Pick of the Year: 2007


  1. Jojo – Too Little, Too Late
  2. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good
  3. Mika – Grace Kelly
  4. Fray – How to Save a Life
  5. Keane – A Bad Dream
  6. Take That – Shine
  7. Bowling for Soup – High School Never Ends
  8. Justin Timberlake – What Goes Around Comes Around
  9. Fergie – Glamorous
  10. Pink – Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely)
  11. Hilary Duff – With Love
  12. Ciara – Like A Boy
  13. Timbaland – Give It To Me
  14. Linkin Park – What I’ve Done
  15. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
  16. Hellogoodbye – Here (In Your Arms)
  17. Jojo – Anything
  18. Rihanna – Umbrella
  19. Twang – Either Way
  20. Kelly Rowland – Like This
  21. Fray – Over My Head
  22. Fergie – Big Girls Don’t Cry
  23. Kate Nash – Foundations
  24. Timbaland – The Way I Are
  25. Robyn – With Every Heartbeat
  26. Kanye West – Stronger
  27. Gym Class Heroes – Clothes Off
  28. Matchbox 20 – How Far We’ve Come
  29. 50 Cent – Ayo Technology
  30. Shayne Ward – If That’s Ok With You
  31. Enrique Iglesias – Tired of Being Sorry
  32. Britney Spears – Gimme More
  33. Take That – Rule The World
  34. Backstreet Boys – Inconsolable
  35. Robyn – Handle Me
  36. Craig David – Hot Stuff
  37. Chris Brown – Kiss Kiss
  38. Rihanna – Don’t Stop The Music
  39. Leon Jackson – When You Believe
  40. Kate Nash – Pumpkin Soup
  41. Bowling for Soup – When We Die

Pick of the Year: 2006


  1. Hard-fi – Cash Machine
  2. Richard Ashcroft – Break The Night with Colour
  3. Notorious BIG – Nasty Girl
  4. Starsailor This Time
  5. Madonna – Sorry
  6. Simon Webbe – After All This Time
  7. Pussycat Dolls – Beep
  8. Keisha White – The Weakness in Me
  9. Sugababes – Red Dress
  10. Ne-Yo – So Sick
  11. Kelly Clarkson – Walk Away
  12. Embrace – Natures Law
  13. Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
  14. Mary J Blige & U2 – One
  15. Rihanna – SOS
  16. Will Young – Who Am I
  17. LL Cool J – Control Myself
  18. Pink – Who Knew
  19. Paul Oakenfold – Faster Kill Pussycat
  20. Nelly Furtado – Maneater
  21. Sugababes – Follow Me Home
  22. Muse – Supermassive Black Hole
  23. Zutons – Valerie
  24. Pussycat Dolls – Buttonz
  25. All American Rejects – Dirty Little Secret
  26. Lupe Fiasco – Kick Push
  27. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
  28. Justin Timberlake – Sexyback
  29. Pink – U & UR Hand
  30. My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade
  31. James Morrison – Wonderful World
  32. Girls Aloud – Something Kinda Oooh
  33. Beyonce – Irreplaceable
  34. Amy Winehouse – Rehab
  35. McFly – Star Girl
  36. All Saints – Rock Steady
  37. Keane – Nothing In My Way
  38. Justin Timberlake – My Love
  39. Take That – Patience
  40. Jamelia – Beware of the Dog
  41. Matt Willis – Don’t Let It Go To Waste
  42. Leona Lewis – A Moment Like This

JustSO release debut album

‘All music is escapism for me, but I like the way that, on a good night, that sense of escapism can be shared’ – Jamie xx

One of the best parts of my job is being able to talk passionately about things I love and discovering new music has always been a great love of mine. Writing this blog has given me many amazing opportunities, and none more amazing than being offered the opportunity to work as press officer for local North East rock band The Longsands after they read a review I wrote of one of their gigs. It helped that I was mates with them at school of course; having an already established relationship made the job so much easier and it was a dream come true for me.

Guitarist from The Longsands Stan had always had a side project in JustSO, a more laid back acoustic offering with vocalist Olivia Morley which he managed concurrently with The Longsands but when the boys decided to call it a day in 2017, Stan moved forward with JustSO and started recording their own material rather than just relying on a popular wedding band repertoire.


They’ve now just released their first self titled album full of original material and although it couldn’t be more different from The Longsands back catalogue, on just first listen it sounds like a perfect laid back pop album.

The change in direction (for Stan at least) is a refreshing change of pace and his distinctive voice shines through as he shares 50% of the vocals. As soon I heard his guitar kick in I instantly thought ‘there’s Stan’. His voice melts like butter with Olivia’s who although may vocally lack the power of Beyonce or Adele, she certainly more than makes up for it in soul and reminds me of some of my favourite female singers from the 90s like Paula Cole and Jewel.

The album is track after track of polished classy radio friendly hits with a distinct modern americana vibe. Stand out track from me is Stay, which could have been pulled straight off the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack and believe me when I say I hold the Dawson’s Creek soundtrack in very high esteem!

History hasn’t been too kind to male/female bands however I think JustSO manage to pull off the musical credibility of Fleetwood Mac (without being too mumsy) and the energy of The Beautiful South (without being a bit rubbish). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you heard them on radio 2 in the very near future!

Download the album from amazon and find out more about the band on their Facebook page.

Pick of the Year: 2004

Picture 008

  1. Kelis – Milkshake
  2. Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out
  3. Maroon 5 – Harder to Breathe
  4. Snow Patrol – Run
  5. Blazin Sqaud – Here 4 One
  6. Busted – 3am
  7. Keane – Somewhere Only We Know
  8. Luther Vandross – Dance With My Father
  9. Lemar – Another Day
  10. Britney Spears – Toxic
  11. Kylie Minogue – Red Blooded Woman
  12. Blink 182 – I Miss You
  13. Enrique Iglesias – Not In Love
  14. B2K – Badaboom
  15. Usher – Yeah
  16. Will Young – Your Game
  17. JC Chavez – Blowin Me Up
  18. Streets – Fit But You Know It
  19. Natasha Bedingfield – Single
  20. Jay-Z – 99 Problems
  21. 411 – On My Knees
  22. Gabrielle – Stay The Same
  23. Kristian Leontiou – Story Of My Life
  24. Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done
  25. Mario Winans – I Don’t Wanna Know
  26. Brandy – Talk About Our Love
  27. Freestylers – Push Up
  28. Black Eyed Peas – Let’s Get It Started
  29. Shaznay Lewis – Never Felt Like This Before
  30. J-Kwon – Tipsy
  31. Ananstacia – Sick and Tired
  32. Mousse T – Is It Cos I’m Cool
  33. Kanye West – Jesus Walks
  34. Girls Aloud – Love Machine
  35. Beverley Knight – Not Too Late for Love
  36. Lucie Silvas – What You’re Made Of
  37. Bowling for Soup – 1985
  38. Destiny’s Child – Lose My Breath
  39. Steriogram – Walkie Talkie Man
  40. Gwen Stefani – What You Waiting For
  41. Band Aid 20 – Do They Know It’s Christmas 

Battle of the Backstreet Boys singles

‘Any vehicle that conveys great songs and the ability to perform them, whether it’s ‘N Sync or the Backstreet Boys or One Direction, is all good – Tommy Mottola

It’s been a good few months since I indulged in my favourite pastime (if you don’t include drinking wine) and this is a post I’ve been meaning to write up since Meagan and I had the initial discussion in Vegas back in March.

We were sitting in our hotel room dissecting the amazing Backstreet Boys live show we’d just seen and discussing the setlist, every song we talked about would be followed by a comment by me along the lines of ‘hmm yeah that wasn’t the strongest on that album’ or ‘I never was overly keen on that one’ which sparked Meagan to say in exasperation ‘so which of their songs do you actually like?’

She had a good point. It’s not that I don’t like their singles, of course I do, I am just of the belief that they never release the best songs. Perhaps it’s just that their biggest hits have been so overplayed that I’m a little bit over them, or perhaps it’s that they always seemed to take the safe choice and release the most marketable tunes. Whatever it is, I stand by my opinion that, single wise, they’ve very often sold themselves short.

So let’s have a look back on what they actually released compared to what they could have released instead, and see how different it all could have been:

Album: Backstreet Boys


Single: We’ve Got it Goin’ On:
Could have been: I Wanna Be With You
Hit or miss: Hit – as far as a debut single goes, it couldn’t have been anything other than this, it was after all, the song that started the long dark round back into the boyband ether I fell into in 1995 (and still haven’t really clawed my way out yet!) so I have to give them this one. I do love I Wanna Be With You though…


Single: I’ll Never Break Your Heart
Could have been: Anything else as far as I’m concerned
Hit or Miss: Massive miss for me. I’ve never EVER liked this song mainly because too much cheese gives me migraines and it’s been my toilet break song at every live song since. A better ballad from that album would have been Darlin’ at a push. But if I never hear this song again for the rest of my life I wouldn’t share any tears (I did love all the knitwear in the original video though however – cosy!)


Single: Get Down
Could have been: Let’s Have a Party
Hit or Miss: Hit – I’m on the fence with this one and it’s only just scraping through as a hit to be honest. It was similar enough to We’ve Got it Goin On to keep the uptempo fans (like me) happy and Let’s Have a Party was equally as cheesy to be fair so would have been a close call. Quite a forgettable single in the grand scheme of things, in fact I’m sure it scored 0 on Pointless once, which says a lot.


Single: Quit Playing Games
Could have been: I Wanna Be With You
Hit or Miss: Hit – Seems I really wanted them to release I Wanna Be With You but understand why it never really made the cut. QPG definitely falls into the overplayed category for me however when I first got their debut album it was the one song that I could hum along to the soonest, so an obviously choice as a single. Plus every 14 years fan was thankful for the music video.


Single: Anywhere for You
Could have been: Just to Be Close To You
Hit or Miss: Miss – they never even bothered to release it in US which speaks volumes. It always felt like a pity release because they didn’t have anything new so I was surprised to see it brought back for their Vegas residency. Even Nick and Brian looked embarrassed singing it. Just to Be Close To You was a way classier song and all their acapella awesomeness would have been brought to the masses.

Album: Backstreet’s Back


Single: Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
Could have been: That’s The Way I Like It
Hit or Miss: Hit – While That’s The Way I Like It is one of, if not my ALL TIME FAVOURITE BSB SONG EVER I can’t deny them their signature song can I? On a recent night out they played Everybody twice (in different bars) it’s what the people want and a world without drunk people trying to do the dance routine isn’t one I want to live in.


Single: As Long As You Love Me
Could have been: That’s The Way I Like It
Hit or Miss – Miss – after releasing Everybody I thought releasing ALAYLM was a safe choice and yes the chair routine was impressive, and I can’t confirm nor deny whether I sprained my ankle trying to recreate it in my living room when I was 15. I think releasing That’s The Way I Like it would have surprised people, and kept the uptempo momentum of Everybody going.


Single: All I Have to Give
Could have been: Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
Hit or Miss – Miss – All I Have To Give isn’t a bad song, it’s a just a bit meh, and as well as being a grammatical nightmare (‘does his gifts come from the heart?’ – well does they?!) it’s too similar to ALAYLM and two mid tempo singles in a row is just lazy. Set Adrift… is in no way a fan favourite, and I understand they didn’t want to release a cover version however apart from the name and the hook it’s almost a totally different song to the original. Set Adrift is just super summery and relaxed – and I love it. But no one ever listens to me…

Album: Millennium


Single: I Want It That Way
Could have been: Don’t Wanna Lose You Now
Hit or Miss: Hit – I actually think Don’t Wanna Lose You Now is a better song however (even my dad agreees – it’s his favourite BSB song ever) IWITW is probably joint signature song along with Everybody so I can’t take that out of the running. It was the final song played at my wedding and all our friends and family danced and sang along before we all collapsed in a heap so it holds a special place in my heart. However that said it does also fall into the ‘over it’ category sometimes and I love Don’t Wanna Lose You Now so much I would hate to ever be over that too.


Single: Larger than Life
Could have been: It’s Gotta Be You
Hit or Miss: Hit – Larger than Life has also been one of the strongest singles of their for me, even my metal loving mate Janine loves the guitar solo bit in it. A very strong pop song which no one can deny. I do Love It’s Gotta be You as well, but don’t think it would have worked as well as a single.


Single: Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely
Could have been: Back To Your Heart
Hit or Miss: Miss – much like All I Have To Give, it’s not a bad song, it’s just a bit ‘boyband by numbers’ and a bit meh, plus the lyrics make little to no sense whatsoever. Back To Your Heart is a much MUCH better ballad form Millennium – the lyrics are constructed in coherent sentences and everything!


Single: The One
Could have been: Don’t Want You Back
Hit or Miss: Miss – another lazy single for the sake of being a single that they threw out because they were too busy on tour. Don’t Want You Back is an amazing song and would have been bloody brilliant and a single. But maybe this is why I don’t work in A&R

Album: Black and Blue


Single: Shape of My Heart
Could have been: The Answer to Our Life
Hit or miss: Miss – Meagan will kill me for this as Shape of My Heart is her all time fave however it’s just predictable to me and smacks of I Want it That Way version 2. I surprised The Answer to Our Life was never a single regardless of else was released, to me it’s their signature but just way more upbeat and catchy and would have produced a fun music video.


Single: The Call
Could have been: Shining Star
Hit or Miss: Hit – finally! They start releasing something a little more edgy! I love The Call, and particularly love the Neptunes remix which was also released along with the single. Shining Star would have served the same purpose; provided a much needed urban/r’n’b element to their back catalogue but in my humble opinion it’s not a very good song at all and would have been panned by the critics as them trying too hard (and they’d have been right).


Single: More Than That
Could have been: Yes I Will
Hit or Miss: Neutral – I’m completely torn with this one as if depends on what the rules are. If we’re swapping out like for like and More Than That needs to be replaced with another ballad then it’s absolutely the right choice as Black & Blue is too cheesy ballad heavy for my liking. However if it can be swapped out for anything then Get Another Boyfriend, Everyone or Not for Me are all brilliant songs which would have made brilliant singles.

Album: Never Gone


Single: Incomplete
Could have been: Safest Place to Hide
Hit or Miss: Hit – I’ve always been a lover of the uptempo songs over the ballads however Incomplete is the exception that proves the rule because it’s probably my second favourite all time BSB song. Never Gone is an underrated album in my opinion actually, it’s moved away from the cheese of Black & Blue and although there are lots of ballads, they have a more acoustic, classy feel. AJ’s voice sounds particularly brilliant on this too.


Single: Just Want You To Know
Could have been: My Beautiful Woman
Hit or Miss: Miss – don’t get me wrong it’s a strong song and the music video is hilarious however while they were making a small change in musical direction with this album, releasing Just Want You To Know felt like a step backwords. My Beautiful Woman is a brilliant song and would have made a brilliant uptempo single to follow Incomplete.


Single: I Still…
Could have been: Climbing The Walls
Hit or Miss: Miss – this was never released in the UK so it kind of passed me by as a single but there’s a music video for it so it makes the cut! It’s a good song and a strong one off the album but I heavily prefer Climbing the Walls over this and always wished they would release it when I first heard the album. It was really cool to hear them singing with real instruments for a change and whilst I would miss their dance routine laden videos, it was a reminder how strong their voices really are.

Album: Unbreakable


Single: Inconsolable
Could have been: Something That I Already Know
Hit or Miss: Miss – I was surprised they were so comfortable releasing a song called Inconsolable, only 3 songs after releasing a song called Incomplete and I’d be lying If I said that’s where the similarities ended as well. It’s not a bad song by any means but again feels like boyband by numbers and Something That I Already Know has an edgier pop-rock feel and is brilliant for wailing along to in the car. So I hear.


Single: Helpless When She Smiles
Could have been: Trouble Is
Hit or Miss: Miss – CHEESY LYRIC ALERT *She opens up just like a rose to me when she’s close to me*  please! There are so many good uptempo songs on this album; Everything But Mine, Panic or Treat Me Right would have all made strong singles rather than releasing yet another ballad. Even Trouble Is – also a ballad – had a country twist to it which would feel like a break from the old routine.

Album: This is Us


Single: Straight Through My Heart
Could have been: Bye Bye Love
Hit or Miss: Hit – clearly on the Redone band wagon that was all around in 2009 (not that that’s a bad thing) this Gaga induced song is strong and and underrated favourite of mine. I LOVE Brian’s voice at during the first verse and although it loses it a bit in chorus where it all goes a bit teenpop, it’s no weaker than another One Direction or JLS were releasing at the same time. Dare I say they seemed to be having more fun without Kevin….?


Single: Bigger
Could have been: This is Us
Hit or Miss: Hit – massive MASSIVE hit! I adore this song so much and it should have done way better commercially than it did. As mentioned above I think they suffered a bit from the influx of younger, more current bands and they lost their place in the charts a little bit however had this song (and in fact whole album) been released by someone else, it would have been huge which is a huge shame. I would have loved to have seen more singles released off this album; Undone, Shattered and If I Knew Then are all great songs.

Album: In A World Like This


Single: In A World Like This
Could have been: Feels Like Home
Hit or Miss: Miss – I get the sentiment, it’s crazy times we live in these days and sometimes all we need to know is that we’ll always have our favourite 5 boys (now Kevin’s returned) singing to us on top of a mountain about how it’s all going to be ok. I just think it’s a medicore song. I really like Feels Like Home, it’s a little on the cheesy side, but that’s never stopped these lads before. And they probably could have been more adventurous with the video too.


Single: Show ‘Em What You’re Made of
Could have been: Try
Hit or Miss: Hit – feels like classic BSB when they were at the top of their game. It ties in with the movie documentary that was released at the same time and was a slow burner of a a song for me but I absolutely love it now and always find myself listening to it for a little pick me up when I feel I need a lyrical kick up the bum. Plus the music video is um, very tastefully and artistically done (absolutely not full of gratuitous shirtless shots).

So actually when I sit down and think about it, it’s a pretty even split with out of 24 songs 11 are a hit, 12 are a miss and one I’m on the fence about however I think when a band are releasing singles they should release their best stuff all the time, there should only be one or two misses tops. That’s just my opinion though and you can’t please all the people all the time.

I mean, I’m sure there are fans out there who will swear I’ll Never Break Your Heart is the best song ever written and recorded. I mean they’d be wrong, but I’m sure they’re out there!

Pick of the Year: 2003



  1. Black Eyed Peas – Shut Up
  2. Lemar – Dance With U
  3. Robbie Williams – Come Undone
  4. Zoe Birkett – Treat Me Like a Lady
  5. Matchbox 20 – Unwell
  6. Justin Timberlake – Rock your Body
  7. Melanie C – Here It Comes Again
  8. Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love?
  9. Appleton – Don’t Worry
  10. 50  Cent – In Da Club
  11. Lumidee – Never Leave You
  12. Britney Spears – Me Against The Music
  13. Matchbox 20 – Bright Lights
  14. Gary Jules – Mad World
  15. Christina Aguilera – Fighter
  16. Will Young – Leave Right Now
  17. DMX – X Gon Give it To Ya
  18. Outkast – Hey Ya!
  19. Mis-teeq – Scandalous
  20. Jamelia – Superstar
  21. Beyonce – Crazy in Love
  22. Fatman Scoop – Be Faithful
  23. R Kelly – Ignition (remix)
  24. The Darkness – I Believe in a Thing Called Love
  25. Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots pt 1
  26. Tatu – All The Things She Said
  27. Big Brovaz – OK
  28. O-Town – These Are The Days
  29. Eminem – Sing for the Moment
  30. Missy Elliott – Gossip Folks
  31. Eve – Satisfaction
  32. David Gray – Be Mine
  33. Jay-Z – Excuse Me Miss
  34. Triple Eight – Knockout
  35. Girls Aloud – No Good Advice
  36. Bon Jovi – All About Lovin You
  37. B2K – Girlfriend
  38. Michelle Branch – Are You Happy Now
  39. Eminem – Business
  40. All American Rejects – Swing Swing

Pick of the Year: 2002


Dad’s ‘Pick of the Year’ tapes were always a firm family favourite where he would make a compilation cassette of his favourite songs form that year. He stopped in 1992 however, when music got a bit too modern for him. It’s something over the years I’ve tried to carry on, and did for a while but, no one listens to CDs anymore and they don’t have the same impact as mp3 playlists. I’ve often thought about restarting it all from 1982 on my blog though just so I have somewhere to put them all for prosperity sake.

The first rule of POTY is DON’T TALK ABOUT PICK OF THE YEAR, sorry, that’s the illegal underground fight club i’m part of.

The first rule of POTY is that you can only pick songs that charted in the top 75 in the UK. The second rule of POTY is that you can only pick enough songs that would fit onto an old C120 cassette (between 30-40 tracks). The final rule, one which I’ve imposed myself, is that you must include that year’s Christmas number 1 (highlighted in green)

  1. P Diddy feat. Usher – I Need A Girl
  2. Big Brovaz – Nu Flow
  3. Oakenfold – Starry Eyed Surprise
  4. Oasis – Little By Little
  5. Justin Timberlake – Like I Love You
  6. Madonna – Die Another Day
  7. A1 – Caught in the Middle
  8. Nelly – Hot in Herre
  9. Oasis – Stop Crying Your Heart Out
  10. N Sync – Girlfriend
  11. Kylie Minogue – In Your Eyes
  12. Shakira – Whenever, Wherever
  13. Beverly Knight – Shoulda Woulda Coulda
  14. Matchbox 20 – Disease
  15. Westlife – World of Our Own
  16. Appleton – Fantasy
  17. Nickelback – How You Remind Me
  18. Will Smith – Black Suits Comin
  19. Ashanti – Foolish
  20. Avril Lavigne – Complicated
  21. Bowling for Soup – Girl All the Bad Guys Want
  22. Coldplay – The Scientist
  23. Pink – Just Like a Pill
  24. No Doubt – Hey Baby
  25. The Calling – Wherever You Will Go
  26. Eminem – Lose Yourself
  27. Shakira – Underneath Your Clothes
  28. DB Boulevard – Point of View
  29. Darren Hayes – Insatiable
  30. Girls Aloud – Sound of the Underground
  31. Amy Studt – Just A Little Girl
  32. Liberty X – Just A Little
  33. Missy Elliott – 4 My People
  34. Codplay – In My Place
  35. Christina Aguilera – Dirrty
  36. Britney Spears – Overprotected
  37. Bachelor Girl – I’m Just A Girl
  38. Pink – Get The Party Started
  39. Alanis Morissette – Hands Clean
  40. Eminem – Without Me