Ranking #3 singles, UK edition: 1999-2000

At the dawn of the most hedonistic period to date in my young gay life, I lived in a city where Eurodance hits like ATB’s “Don’t Stop” and Vengaboys’ “We Like to Party,” and, most repulsive, Danude’s “Sandstorm,” along with Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone” and Sonique’s “It Feels So Good” were as ubiquitous as Al Gore haters. We had reverted to the freestyle and Miami bass days when my city, London, New York, Chicago, and Ibiza formed a beat-mad axis which showed us no meaning in being lonely unless we were testing our selves one song and one (maybe two) partner(s) at a time on the dance floor. Most of those tracks showed a kind of pride in mediocrity; the Y2K era equivalent of Casablanca Records 45s, these downloads were meant for quick trashing.

But I prefer them to gruesome attempts at significance like Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life,” a “comeback” by a band that have never, not once, written a song as smart as the audience to whom they have condescended with malevolent insistence since 1984; new-to-me “New Beginning,” treacle by the Boyzoner who came out and thought he could pull a George Michael with a reverse-engineered career; Ricky Martin outdoing Michael and Elton John in the who-are-you-kidding department; and Santana-Rob Thomas’ Mexican Pizza version of erotic salsa-inflected pop.

Thoughtful, assiduously assembled, and rhythmically inert, R.E.M.’s “The Great Beyond” might’ve topped this list had Bill Berry drummed on it, so I settled for Yankee smashes like “No Scrubs” and “Bye Bye Bye,” and “It’s Not Right (But It’s Okay),” so long as it’s the right-not-okay Thunderpuss remix that became as ubiquitous in Miami gay clubs as the tracks mentioned above. Surrender, my  Chemical Brothers gateway, was Dig Your Own Hole, Part II; I might’ve registered more giggles had “Out of Control,” the best Bernard Sumner vocal and guitar performance since 1989, hit #3 instead of the fine “Hey Boy, Hey Girl.” I’ll grant it this: it appears alongside “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” and “What a Girl Wants.” Maybe Limp Bizkit could’ve resisted the dance floor’s call; the other girls and boys couldn’t.

The Hague

Bon Jovi – It’s My Life
Santana ft. Rob Thomas – Smooth
Ricky Martin – She Bangs
Architects – Body Groove
Stephen Gately – New Beginning
Storm – Time to Burn

Meh

Richard Ashcroft – A Song for the Lovers
Blockster – You Should Be…
Darude – Sandstorm
Eiffel 65 – Move Your Body
Vengaboys – We Like to Party
Billie – Honey to the Bee
Watergate – Heart of Asia
Wyclef Jean – It Doesn’t Matter
Bran Van 3000 – Drinking in L.A.
Richard Blackwood – Mama — Who Da Man?
A1 – Ready or Not
Boyzone – Every Day I Love You
Vengaboys – Kiss (When the Sun Don’t Shine)

Sound, Solid

R.E.M. – The Great Beyond
Backstreet Boys – Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
Limp Bizkit – Take a Look Around
Britney Spears – Sometimes
ATB – Don’t Stop!
Tatyana Ali ft. Will Smith – Boy You Knock Me Out
Shania Twain – That Don’t Impress Me Much
Tom Jones – Sex Bomb
Craig David – Walking Away
Sisqo – Thong Song
S Club – Natural

Good to Great

TLC – No Scrubs
2Pac – Changes
N Sync – Bye Bye Bye
The Chemical Brothers – Hey Boy Hey Girl
Whitney Houston – It’s Not Right (But It’s Okay)
Christina Aguilera – What a Girl Wants
Shania Twain – Man! I Feel Like a Woman

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