Tuesday, 14 December 2010

And the winner is.....

In my first year of university (2000-2001), my weekly essay deadline was 9am on Friday mornings. Which meant that Thursday night was 'Essay Panic Night'. Earlier each week, I would have done the required reading, and most weeks, I'd settle down to start writing on that week's topic at about 5pm on Thursday. At about 11pm, I'd be making good progress, but instead of sticking with it and finishing the essay, I'd go to the Phoenix Cinema and see a late-night cult film. I'd get back to college at about 1am, and carry on writing, normally completing the essay at about 5am, in time to catch 3 hours of sleep before my essay was due.

Why do I mention this here, now? I suppose it highlights one of my character traits. I'm good at starting tasks, less so at finishing them. And so it was with this countdown. Having successfully written about 99 of my favourite 100 songs of the Noughties in the last six months of 2009, I then failed to write about my overall #1 song of the decade. Despite adding it to numerous to-do lists; despite being quizzed about it frequently by friends; despite the comments of many strangers who had read the countdown and were intrigued to know about the top of the list, I never got around to completing it. Perhaps I lacked inspiration to write about it, or perhaps there was always something else more "important" on those many to-do lists.

Here we are then, a year later, and still, no #1. I decided recently that I had to rectify this, and knowing myself as well as I do, I set myself a simple rule. I would not write about my favourite singles, albums, gigs, films or TV shows from 2010 until I had written up my #1 song of the previous 10 years.

And it seems to have worked. Ladies and gentlemen.... may I present to you, my #1 Noughties Hit.

"I'm addicted to you, don't you know that you're toxic"

I wrote about Britney's tumultuous decade when I placed 'Break The Ice' at number 46 in my countdown. But for all the highs and lows, there is no doubt in my mind that Britney Spears' decade will be remembered for this. Her finest hour, her piece de resistance, her magnum opus. 'Toxic' was both a critical and commercial hit. Journalists praised its insanely catchy tune and admired the Britster's sultry, breathy vocal performance. The public loved it, worldwide, sending it Top 5 in multiple countries and achieving a #1 for Britney in the UK, Australia, Canada, Norway and Hungary. In her home country, the song was her biggest hit of the decade, giving her a gold disc for over half a million sales. It also won Britney her first Grammy, at the 2005 awards, for Best Dance Recording.

With Cathy Dennis on songwriting duties, alongside Bloodshy and Avant's production, Britney had herself a global crossover hit, although it was (famously) intended for Kylie Minogue. The pint-sized Aussie's loss was Britney's gain though. You'd certainly categorise it as a pop song, but thanks to Bollywood-style strings, warped synths, and a deliriously danceable tempo, it achieved broad appeal - a success on both the radio and the dancefloor. Even the indie kids (mostly) loved it. The video wasn't half bad either, which certainly assisted with the song's popularity.

It's taken me a long time to get here, but hopefully I've finally filled in the blanks, answered your questions and explained why I consider 'Toxic' to be the greatest song from the period 2000-2009. And now, I can get on with writing about my favourites of 2010. Hurrah!


  1. A fine choice – and very nice to finally discover the coveted number one!

    I put it just inside the top 40 on mine for much the same reasons, and frequently wonder if I should've put it higher.

    I look forward to reading your 2010 lists – my countdown of favourite albums and songs is well underway; I wonder if we will coalesce so much this time round…

  2. I never thought I'd see a post on this blog resurface!

    Mer xx

  3. Sam - thanks for sticking around to check out my number 1 (eventually). The 2010 lists are going to be going up thick and fast tonight, tomorrow and Thursday night, before I head off on my holidays. Not having this one drag over another year!!

    I've been a bit behind on your countdown, but they're sitting in my RSS feed, and I'll check it out tonight. From seeing the post headings, I get the impression our lists are going to be very different. Mine are pretty mainstream, I reckon.

    Mer - as JBJ famously sang, "you gotta keep the faith". Looking forward to seeing you & Dave over Xmas x