Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 12.

Here’s a female/male duo that made some pleasingly wibbly-wobbly music over the years (and also occasionally some plinky-plonky music if we were lucky), but it’s not Moloko (although they will be reviewed soon too). Alison Goldfrapp had been a backing singer for many years, and featured on several albums (I read that she sang the theme to a 90s CITV show, but I don’t know if that’s true or not).

In the late-90s she teamed up with Will Gregory, and for the next decade there would be plenty of welcome appearances on the singles chart. After a fairly quiet start, although they had already won over the music critics by this point, the first big success came in April 2003, when “Train” became their first Top 40 hit, and there was also “Strict Machine”. They were now heading for some mainstream acclaim. vlcsnap-00395

Then in August 2005 came “Ooh La La”, the first and biggest Top Ten hit for Goldfrapp. This one sampled “Spirit In The Sky”, a three-time UK chart-topper. Not long after, third album “Supernature” became their first to make the Top Ten too. There were then two more Top Ten singles with “Number One” and “A & E”. Another album made the Top Ten, by this point it was clear that they also knew how to put on an impressive stage show, and a lot of their videos are great too. vlcsnap-00396

However, “Happiness”, which is among my favourite singles of theirs, missed the Top Ten, and in July 2008, “Caravan Girl” reached a rather disappointing no. 54, meaning that their days of big hits were now over. Goldfrapp went on to have only one more hit single in the 2010s decade with “Rocket”, and this didn’t make the Top 40 either, despite definitely being up to standard. vlcsnap-00398

They are still together though, and although the hit singles are now gone, the Top Ten albums have continued to come, the most recent being “Silver Eye” in 2017, along with a few remixes of songs for other groups. They have long-since been considered to be pioneers in the electropop genre, and hopefully their wibbly will be wobbly for a long time to come yet.

Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 9.

Here’s yet another group that briefly hit the big time, yes, another one. Hot Chip are a British group who have worked in various genres including Synthpop. They got their name from that scene in Only Fools And Horses when Rodney did a bad impression of a woman’s expression who he thought was flirting with Del Boy, who replied “it looked like she had a hot chip in her mouth”. Well of course that’s not true, but it would be good to think that it was.

Hot Chip have made a lot of quirky songs over the years, and their frontman is Alexis Taylor. One of their earliest hits was “Over And Over” in 2006, and also in this year their second album “The Warning” was released, which was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. Someone clearly thought that “Over And Over” would be the one that would be the big success, so this was rereleased at the end of 2006, and peaked only five places higher, but still nowhere near the Top Ten. NME loved it though, so that’s nice.

They would have to wait until February 2008 for their first and only Top Ten hit single in the UK. This was when “Ready For The Floor”, which was the first single from their third album, was released, and this reached no. 6. People seemed to be rather surprised by this, but overall rather pleased. There weren’t many other groups on the scene at the time making music like this, not even McFly would you believe.

Also in February 2008, third album “Made In The Dark” reached no. 4. It was at this point that it was probably something of a relief that “Over And Over” wasn’t released for a third time, instead they probably hoped for mainstream success with some of their newer singles, but they didn’t make the Top 40 again. In May 2008 “One Pure Thought” made only no. 53, to become their final hit single.

As well as working on many other musical projects and several remixes, Hot Chip are still together after two decades, and although their time on the singles chart is up, they have released more successful albums, their most recent being their seventh in 2019. They have also been known for their pioneering videos, although it must be tough for them for their videos to have been nominated for more awards than their actual songs.

Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 8.

Here’s another indie band that were briefly a success and caught my interest. The Fratellis were a trio from Glasgow, none of them were related, but they all adopted the surname Fratelli (taking this from a character in film The Goonies). They hit the big time in September 2006 when their their second single “Chelsea Dagger” became their first Top Ten hit, reaching no. 5.

I remember that this was on the radio rather frequently at the time, and it probably still is somewhere. The video was rather entertaining too. “The boys get lonely after you leave” was a catchphrase all over for about five minutes. Also in September 2006, their first album “Costello Music” reached no. 2. They finished off their successful 2006 with their second and final Top Ten hit “Whistle For The Choir”. vlcsnap-00348

As far as I remember, they never appeared on the cover of NME, which was a disappointment as I thought that they would be popular enough to do so, although it was possible that they missed out because unlike most of the musicians that were appearing on the cover around this time, they were alive. They were rewarded though when in 2007 they won the Brit Award for Best British Breakthrough. Maybe the drummer could now afford to buy a new vest. vlcsnap-00351

However, it was by this point that their Top Ten hit singles were already behind them. In June 2008 “Here We Stand” became their second album to make the Top Ten. They did go on to release some more good singles including “Mistress Mabel” that as far as I’m concerned proved that they still had it (although this wasn’t about the Mabel who used to review the singles on Teletext), but in August 2008, what turned out to be their final hit single “Look Out Sunshine!” reached only no. 70, and they split not long after. vlcsnap-00358

The Fratellis did reform a few years later, but they have now reached the “album spends only one week on the chart, and it only gets that far because of their dwindling but dedicated fanbase” stage, like what has happened to so many indie bands whose time on the singles chart has long since come to an end. Their sixth album “Half Drunk Under A Full Moon” was released earlier this year.

Great Moments In Pop – The 2000s Part 14.

This isn’t a British group, but I wanted to feature them in this series because they made some great songs around this time, and watch out because there is a big twist at the end. Alphabeat are a Danish group, they aren’t the first one from that country to have had success in the UK, there’s also Aqua who had a few chart-toppers, but I know who I prefer.

In March 2008 their first single “Fascination” was released, and this reached no. 6. I really did like this one, but this turned out to be their first and only Top Ten hit single in the UK. They did go on to have some more hits, and in June 2008 their first album “This Is Alphabeat” made the Top Ten as well, but again, this would be the only time that this would happen for them. vlcsnap-00307

I also liked their single “The Spell” in 2009, and I was rather disappointed that this wasn’t a big hit. I like it as much as or maybe even more than “Fascination”, and it would’ve been great if this one made the Top Ten too. They went on to have one more hit single in 2010, but little has been heard from them since, as they have worked on various other musical projects. And now here comes the big twist in the story. vlcsnap-00308

You might remember when I did pieces where I kept going on about pop stars and how they kept turning up near where I live and how shocked I was about all that, I still can’t believe it all this time on. Well my mum told me once that she was in the supermarket one day, and she was sure that she saw some members of Alphabeat. Now there were lots of reasons why I thought that this couldn’t be right. vlcsnap-00311

Firstly, my mum isn’t exactly someone who is up on the latest people on the pop music scene, so I’m not sure how she could’ve known them in the first place. And then there’s also the fact that they’re pop stars with a Top Ten hit single and album, why would they be hanging around the supermarket near here, especially as they’re Danish? Do they still live in Denmark? It’s something of a mystery. If it really was them, I wish that I had taken the opportunity to tell them how much I liked “Fascination” next to the apples.

Great Moments In Pop – The 2000s Part 2.

I haven’t ever really been that interested in indie bands, although I appreciate that there is a market for them, and there used to be plenty on the singles chart among all the other genres, but they are virtually extinct now. This is a group that only had a mid-table level of success, never having a Top 20 hit single, but although they never grabbed many headlines, they changed their musical direction somewhat and went and did something that rather surprised me and caught my attention.

The frontman of Mystery Jets is Blaine Harrison, and also among the line-up was his dad Henry (I don’t know how many other bands feature two generations of the same family). They had their first Top 40 hit single in 2005, but in June 2008 they released “Two Doors Down” (not to be confused with the sitcom from a few years ago), and the reason this one I liked this one was because this had something of an 80s style. vlcsnap-00175

The video did as well, with some great fashion on display, and a lot of emotion. I did wonder if this was a something of a mickey take of the sound and style of the time, but it seems that this is just about on the side of being an affectionate tribute. Plenty of critics were positive about this one too. I also remember this being one of the earliest videos that I watched on YouTube several times because I liked it that much. vlcsnap-00174

“Two Doors Down” reached no. 24, and was also a track on their second of six albums “Twenty-One” that just missed the Top 40. It would’ve been great if this was their biggest hit, but that was “The Boy Who Ran Away” in 2006, which went one place better, at no. 23. I would have to say that this is probably my favourite song that sounds like the 80s that wasn’t actually made in the 80s if that makes sense. And how is this over a decade old now in itself?!vlcsnap-00177

All these years on Mystery Jets are still going, and they have released many more singles and albums, although they haven’t had any more hits since “Two Doors Down”, maybe they realised that there was no way that they could ever top this. And I suppose I am relived that this was released just before all the indie bands vanished from the singles chart. Where are they now.

Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 1.

Let’s continue this series into the 2000s decade. Here’s a question… how many music videos have been made near to where you live? There have been several in my case, including “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers, “Pumps” by Amy Winehouse, and “Lost Cat” by Catatonia. Some of those were fairly successful hits, but there was one that unexpectedly took off.

I think the video made closest (that I’m aware of anyway) to where I live to the point that you can almost see it is “I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker (With Flowers In My Hair)” by Sandi Thom, a Scottish singer-songwriter. Now I’m not really sure how it all happened that this ended up being made round here, but when I saw this on the TV for the first time, it was definitely a surprise. This was released in October 2005 and reached no. 55, and that seemed to be the end of it. vlcsnap-00095

But then something rather odd happened. In June 2006, this one was re-released with some more promotion, and reached no. 1. So suddenly the video was being shown on TV frequently again, and it now accompanied a chart-topping single. But not only that, this song spent ten weeks at Number One in Australia, and went on to be the biggest-selling single of 2006. This means that the video would now be shown often on the other side of the world, which is very odd. vlcsnap-00096

Even odder is that despite all the success, this song was heavily criticised for its rather nonsensical lyrics. Also in June 2006, Sandi’s debut album “Smile… It Confuses People” was released and reached no. 1 as well. This meant that in a short space of time Sandi had gone from being a virtual unknown to doing the UK chart double. Could Sandi keep up this success though? Well you can probably guess… vlcsnap-00097

In September 2006 the follow-up single “What If I’m Right” was released and reached no. 22. Then two years later, Sandi released her second album “The Pink And The Lily”, which didn’t make the Top Ten. In May 2008, the first single from the album “The Devil’s Beat” was released, and this missed the Top 40, reaching only no. 58. I’d be surprised if anyone can remember how that one goes by comparison. vlcsnap-00098

“The Devil’s Beat” turned out to be Sandi’s final hit single. Sandi has gone on to release several more singles and albums though, none of which have got anywhere near the chart, and the last time anyone ever heard of her was when she was rather annoyed that radio stations had stopped playing her singles and all of her fans had long since deserted her. But I definitely won’t be able to forget her.

Musical Memories – 11 January 2008.

Here’s my second look at a vintage singles chart. The next date I have picked at random is 11 January 2008 so let’s have a look back at some of the most memorable singles that were in the Top 100 in that week.

1 (non-mover) “When You Believe” – Leon Jackson. Oh dear, I have picked another rotten chart-topper with this chart here. It’s some guy who won The X Factor. Did he even have another hit? One day on here I shall have to bring you a list of some of my favourite UK number one singles from over the years. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that this isn’t going to be one of them.

7 (non-mover) “Call The Shots” – Girls Aloud. It’s time for me to admit something, I’m not a big fan of girl bands, but I like a lot of the singles by Girls Aloud. I never watched Popstars: The Rivals, the show on which Girls Aloud were formed, but I would have done if I knew that they would go on to make lots of terrific pop records. This isn’t my favourite song by them but I am still a big fan of it. They were very long-running as well, this song released five years into their career and was their 16th top ten hit. They are also at 51 in this week with “Theme To St. Trinian’s”. 22141-raw

9 (down 1) “Heartbroken” – T2 featuring Jodie Aysha. This was another dance song that I liked at the time, but once again I don’t recall them having any other hits but I was pleased that this made the Top Ten.

13 (down 1) “About You Now” – Sugababes. Along with Girls Aloud, Sugababes are one of the other girl bands that I’ve really liked, the only other one really being Mis-Teeq. It’s a surprise to think that their first hit single was 15 years ago now, and this was one of their six chart-toppers in late-2007. They were also at 16 in this week with “Change” but I prefer this one of the two. Also, ex-Sugababe Mutya’s single “B Boy Baby” is a new entry at an embarrassingly low 73 in this week. 22006-raw

18 (non-mover) “Umbrella” – Rihanna featuring Jay-Z. The biggest hit single of the 2000s, spending longer at number one than any other song in that decade. Rihanna is also at 12 in this chart with “Don’t Stop The Music” at 29 with “Hate That I Love You”, and at 63 with “Shut Up And Drive”. Rihanna has had a huge amount of hits over the past decade and this is definitely up there with the best of them.

25 (non-mover) “Worried About Ray” – The Hoosiers. I did like this group, they had some good singles, and the equally great follow-up “Goodbye Mr A” was also on the chart in this week. They a few more hit singles and a chart-topping album, but they’re not a band you hear much about nowadays. 42677-raw

27 (up 11) “Ruby” – Kaiser Chiefs. This is another band that I liked, and this was their only chart-topper in 2007. They also had lots of other great hits and it still surprises me that what rock/indie bands are remaining can hardly break into the Top 100 singles chart any more.

56 (up 11) “Let Me Think About It” – Ida Corr Vs. Fedde Le Grand. – This is another dance song that I liked. That thing happened recently where I hadn’t heard it on the radio for years and then suddenly it came on and it struck me how much I still liked it and it reminded me of the innovative video too. 43294-raw

79 (down 7) In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins. I remember this song that was originally a hit in the 1980s returning to the chart in 2007 off the back of the famous Cadbury’s advert with the drumming gorilla. It struck me that any classic song could now re-enter the singles chart on downloads if it suddenly comes back into the public eye (or ear).

That’s all for now, there will be another look in the chart archive soon.