For this issue of Splinters, it was strongly considered to embark on an ARIA chart round-up but, seeing as the current ARIA Singles Chart is dreary enough to make even the most potent of amphetamine addicts feel like falling flat on their faces after collapsing into unconsciousness, I figured we’d forget about that trash and focus all of our chart-related energy looking back on the glorious yesteryears.
It’s been 11 years since 2003 (chart facts, ladies and gentlemen!) and although some may say dance music has never been more prevalent in chart history than it is now, there was definitely a lot less noise on the ARIA dance charts back then. So just ignore what’s happening right now on the ARIA dance singles charts and take a large, super-indulgent sniff of the closest bottle of poppers you have lying around and prepare for something with a little more class: The ARIA Top 10 Highest Selling Dance Singles of 2003.
1. Las Ketchup – The Ketchup Song (Asereje)
What will forever be remembered as a timeless and spicy pop concoction, ‘The Ketchup Song’ was to 2003 (and, er, 2002) what ‘Macarena’ was to 1996. And by that I mean it was and still is ball-tearingly amazing. In fact, I’ve always felt that of these two ‘novelty dance’ singles, ‘The Ketchup Song’ was the clear front-runner, and still is to this day. Eleven years on and I still have no idea what they’re saying for about 50 per cent of it, but that chorus is not only undeniable, it is also understandable in any language. Pure, unapologetic joy is what ‘The Ketchup Song’ evoked, with a bloody bonkers video clip only helping that theory along. The most incredible ARIA chart fact about this song is that it was also in 2002′s end-of-year Dance Singles Chart, at Number 2!
2. In-Grid – You Promised Me (Tu Es Foutu)
This thumping, delightfully French commercial club smash (which is basically a souped-up remodelling of Kaoma‘s ‘Lambada’) is very much a snapshot of its time; the dance music made through the early naughties was of a golden variety. This song is as timeless today as it was ten years ago, yet is exactly the kind of cleaner production missing from our current dance charts. Interestingly, this particular sound was slightly referenced six years later on Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina‘s single ‘Stereo Love’, and although it isn’t as brilliant as ‘Tu Es Foutu’ it does come close, being the exact kind of dance I’ve missed hearing on the proverbial dance floor. Also, I guess it is of some interest to note that the two highest selling dance singles in Australia for 2003 were, in part, sung in a foreign language.
3. Britney Spears feat. Madonna – Me Against the Music
ARIA’s definition of what a ‘dance’ single is has always puzzled me, but when it comes to odd placements involving Queen Madonna, I’ll take it. Defying preconceived genre barriers, because Legend Madonna and fellow Pop Icon Britney’s duet not only went to Number 1 in this country but, according to ARIA, was also one of the greatest dance singles of 2003.
4. Kylie Minogue – Slow
Another odd placement, but another one I’ll happily take. Kylie Minogue’s ‘Slow’ remains one of the sexiest moments in her discography and, unlike her recent effort ‘Kiss Me Once’, does it effortlessly and without looking desperate. If you’re looking for a real dance floor BLAST, wrap your ears around the insanely iconic Chemical Brothers remix that manages to turn an already sensational electronic pop moment into a full-blown rave.
5. DJ Sammy – Boys of Summer
I was never that particularly fond of the Don Henley original and this donked-up remake never did it any favours. Of DJ Sammy’s previous raved-up covers, ‘Heaven’ is clearly the best of the lot, whereas ‘Boys of Summer’ has aged, and miserably so. I’m sure you’re all wondering why you haven’t heard from this bloke in a while but truth be told DJ Sammy’s most recent single was released only last year. It is called ‘Shut Up and Kiss Me’, and charted at Number 65 on the German pop charts.
6. Elvis Presley – Rubberneckin’ (Paul Oakenfold Remix)
How many of your faves could have TWO Top 10 hit singles nearly 25 years after they’ve died? Because mine did.
7. Benny Benassi – Satisfaction
Back in 2002 when I first heard this track, I thought it was the most creative thing I’d heard in the world of harder-edged dance music for quite some time; to this day it remains one of the benchmark peaks of the genre’s history. Naturally, ‘Satisfaction’ ushered in many sound-a-likes that would follow (many of those by Benassi himself) and was, perhaps, one of the decade’s first very early signs as to where commercial dance music was headed in the decade which would follow it.
8. Dannii Minogue – I Begin to Wonder
Originally a single released by producer JCA featuring a session vocalist, it’s clear which of the versions has aged the most gracefully – much like Dannii herself. Minogue truly turned this song around and not only made it her own, but the track gave her what is arguably her most radio-ready hit to date. Interestingly, this would be Dannii’s final year-end Top 10 single in Australia.
9. Disco Montego – U Talkin’ to Me
What a JAM – and from one of the best Aussie pop duo’s on record. This Prince-inspired funk-a-tronic trip down memory lane remains one of Australia’s greatest pop music achievements, from an album that delivered several of them. The brothers of Disco Montego were brilliant, but their story came to an abrupt halt only a short few years after this single was released, when in 2005, member Darren Dowlut sadly died of cancer. If you’re as enamoured by this song and these guys as I am, chase up their previous singles with former Bardot starlet Katie Underwood, ‘Beautiful‘ and ‘Magic‘, which were also big-sellers on this chart in 2002.
10. Madonna – Die Another Day
This twisted Mirwais-produced Bond theme is as crisp today as it was eleven years ago. If you’re looking for a monumental rave-up version of this then look no further than the ballistic Thunderpuss Remix, which I vaguely remember drunkenly dancing to on both of the podiums at Lyric Nightclub (R.I.P.)
To paraphrase the iconic pop group Aqua, ‘If only we could turn back time’.
Written by Adem Ali