[28] Goldfrapp, ‘A&E’


Seventh Tree proved Goldfrapp have a heart, not just a set of timely pop culture references – and ‘A&E’ is a murmur. All is not well, and the redemptive power of love is the illusion of the desperate. Ahem. It has a panicky beauty and swelling power, with Alison Goldfrapp inhabiting it a little fully for comfort. Still, sod the comfort of distance; this is a far cry from the play-acting of Supernature, Black Cherry, whichever costume party the duo soundtracked before, and it’s a winning gambit.

Junior says: “I like this song.” Blushing, she even sort of sings along with the first verse, but I’m sure it’s ages since she heard it. Perhaps it’s nuzzled into her psyche. As I try to put another record on, she says, “Can you play Blue Big Blue again?”

Best bit: Sitary foundations of the second verse.

[5] Goldfrapp, ‘A&E’


I might have been mean to Goldfrapp. I took them to be ersatz trip-hop (and there was plenty of that about), then ersatz electroclash (imagine – a sorry copy of Fischerspooner), and finally, ersatz glam. Maybe I should reassess their work, because Seventh Tree is a gorgeous album. Or perhaps they’ve just learned how to be gorgeous. ‘A&E’ is the mother of all comedowns – still, we’ve all woken up in a backless dress, right? – but somehow it’s warm, beautiful and shiny as a new pin.

Junior smiled as it faded in, then hummed along and told me, “We have this in the car.” She asked me the singer’s name. “Alison Goldfrapp.” “Oh, the one who emerged on ‘Pumpkin’, from Tricky’s peerless debut album, right, Dad?” She’s really coming on.

2008 Top 20 Singles?

Halfway through the year, always looking for delaying tactics and ways to ramp up the tension for the year-end countdown, here’s a minor indicator – the Top 20 Most Played 2008 Singles on my iPod thingy.

[1] Martha Wainwright, ‘Bleeding All Over You’
[2] The Ting Tings, ‘Great DJ’
[3] Laura Marling, ‘Ghosts’
[4] Alphabeat, ‘Fascination’
[5] Fleet Foxes, ‘White Winter Hymnal’
[6] Coldplay, ‘Violet Hill’
[7] The Ting Tings, ‘That’s Not My Name’
[8] Death Cab For Cutie, ‘I Will Possess Your Heart’
[9] MGMT, ‘Time To Pretend’
[10] Lykke Li, ‘I’m Good, I’m Gone’
[11] Coldplay, ‘Viva La Vida’
[12] Santogold, ‘L.E.S. Artistes’
[13] Portishead, ‘Machine Gun’
[14] Vampire Weekend, ‘Oxford Comma’
[15] Laura Marling, ‘Cross Your Fingers’/’Crawled Out Of The Sea’
[16] Hercules And Love Affair, ‘Blind’
[17] The Shortwave Set, ‘No Social’
[18] Goldfrapp, ‘A&E’
[19] H ‘two’ O featuring Platnum, ‘What’s It Gonna Be’
[20] Foals, ‘Red Socks Pugie’

Admit it. You’re astonished.

The Fatback Band, ‘I Found Lovin’’

Welcome to Junior’s second year. At Christmas we learned that she’s a dab hand at ripping off wrapping paper, and then eating it. The presents inside were barely a distraction. She said goodbye to 2005 at about 7pm on New Year’s Eve, giving her parents the opportunity to tear into the alcohol that was still knocking around the house. We had Hoegaarden, buck’s fizz and of course champagne, and slagged off NYE telly. Jools Holland’s thing was ok, I suppose, if you like KT Tunstall, Goldfrapp and the Kaiser Chiefs. We can take or leave all that around here.

‘I Found Lovin’’ was an inspired present for me from Junior’s mum. A 1983 picture sleeve 7”, in fact. It’s an old favourite, and always the first record played in the pub after we’d come in from the football. Junior’s Uncle Paddy has been waiting for a re-release of it for some time, so he’s going to be all jealous.

Junior hums along to it, from the mat where she’s throwing around the toys, old and new. If I was starkly honest with myself, I’d say she was humming because the first signs of teeth are bothering her, but instead let’s say that she was getting lost in its rare groove and faint fragrance of Kronenbourg in plastic glasses.