[1] Tinie Tempah, ‘Pass Out’

Tinie Tempah

British rappers. They’re such nice young men, aren’t they? No bitches, hoes and bullet holes for them, no sir. No, they want to spit rhymes about beans on toast, making sure you get a decent feed even when you’re raving in Ibiza, and solving their personal clothes mountain by stashing some at their aunt’s house. I just wonder how often Tinie Tempah visits his aunt – you know, to pick up an outfit he’s just remembered – or whether his threads just gather dust. He’d be as well off handing them over to charity. Maybe that’s a problem for the notorious Difficult Wardrobe Decisions Second Album.

“This is my favourite one,” lies Junior, dashing yesterday’s New Pop Order. Still, she flips out to every on-/off-beat, gamely attempting to pin down Labrinth’s riddims, bumping into the problem we all face: just what is ‘Pass Out’? It’s hip hop, sure, but punctuated by dancehall flavours, smeared with grime and – eventually – exploding into drum’n’bass. That leap into hyperdrive for the final chorus always makes me laugh. It’s the only sane reaction to that kind of balls-out self-assurance. But long before the two-step fallout, ‘Pass Out”s swagger has pulled you in with a hopscotch synth line, a flow peppered with bons mots, and a shameless R&B chorus that kidnaps any lingering waverers.

Bang bang bang, idea after scheme after brainwave, ‘Pass Out’ pushes it all together like Play-Doh, stuffs it in a press and squeezes it out again through a best-single-of-the-year-shaped hole. “It sounds like Batman,” is Junior’s final revelation and while I’ve no clue what she means, I know she’s right.

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[17] Madonna, ‘Papa Don’t Preach’

Madonna

1985 was Madonna’s annus mirabilis, barely a week passing without a saucy New York dance-pop nugget brightening up the UK charts. She bagged eight Top 5 hits, including bona fide breakthrough ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘Holiday’ recharting 18 months after its initial Top 10 appearance, first No.1 ‘Into The Groove’ and the utterly forgotten ‘Angel’. Try and sing it, go on. So the slutty Material Girl angle was all sewn up; now it was time for the serious artiste.

We’d already had the ever-so-earnest ‘Live To Tell’, but ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ was the big one. A rather less trashy tackling of her Catholic guilt than ‘Like A Virgin’, it was real, honest and oddly – paradoxically – innocent. Dramatic too. ‘Like A Prayer’ would scare the horses, but ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ is the raw truth. Madonna was still fresh and unpredictable and winningly rounded too, not the skin-smeared Terminator we blanch at today.

Taken purely at face value, ‘Papa…’ is an easy singalong, but Junior might just have seen it as an oblique way of telling me to shut up. We can salute creativity like that. We also found the song good for call and response – “Papa preach?” “Papa DON’T preach!”

Pressed on the actual quality of the record, Junior declared it “good.” A future in music journalism awaits.

Some good advice:

[5] Madonna, ‘Like A Virgin’

Seasoned 12-year-old chart watchers knew that this single was make or break for Madonna. ‘Holiday’ made a decent impact, but ‘Lucky Star’ missed the Top Ten and ‘Borderline’ barely registered at all. ‘Like A Virgin’ edged up the chart at agonising pace, before peaking at No.3, and then the world just went into Madonna meltdown with seven more UK Top Five hits in 1985 alone.

She could’ve gone the way of Cyndi Lauper. That wouldn’t have been pretty.

What a perky number it is. Junior misses any naughtiness in the lyrics, chews every toy in sight, has a go at singing along and dances with her mum. Perfect.