[7] Carly Rae Jepsen, ‘Call Me Maybe’

Carly Rae Jepsen

It’s easy to insinuate a pop song into the global consciousness: take a low synth thrum/quiet storm verse that suggests a Kelly Clarkson explosion without the mess, surge off into clipped disco strings instead, nail a killer melody and – here’s the thing – write a lyric people will talk about (and remember). “Why is this crazy? People do it all the time.” It’s the cute conceit that makes everyone want to cover it – and that snowballs into a phenomenon. See? Easy. Carly Rae Jepsen is almost incidental, but she can do naive excitement, sounds like she’s feeling it and is the untarnished face of a novelty.

Sometimes everything just meets. I started Jukebox Junior as a fun way to get me writing – it worked, it grew, it changed my life – and back then I had a willing audience. Well, she was trapped in a bouncy chair and flapped her arms if she liked a bassline or simple, direct tune. But you can’t stop a person growing up. I never meant to brainwash her anyway, but of course she’s developed her own tastes. She’s a seven-year-old girl. She likes One Direction, she likes David Guetta’s fast-track hooks even more. I’m not saying she doesn’t enjoy some of the songs she’s introduced to here, just that the thrill of recognition always triumphs. She’s got a whole routine for ‘Call Me Maybe’ and that’s something I’ve never seen before. So there you are, maybe this place can become an exchange of knowledge as she engages more completely with pop and I continue to lose bits of myself to Steely Dan.

[16] Alexis Jordan, ‘Happiness’

Alexis Jordan

See, this is what needs to be done with perky X Factor contestants – hook them up with Norwegian ultrapop production doyens Stargate, who can conjure up the sort of inspired decision that slaps a pretty pop vocal over Deadmau5’s ‘Brazil (2nd Edit)’. What do you get? Trance&B. Come to think of it, last time we let Stargate loose on a UK talent show contestant we got a rubbish Hear’Say single. Let’s call that inexperience.

Over here we don’t care if you’ve come from America’s Got Talent or whatever. Look at Kelly Clarkson, who appeared to turn up in the UK bearing some semblance of cred. To us, Alexis Jordan is a cute little poppet with a knack to make “hurry, hurry, hurry now, quick, quick, quick” sound poignant. She’s come out of nowhere straight into our hearts. Bless.

Just ask Junior, who’s affected by those plangent synths. “There’s no such thing as ‘happiness’,” is her alarming response, until I explain it’s “being happy” and she concedes that happens quite often. You have to work for kids’ trust, you know. We consider why Jordan’s in such a hurry: “She wants to meet her friends.” It’s something like that.