[18] The Police, ‘Message In A Bottle’

“Sending out a nesso ess”. The lad really needed to sort out his diction. And that Jamaican accent was fooling no one – I mean, have you ever seen a whiter man? His only competition was, erm, Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers.

The most hated man in pop? Even Paul Weller – hardly Mr Popular himself – spat at a picture of Sting backstage at the Royal Albert Hall recently. Does he get a tough rap? There’s no doubting he’s conceited, but really everyone’s just jealous of Sting and his month-long mating rituals. And the zillion records sold. And the fact he still cuts a dashing figure in middle-age.

Of course, it’s possible that people simply hate his music but a) check out those zillion units and b) come on, some of it’s been smart. ‘Message In A Bottle’ was a monument from the minute it was released. Edgy, memorable, carrying universal appeal around in bags, it’s a classic pop moment in a year brimming with them. Like so many greats, it even has a massively clunky metaphor at its heart.

Junior wielded the plastic Stratocaster throughout, showing her credentials as a proto-Hendrix by imploring me to watch her playing it with her chin. Face it – you’re impressed just reading about it.

Advertisements

[16] Pet Shop Boys, ‘Where The Streets Have No Name (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)’

Pet Shop Boys

I used to put this on the jukebox in the hall bar at university, just to antagonise the rockists. The Jimi Hendrix lookalike and his Led Zep pals would become particularly vexed, often because it tended to interrupt their ‘American Pie’ loop.

This record’s a thumb of the nose – it couldn’t be anything else with the merging of the Andy Williams camp classic – but there’s affection too. The Pet Shop Boys’ aural soundscapes (wow) are wide enough to do justice to the sweep of the song, and it’s all big and dramatic like Bono thinks he is. I’m sure they’re not JUST taking the piss. Ok, I’m not sure. It’s great, though; I hadn’t heard it for years until this morning, and I still love it.

I’ve banged on about this before, but it’s interesting (well, sorta) that the PSBs and Prince should own the ’80s but then lose the plot at about the same time as each other. Can’t think of any proper good PSBs singles after this – honourable mention, however, to the bit where it goes mad at the end of ‘Go West’.

Junior was rather smitten with this, the Hi-NRG beats bringing forth the cockateel moves. I’ve really brainwashed the poor kid. She’ll be writing her own version of ‘Being Boring’ in about 30 years:

“I came across a cache of digital photos,
And countless blog entries from my dull old father;
He played me records and voiced my opinions,
And Girls Aloud got him all in a lather,
In my 20-noughties…”