[19] The The, ‘Sweet Bird Of Truth’

The The

Infected was the second CD I ever bought (yeah, yeah, after The Joshua Tree – I wasn’t exclusively furrow-browed agit-pop) and a jolly listen it is too. Matt Johnson was always pretty straight-faced, but by The The’s second album proper, he wasn’t merely serious – he was grave. ‘Sweet Bird Of Truth’ tackles the dying panic of an American pilot plunging into the Gulf of Arabia, swearing that he’s only done his duty, that he’s never believed in God, but might God be so kind as to lend a hand anyway? It’s bitter, nihilistic and one of many kicks in the teeth Infected dishes out to the good ol’ US of A. I think Leona Lewis covers it on her new album.

But it’s also a sterling tune, dramatic and punchy, almost demanding an uncomfortable sing-song. Junior dances like a drunk to it, rolling her eyes, flailing her limbs – rather like Johnson himself in that bankrupting feature-length video accompanying the album. Insane pop-political statements, eh? Weren’t the 80s great?

Ee ay ee ay – adios!

[10] Young MC, ‘Know How’

Young MC

Tell you something, though: of all bands, we weren’t prepared for a bloated 14-track tunefree-a-thon from the normally short and snappy Strokes. Avoid.

Anyway, ‘Know How’. No sag or bloat in this tightly plotted, witty, slickly sampling ego trip. Junior sat on her mat, neither chillin’ nor illin’, but trying to get in crawling positions again. God, the place is going to be decimated. She seemed chirpy; that’s what this record does.

Hearing Young MC reminds me of those American girls we met on our school Ancient History trip to Greece. Down the disco one night, they impressed us by knowing all the words to ‘Bust A Move’. Our response? All the Big Fun dance moves to ‘Blame It On The Boogie’. USA 1 England 0.

Finally, one of 1989’s biggest hits was ‘Something’s Gotten Hold Of My Heart’. RIP Gene. Your tortured vocal mannerisms were a true pop pleasure.