[20] Regina Spektor, ‘Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)’

Regina Spektor

Junior is 7. When we started our year-end countdowns on 7 December 2005 she was five months old and our No.20 single of the year was Gorillaz and De La Soul’s ‘Feel Good Inc.’.

In 2006 it was Secret Machines’ ‘Lightning Blue Eyes’
In 2007 it was Bat For Lashes’ ‘What’s A Girl To Do?’
In 2008 it was Hot Chip’s ‘Ready For The Floor’
In 2009 it was LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Bye Bye Bayou’
In 2010 it was Lykke Li’s ‘Get Some’
In 2011 it was Surkin’s ‘Ultra Light’

And now it’s Regina Spektor, exhuming a song from a decade ago and slapping on a bouncing, pop reggae rhythm track that you’d have expected to see Rockmelons fail to have a hit with in 1993. So it’s all about history today.

“I know this song,” says Junior, turning sharply to the stereo and draping her hair in her apple strudel and custard. “This is the best song ever,” projects Junior 2 (aged 4), hearing it for the first time. By the second chorus she knows all the words because she’s got a brain like that. Junior 3 (aged 2) just wants to get down and dance with her sisters. With every daughter we produce, this blog gets more complicated. That’s why I take six-month breaks – not laziness. No.

Spektor’s never been more than a kooky distant blip on my radar but What We Saw From The Cheap Seats is a deep-pile, affecting album and this is its shining pop moment. It also makes me want to hang out on Lexington and claim, “I love Paris in the rain”. I just love Paris when I’m not throwing up the previous night’s dinner from that place near Sacré Coeur. So that’s nice.

[19] Cher Lloyd featuring Mike Posner, ‘With Ur Love’

Cher Lloyd

Soft, cuddly Cher. That’s not what we divvy shits signed up for. Still, it works and she keeps that fruity attitude in her vowels just in case we thought she was getting too silky. Frankly, I’d prefer some upfront rolling beats to boost the “FIGHTING… LIKE IT” bits in the verse – muscle it up, give it some brassy punch – but otherwise ‘With Ur Love’ is compact and sweet, a pop song crammed with ideas.

Junior’s pleased to see it beat Surkin: “This gets *thumbs up*. The one before gets *thumbs down*. I like the sound.” Mind you, Junior 2 says, “I don’t like this one, I like the one when we went to swimming.” If you don’t know what she’s talking about, you weren’t there. I don’t think I was.

Quite what Posner’s doing there though, I’m not sure. “First date, first base, second date, second base, third date… heeheehee…” Heeheehee? HEEHEEHEE? The least we expect is “third date, hefty kick to the balls from a size 5 Reebok hi-top”. Sort it out, Cher.

[20] Surkin, ‘Ultra Light’


PEOPLE OFTEN ASK ME, who chooses the year-end Top 20s – you or Junior? Well, there’s a long and a short answer to this. Short answer: me. Long answer: Junior’s getting more influential because she’s fast becoming the captain of the stereo, but no, really, it’s me.

That’s how young Gallic techno revivalist Surkin can sit pretty in the Top 20 of the year without Junior really liking him. I should know, I asked, and all I got in return was a shrug. Which goes some way to enforcing a French stereotype but isn’t a ringing endorsement for a banging retread of some jumping house that sounds like it comes from a time when I was young enough not to put my back out to it.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of six-year-old-friendly pop to come in the final 19. You know this place.