[16] Fiona Apple, ‘Fast As You Can’

Fiona Apple

Poor Blur, shunted down a place because I couldn’t find the Fiona Apple album yesterday morning. I asked Junior’s mum if she’d seen it in the car, and it turns out she’d taken it to work the day before. Two extraordinary things here: a) an album untouched for a good five years is removed the day before it’s needed; b) Junior’s mum doesn’t seem to be scared about nabbing my records without asking. She obviously hasn’t heard what karma rained down on my big sister in 1983.

So, this is 16 going on 17, innocent as a rose.

It seems to have the same fade-in as ‘Northern Lites’ before coming on like incidental music in a Broadway musical. Apple has a fantastic, mad, fruitily passionate voice for such a willowy frame, and the song draws Junior’s attention with its frantic pace. It peaks with the big soul breakdown in the middle, and Dad keeps the baby punter rapt with a piercingly accurate impression.

“I’ll be your giiiiirrrrrl…” No wonder she was dumbstruck.

[17] Blur, ‘Tender’

Albarn

Or Damon’s brave devotional country and western mantra folly. If nothing else, it makes babies rock slowly back and forth, wailing along here and there. Mind you, by the seventh minute, Junior was on her belly pulling herself over to the coffee table to upset all the Sunday papers. Whatever it takes to block out Graham Coxon’s whiny, reedy voice.

I loved this song for a week or two. Albarn’s singing was shocking on Top Of The Pops, but I thought we had a new Kumbaya hippy dippy campfire classic. Yes, of course we needed one. Its appeal waned all too quickly, and by the time everyone saw that cute little milk carton haring about it was completely forgotten. Aw, bless that little milk carton.

‘Tender’ sounds ok today. Moving off-topic, there are FIVE American female soloists to come in the next 16. A special, unspecified, possibly fictional prize to anyone who can guess them.