[18] Yeasayer, ‘Ambling Alp’

So you emerge blinking into the light around the end of 2007, early 2008, playing sharp, clever-clever East Coast pop with inflections of world music, a touch of Peter Gabriel. Everything goes just swell. Then you’re back in late 2009, early 2010, ready to consolidate vast critical and sturdy popular acclaim with a second album. Triumph is assured, right?

But what if you’re not Vampire Weekend? What if you’re Yeasayer? The answer seems to be to mainstream it up a bit more, move your world music closer to the US borders. Reggae! ‘Ambling Alp’ is a cosily appealing song, a grower and a fashion-free standalone. It also has Junior in paroxysms of giggles, which may or may not be a guarantee of success.

Yea or nay?

[4] Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush, ‘Don’t Give Up’

Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

I think we can all surmise Peter Gabriel has fantastic personal hygiene if someone as fragrant, pure and delectable as Kate Bush is prepared to spend five minutes (at LEAST – who knows how many takes there were? Perhaps Pete kept getting his lip synchs wrong on purpose) rammed into his armpit. Either that, or she’s more heroic than we ever dreamed.

The song’s beautiful, believable and stark, Pete and Kate playing their parts with poignancy and soul. Strikes a chord with Junior too, who is matching Kate word for word long before the end.

You’re not beaten yet:

[6] Peter Gabriel, ‘Sledgehammer’

Of all the unlikely massive pop stars in 1986, Peter Gabriel was, erm, one. It helped that he was a clever lad, in tune with the zeitgeist (man), and understood how to harness the shiny pristine power of video. Sure, it wasn’t all that new, but consider the effect the ‘Sledgehammer’ film had on the populace. It was like being hit by a heavy object on a stick.

And no harm was done by the tune, a filthy, brassy, funky, resolutely 80s AOR stormer that had wit, pizzazz and whacking great horns that hit you like a large metal slab fixed to a wooden handle.

Junior expresses admiration for “the singing and the drums”, but that’s a bit of a kiss-off. Later I show her its still-diverting video – which she loves, particularly the literal representations of lyrics about steam trains and aeroplanes. Good for the kids, those touches, what with them being subtle as a weighty tool for swinging when you want to spread distribution of force.

You could be a bumper car, bumping: