Sam Sparro, ‘Black And Gold’

Sam Sparro

I kind of like it, but I sort of don’t. Sam Sparro’s huge written-in-the-stars hit was in the mix for our countdown until I was overcome by wishy-washyness. There’s something undeniably impressive about ‘Black And Gold’, and yet there also seems to be nothing there when you chip away at the surface. Should that matter? I guess, sometimes, it does. Anyway, it’s bold, it brims with cod-philosophy and it appears convinced it really means something. Throw in some weighty synths and catchy dust, and you’ve got a hit lodged in everyone’s brain for a calendar year.

Perhaps I should have left the decision with Junior, who yells “Black and gold!” before Sparro’s finished uttering his first line. She taps out the rhythm on her little table and has a merry old time for the duration of Sam’s career.

So long then, 2008. And so long it was. I’m ready to move on and I reckon the rest of you are too. If the mood grabs, use the comments box wisely to choose a new year – but not 1969, 1973, 1977, 1979, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007 or 2008.

The Ting Tings, ‘That’s Not My Name’

As the 1969 Top 20 hobbles to a thrilling conclusion, we’re hop-skip-jumping all the way to the present and a record that Junior went loopy for when it appeared on one of those new-fangled MTV channels last week. We’re even a bit slow off the mark here, as it’s been toppled from an unlikely chart summit by hit machine Rihanna, but it’s still the breakthrough smash of the year – a grand departure from its achingly hip, limited 2007 run.

You’ve heard the comparisons – Blondie (yes, the cool-eyed Katie White is indeed blonde and, in a slightly darkened room, stunning), ‘Mickey’ (the star-jumping rhythm and lairy rap-song straight off Toni Basil’s much mis-(or not)-construed 1982 chartbuster), The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ (that rhythm again, really, also massaged for Girls Aloud’s ‘No Good Advice’) – but, like the best pop puffery, ‘That’s Not My Name’ blends influences to form a monster that stomps, jerks, twitters and rocks in its own nation-enslaving way.

We’re mad for it right now, pure victims of hype if you see things through those spectacles. Sometimes there’s no hype without fire. As the record builds to its multi-layered, full-rocking coda, Junior’s reaction is a spinning, leaping, head-shaking frug from dining room to living room – pop star in infancy.

And while we’re sojourning in 2008, here are some of her other recent pop moments:

– “She’s got hair like me” to Diana Ross gamely keeping it all together in the ‘Chain Reaction’ video
– “Black and gold, black and gold, black and gold – that’s your favourite, Daddy” (not sure who’s feeding her these lies)
– Sticking her hand in the washing machine for the nth time one day, she’s told to leave it alone before defiantly reaching in again and pulling out the new Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan album

For Junior, music is everywhere.