The Best Singles of 2003

I recently found this document in my archives, dated November 2003…

Conjure One “Sleep / Tears from the Moon” (Nettwerk; January; #41)

An amazing debut for Rhys Fulber’s solo project (he’s more commonly known as half of Delerium), which is taken to new heights by remixes from Tiësto and Ian van Dahl. This is how dance should sound in the twenty-first century.

Conjure One “Centre of the Sun” (Nettwerk; August; #83)

Although not quite as instantly catchy as its predecessor, this single boasts some fantastic electroclash and retro remixes from the likes of JXL and Pete Lorimer.

Dirty Vegas “Simple Things” (Parlophone; March; NCQ)

Another great track from the fantastic eponymous debut album, including live acoustic tracks and deep and dark remixes, showcasing all the different sides of the band.

Front Line Assembly “Maniacal” (SPV; October; no UK release)

I bought this because I’d heard a few tracks by the band (who are, rather confusingly, the same people behind Delerium) and knew their reputation, and was totally blown away by this release. Dark and powerful industrial electronica.

Dave Gahan “I Need You” (Mute; August; #27)

One of the best tracks from the Depeche Mode frontman’s debut solo album, including remixes from Ladytron and Gabriel & Dresden and exclusive tracks across the different formats.

Alex Gold feat. Phil Oakey “LA Today” (Xtravaganza; April; #68)

A slightly odd track that sounds something like a cross between the Human League and Dirty Vegas, but essential nonetheless.

Goldfrapp “Train” (Mute; April; #23)

Fantastic comeback from Goldfrapp including an exclusive track and remixes, and welcoming them into the electroclash arena.

Lemon Jelly “Nice Weather for Ducks” (XL; February; #16)

Huge airplay propelled this querky but endearing track towards the right end of the charts. Unfortunately the single is fairly sparse, but it’s worth getting for the main track if nothing else. And of course it’s got beautiful packaging.

Yoko Ono “Walking on Thin Ice” (Parlophone; April; #35)

Worth buying not for the track itself but for the fantastic Pet Shop Boys remixes on the second CD, which introduce beautiful rippling retro analogue synths and prove that the lads have still got it.

Erlend Øye “Sheltered Life” (Source; July; #93)

Fantastic remix for the second single from the debut solo album from half of Kings of Convenience that frankly ought to have been a huge hit.

Pet Shop Boys “Miracles” (Parlophone; November; #10)

A new Pet Shop Boys release is always a treat — this one is no exception, backed with new b-sides and remixes from the bonkers Lemon Jelly and someone called Eric Prydz.

Röyksopp “Sparks” (Wall of Sound; June; #41)

Another single from the essential album Melody A.M, this time with a daft remix by Roni Size but also an excellent new track and, on the second CD, the video to their best track yet, Remind Me.

Saint Etienne “Soft Like Me” (Mantra; January; #40)

A slight departure from their normal sound, but nonetheless one of the best tracks from their 2002 album Finisterre backed with remixes and dozens of exclusive b-sides.

Yello “Planet Dada / The Race 2003” (Motor; October; no UK release)

Sometimes bands slip in and out of fashion by moving ahead of the times. Yello, on the whole, have slipped out of the public eye by doing much the same thing (on the whole) for the last decade. Finally, the rest of the world has caught up with them, so their fantastic brand of electro is finally contemporary once again. There are even Tomcraft mixes of their biggest hit to boot.

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