[8] Kylie Minogue, ‘Confide In Me’

So Kylie fled the suffocating grip of Stock Aitken Waterman to find credibility, dance chops and, ultimately, zero record sales with then ultra-cool label Deconstruction. Everything looked rosy with ‘Confide In Me’ – all melodrama, crunchy beats and Top 3 success – and a decent album followed, only with diminishing returns. I worked at Deconstruction for one whole day as the album was being released, and made off with tons of promo material including a semi-lifesize (well, you can never tell with the Kylester) cardboard cut-out that my brother now owns. It was small recompense for spending eight hours sending out M People 12”s.

My own diminutive pop star claimed to “like Kylie” and admired the glossy CD booklet. At first she had it confused with the Saint Etienne CD also on the desk, which is quite the coincidence – ‘Confide In Me’’s B-side was a cover of the Ets’ ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’. Even more thrilling, the, er, other B-side was a cover of Prefab Sprout’s ‘If You Don’t Love Me’. Truly a potted history of pristine pop.

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[12] Jamie T, ‘Calm Down Dearest’

Jamie T, ‘Calm Down Dearest’

Wimbledon’s premier rap-skiffle rodent had a big year, what with that Mercury nomination (and he really should have won – or did I say that about Bat For Lashes? Anyway, Panic Prevention was wildly inventive, clever and fun) and a packed John Peel tent singing along to this track at Glastonbury. His range is clearest on ‘Calm Down Dearest’, which sounds like Saint Etienne’s ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’ sung by a particularly verbose drunkard. It’s even better than I paint it.
 
It was greeted with stomping feet by Junior, who also chose to mirror the lyrics with a snarly face. Has she seen the lad? It was uncanny. She threw all this into the first couple of bars, missing the later subtleties of Treays’ affecting semi-ballad – “racking and stacking them lines” – subtleties that fair bring a tear to a wincing eye.

[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]