Jukebox Junior Does The 2015 Popjustice Twenty Quid Music Prize Shortlist

popjustice

THE CHALLENGE

Get my daughters to review Popjustice‘s Twenty Quid Music Prize shortlist for the best British single of the last 12 months (actual judging this Friday, 20 November).

THE PANEL

Junior (aged 10, the original Jukebox Junior from back when she was 20 weeks old in November 2005. Jesus, this blog will be 10 years old soon)
Junior 2 (aged 7)
Junior 3 (aged 5)

THE SONGS

Little Mix, ‘Black Magic’
Cyndi Laupish

Junior 3: “It’s ‘Black Magic’.”
Junior 2 is hey-ing.
Junior 3: “We all like ‘Black Magic’.”
Junior: “I like the video.”

Foxes, ‘Body Talk’
Fluid electro-pop from the Doctor Who chanteuse who isn’t Kylie

Junior 3: “I didn’t like it.”
Junior: “I like Little Mix more.”

Jess Glynne, ‘Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself’
If it’s 2015, Jess is statistically likely to be this week’s No.1

Junior: “Is this Jess Glynne?”
Junior 3 is more fascinated by the Dartford Tunnel.
Junior 2: “This is better than ‘Hold My Hand’.”

Marina & The Diamonds, ‘I’m A Ruin’
Neither Catherine Zeta Jones nor Shakira gets vulnerable

Junior 2: “It’s very calm, very soft. It’s smooth, with quite low notes.”
Junior: “I don’t like it as much as ‘Body Talk’.”
Junior 3: “I don’t really like it.”
Junior 2: “I think when she was singing she was quite lonely.”

Blonde featuring Melissa Steel, ‘I Loved You’
A livin’ joy from start to finish

They all know it. Their mum is singing along to it.
Junior: “It’s lively.”
Junior 3: “I kind of like it.”
Junior 2: “It’s very jumpy.”
Their mum: “It’ll be on the next Charlotte Crosby fitness DVD.”

Years & Years, ‘King’
Panpipes are the Sound of 2015

Junior 3: “I really really like it.”
Junior 2: “It’s very fast and it has a nice tune.”
Junior: “Some bits I like, some are a bit annoying and repetitive.”

Becky Hill, ‘Losing’
Team Jessie

Junior 2: “It’s a good song.”
Junior 3 is giving it a wavy hand.
Junior: “It sounds a bit droopy.”

Ellie Goulding, ‘Love Me Like You Do’
Filth soundtrack

It’s Ellie Goulding.
All: “Yay!”
Junior 3: “Is it ‘Love Me Like You Do’?”
Junior is doing an exaggerated power-ballad sway.
Junior 2 is closing her eyes and singing along.
Junior 3: “Daddy, I like it.”
Junior 2: “It’s a very happy song, very enjoyable.” She sounds sarcastic.
Junior: “I really like it.”
Their mum: “For me, it’s got that movie all over it. It’s a really crappy sequence.”

Olly Murs, ‘Seasons’
Thinly disguised cod reggae from the scourge of Monica Michael

Junior: “He’s the one that presents X Factor.”
Junior 2 looks puzzled.
Junior 3 gives it two thumbs up.
Junior: “It’s very jolly.”
Where’s Caroline Flack though?
Junior: “She’s a TV presenter.”

Nero, ‘The Thrill’
Rave-horn stadium dubstep from surprisingly durable Roman Emperor

Junior 2: “This is very jumpy.”
Junior: “It sounds very rockish.”
Double thumbs up from Junior 3.
Junior 3: “Actually, I think it’s rubbish.”
Junior: “There’s too much effort and noise. It’s horrible and full.”

KDA featuring Tinie Tempah & Katy B, ‘Turn The Music Louder (Rumble)’
Irresistible old skool-ish house delays Tinie’s third album even further

Junior: “Oh, I like this one.”
Junior 3 is giving wavy thumbs.
Junior 2: “It’s fun and happy.”

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, ‘Uptown Funk’
Oops upside your he-llo how’s everybody doing?

There is general cheering.
Junior 2 is rapping.
Everyone is too hot.
Junior: “Uptown Funk you up as cool as possible.”
Junior 2: “Amazing, fantastic.”
Junior: “Yeah.”

THE VERDICT

Favourites:

A unanimous shout for ‘Uptown Funk’.

Flops:

An equally unanimous diss for “that rocky one”. They mean Nero. Sorry, Nero.

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[17] Mark Ronson & The Business Intl, ‘Bang Bang Bang’

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl

The first song to make a meal of ‘Alouette’ this year does it with every bleeding idea that occurs to it. Cheryl Cole’s ultra-mannered take is bewildered, this is just bewildering. Ronson has gone back to the 80s, but rather than plunder plinky-plonk synths like every other La Roux under the sun, he turns to that decade’s forgotten everything-goes ethos and finds something cogent in a mix of squirty electro, Prince soul, teeny bop and bouncy hip hop nursery rhymes. If this doesn’t prove the man has mad skillz then nothing does.

In fact, these are just the latest in a long line of ‘Alouette’ bastardisations. Junior’s reminded of another she learned on holiday in Corfu with frankly manic dance actions to go with it. She then adds some more jerky steps, seemingly filched off Go-Jos routines from early Top Of The Popses. We have a right old ball. And that’s Ronson’s bag.

[6] Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse, ‘Valerie’

Mark Ronson featuring Amy Winehouse, ‘Valerie’

Mark Ronson’s lounge-pop interpretations on Version are a queasy hornfest, not bearing many repeat plays for fear of unstoppable waves of nausea. It’s not a bad collection, but it’s heavy with woozy playing and overfacing joie de vivre. Certain quarters considered his cover of The Smiths’ ‘Stop Me’ sacrilege – we’re not so precious here. A cover doesn’t denigrate the original and often it can improve on it. That’s what Ronson and Amy Winehouse achieve with The Zutons’ wheezing bludgeon.
 
Winehouse is of course the Woman of the Year. And an idiot. Back To Black has effortlessly outstripped the pack in album sales, but suffers from inevitable ubiquity, and you can say the same of the girl herself. Cutting to the music, ‘Valerie’ here comes on all ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ yet mainly recalls an earlier, earthier girl group sound. It’s unfussy and tight, inspired and believable, and topped off with a terrific vocal performance – “aaarrr-are you busy?”, “did you get a good lawyer-er-er-ER” are catches you can hang your pop hat on. It would be nice if she could sustain this sort of quality, but at the moment she’s a wretched tabloid darling whose music is just staying ahead of the tawdry game swallowing the rest of her life.
 
A pushed, skipping beat has Junior rocking in front of the speakers from apology to Charlie Murphy to final gurgled “Vaaa-aaaleriee-eee”. Stay focused, Ames.