[6] The Stone Roses, ‘Love Spreads’

We tried a new experiment this morning – well, we were pushed for time and it would’ve been a pity to mess up this tune-a-weekday thing we’ve got going on – and listened to the song on the bus to nursery, like teenage rapscallions playing tinny bassline house on the backseat. Don’t worry; we were at the front, listening through sound-isolating earphones at a responsible volume. Junior showed fierce concentration all the way through the lengthy John Squire Led Zep-a-thon, breaking off only to declare that her arms ached from holding the earpieces in place. Afterwards she said that she liked the song and it had “lots of guitars”.

I think Squire would have been pleased with the assessment. That’s why he kept the band holed up in Wales for four years, wasn’t it? To lay down “lots of guitars”.

Anticipation had reached Chinese Democracy levels by the time this surfaced in November 1994, and it was only ever going to be an anticlimax. It’s a pretty solid rocker with a bit of swagger, but last time we’d seen The Stone Roses they looked as if they might Change The World with large jeans and half-inched James Brown beats. This plodded in comparison. Still, with a sense of relief at any kind of output, I loved it for a few months, and Paddy and I particularly enjoyed making Neil and Kate sing “The Messiah is my sister” over and over in the backseat as we drove up to Edinburgh that New Year’s Eve.

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[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…”