[9] Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks , ‘Sinful!’

Now we know it’s 23 years ago. You wouldn’t find a crazed-eyed maverick like Pete Wylie in the charts today, ranting his own agenda and making music so vast it thumbs its nose at categorisation (although I imagine iTunes will say ‘rock’). And that’s a bad thing, believe me (“I wish you’d believe me”). We don’t need Cowell-spawned dinky-Robbies and mini-Mariahs, we need lunatics, and not just slightly odd people like the Black Eyed Peas.

For all that, ‘Sinful!’ is fairly straight, just bold beyond its arrangement. It wasn’t a fluke either, as Wylie and Wah! flirted with modest chart placings for over a decade. Then Britpop came and everything interesting died.

That’s hyperbole. Pete would like hyperbole.

And there’s still room for him, if Junior’s a yardstick. She sang along with the closing “it’s sinful”s and when I asked her, “Is it sinful?” she said, “Yeah”.

So true, boo-hoo:

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[20] Portishead, ‘Sour Times’

1994 looks dark. Maybe it was dropping out of my Masters and taking coy steps into the record industry in forbidding London. Maybe it was the dawn of clog-footed Britpop. Maybe it was four months of Wet Wet Wet.

Or maybe it was the magnificently maudlin Portishead, introducing a refined and bleak take on the Massive Attack template, woefully misplaced on the coffee table yet a mainstay there all the same. It may boast gnomic lyrics, but ‘Sour Times’ is so steeped in woe-is-me and chilly zithers that it seems pretty clear where Beth Gibbons’ head’s at. Still, while the desperate “Nobody loves me” might come on like a tiresome whinge, it’s immediately undercut by “… not like you do”. Relief! She does have someone after all! Not that it sounds like a bed of roses. “After time, the bitter taste… Scattered seed, buried lives…”

Dummy’s a beast of an album, as I told Junior. She mulled it over, mesmerised by the sleeve. “Is it a beast? Is it scary?” Well, yes, it is a bit; it’s not one for the fragile listener. I wondered whether she liked the song and she murmured, “I don’t know.”

[10] Blur, ‘Song 2’

And whoomph. Blur killed Britpop.

It only took two minutes as well.

Why didn’t anyone think of it before?

‘Song 2’ was given its due props by Junior, who flung herself from side to side during the choppy verses and headbanged perfectly in time to the speedrush chorus. She then made a dive for her dad’s notebook, trying to rip up her history like a short female Albarn.

She walked unaided for the first time today too. Fifteen steps the best consecutive effort. It wasn’t easy, but nothing is.

[5] Pulp, ‘Common People’

This one topped many end of year lists, so I won’t try to add too much or rabbit on about Jarvis Cocker’s art college youth. We all know it’s a landmark record of its time, even if it’s only marking the ordinary backwaters of Britpop.

What I like best about it is that it’s a song that knows it has a Final Chorus, and it builds up to it like it’s an event. It’s ever more frantic, juddery and head-pounding, and you’re there with it at the end. And everyone knows the wit and wile of the words.

Junior danced to this, standing up bouncing on her mum’s lap, savouring the rush. She’s getting ready to slum it with the common people at nursery in a couple of weeks.

Thumbing through the singles afterwards, I put on ‘Babies’. I always liked Pulp, but I never felt I could love them. ‘Babies’ was the exception.