[9] Planningtorock, ‘Living It Out’


One of my favourite things when I was Junior’s age was my Batman outfit. A top and cloak, and a full mask that used to get all moist with the dribble and sweat that would accumulate from tearing around fighting crime on the enclosed RAF married quarters patch at Cranwell. It was like The Wire. Or indeed Batman.

Janine Rostron still wears a mask.

I guess she doesn’t believe in projecting an image of herself, that it’s all subsumed by the music and – really – we shouldn’t be making value judgements based on appearance anyway. Or she just knows it’s cool.

‘Living It Out’ is the banger on W, Rostron/Planningtorock’s ace album from earlier this year. It’s buffered by enormous doom-synth tracks on all sides which makes it come as a bit of a relief, even if it’s at least as Berlinish as the rest. Standing alone it draws at once funky, at once robotic dancing from Junior and later sees her brandishing a sword.

A plastic one. For fighting crime.

[1] Tinie Tempah, ‘Pass Out’

Tinie Tempah

British rappers. They’re such nice young men, aren’t they? No bitches, hoes and bullet holes for them, no sir. No, they want to spit rhymes about beans on toast, making sure you get a decent feed even when you’re raving in Ibiza, and solving their personal clothes mountain by stashing some at their aunt’s house. I just wonder how often Tinie Tempah visits his aunt – you know, to pick up an outfit he’s just remembered – or whether his threads just gather dust. He’d be as well off handing them over to charity. Maybe that’s a problem for the notorious Difficult Wardrobe Decisions Second Album.

“This is my favourite one,” lies Junior, dashing yesterday’s New Pop Order. Still, she flips out to every on-/off-beat, gamely attempting to pin down Labrinth’s riddims, bumping into the problem we all face: just what is ‘Pass Out’? It’s hip hop, sure, but punctuated by dancehall flavours, smeared with grime and – eventually – exploding into drum’n’bass. That leap into hyperdrive for the final chorus always makes me laugh. It’s the only sane reaction to that kind of balls-out self-assurance. But long before the two-step fallout, ‘Pass Out”s swagger has pulled you in with a hopscotch synth line, a flow peppered with bons mots, and a shameless R&B chorus that kidnaps any lingering waverers.

Bang bang bang, idea after scheme after brainwave, ‘Pass Out’ pushes it all together like Play-Doh, stuffs it in a press and squeezes it out again through a best-single-of-the-year-shaped hole. “It sounds like Batman,” is Junior’s final revelation and while I’ve no clue what she means, I know she’s right.

Prince & The Revolution, ‘Kiss’

There are riches to be had here. Dad dusts off the comedy falsetto, Mum provides kisses at the appropriate points in the song, and Junior refuses to sit on her mother’s lap because she just can’t, she just can’t, she just can’t control her feet. Prince gives us a record of impossible groove and eternal sunshine.

Junior smiles throughout the perfectly pint-sized track. It’s her introduction to Prince, untainted by exposure to the dross that he’s spent most of the last 15 years churning out to an underwhelmed world. Where did it all go wrong for the purple doyen of bad-assed Funkadelia? Batman, that’s where.

Many people out there love the Tom Jones version of ‘Kiss’. Stop it. I don’t care if it’s through the protective gloves of ironic detachment. Stop it. What could possibly be good about the wire-wool-headed Welsh plasterer smothering this gem with his soulless bellow? Now the orange car alarm has gone and got himself a knighthood. What on earth for? Oversized knicker-fielding? All those ’60s Number Ones he had were rubbish too, unless you’re a pissed-up student rugby player.

Right. Stay tuned for another entry later this afternoon. It’s interactive.