Mare Smythii - Full Moon 88 - 12/08/03
Singles Of The Year - 2003
Singles Of The Year - The Top Ten Singles 2003
10. Radiohead : "There There"
No-one's more surprised than me to see this in here. After a couple of poorly received albums where
they verged on being interesting for once, Radiohead's heralded return to the world of guitars sees
them bringing drama and excitement to the fore. Five plus minutes of repressed tension are satisfyingly
redeemed as the snare finally kicks in and the band, erm, rock out. Even Thom's nauseating whine
can't dispel the majesty.
9. Missy "Misdemeanour" Elliot : "Pass That Dutch"
Unlike with Radiohead, it's possible to be almost blasé about how devastating new Missy singles
can be. Like "Work It" and "Get Ur Freak On" before, "Pass That Dutch" is so effortlessly good you
could nearly miss the hilarious Michael Jackson reference, the tongue-twisting rhymes, and the
record's sonic and rhythmic invention. Like Real Madrid, its brilliance is both expected and yet
8. The White Stripes : "7 Nation Army"
The best White Stripes moments are those laced with threat and latent power - ie the quiet bits
before Meg crashes ungainly over everything. "7 Nation Army" had these in buckets, hitched to a
descending, almost funky blues. A sound as old as the hills, it still carries the shock of the
7. Simian : "La Breeze"
Where little-known arty types ditch any pretensions, reference The Monkees in the intro, and make
a fantastic pop single in under 3 minutes. Catchy, punchy and impossible to resist, this is one
that in an alternative universe was a number 1.
6. The Chemical Brothers feat. The Flaming Lips : "The Golden Path"
Before Wayne Coyne's distinctive, plaintive wail comes in - 'Please forgive me, I didn't mean to
hurt you' - and adds new yearning meaning to pretty hackneyed words, this is a weird and wonderful
slice of mystic electro-Americana. Like some sort of cross-breed of New Order and Talking Heads,
this compelling epic was a reminder that the Chemical Brothers are still a force to be reckoned
5. Justin Timberlake : "Rock Your Body"
Like I Love You announced the New White Michael Jackson to the world, and "Cry Me A River" was the
critics' favourite, but this was the irresistible floor-filler. Slinky, Neptunes-derived and with
a beat-box coda, this was modern funk at its best. Rock Your Body also avoided being part of the
whole "Justin: A Soap-Opera In The Making" thing that clouded the other two tunes. He's wanted to
do this all his life, you know (drums).
4. Gary Jules : "Mad World"
The sort of record that stops you in your tracks, such a radical reading of a familiar song is it.
Featured at the bewildering end of the film Donnie Darko, the track's piano-led intimacy
brings out the melancholy of Tears For Fears' original, and twists the bitter-sweet factor off
the scale. It comes out at as a single mid-December - go on, make it the Christmas No 1.
3. Johnny Cash : "Hurt"
Or, 'I Showed A Man The Video, Just To Watch Him Cry'. A swelling, crying tale of addiction, guilt
and painful redemption, the poignancy of this Nine Inch Nails cover from Johnny's last album is
matched only by its attendant promo. Johnny's hands are shaking but he looks determined, his wife
June by his side - they're both gone now, of course, and it breaks your heart. This will stand as
a testament to the genius of Cash as much as "Folsom Prison Blues" or "I Walk The Line".
2. Outkast : "Hey Ya!"
What chance have we got with Speakerboxx/The Love Below when the impact of this single alone is
almost too big to take in. Its scope covers 60s psychedelia, 70s funkadelia, a loose definition
of hip-hop as well as 80s soul, and the whole thing in any other year would have reigned supreme.
It has that perfect synthesis of sounding warmly familiar and utterly new at the same time, and
like all the best pop records it feels like it will force pop music to understand and accommodate
its newness or give up the ghost completely and surrender to Pop Academy/Fame Idol alumni forever.
Shake it like a Polaroid picture, indeed.
1. Beyonce feat. Jay-Z : "Crazy In Love"
The one record that topped Outkast's genius, and it was everywhere. The rousing horn sample from
The Chi-Lites courses through the song like a fanfare, the beat is hard and funky like hip-hop used
to make 'em, and its 4 minutes are the best evocation of head-over-heels, loved-up delirium since
I don't know what. Effortless, sky-scraping perfection.
Copyright © 2003 James Caig