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.

 

 

 

Feed Limmy Albums of 2012: #20 – #11

Is Robyn Fenty‘s new opus Unapologetic up in here? No, hunty. I am not part of that circle jerk committee.

Feed Limmy Albums of 2012: #20 - #11

I know I promised this post would drop, like, last Tuesday or something but let’s face it – the five of us that read this countdown could probably wait until now. I had all sorts of things going on this week that kept me occupied, which didn’t involve drinking, strangely enough (I’m making for that right now as we speak).

Let’s get on with the countdown.

Continue reading

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!

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Leona Lewis “Glassheart” Album Review

I’ve never been in a position where I’ve felt equally frustrated and excited about a Leona Lewis album before. That’s actually a lot of passion and fuss over a “beige balladeer” most of my peers have little time for these days.

LEONA LEWIS glassheart deluxe

However, if you’ve spent any more than three minutes on this blog, you’ll find that I do rep hard for premiere female vocalists a lot of tastemakers happily dismiss as irrelevant.

Glassheart is Leona Lewis‘ third studio album and – without question – her most eclectic record to date. In its finest moments, the project captures Leona‘s preference for love-bled songs and renders it to elements of drum ‘n’ bass, trip hop, and alternative pop. All of which are sonic styles the X Factor siren has never dabbled in before.

But I’d be wary to label Glassheart as some vigorous artistic overhaul for Leona Lewis because it is sorely inconsistent in parts – and that’s where the struggle I mentioned before comes in. There’s this strange tension between the aforementioned innovative new styles and the shackles of tired “Leona-format” balladry that we’ve all heard before in her first two albums.

Glassheart just feels like one of those bodies of work that tastemakers are likely to pick apart and re-assemble in a way they see fit, much like the approach to Christina Aguilera’s Bionic.

One would give approving nods to standouts like ‘Come Alive’ – a formidable storm of grime and drum ‘n’ bass – that feels like the album’s true opener once you’ve placated Leona’s conservative fans with the single (‘Trouble’) and two dutiful ballads.



Elsewhere in ‘Glassheart’, a sinister cross-pollination of Leona‘s ethereal vocals with aggressive dub step beats hit the lights with blindingly great results.

There has never been a more exciting Leona Lewis uptempo created. It legitimately snatches wigs in the hardest way, from the cold and bemoaning verses through to the head-splitting dance breakdown.

However, that walloping bass-heavy breakdown is something of a new addition. If you play back the first performance of ‘Glassheart’ Leona did at G-A-Y a year ago when the album was originally slated to drop, you’ll find it pounding to a more poppers o’clock, Euro-dance production. Just a little bit of trivia you can share with your friends between sips of strawberry daiquiri next time you’re cruising at the bar.

However, not every square inch of Glassheart flares with ostentatious displays of new styles and colours – you would actually need to listen closely to some of these tracks to pick up the subtle flavours in Leona‘s experimentation.



The bittersweet ‘Favourite Scar’ – which samples Tears for Fears‘ ‘Head Over Heels’ – hears the Hackney diva adopt a bossier swag in the verses. The way she dismisses “it don’t matter, it don’t matter, it don’t matter… boy, you better turn up your ste-ree-oh!” sounds like something Rihanna would put down.

Props must be given to the diverse producers and songwriters who collaborated with Leona to make Glassheart sound as vital as it does.

Emeli Sandé – one of the most celebrated breakthrough British artists this year – lends her songwriting abilities to three tracks on the album’s final tracklisting. It’s a stellar collaboration that I never wanna see diminished in any way because these two talents fit each other so damn well.

The most memorable of Sandé’s contributions is ‘I To You’ – a smouldering, strings-soaked James Bond-theme in waiting that casts Leona as a love-imprisoned siren, delivering line after line of intense drama.

“I will stay home with the kids, everyday cleaning up where you live even though I’m educated. ‘Cause you are great, you are big. And I don’t mind givin’ in, givin’ in for free, for free. You are love, you are sin, you’ll always be everything, everything to me… What am I to you?”

My personal appreciation of ‘I To You’ comes hand-in-hand with a relief in hearing Leona deliver a song so capably without the vocal acrobatics and escalation to glass-piercing high notes she is typically known for.



Elsewhere, the album’s next single ‘Fireflies’ is constructed on and driven by an emotive piano melody so stunning in its own right, it almost absorbs the spotlight from everything else happening in the song – including the gospel vocals and Leona‘s crescendoing ad libs.

I mean, there’s a time and place for it, I’m not in favour of stamping out those vocal tricks in Leona‘s repertoire per se, because in the context of the right song it can be so fucking electric.

‘Lovebird’ – which is a textbook example of your standard Leona Lewis/Ryan Tedder ballad – is shining proof that the winning formula is what it is for a reason. I fucking broke down in tears behind the steering wheel when I first heard the massive break up ballad. The lyrical themes of growing apart from someone you love and that guilt-ridden desire to want to be set free felt like it was written about my last relationship.

“But the time went on, the wind has blown, and I have grown. And I started feeling that my wings have been broken. And I can’t believe that I ever want to be set free, but I just can’t stay. So your love bird’s flying away…”

The intensely personal song was of course written about Leona’s own separation from her long-term boyfriend, who she had known since she was 10.

There are some extraordinary songs written on this album that just sound like honest and vulnerable accounts of love’s many kinds of bruises. Although, Leona’s no stranger to singing tortured break up ballads in her six-year discography, they feel chillingly personal this time around.

Glassheart feels like a worthwhile investment in establishing the singer’s versatility even if it wasn’t a committed effort from start to finish. The overall quality of the songs on this album is the stronger than any of Leona‘s previous releases, which I think more than compensates for her dwindling record sales and general commercial relevance.

Footnotes:

Leona LewisGlassheart debuted at #3 on the UK charts, making it her first album to not enter the British charts at #1. There is no Australian release date confirmed as yet, so I’ve imported by copy of the deluxe edition, y’all.

The project’s proper lead single ‘Trouble’ (remember, she’s pretending that ‘Collide’ never happened) managed to peak at #7, while the album’s title track ‘Glassheart’ cracked the UK Dance charts at #27, based on downloads alone in the week the album came out.

Chart Feed – 22.10.12

Well this is a really good value Chart Feed compilation, I have to say. Well, as good as it can be without Girls Aloud and Brandy to really discuss, of course. So until then, you just have to deal.

CHARTFEED

This has been a good week for our Aussie pop prince Guy Sebastian and songbird Delta Goodrem, new girlband sensation Little Mix and triumphantly, Taylor Swift matches Adele‘s US digital song chart record.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading