The 40th volume of the Hits series, Huge Hits 2000, was released in December 1999 with the tagline “41 hits for the millennium”. On the “featuring” section of the front cover were plugs for Macy Grey, Steps, Five, Westlife, TLC, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys, Geri Halliewell, R Kelly, B*Witched, Vengaboys, Another Level “and many more.”
A dozen of its songs had been previously compiled on the following albums:
Now That’s What I Call Music 43: Vengaboys – Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom, Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone.
Big Hits ’99: Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee). The Original Ice Pop Radio Edit now appears.
Now That’s What I Call Music 1999: The Millennium Series: Ronan Keating – When You Say Nothing At All.
Now Dance 2000: Geri Halliwell – Mi Chico Latino (Charlie Rapino), Ann Lee – 2 Times.
The Greatest Hits Of 1999: R Kelly – If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time.
Now That’s What I Call Music 44: Backstreet Boys – Larger Than Life, ATB – Don’t Stop, Groove Armada featuring Gram’ma Funk – I See You Baby (Fatboy Slim Radio Edit), Liquid Child – Diving Faces, Tina Cousins – Angel.
The Hits series gives us the other side of the boyband coin – Westlife and Five. Flying Without Wings made it three number ones in succession but the song remains the same, a stairway to hellish blandness. Keep moving: Five finally reach the top with their likeable second 45 from album #2, Invincible. Next comes the sublime I Try, Macy Gray’s second R&B bullet and winner of Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2001 Grammy Awards. Sung with emotion and sincerity, it’s a true classic that endures. More cowbell? Britney Spears’ hard-edged (You Drive Me) Crazy with its intense dance club video and impressive choreography. Meanwhile Steps’ thoughtful After The Love Has Gone shows them decked out in jade outfits accompanied by Chinese lanterns and a dancing dragon. Their former manager Tim Byrne was now managing A1 whose sickly Everytime is here.
The second coming of B*Witched – the Awake And Breathe era – began with rather corny Jesse Hold On and a somewhat disappointing #4 chart placing. To quote Jacqueline Jeunesse, “Ah, orange foundation, frosted blue eyeshadow and lank, over-straightened hair, that was ‘the look’ of 1999!!” You can pump up the volume with Tonite from the smarmy Now Phats What I Small Music but it’s still rubbish. Thankfully we are saved by the twisted and peppery garage sound of The Artful Dodger and the deadly Re-Rewind The Crowd Say Bo Selecta. Craig David on vocals. It gave Leigh Francis’s Channel 4 comedy series Bo’ Selecta! its name. Massive. It’s followed by Mario Piu’s baffling Communication, a tune from a time when everybody’s ringtone sounded the same. And back to the garage with Basement Jaxx’s edgy Jump ‘n’ Shout featuring a top ragga vocal by John Slarta.
CD2 begins with some TLC and the guitar-driven Unpretty, an empowering song with an indie vibe. This leads into Jennifer Lopez’s truly iconic cover of 3rd Party’s Waiting For Tonight, a celebratory anthem for the upcoming millennium celebrations. After Ricky Martin’s dull Shake Your Bon-Bon, Destiny’s Child drop Bug A Boo (not a cover of the A House Doodle EP track), all crazy beats. In the zone, Another Level’s earnest Bomb Diggy and Glamma Kid’s so solid Why, the video being Jacob’s Ladder meets dancehall. More: Shola Ama’s sparkling Still Believe is a fine example of quality UK R&B that hasn’t really been recaptured since. Two giants next: Simply Red’s Ain’t That A Lot Of Love, a 60s tune updated for the progressive house era. And Eurythmics made their return to the chart for the first time since Sweet Dreams ’91 with the stunning I Saved The World Today. Perfect theme for a Bond film e.g. The World Is Not Enough.
Like You Do… Best of The Lightning Seeds marked the end of an era when released in late 1997. They returned with Life’s Too Short, and a large dance element to their music. Doesn’t work. There’s an indie sequence next. Stereophonics’ Hurry Up And Wait is a nice, anthemic slowburner that was relegated to disc 2 of Decade In The Sun. Sixpence None The Richer cover There She Goes with zero charm while Thunderbugs fail to hit the spot with second single, It’s About Time You Were Mine. Meanwhile Catatonia got inspired by Stars In Their Eyes and wrote the rather ineffectual Karaoke Queen. Last lap: Apollo 440’s scattered Heart Go Boom and Roots Manuva rapping over a Leftfield tune on the seriously good Dusted. The spell is broken by NYSYC’s soppy God Must Have (Spent A Little More Time On You) – radio edit at least – while it’s a Latin finale with Marc Anthony riding the Ricky ‘n’ Enrique wave on the hooky but ultimately disposable I Need To Know.
Jennifer Lopez – Waiting For Tonight
Macy Gray – I Try
Eurythmics – I Saved The World Today
Stereophonics – Hurry Up And Wait
The Artful Dodger – Re-Rewind The Crowd Say Bo Selecta
Lest we forget
Leftfield featuring Roots Manuva – Dusted
Missing tracks and other thoughts
When it’s good, it’s very very good and when it’s not, dullness and mediocrity reign. Here are five more big tunes that rocked my world and should be there.
The Offspring – The Kids Aren’t Alright. When the future was so bright.
Suede – Everything Will Flow. The singles off Head Music don’t fail me now.
Beth Orton – Central Reservation. A New York state of mind.
Christina Aguilera – Genie In A Bottle. Made a big impression.
Will Smith – Will 2K. Rock The Casbah!