Justin Bieber, ‘Boyfriend’

Justin Bieber

Junior is seven today. And this is her first record – well, the album is. Maybe her record-buying development’s been arrested by Jukebox Junior because you’d expect her to have her own records by now, wouldn’t you? Sure, she has Disney Princess compilations and nursery rhyme CDs, but she doesn’t need to go out and buy (or ask for) One Direction or Rihanna albums because nice people send them to Daddy anyway.

So Justin Bieber’s Believe will be the answer to that first record question in years to come and it’ll all be because Bieber’s UK label thought Junior’s dad would rip it and spray it all over the Internet, so they didn’t give it to him.

This is just streaming. It doesn’t count.

To my ears this is a pale Trousersnake retread, but I just don’t get it, do I? Junior does the patented family shoulder roll and Junior 2 already knows all the words. It’s quite chilling how the Cult of the Belieber has infiltrated my house while I was trying to win the family over with clean edits of Azealia Banks tracks. This is just a taste of my powerlessness to come.

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[30] Passion Pit, ‘Chunk Of Change EP’

Chunk Of Change

Michael Angelakos’s champion Valentine’s effort didn’t just impress his girlfriend; it also caught the ear of a whole bunch of tastemakers who don’t buy any records. A rather more impressive mixtape than most of us manage (although, try stringing it out for a whole C90, Angelakos), Chunk Of Change cynically reached beyond the wooing to make Passion Pit a top tip for globe-wide very minor success. I’ve Got Your Number is our concern here, keeping to the now-patented Passion Pit template of killer chorus, deafeningly shrill production and nauseous falsetto vocal – and yeah, in a good way. It’s especially apt for Jukebox Junior, because it sounds as if it was knocked together in a school musical workshop, with its cheap diddy keys and that percussion instrument that sounds like a stick being run over the ridges of a wooden frog (you know the one). Angelakos is the wildly over-enthusiastic supply teacher. Or Jonathan Cohen.

Junior says: “It’s fine and good.” That was to I’ve Got Your Number, but we carried on through. Sleepyhead’s Disney woodland creature trills warranted, “I like this bit,” while the rest of the EP passed without comment. Passion Pit slope away with a sackful of faint praise.

Best bit: The tacit suggestion that I’ve Got Your Number might go on forever, as waves of chorus die away to leave the unbowed plinky synth line.

[14] Mercury Rev, ‘Opus 40’

Mercury Rev

Deserter’s Songs topped most critical lists at the end of ’98, so people actually bought it in ’99. Inside they found a beguiling mix of Disneyesque arrangements, soaring melodies, traditional Americana and fingers-down-a-blackboard violin-mangling, all topped off with a sugary vocal from a man old enough to know better. At least half of it was great, and ‘Opus 40’ was the straight-up pop song.

I’ve lost the album, and my exclusively* autographed copy of the 7” inch single is in one of the crates I haven’t bothered to unpack yet, so I had to find the stupid, special lead to plug the mp3 player into the stereo. Was it worth it? Junior took advantage of her dad’s preoccupation to zoom around the living room pulling items out from under the coffee table and sticking her hand in the video. Almost disastrous, then. She gave the song a quick bouncing acknowledgement before taking another swing at fusing the electrics.

*Four of the fellows have signed it but there were PILES of copies knocking about in HMV, so maybe they’d had their moment in the sun. They must’ve spent a lonely session, watching the punters buying up the Flaming Lips album.