10 Great Pop Songs from the Noughties

It’s been a day for celebration as the Chilean miners have begun their ascent. My mate Kenny reckons he liked them when they were still underground – but now everyone’s talking about them …

Kenny’s weird. He doesn’t like pop. I mean, granted, most pop’s rubbish, but every now and then a pop song makes the charts that’s as weird and wonderful, complex and exciting as any other style of music. Here, to remind us, are some of the best.

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Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For? (Love. Angel. Music. Baby., 2004)


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The story behind this New Wave treat goes that Stefani’s first day in the studio with the legendary Linda Perry was disastrous, with Gwen breaking down in tears of self-doubt. Perry played her a tune the next day, which Gwen really loved, and Perry said, “Well, what are you waiting for?” The pair then documented Gwen’s emotional state to form the lyrics. It is unknown whether white rabbits were involved in the proceedings.

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Sugababes – Stronger (Angels With Dirty Faces, 2002)


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Back when the Sugababes made truly excellent records, this ripped off Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy to devastating effect. Lush strings complement the fine three-part harmony against a languid trip-hop beat. This song is a great reminder of how they used to sound before they lapsed into bland, shallow elevator muzak.
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kyü – Sunny in Splodges

I just picked this up over at Collapse Board, where Jerry likens kyü to Kate Bush and Björk.

“Songs engage with a fierce pop sensibility, all the while throwing in a mesmerising diorama of sounds and musical instruments: fluttering wing-movements and stuttering synth breaks and fluting woodwind and those stunning voices, cajoling and caressing and crying and begging and enticing. The feel is exotic, hinting as pleasures far unobtainable: sometimes solemn, sometimes joyous, always hypnotic. There’s a total relish underpinning the singing which alone lifts this far above and beyond the scary territory of New Age music that some of their peers would fall immediately into.”

To me, it’s more like the dreamy industrial of Einstürzende Neubauten, with the trippy hippy appeal of In The Nursery and Pram. What I mostly love – as my comparisons might suggest – is the percussion. I think album Pixiphony is going to go onto my Christmas list.

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