Tom’s Top Ten: In a break from tradition I’m actually writing something about them.

MS DYNAMITE – “Dy-Na-Mi-Tee”
Heard this first on kids’ TV and didn’t quite believe it – too snakey, too sultry, too self-absorbed for a Sunday morning and Vernon bloody Kay. So where should I have heard it? A cafe in some magic other London, late on a Summer night, a melody reaching you through the murmur and smoke, a woman singing to herself in the back room. She knows you’re there; she never catches your eye. Single of every evening from now until October.

CARTER USM – “The Only Living Boy In New Cross”

Taking sides: “the greboes, the crusties, and the freaks / the good the bad the average and unique” versus “alcoholics, child molesters, nervous wrecks and prima donnas / jilted lovers, office clerks, petty thieves, hard drug pursuers”. A-ha, trick question! The point is you don’t ‘take sides’. Dexy’s songs are oceans better, and braver too, but inclusivity is too rarely celebrated in pop to kick Carter aside. And besides I love how folksy and rudimentary Carter were – nobody else has ever sounded quite like them.

LADY STUSH – “Dollar Sign”
Probably the most delirious high-register duelling since Janet Kaye took on her own larynx in “Silly Game”. Irresistible patois bubble’n’squeak.

GENERAL LEVY – “Taliban Slam”
Unfortunately not a state-of-the-world comment like Elephant Man’s “The Bombing” (summary: 9/11 bad news for weed smugglers) though Levy does get to pronounce Bin Laden “Bin Lya-dun” and makes a hearty meal of it. The riddim is tough, but springy and melodic too – hot weather music with a nihilist tang.

THE BEATLES – “For No One”
So, I finally bought a Beatles album. “For No One” is the best track on the patchy Revolver, McCartney’s singing on it a measured miracle (I could lose a day in those vowels). Why did everyone rip off Lennon’s throaty yowlings and ignore McCartney’s proud, stiff-backed regionalism?

ABBA – “Should I Laugh Or Cry”
Super Trouper era B-Side which I’d not paid much attention to until the other week when I suddenly realised how cruel it is: a woman’s mind’s-eye picture of her pompous, useless lover and the pathetic life he’s locked her into. The tune is also excellent, obviously.

Rump-appreciation pop of the finest vintage from this UK crew. Understated, lip-smacking arse adoration. (If Robert Crumb was a British hip-hop artist…)

FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD – “Two Tribes (Carnage)”
Somewhere in my memory banks (or in my imagination) drifts an ultimate mix of “Two Tribes”, with all the best samples, the best builds, the blackest jokes – and of course the disco-pocalyptic nugget of the ‘song’ itself. It may exist- it should exist – but this will do.

MORRISSEY – “Late Night, Maudlin Street”
Inspired by a Pinefox thread on ILM, an attempt I assume to give this long, reflective song some of its due. I wasn’t very impressed by it in 1988, but now I think I might have been silly. Stuffed with good lines and good jokes, and even if it wasn’t Vini Reilly’s piano would net it a place on this list.