[2] Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, ‘Get Lucky’


Junior reckons she’s heard this 30 times. Generously, she still likes it. Junior 2 sings along as she plays a game on her multimedia camera thing and Junior 3 joins in too, dancing and raising her eyebrows on the high notes. As for me, I think I can just post the original draft of my Track of the Year piece for NME, weaving a cunning web of deceit that makes this entry look chunky rather than lazy:

On 12 July 1979, Chicago’s Comiskey Park hosted its very own disco inferno. Prompted by shock jock Steve Dahl, thousands of baseball fans brought disco records to a game between Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers that would climax with a bonfire of this abominable vinyl. The prank did terrible damage to the pitch of course, but it also cemented a notion of disco as the enemy of rock, even tracing an unwanted line in the sand between white and black pop music, as hundreds of twerps tried to consign it to the incinerator of history.

But, like the legend of the phoenix, something was stirring in the ashes. The next decade would see disco cede to hip-hop, then electro, Detroit techno and the rebirth of soul as the salient expression of black culture, but you can’t keep a good rhythm down. And Nile Rodgers, the king of Studio 54, never really went away.

It was Rodgers who first alerted us to ‘Get Lucky’, airily announcing he was working with Daft Punk and then sitting back and watching the internet explode. Chic meets Daft Punk? Have you ever imagined something so ineffably right? Helmets on billboards and teased seconds of the track in a Saturday Night Live ad break were enough to get juices flowing, but it was the sudden arrival of images on the Coachella screens that beckoned meltdown. Suddenly we had confirmation that Thomas Bangalter, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo, Pharrell Williams and Rodgers were all united over the same clipped riff, decades of perfect dance music and R&B distilled into one luscious brew. And when the real deal supplanted all those loops and fake tracks that had swamped YouTube and Soundcloud, the excitement could have powered cities. No one was listening to anything else.

Why would you? This was a liquid groove, a silky vocal – punctuated by the sort of Jacko hiccups Benjamin Diamond had attempted on an earlier Bangalter production, Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ – robotic breakdowns, cut-glass guitar and a randy hook that insinuated itself into every cell of the brain. Disco was reborn and remembering its primary function – making people dance, making people happy. Burn, baby, burn.

[9] Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell, ‘Blurred Lines’


Junior: “Uh-huh”
Junior 2: “You’re a good giiiiirl”
Junior 3: “Hey hey hey”

In this forum we can tap into the real strength of ‘Blurred Lines’ as an unspeakably catchy bit of nonsense. If the girls had the first clue what Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pharrell are drooling on about I might be a little more unsettled, but they only pick up on the ticks and hooks and there’s no need for them to watch the trio doing their bellends down Ritzy’s act in the video.

[18] Uffie featuring Pharrell, ‘ADD SUV’


I don’t know if the joke’s on them or us or the sucker MCs, but this makes me laugh anyway. Pharrell, with half an eye on Uffie’s “ghetto ass”, is like Roadrunner at a Haribo party, bouncing off the sonic walls and generally making a hepped-up berk of himself – “Wait a minute, what I say I gotta do again?” Of course this is meant to be a dig at ADD bling merchants, and we can all get behind that, but… but… It’s gone.

Uffie should be a hit around here, but Junior just shrugs and says, “My LeapPad’s running out.” Perhaps her attention’s slightly deficit too. Uffie should be a hit around everywhere, because she has a great care-less voice, a team of cracking French zonk-disco cohorts (Feadz, Mirwais, Mr Oizo etc), a few tunes, the looks and the looks-cool. But she took four years to make an album and along came Ke$ha to do it more obviously.

[31] N*E*R*D featuring Lee Harvey and Vita, ‘Lapdance’

No One Ever Really Dies. They should be called N*O*E*R*D, shouldn’t they? Unless they’re spelling it Noone Ever Really Dies, in which case it’s a) nonsense and b) a poorly worded threat to the blameless Herman’s Hermits singer. Actually, I think it’s meant to be No-one, but point stands. Still, far be it from Pharrell Williams to be a berk. Scratch that – far be it from early 2000s Pharrell Williams to be a berk. Just off the back of Kelis’s immense debut Kaleidoscope and other scorching Neptunes productions, he and Chad Hugo and other mucker Shay Haley had plenty of leeway to make the pretty self-indulgent hip hop/rock/R&B hybrid In Search Of…, and it worked. Lead track ‘Lapdance’ is seedy as it should be, aggressive and – surprisingly rare quality, this – genuinely thrilling. Then they decided to re-record In Search Of… with a propah rawk band and it turned into Limp Bizkit. That’s one fine line. The original rock-facsimile just packed the greater punch.

Junior says: “It’s crazy.” Mind you, she barely heard it, what with me using the one-two combo of coughing and putting my hands over her ears for every “motherf***er” and “n****r”. I think she caught a beat at the end of the ninth bar.

Best bit:
The intro. Croaking quasi-guitar and dirty dawgs.

[7] Jay-Z ‘I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)’

He was already well-enough-established by this point, largely thanks to forever soiling his legacy for a hit with the Little Orphan Annie-sponsored ‘Hard Knock Life’ back in 1998 – but now, right here, was where The Hov was riding highest: this hard-funk cut with ego on all cylinders, and The Blueprint album coming fast in the pipeline.

No diss-respect to Jay-Z’s laconic flow and easy rhyming, but the heavy lifting is handled by The Neptunes, and Pharrell Williams in particular. In 2001, before the horror of N*E*R*D’s second album, everything Williams touches is still turning gold and the descending, clipped riff and falsetto chorus are what makes ‘…Give It 2 Me’. So there.

Now, onto the Does Hip-Hop Have A Place At Glastonbury? debate…

Jokes. Junior took it easy, waiting for a good two or three minutes before clapping along to the springboard bass, bang on the rhythm. Come to think of it, I’m not sure she’s ever heard any of Noel Gallagher’s work – we can be pretty sure she won’t find much swing there.