The next few years are my ‘lost’ ones – like a demographic cliche, I turned 40 and began steadily to lose touch with contemporary music, pop or otherwise. By mid-decade I was caring less about current music than at any point since 1997, the summer I gave up on Britpop as a ghastly error and spent a year wolfing down old soul compilations. Back in the mid-00s some contemporary things broke through, some I picked up later – but these are also years I’ve not really revisited since getting back into music in a big way from 2017 on. Here be randomness, in other words.

PET SHOP BOYS – “Love Is A Bourgeois Construct”: A lot of Pet Shop Boys tunes from the 21st century are revisiting past glories one way or another – this one puts a fresh spin on their maximal-camp Very era sound, pumping toytown synths and male voice choirs, allied to a lift from Michael Nyman (himself swiping from Purcell). I love that these old pop stars are willing to sound this absurd. YES.

DANNY BROWN – “Grown Up”: I mentioned to a sceptical friend once I was enjoying a new Danny Brown album – “is he doing the Danny Brown voice?” he replied. So yes, Danny Brown sounds like an aggrieved duck, I love that about him, you may well not. This sounds like almost nothing else he’s done – a one-off track with a 90s golden age rap sound – and immediately became a favourite. YES.

MILEY CYRUS – “We Can’t Stop”: Overshadowed by “Wrecking Ball” and considered somewhat cringe by critics at the time – by the end it was clear Miley was a more interesting proposition than she’d maybe seemed, and “We Can’t Stop” stood out as a great, bittersweet tune about the woozy messiness of partying. NO.

CHARISMA.COM – “HATE”: I heard this J-pop rap tune a few years later, when I complimented a later single on Facebook and someone said just wait until you hear “HATE”. Probably the cutest and catchiest a song called “HATE” can sound without losing the sense that it could shank you without a second thought. Watch out enemy! YES.

PITBULL ft KE$HA: Extremely problematic on a number of levels, the least of which is that it’s Pitbull doing the naffest lumberjack rock this side of Rednex. As incredibly stupid but extremely catchy 10s songs go, though, it smokes anything by Guetta. OK, maybe that’s not saying much. NO.

CHVRCHES – “The Mother We Share”: Loved this at the time, I think diminishing returns set in with CHVRCHES pretty rapidly but this still has a really banging chorus and some very tasty synth sounds. I do think it’s important to have something for consideration which does that backing-vocal “oh oh oh” chanting that was all over pop around this time, even if it all does sound like Red Box. NO.

TEGAN AND SARA – “Closer”: Very much a similar proposition to the CHVRCHES track – nice synths, monster chorus – but it’s funnier and simpler: like Taylor Swift around this time, I think you can tell it’s the work of women who’ve written a ton of stuff and know exactly what they need to do in “making a massive pop song”. YES.

DUKE DUMONT – “Need U (100%)”: I want to say I was glad this deep housey stuff was still being made, but of course people will still be making deep house records when the sun is an ember. I mean, it’s great that such a good example of this stuff was still doing so well. NO.

LAURA MVULA – “Green Garden”: There’s something alluring about all the ingredients here – those heavily chorused backing vox, the way the beat comes in so confidently, that chiming piano riff. The only weak spot for me now is Mvula’s voice, which has that staginess that a lot of Brit-soul has. Even so, really imaginative. NO.

FACTORY FLOOR – “Fall Back”: Kind of an appendix to the long-ass dance tracks, coming from a very different tradition – scary proto-industrial overheated synths. I love this, but I honestly don’t think I could listen to it that often – it’s too intrusive to be properly hypnotic. Which will probably rule it out from a slot in the final 50. NO.

Next I’ll try and cover 2014 and 2015 together, as I have to get this series finished before the actual #FearOfMu21c challenge kicks off on Sunday week!