Great Moments In Pop – The 2000s Part 25.

This will be the last in this series. I could go on, but I think that 25 parts is enough, and I don’t want to get too carried away. I hope that I have proven that a lot of pop music from the 2000s decade means something to me, and also, even if they are long-forgotten now, every group and single that made the chart has a story behind it, and some of them deserve a reappraisal.

Little Boots is a singer from Blackpool, whose first name is actually Victoria. She was in the Electropop genre, and she could also do some rather fancy things with various keyboards and synthesizers, so that caught my interest. In June 2009 she came on to the scene with “New In Town”, which reached no.13, to be her first hit single. Now I did like this one, and I realised that this was another singer who it would be worth following. vlcsnap-00456

In the same month, the debut album “Hands” was released, and this made the Top Ten, which was good. And then, in August 2009 “Remedy” was released, which was also a Top Ten hit. I’m not sure why, but this one really stuck around in my head more than most hit singles that were around at the time did, although this is partly because this was on the radio rather frequently. vlcsnap-00457

Her career seemed to be going well, with a Top Ten single and album achieved, and I’m sure that many people including myself wondered what she would do next. I was really surprised to discover that not only was “Remedy” her only Top Ten hit, but it was her final hit single in the UK all together. I did think that this was a mistake and I must’ve missed at least one out, but I hadn’t. vlcsnap-00459

She finished off 2009 with the release of “Earthquake”, but this didn’t even make the Top 75, and despite releasing many more singles since, she hasn’t returned to the singles chart. It seemed to end all rather quickly for her. In the 2010s decade, the only chart action for Little Boots has been two more minor hit albums, neither of which made the Top 40. I do remember her though, she is definitely someone who produced a great moment in pop.

Great Moments In Pop – The 2000s Part 24.

This is someone who didn’t have a huge amount of chart success, but because they bring back a few memories that I want to share, I think that they are worth featuring. New Zealand isn’t a country that has produced a huge amount of pop music exports, but this is one of them who did have some hits in the UK. Ladyhawke is the singer/songwriter and musician Phillipa Brown, who took her name from a 1985 dark fantasy film.

Some of her songs were in the Synthpop genre, and that was enough to attract my interest really. In July 2008 her first single “Paris Is Burning” was released and reached no. 61. In 2009, this returned to the chart, and improved on its original peak, but still missed the Top 40. Then in September 2008 “Dusk Till Dawn” missed the Top 75. In October 2008 the debut album “Ladyhawke” made the Top 20.

In December 2008 “My Delirium” was released, and this reached no. 33, to become her first and only Top 40 hit single in the UK, and this is also her best-known song. Again, this returned to the chart in 2009, but didn’t improve on its original peak. By this point, her music was being nominated for, and also winning, music awards in New Zealand and Australia.

In May 2009, “Back Of The Van” was released. This is my favourite single by Ladyhawke, which even now brings back a memory. This was around the time that I got a digital radio. I was curious about what was on offer, I realised that there were several stations available that weren’t on FM, and I wondered what type of music they would play. Whilst trying to determine what I might like, I heard this one, which I very much enjoyed. The video is really great too.

I don’t remember what station it was though, and it’s probably long-gone now, but it made me realise the potential of digital radio. This means that I was rather disappointed when “Back Of The Van” reached only no. 93, and I consider this to be one of the lost gems of late-2000s pop music. This also turned out to be Ladyhawke’s final single in the UK, although her second and third albums released in the 2010s decade were minor hits, and a fourth is planned to come later this year.

Great Moments In Pop – The 2000s Part 20.

Here’s a look back at another group who made some good singles in the 2000s, but ended up not hanging around in the spotlight for long as they deserved to. La Roux were a synthpop duo who were male/female, in a similar style to Goldfrapp and Moloko. The singer was Elly Jackson, whose mother found fame as a long-running cast member of ITV’s The Bill.

The other member was Ben Langmaid, who had been involved as a producer in various musical projects going back to the 90s. Their first single “Quicksand” wasn’t a hit, but it was in March 2009 when “In For The Kill” was released and they had their first success, when this reached no. 2. There seemed to be two different versions of this played on the radio, along with two videos as well.

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The critics seemed to be rather fond of their sound, and in July 2009 they went one step further when “Bulletproof” was released, and this became a chart-topper for one week. This really did sound like it had fallen through a timewarp from the 80s, and some felt that this sounded so similar to a musical style that they were rather surprised that Vince Clarke of Yazoo/Erasure fame didn’t end up also being credited. vlcsnap-00432

“Bulletproof” went on to be a Top Ten hit in America too, and I have to say as well that this is definitely one of my favourite Number Ones of this era. And yet remarkably, not only was this their only chart-topper, but no more of their singles would make the Top 20 in the UK at all. Also in July 2009, the self-titled debut album was released, which reached no. 2, and this won a Grammy Award. vlcsnap-00431

In October 2009, “I’m Not Your Toy” was released, and this reached only no. 27. It was as good as anything else that we’d already heard from them, but this went on to be their final Top 40 hit single, once again proving how short-lived fame can be. When La Roux did eventually return to the pop scene almost five years later, by this point it was essentially a solo project for Jackson. In August 2014 the second album “Trouble In Paradise” did make the Top Ten, but no more singles got anywhere near the Top 40, and a little-noticed third album came out another six years on.

Great Moments In Pop – The 2000s Part 18.

Here is another of the female pop stars that I got into at the end of the 2000s decade, which as I have said before, is around the time that I lost interest in pop music, so this one arrived just in time, and ended up being one of my favourites from any era. Around the time of the release of her debut single, I realised that Paloma Faith might be someone whose music I could be interested in.

So I decided to take the opportunity to find out more about her by going on various websites, and I found her own MySpace page (it may seem ridiculous now, but this was at the time when this was still the best-known social media website). I saw lots of pictures of her that showed off her unusual dress sense and hairstyles, along with her stage shows which seemed rather fun and creative.vlcsnap-00427

I also discovered that among other things she had been an actress, who had previously appeared in adverts, and was also among the cast of one of the St Trinian’s films. Well we’ve all got to start somewhere, haven’t we. Realising that she is from Hackney, which is not too far away from where I live in London, was definitely something that helped too. vlcsnap-00428

In June 2009 Paloma’s debut single “Stone Cold Sober” was released, and this reached no. 17. There was also a great video, and I decided that it would be a good idea to eagerly follow her pop music career. Her only other hit single in the 2000s decade was “New York”, which also made the Top 20. In October 2009 her debut album “Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful”, was released, and this did make the Top Ten. vlcsnap-00429

I also looked out for when Paloma appeared on TV, along with trying to track down fansites that had more information about her, and as we are now in an era when you can follow practically every move that a famous person makes, I tried to make sure that I kept informed and hoped to fit everything I discovered in my head without it going all squishy. vlcsnap-00431

And the good news is that going into the 2010s decade Paloma did turn into a fairly high-profile pop star, the singles chart was definitely a more interesting place when she was around. Several of her singles and albums went on to make the Top Ten, and in 2015 she won the Brit Award for Best British Female, which was definitely a great moment, and well deserved.

Great Moments In Pop – The 2000s Part 17.

This is one of the last British female singers that I took an interest in, and I always group her within the likes of Paloma Faith and Jessie J, who also came on to the scene around the late-2000s/early-2010s. I shall concentrate on how their career started out in the 2000s decade, although their biggest chart triumphs at this point would be yet to come.

Florence And The Machine were fronted by Florence Welch. I have written a lot about how having a distinctive look definitely helps, and Florence stood out with her long red hair. And there’s no doubt that she could sing too. I don’t know who “The Machine” were though, maybe there’s a chance that this was that computer from the late-night game show who constantly told contestants to “use your brain”. I get the feeling that wasn’t it though! vlcsnap-00417

The first hit single “Kiss With A Fist” was in 2008, but this was fairly minor, not making the Top 50. The buzz around this group would eventually increase though, and in July 2009 “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” was released, which reached no. 12. Now this was definitely a great way to announce yourself on the scene, and I really do like this one. Not long after, the debut album “Lungs” was released, which made the Top Ten, and also won a Brit Award for Best British Album, to go along with the Critics’ Choice Award that they already had. vlcsnap-00423

And in August 2009, there was a cover of “You Got The Love”, which was made famous by The Source Featuring Candi Staton (and was a big hit a few times itself), which became the first Top Ten hit single. This was then a hit again for Florence in a reworked version as a duet with rapper Dizzee Rascal. This might have come across as a somewhat unlikely collaboration at first, but this definitely worked. vlcsnap-00424

And just go briefly go over what happened going into the 2010s decade, Florence did have many more successful singles and albums, including a couple of chart-toppers, along with performing at several high-profile festivals. And she even appeared on the cover of Radio Times twice, along with all of the music magazines whose claims that she would reach the top were definitely fulfilled.

Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 7.

I have said before that I have never really been hugely interested in indie bands, although I am aware of how many influential ones there have been that mean a lot to people (although it’s now been a long time since any were regularly on the singles chart). But I do remember this one got my attention, and for a short while they went on to have some success.

Athlete were an English group that formed in 2000, and their frontman was Joel Pott. In April 2003 their debut album “Vehicles And Animals” was released, this just about made the Top 20, and was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. I also remember some of the singles from this album, including “El Salvador” and “You Got The Style” (released twice). But the one I liked the most was “Westside”, released in June 2003. vlcsnap-00353

I remember when I heard this one on the radio, and this took a rather long time to get to the chorus (they clearly didn’t take the advice of Roxette), and when it did, someone shouted “chorus!“, how useful. I have to admit that I was disappointed when “Westside” didn’t make the Top 40. But what would they do next? It turned out that their biggest success was about to come. vlcsnap-00354

When they did return in January 2005, “Wires” was the first single from their second album, which became their first and only Top Ten hit (and also returned to the Top 40 for one week in December 2012 for some reason). And then, a month later, the album “Tourist” was a chart-topper (for one week), and suddenly they had made a mainstream breakthrough. vlcsnap-00355

I remember a magazine interview when Joel was promoting the album which contained a rather awkward moment. This is only from memory but it went something like the question being “do you get disappointed by negative reviews from critics?”, and mishearing, he replied “cricketers? I don’t know about any comments from cricketers”. Oh dear. Their hits began to drop off again after this though. vlcsnap-00356

In May 2005, “Half Light” became their final Top 20 single. They went on to release two more albums, 2007’s “Beyond The Neighbourhood” and 2009’s “Black Swan”, but their final hit single “Superhuman Touch” which was released in August 2009 made only no. 71. Unfortunately not many people were taking notice of them by now, not even the cricketers. Athlete split in 2013, and have go on to work on other musical projects.

Down The Dumper – The 2000s Part 3.

You should know by now that I am interested in the history of female duos in pop music, and here’s an example of one that had some success right at the end of the 2000s decade. Mini Viva were a duo who consisted of Frankee Connolly and Britt Love. In September 2009 their debut single “Left My Heart In Toyko” was released, and this reached no. 7, becoming their first (and only) Top Ten hit.

Part of its success was because it was described as one of the catchiest pop songs of the year, and I do remember enjoying it myself. I was rather confused though by the lyric “down by the river don’t you know“. Where in Tokyo is the river Don’tyouknow exactly? I’m only joking, probably. Of course, this song was released post-Top Of The Pops, but they still made a few TV appearances on the places where pop fans took notice, including T4, and this song was often on BBC Radio 1. vlcsnap-00104

Also interesting about this one is that the production team were Xenomania, who definitely knew a thing or two around this time about how to put a great pop song together, having already done it many times for other groups. And one of the writers was Annie, a Norwegian singer who only had one hit in this country in 2005, but it was very enjoyable. vlcsnap-00105

Following this, it looked there could be plenty of interest in their next single, but somehow, there wasn’t. In December 2009 “I Wish” was released, and this reached only no. 73, which was a surprise. Their third and final single “One Touch” was released in May 2010, and didn’t make the Top 100 at all. This led to their planned album never being released, and Mini Viva split not long afterwards. I must admit I don’t know if they’re still in touch with each other. vlcsnap-00106

This was a shame as their songs were all rather good, but for whatever reason people didn’t take much notice. They were also one of the very last pop acts I took some interest in. All their videos are still on their YouTube channel, which hasn’t been updated for about a decade, and has become a time capsule of their brief time together and how they promoted their songs. The story doesn’t end there though. In 2016, Frankee joined another group called M.O who briefly had some chart success, with one of their singles making the Top 20.