Chart Music – 2003

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

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2003, Baby! Well, back then I had just passed from the jaded land of teenage dreams into the terrifying world of ‘I’m in my twenties’. I went to Glastonbury and saw a tonne of great bands – old and new, and I both marveled and despaired at the commercial music scene. On one hand, we had the continuing resurgence in the popularity of metal and rock from a commercial sense – shitty pop punk bands were ruling the airwaves alongside even worse post-grunge do-gooders. Most of the commercial metal hitting the charts in the US and UK was stagnant, but behind the scenes there was plenty to love. Bland UK and US mainstream rockers were the main order of the day, with a billion ‘The’ bands popping up from everywhere and some truly awful indie types making repetitive garbage that would be best suited to the numbing hell of a club dancefloor. On the other hand, what was now termed R’n’B continued to rise, manufactured, vapid pap from Television talent shows consistently traumatized those who actually like music, Madonna kissed Britney Spears, Pete Townsend looked at some awful pictures for research purposes, Michael Jackson met Martin Bashir and was then arrested, Phil Spector was accused of murder, Napster came back from the dead and was used by nobody, and ITunes was born and used by everybody.

But surely the music was influenced by what was happening in the word? The Space Shuttle Columbia fell to pieces on reentry, US and pals invaded Iraq looking for those pesky WMDs, and everybody continued to laugh at George Bush. As usual, various coups and uprisings began and ended around the world while people in US and Europe began taking steps to legalize or make same-sex marriage possible. Leslie Cheung killed himself, while many other notable stars passed away including Gregory Peck, June and Johnny Cash, Katherine Hepburn, Bob Hope, John Ritter, Jonathan Brandis, and many more. I was in my middle year of University witnessing all these things which would later inspire my billion selling book.

Lets take a look at what was being forced into our earholes by the radio overlords in October of 2003. Some of these are making me vomit just from remembering how bad they were, and a few I don’t recognize at all. Some I’m sure I’ll remember when I listen, and only one is remotely likeable. Here we go:

1: Black Eyed Peas: Where Is The Love. Does anybody even like Black Eyed Peas? I mean, honestly? Sure they have little tunes and little beats, but it’s all so showy and shitty. This isn’t their worst – it’s well meaning, apparently, but that chorus is a clear rip off of Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’. There’s no two ways about it. When it’s not ripping off some melodies from there, it’s ripping ideas from Michael Jackson to make an inferior, slightly twee but mostly okay song. Drum sounds are awful.

2: Beyonce: Baby Boy. I have no idea what this is. More miserable attempts at Beyoncé’s laughable grasping of feminism? Oh dear, it’s a ‘feat’. song. And oh dear, it’s Sean Paul. Has there every been a single song that Sean Paul has appeared on that has been anything better than terrible? Cheap Thrills is so much better without his robotic shite. Does Beyoncé have a thing for infants – is that what this is about? It’s about sex. It’s terrible. The backing thrusts of music are all faux-drama and threat, but with Beyoncé’s warbling over the top it sounds pathetic. It turns into some tribal Indian disaster near the end, not for musical reasons you understand – just so, I bet, Beyoncé can try out a new outfit and dance for the video.

3: Jamelia: Superstar. Yeah, this song was everywhere at the time and it’s still played quite frequently for something that’s almost 14 years old. Listening to this and the previous song, and listening to the charts today, makes you think that music has not progressed whatsoever in the last decade. Think about what happened between 1960 and 1974. Or 1974 and 1988. Or 1988 and 2002. I didn’t have any real problem with this one. It’s light, and it does have good melodies in verse and chorus. Jamelia’s voice is fine, doesn’t standout, but serves the song. It’s about sex.

4: Rachel Stevens: Sweet Dreams My LA Ex. So, this was the hot one from S Club 7. I think I’ve heard the song name, but don’t think I’ve heard the song. Spanish/funky chords. Terrible drum noises. Terrible attempts at sexy vocals. Terrible attempt at emulating Britney. Feeble, generic verse and chorus. Bland bland nothingness. It’s about sex.

5: The Darkness: I Believe In A Thing Called Love. I saw The Darkness at Glastonbury just before they exploded for a brief couple of years. Sure they’re a joke band, but that didn’t stop them from making catchy songs and they don’t get more catchy and unusual than this in chart music. It’s about sex.

6: Dido: White Flag. Speaking of bland bland nothingness, ladies and gentlemen… Dido! We all loved Stan when it came out, but then Dido started popping up everywhere, for no reason. I think this song would be better if someone else was singing. But that empty void of a voice, coupled with the silent elevator fart of the music does make the whole thing sound like a surrender.

7: The Strokes: 12:51. Ugh, I can’t stand The Strokes. They are basically Status Quo, but without the musical ability. Ha. Or the ear for a tune. Lets see if I know this one. Surprise surprise – tap tap tap the SAME FUCKING RHYTHM AND SAME REPETITIVE CHORDS ON EVERY SINGLE SONG. Here is every Strokes song ever – d d d d d d d d d duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh DO DO DO DO DO DO DO DO CHUH CHUH CHUH CHUH CHUH CHUH CHUH CHUH. How did The Strokes even happen? How did people fall for this!? It is as generic as Rachel Stevens and as bland as Dido. Arguably the worst successful rock band ever.

8: S Club 8: Sun Down. There was an S Club 8? Why don’t I remember this? Did they add another member to 7 or is it a sequel to Juniors? Who the fuck cares, none of it should have ever happened. Holy hell this is bad. Just listen to that music? The annoying thing is that the leading melodies are catchy, even if it does rip off everything from Abba to Kylie Minogue. This exists solely to teach 8 year olds how to dance. Badly. It’s about sex.

9: Texas: Carnival Girl. Jeebus, this really wants to take the crown of most bland list ever. Texas is the same as Dido. Charlene Spit-Near-Ye may well be Dido in disguise. I thought I knew this one, but it doesn’t sound familiar. WTF rapping balls is this. Is that Sean Paul? Possibly Paul Sean. It’s definitely Feat. someone. Poor poor poor.

10: Fast Food Rockers: Say Cheese. Never heard of this in my life. And within the first three seconds I wish I could still say that. What the absolute balls is this? Chav noise for the braindead.

Now that’s out of the way, lets take a look at what you could have been listening to. We had decent album releases from the likes of Children Of Bodom, Cult Of Luna, Strapping Young Lad, Opeth etc. Outside of metal there was a new Madonna album, and releases by Radiohead, The Mars Volta, Placebo, Muse, and probably others. Below is a much better selection of songs to enrich your life and remind you that yes, somewhere out there are folks making genuinely good stuff.

  1. Pink: Humble Neighbourhoods.

2. Lene Marlin: Fight Against The Hours

3. Alice Cooper: The Song That Didn’t Rhyme

4. Muse: Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist

5. The Bangles: Something That You Said

6. Iron Maiden – No More Lies

7. Manic Street Preachers: Judge Yrself

8. Radiohead – Myxomatosis

9. Opeth: Windowpane

10. Ben Harper: She’s Only Happy In The Sun

Listen to mine, it’s the only logical choice. Let us know in the comments what you thought about any of the songs above and what you remember about 2003!

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Chart Music – 2011

Yes! Back thanks to an almost universal lack of demand, I stretch back the scalp of time and feast upon the mushy innards of the past – in this instance I return to the UK music charts. If you’re interested, you can read my original post here – https://carlosnightman.wordpress.com/2015/10/22/the-uk-top-40/

Greetings, Glancers! Once more we torture ourselves by listening to what passes for music in the hearts, minds, and ears of the great unwashed. Today we go back to a year you should all remember well, because it was only five years ago. In 2011 the world was still in the grip of talentless shows, celeb shows – basically not too different from today in that almost every form of popular media which receives any sort of exposure was glossy, bland, and sexualised to the point that we all wished we could be celibate. I mean, just look at the top 10 below, just look. You don’t need to listen at all, I… I wouldn’t do that to you. But what else was happening? The Arab Spring, the March 11th Tsunami, Occupy Wall Street, William and Kate’s Wedding – all horrific events, so it was no wonder everyone was excited when we found evidence of water on Mars; it’s time to get off this rock! Oh yeah, Bin Laden was killed too.

In the music world, Amy Winehouse, Bert Jansch, Gary Moore, Mike Starr and others died. Adele released her horrible second album, a bunch of people you’ve already forgotten won Brit Awards, Lady Gaga did something, Jeff Hanneman was almost killed by a spider, and Nightwish released both a new album and a tie in movie. Help me out here… did anything else happen? No? Okay then, lets get through this as quickly as possible.

1: Rihanna: We Found Love

I don’t think I’ve actually heard this entire song before, but I know the chorus as it is played EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME. It’s a pity Rihanna screeches so badly out of her nose because some of her songs are okay. Terrible speaking. Isn’t this the one where the video was filmed 10 minutes from my parent’s house? So the verse is pretty much the same as the chorus, but with different words. Meh.

2: Maroon 5: Moves Like Jagger.

An absolute travesty. Like injecting shards of glass into your eyeballs and having a badger pull them out. I ain’t linking this.

3: Gym Class Heroes: Stereo Hearts.

I don’t know what this is. High pitched accent disaster. Words. It’s pretty tame. It’s pretty crap. I can imagine plenty singing along to it. Possibly swaying their arms. NEXT!

4: Christina Perri: Jar Of Hearts.

I don’t know who this is. Talky sing. Yes, I’ve heard the chorus. Doesn’t it rip off that Beyonce Halo song? It feels emotional. The bridge isn’t great. PRAMISAYIZ? Promises? Halo-eeo-ooh!

5: LMFAO: Sexy And I Know It.

See number 2. But with a rabid tramp replacing the badger.

6: Matt Cardle: Run For Your Life.

Remember him? Poor Matt. A winner cursed by a win. I’ve never heard this. The verse at least tries something unusual with it’s stoppy, starty beat, but the chorus then turns to X Factor white bread shite.

7: Charlene Soraia: Wherever You Will Go.

Who? Never heard of you. Can’t hear the music. Oh right, I think I’ve head this. Yeah, another one which is used annoyingly on TV ads. Not much to it. Verses too faint, chorus too overplayed. NEXT!

8: Sak Noel: Loca People.

Who? Never heard of ye. Oh here we go. Terrible. NEXT!

9: Ed Sheeran: The A Team.

Another one from this ginger twat. Sullying the good name of the A Team. You’re not Damien Rice. You’re not even chicken curry. That fecking accent. NEXT!

10: One Direction: What Makes You Beautiful

NEXT!

What a mess. Cleanse yourself with these messages from our alternate sponsor:

  1. Nightwish: Rest Calm
  2. Mastodon: Creature Lives
  3. Opeth: Marrow Of The Earth
  4. Alice Cooper: I Am Made Of You
  5. The Music: So Low (yes yes, originally released much earlier)

That’s about it really. We did also get albums from Kate Bush, Radiohead, Chili Peppers, and many more, but I’m just not as familiar with them to pick something great, and without resorting to the bands above I can’t choose anything else. Let me know what else was good in 2011 – there must have been something!?

Bond Girls Extra – Should Have Beens

Greetings, Glancers! If you thought I was finished with Bond Girls after my other three posts (here, here, and there) you are double oh wroong. Today we allow our imaginations to fly by asking a question – this question – which actresses (or former Miss Worlds as the case may be) would have made a great Bond Girl? A Bond Girl has to be any number of things – beautiful, alluring, possibly dangerous, possibly exotic, and it helps if they are a decent performer (matron).

I’m going to pick ten women from each decade who I feel would have been interesting choices – actresses who it would have been cool to have seen capering around with Connery, Moore, Brosnan and co, either as a traditional Bond Girl or femme fatale. Have a gander at these actresses and let us know in the comments which choices you agree with.

1960s:

  1. Claudia Cardinale

Arguably the finest European actress on my list, she had the dark, sultry look, big eyes, and the acting chops to stand alongside anyone. Would probably have been a brothel owner working for the movie’s villain but would switch sides to Bond.

2. Audrey Hepburn

A pipe dream choice to be sure as the Bond films have never been draws for already superstar actresses but still, Hepburn’s beauty and class mean she would have fit in wonderfully to any imagine Bond movie – most likely as the high class wife of a movie villain who spends her days wandering lonely through casinos and yachts.

3. Catherine Deneuve

Another international star, Deneuve could just as likely play a villain as goodie and could have played the role of a woman who was out only to achieve her own goals, becoming embroiled in or even aiding some international nefarious plot, playing Bond and the villain off each other so that she could further her own interests.

4. Natalie Wood

Although it would happen much later, has a tragic status which is something sort of common to Bond Actresses, Wood having the sympathetic looks which would have allowed her to shine in the role of a woman out for revenge after the villain killed her parents.

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5. Jean Marsh

Clearly a femme fatale, Jean Marsh strikes me as someone who would have been a terrific villain, arguably pulling the strings for the main bad guy or even being the central antagonist herself. I can just imagine that malevolent smirk as she coldbloodedly watches someone Bond cares for die.

6. Ruby Dee

Quite possibly the best African-American actress who ever lived, Ruby Dee would have been a great catch for the Bond series in the 60s and she could have played a progressive role as a Civil Rights campaigner caught up in an assassination plot.

7. Brigitte Bardot

One of the biggest sex symbols of all time, and therefore a prime candidate for Bond. Unlike may of her peers, particularly on my list, Bardot’s films have always taken a back seat to her own notoriety – appearing in something as big as a Bond film would have been just the ticket to snatch back some of that balance.

8. Sharon Tate

Again we have the tragedy factor, Tate being cut down before she had the chance to turn into a full blown star, and I get the sense that she could have played the role of a mistress/slave or flighty fun lover who Bond runs into very well.

9. Cher

A choice many will balk at I’m sure, but Cher was hot in her younger days. She tested the movie waters in the late sixties and while she was still inexperienced could have had a duel role in a Bond movie by providing the song and having a minor role, possibly as a club singer. With secrets. Sexy secrets.

10. Raquel Welch

A choice others have probably mentioned before, and another sex symbol whose movies never quote lived up to her name. Welch could have been a strong Caroline Munro type villainess, entrapping Bond and trying to slice him up before accidentally catching a bullet.

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1970s:

  1. Nora Miao

Bruce Lee’s main go to for beauty and dignity, Miao picked up some athletic skills in her time with Golden Harvest, skills which could have been put to good use in another 70s Roger Moore romp with ninjas, deadly kung fu warriors, and even deadlier boobs.

2. Barbara Hershey

While we’re on the subject of deadly boobs, Barbara Hershey was popular in the 70s though it wasn’t until the next decade that her acting talents were accepted. A younger Hershey could have been great as a hippie under the influence of some cult leader/drug criminal baron who needed a good stabbing.

3. Julie Christie

Too high profile and too much of a critical darling to ever appear in something so lewd as a Bond movie, Christie nevertheless could have slotted in as a Stateswoman type, one of those characters Bond meets along the way but isn’t overly important to the plot. Christie likely would have wanted a bigger part though (and Bond would have obliged).

4. Adrienne Barbeau

While we’re on the subject of bigger parts, Adrienne Barbeau was, and still is a cult figure due to her 70s and 80s work and her performances in action and horror TV and cinema mean she would have been slotted in nicely to Bond’s world. I see her as a feisty type, possibly a CIA operative or a good old horse rustler in some Southern State – Bond horse chase scenes, we don’t have enough of those.

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5. Isabelle Hupert

Frequently mentioned as the finest actress working today, Hupert has been at it for years, stunning audiences in the 70s with her ability and charm. Bond usually ends up in France and other southern European regions and Hupert could have made for solid company cruising around the narrow streets in a convertible.

6. Debbie Harry

The pop punk icon was more known for her acting jobs in the following decade, but Bond could have got his hands on her first – lets stick her in the baddie camp as some sort of sexy bodyguard or administrative executive.

7. Carrie Fisher

Moonraker capitalized on Star Wars – why not go one further and have Bond seduce the finest Princess in the Galaxy? Fisher was always versatile, but I think her natural snarky way would have made her an entertaining comic and dramatic foil for Moore, trading barbs, fists, and eventually bodily fluids.

8. Isabelle Adjani

Everyone’s go to gal for a bit of foreign fluff in the 1970s, Adjani would become a two time Oscar nominated actress so her acting chops are up to scratch – most of you reading this are likely more interested in scratching her ass chops but since I have no idea what you’re talking about lets call her out as another baddie.

9. Barbara Magnolfi

While we’re on the subject of baddies, Magnolfi had that wicked vixen look in the 70s where you weren’t sure if she was a woman or a witch. Moore was all about the wacky times, so lets have Magnolfi as some dark arts purveyor, casting hexes and causing prominent politicians and businessmen to lose their minds, lives, and underwear.

10. Edwige Fenech

While we’re on the subject of witches, Fenech was popular in many Italian giallo movies of the time as well as many sex comedies. Appearing in a Bond film then probably wouldn’t have been much of a stretch for her and she could have had a minor role as someone who invites Bond into a dodgy situation only to turn the tables on him and see him captured, by the good guys or the baddies.

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1980s:

  1. Linda Hamilton

The original badass, Linda Hamilton never got the credit she deserved. Sure she was in the massive Terminator movies but appearing the Bond franchise could have given her an added boost. I’ll always see her as a motherly type, so why not have Bond assigned to help her protect her child, not necessarily from a robot from the future, but from a globe-trotting terrorist ex husband or some such nonsense.

2. Susanna Hoffs

Was there anyone hotter than The Hoffs in the 80s? Is there anyone hotter now? The answer to both questions is ‘No’, and Bond most certainly would not have said ‘No’ to her had she said ‘My my, double oh seven, would you mind helping me to unclasp my bra, my bosoms need fresh air’. It’s how people spoke in the 80s. It was the breast of times.

3. Nancy Loomis

Ah Nancy, with your smokey looks, sarcastic ways, and failure to star in enough good movies. She mostly retired from acting in the 80s, but one final hurrah in a Bond movie would have brought her to an even bigger audience – I see her as a wise-ass military type, chewing gum and showing Bond her guns. Guns to buy, borrow, use to kill baddies of course, not her other guns you dirty minded dirtbag. Oh yeah, she’s show her tits too.

4. Sharon Stone

While we’re on the subject of showing tits, Sharon Stone was just making a name for herself in this decade in various action movies and sequels. A Bond movie would have propelled her quicker, and even in this period she had the look of a femme fatale and leading lady, able to hold her own with Moore or Dalton. I see her as a gangster’s mol, someone with a shady present and shadier past, but those secrets might just be the key to Bond completing his mission.

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5. Melinda Culea

I watched a lot of TV in the 80s, so that explains my next couple of picks. I have a soft (hard) spot for actresses who appear in shows I love but who rarely go beyond. Melinda was Amy in The A-Team so would have been used to a bunch of guys, guns, and exploding things. Bond would have exploded all over her face had she appeared in a movie with him.

6. Patricia McPherson

This time it’s Bonnie from Knight Rider – both franchises could have capitalized by having her appear in a Bond movie so why not have a silly almost crossover role where she helps Q in designing some new supercar for Bond to tear about in.

7. Heather Langenkamp

I’ve always felt that Langenkamp should have been an A-lister, an unconventional beauty with a wide acting talent but for whatever reason it never happened. Appearing while she was still relatively young in the 80s meant she could have appeared in a Bond movie as a trainee agent, possibly in the cold open, suffering a mishap at the hands of a bad guy or aiding Bond in his quest for daily orgasms.

8. Jenny Agutter

We’ve had a lot of American performers on the list, but not too many Brits. I can’t honestly think of too many British stars in the 80s who were both beautiful and talented – Jenny Agutter fits the bill and had already appeared in numerous notable worldwide hits. As I type I think she would actually have made a good fit as a wife of one of Bond’s co-workers – we know Felix already got/gets married so why not have her married to another agent, perhaps one who gets killed or goes rogue – Bond doesn’t always have to do a sex on all of the women.

9. Sandahl Bergman

Continuing the loose theme of 80s badasses rather than obvious looks, Bergman is a beast, as shown in her various sword ‘n’ sorcery outings, and a damn good actress too – but again never made enough high profile films to get recognition. An accomplished dancer and stuntwoman, she could have played a good guy or a bad guy, and dancers usually appear in every Bond movies. How about a dancer who is also an assassin?

10. Beatrice Dalle

While we’re on the subject of beasts, Beatrice Dalle in Betty Blue and Inside fits the bill. We’ve got to have her as a vamp, an early prototype for Xenia Onotopp, and would have done well in the darker Dalton movies – I see some energetic sex and fight scenes between them.

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1990s:

  1. Neve Campbell

My wife in another life, I would cast Neve in anything if I was a filmmaker. Her name was hot in the 90s, so a starring role in a Bond movie wouldn’t have been out of the ordinary. Those eyes, full of sympathy and tragedy, would have been perfect for the central love interest of the film but her strength and willingness to push herself means she would have been a more action oriented 90s Bond girl.

2. Kari Wuhrer

Some may say we’re descending now to Denise Richards levels of acting and, you know, I’ve never had a problem with her as an actress. Sure she wasn’t great in The World Is Not Enough but that was more down to the part being given to her (matron). Kari Wuhrer plied her trade mostly in soft core porn thrillers, but more significantly in the action and sci-fi oriented Sliders. She could play the buxom mistress or the riot grrrl soldier, and her looks will entice many a viewer.

3. Nicole Eggert

I had to get someone from Baywatch, with Pammy being the obvious choice. I go for Nicole though, I preferred Summer to CJ and Pamela’s assets would have become too much of a hammy focus. Nicole was gorgeous in the nineties and I have no doubt could have made for a watchable lead Bond girl.

4. Sarah Michelle Gellar

It’s Buffy herself (is there a Buffy/James Bond crossover fan fiction? Get on that, weirdos). Gellar rarely gets the credit for her acting chops but in BVTS and Cruel Intentions in particular she shows a high caliber. It’s difficult for me to envision where she would actually fit in a Bond movie, pretty much because I always see her as Buffy, but at her commercial peak it would been interesting to see her as a strong women in a world of cold-hearted killers.

5. Winona Ryder

Maybe my most consistent favourite actress ever – she’s always been there in some shape or form through my life and pops up in many of my favourite films. Why not have her in one of my favourite franchises too? I see her as a more flirtatious Moneypenny type figure, and would like to have seen her in multiple films – something I’ve always said the series sorely lacks. She could work with Bond or M or Q or somebody and return in a handful of movies in a short series of scenes and I’d be happy.

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6. Sandra Bullock

The go to girl next door actress for action movies before she became the deserving Oscar bait she is now, it seems odd that Bullock never made it into a Bond movie. Sure she basically had action covered in Speed and Demolition Man, but lets not ruin a good thing – Bond hasn’t had a bumbling, innocent, all action, all American girl for a while.

7. Fairuza Balk

Where did Fairuza go? Always on the verge of greatness, or at least cult stardom, Fairuza appears to be the antithesis of the Bond girl. Balk has never been less than awesome in anything I’ve seen her in but in recent years has appeared mainly in Indie movies or has focused on artwork instead of acting. Her apparent attraction to darker roles means she could have crafted a villain of true depth and danger, a character who would stand out among femme fatales and henchmen.

8. Claire Forlani

The British born Forlani has played a wide range of characters from different cultural backgrounds, with experience in drama, action, comedy, romance and more. Although she has appeared in some high profile films and shows, she isn’t a household name, but as she was on the rise in the 90s her eye-catching beauty and acting experience mean she could have fit any mould of Bond girl.

9. Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash…. yeah, I think she could have made an entertaining bimbo character – one of those single scene Bond girls. I’m sure she could have been much more of course, but that’s the role that leaps out at me when I think of her.

10. Salma Hayek

She knows her way around a gun, a fight scene, a reel of difficult dialogue, and your eye is naturally drawn to her when she makes an appearance. I don’t think the whole Latino or South American thing has been explored too much and Hayek have made for a captivating local with ties to the bad guys or some sort of underground resistance which Bond gets involved in.

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2000s:

  1. Jennifer Love Hewitt

Another Party Of Five alumni, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s fame continued into the 2000s with a string of successful comedies, but outside of a Jackie Chan escapade and some minor efforts she never gut her teeth on big budget action or drama. Out of all the teen dramas which were born out of the late 90s, Hewitt is surely the hottest actress among them, and if there’s one thing Bond is attracted to like Blofeld is attracted to pussy, it’s hotness. Brosnan or Craig could have had some smouldering chemistry with her.

2. Kou Shibasaki

One of the many shining lights of Battle Royale, Shibasaki was all set for Western stardom after being hand-picked by Tarantino for Kill Bill. As fate would have it, she had to pull out and another BR co-star took her place. Since then she has made a tonne of movies and shows all over the world, but a Bond movie would have catapulted her into stardom. It would be easy to see her have a similar role in a Bond movie as she had in BR, but I’m sure she could have just as easily played the main love interest.

3. Emily Procter

Procter came to attention in 2000 for her superb fast-talking turn in The West Wing before moving on to one of those CSI shows I’ve never watched – presumably there is more talking in those, as well as action. Owner of arguably the best accent/voice combo you’ll ever hear, Procter would have done well as either some stereotypical Southern gal bimbo or more appropriately a smooth talkin’, gun totin’ small town cop.

4. Gigi Edgley

With so many movies being filmed in Australia to save money, why not use some Australian actresses? Edgley is best known for her energetic, unique performance as Chiana in Farscape but has shown plenty of dramatic chops over the years. I think she could channel her inner demon and make for an interesting villain or good guy and with her dance background could get herself into some contorted shapes. Plus she would be the second Farscape actress to ‘Bond it up’.

5. Brooke Satchwell

Staying in Oz, I had to get a Neighbours actress in somewhere so why not our Brooke. She’s had plenty of TV appearances since leaving Ramsey Street, but no major movies. Why not have her starring alongside Gigi, possibly as yet another daughter figure who Bond has to save from her clothes?

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6. Thandie Newton

Classy, beautiful, smoking hot, and no stranger to spy escapades, Thandie has all the obvious qualities of a Bond girl and would be a formidable lead alongside Craig. I’m running out of things to say about each actress now without repeating myself, but out of all of the picks Newton seems one of the most obvious.

7. Clemence Poesy

Foreign, exotic, gorgeous, great actor. Apparently she’s in the Harry Potter movies but I haven’t seen those. I first saw her in Gunpowder, Treason, & Plot and she has since had quite a few hits in quite a few genres. One thing she should have on her bucket list though is flying around in a parachute with a secret agent while bad guys try to shoot them out of the sky.

8. Asia Argento

Dario’s hot daughter is a goddess among horror actresses and has a highly varied screen experience. Pop her in a Bond movie and she is sure to make an immediate impact, going toe to toe with any villain or spy.

9. Megan Fox

Poor Megan Fox gets a bad rap. Sure, I haven’t seen her in too many movies but she was excellent in Jennifer’s Body and she ticks all the boxes for nudey times. This seems like an obvious fit for me as any number of US archetypes for Bond to tangle with. In the nudey.

10. Rachel Miner

Poor Rachel Miner was set for stardom after a string of impressive performances in good movies. Since those early days she hasn’t had the major success she seemed destined for – an appearance in a Bond movie would surely have helped. No stranger to harrowing or difficult subject matter she has the range to tackle anything and the looks to keep jaws open.

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Future: Just a brief look at some people I think would be a good fit in future Bond outings.

  1. Juno Temple

Another Harry Potter person, is she? Temple is easily one of the best actresses of her generation with a series of stunning performances. Get her in there.

2. Scarlet Vas

Neighbours again, because why the hell not. I’ve only known she existed for a few weeks now, but look at her. Get her in.

3. Alexandra Daddario

Making waves with her assets, she has appeared in some high profile shows and films recently. Bond would raise her game.

4. Emilia Clarke

Dragons, cyborgs, weird guys in wheelchairs. All she needs now is Bond.

5. Kate Mara

Hot. Sultry. Great actor. No excuse.

6. Caitlin Stasey

Look, it’s Neighbours again. I know you’re all going to pick Eliza Taylor as your Oz person, but I go for Stasey. If you know anything about her then you’ll agree it would be super interesting to actually see her in something so male-oriented as a Bond film.

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7. Jennifer Lawrence

Hollywood’s favourite A-lister, they don’t usually show up in Bond films. Get her in, she’d be awesome.

8. Emma Roberts

Ticks all the boxes once more and could be a perfect new femme fatale for a new generation.

9. Lucy Fry

I didn’t intend to pick so many Australians, but there you go. Gorgeous, good actor, in.

10. Peyton List

Plenty of TV shows, no big movie yet. Sort that out – get her in.

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There are many many others I could have picked from each decade, particularly the 90s onwards – I wanted Milla Jovovich and Sherilyn Fenn and Freida Pinto and others on the list but either remembered them after I’d made my choices and couldn’t be arsed changing them, or felt they were too similar to others. Additionally, I’ve sickened myself with such a bloke’s post so anymore would be too much. If you’re pick isn’t here, chances are I’d already thought of them, but stick them in the comments anyway. Let me know you think would have made a great Bond girl, or still could in the future. Don’t just throw names out there, give us a reason beyond ‘they’re hot’ or what sort of character they should be.

Don’t forget to check out all of the other great James Bond Blogathon posts courtesy of Maddylovesherclassicfilms – they will be running all weekend so should be plenty of things to read for Bond fans, and probably much better than my muck!

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Nightman’s Top 15 Albums Of The 1990s

Greetings, Glancers. Jeepers, it has been an incredibly long time since I posted one of these  – in fact, my Best Albums of 2000-2010 was one of the first non-movie review posts I ever stuck on this site. I think. Have a gander at that post if you’re looking for some fairly recent ear treats, but today we’re going retro. Which seems like a bizarre thing to say. Yes, the 90s are well and truly considered retro now and I think I only truly started to appreciate this when I watch all those Teens React To 90s Music, or Do Teens Know 90s music Youtube videos. I mean, I don’t feel that I look all that different or much older than the teens in those videos, but most of them weren’t even born in the 90s. Damn, in 1999 I was ringing in the new year by getting drunk in my hometown and waking up in some weird street in Belfast the following millennium. I think. Again, it’s apparently so long ago now that myth and memory are colliding and I can’t keep track of what’s what.

Anyway, what I do remember of the 90s is the music. I was actually a DJ in the 90s. And by DJ I mean I helped my dad when we was doing the music for school discos, putting on CDs and hitting play. It’s a weird thing to say – I’ve no idea why or how my dad was doing this given that he doesn’t really like music and only listens to Irish muck. The 90s were strange, you see. There were the last two great musical movements of any significance in grunge and Britpop. Sure a lot has happened since then, but not to the cultural extent of those two, and certainly not from a sheer quality standpoint. I was a grunge and metal and hard rock kid, as I’m sure you’ve heard me say before. I was too young to traditionally ‘get it’, but I had a lot of older friends, and older siblings of friends – people who were teens in ’94 while I was 10/11. Having said that, I was still getting exposed to a lot of pop, a lot of whatever was on the radio and in the charts – I mostly remember the early 90s for being the start of manufactured boy/girl bands and the increase in popularity of rave/dance music, both of which I despised.

As grunge faded, Britpop emerged. I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the main Britpop bands, but a lot of the British bands I did love were lumped into that category, or into indie because they happened to come out around the same time and were essentially alternative to whatever was popular either in pop or rock. All of this nattering means that my favourite albums of the 90s will feature a variety of genres but won’t include many of the albums which regularly top critical lists. In preparing for my list, I went looking through a bunch of those lists and knew that the same culprits would appear over and over – Dummy, OK Computer, Nevermind, Definitely Maybe, Automatic For The People, Loveless, Odelay. Some of those I like, some of those I don’t. Maybe some will even appear in my list. What I’m getting at is that this is my list – read it, comment, make your own,try not to complain that the usual suspects may not be there. These albums each have a special place in my life, tied up with specific memories. Outside of that, I do believe each is a firmly great album and would highly recommend to any true music fan. As before, I’m only choosing one album per artist – otherwise there would be 2-3 by certain bands; there’s going to be a lot of ‘I could have chosen this but instead I went for this’.

The ordering isn’t too important, it never is, but I suspect by number 1 will always be my number 1. If you’re interested in 90s music, or if you are new to it all, you could do a lot worse by starting out with these bad boys.

15. Dangerous

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Jackson entered his third decade of making music on top of the world. If you were alive in the early nineties then you knew all about the Dangerous Tour. You heard every single one of the singles from the album almost every single day. You sat up waiting to watch the world premiere of his new video. Does that happen anymore? Maybe it does, I’ve no idea, but certainly not to this extent. Families crowded around the TV waiting for Black Or White to come on like people wait for the Superbowl. For my list, it was a toss up between including this or HIStory. Both are albums I love, but both are flawed – neither are as good as Bad or Thriller, but then what is? Both albums have their share of fillers, but it’s the sheer strength of the singles and the hidden treats which ensure they have a spot on any Best Album Of The 90s discussion. Dangerous edges it with the better singles and for pure personal nostalgia value.

Black Or White, Heal The World, Give It To Me, Remember The Time are all flawless pop hits. The you also have Who Is It, Will You Be There, and In The Closet. All underrated pop classics. The rest of the album is a mixture of New Jack noise and genre twisting ballads of varying quality – if trimmed a little or if certain songs were switched out for something else this would surely be held in as high esteem as his earlier offerings but I love it regardless.

14. Californication

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I almost didn’t include this, mostly because I always think it came out in 2000. This felt like the dawning of a new are of music, not because the band had come out of their malaise with massive renewed commercial success, but because it felt like a moment in time – both immediate and new and futuristic. The band found their peak at mixing funk, rock, and pop with Californication, and the hits kept coming – the title track, Road Trippin, Otherside, Scar Tissue were all huge hits and when they weren’t being played on radio stations they were being covered by school bands, in bedrooms, and by buskers. Other songs such as Easily and Parallel Universe ensured the hits were not confined to singles while Purple Stain retained their trademark humour and original sound.

This is an album about transcending – sound, music, and mind, and it felt at the time like a new movement was coming. It didn’t, but it was exciting all the same. The album dropped just in time for summertime, at a time when exams, parties, illegal entry into pubs and clubs and getting on top were high on the agenda of me and everyone I knew, and this felt like a unified blast of sunlight in our dreary surroundings and a statement about hope and potential and love which brought us all together – it was such a hit that the sensation carried through to the following summer. The band would unfortunately copy this template for their next releases with diminishing returns.

13. Ray Of Light

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One year before Californication, another 80s icon proved she still had it. In fact, she proved she was more relevant than ever, reinventing herself in the best way possible and unleashing her best work. Madonna’s Ray Of Light was a winter release and one which grew as the year progressed and it was another album which felt like everyone could enjoy it. I almost managed to have friends, or at least not enemies, in every school group – sports people, smart people, nerds, stoners, whatever, and pretty much everyone appreciated this one. Like essentially every album on my list it has a bunch of smash singles or hits and an equal number of strong album tracks – Frozen, The Power Of Goodbye, Skin, Drowned World, Sky Fits Heaven, are among Madonna’s finest songs. Ironically like some other entries here this can be seen as their last great work, but great is the operative word here.

12. Unreleased Susanna Hoffs Album

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Ah ha! You didn’t see this one coming, did ya? Hoffs released her debut in 1991, but as a whole it’s naff. She released a better follow up in 1996, but still it had problems with consistency. In between these though, she recorded a second album with some of the songs appearing on the 1996 release, albeit in slightly different forms. While the debut was a miscalculated, dated mess, the unreleased one showcases Hoffs’ talents – her songwriting, vocals, guitar playing, and mostly her ear for melody. It moves from mellow to doom laden to shimmering pop to energetic rock, but it is held together by an overall sense of, if not death, then fading away. I’ve felt this for such a long time that I actually have an outline for a story based or inspired by the album – the names of each song essentially write the story for you. If this had become a concept album I wouldn’t have been surprised – Catch The Wind, Without You, Go, Sleep, Ghost, Turning Over – the second half of the album in particular evoking that sense of departure and loss. Every song is terrific and it’s a shame that so many will never get to hear it. Even the reworked songs for what became her 1996 album will go unheard by most – do yourself a favour and find both albums now for the sheer majesty of songs like Darling One, Sunshine, and Right By You. 

11. Grace – Jeff Buckley

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Well, you probably saw this coming. I came to the Jeff Buckley party later than most. Plenty of friends had and played me Grace and his live offerings in the late 90s but it wasn’t until probably 2003 roughly that I bought it myself. There was no looking back. Every positive thing you’ve heard about the album is true, from Jeff’s lyrics and voice to the cauldron of genres he blasts through, often in a single song. There is melancholy, there is anger, there are heavenly odes, but mostly there is grace.

10. The Black Album – Metallica

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Spoiler alert – there won’t be a lot of metal on this list. Many people in the know will agree that the 90s wasn’t the best decade for metal, at least from a commercial standpoint. Most of the big bands from the previous decade fell on hard times. A lot of idiots will blame grunge for this but the fact is that Grunge simply raised the bar for heavy music – forcing it to become more intelligent, raw, and visceral. Gone were the stadium pleasing anthems and performances, gone was the cheese. Gone was the need for a Rock God and a twiddly solo. However, a lot of new acts were coming out of the woodwork, particularly in Europe and the best of the rest learned to adapt quickly. Pantera, Megadeth, Emperor, Sepultura and others brought out their best work in the early to middle of the decade, and every one of them was in some way influenced by the changing musical landscape. Metallica’s Black Album is the pinnacle of these, throwing them into the limelight like no other metal band had been before.

The Black Album saw the band streamlining themselves after their opus And Justice For All. The complexity was replaced with hard-edged hits yet none of the ferocity was lost. The production was noticeably better, and the songs noticeably more radio-friendly. If the band lost fans with their previous album due to accusations of selling out, they lost a lot more with this one. Their reply was to sell over thirty million copies of this, not bad as middle fingers go. With singles such as the eternal Enter Sandman, the plaintive Nothing Else Matters, and hidden delights like My Friend Of Misery it’s the perfect album for introducing people to metal. The riffs are still there, the anger, the melody, but it’s a much smarter album with the lyrics tortured and poetic instead of a series of attempts to rhyme ‘death’, ‘war’, and ‘blood’.

9. Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

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I’ve harped on about this album in other posts plenty of times, but it all holds true; it’s as fine a slice of the 90s musical landscape as any – hits like Ironic and One Hand In My Pocket as timeless as another US rock song as far back as Born In The USA or Jailhouse Rock. More than anything this album reminds me of early Secondary School days – not school itself of course, but the friends and the fun times we had. It was one of the first albums which felt ‘ours’ as a collective whole – this was my generation and the songs spoke to our experiences and feelings, even if (again) I was a few years younger than those it was truly for. There was a bit of grunge, a bit of the riot gurl, a bit of optimism, and a shot of realism. Where other artists sought to emulate Alanis, or Nirvana, or whoever, Jagged Little Pill was a pinnacle which few have equaled since in terms of sheer quality and cultural impact.

8. Little Earthquakes – Tori Amos

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Long before Jagged Little Pill, Tori Amos came out swinging with a collection of songs which seemed a world away from the distortion and rage spewing out of Seattle. Little Earthquakes is equally as earth-shattering, but coming from a place of pianos, high-heels, and OMG vaginas. It’s a near perfect album (it does feature Happy Phantom which is just silly and Mother which is too long) with songs like Crucify, Winter, and Precious Things as deserving of the praise and airplay it didn’t receive as a thousand songs from the era which did. The aforementioned, bracketed songs? Switch those out for Sugar and her Smells Like Teen Spirit – then you have a perfect album. Tori would never be as consistent and restrained again.

7. Dirt – Alice In Chains

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We finally land on some authentic grunge, with the appropriately named Dirt. Alice In Chains were always closer to the metal side of things, while Nirvana were decidedly punk (Pearl Jam were blues or traditional US rock and Soundgarden did whatever they pleased in case you were wondering). Dirt is both soulful and ugly, a stripping back of the American, human psyche, and set to a swirling storm of shrieks, distortion, and riffs. Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley are one of the most underrated songwriting duets of all time and on Dirt both are at their peak, not to mention Mike Starr and Sean Kinney. We have some of the finest examples of grunge hits in Would?, Angry Chair, and Down In A Hole, along with the introspective Rain When I Die, epic Rooster, and the opening bombast of Them Bones and Dam That River. Staley’s voice wavers between anguish and ecstasy, the riffs offer sludge, speed, and the lyrics are dark and cynical looks at drug use, the impact of war on families and the individual, religion, life and death, and much more – dirt has never been so appealing and easy to wallow in.

6. UYI 1 and II – G’n’R

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If an unreleased album was a cheat inclusion, then I’ll go the extra mile and include two albums in one. Come on – they’re basically one long album and ask most people to name a song from one and they won’t remember which album is which. Not super fans like me of course. There’s the eternal argument that had the band trimmed away the rough stuff from each album then they could have had a single album with the best from both. While that’s true, you’d also end up cutting some greats. And seriously, while both albums are massive and have a few middling songs, the only thing that should be cut is My World. I think a single album would have ended up too bloated – you’d need November Rain, Estranged, Coma, Civil War – all songs over six minutes long, and then you’d need (one version of) Don’t Cry, You Could Be Mine, Back Off Bitch, Get In The Ring and you’re at around 50 minutes long already, and that’s before you add in Knockin On Heaven’s Door and Live And Let Die. There is already a US only release single album, but it adds in some odd choices which most fans would consider the filler. There’s no point arguing about it – these are two albums which act as two parts of the same whole.

These albums have probably been played by me more than 95% of anything else I’ve owned or heard – I had them at release, or near enough, and I listen to elements of them every week. I remember sitting up to watch the UYI tours on TV, trying to play every song when I got my first guitar, and ever since, and hiding My World on any mixtapes I made for friends. There are few albums I know as inside out as these ones, as anyone who has seen me requesting, then air-guitaring and singing along to Breakdown in The Venue can attest to (pro-tip – The Venue was Northern Ireland’s premier (only) rock and metal club for years and where I spent most Saturday nights from 17 onwards).

5. Hey Stoopid – Alice Cooper

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We’re at that point where the ordering doesn’t really matter anymore. Hey Stoopid I got around the same time as UYI and it subsequently became one of, if not my most favourite Alice Cooper albums. Most of the cheese of the 80s has been abandoned, meaning all that is left is pure unfiltered Alice Cooper goodness, albeit with a new, more metal edge. While Alice appeared on G’n’R’s album, Slash appears on this one along with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Vinnie Moore; it’s a guitar fan’s dream. Ozzy, Nikki Sixx, and Elvira among others also pop up. Ignoring the guest stars we have one of Alice’s biggest hits in Feed My Frankenstein but the genius is in songs like Burning Our Bed, Dangerous Tonight, Die For You, and one of the greatest songs ever in Wind Up Toy. Ballads, blistering rock, Cooper’s madness, ideas, and brilliant lyrics all flow together meaning that even the slight dud Dirty Dreams doesn’t harm the whole. This one needs to be heard by many more people, including the metal and rock fans who should already be familiar with it but likely are not.

4. How To Measure A Planet?

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It could have been Mandylion, but I feel this is still their best. Another album you’re not likely to see on any other critic’s list, yet one which is more deserving of a place than most, How To Measure A Planet? was The Gathering’s first shift away from metal into parts unknown. If there is any album on my list which needs more exposure, it is this one. It’s an epic double album covering space and time and features should-be-classics in Travel, Marooned, Frail, Rescue Me, Great Ocean Road. If you like rock, dance, shoe-gaze, trip-hop, prog, pop, guitars, soundscapes, angelic vocals, ethereal melodies, then you will undoubtedly love this album.

3. In Utero

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It was this or Nevermind. In fact, it was this or Incesticide. Nevermind gets all the credit and acclaim, while Incesticide most reminds me of that time, but In Utero is the best Nirvana album. The best way to follow up the album which defined a generation is to break it all down again in the most brutal, anti-commercial way you can. If Nevermind was an unexpected hit, then this is even moreso – songs with titles and content like Rape Me, Radio-Friendly Unit Shifter, Tourette’s, Heart Shaped Box, Very Ape are not the stuff of radio. And yet they are. They should be. We should listen to music not because it’s popular, or easily packaged, or nice, or sounds like everything else. We should listen to it for our own reasons, to be moved, to be destroyed, to be challenged, to be inspired. In Utero will inspire, move, challenge, and destroy you, Cobain’s lyrics childlike, incisive, insightful, angst-ridden, world-weary, obsessed with the body, corruption, failure, success, and every note he hits powerfully delivered with maximum feeling. Grohl and Novoselic as always are in perfect tune reminding us that the band were the finest cohesive unit since Led Zeppelin, even as Kurt increasingly abandoned structure and played with form. The best grunge album ever isn’t even grunge, but an unholy descent into hell.

2. The Bends

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It’s this or OK Computer. I’d happily argue that Pablo Honey deserves a spot on any 90s list too – that album is highly underrated purely by the fact that the other two came next. But Pablo Honey is to The Bends as Help is to Revolver. While I appreciate what OK Computer was and is and does, The Bends has always been my personal favourite. It tugs at the emotions more, it has more variety, it isn’t so calculated, and it’s obviously the more emotional of the two. You don’t even need me to list the hits do you? Fine – Street Spirit, Just, My Iron Lung, High And Dry, Fake Plastic Trees. Any album which contains a song as good as any of those songs is alright by me, but to have them all and also feature the title track, Nice Dream, Bullet Proof, and my own favourite Black Star means you have an album for the ages and one deserving of being mentioned as one of the best ever. The strange this about it is, I don’t have any specific memories associating the album to the time and to me. It feels like it’s always been there. In fact, it wasn’t until much later that I found people who appreciated the band but by that point Kid A and Amnesiac were being released. If you think Radiohead are overrated, you’re doing it wrong. Doing what? Existing.

Before we get to Number One, lets look at some who could have made it on:

Talk On Corners – The Corrs

Ten- Pearl Jam

Superunknown – Soundgarden

Fear Of A Black Planet – Public Enemy

Suede – Suede

Dummy – Portishead

Rust In Peace – Megadeth

Imaginations From The Other Side – Blind Guardian

Showbiz – Muse

Still Life – Opeth

Oceanborn – Nightwish

Drum rolls please – my number one pick for the Best Album of the 90s is:

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  1. The Holy Bible – Manic Street Preachers

My number 1 spot was always going to be my number 1 spot. Sure you can pick Everything Must Go as a better album, certainly a more palatable option and maybe one more symbolic of the decade, but The Holy Bible is THE ONE. I made some Beatles comparisons above, but what the hell do you compare this to? Sure there were dark albums before and there have been since – the 90s were full of them, but none of them come close to this. This is pain not commercialized, romanticized, or glorified. It’s like unnecessary eye surgery. It’s darker than any metal album, and unquestionably more authentic in its horror. While the 90s were known for certain artists paving new ways with sampling The Holy Bible offered the following soundbite samples:

‘I wanted to rub the human face in its own vomit, and then force it too look in the mirror’

‘I knew that someday I was gonna die. And I knew before I died Two things would happen to me – That number one I would regret my entire life. And number two I would want to live my life over again’

‘I wonder who you think you are. You damn well think you’re God or something. God give life, God taketh it away, not you. I think you are the devil itself’ (Mother of one of the victims of Peter Sutcliffe).

‘I eat too much to die and not enough to stay alive. I’m sitting in the middle waiting’ (quote from a documentary about a girl’s struggle with anorexia. She died a few months later).

‘I hate purity. Hate goodness. I don’t want virtue to exist anywhere. I want everyone corrupt’.

‘The court has come. The court of the Nations. And into the courtroom will come the martyrs of Majdanek and Oswiecim. From the ditch of Kerch the dead will rise. They will arise from the graves, they will arise from flames bringing with them the acrid smoke and the deathly odour of scorched and martyred Europe. And the children, they too will come, stern and merciless. The butchers had no pity on them; now the victims will judge the butchers. Today the tear of the child is the judge. The grief of the mother is the prosecutor’ (transcript from the Nuremberg Trials).

Lets not forget the artwork and the liner note quotations. There has rarely, if ever, been a more assured statement of art in music – the band honing their past experiments with design and quotes to a sharpened bullet tip. That’s all well and good, but in the end it is the band themselves who stand out, draped in military garb and spouting rage and vitriol and anyone and everything – this is the Holy Bible for the twentieth century – a catalogue of atrocities counted off with some of the most gut churning vocals, ferocious guitar, ungodly noise, and potent lyrics you’ll ever experience. The Holocaust, self-hate, Imperialism, anorexia (Richey, the band’s lost guitarist and lyricist was 6 stone at the time of recording), murder on an individual and massive scale, religion, banks, politicians, exploitation – the band uncover every ugly truth of the modern man and let us know precisely who’s responsible.

It is possible to separate the songs from the intent and the peripherals. Listening to songs such as Faster, PCP, This Is Yesterday and others – each a perfect song in its own right, whether it be an end of the century/world punk anthem or a mournful ballad to an idealized and lost youth. It is possible, but not easy. You can come as a virgin to the songs, but you’ll inevitably ask what the lyrics are, or what the song is about. You’ll ask why there is such a creepy, soul-darkening drone and wonder what they hell they are so angry about. You’ll get sucked in, sucked down. The opening bass riff to Archives Of Pain will haunt you for ever more. The death shrieks at the end of Mausoleum will set you on edge as if you are being stalked, while the entirety of The Intense Humming Of Evil may very well disturb you to the point of no return. And yet you’ll want to play it again, because the songs are so good, the melodies so incisive and brutal. You’ll find youself screaming along to songs with titles like Of Walking Abortion and yelling out the names of serial killers and dictators in Revol. It’s still a rock album – solos, riffs, headbanging, yells are all checked in, but it’s rock on another level – the sound of the world setting itself alight and both celebrating and screaming in agony with equal measure.

There you have it – my favourite albums of the 1990s. Rather than waiting around to hear what my favourie albums of the 2090s will be, why not share your own thoughts and albums in the comments below. I’ll get around to the 80s and 70s eventually, don’t worry.

My Favourite 48 Natalie Imbruglia songs

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For my money, Natalie Imbruglia is the best female pop artist since the mid nineties. As Glancers will know by now, for me emotion and honesty are more important than originality or fitting in with the current musical scene. Imbruglia fits these personal criteria as well as having a superb, appealing, harmonious voice and being an all round great human and bad-ass. I was a fan from day one. Scratch that, I was a fan from her Neighbours days, long before she hit the charts with her multi-million selling debut. Most people know her for the smash hit Torn and… that’s about it. As great as that song is, it only hints at her talent – the real deal would come out in White Lilies Island her second record which I have called (and continue to call) one of the best albums of all time. It genuinely is – do yourself a favour and get it now – melancholy, brutal, euphoric pop at its finest. A bunch of complete morons gave it, seriously, gave it bad reviews. Jesus wept.

Since then her general popularity has waned, no doubt due in part to a less than frequent series of releases. Five albums (including one entirely of covers) in twenty years isn’t great, but the general quality of those more than makes up for those missing years. Sort of. She has also recorded a large number of B-Sides and rarities, the best of which would make at least one more superb album. From the indie Brit-pop rock of Left Of The Middle, the majesty of White Lilies Island, the mature pop of Counting Down The Days, and even the much maligned Come To Life and covers album Male, Imbruglia has carver her own path and deserves a hell of a lot more exposure and critical acclaim than she has received thus far. I’m giving links to Youtube for each song, where there is a single I’ll give the official video link and the album track as there are usually differences. Here is a rough list of my favourite Imbruglia songs. Listen and love!

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48. Only Love Can Break Your Heart

We kick off our list with a cover from Male. This droopy-bass heavy is a slow effort with not a lot of exterior instrumentation which suits the downbeat grunge feeling of Neil Young’s original. I will say this – Male is not an album I am super familiar with yet and while a number of songs immediately leaped out at me others did not have the same impact. Songs like this one which I enjoy now may drop out of the list if I was to write it in a year’s time and likewise others which have not been included here could appear. Today is today though, and this is how I feel. I also feel warm, because I’m writing this on a train filled with sweaty types.

47. Goodbye In His Eyes

If you’re a regular glancer on my blog you’ll probably know I’m not much of a country fan. Country music is an inherent US product, yet also oddly a Northern Irish one. Country music is everywhere in my home crust Earth and I’m biased in that I associate the whole stinking genre with either idiots, scumbags, people who don’t really care about music, or people who refuse to listen to any other type of music. Massive stereotyping ahoy! I do like this as it doesn’t contain the usual whining guitar or vocals which is prevalent in the genre. I haven’t heard the original at the time of writing, but I’ll get to it.

46. Identify

Natalie Imbruglia. Patricia Arquette. Billy Corgan. Blood. This cut from the movie Stigmata is one I liked a lot more around the time that movie came out. I think it’s a movie and a song I thought I liked more than I actually ever did – both are things I wanted to like more but they’re just okay. The song is better than the film; it’s smokey and mysterious and dreamy, almost like a lost Portishead song. It’s a song that doesn’t really sound like anything else Imbruglia has ever done, aside from one song which will appear later on my list. The various contributors to the song are each masters at their craft and ensure it is a ghostly partner to the film it fits. I do love the line ‘am I lonely or am I just alive?’

45. My God

The opening song to Come To Life – Imbruglia’s first album in x years had a lot to live up to for me. It sort of sets the tone of the album in that there isn’t really a tone. Come To Life’s main problem is that it feels like a collection of leftovers or experiments – main problem is that it feels like a collection of leftovers or experiments – My God a pulsating, thronging pop punk thing with strange noises and spirited vocals. It works, but it doesn’t work as well as it could and doesn’t compare favourably with her opening tracks. Still, I include it here because it is an interesting effort.

44. Lukas

The second track from Come To Life goes off in a tonally and totally different direction from the first – this one clearly a Coldplay song with their usual mixture of simpering mistakes and pseudo-Radiohead bating. Imbruglia adds a smooth layer of quality, slicing out any pretension and leaving a light, jolly song which is better than I thought it would be.

43. Stuck On The Moon

The first of the new tracks recorded for Imbruglia’s greatest hits album Glorious to appear on my list, Stuck On The Moon has lovely, poetic flourishes in the lyrics and a fine juxtaposition between the cascading piano and clattering drums. It would have been sad to end her musical career at this point as this song proves she was as capable of crafting a simple yet catchy pop song as anyone.

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42. Wishing I Was There

I’ll let you in on a secret; I’m not a huge fan of Imbruglia’s first album. I like it, obviously, but it doesn’t compare with her second and third, and as such there won’t be many songs from it on my list. This is probably the best example of her twisting the indie sound of the era to her own means. It’s a little bit Morrissette, and a little bit Brit-Pop, but fluid, fun, and the chorus –like many on the album, is designed to be ear sherbet. When you get to the end of the list you’ll see which songs from her debut were left off in favour of this one – I simply find this one more fun.

41. City

As above, this one merges independent the rawk girl sound which emerged in the 90s with Imbruglia’s own captivating presence and uniquely sweet vocals. This song feels a little more progressive or different from the more obvious hits on her debut, it still has its heavy indie moments but is infused with jazz and mystery and the sombre undertones which would characterize her next album.

40. Just Another Day

Out of all her B-Sides ad rarities, this one feels most Brit-pop, going as far as reminding me of Robbie Williams back when he was starting his solo career by stealing from Oasis. This was actually a B-Side to That Day so that particular era was long turned over to dust by the time it was released. I’m convinced this was written earlier though and that sound was retained, even if a few touches of instrumental colour were added near the end of the song to expand its sound. All that being said, it’s a bowl full of sunshine, whatever that means.

39. My Own Movie

What I loved about discovering all of the B-Sides and rarities is the variety. Yes, they all still fall into the rock/pop/girl and guitars category, but the songwriting and general styles vary and there seems to be more freedom or less restrictions on what the song needs to be. This one seems to start like a downbeat ballad before the booming chorus floats those notions away. I love the chorus harmonies/filler vocal bits, the jangling guitars, and the strangeness which is allowed to lurk in the melody.

38. Sanctuary

This is arguably the happiest, most obviously joyful song Imbruglia has recorded and I defy anyone who listens to it to not smile throughout. Lyrically, I’m not really sure what’s going on – suggestions of stress and speed and crap with Imbruglia offering herself as an anchor in the storm. The verses are fine, but the chorus is pure grinning heroine. Harmonies, guitars, strings, melodies, happiness!

37. Pigeons And Crumbs

The first expansive song on her debut and another which hints that she was already demanding to break out of the overall sound of that album. The verse vocals are sung in little girl lost style which somehow doesn’t annoy, rather it incredibly adds to the song. Imbruglia may be the only singer who sings in a prominent accent which never irritates me. This is still a simple verse, chorus, verse album track, but it evokes a more epic scope thanks to some angelic production and layering.

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36. I Will Follow You Into The Dark

I’ll admit again here and now to not having heard the original, knowingly at least. I checked and saw it was by Death Cab For Cutie – a band I don’t know much about but remember laughing at their name when I first heard it. I still don’t know much about them but I admit I lumped them in with a bunch of other pop rock for children American acts which have been charting in recent years. The strength of this cover makes me want to listen to the original and see if the band has any good stuff. I imagine anyone who can write the line ‘Lover mine, some day you will die, I’ll be close behind, I’ll Follow You Into The Dark’ must be a decent writer because, God, that line really gets me every time. Imbruglia’s delivery along with the music and melody seal the deal, and I’ll admit to being tearful when I first listened.

35. Left Of The Middle

The title track closes the debut, the softest, quietest song on the album but one rich with feeling as Imbruglia yearns for the lover she is yet to find. It’s a great vocal performance, gentle in the verses, stretching to breaking point with each renewed chorus. It’s a very simple song but she again proves you don’t need to have complex structures to get a wealth of emotion and quality across.

34. Apologise

A song recorded for Come To Life and written with the singer from British band Ben’s Brother. That band decided to release their version first so Natalie kept her one as a rarity. Again, I haven’t heard Ben’s Brother’s version but this one is great – love the build up to the chorus and the chorus has a fantastic hook. Come To Life is a short album and there’s definitely room for this one to be included. Again the vocals find and highlight the emotion of the lyrics beautifully and the closing chorus where she half-shouts, half-sings is glorious.

33. Only You

This one opens with some dark, ambient, warbling electronic sound – like ears filling with water. The vocals come in cleanly and plainly, work through a double pre-chours thing before giving way to gentle guitars and a lovely chorus. The song basically repeats everything above but with greater power in those repetitions. It’s all lovely.

32. Fun

You probably know, or can guess I’m not a Coldpay fan, mainly because they’re shite. I didn’t mind their first album but everything since has been pale and bland and painful attempts at cloning Bends-era Radiohead. Normally I wouldn’t mind such things, but it’s so blatant and so clearly missing the point that it’s laughable. But people like them, so fine. Credit where it’s due though, this is a fine song but you can instantly tell it’s Coldplay thanks to that piano and beat and rhythm which appear in several of their biggest singles. Imbruglia does her best to make it her own and I much prefer her vocals to how I imagine Chris Martin would yawn his way through it.

31. Goodbye

Much of White Lilies Island is sombre and soaked in melancholy, though generally the music covers the angst of the lyrics. Not so with Goodbye – lyrically and musically it is inward looking and despair fuelled, the despair of love voided. We’ve all been there, whether concerning love or loss, the well-meaning comments which suffocate and further distance us, the anger crushed by sadness, and the utter confusion. The lyrics are mumbled semi-coherant thoughts, the verses droned into the bottom of a glass, and the chorus the shattering of said glass against a wall.

30. Perfectly

‘When I say it doesn’t matter, it matters most of all’. We’ve all seen those silly women cliché posts on social media or in decorative shops – ‘Things a woman says and what she really means’. That opening line always reminds me of such things, but not in a negative way. You can guess then that we have more contradictions in the lyrics, but musically this features the summery guitar driven pop which is a central feature of Counting Down The Days. The melodies and chorus don’t grab or reach as much as others on the list, but the overall warmth of the song ensures you come back for more.

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29. That Girl

That Girl always reminds me of a Motown track, the jangled guitars, the beat, the horns in the introduction – it all has the vibe of a Supremes song. The lyrics seem to speak of the multiple personalities we adopt to cope with the many facets of life forced upon us or which we have to cope with – one face for romance, a face for fans, one for friends, family, the smiles and acts which we hone over time for a variety of reasons until one day we see ourselves performing these perversions but fail to recognise the actions as our own. It’s a classy song with lovely harmonies and a great chorus to boot.

28. Always Never

Speaking of contradictions, this one is driven by such thoughts – the clue is in the title. This one is a perfect mixture of evocative vocal performance and verse to chorus melodic wonder. The lyrics are very nice too, once again speaking of the inner and outer self and an inability to cope with that balance until misery becomes the preferable solution.

27. All The Magic

Sounding like a cut from Counting Down The Days, All The Magic is as pure and easy as you could wish for – acoustic guitars and Natalie’s voice dancing through the verses. The pre-chours comes in suddenly, and then the chorus soars into the sky taking the corners of your mouth with it. Yeah, you’re going to smile at this one as it forces you to remember your first love – those excited feelings about getting ready to meet, about catching one another smiling across a room, about allowing your defenses to come down and your feelings to be shared.

26. Be With You

This is how you do piano drive pop – a very simple descending piano line leading in to soft electronic beats and a basic, short verse. It all serves the chorus, it all sounds like typical happy pop stuff except she’s saying ‘I don’t want to live if I don’t want to be with you’. This reminds me of some of the Lifeblood era Manic Street Preachers stuff, at least in terms of production and melody. Regardless, it’s another one which never fails to make me smile. And hop about.

25. All The Roses

The last great song from Come To Life is this brooding, bleeding ballad. It’s slow, led by unusual electronic hums and beeps and punctuated by alarm bell piano. With most of the music stripped back you get a clear shot of the vocals – strong throughout with the best moments coming in the bridge before the final chorus. I like how the song unearths a subtle beat in the final moments which threatens to build and turn into some dance track – instead a little violin takes over and the song comes to an abrupt end.

24. Do You Love

We stay in darker territory, which means we must be back on White Lilies Island. This is a mixture of low register guitars, soul-churning strings, and mournful vocals. The pre-chorus goes grunge, the chorus goes stadium rock, and the song instantly lands in my favourite’s list. The volume and backing sound continues to grow, all the way to the massive final chorus. You should know by now that this album is essential and almost everything on it is fantastic – this song should reach out to a multitude of fans of different genres – like all good music it doesn’t matter what your preference is, you just hear and appreciate.

23. Counting Down The Days (official video)

A sad song about distance, a happy song about looking forward to being together again. This one kind of lost out a little when the single trimmed parts of an already short song – stick to the album version. It starts out as a tear-jerker with John Lennon’s Imagine piano and Imbruglia’s vocals bemoaning the fact that she is apart from the ones she loves, but holy crap the pre-chorus with it’s tiny guitar piece, and the chorus itself are exquisite. Moving back into the verse feels like a come down meaning the song plays a little with your emotions and expectations – none of which I have a problem with. Then the Christmas/Wedding bells come in at the end to confuse me even more. Still time for one last Hawaiian guitar bit and another chorus!

22. Against The Wall

My favourite new song from her Glorious Greatest Hits album is one which wastes no time – thronging guitar chords and more summery melodies. Imbruglia is a master of that segue-way from verse and chorus as I have written about already and this is another prime example. It can fall apart if you don’t have a pay-off in the chorus, luckily here all three pieces are flawless. You already know I love the bridge too.

21. Friday I’m In Love

What can you do to a beloved The Cure classic to make it your own? Why this of course. Whatever the hell this is, that’s precisely what you do. It’s a little bit country, a little bit weird, and a hundred percent marvellous. As mentioned earlier, some of the songs from Male may go up and down drastically in my preferences as I’m not as familiar with them as everything else but I don’t see me ever not liking this. The first time I listened to this I almost literally laughed my balls off. I mean I laughed, yes, but then a few minutes later as I was driving some old fucker pulled out in front of me leaving me with no choice but to pound the breaks futilely and smash into him. My balls remained in check, and in sack, but my car was a write off. True story. Do I like this more than the original? That’s hard to say – they almost feel like different songs. In the end, both give me the same feeling of euphoria, and that’s all that matters. It’s an achievement because it includes two things I hate – Country music and hand claps – yet it’s inexplicably wonderful. SATURDAYYYY – WAIT!

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20. Talk In Tongues

We need to calm down after that last one – back to White Lilies Island for another downbeat, heads-down-walk-in-perpetual-rain-uphill-to-nowhere song. This opens a little like Lucky by Radiohead – similar guitars for a few seconds anyway. There are bizarre little moments throughout, little digitized ticks and strange jangles, and explosive vocals blast in the bridge where the song changes almost entirely, only to be pulled back down by the old-black-and-white-movie strings to the somber chorus once more.

19. Shiver (Official video)

Pop perfection. Imbruglia announced her return with this first single from her third album, a song which ended up being the most played on British radio in 2005 apparently. I don’t recall it being played at all. I assume then you’ve heard it, but if not get listening now. There’s the usual sense of melancholy, but it’s more underplayed here thanks to the warmth of the melody.

18. Instant Crush (official video)

Covers are funny things. I had not heard the original by Daft Punk, and I’ve never been a huge Daft Punk fan anyway. After hearing people raving about the original I went back to it and found it too twee. Imbruglia’s version feels much more emotional to me, or at least it speaks to me much more. That’s the funny thing about cover versions – we usually like whatever version of a song we hear first. Thanks for writing the original guys, but Natalie beefs it up into a soul-searching, heart-rending ballad and blows your one away.

17. Torn (official video)

If you were around in the 90s you heard this song. You saw the video. Presumably you fell in love with the song and the singer. It’s perfect, but I’ve heard it so many times and it’s such a part of the public consciousness that it doesn’t top my list. Technically a cover, it’s Imbruglia’s entirely – can you think of any other version which comes close to this? If I’m picky I prefer a live version without those silly digitized drums. My favourite parts? The way she changes the vocal slightly for one of the final ‘I’m cold’ lines and the way she sings the first ‘That’s what’s going on’. I don’t know why.

16. I Won’t Be Lost

Lovely lovely lovely. One of my favourite vocals from her, mainly because the lyrics have so many vowel sounds and soft sounds – row, vertigo, unaware, billionaire – and the way her accent tackles them is gorgeous. Then there is the pleading, breathy delivery. Then there’s the superb ‘Don’t you give up on me’ section. I will understand fully if people see this as boring, but for me it’s among her best ballads, beautiful, sweet, defiant.

15. Twenty

When this kicked off Come To Life on my first listen, my first thought was ‘Holy Heavens, she’s done it again’. The album as a whole doesn’t live up to this first track, but it’s a brilliant opener and should have been a single. There’s enough of a beat to dance to it or blast from your stereo, it has the mixture of love, hope, and sadness that she conveys so well, it has glorious backing strings, and a chorus which deserves to be performed live by thousands of adoring fans.

14. Hide Behind The Sun

We’re now at that point in the list where the songs are all so good and I love them so much that there isn’t much difference between them. This B-Side to Wrong Impression could easily have made it on to White Lilies Island – it certainly fits the general anguish and strength coursing through that album. This is absolutely gorgeous, note-perfect piano, flawless vocals, I love how the strings and guitars drift in and fade away, I love the weird wind instrument piece in the middle – everything is so underplayed as if she just walked into the studio one day and announced she’d written a new song and the band added their own pieces in a single take.

13. Scars

My favourite song from Come To Life is a ballad and was planned as the second single. I’m not sure how well it would have performed, yet in our current climate of bland Adele love pap, this one deserved to soar to the top of the charts. The lyrics have a wealth of honesty, you can feel each word like a slash at the wrist, the performance an undressing of bandages and a presentation of the scars. It’s simple, brutal, wonderful. There is a more up-tempo, earlier version out there but I’ve only heard live versions of it – I prefer the album take.

12. Smoke (official video)

My favourite song from Left Of The Middle, and the first sign that Imbruglia was much more than a pretty face and a decent singer. Smoke is entirely apart from everything else on that album – unnerving, majestic, cryptic, mesmeric. It’s also a greater vocal performance than anything else on her debut, but for me it’s all about the mystery and fear which is conjured. When the strings come in and the volume increasing around the ‘you’re pushing me’ line – my gawd. For the longest time I assumed she would not top this, but then White Lilies Island came out and.. well, you’ll see.

11. Starting Today

The opening track of Counting Down The Days just missed out on my top ten. That’s meaningless though because this is another nigh-on perfect song. A song of realization, opening your eyes to your self, your worth, and what is on front of you, a song of moving on, on leaving behind but not looking over your shoulder, looking ahead, head held high. Each time I hear this I forget how slow it is – something about it makes it seems faster than it actually is. Favourite part here? ‘Eve-RE-day, ev-RE-day, ev-RE-day-ee!’

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10. Come On Home

Top ten now, and we start hitting songs that have some weird single moments that I love – putting them in my personal pantheon of best single moments in music. For Come On Home that moment occurs late in the song when Imbruglia suddenly wails on one of the last ‘Come on homes’. It’s completely unexpected and brilliant, for me at least. I don’t see anyone else getting as much joy out of that moment as me, but it helps to push the song high on my list. The rest of the song is great, that goes without saying, mid-rock, plenty of pounding pianos and chugging guitars.

9. Satellite (live acoustic)

Remember I mentioned earlier about happiest songs? Well, this may be one of the happiest songs by anyone, ever. None of that Pharell balls. If you don’t find yourself repeating the ‘do-di-do’s then you need to be put down, stat. Every single note here is joyous, heavenly. You can feel the smiles in her vocals. There’s a cyclical nature to this song and several others on White Lilies Island – you know, songs that start out a certain way and end the exact same way? I don’t just mean verse chorus verse, I’m talking a complete mirror – intro, verse, chorus, verse, outro. Enough of that nonsense, this is just fun beyond words.

8. Wrong Impression (official video)

Another hit single now, albeit one which starts out with a hilarious fake classical intro. Man, I love the pronunciation on some of the ‘I want you’ lyrics. This is another sublimely sunny song, especially given the general dark tones of the album. What else do I love? The key change at the end, standard pop fare I know, but it works even better here. Also, the dragged out ‘didn’t want to leeeeeavve you there’.

7. What’s The Good In Goodbye

It’s another example of those times when the B-Side is as good as, if not better than the single. This is better than Counting Down The Days – both terrific songs, but this one is special. Sure on the surface it’s another soulful ballad about lost love, but it’s so damn genuine and drenched in truth and feeling that it’s painfully universal. Every melody is perfect, the simplicity doesn’t require a single extra note or instrument, she does that cool vowel thing that I love when she sings ‘no’, ‘go’, ‘know’, and ‘hello’ and the chorus with its central lyric will rummage its way around your brain for days after a single listen.

6. When You’re Sleeping

Another track which begins with extravagant strings, which you should know by now I’m a sucker for, and then leads into what seems to be a depressed verse until you realise the the lyrics are actually positive and touching. Another brilliant vocal, just acoustic guitar, Natalie, and the strings, an entirely charming song to melt the stoniest soul.

5. Shikaiya

It’s only in relatively recent years that I tracked down Natalie Imbruglia’s b-sides and rarities. I knew Identify and Glorious from their respective releases, but I never bought any of her singles even though I bought each album around the time of release. I can’t remember what b-side I heard first, but the moment I heard this one I knew that she was one of a select few artists capable of recording varying material which could be just as strong as her album tracks and singles. I’m not talking just a handful of flukes, but at least an album’s worth of rarities which would be just as good as any of her official releases. Shikaiya is one of the finest B-Sides (here it’s the B-Side for That Day) I’ve ever heard, an unashamedly beautiful ode, a song of new life, new love, of dedication, one to play surrounded by blue skies, white sand, and blistering sunlight.

4. Everything Goes

White Lilies Island again, and another one of those cyclical, perfectly symmetrical songs. By this point in the album you already know it’s an all time classic, songs like this popping up everywhere. By this point in the list I don’t need to explain how I feel about these songs or how good they are – perfect verses, perfect pre-chorus and chorus, guitars, strings, vocals, everything. I love how chaotic the chorus gets and then how the verse sucks everything back in and calms the mood, I love how she switches up which part of the chorus comes first each time around, and I love how it ends as it began.

3. That Day (Official video)

I still remember the first time I heard That Day – the first single from White Lilies Island. I caught the video and was immediately smitten – it was very different from her previous stuff and had a more mature and dense sound – the 90s were long gone and this was Imbruglia’s personal blend of pop and rock, still replete with everything that made her special. The video is pretty great too, simple but a sign of the defiance and spark of the album – everyone and everything pushing against her but she is walking on regardless – a simple motif, but it works. The album version is of course superior but the single gets the jist across – great riffs and melodies, but my highlights are simply how many words there are in the song meaning the vocals become a frantic rushing of thoughts. My second highlight is the way the line ‘I lay down beside myself’ is changed every single time – a different inflection, or word selected to pronounce more heavily or emphasize, or give it slight melodic twist. What the hell – my third highlight – which shouldn’t really count, are the bizarre overdubbed harmonies on ‘it’s supposed like this’. They sound like mistakes which were accidentally left in, but again they somehow work.

2. Come September

White Lilies Island comes to a close with this downpouring of loveliness. The opening drums suggest it will be a heavier affair but then the swooning guitars and vocals join in and we know this is more of a mini epic ballad. Her vocals are never more angelic than here, the way she pronounces the word ‘die’ is maybe my favourite moment in any of her songs and yet the rest of the song is filled with similar little moments. It all feels so effortless, from the subtle introduction of the strings to the chinking piano loops, to the celebratory key change leading into the final verse. The lyrics are wonderful too, my only issue though is that I hate September and can’t bring myself to agree that everything wrong’s gonna be alright come September.

  1. Hurricane

My number one song has basically been my number one since I heard it, and yes we’re staying on White Lilies Island for it. If you trust anything I’ve said in any of my music posts (and I’ll admit my tastes are pretty weird) then go and buy that album now. Hurricane starts off with a slow guitar arpeggio or note progression played through a filter which makes it sounds like it’s from some old timey 1910 era sepia movie. There are some sort of seaside noises too, or at least that’s the sense I get while listening. Then the vocals start, creeping through the verse’s undergrowth, lyrics about shock and confusion, before the song emerges into the clarity of the chorus with perfect string section building and guitar change. The second verse is more of the same with the addition of bass and off kilter percussion and then, as we have come to expect with this album, the two part chorus is again switched around so that the second part comes first. Everything peaks and we drift off into the sunset. It’s simple, symmetrical, and if it isn’t one of the best songs of all time then I think I’m finally done with the human race.

Phew. I think Natalie Imbruglia as an artist is someone who can appeal to any music lover and if you have dismissed her as pop pap or sub-Morrissette/Brit Pop stuff I would urge you to give her another try. Hit a few of the links above and let me know. If you have any special thoughts or memories of any Natalie Imbruglia song or if you want to share you favourites then drop them in the comments below!

Ranking The Bond Women – The Majors

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Finally we reach the climax of our sordid affair (revisit Part One and Two here). Pop! Below are the most famous Bond girls with the biggest, juiciest parts. The women which all the men want to be with, the ones which fans remember most fondly, and the ones which have kept many a teenage boy warm and wet on a cold winter’s night. I hope you’ve saved some energy for the final push. Here we go. Here we GO. HERE WEEE GOOOOOO!!!!!

41. Tiffany Case – Diamonds Are Forever

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What can I say – I just don’t like Jill St John. At least not here, where her face, hair, voice, and running around all piss me off. Jill St John has also appeared in The Lost World, Tender Is The Night, and a bunch of other stuff.

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40. Fatima Blush – Never Say Never Again

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A general WTF, this mauling of Fione Vulpe from Thunderball is a sadomasochist who enjoys the kill in a way Xenia Onotopp would later perfect. There’s so much wrong with the movie that is’s not a shock that this character is a bit of a mess – failing to kill Bond in ever more outlandish ways. Before he blows her up. With a pen. leaving just her smoking shoes behind. Having said that, Barbara Carrera has a real go at the role, and even bizarrely earned a Golden Globe nomination for it. She appeared in some notable movies and TV shows through the 70s and 80s, including The Island Of Dr Moreau, and Lone Wolf McQuade but has since retired as an actress.

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39. Magda – Octopussy

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A lead henchwoman of Kamal Khan, she helps him at the various auctions for the Faberge eggs. She starts out in the traditional route by trying to seduce Bond, but unlike most she succeeds in her ulterior motive. However, she takes a 180 turn in the end, switching sides to eventually helping Bond. A little too stern for my tastes though, but she does kick ass pretty effectively. Magda is the former Miss Scandanavia Kristina Wayborn’s most famous role, but she has also shown up in shows like Airwolf and Baywatch. 

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38. Miranda Frost – Die Another Day

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Ah yes, the old ‘Olympic medalist turned MI6 agent turned turncoat’ shtick. In a better film she would make a much more interesting character, but… but. You all know Rosamund Pike so I don’t need to tell you about her – she’s fine in the role, a little bland, too cold, and doesn’t do anything to make her stick out in the upper echelons of Bond girls.

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37. Christmas Jones – The World Is Not Enough

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She doesn’t come only once a year. Heh. Hum. Yeah, she’s hot. Denise Richards.

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36. Strawberry Fields – Quantum Of Solace

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Another case of an interesting character given bland treatment. I’m not the biggest fan of Gemma Arterton anyway, and nothing she does in this film changes that fact. Still, the character is interesting, and she does help Bond, and she does of course end up dead, but we don’t get to care enough about her to make Bond’s revenge any more engaging. Arterton’s rise was very quick, appearing in her first movie shortly after graduating, and becoming a Bond girl a year after that. She has also appeared in the St Trinian’s series, Clash Of The Titans, and The Girl With All The Gifts.

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35. Rosie Carver – Live And Let Die

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Everyone hates Rosie Carver, right? Terribly annoying, sells Bond out, spends most of the movie screeching, then freaks out in a potentially culturally insensitive scene. She’s high though because she is memorable, or because she appears in memorable scenes – her death scene is hilarious. Gloria Hendry has remained active over the years, appearing in many famous Blaxploitation movies in the 70s and the odd comedy or horror up to present day.

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34. Plenty O’Toole – Diamonds Are Forever

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Maybe the Bond Girl who is least remembered out of all those with a truly memorable name, Plenty represents the worst of the series’ treatment of women. It is made clear she is only interested in money, attaching herself to various men in various casinos. Bond doesn’t give a shit about her, she’s thrown out of a window, she’s jealous and possibly manic, and then she is drowned. What was the point? Lana Wood is still very active today, having seemingly retired in the mid 80s after appearing in many hit TV shows from the 60s onwards. You’ll know her from Peyton Place and even as a child in The Searchers. 

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33. Madeleine Swann – Spectre

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A combination of good actress, beauty, and good character ensure Swann makes a strong Bond girl. She’s the sort of estranged daughter of the villain Mr White, and she is intelligent and self-sufficient. There’s just something missing, either in the performances or the character or the story that keeps her from being a personal favourite. She doesn’t feel conflicted enough. I’ll need to watch the movie again and see if she moves up the list, but for now this is where she stands. Lea Seydoux is one of Europe’s biggest stars currently, after giving notable performances in a variety of blockbusters and critically acclaimed movies such as Ghost Protocal, Blue Is The Warmest Colour, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. 

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32. Severine – Skyfall

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The latest in the long line of tragic Bond girls, Severine starts out helping the bad guys. Dark, sultry, seemingly evil, it isn’t long before she sides with Bond. We all know what that means folks, as within a few scenes she is beaten, bloodied, tied up, and then shot in the head. She is there to make Silva seem all the more evil and cold-hearted, but she makes enough of an impact in the movie that we feel her loss. The film continues without a traditional Bond Girl. Berenice Marlohe came to acting quite late, making her first appearance at 28 and known mostly for French TV before appearing in Skyfall, though she will also be in Terence Malick’s Weightless.

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31. Camille – Quantum Of Solace

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Camille, and Quantum Of Solace, suffers by following Casino Royale and Vesper. Fans were clamoring for a direct sequel and ending to that story, but instead get led into more questions, tangents, and less interesting characters. Camille gets a powerful back story and is one of those characters who could see having their own spin-off  – she is strong, resourceful, and bent on revenge – she also doesn’t submit to Bond’s magic dong. Unlike previous movies and Bond girls she doesn’t get any standout scenes, although I need to revisit the movie to see if my feelings have changed. Olga Kurylenko is another former model who began a string of action movie appearances after giving notable performances in French Cinema, and can be seen in Hitman, Seven Psychophaths, and Oblivion. 

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30. Elektra King – The World Is Not Enough

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Elektra is someone who deserved a more nuanced and exciting film. She is a central villain, but for much of the movie garners our sympathy as she appears to be a victim of torture. Of course it turns out she had a perfect upbringing, born into wealth and fame but eventually betraying her family and joining Renard as terrorist partners. Even after killing her, Bond appears to feel bad. Sophie Marceau first appeared on screen as a teenager, quickly picking up higher profile roles and eventually appearing in Braveheart and Anna Karenina.

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29. Jinx – Die Another Day

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It’s Halle Berry, yo, and she’s one of the few respectable parts of Die Another Day. Like every other part of the movie, she is infected by camp – bad dialogue, knowing smirks, and other assorted shite, but still – it’s Halle Berry yo.

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28 – Holly Goodhead – Moonraker

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As it was the late 70s, those crazy women took it upon themselves to infiltrate all manner of male-oriented jobs, eventually leading the fight to Outer Space. Goodhead is a match for Bond in all departments, outdoing him in the brains department. Not that any of this stops him from attempting re-entry (or rear entry as I like to imagine Q saying). Bond and Goodhead fight and escape from Jaws and a variety of other henchmen all over the world only to find themselves in Space, having to to it all again. Goodhead is good in a fairly bad movie. Lois Chiles had appeared in a string of hits during the 70s before making Moonraker, and although she wouldn’t have the same successes in later years, she continues to appear in high profiles works such as Dallas and Broadcast News. 

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27. Andrea Anders  – The Man With The Golden Gun.

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It’s Maud Adams again, and it’s yet another tragic Bond girl death. The mistress of Scaramanga, she wants Bond to kill Scaramanga so that she can escape his clutches. As is almost always the case, Bond gets what he needs but the villain discovers the betrayal and the girl dies. It’s another iconic death scene as Bond chats to Anders for a few moments not realizing she has already been shot and killed in front of thousands.

26. Teresa Di Vicenzo – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

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I imagine many people would have this character much higher on their list than I have placed her. She is one of the more important Bond girls, given how she and Bond actually get married. But this is Bond we’re talking about, so we all know how that marriage will end. She’s not as high on my list as the character simply isn’t interesting or memorable enough – certainly not to the extent that I would see Bond wanting to settle down with her – it just doesn’t come across as convincing to me. Diana Rigg is good in the role – you’ll know her from The Avengers and Game Of Thrones.

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25. Aki – You Only Live Twice

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Aki and Suzuki from You Only Live Twice have always been interesting to me. Although Aki gets a great death, I’ve always thought that her character should have been merged with Kissy Suzuki; if that had happened she would have been one of the finest Bond women and Bond characters. Aki shows herself to be a strong agent and saves Bond from death on more than one occasion. She was played by Akiko Wakabayashi, a veteran of Godzilla and other Toho monster movies.

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24. Fiona Vulpe – Thunderball

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Another early femme fatale for Bond to deal with, Volpe is particularly skilled and bloodthirsty, killing her own team members as punishment. Ironically she is later killed by one of her own when Bond spins her into the path of an oncoming bullet. She is played by Italian actress Luciana Paluzzi who has made mostly Italian movies such as The Venetian Affair but also appears in US films like The Greek Tycoon.

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23. Domino Petachi/Derval – Thunderball/Never Say Never Again

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The character of Domino doesn’t differ enough between the two movies to warrant two separate entries. Domino doesn’t merely sit around waiting to be rescued and sexed, she helps Bond investigate, fight, and it is her who brings down the big bad. You all know Kim Basinger, while Claudine Auger has continued a successful European career throughout the 60s, 70s, and 80s in movies like Sons Of Satan and Lovers And Liars. 

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22. Sylvia Trench – Dr No/From Russia With Love

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The original Bond girl – before Honey Ryder, before Miss Moneypenny, Sylvia Trench was the booty call Bond kept on speed dial between missions. She never had much screen time and as the series progressed and Moneypenny was introduced, Trench disappeared without subsequent mention – presumably she was shot, fell into a shark infested lava pit, and had her remains scattered to piranha. Or she got a mid-management job in Tesco. Eunice Gayson appeared in British TV ad movies such as The Saint and The Revenge Of Frankenstein but gave it all up in the early 70s.

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21. Tatiana Romanova – From Russia With Love

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Bond’s drilling stick does its stuff early on in the series, as it repeatedly turns foes into fuck buddies, and Tatiana Romanova is no exception. An agent of SPECTRE, she is basically forced into making a sex tape with him so that the British Secret Service look like…. faded rock stars? I don’t know, the details are a bit fuzzy. Who know how it ends though, one shake of Bond’s magic wang and she betrays her bosses and kills Rosa Klebb. She’s pretty hot for an early Bond girl too, so that’s good. Daniela Bianchi was a ballet dancer, then model, then actress in mostly Italian movies, but retired in 1970.

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20. Octopussy – Octopussy

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When the movie is named after you, you’d better be spectacular, and when you have a name like that, you’d better be suitably protected to block the advances of eight Donald Trumps. We’ve covered Maud Adams already in our list yet she deserves special credit for appearing in three separate Bond movies. She’s high on the list because she’s very good in the role and because Octopussy is an important character. She is further away from my taste in Bond girls than most though, and because of that I can’t rate her any higher. The movie isn’t that great either which doesn’t help, but still – Adams is a Bond legend.

19. Lisl Von Schlaf – For Your Eyes Only

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I’ve often said For Your Eyes Only is one of the most emotional Bond films, and not merely because of what happens on screen. Lisl Von Shlaf surrenders to Bond in the film, and is of course killed later (by The Dove), but in real life actress Cassandra Harris was married to one Pierce Brosnan at the time of filming. She was instrumental in getting her husband cast as Bond, although she would never live to see it – dying after a long battle with cancer in 1991, making her appearance and performance all the more poignant now. She isn’t in the movie for very long but always made an impact on me, possibly accentuated by how much I love the film.

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18. Pam Bouvier – License To Kill

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MRS BOUVIER!!! Yeah, I can’t read that name without thinking of old Abe Simpson. One of the most active Bond girls, she is a pilot and is handy with a gun, so I should love her but sorry people, I just can’t get too enamoured by short hair. Yep, short hair does nothing for me, and as at least half of this list is based on sleaze I half (have) to be hairsh (harsh). I generally like the performance, but she does feel a little too sulky or pouty or something. Sporting the short hair is Carey Lowell, another model turned actress who has since retired – you may know her from Sleepless In Seattle or Law And Order. 

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17. Stacey Sutton – A View To A Kill

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While we’re on the subject of things that don’t do it for me, the old blonde bombshell or ditzy routine leaves me cold (flaccid). There are a few exceptions, which my wife always mocks me for, and while Stacey Sutton is not one of those exceptions, I have a lot of time, patience, and appreciation for her than most and no-one is more surprised than me. Tanya Roberts is just hot here, there’s no getting away from it. Stacey Sutton may be regarded as the most annoying Bond girl of the lot, and it isn’t difficult to see why with all the ‘oh James’ and the more screechy ‘ARGHH JAMES!’ variant passing her lips regularly. I’m not sure of Roberts was meant to be playing the role in such a way, but she has a lot of screen time and is hot for most of it. Maybe I feel bad for Tanya Roberts – always getting roles in crap movies, cult movies, or just missing on on the big credits – you’ll have seen her in Charlie’s Angles, That 70s Show,  Beastmaster, and the epic Bodyslam. 

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16. Pussy Galore – Goldfinger

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Many see Pussy Galore as the definitive Bond girl, and many see Goldfinger as the definitive Bond film. Both are understandable. People forget though that she spends a large part of the movie as a villain, acting as Goldfinger’s pilot. She does turn later on, though this is a grey area as she doesn’t succumb to Bond’s advances and it is implied that she is gay. I like Honor Blackman, but I think this is down to her raw sexiness and energy rather than any sort of physical attraction – based on appearance only she is another Bond girl who does nothing for me. But the name, the performance, and the iconic status ensure she is high on this list. Blackman has been acting since the 40s and is still going now, known for The Upper Hand, Jason And The Argonauts, and Cockneys Vs Zombies.

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15. Kara Milovy – The Living Daylights

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After quite a few ‘not to my tastes’, up pops Kara (played by Maryam d’Abo) who is definitely much more up my street. Kara is a musician who Bond ‘rescues’ and they spend most of the movie together. She is neither a complete damsel in distress, nor a fearless warrior but she proves herself to be capable at both helping and harming Bond, and surviving. It’s good to see Bond girls get this much screen time and attention as the relationships formed feel more interesting. Kara would unusually be the last blonde main Bond girl until Spectre. d’Abo is a British model and actress who missed out on appearing in A View To A Kill but has also appeared in Dorian Gray and Xtro. 

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14. Honey Ryder – Dr No

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The original and best? Well.. yes and no. She is technically the first Bond girl (what about me, Miss Trench?) and she does have that iconic entrance, and she is pretty hot and appears independent and strong. She just isn’t that deep of a character and aside from a few moments she spends most of the movie being dragged along by Connery. In fact, she isn’t even in most of the movie, appearing only halfway through. Still, Ursula Andress in 1962 was one of the most desirable women on the planet and the combination of looks, iconic imagery, and history ensure she is high on my list.

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13. Paris Carver – Tomorrow Never Dies

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I’ve never really been into Teri Hatcher, but I always liked her on Superman and later on Desperate Housewives. It stands to reason then that she would appear quite high on my list of favourite Bond girls. She’s another secondary Bond girl and doesn’t have too many minutes of screen time, but she does make an impact – maybe it’s a mix of the music too as anytime I think of her that violin music pops up in my head too. She is an old flame of Bond – someone that it seemed he was genuinely in love with once, but he abandoned her as he couldn’t afford to have someone close to him in his line of work. She is now married to the big bad – you know the drill by now – Bond meets her again, luvin’, she gets killed, revenge, roll credits. I do like every scene she is in though, short as they may be.

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12. Mary Goodnight – The Man With The Golden Gun

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Yeah, not the most useful character and the epitome of the dumb blond ‘save me, James’ archetype, Goodnight was nevertheless played by Britt Ekland – if Britt Ekland isn’t on your list of top hottest anythings then I have serious trouble believing you’re an actual person. She is sexually frustrated by Bond throughout the movie while she in turn sexually frustrates every single person watching as she spends most of the movie in various bikini states. The character is apparently not as useless in the books, and appears in multiple different stories. Britt Ekland has appeared in many classic and not so classic movies including The Wicker Man, Get Carter, and The Monster Club. 

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11. Lupe Lamora – License To Kill

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With the odd exception now we are into the Bond girls now that I both love the most and get the hornies for. Lupe Lamora is the other Bond girl from License To Kill, the mysterious, and desirable kept wife of the main bad guy – Sanchez. She is sort of unique in that, even though she betrays her man by helping Bond, she isn’t killed – she has wiles and strength and independence, and she doesn’t get it on with Bond. At the end of the movie Bond picks Bouvier over her – rather him than me. Talisa Soto is easily one of the hottest Bond girls and she is another model/actress who has rarely hit the heights of film fame after her Bond appearance, but she did feature in the Mortal Kombat series.

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10. Naomi – The Spy Who Loved Me

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It’s something you’ll see a few times in this top ten – female Bond villains. How can anyone argue against Naomi or Caroline Munro. She is stunning, more than a little dirty looking – whatever the hell that means – smart, and happens to be pure evil. She never turns from the dark side, never gets spurted by Bond’s magical love juice, and she gets an epic death. Munro gives a wicked performance, and spends a lot of time in a bikini. She is notable for also appearing in Casino Royale (The sixties version) and has appeared in some of my favourite cult movies – you may know her from The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad and Gameshow 3-2-1. 

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9. Wai Lin – Tomorrow Never Dies

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The undisputed badass Bond Girl, Michelle Yeoh’s Wai Lin is a better fighter than Bond and just as capable as an agent, proving to be an indispensable ally. After some early mistrust between the two ,they realise they are essentially on the same mission and join forces, complementing each other well and having only playful hints of attraction. It would have been great to see a spin-off series featuring Wai Lin – basically a Chinese 007, but this never happened and was probably never considered. Michelle Yeoh is of course an all round badass, as seen in everything from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and its sequel, to Sunshine and the Police Story series. She’s also incredibly hot, intelligent, does her own stunts, and could destroy anyone reading this.

The Governors Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 12 Nov 2016

8. Kissy Suzuki – You Only Live Twice

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As mentioned earlier, I think it would have been more interesting if Aki and Kissy were merged into one character. Kissy is another strong and capable ally for Bond, helping him investigate Blofeld’s base and eventually getting stuck in during the epic ninja battle at the end. It goes without saying that she’s sexy, but it’s that ability to hold her own that ensures the high spot. Mie Hama had already and later went on to star in a bunch of Japanese movies before apparently retiring in 1989 and becoming a cultural ambassador.

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7. May Day – A View To A Kill

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Another villain, and easily one of the toughest, most recognizable Bond girls of the bunch. I can’t say that I’ve ever been attracted to Mayday, but there’s no getting away from the fact that she’d snap you in two and that she appears to be just as strong and dangerous as Bond. She does die in the end after kind of changing sides when she sees how truly psychotic Zorin is, but by that point she has killed several people. She gets a heroic death of sorts, her final words being a request for Bond to get Zorin – in her way she is just as iconic as Honey Ryder. Grace Jones is a model, actress, artist, and musician, having great success in all fields.

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6. Anya Amasova – The Spy Who Loved Me

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Bond has met a few capable women in his time, women who are just as good at their job as he is – quite a few of them in this top ten. Anya may be the best of these – basically a KGB, female version of 007. Agent XXX blames Bond for her boyfriend’s death (he did kill her) and their relationship is tense in the opening moments, with her knowing much of his history and frequently getting the upper-hand. Later they are instructed to work together for the common goal and they flirt by trying to out-perform each other in their mutual tasks. Amasova is a terrific Bond Girl and even though we know Bond is the star and that she will eventually fall into his arms, we know that she has been, and will again be out there doing her own thang.

Barbara Bach is easily one of the hottest Bond women but gave up on acting shortly after marrying Mr Ringo Starr, though you may have also seen her in Force 10 From Navarone.

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5. Solitaire – Live And Let Die

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Jane Seymour is one of the hottest women ever, nevermind being a Bond Girl. Solitaire is a pretty unique character in the Bondverse too, a psychic virgin and kept woman of the voodoo businessman Dr Kananga. Dutifully, Bond takes her virginity and her magic powers, rendering her both useless and untrustworthy to Kananga, but it’s a mystery why any of his henchmen didn’t ‘have a go’ first – that Tee-Hee fella looks the type. After all that she does become a typical damsel in distress who Bond must rescue, but she’s just so damn pretty that I don’t care. Seymour is well cast and while she doesn’t really show off many of her acting talents, we would see those later in the likes of Dr Quinn, and Battlestar Galactica.

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4. Melina Havlock – For Your Eyes Only

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Melina gets a lot of stick. From idiots. Now that we’ve cleared that up, in terms of hotness there are few higher than her in my sick and unnecessary gauge. Dark, mysterious, sultry, what more could you want? Melina wants revenge for the death of her father and is fiercely determined to complete this mission, much to the annoyance of Bond. The two eventually team up and take down the bad guys together, and then do what Bond does best. Carole Bouquet (not bucket) went on to star in a tonne of movies and series, mostly European including Too Beautiful For You and the – wait, there’s a TV remake of Rosemary’s Baby!? WTF.

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3. Xenia Onotopp – Goldeneye

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Straight up, with a twist. That’s kind of all you need to know. Onotopp is simply joyous, and who wouldn’t want to have their final moments being crushed to death between those thighs? Dark, brooding, sexy, and with a comical sexual appetite which dwarf’s Bonds, Onotopp is a psychotic killer who enjoys nothing more than mowing down innocents with her gun. Bond barely escapes with his nuts and life intact after several confrontations with her, and she’s another villain that you don’t really want to see killed because she’s so much fun. Famke Janssen’s electrifying performance ensured that she would have a huge Hollywood career appearing in the XMen and Taken franchises among others.

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2. Natalya Simyonova – Goldeneye

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Ah Natalya, surely a favourite of any geek. Clever, funny, handy enough in a fight, and sweet jeebus wouldn’t you know she’s hotter than a Severnaya Sauna. She is the only survivor of the Janus attack in Siberia (well, unless you count Boris as a survivor too), she escapes certain death a second time, this time with Bond and the two work together to stop Sean Bean’s maniacal ramblings. Natalya is one of the few Bond girls to truly get under Bond’s skin referring to his ‘it’s what keeps me alive’ with ‘it’s what keeps you alone’. She’s another character who I would have loved seeing again and could imagine Bond giving up his other life for. Izabella Scorupco is another model who has tried her hand successfully at music and movies, appearing also in Vertical Limit and Reign Of Fire.

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  1. Vesper Lynd – Casino Royale

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Quite frankly, anyone who doesn’t put Vesper as their number one Bond Girl is a moron. She’s number one is every respect, she just is. Oh look  – dark, sultry, mysterious – is it any wonder she’s top of my list? She’s also an equal to Bond in the flirting stakes and she is the one that he does appear to want to throw it all away for. You know what happens to those women though, don’t you? Her death was the impetus for later Bond movies and it had such an impact in Casino Royale that the resolution to that whole story as played out in later films has been, well, crap. I want full-on, badass, revenge mode Bond, but we never get that.

One of, if not the most important reason that Vesper is number one is down to Eva Green’s performance. Aside from obviously being gorgeous (and thank God we’re at the end of this thing so that I can stop feeling dirty by lowering myself to such base interests) her performance is superb, easily worthy of an Oscar nod and towers above most performances in the series, Bond girl or otherwise. Green is easily one of the best actors in work today, as seen here and in The Dreamers and Penny Dreadful.

New York premiere of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

There you have it – an exhaustive list of breast and other bits. You can go off now, clean yourself up, and then come back and let us know in the comments who your favourites are!

#Thisisyourfilm 2008 – 2016

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It’s the last part… OF MY LIFE. So, this is the period where I turned old, got married, had kids and stopped believing in dreams. As such, I’ve listened to less new music and watched less movies. I’m not even going to bother with books – I still read plenty, but it’s down to like a couple of books a month from a couple a week – #Thisisyourfuture.

2008

Top Grossing Film: The Dark Knight

My Favourite Film: Love Exposure

Have you seen Love Exposure? Is it better than The Dark Knight? Watch it and then tell me what you think. What about Departures? Martyrs?

Biggest Selling Song: Hallelujah – Alexandra Burke

Blasphemy

My Favourite Song: Home by Gemma Hayes

Biggest Selling Album: Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne

I don’t think I’ve heard a single song by Lil Wayne

My Favourite Album: Death Magnetic by Metallica

2009

Top Grossing Film: Avatar

My Favourite Film: Inglourious Basterds

Not many standouts this year – I was almost going to pick Drag Me To Hell. I’m being lazy in searching at this point though.

Biggest Selling Song: Poker Face – Gaga

Managed to not hear this until about 2011.

My Favourite Song: Private Hell by Alice In Chains

Biggest Selling Album: Fearless by Taylor Swift

I think I’ve heard maybe one Taylor Swift song.

My Favourite Album: Journal For Plague Lovers by Manic Street Preachers

2010

Top Grossing Film: Toy Story 3

My Favourite Film: I Saw The Devil

Yeah, at the point of writing, I still haven’t seen Inception. What the hell is wrong with me. I know, I know. I didn’t love Shutter Island. A few which I would rank on the same level here – Micmacs, Black Swan, Ip Man 2, Paranormal Activity 2, so any of those I am happy with being my favourite.

Biggest Selling Song: Love The Way You Lie – Eminem

Great.

My Favourite Song: I Think I Found It by Manic Street Preachers

Biggest Selling Album: Recovery by Eminem

Yeah, it’s a good album

My Favourite Album: The Final Frontier by Iron Maiden

2011

Top Grossing Film: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows

My Favourite Film: Killer Joe

I also haven’t seen a single Harry Potter movie. There isn’t a single standout US movie this year that jumps out at me. We Bought A Zoo, Hugo? Apparently some critics say 2011 is one of the best, if not the best years for movie quality ever. I just don’t see it. Yet.

Biggest Selling Song: Someone Like You – Adele

Typically bland shrieking by Adele

My Favourite Song: I Am Made Of You – Alice Cooper

Biggest Selling Album: 21 by Adele

The year music died (again).

My Favourite Album: The Hunter by Mastodon

2012

Top Grossing Film: The Avengers

My Favourite Film: Cabin In The Woods

Biggest Selling Song: Somebody That I Used To Know – Gotye

Got Ye? I’ll tell ye what I’ve got? SORE EARS. ROFLMAO!

My Favourite Song: Circles by Anneke Van Giersbergen

Biggest Selling Album: 21 by Adele

Oh, fuck off.

My Favourite Album: The 2nd Law by Muse

2013

Top Grossing Film: Frozen

My Favourite Film: The Kings Of Summer

We’re getting into sketchy territory now – from 2012 onwards I have seen very few of the Oscar nominated and biggest grossing movies. I’ve seen five of the top 10 grossing movies of 2013 at the time of writing, 5 in 2012, 2 in 2011, 3 in 2010, 3 and a half in 2014, 4 in 2015, 2 in 2016. Ah well.

Biggest Selling Song: Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke

Never heard it.

My Favourite Song: Show Me The Wonder – Manic Street Preachers

Biggest Selling Album: The 20/20 Experience by Justin Timberlake

Don’t care.

My Favourite Album: Drive

2014

Top Grossing Film: Age Of Extinction

My Favourite Film: It Follows

Biggest Selling Song: Happy – Pharrell Williams

Terrible

My Favourite Song: Black Square by Manic Street Preaches

Biggest Selling Album: 1989 by Taylor Swift

See above

My Favourite Album: 1000 Forms Of Fear by Sia

2015

Top Grossing Film: The Force Awakens

My Favourite Film: Fury Road

Biggest Selling Song: Uptown Funk – Ronson and Mars

Awful

My Favourite Song: Our Decades In The Sun by Nightwish

Biggest Selling Album: 25 by Adele

I think she should take a break until she release 40. She won’t be any more relevant by that point.

My Favourite Album: Drones by Muse

2016

Top Grossing Film: Captain America: Civil War

My Favourite Film: Rogue One

Why not. I’ve given up by this point.

Biggest Selling Song: One Dance

Never heard of it so I assume I’ve never heard it.

My Favourite Song: Bird Set Free by Sia

I don’t know anymore, so sticking with Sia. Anything from that album really, but I’m partial to the ‘I don’t want to die’ bit on Bird Set Free.

Biggest Selling Album: 25 by Adele

Trump. Brexit. Adele. Welcome to Hell.

My Favourite Album: This Is Acting by Sia

There you go, my life on a plate. Share your favourites in the comments!