[15] Dizzee Rascal and Armand van Helden, ‘Bonkers’

It’s a riot, isn’t it? ‘Bonkers’ is exactly what you’d expect from a van Helden/Dizzee face-off, hammering your knapper with drones and judders while the Rascal does his slightly panicky yelp over the top, and it works because it’s utterly without side. It’s a shameless tilt at the No.1 spot. But it’s only that because Dizzee has worked himself into a position where he understands the tweaks that need to be made for full-on success – and they are just tweaks. Sonically, he’s always been a cartoon Public Enemy – blaring, intrusive noise, sharp lyrics, no let-up – but when he keeps it concise, gives it a hammy title and adjusts his flow into a chorus, Bob’s yer uncle. Sell-out? You bet.

And that much is obvious from Junior’s reaction. She can sing along with an alarming amount of this puppy-dog bouncer, and finds it absolutely side-splitting. You see, when you get to the bottom of it, it’s all big fun.


[10] Duran Duran, ‘Notorious’

Our budding Lester Bangs in the backseat admits, “I liked David Bowie better.” And, well, that’s the sane response, isn’t it? She does clap along to the first few bars, but interest soon wanes as if we’re acting out Duran Duran’s career in microcosm. Five minutes later they’re releasing Public Enemy covers and Junior is into Suede.

This is where Duran Duran put their “We want to sound like Chic crossed with the Sex Pistols” money where their mouth was, and came out sounding like, erm, Hipsway. But credit where it’s due, it has some funk and a nicely rearranged ‘Union Of The Snake’ chorus, and full marks for actually trying. With Andy Taylor jettisoned, they no longer needed to pull shoddy rock shapes and could get on with working that groove.

It’s just a pity no one cared anymore.

Don’t monkey with my business:

[13] Public Enemy, ‘Fight The Power’

Public Enemy

Deliriously exciting intro, punchy message, the first of many* appearances on this chart for the ‘Funky Drummer’ backbeat, that “ELVIS was a hero to most…” line: this ROCKED DA HOUSE, man. Junior pivoted the highchair on its front legs and flipped out like a b-girl.

Back in ’87, I nearly bought a Public Enemy jacket in Watford Market, but left with nothing except regrets and that sawdusty aroma of pet cages. I could’ve been the flyest hip hopper in the Herts commuter belt. Instead, by 1989, my shirts were flowery and my fringe was long.

Junior won’t miss any trends, I promise. I’ll have her in a Gnarls Barkley sleepsuit by the end of the week.

*Well, three. I think.