[11] Wilco, ‘I Might’


“English?” This countdown is becoming less about the music, more about the provenance. And Junior’s got it horribly wrong this time because Wilco are completely, unshakeably American – even if they would like to salute the ashes of American flags. She’s also wrong in her verdict: “It’s cool.” Wilco aren’t cool. Although, confusingly, it is quite cool to say you hate them, which suggests they actually are cool but cool people don’t want to admit it. Or they’re yesterday’s cool thing so can’t be cool now. We’ll continue this conversation over at Pitchfork.

This, for Wilco at least, is straightahead pop. As it pumps the organ and hammers the beats it reveals a Northern Soulness that’s quite delightful. I’ve liked Wilco for – ooh – lots of years, but they don’t often make singles. You know, singles as opposed to singles. This is a single. And it features the best “hooooo” of the year courtesy of Jeff Tweedy. Try it, end of the second bridge.

[3] Saint Etienne, ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’

Saint Etienne

This was the first self-penned Saint Etienne single, and their manifesto in a nutshell. A breezy mix of Northern Soul, French pop sounds, harmonica, skipping groove, woodwind and lovestruck optimism, it’s impossible to resist. Again, I think it was my age, but this summed up the time for me. A summer when not even the ubiquitous spectre of Bryan Adams could shroud the boundless possibilities before us. No, the fug of alcohol and cigarettes took care of that.

London’s finest are a hardy perennial, in spite of some dicey moments in the mid to late 90s when pursuit of cred threatened to swamp the tunes. Their last three albums are pop gold, fulfilling all of Foxbase Alpha’s promise with a dash of maturity. Pity that hits continue to elude them.

Still, this song’s a big favourite with mum, dad and nipper alike. Junior launched herself right out of the ring, such was her giddy joy. I think I’ve mentioned that Saint Etienne were her first gig, her heavily pregnant mum braving Koko’s swish interiors. It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if they were her pop yardstick.

[All my vinyl rips seem to have corrupted; Top 11 mp3s to follow… later]

[11] World Of Twist, ‘Sons Of The Stage’

World Of Twist

World Of Twist were the choice of the cognoscenti during the 90/91 Association Psychedelic Dance-Pop season. A bit of 60s beat group, mixed with Northern Soul and Roxy Music and all manner of swirly things, they were just what the country needed as the Madchester scene began to pall. Of course, the country never realised this.

‘Sons Of The Stage’ was the second single, after 1990’s highly-touted ‘The Storm’. It doesn’t really date, with influences covering 30 years of pop, and still has me bouncing. Junior too. She’d have loved to have seen them live, the stage adorned with bacofoil and various shiny objects, a spinning wheel with a suitable legend daubed upon it and the lightshow a riot of kaleidoscopic colour. It looked really cheap.

As a group of lads near me regaled the singer Tony Ogden with a lusty chorus of “Ogden is a wanker”, I knew they’d made it. For a night, at least.

[All my vinyl rips seem to have corrupted; Top 11 mp3s to follow… later]