[11] All Saints, ‘Pure Shores’

They shone in bursts, didn’t they, our premier girl group of the turn of the century? Obviously William Orbit loomed large over this, adding pretty flesh to its protoype ‘Frozen’, as Beachmania gripped the nation – but Mel Blatt’s vocal is gorgeous and the harmonies are honey. The quartet worked well together before they all decided they hated one another.

Junior says: “Purray Sho-rez,” reading the cover in impressive Reception class fashion. She gets into its liquid groove and her mum, catching the tail end of it, asks for it to be put on again.

Best bit: As the middle eight slides back into the melting chorus.

[12] Madonna, ‘Beautiful Stranger’


Ooh, a William Orbit production without those bap-bap-bap echoey synth noises and heavily treated guitar. Sorry, there’s the heavily treated guitar now. As one of the Austin Powers themes, it’s meant to have a 60s psychedelic feel and, 10 years on from ‘Dear Jessie’, Madge has clocked that this doesn’t have to mean pink elephants, paisley patterns and newspaper taxis. The spiralling tune, flutes and whizzy effects can cover all that without any feeble “Oh man, look at the COLOURS” tosh.

To think I put 11 singles higher than this. It’s a seriously infectious pop hip-swinger, one of the year’s more obvious stand-outs. Junior takes a while to cotton onto this too, starting off vexed because I wiped her nose, but she’s wiggling her padded behind before long. Even she’s beginning to realise that the musclebound old girl’s put in a handy 20-year innings.

Still to come: three American female soloists, an all-girl band, a Strepsils-avoiding pretend British blues band, the Saviours Of Dance Music (for a bit), a bunch of hairy septics, a not-so-hairy septic with a made-up band, a guest spot from Kelis, some faceless lounge noodlers and, er, Moloko.

Don’t go away.