakingly before or since. Of course, with Headlines the opposite was true.

04. Ti Amo (the remixes) - Gina G (UK#11, Lebanon #1)
Gina's wilting Madonna anthem caught fire, but record buyers might have been put off by a singer who looked like a Rita Hayworth drag queen.

05. Who Do You Think You Are - Spice Girls (UK#1, Ire#1)
Their crotch-thumping choreography shall not be forgotten. If only Mel C got the message when they sang 'lose it, bitch'.

06. No Way No Way - Vanilla (UK#14)
Whereas most Essex girls to be found on their knees behind kebab vans never make it big beyond a big facial, these slag-bags delivered the most astonishing middle-8 breakdown rap ever recorded (which the glorious Xeonomania remix crucially omits). Get these girls on the P.A circuit already - I feel pregnant just listening to them.

07. Barbie Girl - Aqua (UK#1, US#7)
Criminally cutting short the Spice Girls' tenure at the top, all is forgiven when it's a tattoed goddess singing like an animated blow-up doll with irony.

08. Uh La La La - Alexia (UK#10, Swe#5)
Despite not being Oprah like I first imagined, the Italian minx shot herself in the face by subsequently turning into the mini-me of Hazel Dean without irony.

09. Don't Speak - No Doubt (UK#1, US#1)
Gwen's best naval-gazing ballad - it still does not excuse 4 In The Morning though.

10. Let A Boy Cry - Gala (UK#11, Ita#1)
I shall never forget Gala's TOTP performance, stunning a game crowd into dancing to this with her unique take on 'the robot' - two girls who never cut the grade to be in Vanilla can be seen chaffing away in the front row as their tops slide down.

11. Just A Girl - No Doubt (UK#3, US#23)
Gwen's Nina Hagen fixation was evident long before What You Waiting For, first brought to my attention of my tenth favourite film of all time Clueless in the 'fall' of 1995. It dropped from UK#3 to 10 and continued to dive out the top 40 very quickly despite being amazing.

12.You & I (Keep Holding On) - Billie Ray Martin
Billie's soulfully rueful expression of the sheer dread is out of this world, this being a qualified Dusty-esque progression from Your Loving Arms yet never became a hit despite boasting her tallest crumbling sky-scraper vocals yet.

13. Fresh! - Gina G (UK#6, AUs#23)
'Hey boys - you wanna get fresh' was my gaydar tag for a long, long time - and I wonder why some guys call themselves 'str8-acting'!

14. Stay - Sash! feat. La Trec (UK#2, Ger#12)
La Trec's incisive vocals really deliver this anthem, and had she have been better looking who knows how many top 40 hits she might have had afterwards.

15. Time To Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman (UK#2, Ger#1)
Ugly-theatre-man's crumpet Brightman may have been upstaged by Donna Summer's makeshift dance version a year later, but this was more soggier than a used tampon left out in the rain.

16. I Wanna Be The Only One - Eternal (UK#1, Ger#14)
When a fuming Esther bares her mid-riff you know she is thinking it is time to get even with Louise, and it paid off with a bible-bashing number 1.

17. Halo - Texas (UK#10)
So good not even Shar could rip this off - she actually wrote the thing apparantly.

18. Some Kind of Bliss - Kylie (UK#22, Aus#27)
Maybe it was her underdog status at the time, but this was the first Kylie song that could not sink any deeper even if I had sat on it.

19. Free - Ultra Nate (UK#4, US#75)
After waiting almost a decade, ultra-fem Ultra finally scored a hit and with looks many lesbians in prison would kill again for, no doubt she scored in more ways than one.

20. She Makes Me Wanna Die - Tricky (UK#29)
It's not really about flirting with death at all, in fact the lyrics are deliciously bitchy and the video is a stunning clip from the Marilyn Manson collaborator. Viciously beautiful.

21. It's No Good - Depeche Mode (UK#5, Ita#1)
Dave's sleaziest vocals to date and probably their last truly great single, with synths coming down for landing and Dave's grazed vocals.

22. Where Do You Go - No Mercy (UK#2, US#5)
One no mercy latin gangbang I would actually pass on, but this was so good even eurobangers La Bouche couldn't top it.

23. Tearing Up My Heart - N-Sync (UK#40/#9, Ger#4)
With Justin and JC both in vests I don't think I made it past the first 30 seconds for at least a few years. Why has JC never had a solo hit?

24. Barrel of A Gun - Depeche Mode (UK#4, Swe#1)

25. Love Shine A Light - Katrina & The Waves (UK#3, Nor#2)
The galloping Xeonomania remix kindly borrows inspiration from the Motiv8 remix of Common People.

26. Let's Go Round Again (PG-Rated Edit) - Louise (UK#10, Ire#14)
The PG-Rated Fierce article obviously reached Louise who has been promising to comeback ever since.

27. You Got The Love - Candi Staton (UK#3)

28. I'll Be There For You - Solid HarmoniE (UK#18, Net#7)
Energetic full-throttle girl-pop that kept up to speed with even the best Spice Girls material such as Move Over and Voodoo.

29. 100% - Mary Kiani (UK#23)
The Motiv8 remix is an enormous avalanche to showcase quivering Kiani's self-harming vocal style.

30. Red Letter Day - Pet Shop Boys (UK#9, Ger#55)
Incorporating an additional Steve Roadway instrumental almost turns the track briefly into a Kelly Llorenna vehicle. With vocals like being let into a block of flats, 'like Christmas morning when you're a kid, admit you love me and you always did' could not be more beautiful even if Tennant could sing.

31. Do You Know - Michelle Gayle (UK#6)
Last heard trying to upstage Gina G attempting to represent the UK at Eurovision, this and Happy Just To Be With You are what she is truly great at.

32. Together Again - Janet Jackson (UK#4, US#1)
Is she harking on about her old nose?

33. Everything I Wanted - Dannii (UK#15, Aus#44)
See Janet. The rippling Xeonomania remix upstages the glistening introversion of the album and slightly more emphatic single edit.

34. Call The Man - Celine Dion (UK#11, Ire#8)
Celine just wants the job done and doesn't mind going public.

35. Did It Again - Kylie (UK#14, Aus#15)
A poor attempt at being bitchy (takes one to know one, etc), this isn't half bad and grows on you like an internal STD.

36. Out of My Head '97 - Maradonna (UK#39)
The Dana look-a-like tranny in the video is fierce, I love the stutterred panting of the chorus.

37. Freedom - Robert Miles ft. Kathy Sledge (UK#15)
Not quite cutting through in the same manner as One & One, Kathy's throaty delirium is spellbinding close to getting it there.

38. Somewhere - Pet Shop Boys (UK#9, Aus#56)

39. Hold Your Head Up High - Boris Dlugosch presents Boom (UK#23)
Z-snapping house music, if a little faceless.

40. Joy - Staxx featuring Carol Leeming (UK#14)
Stays in your head longer than drugs.

41. Where Have All The Cowboys Gone? - Paula Cole (UK#15, US#8)
Presumably she wants to chew them down with her jaw.

42. Arms Around The World - Louise (UK#4, Ire#11)
Just don't tell Janet.

43. Sensational - Michelle Gayle (UK#14)
Sadly not bigging herself up, I am still waiting on the Cascada cover version.

44. As Long As You Love Me - Backstreet Boys (UK#3, Ger#3)

45. Bitch - Meredith Brooks (UK#6, US#2)
I love how this song confirmed critics of Alanis' worst fears, yet how bad it is actually makes it get better with every play.

46. Everybody (Backstreet's Back) - Backstreet Boys (UK#3, US#4)

47. Don't You Love Me - Eternal (UK#3, Ire#23)
'Grandma goes to the store for a loaf of bread' hits harder than Cheryl wearing a mask at a JLS concert.

48. Mmm Bop - Hanson (UK#1, US#1)

49. Say What You Want - Texas (UK#3, Spa#3)
Martika rip-off, a-ha-hu, indeed.

50. Burn - Tina Arena (Aus#2, NZ#36)
Put some cream on it, gurrl!

51. Butterfly - Mariah Carey (UK#22, NZ#15)

52. Home - Depeche Mode (UK#23, Ger#11)

53. Too Gone, Too Long - En Vogue (UK#20, US#33)
Not to be confused with No Fool, No More or Whitney's I Learned From The Best - they all sound so different.

54. Indestructable - Alisha's Attic (UK#12)

55. The Reason - Celine Dion (UK#11, Fra#1)
'The reason I wake up every day' - Rene must pitch quite the tent.

56. Nancy Boy - Placebo (UK#4, Ire#4)

57. Sock It 2 Me - Missy Elliot (UK#33, US#12)

58. You Make Me Wanna - Usher (UK#1, US#2)

59. I Know Where It's At - All Saints (UK#4, Can#2)

60. Never Ever - All Saints (UK#1, Aus#1)

61. Whatever - En Vogue (UK#14, US#16)
The three beautiful remaining girls brutally mock Janet Jackson in the fierce music video.

62. I Don't Wanna Wait - Paula Cole (UK#43, US#11)
Neither do I, Cole, which is why I never made it passed your two singles off the album, gurrl!

63. Angel of Mine - Eternal (UK#4, Swe#10)

64. Never Gonna Let You Go - Tina Moore (UK#7)

65. Sunchyme - Dario G (UK#2)

66. German Bold Italic - Towa Tei featuring Kylie
If only the former Deee-Lite twidler was reunited with Lady Kier instead - Minogue's child-prostitute squeals are NO substitute for the icon Lady Miss Kier.

67. Close To Your Heart - JX ft Shena (UK#18)

68. I'll Be - Foxy Brown (UK#9, US#7)

69. A Change Would Do You Good - Sheryl Crow (UK#8, Can#2)

70. Waterloo Sunset - Cathy Dennis (UK#11)

71. Where Can I Find Love - Livin' Joy (UK#12)

72. (Un Dos Tres) Maria - Ricky Martin (UK#6, Fra #1)
'Maria' is latin for 'I'm a big gay' obviously.

73. Sisters of Avalon - Cyndi Lauper (did not chart - I wonder why)
Let's not go there with her baffling choices for singles, it's a great track if only for her to sing 'reverberating', which she fucking forgot when I seen her in Glasgow last year - oh well, she should have chosen Hot Gets A Little Cold after all then.

74. The Ballad of Cleo & Joe - Cyndi Lauper (US#125)

75. History Repeating - Propellerheads featuring Miss Shirley Bassey (UK#19, Ita#8)
Geri Halliwell's planned comeback cover version Chocoloate Cake Repeating is surely only a matter of months away.

76. Remember Me - Blue Boy (UK#8)
After-hours lounge torch-ballad - regular readers might note I have a weakness for the genre.

77. Drop Dead Gorgeous - Republica (UK#7, Ger#90)
Could only sound better if it were a Crush track.

78. The End Is The Beginning Is The End - Smashing Pumpkins (UK#10, Aus#10)
Okay, my crush on Billy is sometimes hard to justify, but when he is trim and chiselled I make no apologies.

79. No More Talk - Dubstar (UK#20)
With a face that acid couldn't melt, unlinching coldness and aloof atmospheric perfection - I love the disdainful quality that they specialised in.

80. We Come To Party - N-Tyce (UK#12)
Like a slightly dodgy TLC, this is their best single, but they hung around for 1998 thankfully.

81. Just For You - M People (UK#8)
Heather Small's days were numbered, her band's album was wretched MOR crap and crap her solo stuff was even crapper. A seductive glimpse of what they once were.

82. Help The Aged - Pulp (UK#8, Se#56)

83. Got Till It's Gone - Janet Jackson (UK#6, Ger#17)
Is she talking about having her old nose?

84. Underwater Love - Smoke City (UK#4)

85. It's Over - Clock (UK#10)
5 weeks spent on the chart.

86. Hit - Wannadies (UK#20)

87. Before Today - Everything But The Girl (UK#25)

88. California - Belinda Carlisle (UK#31)

89. In Your Car - Kenickie (UK#24)

90. Today's The Day - Sean Maguire (UK#27)

91. Let The Beat Hit 'Em - Shena (UK#28)

92. Hey DJ -N-Tyce (UK#20)

93. Hand In Hand - Grace (UK#38)

94. Air We Breathe - Alisha's Attic (UK#12)


dannii's welcome mat said...

amazing post! you missed out spice girls Too Much tho - what were you thinking?

Diva Incarnate said...

LOVING the alias whomever you are - that's totally my sense of humour.

I don't like that track, but I guess 2 Become 1 was never going to be topped. Viva Forever was alright though...

Mike said...

This is an amazing post! We basically have the same taste. I love all these songs. Like each and every single one.