[6] Janelle Monae featuring Big Boi, ‘Tightrope’

Janelle Monae

She looks like the most eager beaver on the block, so it’s little surprise this is the peppiest song of the year, a barrage of pure joie de vivre set to the funkiest sproing this side of the Collins brothers. There’s obviously a huge debt to James Brown, but it’s not as if Monae hides it, and she has the knackering enthusiasm for it, the soul to suit and the suit to soul. I’m chucking these words out, something like a terminator.

The only sane response to ‘Tightrope’ is to fling yourself about the room like you’re five years old. Hey presto! Here’s one I prepared earlier, and she’s got the pen again: “Junior [she wrote her real name – but I have to keep some mystique. Yeah, believe, Junior’s not her real name] likes it.” “Four, three, two, one, zero!” she shouts before tipping on alligators. And rattlesnakers.

[4] Outkast, ‘Ms Jackson’

Operating on some sort of mad, sickly, spandex level above conventional hip-hop, Outkast have the crossover appeal that hip-hop purists don’t want. At least Big Boi’s there to keep it real, but Andre 3000 is a space-age Prince even more indebted to the sleaze than his purple precedent. But then I’m not a hip-hop purist, so balls to it. And Big Boi can’t be keeping it THAT real, if he’s letting Soul Train glitter like this pass by under his nose.

The last thing you’d predict for this record is no reaction at all, but that’s what Junior gives it. She sits blankly staring at the stereo, not a twitch in her dancing feet. We found out later that she had a temperature, so well done, Dad, for trying to get her enthused about some shiny hipster-hop. I’m sorry, Miss Junior. Oooo.

I wonder if Erykah Badu’s mom took the apology with good grace. Somehow, all that appropriation of the wedding march makes ‘Ms Jackson’ seem a touch insincere. Glorious stuff, though, forever-evah.