2006: The Year Of…

The rest of Scandinavia
Lordi defied the Baltic Block and gave Finland their first ever Eurovision win, Danish exports Infernal had the dance hit of the year, and Norway produced a slew of fabulous females – Margaret Berger, Marit Larsen, Bertine Zetlitz and Lilyjets being the prime examples.

The girls of r’n’b
Some of the best singles this year surprisingly came from the usually unappealing genre of female r’n’b singers – Beyoncé made her best song in years with Irreplaceable and Rihanna made her first good song (and amazing it was too) with S.O.S, while Cassie, Christina Milian and Vanessa Hudgens all provided some cute urban-pop sounds.

Quality cheese
I want cheesy pop music, but not just any old pop – it has to be good too and this year was great for super-cheesy but good quality pop, for example The Feeling’s album, High School Musical and I Don’t Feel Like Dancing by the Scissor Sisters. More of this in the new year, please!

Disappointing second albums
Several ace acts made returns to the charts this year, but not all were triumphant. Scissor Sisters made a good album but had lost something special from their first, JT was too concerned with being cool, while the Killers’ singles have been so dull I haven’t even dared pick up their new CD.

Internet phenomena
Record companies became less necessary than ever as the Internet allowed consumers to directly pick who they wanted atop the charts. They chose Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen, among others. Is it just a fad or the beginning of a whole new era for the music industry?

Muse’s inexplicable popularity
I still don’t get it. If you want a rock or indie band that channels pop or particularly electronica, why not go with one with tunes and talent, such as the Delays or the already forgotten Protocol?

The charts not being crap
Best of all this year I haven’t been ashamed to be British. Yeah, we still live in a country where you don’t exist unless you support a football team and Peter and Jordan are considered interesting, but at least most weeks have had a few good songs in the top 10, even often out-numbering the bad ones. There were 10 good no.1s (40% of the 25 no.1s of the year), about twice as many as usual. So, that’ll be 20 next year please.

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