Tom’s Top 12: with marriage impending my life has become (surprise!) a bit hectic, so less time to think about or write about pop music. A quick rundown of the sidebar tunes, then:

BUSTED – “Crashed The Wedding”: But of course. Busted have totally revitalised the idea of “guitar pop” for me with their realisation that the noise Sum 41 etc. make is a lot better if nobody involved is pretending to have anything remotely to do with punk. Either that or they’re a good power-pop band, but that would require some kind of cosmic taste realignment on my part so I’m not admitting it. “Crashed The Wedding” is their fastest single yet, and if the chorus isn’t quite as sticky as “Year 3000” the sirens and the riff make it a total winner.

DAVID BOWIE – “Speed Of Life”: I re-bought my long-lost Low and I like it more than ever, particularly the first side of compacted plastic worry-pop. The crystalline guitars on “Speed Of Life” sound absolutely gorgeous and I love the way they see-saw around like demented weebles. Currently the best pop instrumental ever.

SUGABABES – “Whatever Makes You Happy”: The seam Bowie hit leads us to the fake-out sounds of the Buggles, and when fake-pop met fake-funk you got Duran Duran, and now Sugababes have arced round in the reverse direction, ditching any funk from their sound and coming up with an 80s-tinted plastic pop killer which on Friday night made a pub rise as one and cry “Sly Fox!”. It’s also got proper Deep Lyrics like “You’re telling me your definition of a pop star – give a smile as you cover up your heart”. If this isn’t the next single I will be very sad – luckily it’s Track 2 on the album so the omens are good!

NEW ORDER – “All The Way”: New Order’s guitar bits always sound really glossy in a kind of airbrushed-robot way, but so crunchy and satisfying too. When I try to remember how this track goes and don’t have the album handy I always end up with “Run” instead but that’s terrific too, and has the line “You don’t get a tan like this for nothing” which should put an end once and for all to all those Barney The Bad Lyricist slurs, please.

BASEMENT JAXX – “If I Ever Recover”: having caned the obvious Kish Kash traks to bits it was a pleasure to buy the CD and rediscover the slow ones, like this fathomless break-up drift.

MARTIKA – “Toy Soldiers”: thanks to a mention by Jerry The Nipper I downloaded this Madonna-clone classic. Ripping off Madonna is a risky business but borrowing from the melodramatic “Live To Tell” period was a good move – “Toy Soldiers” is manipulative, teetering, bosom-heaving entertainment from start to end.

The other six later!