The only recent PSB tracks I really like are the ones which cast Neil Tennant as a spectre at the celebrity feast; too old, too wise, cursed to observe. ‘Flamboyant’ is one of these — a darker cousin to ‘Shameless’ with the greedy pop joy replaced by a pulsing electro undertow. It has something of the bitterness of ’99 B-Side ‘The Ghost Of Myself’, too — the late Pet Shop song I reckon, download it right now! Maybe it’s just Neil’s voice but there’s an enormous sadness behind so much of their music and it makes their unambiguous love songs hard to credit: ‘Flamboyant’ is so good because you’re never sure how the singer feels about his target: a friend? A lover? A mirror?

44. OUTKAST — ‘Ghetto Musick’

So many of my favourite tracks this year have buzzing or droning synths on but rarely as queasily or nastily as they’re used here. ‘Hey Ya!’ is a fine record but I knew Outkast could make good pop songs — I wasn’t prepared for them sounding this uneasy, though. At first it seemed a mess — my first few listens were just rubbernecking — until I heard it loud in a club and it worked. ‘Ghetto Musick’ crackles with stress that the sickly, insincere slow intervals never resolve: I’m not sure I could take a whole album of this but I might like it more than the two I got.
ALSO: ‘Hey Ya’; ‘The Rooster’; ‘Church’

43. LUMIDEE — ‘Never Leave You (Uh Oh)

I think I’ve nicked this idea from someone else but I like this so much because it sounds incredibly private, like a secret recording of a girl singing to herself. The Diwali underpin gives it a spacey, slightly off quality that suddenly reminds me of the DNA remix of ‘Tom’s Diner’. You’re laughing now so I’ll stop. PS Lumidee is hott too.


I’m not sure how odd or embarrassing this track sounds to somebody who isn’t at least a little bit in awe of Kevin Rowland. In the starkest terms it’s a string-laced Northern Soul stomper based around a call-and-response between Rowland (hardly singing) and his band. Except Rowland sounds like he’s reading his notes from a therapy session (‘I tried to love recently. I found I’m sick emotionally.’) even as the song rises to its many redemptive, grin-bringing peaks. But I hope it’s more than nostalgia or respect that makes me love the song. Rowland is 100% committed, as ever. I wonder if the reason I will follow him and not any of the other guys who mean it just as much is that Dexy’s have always worked on a principle that the most truthful singing has to be matched with the most joyful pop. I have no idea, really. But when the band sings ‘Are you always feeling guilty?’ and Kevin quickly just says ‘Yes.’ I tremble.

41. MYA — ‘My Love Is Like…Wo’

For ages I thought this was some kind of kiss-off song because the only thing I could remember was the ‘My ass is like — wo / And you’re kissing it’ bit. Most of my liking for it is based on that, frankly, and the chorus still sounds ten times fiercer than the rather floaty verses, but as a gimmick, as a hook, as a bit of craft (that singover on the final chorus!) and as a piece of frill-free modern R&B this is impeccable.