[15] De La Soul, ‘Eye Know’

De La Soul

3 Feet High & Rising, the soundtrack to a summer spent at Berkhamsted’s late, lamented outdoor swimming baths. A girl called Nova came over one afternoon and asked me what I was listening to – “De La Soul,” I said.  She was nonplussed and I didn’t pursue it.

Junior’s more hip to Mase, Pos and Trugoy – rocking with the best and putting in a brave effort to overbalance her highchair. We dotted around the album after this song, and ‘The Magic Number’ sent her loopy, but we’re here for ‘Eye Know’, where the magic number is two and Junior can wriggle with delight when she spots her favourite Steely Dan samples. She can only take them in small doses.

It’s a cutely formed little gem; the sweetest moment of De La Soul’s fresh take on hip hop. A fresh take fired, I suppose, by acid house and E and the Cold War thaw and Arsenal’s slaying of the Liverpool monster and the break-up of Microdisney and the first inklings of the demise of Thatcher – all fusing together to bring a new hippy era. Daisy this, daisy that.

[20] Kirsty MacColl, ‘Free World’

Kirsty MacColl

Sorry, Kirst, for demeaning your memory by playing this song through the iDog. The decorators are coming in to paint our new living room today, so all the stereo components are in a pile next to my bed, and I just couldn’t wait to get started with ’89. You can only go so long without hearing Glen Medeiros’ honeyed tones.

Right, what’s she on about here? Well, it’s a protest song, anti-Thatcherite and bristling with the righteous fury of the masses, man. It’s driven by rattling, chiming guitar, very Smithsy – as I recall, Johnny Marr was all over the Kite album so this is no spooky coincidence. Then we have the familiar, multi-tracked MacColl vocals. I think they’re multi-tracked, she always sounded like that. Or maybe she had more than one larynx.

Anyway, it’s a great record and it gets better every year.

The iDog gave it the full red and yellow lightshow and shook its head around. Junior copied it. The head-shaking bit, I mean. She’s not mastered projecting coloured lights from her forehead yet. God knows what they do at that nursery all day.

[9] Hue And Cry, ‘Labour Of Love’

A blistering white soul attack on Thatcherite Britain, or Matt Bianco with balls? You decide. Junior threw some shapes to it and thanked her lucky stars that the Kane brothers weren’t looking for Linda.

The dizzy heights of No.9 might be stretching it slightly for this, but it sustains a cracking tempo and some handily spat out lyrics. A friend of mine drops this into the mix occasionally when exercising his ninja DJ skillz, and it isn’t too out of place. Strange, as it’s dated in more than just its meaning.

We enjoyed the brassy few minutes, although some of its gloss was scuffed when I didn’t turn the tape off quickly enough at the end of the song. No.8, you see, is a stone cold classic.