[25] Cornershop, ‘Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III’

Lessons Learned From Rocky I To Rocky III

Here’s a word to the wise, pop pickers: after years of toil, don’t have a massive hit. The pop kids only want you for your Norman Cook-remixed body, and your abandoned friends will never feel the same way about you again. More’s the pity, because there was more to come. ‘Lessons Learned…’ would have been as high as No.26 here on the strength of its title alone; it’s bumped up a place to 25 because it’s buttoned-down brilliant. Tjinder Singh’s spiky, quotable lyrics set to a royal stagecoach of a riff make this the best T. Rex record in 30 years (sorry, Supergrass).

Junior says: “Moving my shoulders like this makes my drawing zig-zaggy.” Well, quite.

Best bit: DING-DING-DING-DING.

[3] Supergrass, ‘Richard III’

After wheelie-ing their way into our affections with ‘Alright’ and other sparky singles, Supergrass flexed their monkey muscles with the second album, screeching back into public focus with the searing adrenaline buzz of Richard III’. On its release, it seemed as if there hadn’t been a tauter, more aggressive, more direct single in years. Maybe there hadn’t.

The record’s a bit of a shock for me at eight o’clock in the morning, but Junior had been warming up for a while and was ready for the standard rush on the coffee table. Not much coffee around – it’s become an ersatz library for her, and a place where she can rip up Heat magazine. Anyway, she shook her behind at the breakneck pace set by the ‘Grass and threw in some polite headbanging. It doesn’t outstay its welcome, so she rocked to the end.

Supergrass plough a more reflective furrow these days. You don’t get the same old rush with them, but the hairy little chimps are still up there with the best.

[4] The Charlatans, ‘Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over’

A joyous noise from everyone’s 22nd favourite band at their peak. Junior listened to it from her new inflatable ring, watching with growing fascination as her dad thrashed out the old air piano on the back of the sofa. I’d be unstoppable with real instruments.

That’s if I could identify them. The first couple of times I heard this song, I thought there was a saxophone solo halfway through. Wouldn’t have been such a bad idea on a track that bowls along breezily like this. It could carry it off.

There were “g”s dropped all over the album – ‘Just When You’re Thinkin’..’, ‘Just Lookin’’, ‘Crashin’ In’ – as the Charlatans tried to prove to us that they were really ROCK and ROLL, and not just a bunch of baggy also-rans. We know Junior likes the rock, and this one saw her giving the new squawk an early morning run-out. They’re not as loveable as Supergrass, but they still make you feel quite warm.

[15] Supergrass, ‘Alright’

This record is for the kids, isn’t it? Perfect. Junior practised sitting up in front of me, and we played an approximation of pat-a-cake to the jaunty tune. She became a little vexed at “keep our teeth nice and clean”, believing Coombes and co were being insensitive about her current toothless status, but otherwise it passed without mishap.

And a jaunty tune is what it amounts to. Even at the time, I wasn’t a huge fan of the song, but I loved Supergrass. Still do. A great live band too, and they’ve never enjoyed the acclaim that was their due. In It For The Money is a fiver in all good record shops. There’s no excuse. Failing that, the Best Of is almost fault-free.

Advert over. In the pub last night, a friend and regular reader tried to guess the rest of the singles in this chart. He managed to name the whole Top Four but, with cunning dissembling, I drew him off the scent. 

Ah.