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.

 

 

 

BBC Sound of 2017, Kylie’s Retro Hits Suddenly Appear on Spotify, and New Tunes by MUNA, Nicole Millar and Girls’ Generation’s Hyoyeon

It’s barely lukewarm let alone been a hot take, so I reckon let’s not jazz it up too much around here. For the past few weeks I’ve been getting my ass into the habit of blogging once a week (because I really miss doing it). I couldn’t think of a proper catchy way to package this whole weekly pop opinion piece/ round-up of things that caught my eye shebang, so my brain in a hungover state farted ‘Limmy’s Hot Take‘, which let’s face it… wasn’t all that great or accurate. So scratching that title. That title is cancelled. She is done.

A lot has changed in the pop blogging world since I started Feed Limmy in 2008 (I had another pop blog on Blogspot for like two or three years before that). Lots of people from when I started aren’t doing it anymore – real life happens, they end up getting very good jobs and you know, you get too busy to keep it up.

In the last 10 years I’ve met so many amazing people through doing this. I found my tribe on Twitter. People who were into this stuff as much as I was. Growing up in Melbourne suburbia, I didn’t come across very many people who were as passionate about pop music as I was. Pop was frowned upon as ‘guilty pleasure’ and somehow it was made even more unbearable for me to express my love for it when people started calling me ‘faggot’. I’d dread every single time Geri‘s ‘It’s Raining Men’ or Christina Aguilera and co.‘s ‘Lady Marmalade’ came on the radio after the lunch time bell. So after leaving high school and having my own little corner on the internet to write about all the great stuff I was listening to and being able to share it with like-minded Twitter friends was a real game changer for me.

Now that I guess I actually am part of this industry, I do see things a little differently and have to obviously, you know, gurl’s gotta eat and gurl’s got bills to pay so he’s gotta be careful of how he frames his opinions. I also now see hype and media coverage very differently. I appreciate it more, of course, knowing how much goes into it. I am more sympathetic to artists as well and I am also increasingly aware that the more I see the less I know. And I’m OK with that. It keeps me on my toes. This is such a rapidly evolving industry that it’s now more important than ever to question what is really important and relevant.

Everyone in the music industry is going crazy over ‘ones to watch’ type lists right now -i.e. the BBC’s Sound of 2017, Brits Critics’ Choice Award, MTV Brand New, VEVO dscvr, … *Shirley Caesar voice* YOU NAME IT! They are all huge targets for label marketing and music PR types because they are, of course, a really big stamp of approval for any emerging artist and it’s what separates them from other newcomers. It’s the difference between getting booked to play Wembley or a dive bar as the fourth support act, shopping at Selfridges vs. living on Lidl vouchers – you get the picture. The success story that gets wheeled out a lot: Adele. Her career started with a bang when she won the BBC’s Sound of 2008 and then her debut album 19 went on to win the Brits Critics’ Choice Award and then came a Grammy nomination and so on and so forth.

You also tend to notice the same names being hyped and thrown back and forth around this season. Sometimes people still talk about them after a year, sometimes they barely get a mention after three months. The hype can fade as quickly as it rose. As the years go by, however, it seems increasingly difficult to call who might actually their way to the top as the true rising star of the next 12 months.

BBC Sound of 2017: Could an urban artist win it – and actually dominate the year?

This week the BBC announced their Sound of 2017 longlist, informed by tips from 170 critics, DJs and music writers. You know, people in industry who really know their shit. While it’s obviously a practice of self-fulfilling prophecy, I do find it quite exciting to discover new artists this way and see who is tipped for big things.

These are the ones tastemakers are not only predicting will shape the sonic trend of 2017 but also represent what will be most commercially successful. It’s actually incredible that the list is dominated by urban music acts. MTV UK also released their shortlist of Brand New 2017 acts with the same handful of urban music rising stars AJ TraceyNadia RoseRay BLK and Stefflon Don.

It would be great to have a real and raw British R&B star like Ray BLK reaching Adele and Sam Smith level of mainstream dominance. Hailing from a working class background in South London and proudly embracing her roots (‘My Hood’ is basically her ‘Hometown Glory’ but less vanilla and tea cakey), I so want to believe the UK is ready to really big up an artist like her instead of another prosaic guitar noodling substitute for Ed Sheeran, but from what history has informed us that is rarely the case. It’s been years since we’ve seen a super real and distinctly British R&B act embraced by the mainstream. Seriously, please name me one. Whoever it is that ends up taking home the Sound of 2017, I hope we don’t see a repeat of what happened with this year’s lot.

Jack Garratt, who won Sound of 2016 was literally everywhere at the start of the year. After being announced as the Sound of 2016, he went onto collect the Brits Critics’ Choice Award and then wasted no time in releasing his debut album in February, which entered the charts and peaked at #3. It only stayed in the Top 20 for two weeks and then he sort of vanished. By summer, the name seems like a vague memory. Runner-up Alessia Cara, a soulful teen Youtube sensation from Canada, didn’t manage better either. While the brilliant breakthrough hit ‘Here’ flexed for a really bloody long time, her album only managed to peak at #14 and subsequent singles missed the Top 50 altogether. She was nominated for New Artist of The Year at the American Music Awards but lost to ZAYN. I only remembered I had bought her album when I saw her pop up as a feature creature on a Troye Sivan single a few months ago.

Maybe part of why Garratt’s hype wasn’t sustained was because there are literally hundreds of artists doing the type of electronic-R&B fusion with scratchy soulful, folk singer vocals. The market was already saturated by the time he came into primetime attention. But perhaps maybe why it didn’t work was because the tunes just weren’t memorable at all. They go to great lengths to stress he is a multi-instrumentalist, which you know, instills a level of authenticity, and his work is very immaculately produced but where are the tunes? Where is the song that makes people feel something?

Sometimes I think people in our industry forget that all these accolades and lists don’t really matter to the vast majority of the record buying public. Most people don’t care. People will buy records they connect to. People will support artists people they like.

Every single one Kylie’s retro hits are now on Spotify

On Friday, without formal warning, all of Kylie‘s Stock Aitken and Waterman era releases (her first four albums, which were all bloody huge) suddenly appeared on Spotify. I am talking not just all the albums but all the remixes, the B-sides, you name it. I am literally gagging.

This is sort of a nice reminder of one of the many highs in Kylie’s long pop career. While the Christmas stuff she’s doing now is a very clever and savvy business decision, I can’t stress how much I need for her to return to making brilliant pop for the other 11 months of the year.

Check out my 30 favourite ‘retro’ Kylie tunes:

Top tunes of the week

MUNA ‘I Know A Place’

L.A. girl band MUNA has delivered a shimmery, feel good song for the LGBT community. According to Time, ‘I Know A Place’ is “meant to be a rallying cry and a reminder that safe spaces can exist”. If you’re into HAIM, you need to get into this.

Nicole Millar ‘No Bad Vibes’

Smoky-voiced Australian singer Nicole Millar definitely should be on everyone’s pop radar. ‘No Bad Vibes’, taken from her new EP Communication, is a calypso pop treat with trap beats about blocking out negativity.

Decco featuring Mapei ‘Shooting Stars’

It’s good to hear from Swedish-American soul pop singer Mapei. Can’t believe ‘Don’t Wait’ came out three friggin’ years ago. This twinkly radio-ready club pop tune is possibly the most commercial sounding record she’s done and I’m here for it. Part of me wishes Alexis Jordan would come back with something like this right about now.

Hyoyeon (from Girls’ Generation) ‘Mystery’

I’m still shook from Tiffany‘s “I Just Wanna Dance” earlier this year so it’s great to see that K-pop’s longest running girl band Girls’ Generation has yielded yet another solo star. Hyoyeon‘s debut solo single ‘Mystery’ (“Miss Terry” if you’re nasty and singing along) is much more rhythmic, giving you Bhangra beats that nod to Selena Gomez‘s ‘Come and Get It’ but much spicier.

And finally…

On this day 10 years ago, Emma Bunton released her last solo album Life in Mono. I’d be quite happy if she banged out another Free Me, which I guess was what Life in Mono was meant to be but not quite on the same breadth of excellence. Although I still enjoy the title track, ‘Wasn’t Looking (When I Found Love)’, ‘All I Need to Know’ and ‘Take Me To Another Town’.

The album features her cover of ‘Downtown’, as you might remember. It was the BBC’s Children in Need charity single that year and reached a peak of #3 on the UK charts.

Limmy’s Hot Take: How I *Checked* Myself After Kanye’s Breakdown, and Top Tunes from Busted, MAMAMOO and Ronika

This week on Limmy’s Hot Take: Friends, it’s absolutely OK to call yourself out for making insensitive jokes about Kanye West‘s mental breakdown. What started as seemingly “standard Kanye” loose cannon behaviour on stage soon escalated to a point beyond lols when the 39-year old man was hospitalised for psychiatric emergency this week.

Alarm bells are ringing. We can’t make light of this struggle and repeat the inhumane cycle of scrutiny, mockery, and callous mistreatment that we’ve seen heaped on Britney, Mariah, Amanda Bynes and countless other celebrities who have gone through very public breakdowns. Definitely not when suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.

I, for one, checked myself for dismissing Kanye’s rants as light entertainment last week because at the time I thought that was just him being his ‘eccentric’ ‘crazy’ self, but say if that were a friend or colleague behaving in that manner. Would I find it amusing or would I be able to discern and have enough care in my heart to look deeper beneath the surface and reach out to a vulnerable person in need? I sure as hell hope I am the latter.

There has been greater awareness about mental health issues in recent years. We’ve got ribbons, T-shirts, marathons, hashtags, full blown social media campaigns… you name it but, real talk, don’t put up lengthy posts on Facebook saying you’re here “if anyone needs to talk” then turn around and contribute to the cacophonous #KanyeWestIsOverParty mess.

This is not about being overly politically correct. This is about responsibility and recognising that our actions and our words carry weight. They matter. They cause an effect, and we need to look after each other more than you think. This definitely includes our online friends, which I’m sure some of us talk to more than we do our RL friends.

Oh also, if you happened to be called out on Twitter for insensitive and trash opinions? Please don’t delete the original tweet. Let the drag prosper.

 

In lighter news, I really do think The Veronicas have finally delivered the pop performance I’ve waited years for. Here they are looking deadly, coated in ruby red glitter, slaying The ARIA Awards this week with their banger ‘In My Blood’.

 

It would not be acceptable to bring up this year’s ARIAs without mentioning the strong showing of LGBT+ support – from Sia using her acceptance speech to promote marriage equality to Troye Sivan dedicating his award to LGBT kids in Australia, and Kylie and fiancé Joshua Sasse attending the ceremony in their “Say I Do Australia” campaign tees.

It’s time, Australia. And I could not be happier to see this movement gaining momentum in mainstream media every single day.

Top tunes of the week

Busted ‘Night Driver’

I really wasn’t expecting for Busted to come back after all this time with some neon-lit 80s pop. What on earth is going on here? Why is it so seriously good? Production-wise, ‘Night Driver’ sounds like something from the Off The Wall sessions. I haven’t made my way around their new album of the same name as yet but I’ve heard great things on Twitter.

 

MAMAMOO ‘Décalcomanie’

Can’t believe this is only the first time I’ve come across K-pop sirens MAMAMOO. They’ve been in the game for a good two years now, making a name for themselves with their candied mix of jazz and R&B.

‘Décalcomanie’ – taken from their fourth mini album MEMORY – is what I imagine Duffy exec producing a K-Pop girlband would sound like.

 

Ronika ‘Dissolve’

This feels like a new angle for Ronika. Coiled in a loop of stuttering synths before climaxing at a chorus with utterly heavenly vocals, ‘Dissolve’ feels like a cherry-tinted boudoir soundtrack in an 80s French arthouse science fiction film.

 

Emily Burns ‘Take It or Leave It’

File this under ‘Songs from The Friendzone’ – I know y’all can relate. This gentle, tinkling pop tune from emerging British singer-songwriter Emily Burns would definitely appeal to anyone who likes them a bit of Birdy.

 

For more of my favourite tunes, check out my NEWEST playlist.

You can find me tweeting about my latest Iceland meal-for-one at @feedlimmy.

Feed Limmy: Top 30 Songs of 2015

This has been a tradition since the land before time and Snapchat. While I’ve taken a long break from pop music blogging (the commentary still very much lives on in Twitter), I’m usually tempted to come back to this increasingly unfamiliar Wordpress interface every year and rank, hyperlink and embed my personal favourite tracks of the last 12 months. This year for the first time, I will be blogging with emojis. #downwiththekids

I imagine it’d be nice to scroll back through the passage of time one day to see that once upon a time, Carly Rae Jepsen overtook Robyn as the gays’ new queen of Bubbling Under pop. Once upon a time, Halsey was the flavour of the moment. Popstar of the Future Troye Sivan made an album (how traditional!). They sent troops to Syria but couldn’t extract a record from MKS. Nobody has time for the games Rihanna‘s playing anymore. And two unfuckwithable singer-songwriters in their 20s called Adele and Taylor Swift scrapped everyone’s life force with their massive-selling, Spotify-shunning, numerically titled albums. And where you were when you heard Zayn had left 1D?

Never mind. Here are 30 songs that I really, really liked this year.

Spoiler alert: At some point you might say, this list is really crap. Why isn’t Lana on here? 

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Kylie Minogue ‘Sexercize’ Music Video

This is the sexiest music video Kylie Minogue has done in 10 years.

Kylie Minogue Sexercize Will Davidson

We haven’t seen the Aussie pop siren turn out anything this deliciously raunchy since her 2003 Body Language era and after all this time, it’s great to see that Kylie‘s still got it. 

True talk, if you played the ‘Red Blooded Woman’ and ‘Sexercize’ videos back-to-back to an untrained consumer, they might actually gag and struggle to pick which one was filmed a decade ago.

Fashion photographer and director Will Davidson delivers a highly tantalising video for ‘Sexercize’ that displays glimmers of sexuality in highly-functional (and somewhat bleak) spaces. Think of it as a cross between Olivia Newton-John‘s ‘Physical’ and portions of Anggun‘s 2012 Eurovision offering ‘Echo (You and I)’.

Here we see Kylie and her posse of female dancers in skin-tight white leotards bouncing it out on exercise balls in a dusty gym that was probably frequented by Olympic gymnasts in the late 70s.

This whole production is practically Carmen Carrera, relying on all that body-yody-yody! We are guided with voyeuristic eyes that focus on frame after frame of gyrating body parts. There are scarcely any close ups of Kylie’s face in this video – just glimpses here and there that convey the carnal pleasure of her workout.

Kylie Minogue Sexercize Music Video

When her fellow The Voice UK coach, Ricky Wilson, commented about the “saucy” song, Kylie simply and coyly responded, “The sauce is always on the table.”

She has made it clear for years that her style is “sexy with a wink” – it’s never a full frontal X-rated assault on the senses. Having said that, the ‘Sexercize’ video must sit somewhere within a hair’s breadth from becoming the latter, especially when you get to the sapphic scenes in the steam room.

There will always be basic fools who are quick to mouth off what is and isn’t appropriate attire and behaviour for a 45-year old woman, but let’s not forget, Kylie is not a regular woman in your church prayer group.

She is a bonafide global popstar, who is in terrific form, doing what she has always done best. She doesn’t abide to your standards.

The ‘Sexercize’ video has already racked up over 2.4 million views on YouTube in just four days – overtaking its predecessor ‘Into The Blue’, which took six weeks to cross the 2 million mark.

Watch the official music video for Kylie Minogue‘s ‘Sexercize’:

Team Minogue clearly saw the song as a promising base to launch a visual project.

They’ve commissioned for a suite of ‘Sexercize’ visual content to be created, from music videos to animation and graphic design – each piece is a product of a unique collaboration between creatives in the fashion, art and film industry.

Check them all out on Sexercize.tv.

Naturally, apart from the aforementioned video, everyone’s talking about Kylie‘s new album. Here’s a review of Kiss Me Once, hyperlinked for your convenience.

Kylie Minogue “Kiss Me Once”

The boss of glitter-bomb pop, Kylie Minogue, returns with a euphoric album that glistens with her signature tuneful dance music style.

Kylie Minogue Kiss Me Once album cover

Kiss Me Once arrives four years after Kylie‘s last album of originals, enough time in pop years for a whole generation to saunter past and not Google her. Despite the nagging paranoia from fans after she signed to Roc Nation management, Kylie‘s new album remains ever so true to the impossible princess’s brand.

It’s bright, it’s melodic and it’s sophisticated in a way you would expect from a seasoned performer of Minogue’s calibre.

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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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