11 Songs That Were Perfectly Appropriate to Have Been #1 on Valentine’s Day

My colon is clean. I don’t have two-shits to give about Valentine’s Day but since I woke up this morning with a sudden, uncontrollable desire to revisit Celine Dion‘s love songs compilation (and have been merrily screeching along to all the top notes), I started to wonder what songs happened to have been #1 on Valentine’s Day over last 30 years or so.

February 14th is such a major date in the marketing calendar and no “””holiday””” has been better constructed with the sole purpose of exploiting romance and loneliness quite like this one, so it actually made sense to look back on what records were being pushed to death around this time of the year.

For every strategically timed single release that failed to top the charts, (Hi ya, Victoria Beckham ‘A Mind of Its Own’ circa 2002!) there were plenty who hit the mark and either had us all giddy with euphoria or weeping into a tub of Häagen-Dazs.

Here are 11 perfectly spot on Valentine’s Day chart-toppers:

Whitney Houston ‘How Will I Know’ (1986, US)

Believe it or not Whitney‘s first banger was actually a Janet Jackson reject. This joyous, fluorescent pop tune brings all my favourite elements of 80s pop, yearning and sentimental lyrics with really vibrant synths, big drums and big vocals. It doesn’t matter where in the world I am, I’ll feel instantly at home at any gay dive bar that plays this.

Cher ‘Believe’ (1999, Australia)

Speaking of gay dive bars! I guess we are where we are. I’m picturing a sea of blonde highlights in cargo pants in a heaving nightclub, green laser lights catching the sweat on heavily plucked brows. Everybody here is picturing someone they’d love to sing these words to. A survivalist dance anthem like ‘Believe’ and ‘I Will Survive’ really only comes around once every 10, 20 years or so – if we’re lucky. It took less than two months for this to become the biggest-selling hit of 1998 in the UK, and the excitement soon poured over internationally the following year when Australia made ‘Believe’ it’s Valentine’s Day anthem of 1999.

No Doubt ‘Don’t Speak’ (1997, Australia)

A gut-wrenching and quintessentially 90s rock break-up classic. I’m surprised to learn that despite this being the most played song on radio in 1996 in America, it never charted on the Billboard Hot 100 because ‘Don’t Speak’ was not released as an actual commercial single there. The single did however hit #1 in several international charts including Australia when we were all nursing heartbreaks that year to Gwen Stefani‘s aching tones.

George Michael ‘Careless Whisper’ (1985, US)

I get chills every time I hear that sax intro. Seriously, what a bloody god-sent masterpiece. ‘Careless Whisper’ topped the US charts in February 1985, six months after it was already a huge #1 hit in the UK. George would go on to have another Valentine’s Day #1 two years later with Aretha Franklin in ‘I Knew You Were Waiting For Me’.

Kylie ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ (1988, UK)

We all know the story behind this career-launching hit that almost wasn’t to be. But all I can say is thank god for Kylie sticking around the Stock Aitken and Waterman lobby and not storming out in a huff when those guys completely forgot she was scheduled to work with them, because the few minutes they had to scramble something together for her became ‘I Should Be So Lucky’. Who knew 30 years later it’d remain such a bittersweet and persistent metaphor for our perpetually unlucky in love pop princess?

Toni Braxton ‘Un-Break My Heart’ (1997, US)

Did I ever tell you guys that my father was obsessed with this song? Like capital ‘O’ obsessed. Like, Beyoncé playing a woman dressed by Target Obsessed. He had the Secrets album on cassette and would literally only rewind back to this song every single time. Then when CDs became popular, I think he went out and bought the album on CD because it was easier to keep the track on repeat in this format.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert ‘Same Love’ (2013, Australia)

A beautiful and political declaration of equal love that very much reflected the cultural shift of the time. It’s so beautiful to see that this was #1 in Australia where sadly, the fight for marriage equality still continues. It’s actually odd looking back and seeing how much Macklemore was killing it at the time. Through all the years I’ve looked back on Valentine’s Day #1s, I’ve not come across one artist who had total dominance on US, UK and Australian charts like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis did in 2013 (‘Thrift Shop’ was #1 in US and UK that week).

Atomic Kitten ‘Whole Again’ (2001, UK)

I will never not have time for Atomic Kitten. It’s just one of those things. I won’t even call it a guilty pleasure because I don’t feel any way guilty for liking it, and neither should you. I literally screamed when I found out ‘Whole Again’ was #1 this week… 16 years ago! To think these girls were hanging onto their record deal barely by the tips of their acrylic nails before the label agreed to release ‘Whole Again’ is ludicrous. They had ‘Whole Again’ the whole time but chose to release four other tracks, which got virtually zero-cares from everyone. Thank god common sense prevailed!

Sinead O’Connor ‘Nothing Compares 2 U (1990, UK)

It’s been seven hours and fifteeeeeeen days… DEAD. I am dead. I forgot Prince actually wrote this one. This is may be a Prince song but it is a Sinead O’Connor classic, you feel me? The super chilling and despondent ballad was a massive fuck-off global hit for the Irish singer, shifting platinum sales in the UK and becoming the biggest selling single of 1990 in Australia. Part of me wishes Prince had written more break up songs for other people.

Jennifer Lopez ‘All I Have’ (2003, US)

That scene in the video where J.Lo is wiping her nose and lugging all her shit through the snow is literally what comes to mind every time I picture myself in post-break up glamour!     2002-2003 was the era where J.Lo was literally killing everybody in the game. She was dominating the box office with films like Maid in Manhattan, she had launched a successful fragrance collection, the tabloids were lapping up her Hollywood fairytale romance with Ben Affleck, she was massive on the radio with hits like ‘Jenny From The Block’ and this one… we didn’t quite catch it at the time but we were witnessing the building of one of America’s most enduring pop entertainers and media moguls with an empire that would keep expanding 15 years on. I’m literally too embarrassed to ask myself what I’ve done with my life in that time.

Whitney ‘I Will Always Love  You’ (1993, US and Australia) 

An appropriate and painfully obvious Valentine’s Day chart-topper. It spent a mind-blowing 14 weeks at #1 on the US Billboard chart. Oh yes… all through Christmas, Boxing Day sales, Hanukkah, NYE messiness and New Year’s resolutions that were broken before she came back for the big final chorus. The iconic song made a return on sadder terms this time five years ago after Whitney’s death. The surge of emotional purchases saw ‘I Will Always Love You’ top the iTunes charts and return to the US Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in 20 years.

Here is a playlist of 40* best Valentine’s Day #1 hits. All in one convenient music streaming receptacle. *’Nothing Compares 2 U’ is not on Spotify though….  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Carelessly whispering on Twitter as always – @feedlimmy.

 

 

 

Some Predictions for The State of Pop in 2017

It’s that one time of the year where I trawl Chinese horoscope and astrology sites to see what my fate and fortune holds for the year – and then invariably forget about them by lunchtime.

It’s no different in the music world with predictions flowing in from industry types now on the impact of streaming and how it’s changing the whole music business, and hot-takes from tastemakers about what the top trends and ‘sounds’ of 2017 will be. Now that streaming is king and the consumer’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter, how will this affect the way hitmakers create songs? It’s a good time for jingle writers… that’s all I can say!

The music industry is a fascinating beast because at the heart of it, music is such a huge part of our personal life and our culture, but at the same time the business itself is constantly bending and adapting to challenges posed by tech and consumers’ changing behaviours. It’s amazing to observe and be a part of.

Here’s basically how I see it for us in 2017.

Sound of the underground: sombre vibes and alternative sounds to the front

Pure pop is over – or at least, it’s taking a backseat. I was listening to my RedOne playlist on the way home from work this week and it really hit me that the optimistic and hopeful days under Obama’s ruling, which saw RedOne, Dr Luke and will.i.am‘s party rocking pop to flourish has well and truly passed.

As I highlighted last year in reference to Tove Lo and Alicia Keys‘ new albums, in this time of great divide and political unrest triggered by Brexit and Trump’s America, people are looking for something real to connect with. So for me, 2017 is going to see the re-emergence of ‘realer’, more left-field sounding music and harder-edged sounds. Hip hop, grime, neo-soul, indie and icy, moody electro-pop will make a deep impact. Pop as always will evolve to adopt these genres’ qualities. When Evanescence and Linkin Park were really huge… so was rock-tinged pop in the shape of Avril, Kelly Clarkson and P!nk.

Pop in 2017 will feel more urban yet minimalist. Gone are the ostentatious big bubblegum melodies, thrashing synths and excessive productions of ‘Till The World Ends’, and in comes something a bit more sombre, stripped back and bootleg – it’ll be most noticeable in dance music. Vocals and songwriting with earthy qualities of soul and indie-folk music will be highly sought after. Simplistic, effortlessly chic styling and 90s streetwear influences will become your main popstar looks. It’ll be less about the glamour and flashiness in pop, but more about ‘what have you got to say for yourself’, ‘what is your message?‘ and ‘what do you stand for?’. More so than ever the empowered and free-thinking popstar with attitude is needed, so look at the likes of Zara Larsson, Anne-Marie etc.

I’m also throwing all my love to South London R&B/hip  singer Ray BLK (pictured above), who I first came across when I worked on the MOBO Awards last year. Her seven-track debut Durt is incredible, I will say it again. This week we found out she won the BBC’s prestigious Sound of 2017 so I’m totally looking forward to all the great things she’ll be doing and – hopefully – prolonged industry support she will also receive this year.

Check out her incredible freestyle track ‘Patience’:

 

Nostalgic re-issues of classic, 90s albums on vinyl will be a thing.

News broke this week that in 2016 vinyl sales were at a 25-year high, which is pretty incredible but also very telling looking at the top vinyl sellers itself. It’s dripping with nostalgia and a haven for legendary musicians – dead or alive – with die-hard fans.

I’m not surprised that in 2017 – as my generation gets a bit older, more nostalgic for our teens and perhaps even start getting into serious record collecting – we will see re-issues of massive pop albums by our childhood faves like George Michael, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Shania Twain, Alanis Morrisette, Destiny’s Child etc.

We’ve seen Kylie‘s Stock Aitken and Waterman back catalogue re-issued with great finesse, featuring comprehensive biogs and thorough assembly of recorded material. Why can’t the same be done with the aforementioned artists? I’d imagine they’d be snapped up pretty quickly by sentimental fans, which is all of us. Imagine if Britney did the same with unreleased tracks, demos, rare b-sides and unseen photos and videos?!

Expect unexpected collaborations

Start the year as you intend to go on… and topping the UK singles chart (for the ninth consecutive week) is Clean Bandit featuring Anne-Marie and Sean Paul‘s ‘Rockabye’, an infuriatingly infectious hybrid of dance music with pop and reggae, created by a classical crossover band, a rising popstar with plenty of Essex swagger and charm, and a Jamaican rapper. Brilliant!

In 2017 we’ll see genres continuing to erode and meeting of vibes will be king. We’ve already seen pop songwriter and bonafide British girlband royalty Nicola Roberts co-writing songs for alt-R&B siren Tinashe (that’s Tinasha, if you’re Britney) and K-pop siren TIFFANY from Girls’ Generation (pictured above) last year. Sam Hunt, an American country singer with the classic Abercrombie college jock looks, who is sings and rap and is probably closer related sonically to Drake than Keith Urban. It probably won’t be long until grime weaves its way into K-pop too. I’m seeing all these grime artists already touring internationally to places like Australia where I really didn’t think it would be a thing.

Albums I’m looking forward to in 2017? 

Zara Larsson, MNEK, Rita OraDua LipaChristina Aguilera, FergieBritneyLorde. I was gonna say Mutya Keisha Siobhan/Sugababes for the third year running or something but then I thought, best leave this open wound to heal, yeah?

ICYMI – here are my 40 Favourite Songs of 2016. Why don’t you tell me about your favourite moments in Mariah’s World here at @feedlimmy?

 

Chart Feed – 12.11.12

I left y’all scratching at the post a little last week because I took my ass on a little vacaycay to Brisbane.

Chart Feed

Bitch, you should’ve seen me lounging on the beach in an island that was practically deserted on a Monday arvo. I was having a Mariah moment frolicking in the sand, trying to look cute for my Instagram photos. But hey, I am back now and here comes your chart feed – which might cover some things I didn’t get to touch on last week.

This has been a good week for Robbie Williams who scored his first simulatenous UK #1 album-and-single action in 11 years. Elsewhere, the following chart showboaters can’t complain either: Taylor SwiftCalvin Harris, Little Mix, Of Monsters and Men, The Wanted, and to a certain extent, Christina Aguilera. SAY!

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Chart Feed – 29.10.12

Pull up a seat. The beginning of what’s set to be Taylor Swift‘s global chart massacre has begun.

Chart Feed

The young country superstar has made clear she’s a force to be reckoned with on the Australian, UK and New Zealand album charts this week with her newest offering Red debuting straight at #1 in these territories. Check out the damage after the jump.

Elsewhere, it’s been a good week for Brandy, Mika, Labrinth and Emeli Sandé, Kelly Clarkson and – heck – even Girls Aloud is back on the charts.

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Chart Feed – 01.10.12

“Oppa gangnam style!” *drops the beat*

CHART FEED

You know when your parents start to recognise a internet viral music video that it’s well and truly time for everyone else to move on.

It has been a tremendous week for K-pop sensation PSY‘s ‘Gangnam Style’, not only is it officially the most ‘liked’ video in the history of the internet – the track has also successfully topped the Australian and UK charts to become the first Korean pop single to do so.

Its crossover chart success in the Western market is just mind-blowing, no doubt bringing a whole lot of national pride for South Koreans everywhere.

Elsewhere, it has also been a great week for Pink, Mumford and Sons, Conor Maynard, Brandy and Christina “I think you already know my weight!” Aguilera.

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Christina Aguilera ‘Your Body’ Music Video

Can I just stop you for a second to inform you that this is the greatest Christina Aguilera music video since ‘Fighter’?

CHRISTINA AGUILERA YOUR BODY MUSIC VIDEO

F’Aggies all over the world are probably still cleaning up the glittery discharge in their panties left after watching their queen slay – in every way – on screen.

Acclaimed director Melina Matsoukas – who is quickly becoming a solid authority on music video visual excellence – returns to us the sexually aggressive, untamed Christina Aguilera we love – but with a whole new look.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA YOUR BODY GIF

In ‘Your Body’, Aggie is pitching a thrilling collision of vintage Americana fashion with edgy trailer park trash glam.

We’ve never seen the Voice vixen combine youthful colours with old school prints and textures like this before. The excess, the hoarder-style approach to the styling, suits the popstar incredibly well. Subtlety is not an approach Xtina is known for.

Thematically-speaking, the music video sips on essences of Beyoncé‘s Lucille Ball-referencing ‘Why Don’t You Love Me?’ – which was also directed by Melina – and Lady Gaga‘s hi-camp ‘Telephone’ mini-movie.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA YOUR BODY EXPLOSION

Here we see Christina step out as a man-targeting, serial killer who terminates her suiters after casual sexual encounters.

The best part about this concept is how the director has – pardon the pun – executed it with such a playful tone.

Aggie gets to dress up in different guises each time she pulls: there’s the hitchhiking Aubrey O’Day-esque look, the pub-crawling vixen in braids and beanie, and couture mama in a figure hugging black dress.

CHRISTINA AGUILERA YOUR BODY CUBICLE

The use of colour as a euphemism for her harsh acts of violence is cute and clever.

When Aggie blows up the car, the flames burn a Barbie hot pink. When she slaughters the man in a toilet cubicle, there’s baby blue paint splattered all over the wall instead of thick warm blood. When she takes a bat to some poor convenience store bloke’s head, it explodes glitter.

It’s precisely the kind of tongue-in-cheek tone we want to see for a song that could have so easily settled for a standard, sexually-charged video treatment.

Trust. We’ve seen Xtina do X-rated a thousand times before, for over a decade, in fact. This direction is actually kinda refreshing – and it looks like something that would speak to old fans and new ones alike.

Watch Christina Aguilera’s ‘Your Body’ music video:



The arresting Max Martin and Shellback-sculpted ‘Your Body’ is arguably the best lead single Christina has launched in 10 years, putting her squarely back in the game as a serious chart contender once again.

Do y’all reckon this new era could fare better than the sorely underrated Bionic?

Footnotes:

Christina Aguilera‘s ‘Your Body’ just debuted at #34 on the US Billboard Hot 100 this week. The song has yet to make a significant impact on Australian radios, failing to make our ARIA Top 100 in its first week.

Xtina‘s new album Lotus drops locally on Friday 16 November.

According to Billboard, this record will be a smattering of dancefloor-ready pop like ‘Your Body’ with some titan piano-driven ballads, and even a few rock-driven anthems.

Chart Feed – 24.09.12

We’ve seen the charts light up like it was Christmas this month, thanks to the heavy flow of new albums taking over the shelves.

CHART FEED

For only the second time in history, the entire top six spots on the US Billboard 200 are filled with debut entries. Here in Australia, we have eight new albums scaling our ARIA Top 20, while over in the UK, they have six.

Y’all can obviously expect for it to get even more competitive in the coming months as all the strong sellers come out to play for your seasonal spendings.

This has been a good week for Pink, The Killers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kanye West and – definitely more than ever – PSY, the K-pop icon responsible for ‘Gangnam Style’.

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