#1 Eminem featuring Dido, “Stan”
Eminem can be childish but there was no dismissing “Stan,” his incendiary look at fame and fandom. I can’t remember a single this intense ever hitting the Top 40.
#2 Madonna, “Music”
Madonna has once again made the ultimate road-trip song. Who could resist the siren bass and the anthemic shoutout: “Music makes the people come together”?
#3 Aaliyah, “Try Again”
Repetitive as hell, but no one seemed to care thanks to Timbaland’s “dope beats.” Now, if only we could eliminate every amateur MC using this groove for their tepid rhymes.
#4 Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue, “Kids”
Cheeky and frequently unclothed Brits Williams and Minogue team up in this irresistible rock anthem. If you can excuse the Cockney raps from Williams (“I’m the honorary Sean Connery,” he proclaims) you’re all right, kid.
#5 Tom Jones and the Cardigans, “Burning Down the House”
Living lounge lizard Jones teams with electro-minimalists the Cardigans to make one of the year’s guiltiest pop pleasures.
#6 Melanie C, “I Turn to You”
The artist formerly known as Sporty Spice found international success with this sunny, blistering club hit. Hex Hector remixes the bare-bones album track with house lines so throbbing that no one had an excuse to step off the dance floor.
#7 Destiny’s Child, “Independent Women Part 1”
“Ladies, it ain’t easy being independent,” refrain the beleaguered R&B trio Destiny’s Child. This Charlie’s Angels soundtrack tie-in is as commercial as they come, but is so well-conceived that the incessant film plugs became subliminal -I mean, secondary.
#8 Coldplay, “Trouble”
A simple piano ballad that recalls vintage Radiohead, like most of their debut Parachutes. But when lead singer Chris Martin hits the chorus, “I never meant to cause you trouble/ I never meant to do you wrong,” there are no dry eyes in my house.
#9 Filter, “Take a Picture”
This reflective power-ballad is actually a song-message to a neglectful father. Still, its chorus “Do you want to take my picture?/ ‘Cos I won’t remember” can be thrown away or interpreted as a comment on how life passes us by.
#10 Wild Strawberries, “Wrong to Let You Go”
Ken Harrison continues to be one of Canada’s most underrated pop songwriters, as evidenced in this stellar composition with Robert Michaels. Its excellence was recently affirmed by international dance act ATB, who requested a reworking of the song for their album Two Worlds.