[1] Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx, ‘Gold Digger’

It’s funny, clever, catchy, singalong and groovy. It has chutzpah in bags. I mean, it kicks off with a Ray Charles sample and then has the bloke who played him in the film repeating the sample throughout the track. That must show chutzpah. Or it’s a legal issue.

We can’t stop ourselves dancing to this. Junior is having a go at the move that Kanye’s so pleased with in the video. You know, the one where he jerks back and to the side, elbow leading, as if a particularly appealing lady has just gone by at speed. You can tell that he’s practised it in the mirror countless times and has come to the conclusion that he looks pretty fly doing it. Junior looks fairly fresh too. Mum and Dad give it a whirl as well, and we become quite the coolest family on the block.

The album’s not as good as his debut, despite what the latecomer critics might tell you, but the peaks are loftier. ‘Gold Digger’ is the highest of these, and “we want pre-nup!” is the winning shout. I mean, it’s so romantic. Yet Kanye does still love her, faults and all, not caring a jot how jiggy she’s got with Usher and Busta. They’re fine upstanding chaps, after all.

That’s it, then. In the albums, Kate Bush edges out the Arcade Fire, but you knew that already. Junior’s looking forward to 2006 now, choosing a new theme for January and maybe getting a few of those requests out of the way. She’ll buy the Belle & Sebastian and Strokes albums, expecting nothing too exciting, and will continue pestering the Avalanches for new material.

Merry Christmas.

[2] Missy Elliott featuring Ciara and Fatman Scoop, ‘Lose Control’

Ciara returns the favour. Until yesterday, this was going to be Number One. It’s dropped because the other record still gets better with every play, months after I first heard it, while this has maybe lost a tiny bit of its sheen. Also – as Junior’s mum has pointed out – ‘Lose Control’ is enhanced by its video, and I shouldn’t be swayed by that kind of thing. It’s a fantastic video, unsettling, scary and inspired.

Whatever, it’s still a great record. We can forgive Fatman Scoop for his past sins, and we can marvel again at Ciara’s honeyed tones. All that plus Missy telling us she’s got a “cute face, chubby waist”. Bit like Junior, but we don’t say that too loudly when she’s around. I’ve heard people get itchy about the track being based on Cybotron’s imperious ‘Clear’, but Missy uses it to whip up even more excitement, not as a crutch. 

Junior listens from the launchpad of her breakdancing mat, kicking legs and flapping arms. She’d fling herself backwards onto the wall Ciara-style if she could. I cover her ears whenever there are rude words. No one wants their child’s first word to be, er, “mummajumma”.

Just one to go then. Can you guess what it is yet?

[3] Girls Aloud, ‘Biology’

“The way that we TALK, the way that we WALK”. Junior finds this frustrating. Are they teasing her? She’s still laughing at me standing by the stereo, but it’s a CD so I’m not even trying to be the superfly DJ. Those new-fangled CD decks are just cheating anyway. You don’t get the chance to hit the stylus arm by mistake, and you never need to balance a 20p coin anywhere to stop it jumping.

I could be the muso about this song’s unusual structure. Girls Aloud and Xenomania eschew your standard verse-chorus arrangement to fling in a load of highs and “can you see the join?” splicing. It shows ambition that a lot of modern pop lazily avoids, whether you like the record or not, and it’s a gamble. They don’t get the Number Ones you might expect, and perhaps they don’t appeal to “the kids” as much as they do to the pop scholars.

Pop scholars: Paul Morley, Paul Gambaccini, writers at Stylus and Pitchfork, the NME to satisfy the occasional whim, and hey, me. And Junior. Will she be defending this sort of stuff when all her friends are into the 2018 equivalents of Sum 41, the Kaiser Chiefs, the Killers and 50 Cent? Don’t fail me now.

[4] The Go! Team, ‘Bottle Rocket’

Tinny and raucous, with what sounds like the Cookie Crew rapping unintelligibly in the eye of the storm, this is a peach of a tune. Needs to be played loud, but it’s a bit early in the morning so Junior’s mum suggests that we keep the volume down to maintain the moral high ground over the people downstairs. When she goes out to move the car, Junior and I whack it up again.

I think this was first released in 2004, and the album certainly was, but the single was re-released at the end of this summer and therefore passes the test. Junior’s up for a bit of flying again – it’s that sort of song – and fortunately it’s before breakfast so we don’t risk spillage. I’m sure she even attempts to sing along with the “2,4,6,8,10”s, which are pretty irresistible. It’s all pretty irresistible. I could hug this record.

As for the title, I only hope it’s not a witty answer to “What’s that in your pocket?”. Or is that just me?

[5] Annie, ‘Heartbeat’

Annie from Norway was the first artist Junior saw live. The second was Saint Etienne, about half an hour later. Junior was minus three weeks old at the time but, with poetic licence, I can imagine that she was watching through her mum’s bellybutton. I’ve never asked her what she thought of Annie. I thought she was rubbish. You could barely hear the vocals and she spent her whole set standing at the back of the stage with the bloke who was making all the music come out of his computer.

On record Annie makes sense. Her voice is still wafer-thin but every song is an icy pop gem, with all those keyboard pulses, strokes and effects and crisp percussion, and that Scandinavian ear for a hook. She sounds flimsy in the old Camden Palais; in the living room she shimmers like the Christmas tree.

The fifth best single of the year, ‘Heartbeat’ sees Junior flying around the room, laughing, dribbling in her dad’s eye. No, I’m not crying at Annie’s tender memories of a fleeting love. I’ve got dribble in my eye.

[6] Sugababes, ‘Push The Button’

It sounds like a million other songs, I’m certain, but I can’t place a single one. The Christmas party hangover can’t help here, although I think the infectiousness of the song dismisses most comparisons. And I wouldn’t want to devalue it in any way, lest I incur the wrath of Mutya. You wouldn’t mess. No wonder the addressee in the lyric is a touch nervous about making a move. 

Junior gives it a muted reaction, perhaps because she sees enough music TV to get Sugababes fatigue. She’s no longer prudish about seeing once-sensible young misses writhing about in their smalls in lifts. It’s a shame to become so jaded at such a tender age.

Keisha, Heidi and Princess Mutya find this pop lark a breeze. Cracking singles are turned out every year, and they maintain some sort of “cred” with as little effort. Bravo. And even if the tune itself doesn’t float your boat, they’ll reel us all in with “my sexy ass has got him in the new dimension”. It means nothing, sounds great, and it’s a sweet line for mum and dad to sing to their baby daughter. Right?


[7] Ciara featuring Petey Pablo, ‘Goodies’

Obviously a 20Sixer, Ciara’s “goodies” are actually sweeties. She’s pretty mean with them, they “stay in the jar”. Petey Pablo tries to bring the tone of the song down with a somewhat lewd rap, but he’s not going to get any sweeties while bragging about having a “sick reputation for handlin’ broads”. They’re “not just for any of the many men that’s tryna get on top”. So there.

Junior glosses over the lyrics. She’s too busy wriggling around to the music, which sounds like Cypress Hill in Star Trek. It seems to have a static energy, causing the hair around her crown to stand straight up. Could be an early parody of her dad. Her dad who’s trying to sing like Ciara again, so let’s hope she doesn’t remember this.

Number seven’s an odd position on the chart, isn’t it? It doesn’t come with the fanfare of the beginning of the Top 10, and it’s not quite on the cusp of the big five. The big-hitters start tomorrow. Will there be even more Ciara? Junior wouldn’t mind. Dunno about the rest of you.

[8] Girls Aloud, ‘Long Hot Summer’

They have power, astonishing power no doubt, but not even Girls Aloud can change the season. Junior and I ignore the Christmas tree for three or four minutes and put some effort into imagining it’s a July morning and we’re shaking like cool lemonades. She gets better results than me, because she’s not sitting there tackling the existential question of how on earth one can shake like a cool lemonade. Is it the bubbles? Or is it the movement of the liquid when the ice cubes are dropped in? Perhaps the lemonade shakes because Nadine, Kimberley et al are holding it while they sashay around the CD:UK stage? Like “I was 21 years when I wrote this song, I’m 22 now but I won’t be for long”, this latter theory would beg the question of how the performance came before the lyric.

We’re getting bogged down. Junior likes the song, and how could she not? It has at least two different bridges, a half-rapped middle eight and an unexpected ad lib at the end instead of a thoughtless repeat of the chorus. And it has “ba ba ba”s, making it a contender for First Song That Junior Will Actually Sing Along With.

It has competition from ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Telegram Sam’ and the Pearl & Dean theme.

[9] Madonna, ‘Hung Up’

Her mum has played this many times, so Junior knows what to expect and she’s not precious about her ABBA samples. It has that gimmick where they fade out the treble and bring it back again, as if you’re leaving the party and coming back, and I can’t remember what the effect’s called. Daft Punk like it, and Kylie did it too because Daft Punk like it. It also has a ticking clock, like Gwen Stefani’s “tick tock”s and Kylie’s tick-tocking to ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’. Madonna is a magpie. No revelation there. 

Still, it’s a satisfying melting pot. 

Father and daughter exchange grimaces as we recall the contortionist leotard poses thrown in the video. Yes, yes, she looks good for 47 but, well, no. Considering her advanced years, though, the music’s more vital than much of the limp fare put out by pop stars half, maybe a third of her age. Mentioning no names. At this rate, they’ll get an advert at the head of the page. 

So, ‘Hung Up’. It’s an object lesson in turn-of-the-millennium disco pop house chicanery, that’ll do for Junior until Daft Punk is playing at her house.

[10] Franz Ferdinand, ‘Do You Want To’

A riff ripped off Go West’s ‘We Close Are Whys’*, doo-doos that could grace ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’, those knowing lyrics that the Ferdinand do so well (and so often), it’s an infectious stomp through the chart bluebells. As it stutters to a finish we even get a “whoop” from Junior, solid proof that we’re in heavyweight country now. She’d spent most of the record trying to eat her toes. We know Franz Ferdinand want to make “music for girls to dance to”, so if balance and leg strength are going to prevent Junior from getting up and strutting her stuff she doesn’t even want those feet.

As the needle runs off the vinyl, there’s time to ponder the Dennis the Menace jumpers. We can understand the boys all wearing them in the video, but what about those publicity shots where only the singer and drummer are sporting them? So, they liked them so much that they kept them, but couldn’t they have phoned each other before they went out adorned in the same clothes? So embarrassing. Being a girl, Junior has an eye for this.
*There’s no persuasive reason why we shouldn’t mock Peter Cox. I haven’t even mentioned that tour he did “versus” Tony Hadley a year or two back.