Nothing in this top 20, in my opinion, is below life alteringly stunning - I have had massive obsessions over every single one of these songs at some point during the decade. Let's start with number 20-16;
20. Missy Higgins - Ten Days - 2005
There have been some great digital TV channels over the last decade, many of which have disappeared. One was B4, which was part of the Channel 4 company. They played only future releases and instantly removed songs from their playlists once they were released. One week in 2005 I was watching and came across a beautiful ballad called Ten Days. I googled the song and discovered it was by Australian singer/songwriter Missy Higgins, whose name I was aware of seeing as I loosely follow the Australian charts and had noticed her name a lot. Indeed, this song had been a top 20 hit here, although the jaunty Scar was her biggest hit there. I fell in love with this straight away and it just grew and grew on me - Missy's Australian accent shining through in her vocals, the gorgeous melody, the biographical music video. Everything about this song is perfect to me and Missy Higgins is a special talent indeed. As for the success of the song in the UK? It got to #134 - I would expect nothing less amongst the musical dross that was early 2005.
19. Sarah McLachlan - World On Fire - 2004
Back to Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan now. I bought her long awaited new album Afterglow in early 2004 because I loved lead single Fallen. The instant album standout to me was the glorious World On Fire. A tale about the trials and tribulations of the modern world, the music somehow seemed bright and uplifting. The music video is probably one of my favourites of the decade - costing only $15 to actually film, it more resembles a high budget Power Point presentation in places, but it really is worth watching because it will definitely make you think. I can't stress how underrated Sarah McLachlan is. With minimal promotion and airplay as expected, the song scraped into the UK charts at #72, 71 places below where it deserved to be :(
18. Vanessa Amorosi - Absolutely Everybody - 2000
2000 was indeed an amazing year for dance music, but my favourite song of the year was an out and out pop song. Australian teenager Vanessa Amorosi emerged out of nowhere just after summer 2000. She had no airplay or particular promotion that I can recall, only fairly regular spins on music video channels. This was enough to launch her into the UK top ten at #7 with her debut single. Absolutely Everybody is probably one of the most uplifting songs of the decade. A feel good singalong chorus with a positive message, brilliant verses but nothing was more incredible than Vanessa's absolutely sensational vocals. For a girl who was that young, the power that she expressed on this song blew me away. It's a real shame that she was a one hit wonder in the UK because she really does have some brilliant music besides this song in her back catalogue that never saw the light of day here.
17. Anna Abreu - Music Everywhere - 2009
Onto something from this year, Finnish Idols winner Anna Abreu has had a couple of songs that impressed me in the past but Music Everywhere completely transformed my opinion of the girl. First time I heard it I knew it was special and with each listen I just loved it more and more, to the point that by the third listen I knew every word. Ridiculously tacky lyrics, it doesn't matter - the pulsating electro pop beat is as fresh as music like this gets - if this song had been given to Miley Cyrus is would be her biggest hit. Yes, it's Disney sounding and immature but it's absolutely one of my favourite uptempo pop songs of the decade. According to iTunes I've listened to it 200 times, and I've definitely listened to it on youtube and on my CD player a further hundred times at least. Yet still I love it as much as I do when I first heard it. She sings with such attitude and power - this song is so unbelievably commercial that it would be hard not to be a smash hit if promoted properly - here's to Anna domination in 2010!!!
16. Jordin Sparks feat Chris Brown - No Air - 2008
I followed American Idol in 2007 but didn't expect very much from eventual winner Jordin Sparks, who seemed to be the best of an average bunch. Still, I enjoyed her proper debut single Tattoo (I ignore the fact that her winner's song This Is My Now is seen as her debut) and bought her album which was also very good. The instant standout was the song that I'd heard was the next confirmed single; No Air. An R&B duet featuring the then incredibly popular Chris Brown (pre Rihanna-gate), the duo's vocals worked incredibly well together making it one of the defining duets of the decade. It had blanket airplay, was all over the place in summer 2008 and deservedly went top three in the UK, spending ages in the top ten too. A very fresh production, a great instrumental breakdown two thirds of the way through and a fantastic refrain and great ad-libs from both singers, it blew me away and still does to be honest. Shocking that the best song ever to come from American Idol alumni is from somebody who I'd rate far below Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood!!!