Last week, The Killers’ anthemic hit “Mr. Brightside” celebrated its 200th week in the UK top 100 music charts.
That’s right, the end-of-the-night banger is still going strong in the UK, and it’s a bewildering statistic for some music writers. According to the Guardian, its enduring appeal is due to “ageing millennials”:
For a certain generation, Mr. Brightside is the defining sound of every university party they ever attended. It’s an indie disco staple that effortlessly conjures memories of bad haircuts and regrettable kisses and texting people numerically on rubbish Nokias. (…) Mr. Brightside is doomed to become a song that’s played at weddings. It’s Kung Fu Fighting for people who once had asymmetrical haircuts.
It’s a popular take, but nostalgia’s not the only one offered; take a look around the interwebs and you can see all sorts of theories provided for Mr. Brightside’s persistent grip on the charts, from a technical error to Jeremy Corbyn. Last year, it was streamed 45 million times. Maybe it’s YouTube’s autoplay feature, pushing The Killers on us like Mrs. Doyle and her cups of tea. Maybe some students put it on repeat and then passed out after one too many ciders. Maybe it’s just awesome; maybe it’s that perfect mix of rocky and poppy that appeals to a massive range of people who want to jump up and down yelling “it was only a kiss! It was only a kiss!”
But what of the other hits from 2004? Are any of them feeling neglected? WHY NOT ME? YOU LOVED ME TOO! WHY ONLY MR BRIGHTSIDE? Let’s dust off the tunes from 14 years ago, open up our eager
eyes ears, and see which ones we think should hide no longer in the shadow of Brandon Flowers’ feathery epaulettes…
2004 was a mixed year in music. A quick look at the top 100 chart for the US and the UK tells a weird story. It was the year of Peak Britney—the year of Toxic. It was also Peak Usher (Yeah, Burn), the year that Maroon 5 scored high with This Love and She Will Be Loved, the year we were enthusiastically encouraged to shake it like a Polaroid picture, and the year that Kelis made us sure that she was talking about something rude instead of milkshake. It was the year when Christina Milian got covered in oil for no reason for Dip It Low, Destiny’s Child had a dance battle with themselves in Lose My Breath, and Linkin Park became so Numb. (Honourable mention goes to Dido’s White Flag, because the video features David Boreanaz and you know how I feel about that.)
But in the UK at least, there were some big hits that we should probably be a little bit embarrassed about. At number 4 (NUMBER 4?!) was the Cha Cha Slide. (I shake my head. Then slide to the left NO NO STOP IT, RUN SAVE YOURSELVES!) Peter Andre’s Mysterious Girl (originally released in 1996) resurfaced thanks to Andre’s appearance on I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here, which I guess proves how far the UK market will go for nostalgia.
The second biggest hit of the year, Call On Me, probably got there on the basis of its workout-style video, featuring very skimpy leotards and an unlikely amount of thrusting. (Who’s going to put that John Travolta/Jamie Lee Curtis clip in the comments, I wonder? You know which one…) The biggest selling single of the whole year was ‘Fuck It’, by a guy who was never heard of again. So what I’m saying is, maybe British charts are weird. Maybe weirdness is the only explanation that makes sense.
Possibly my favorite oddity from the UK’s 2004 Top 100 is Dragostea Din Tei, or the Numa Numa song. A song with Romanian lyrics (something about a Linden tree?), performed by a Moldovan boy band, is definitely an unlikely hit in the UK market, but this is the same nation that had the Crazy Frog song at number 5 in 2005, so really, the Numa Numa song is practically Shakespearean next to that.
Over to you: Which 2004 tracks should be coming out of their cages (and doing just fine)? Which ones should be hidden away forever? Was Mr. Brightside the best 2004 had to offer? Does it conjure up images of drunken, joyful excess for you? Bring on the tales of debauchery and the earworms!
(Header from Getty Images)