Ranking #4 singles, UK edition: 1998-1999

The former Sporty Spice Melanie C hires Marius de Vries to slather Massive Attack guitars over her solo debut, for which she shrieks as if she were Poly Styrene. A lost-forever hit (I think) like Cleopatra’s cryogenic take on “I Want You Back.” Culture Club’s first UK top ten since 1986 — more lover’s rock. Lauryn Hill, Billie Myers, the Mavericks, and Maria beam in from North America, with Mary J. Blige adding crucial support to George Michael’s Stevie Wonder cover despite record company homophobia. Mildly benefiting from the appearance of Neil Tennant on one song and the splendid ridiculousness of an Adam Ant classic for another, Robbie Williams established his solo cred.

But my heart belongs to “Crush” as it did twenty-three years ago. Jennifer Paige’s euphoric one hit wonder is breath frosting a mirror.

The Hague

Robbie Williams – Ant Music
Vengaboys – Up and Down
Various Artists Thank ABBA for the Music

Meh

Sixpence None the Richer – Kiss Me
Space – The Ballad of Tom Jones
Enrique Iglesias – Bailamos
Billie Myers – Kiss the Rain
Aerosmith – I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing
Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston – When You Believe
Cleopatra – I Want You Back
Steps – Better the Devil You Know
Robbie Williams – Strong
Steps – Say You’ll Be Mine
Texas – In Our Lifetime
Lolly – Mickey

Sound, Solid

Jennifer Lopez – If You Had My Love
Melanie C – Goin’ Down
Stereophonics – Just Looking
Jamiroquai – Canned Heat
911- All I Want is You
Culture Club – I Just Wanna Be Loved
Cleopatra – Life Ain’t Easy
Honeyz – Finally Found
Robbie Williams – No Regrets
B*Witched – Jesse Hold On

Good to Great

Jennifer Paige – Crush
Radiohead – No Surprises
Five – When the Lights Go Out
Lauryn Hill – Ex-Factor
Basement Jaxx – Rendez-Vu
George Michael & Mary J. Blige – As
Lighthouse Family – High
Moloko – Sing It Back
Savage Garden – Truly Madly Deeply
The Mavericks – Dance the Night Away
Mariah Carey – My All
Placebo – Pure Morning
Apollo 440 – Lost in Space

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