[17] Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, ‘Bang Bang Bang’

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl

The first song to make a meal of ‘Alouette’ this year does it with every bleeding idea that occurs to it. Cheryl Cole’s ultra-mannered take is bewildered, this is just bewildering. Ronson has gone back to the 80s, but rather than plunder plinky-plonk synths like every other La Roux under the sun, he turns to that decade’s forgotten everything-goes ethos and finds something cogent in a mix of squirty electro, Prince soul, teeny bop and bouncy hip hop nursery rhymes. If this doesn’t prove the man has mad skillz then nothing does.

In fact, these are just the latest in a long line of ‘Alouette’ bastardisations. Junior’s reminded of another she learned on holiday in Corfu with frankly manic dance actions to go with it. She then adds some more jerky steps, seemingly filched off Go-Jos routines from early Top Of The Popses. We have a right old ball. And that’s Ronson’s bag.

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[3] Girls Aloud, ‘The Promise’

Girls Aloud

I can play this with the utmost confidence, because Junior’s now done what I would have expected far earlier – she’s fallen in love with Girls Aloud. Let’s face facts: we all have. The most surprising thing is they haven’t run out of steam; ‘The Promise’ is the curtain-up to their fifth (that’s fifth) album, and while the long-players are patchy as ever, the quality of single just isn’t dipping. ‘The Promise’ faced brickbats to begin with, sourpusses claiming it was the first step towards Westlife safe-playing or a pale Duffy/Winehouse identikit girl-group-throwback, but it soon revealed itself to be as complex as any ‘Biology’ you could mention. Only the brashness has been sacrificed, the brazen ambition is still there. Listen to it – no verse is the same (there are three, with entirely different melodies), no bridge is the same, and still they throw in a middle eight. If this is pop in the 21st century, I’m on board.

Junior knows all the words, and shimmies her shoulders just like her mum. She’s probably got an opinion about Kimberley’s hips too. I reckon Junior even knows what “walking Primrose” means and understands what the “promise” is and who it’s pledged to. It’s multi-layered, you see; once you’ve sussed out what the music’s doing, you still have to decipher the lyric. The ‘Aloud are two steps ahead of the pack.

But how much longer have we got them for? Rumours that Nadine’s on the way out won’t abate – and she continues to blow the others off stage with sheer lungpower – while Cheryl suddenly looks too big for a band. If they gotta go, go now. It’s been golden.