[1] LCD Soundsystem, ‘All My Friends’

LCD Soundsystem, ‘All My Friends’

The single of the millennium – sorry, Scissor Sisters, you had a good innings – is a fantastic achievement from a man at the very peak of his game. I’ve already mentioned this year’s Sound Of Silver, which snaffles the album rosette, but this is the dizzy high point of the set. A sensitive appraisal of a life in motion, ‘All My Friends’ is unsentimental but touching and universal.
It’s difficult to pinpoint. To these ears it’s a glorious amalgam of New Order’s ‘Love Vigilantes’ and ‘Run’, Talking Heads’ ‘Once in A Lifetime’ and David Bowie’s ‘Young Americans’ – and as wonderful as that suggests, but it’s no copy. It’s a stunning original, a would-be seminal track if it was possible to follow it.
To unending layers of piano, bass, guitar and bags of atmosphere, James Murphy sings of running with the pack, but always coming back to what counts – your friends. Aww. But, as I say, it’s not sentimental. It’s resigned, but happy. Wistful and celebratory.
You’d think loving this track was the sole preserve of the thirtysomething, but Junior has adored it all year. As ever, she mimes along with the woodpecker piano of the intro, more frenzied as it works itself up, and sings the last word of each line like one of those people who always finish your sentences. Only she does it in a cute way. That’s a deft move.

[2] Cornershop, ‘Brimful Of Asha’

Not the crazee Norman Cook remix and its forced jollity and helium vocals. This is the real deal, one of the cutest 45s in years. No other record has so successfully married a tribute to Asha Bhosle and a paean to the 7” single. God knows many have tried.

Junior takes the opportunity, as Marc Bolan – an obvious Cornershop influence – once sang, to “ride a green, blue and red snail like the people of the Beltane”. It’s a rocking horse, in the form of a snail. You know the sort of thing. Before saddling up, she was boogieing along and wondering if this really could be the same band that got caught up in all that Riot Grrl nonsense. Damn the NME. They know how to brand a band.

I was surprised to clock that this is five minutes long. It’s so concise and trim, with just enough embellishment in the strings and handclaps, that you think it’s the classic three-minute pop song. Tjinder Singh also ticks another of my favourite boxes by trying the ‘Young Americans’ trick of fitting too many words in each line. He succeeds where many a Manic Street Preacher has failed.

God. It should be No.1. It’s just that the next song ate rock music, spat it out and ruined its own makers.

Talking Heads, ‘Once In A Lifetime’

At some stage, scrabbling around for a theme, we were going to do Jukebox Junior’s Top 10 Greatest Singles Of All Time but, what with ‘Young Americans’ already gone and now this, I’m throwing them away cheaply. This would be Number Four. Probably.

Also, I should’ve done this on a day that Junior was wearing oversized clothes with huge shoulders – not an uncommon occurrence – and not when she’s in her just-right denim dress. All in all, I’ve made a right pig’s ear of it. Junior’s not quasi-autistic like her dad, fortunately, so she couldn’t give two hoots about the circumstances. She’s right there with David Byrne’s nervy, scratchy paranoid funk twitches, even clapping at “there is water at the bottom of the ocean”. She finds the sublime in the ridiculous.

This is so far ahead of its time, I’m surprised it wasn’t drowned as a witch. Music caught up 10 years later when rock bands found dance elements to their music and Paul Oakenfold got rich. Talking Heads never needed help.

David Bowie, ‘Young Americans’

I was 19 when I decided that ‘Young Americans’ was my second favourite single of all time. I’d say it’s settled somewhere between five and nine now, and it still makes me feel like I’m the coolest catwalk model in south west London when I listen to it. Junior has no concept of cool, despite her natty pink Biggles hat and snow white woolly hoodie, but she understood the record the moment it started. The drums kicked, the piano and saxophone rolled by and she was right on the button joining the late, great Luther Vandross on backing vocals. She seemed to get a touch scared towards the end, possibly wondering what could make someone “break down and cry” apart from an unscheduled delay to the next feed. Maybe that haunted Dave as well.

I think she liked the barrel load of words streaming out. I think that’s what grabbed me back then when I was seeing that great pop didn’t have to be verse-chorus-verse-chorus-middle eight-chorus. The song fits that loosely, I suppose, but Bowie saw how much more fun there could be in the “ad lib to fade”. When I was 11, my friend Neil and I used to laugh at Tom Robinson’s ‘War Baby’, scoffing at him trying to shoehorn as many words as possible into each line. We thought his scansion was rubbish, or that he was holding the wrong lyric sheet.

Sorry Tom.