[10] Emeli Sandé, ‘Heaven’

Emeli Sandé

“Will you recognise ME?” Sure. You’re that Shara Nelson, aren’t you?

Bit of satire there, ladeezangennelmen. Junior seems to know all the words to this one already – which is more than we can say about ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ because I never play it, having absolutely KILLED it in 1991. It left a grimy fingerprint on the stereo along with Screamadelica, Eg & Alice’s ‘Indian’, Jesus Loves You’s ‘Bow Down Mister’ and Jellyfish’s Bellybutton. And, let’s face facts, The Milltown Brothers’ debut album.

Junior asks if she’s English, obviously, but of course Sandé couldn’t be less English if she was Neptunian. She’s Scottish and let’s say that she caresses ‘Heaven’ with that peculiar Scots soul passion, ranking alongside Sharleen Spiteri, Lorraine McIntosh, Marti Pellow, Pat Kane, Lulu and, er, Maria McKee. On firmer ground, the beats are terrific and the strings – ahem – sympathetic. That Critics’ Choice BRIT will look lovely in her palm.

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[18] Will Young, ‘Leave Right Now’

After the canny water-treading of the contractually obliged debut, Willis returned with a classic ballad, an Eg White composition to rank with any of White’s own work for Eg & Alice and the quiet storms of his solo records. Young’s delivery is perfect, every syllable brimming with pain and musicality, and the sparse arrangement yields new pleasures every time.

Junior says: “It’s a sad song, because he’s leaving before he goes into the sea.” I can’t add to that.

Best bit: The sheer beautiful torture of “I couldn’t bear to lose you again…”.

[18] U2, ‘Mysterious Ways’

U2

Never having heard Rattle & Hum, Junior’s not well placed to assess U2’s seismic brand realignment from holier-than-thou, campaigning rock monoliths to fun-loving, wraparound-sporting, INXS wannabes with better songs. Good. 15 years on, Achtung Baby is just another rock album, most songs a bit tighter and poppier than U2’s earlier offerings but there’s more obvious filler.

The Perfecto Mix of ‘Mysterious Ways’ did it for me. A couple of minutes of looped guitar at the start before the nice big riff comes in, and then no sign of the first verse, just the second verse twice with a couple of choruses. It’s careless, but it works. Oakenfold’s sausage fingers were all over 1991.

Junior rocked side to side throughout; she definitely goes for the rock guitars and the sturdy drums. She needs to hear more Belle & Sebastian and Eg & Alice. I won’t have an infant Suzi Quatro on my hands.