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100 songs of the decade: Chandelier – Sia

‘Won’t look down, won’t open my eyes’

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Written by: Sia Furler and Jesse Shatkin
Produced by: Greg Kurstin and Jesse Shatkin
Album: 1000 Forms of Fear
UK release: June 2014
UK chart peak: 6

In the wake of Titanium’s huge success in 2012, Sia’s profile was raised considerably – and after gaining mainstream recognition as a songwriter to the stars, when Chandelier came along in 2014 she properly became a power player in her own right.

An absolute monster of a song about hedonism and addiction, Chandelier is virtually unsingable; Sia making not only the technical acrobatics sound effortless, but also the emotive delivery. When she howls “I’m gonna fly like a bird through the night”, the words themselves may look fun-loving and party-ready, but the tear-stained execution brilliantly tells a different story.

Sia contributed a lot to pop this decade – for Britney, for Beyonce, for Kylie, for Celine, for Rita, for Katy, for Kelly – but she also kept a fair few aces for herself. Alive, Elastic Heart, The Greatest and Cheap Thrills have all been standouts, but it’s Chandelier that remains her calling card.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Music

100 songs of the decade: On A Mission – Gabriella Cilmi

‘I never miss a trick just like a magician’

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Written by: Gabriella Cilmi, George Astasio, Jason Pebworth and Jon Shave
Produced by: The Invisible Men
Album: Ten
UK release: March 2010
UK chart peak: 9

The pressure to sex up her image was gross, but the actual music Gabriella Cilmi was divvying up during the Ten era was exciting, immaculate electropop; led by this Invisible Men-produced first single.

On A Mission is an 80s-tinged femmepowerment banger that packs – and I cannot stress this enough – one of the best spoken middle-8s of the decade. Whenever it’s on, I HAVE to chant along. I just HAVE to, it’s the law.

Gabriella didn’t stay in this lane for long: since she’s gone down a more independent route, her music has returned to the ~earthier vibe of her debut, which has been great (especially some of the stuff she’s put out this year). But! I will aaaalways have a massive soft spot for this brief moment when she was the under-rated Queen Of The Disco.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Continue Reading

Music

100 songs of the decade: Don’t Hold Your Breath – Nicole Scherzinger

‘A bad movie ends and the screen fades to black’

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Written by: Josh Alexander, Billy Steinberg and Toby Gad
Produced by: Carl Falk, Steve Angello and Rami Yacoub
Album: Killer Love
UK release: March 2011
UK chart peak: 1

Remember that brief, divine period in UK history when Nicole Scherzinger could score a solo Number One single in the UK? Halcyon days!

Where the excellent Poison is a glass-shattering, absolute-racket-in-a-good-way banger, its follow up Don’t Hold Your Breath is… a glass-shattering, absolute-racket-in-a-good-way ballad. Scherzy sounds full of tear-stained resolve, and the full-pelt fist-pumpy production feels like stepping into a time machine to the turn of the decade.

Like Alesha Dixon, I’m happy Nicole has managed to remain a successful part of celebrity culture, but – even though this track in particular was a chart-topper – listening back to the likes of DHYB and Your Love just makes me sad that we didn’t give her more success when she was churning out the hits.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Continue Reading

Music

100 songs of the decade: Blank Space – Taylor Swift

‘Got a long list of ex-lovers – they’ll tell you I’m insane’

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Written by: Taylor Swift, Max Martin and Shellback
Produced by: Max Martin and Shellback
Album: 1989
UK release: November 2014
UK chart peak: 4

An exhilarating play on the media’s idea of Taylor Swift The Man-Eater, Blank Space was a big ~Moment from the 1989 era, and rightly so. With the production taking its cues from Lorde’s breakthrough the previous year, lyrically this is Taylor at her best: biting, satirical, with a knowing wink to camera.

It’s also irresistibly catchy, with an instant hook (obviously – look at the three writers!). There are so many golden flourishes: “Darling I’m a nightmare, dressed like a daydream”, the pen click, the unintentional “Starbucks lovers” mix-up, basically the entire video…

Blockbuster Taylor is fully activated, and completely on top of her game, in this modern classic.

  • I’ll be writing about my favourite 100 pop songs of the decade; one a day for the last 100 days of 2019. They’re in no particular order, except the Top 10 – which will (obviously) come in late December.
  • See the full list so far here.
  • You can follow the rolling, daily-updated playlist below, or here.

Continue Reading

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