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.

 

 

 

One Direction ‘One Thing’ Music Video

Cancel all my appointments for the day, I’m joining millions of girls around the globe in a religious screen capping and gif making experience to celebrate the arrival of One Direction‘s amazing new video.

The British wonder boy band is set to become one of the world’s biggest pop groups by the end of the year, having already cracked the Australian and New Zealand market without even really trying. One Direction fever is going viral and I simply can’t wait to see them take over the American market. Lock up your daughters.

The boys’ debut album Up All Night was the fastest-selling debut album on the UK charts last year and their infectious first single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ gave a decent indication of the kind of boyish fun and immediate pop melodies we can expect. ‘One Thing’ takes us back to that point with summery guitar-riffs and punchy hooks, complete with a video that’s completely on message.

They’re serving modern cool Britannica, irresistible boy-ish charms and the perfect “one day with One Direction itinerary” any fan could dream of. Sans the romantic dinner bit, of course. That’s private, between me and Harry Styles.

Check out a few highlights of One Direction‘s fantastic new video:

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One Direction ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ Music Video

What was I doing on Friday to miss this exciting premiere, y’guys? Perhaps I was preoccupied with another Mighty Angus burger. Always happens to cock block my favourite British pop video premieres.

The sound of a million teenage girls’ heart pounding to the beat of One Direction‘s new single can’t be wrong. ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ has managed to do the unthinkable in my books – break down my skepticism and have me on my knees fan-gurling over a teen boy band. I need to start acting my age and gender.

The X Factor-formed quintet is arguably the most bankable act to come out of last year’s series – yes, I’m placing them ahead of series winner Matt Cardle and runner-up Rebecca Ferguson for good reason. You cannot deny the power of the teen pop demographic in an era where boybands are winning left, right and centre. [Editor’s note: check recent UK #1 singles by JLS and The Wanted].

Nicole Scherzinger absolutely demonstrated her acute gift of insight when she whispered for Simon Cowell to group Harry, Niall, Louis, Liam and Zayn early in the X Factor series. Millions of stans, forum overload, crying and shaking, and votes later – Simon signed the quintet to a £2 million record deal with Syco and there continues the pop perfection.

 

Syco has cleverly tested the waters with Mary Byrne and Cher Lloyd‘s releases first – both proving successful in their own right – but the 2010 faves du jour were always gonna have material lined up for this year’s X Factor peak season. Therefore, was anyone really surprised to see One Direction premiere their music video a day before the new series went to air? [Side bar: I’m pleased to announce that Feed Limmy will once again be following and recapping both the UK and Australian X Factor series this year. What joy!]

The video for ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ was shot in Malibu Beach, Los Angeles, and it really does the song full service by pitching us some summery visuals with a playful laddish tone. Director John Urbano, famed for creating highly editorial commercials for Abercrombie and Converse, was right on the money here.

Check out three highlights of One Direction‘s debut video:

1) Harry Styles and The One Direction.

Judging by the screen time dominance, I’m surprised that Syco hasn’t rebranded the gang as Harry Styles & The One Direction. No shade to Harry because it’s obvious from the start that he was always gonna be the young heart throb fave. Y’all remember the scene where he was wandering about the X Factor house in just his undies, yeah? But what about Niall Horan and his endearingly flawed dental situation? What about all the Niallites? There’s hardly enough of him in the video to keep his stans at peace.

2) Remember when Atomic Kitten did this?

Probably not. Most One Direction fans were probably just embryos when Atomic Kitten foisted a similar frolicking-in-the-beach video for ‘It’s OK’ but for all you Popjustice dinosaurs, you’ll appreciate this flashback. I love that ten years on, a similar bohemian Sportsgirl-type fashion is making a comeback and of course, riding top down in a vintage Volkswagon is something that’ll always be relevant through the ages.

3) Boys of summer.

The beautiful thing about pop videos is that, it can and it has the potential to take you to a fantasy world without you even knowing. If you explore visuals in pop videos on a very basic level, they’re really selling you the fantasy of having nice clothes [translation: this-slash-future season’s collection], nice hair and skin, and exciting getaways. One Direction‘s ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ is a fine example of all the above executed in a flawless Junior Abercrombie & Fitch pseudo-commercial style. The concept of all five going on a road trip – when you’re not entirely sure if anyone in the band should really be behind the wheel without adult supervision – and doing stuff lads do like kick a football, throw stones and flirt with girls really is some A-grade summer idealism.

Footnotes:

One Direction will release ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ in the UK on 11 September which, despite being three weeks away, has already broken record for biggest pre-orders ever registered for a Sony Music single. Know that the Sony Music conglomerate is also home to top-selling artists like Celine Dion, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey. Not that anyone pre-orders their singles any more.