Looking at today’s cumulative scoreboard, we find the Teens – who led the pack for the first two rounds – continuing their gradual slide down the rankings. The Eighties are beginning to look unassailable, the Seventies could be irredeemable… but, as ever on Which Decade, ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN.

Cumulative scores so far:
1(1) The Eighties – 24.19 points.
2(2) The Nineties – 22.54 points.
3(4) The Noughties – 20.54 points.
4(3) The Teens – 20.35 points.
5(5) The Sixties – 20.18 points.
6(6) The Seventies – 18.89 points.

Now let’s open the traps, and bid a cordial welcome to our plucky Number Fours.

1960: The King Brothers – Standing On The Corner (Spotify)
(video: same song, different group) (video: same group, different song)
1970: Frijid Pink – House Of The Rising Sun (video)
1980: Blondie – Call Me (video) (Tom’s post on Popular)
1990: Adamski – Killer (video)
2000: The Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch (video)
2010: Pendulum – Watercolour (video)

(Download the MP3)

For the first time this year, I regret to say that YouTube has let us down. For while there’s footage of Essex’s King Brothers (Michael! Denis! Tony!), and similarly arranged US TV footage of the 1956 Broadway show tune which they covered for the UK market, there are – WACK WACK OOPS – “no results” for the two combined. If you have Spotify, then you’re in luck – but otherwise, you’ll have to mentally conflate the two videos, and make what you can of the snippet on the MP3 medley.

I have a dim and distant memory of “Standing On The Corner”, which must have been staple fare on the Light Programme of my early childhood. Perhaps it was played at Sunday lunchtimes on Two-Way Family Favourites; perhaps the Cliff Adams Singers covered it on their nightmarish, never-ending, youth-sapping Sing Something Simple, while I was waiting for Alan Freeman’s Pick Of The Pops countdown; or perhaps it featured on TV light entertainment specials of the day (a Young Generation routine is already forming in my mind).

It could be a false memory, but I suspect that this song evoked some faint, formative homoerotic stirrings. A group of lusty lads in their nattiest gear – maybe with arms carelessly draped across each others’ shoulders – acknowledging their shared but unfulfilled desires? TOTALLY HOT. Hey, it didn’t take much.

These days, the dinky arrangement puts me more in mind of Jack Douglas and Bernard Bresslaw up a ladder, wolf-whistling at Barbara Windsor as she bats them away with a throaty giggle. NOT QUITE SO TOTALLY HOT. But packed with period charm, none the less. Your childhoods may vary. We can’t all be so kinky.

As regards Frijid Pink, whom I had assumed to be a dubious troupe of opportunistic pop approximators of “heavy” from Holland, it appears that I have been labouring under a long-held misapprehension. (I must have been confusing them with Shocking Blue, the original creators of “Venus”.) But as it transpires, their underground proto-punk garage rock credentials are impeccable. From Detroit! Hung out with the MC5 and The Stooges! Who knew!

Perhaps I’ve been blindsided by my acute allergy to “House Of The Rising Sun” – a song that brings me out in hives, in any version. I’m not going to venture a rational justification, but I’ll be interested to see whether my allergy is shared.

Almost all of you are bound to score it highly, but Blondie‘s fourth Number One has never been one of my favourites. For me, this was the point where they lost touch with a lot of what made them lovable – the ramshackle charity shop anti-glamour, the unforced sexiness – in favour of an icily efficient superstar remoteness, purged of wit and heart, signifying the peak of their imperial phase but also perhaps hastening its end.

Blondie and Moroder are an unsatisfying mix here (although Moroder redeemed himself over twenty years later with his addictive-at-the-time remix of “Good Boys”), but perhaps it’s Paul Schrader’s bleakly glossy American Gigolo – for which “Call Me” is perfectly suited as a theme tune, it has to be said – which should shoulder much of the blame, if only for heightening my sense of fearful alienation.

Fearful? Oh, yes indeed. At the age of eighteen, seeing him for the very first time in Schrader’s movie, I thought that Richard Gere was the most sensuously beautiful creature that ever walked the face of the earth – but impossibly, inaccessibly, unlovably, heartbreakingly so. I worshipped his flawless Armani-wrapped ultra-glamour, but feared the territory that went with it, naively taking Schrader’s cruel take on the high life at face value. To say nothing of the scenes shot in a gay club, whose patrons seemed terrifyingly sexualised – but also isolated, desperate, miserable, unable to connect. I had yet to visit a gay club. This put me right off trying.

So, ahum, yeah, that’s why I don’t much care for “Call Me”. If The King Brothers gave me the horn, then perhaps all that Debbie and Richard had to offer was the harsh twang of (failed) aversion therapy.

As with “The Power” before it, we had better move swiftly past Adamski‘s “Killer”, as its time on Popular is not too far away. In the context of the tale I have just told, it works rather well as a successor to “Call Me” – casting Seal as a benevolent interventionist deity, coaxing lonely souls back towards the light. In this context, you could view the uplifting rush of the beepity-beep-introed toytown-piano/doggie-say-bow-wow section (yeah, that bit) as the track’s key transitonal point: its lift-up-thy-bed-and-rave moment, if you will.

Enough for now: it’s time to break with the cover-art pinkness (had you noticed?) and head for something altogether…

bluer, as we eagerly rub ourselves up against the Bloodhound Gang‘s defining work. Loathe as I am to confer too many critical bouquets upon a band whose songbook includes the likes of “Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny”, “I Wish I Was Queer So I Could Get Chicks” (*) and “A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When the Stripper Is Crying”, taken from albums such as Use Your Fingers and Hooray For Boobies, I have to give them this much: “The Bad Touch” is, to every last devilish detail of its immaculate construction, bloody great.

For if frat boy culture has gifted us nothing else (and I’m struggling to come up with examples… Jackass? Limp Fucking Bizkit?), then let the faggoty-ass Kon Kan-ripping magnificence of “The Bad Touch” stand as its towering contribution to the sum of human happiness. From 1960’s “I’m the cat that got the cream” to 2000’s “Do it doggy style so we can both watch X-Files” … how far, how very far have we progressed.

(*) Actually, that one’s almost quite funny. Hyurk.

Aargh crap, it’s bloody Pendulum. I’ve been dreading this one.

OK, let’s start here. Essentially, I’m all in favour of bands who steadily accrue commercial success on the back of their live reputation, blindsiding the more shut-in elements of the critical consensus along the way. Muse and Kings Of Leon are two of the most prominent examples, and Pendulum aren’t so very far behind.

But having seen none of these acts live myself, I have to count myself amongst the blindsidees – and this has a lot to do with why I struggle to get a purchase of Pendulum, on the rare occasions where I’ve been forced to assume a position on them.

(Oh, don’t. Well, do if you like. It’s been that kind of round. Thank God for the F in Frijid, or we’d be here all night.)

Because while I can picture “Watercolour” being an absolute stormer in a live situation – look, I’ve seen Hadouken!, I have context for these things – in the comfort of my lovely home, its tinny emo-and-bass clatter deflects off me like… like… like debris from a pea-shooter, fired at a slumbering giant. (Too barmy? Ah, let it stand.)

“Watercolour” is also a late example of a once common phenomenon: the fan-fuelled high new entry, which sinks after the first week. (In this case, from 4 to 9 to 22.) A statistical blip, rather than a “real” hit. And that, my chickens, is just about all I can think to say about it. Shall we proceed to the scoring? Over to you, then.