Alongside 2000, this is the year with the most longlist picks – a real bruiser. In the wider world of music discourse, 2004 is the year Kelefa Sanneh publishes “The Rap Against Rockism”, corralling some of the sprawled-out conversation around ‘rockism’ (and ‘poptimism’, though from memory it’ll take a while for that word to become a fixture) that’s been floating around message boards for a few years. Coincidentally – or not – 2004 is a high watermark for the catchy, knowing Anglo-European strain of pop I particularly dig. Onto the tunes.

JOHNNY BOY – “You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve”: 2004 is also marked by resurgent British indie, not yet hit with the “landfill” tag. Most of it is reheated junk: Johnny Boy approach their Lego-Wall-Of-Sound rebuke as if it’s their only shot at a hearing (it is) and make my favourite indie single of the era. YES.

ALCAZAR – “This Is The World We Live In”: An era of clever pop is also an era of astonishingly stupid pop, sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, and at the very least you can’t work out which is the Trojan horse and which its payload of warriors. Alcazar take one of the most overproduced, empty hits of the 80s (which is saying something) and drop it into the middle of a disco party. YES.

RACHEL STEVENS – “Some Girls”: Digitised glam rock concealing an all the way down streak of nastiness; the catchiest and most iconic song from the UK’s smart pop wave – a dizzying metatext that gets a whole chapter to itself in Michael Cragg’s oral history of the era. YES.

THE KNIFE – “Heartbeats (Rex The Dog Remix)”: Alongside Stuart “Jacques Lu Cont” Price, Rex The Dog was the most delightful remixer of this pop moment – here he’s taking the Knife’s fabulously chunky early single, already probably their single catchiest moment, and turning it into a machine that keeps all the hooks while building inexorably to a truly ecstatic drop. Accept no cover versions. YES.

LETHAL BIZZLE – “Pow (Forward)”: A grime track so incendiary and hard it was banned from multiple clubs because fights kicked off whenever it was played. You can hear why: absolutely bug-eyed, hulked-out stuff. YES.

THE WALKMEN – “The Rat”: More bulging-vein intensity on top of a jangle blurring into a thrash, as if The Wedding Present had dropped the nice-guy passive aggression and just got… aggressive aggressive. A difficult NO cos there’s only so many times I can listen to it.

AMADOU ET MARIAM – “La Realite” & “Senegal Fast Food”: Two singles from their breakthrough Dimanche A Bamako – the former is more a good-time groove, the latter is jittery and intoxicating, an odder and fresher fusion. LR: NO. SFF: YES.

BIG AND RICH – “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)”: Rich – or Big, or both for all I know – is a MAGA dickhead now, and “Save A Horse” plays these days as a kind of inverse of that rotten “Small Town” record this year – here the cowboy hits the city and all the city girls love him. The music, though, is as open-minded, infectious, inclusive and goofy as the singer’s philosophy isn’t (well, goofy in a good way). If the final list was purely a historical record of my loves, this would be a shoo-in. As it is, a cautious YES.

V – “Hip To Hip”: I admit it, this never had a chance of progressing but I just enjoy hearing it. A snapshot from an alternate world where One True Voice (or A.N.Other boyband) ended up working with Xenomania instead of Girls Aloud. A minor pop gem. NO.

KILLER MIKE ft BIG BOI – “A.D.I.D.A.S.”: After a few years of listening to loads of rap I seem to have been more tuned out in the mid-00s. I liked crunk but it didn’t do it for me the way the previous wave of Southern hip-hop did. But that wave had crested, too: this is two Dungeon Family alumni goofing around doing sex raps – ultimately not as good as I remembered, with a few red-card lyrics, tho very catchy and the instant pleasure of hearing these guys rap is there. NO.

ARCADE FIRE – “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)”: I never got properly into the AF – by the time their second album came out I was heartily sick of them – but I had a soft spot for the first track I heard by them, thought they used crescendoes and heart-on-sleeve yelping really well. But the seeds of my later exhaustion are definitely here. NO.

CIARA ft LUDACRIS – “Oh”: Ciara made a ton of reliably very good singles without ever quite making an all-time favourite jam of mine. Felt like this might be the one and it’s close – oddly what lets it down is an atypically washed-sounding Ludacris. NO.

NINA SKY – “Move Ya Body”: A late entry in the R&B/dancehall crossover stakes – like Lumidee a wonderful, hypnotic near one-off, in this case on the “Coolie Dance” riddim. Being realistic there’s probably not room for both on the final list but I don’t WANT to be realistic. YES.

GIRLS ALOUD – “The Show”: Like a lot of these songs (and “Memories” by Elaine Paige) this ended up on my Glastonbury 2004 tape, frankly one of the core texts of Poptimism. They had our attention before but this really kicked off the period where every new GA single was a “what are they going to do next?” moment. In this case, 80s-style electropop with that Xenomania jigsaw structure that made their tunes so thrilling. YES.

TEDDYBEARS STHLM ft MAD COBRA – “Cobrastyle”: Last of the Club FT floorfillers this year, a novelty mash up of a great Mad Cobra verse (from “Press Trigger”) over an accordion-rock instrumental, with a somewhat rubbish Bomfunk MCs type chorus. With hindsight it’s the chorus that’s the problem – the badass dancehall toasting actually does work better here than on “Press Trigger”‘s own slightly emaciated beat. Later used on some football highlights show, which was slightly annoying. NO.

That ends 2004. The next update will be the first double-year one – 2005 has only a handful of tracks, though 2006 has loads (a surprise, I’d have guessed the other way around).