Tom’s Top Twelve!

Lizard power! Slight change of format as instead of just a list I’ll make a stab at mentioning when and why these tracks struck me this week. New stuff first – Mad Anju‘s “Cellular Minutes” is surely gabba/net’s greatest hit this month. dry chatting and a really springy riddim I’d not heard before and the song is a lengthy complaint about cheapskate mates who don’t top up their phones! It buzzes with authentic irritability. Also from gabba, Sean Kosa‘s “I Am Me” is OK elektro-rap massively enlivened by a surprisingly dirty 2-step beat.

In the pop charts we have Kelly Osbourne (which has been around for ages yes) who has totally mastered on “Shut Up” the semi-conversational talk-back style that’s been a foundation of zippy girlpop since the Shangri-Las. Junior Senior you have probably heard a thousand times to my one – it’s an enthusiastic patchwork which weirdly reminds me of the awesome Disco Tex and the Sex-O-Lettes (whose “Get Dancing” you can consider a bonus entry here). Chartpop past is represented by Wham!, the accidental soundtrack to long hours at the PlayStation 2. “Everything She Wants” gets the nod because of the great – and well-taken – “If my best isn’t good enough / How can it be good enough for two?” line.

In a sentimental moment I reached for my Triffids Best-Of. “The Seabirds” is a good example of their knotty, fretful, attractions. Dexy’s are a perennial here: this week I was beating myself up a bit over my general inertia and “Keep It” was of course the soundtrack of choice (and it worked – I had a productive and intriguing weekend). The Monochrome Set CD I found in a long-forgotten box: mostly they’re rather too droll for my liking but “Jet Set Junta” is a perfect pearl of malice and ages better by the year.

In the same box was an old hip-hop collection from ’94, cherrypicking hits and critical picks from the post-Chronic years when rappers were adjusting to the newfound possibilities of megabux. Craig Mack‘s “Flava In Ya Ear” matches screw-loose flow to prescient beats and was a highlight of a wonderful rediscovery. I’m not sure how much I like a lot of the tracks on The Roots album but “Water” mixes ambition and funkiness and comes good on the several ideas it’s playing with. Rounding things off we have The Grid from the days when corny chill-out was less ubiquitous and seemed like a really great idea – and “Flotation” still does seem like a really great idea, maximum simplicity and prettiness, what’s wrong with that? And Colourbox because it’s been in my head all morning and the combination of superprimitive machine beats and foghorn soul vocals is still very arresting.

(Extra bit of NYLPM business – welcome Jody Beth Rosen to the writing team!)