[15] Cornershop featuring Bubbley Kaur, ‘Don’t Shake It (Let It Free)’

Cornershop featuring Bubbley Kaur

Bubbley meets Jimmy Webb on Sesame Street.

That’s about the size of it, that irresistible thought. Cornershop returned this year with a lovely album rooted in friendly funk and Punjabi lyrics I don’t understand. There is nothing bad about The Double ‘O’ Groove Of – unless it’s a 10-song celebration of George Osborne’s dynamic economic skills and the joys of drowning kittens. I don’t know, I don’t understand.

Junior cuts to the chase: “Is she Indian?” She doesn’t stick around for the answer; just plays ring-a-roses with her sisters before finishing with the splits.

[25] Cornershop, ‘Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III’

Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III

Here’s a word to the wise, pop pickers: after years of toil, don’t have a massive hit. The pop kids only want you for your Norman Cook-remixed body, and your abandoned friends will never feel the same way about you again. More’s the pity, because there was more to come. ‘Lessons Learned…’ would have been as high as No.26 here on the strength of its title alone; it’s bumped up a place to 25 because it’s buttoned-down brilliant. Tjinder Singh’s spiky, quotable lyrics set to a royal stagecoach of a riff make this the best T. Rex record in 30 years (sorry, Supergrass).

Junior says: “Moving my shoulders like this makes my drawing zig-zaggy.” Well, quite.


[1] The Verve, ‘Bittersweet Symphony’

For a couple of months in 1997 everyone loved The Verve. Then ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ was a bit drippy (No.1 smash notwithstanding), the album underwhelmed and the whole shooting match fell to pieces amid lawsuits and general hatred, only for Richard Ashcroft to rise from the flames like a boring phoenix.

So, many evils were visited upon the world, but ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ is a classic. I love ‘Brimful Of Asha’ more, I find, but ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ is a classic. We need our rock classics. Without them, what would Virgin Radio’s listeners vote into the Top 10 ‘tracks’ of all time? What would our dads and brothers-in-law play in the car?

This is more inventive than your standard rock monster. For a start, there’s a *gasp* sample. Bet they regretted that. The strings don’t add pomposity, as they would to any number of Oasis singles of the time, they add urgency. Pompous as that sounds. Oh, blah blah blah. I love the wall of sound, getting wider and higher throughout.

And Junior swung her hips – which don’t lie – in exact time with the string stabs, and rocked back and forth with the Eastenders drums. She was wailing by the end, mind. Probably had a vision of Ashcroft’s solo career. Actually, the iDog was making funny noises as well. That’s one bad solo career.

A Spotify playlist of the whole Top 20 (but no Blue Boy. Rats)

[2] Cornershop, ‘Brimful Of Asha’

Not the crazee Norman Cook remix and its forced jollity and helium vocals. This is the real deal, one of the cutest 45s in years. No other record has so successfully married a tribute to Asha Bhosle and a paean to the 7” single. God knows many have tried.

Junior takes the opportunity, as Marc Bolan – an obvious Cornershop influence – once sang, to “ride a green, blue and red snail like the people of the Beltane”. It’s a rocking horse, in the form of a snail. You know the sort of thing. Before saddling up, she was boogieing along and wondering if this really could be the same band that got caught up in all that Riot Grrl nonsense. Damn the NME. They know how to brand a band.

I was surprised to clock that this is five minutes long. It’s so concise and trim, with just enough embellishment in the strings and handclaps, that you think it’s the classic three-minute pop song. Tjinder Singh also ticks another of my favourite boxes by trying the ‘Young Americans’ trick of fitting too many words in each line. He succeeds where many a Manic Street Preacher has failed.

God. It should be No.1. It’s just that the next song ate rock music, spat it out and ruined its own makers.