Shaggy feat. Grand Puba – Why you treat me So Bad?

Release Date: Jan 96
Chart Position: 11

Reggae’s US cousin from the late Sevs to present day is naturally hip-hop, and both share many of the same characteristics. DJ’s selecting dubplates, MCs controlling the flow, Reuse and rebirth of music through sampling and versioning. Many of the key players of the scenes have dipped their toes in both genres – one of my favourite tunes of the last few years As We Enter by Damian Marley and Nas highlights how great this hybrid can be.
We’ve seen a lot of hip-hop/swingbeat crossover tunes on the Neggae Hot 90 – but no full on, blunted, buckwilin’ hip-hop. We do now, and it’s a F@CKIN treat of a tune.
Mid-90s hip-hop was dominated by Gantsta Rap or G-Funk from the West Coast scene, with the likes of Dre, Snoop and Warren G raiding the P-Funk back catalogue and chronicling the mean hoods of Compton over laid back grooves.

Compton (Surrey)

On the East Coast, the response was a similarly relaxed offering called Boom-Bap. Protagonist DJs such as Pete Rock and J Dilla eschewed the perhaps more obvious 70s Electro P-Funk samples for noodly Jazz and Funk riffs, all layered over heavily compressed,  yet natural sounding drums. The rolling sound produced a beautiful, head-nodding response – and the sound became known as Boom-Bap. Grand Puba and his group Brand Nubian were key players in the genre – so it is no surprise (and a beautiful thing) that the Boom Bap sound shows up on the Neggae Hot 90.
THIS IS A FANTASTIC POP RECORD. And who do we have to thank for the nagging keyboard line that drives the song along? Sir Bob Marley, that’s who. Robert Livingson, Shaggy’s go to producer has pulled the rabbit out of the hat by layering Boom-Bap beats over the beautifully wonky Mr Brown keyboard line (one of Bob’s earliest and lesser know tunes). And from there it just gets better. The female vocals are beautifully poised, and call to mind the close-knit female harmonies of 40s jump blues outfits like the Andrew Sisters.
Shaggy toasts with typical verbosity and invention. When all is said and done on this blog, I will look upon Shaggy in a different light. My view of him was somewhat tainted by his noughties efforts like It wasn’t Me and him titting about on Ali G’s cash-in – but everyone deserves a paycheque I guess. EVERY entry of his on this chart has been a delight, and for me he is a worthy runner-up behind the masters Chaka Demus and Pliers.
Grand Puba’s noncheloquent (made-up a new word there) spittin’ is sublime – this is easily the best rapping on the Neggae Hot 90. And hats off to the producer Robert Livingstone for bringing all these seemingly disparate elements together in va beautiful Casserole of groove.
As for the video, well it’s no Virtual Insanity but does the job perfectly. It is a typical mid-to-late 90s MTV staple; beautiful looking 20 year olds of all sexes and races getting down in riot of colour and noise. It was almost as if video producers knew that on a Sunday afternoon in the teenagers all over the UK would be melting into their collective sofas in somnumbulant bliss (after returning from the Spar with more kingsize rizlas, strawberry Yop and curl-wurlies.)
Score: 8 out of 10. Well done Orville.
Shaggy+-+Why+You+Treat+Me+So+Bad+-+12-+RECORD_MAXI+SINGLE-196408 (1)

I hate to say this but I think Shaggy has got this all wrong. In terms of a misjudgement of mood and audience it’s up there with Vincent Synan telling a Gabrielle joke to a one eyed man outside Wetherspoons. In fact you can see a similar change in facial expressions half way through the track to Vince that night when he realised mid way through ‘am I really telling this joke? Keep going it will be OK, Jonny’s here and he’ll soften the blow somehow.’ Well neither the joke or the track are OK and my reaction to both was to simply pretend it’s not happening and look in a different direction.
I’m going to take a punt at this, but I don’t think that they are really in that slightly seedy under section of the Brooklyn Bridge. Which begs the question; if you have the means to superimpose any background, of all the locations in the world why there? Why not stick to the neg blueprint? Beaches, booty, fruit punch, sunshine? It’s all there for the taking, but no, let’s use an autumnal New York Bridge, not the good bit where you get nice views, the shit bit where all the crack addicts hang out! Another massive error from the Shaggy and Pube boy!
Now thankfully Shaggy still has a few entries left in the hot list , I would hate for this to be our last meeting.
On a more positive note we are now 90% of the way through this with only 9 more tracks to cover. Which by my reckoning means that on the 1st of August we will be done and will all be celebrating in a similar style to someone who has been released from prison. We’ll get planning, but hope to see you all at the closing party!
Score: Shaggy why did you get it so badly wrong? 4/10 from me.


James BC
‘m a bit disappointed to find out that Shaggy had minor hits. I thought he was a serial one-hit wonder, popping up every few years with a tune of jaw-dropping perfection and staying completely off the grid in between. Seems I was wrong because this is definitely minor. If Oh Carolina was Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Boombastic was the Starry Night, Why You Treat Me So Bad is that picture of a chair.
Shaggy’s voice and flow are as good as ever, of course. I’m less sold on Grand Puba: he provides the track’s most memorable moment with the “Ain’t no honey fly enough, ain’t no booty fat enough” bit, but for the rest of the time he’s reminiscent of late 90s rap’s human filler machine Ma$e.
Filler is the word, really. There’s nothing to object to in the groove, or the chorus, or the verses, but nothing much stands out either. It’s a shame everyone in the video is having a whale of a time, taking CJ Lewis’s original concept of berking about in an underpass to the next level. But I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this as much as they did.
Score: 5 out of 10

Been a bad week, had a three day headache from an unwitting suicide attempt by alcohol poisoning over the bank holiday and have chronic back pain, but the meds aren’t bad, Naproxen mmmmmm. Fortunately to drag me out of this body decaying induced funk we’ve got Shaggy (my favourite solo Neggaeist) and former Brand Nubian Grand Puba who was responsible for Golden Age classics such as this, this and also delved into Acid Jazz with this. I’ve a confession to make, although I’m now a fully-fledged disciple of the church of Neggae my first love was Hip-Hop. This culminated in the biggest hip hop night of the Boom-bap era at Addlestone Community Centre, which sticks in my mind for a number of reasons;

  • People from Addlestone threatening to stab people from Chertsey and Byfleet and vice versa, looking back I think these were idle threats but when you’re fourteen it was totes ghetto;
  • My girlfriend going off with the local nutter, 5 years older than me and turns up in a leather jacket and stonewash jeans whilst I’m popping fresh styles in my NY Yankees polo neck and baseball top combo paired with Jordan IVs, and I lose my bird to some old f*cker dressed like a gyppo Michael Knight, great;
  • The night culminating with my mate Franks landing a helicopter, which had flown from Amsterdam, on the community centre roof and stepping out bedecked in full Adidas tracksuit and accompanied by Run DMC! Oh no, actually that was a lie he told to ingratiate himself with the riff raff when he switched from a prominent private school to our New Haw comprehensive. What a chief.

Anyway that’s enough of the whimsical walk down memory lane, or Addlestone High Street as it’s more commonly known, I’ll get on with reviewing the song. The intro sees Puba and Shaggy competing for plaudits which is no bad thing as the England squad with Shilton and Clemence proved. Then the production kicks in which could be a bone of contention with other elders question it’s Neggae authenticity. I’m going to say yes because it samples this mighty bassline from the man who made Neggae possible, Bob Marley. The beat is classic golden era hip hop fare as is the production generally, I don’t know who produced this but if Pete Rock tried his hand at a bit of Neggae I don’t think the results would be too dis-similar. There’s a nice vocal hook in the chorus and combined with Shaggy’s consistently excellent toasting and Puba’s exceptional flow it marries hip-hop and Neggae perfectly.
Lyrically it’s not an original theme as Shaggy and Puba bemoan the fact that women can be prone to riding roughshod over their man’s feelings. Well lads the simple answer is because they f*cking can (re:  second bullet point above). The best thing to do is not over analyse and just move on with no bitterness and not write about it in a Neggae blog 24 years later.  The video was shot by the canal under the M25 Bridge on the Byfleet/New Haw border. Now I spent a fair bit of my childhood knocking around there and this is not an accurate reflection of what it was like, there weren’t multitudes of models hanging around dancing but instead the odd dead rat, yet another example of hip-hop glamourising ghetto life.
Although this might not be the most authentic Neggae track we’ve had it’s like Mozart compared to a lot of the dross I’ve had to sit through, so for that reason I’m giving it 8/10.



Pato Banton ft Sting – Spirits in a Material World

Release Date: Jan 96
Chart Position: 36

James BC
Neggae’s Mister Nice Guy Pato Banton is back and this time he’s abandoned the fun larks in favour of a moody, atmospheric skank through a Police song. Sting wasn’t particulary busy so he’s along for the ride as well, furthering his and Pato’s weird relationship – at this point they are neggae’s second most prolific duo after Chaka Demus and Pliers.
First the negatives: the song is not one of the Police’s best, the verses being obvious half-baked gubbins and the chorus being Sting’s usual trick of repeating the same line over and over again. Sting at times seems to be doing a Typically Tropical accent rather unbecoming of the saviour of the rain forests and future Julio Iglesias collaborator. And there’s the perennial problem of Pato’s flow. I like “Mr P-A-T-O Banton” (just “Pato Banton” would have fit the song better) as much as anyone but puppyish likeability can only take you so far and I do wonder if he might have been better just doing his 14 lines on Baby Come Back and calling it a day.
On the plus side, though, whoever produced this has done a bang-up job turning unpromising materials into, if not gold, solid neggae bronze at least. If there’s one thing that Shaggy, Suggs and the gang have failed to show us so far it’s the dubby, reflective side of reggae and this song goes some way to setting that right. It’s beautifully unhurried, giving the snaking synths and echoing drum fills time to breathe and getting inventive with those operatic backing vox drifting in and out. The engineer has done a particularly fine job going to town on Pato’s rap, adding enough interest in the background to create the illusion of competence if you don’t listen too closely.
Caution: also in circulation is this terrible version, which only goes to show what a crucial role the production plays here.
How this song was appropriate to Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls is beyond me. To be fair I haven’t actually seen the film so maybe there is a scene where the gargoyle faced hamster locator contemplates his position as a spiritually conscious being in opposition to the venal world around him. In fact, there almost certainly is, isn’t there, and just thinking about it makes me want to chuck down a zero and give up. But when considered outside Carrey’s malign orbit the song is pretty enjoyable. Once again we can thank the neggae era for giving Pato his moment in the spotlight so that we can all enjoy it (and posterity for largely forgetting about Ace Ventura).
Score: 6 out of 10

So after last weeks mental breakdown I thought I needed to pull myself together for this weeks effort. The standard backwards and forwards about which version we were covering did not help me in that quest. This expected non value added piece of complexity has become the norm in neg towers with elders seemingly trying to out do each other of their knowledge of various versions released on similar dates. Neg showboating is something I have come to expect, but have little time for. So after the to-ing and fro-ing I was given the choice of a number of versions to listen to and of course I was going to go with the Ace Ventura version (later I found out that there was actually no difference and the neg muscle flexing was all just a load of shite, not even a video with either version).pato_banton_with_sting-spirits_in_the_material_world_s
The opening line is ‘Pato and Sting Touchdown again’ – oh what a joy! I think it could be very easy to give this a total panning, but that fact that I really like the original Police offering and this does not deviate too much from that original script, which was already quite horn heavy, gives it quite a soft landing with me. Actually as it goes on it is not straight forward to to see what Pato has added to the whole affair, until he arrives at about 2mins in with a bit of roasting, toasting and boasting and he does quite a nice job of it actually. Needless to say Sting sounds as good as he always does. As I said I liked the original track, but this version becomes a bit moody, which I don’t think works that well. It’s almost as if they are trying too hard to make it that way, I would have preferred Pato to lighted it all up somehow, which was clearly not on his agenda. The bit that I am confused about most though is recalling at what stage this appeared in Ace Ventura (When Nature Calls), I am not bothered enough to find it online, but it’s not an obvious scene that springs to mind. It must have been in a slightly reflective part of movie. Maybe that piece that inevitably appears in all Jim Carey movies when the jokes and funny voices and faces disappear for a minute and he realises he’s just a weirdo with no friends or family and all the jokes are covering up a pretty dark and harrowed individual who would sooner murder you, gut you, then have sex with you and consume your flesh over a long period of time than have any type of interaction with you. All successful serial killers were great at standup, we all know that! Anyway, lets wrap this up for another week, 6/10 from me.

So this time last Friday I attended the Southport Soul Festival, and was subjected to some of the finest music I have ever heard in my life. Mr Scruff’s set in particular was a masterclass of crate digging, and I urge all of you to go and see him soon if you like music like this, this and this.
So on returning I’ve been a little despondent – and if I I’m being honest rather disillusioned about the Neggae blog. When editor-in-chief Gouldy shouted at me because I was late with submitting this yesterday, I honestly thought about tossing it all in. But then I made him do loads of incremental xml testing on his birthday day off. I’m much happier now.
With hesitancy then I looked up this week’s song to review and thought “Great, it’s Paddy Bantz and that tosser from the Police. And the song appeared on that BBC1-at-11.35pm-on-a-Tuesday-night perennial Ace Ventura 2?! This is going to hurt.
Well, for the first time in my life I was completely wrong.
Spirits in a material world is a rework of an old Police song, and itself sounds like another old police song, “I can’t stand losing you” – the good news is they are all melancholy skanking beauties. The Neggae aspect of the rework lies in the fantastic modern day instrumentation, notably the 4/4 ‘Exodus style’ reggae stomp favoured by Dreadzone and the like a few years later. The reggae drum fills are digitally crisp, and psychedelic radio chat feedback drifts in and out in a style not dissimilar to Paul Weller’s go-to sounddesk monkey Brendan Lynch.
Jamiroquai’s clear production is also called to mind, with a lush bottom  end, excellent keyboard washes and flourishes and a nagging jazzy 808 wiggle throughout. Every so often a psychedelic Rotary Connection style operatic wail enters inna nu-Psyche stylee. Interesting to note this is a motif of top current psychonauts Amorphous Androgynous, who would not even have been a twinkle in the eye of their parent The Future Sound of London.
As for the vocals, well they don’t disappoint. Great soul-searching and portentous lyrics that stand up today as they did back in 1981. Sting’s voice is in fine fettle, and Pato’s toasting sets it all off beautifully – proving he can do the heavy stuff as well as his usual jockey cap berking.
We have been dished an absolute treat here – in fact if you want to here me mix this into the UK Garage remix of Brandi and Monica’s The Boy is Mine then come down the West Byfleet Albion end of season party at the Blue Anchor on Sunday 25th. Because these two down-low bangers are going to fit (to paraphrase Ace Ventura himself) ‘Like a Glove’.
Score: 9/10. Superb.

So this week should have been a good week, it was my birthday and I took Friday off. Imagine my surprise when at 9.15 on Friday morning I get a call from a tearful Vince;
‘Gouldy, please can you test this new version of the system today? If you don’t I’ll be exposed for the fraudulent huckster I am and will definitely lose my job, basically the future of this company depends on you, we need this ready to release by the end of the day.’
Never one to ignore a friend in tears, no matter how embarrassing and uncomfortable it is, I told him to blow his nose, stop the tears and I’d sort it for him. So after spending 8 hours working with last night’s Malbec threatening to make an appearance at any time he decides there’s no need to release after all (that may be the most middle class sentence ever to appear in the neggae blog). Frankly it’s poor business decisions like this that led us into the spiral of recession in the first place. With this in mind Paddy and Gordon had better pull something out the bag because I’m not really feeling the sunshine vibe.
I must say early signs aren’t good as initially the production sounds like it’s going in the direction of that cyber hippy sound which sound tracked the Matrix Reloaded Party Scene, winner of that year’s Oscar for ‘Most pointless and most obvious load of filler scene in a disappointing sequel’, although looking back now it’s a bit racier than I remember, movement. To my relief the bass line kicks in and we get the classic reggae drumroll and everything is irie. This is clearly a cover of the Police original which despite the title isn’t a homage to Stain Devil but a sociopolitical comment on how the modern world is no place for a spiritual lifestyle as it’s a cesspit of commercialism and corruption, a magnified Yates’s basically. The production, though unmistakably reggae, isn’t your standard neggae fare as it has a more dubby and paranoid feel to it, this is edgy neggae. I find this strange as it was recorded for the soundtrack of wacky comedy film ‘Ace Ventura- When Nature Calls’, whilst not having perfect recollection of this film I don’t remember the scene when Ace smoked some moody funk and spent 3 hours wandering round his living room avoiding space bats and cowering away from his own shadow. Overall the production’s good, some nice strings, driving reggae beats and even a bit of opera singing which is reminiscent of the Warren G classic ‘Prince Igor’.
Lyrically Sting repeats his lines from the original whilst Pato adds his plea for peace, unity and all that other good shit. The two compliment each other nicely and the earnest heart-felt message is effective, in fact it’s had a direct impact on my actions. I was going to set fire to the house next door as the prick living there refuses to do anything about the Japanese knotweed that’s encroached into my garden but now I’m just going to key his car and place a decapitated Crow’s head through his letter box with a threatening note which will have a Satanic and occult theme, Pato and Sting you’ve taught me  temperance and I’m eternally grateful for this.
Overall this is like going to see a film, expecting it to be shit and in fact it turns out to be great. 8/10

Neggae Score – 7.25

In other news I’d like congratulate Vince on his Eurovision win, below is an exclusive action shot from his rehearsal for the big night.



Suggs – The Tune

Release Date: Dec 95
Chart Position: 33

So testing times this week at Neggae Towers, with bust-ups, spats, tantrums, walkouts – but ultimately some  bold decision-making that is going to see us through the tough times we face ahead.
Frankly, morale is low – we’ve not had a decent tune in weeks and when you look out on the the Neggae Hot 90 horizon and all you can see is this tosser:alfordcokeIt gets you down. I know exactly how the lads feel.
But.. we’ve only got 11 weeks to go so if we can dig deep and plough through we can end this blog with a Crystal Palace-like flourish to give this beautiful genre the send off it deserves.
Before I get on with the music, a few of housekeeping points that need addressing. Firstly, we are very sad to see Chris ‘Norm’ Lamont bowing out from the Neggae blog. Inventor of the genre, spreader of Neggae through the American colonies, lover of Lilt and the Egg, Chris is taking some time out to spend it with his family, and we absolutely resect that. All the best Chris, we’ll have a pint of Red Stripe at the bar at the wrap party when we’re all out the other side of this.
This week we were initially to review the Orinoco Flow knock-off that is Somethin’ Stupid by Ali and Kibibi Campbell. By a flaw in the data retrieval process, this accidentally got added to the Neggae Hot 90. Well, after closer Quality Assurance control it transpires this is definitely not Neggae; it’s Holy Communion Party Karaokeggae. It doesn’t belong here. So to honour this genre and the brand of UB40 it’s therefore been managed out.
Finally, there’s been a few personal barbs made in Suggs’ direction recently that I believe have overstepped the mark into bullying of the ex-Nutty Boy. Some of the more powerful elders have I believe been exerting influence over the weaker judges, creating a frenzy not unlike the ending of Lord of the Flies. A meeting took place, and you’ll be glad to know that all views were taken on board, and a decision was reached – pretty much like this:

Readers of this blog can now expect much more measured reviews and complete agreement on all of this I’m sure from the other Elders’ reviews below.
On to the song..
The Tune was Suggs’ 1995 Yuletide effort with a fantastic ‘Blackadder Christmas Special’ style video complete with lashings of Fake Snow and Victoriana. Suggs’ hopes of capping his comeback year with an Xmas number one were unfortunately dashed as the song only reached 33, getting nowhere near Earth Song and ensuring that Michael Jackson slept with ease over the Christmas period (probably after bumming a child.)
“But is it any good Vince?”  I assume you ask in your inner monologue. Well, not really. Sounds like his last two – which all sound like the theme to the Coco Pops adverts. I like the skittering drums and the deft piano, but ultimately there’s nothing there. And it’s 3 minutes too long – with pointless instrumental bridges. The middle eight bizarrely recalls the melody from Chain Reaction by Diana Ross. Which is her worst song by the way.
The video’s good though – the time machine and the dressing up box and shit. I liked that.
Score: There’s a reason this doesn’t feature on ANY Xmas compilation albums. 2/10

Apparently this week we’re not allowed to let personal opinion enter the review of this song, which I thought was the whole point of a review? I’m still undecided whether Vince’s editorial edict is yet another attempt to enforce an Orwellian air of censorship over the blog or just him trying to get the song better marks because he likes it, either way that jive turkey can swivel, I’ll write what I want.
This week is the return of that odious spunk bubble Suggs who took time off trawling Soho pubs with his mum to pebbledash all over the Hot 90 (I do owe an apology to Suggs having recently referred to him as a Gooner, he is in fact Chelsea which is really endearing). The song is called ‘The Tune’(!) and starts off reasonably enough with a horn section, jaunty beat and sax it’s the neggae equivalent of a cockney drinking song. I can imagine Chas and Dave wearing Rasta wigs and covering this and it’d be alright, apart from maybe the wigs. Then Suggs joins in with his affected vocal style which is a particular bugbear of mine, he tries too hard. The equivalent of that bloke at work who tries to make a joke out of the most mundane comment;

‘Sorry I’ve had to pull out of that meeting as I’m too busy’
‘Pull out? Didn’t want to make the meeting pregnant eh? Geddit? Geddit?’
‘You are destined to die alone and crying in a bedsit surrounded by piles of used, crusty wanksocks’

You know the type. SUGGS The Tune 7 A
Lyrically the song is a bit of a nonsense, I think the gist of it is being at a party in a psychiatric ward and personally I’m with Nurse Rathcett on that idea. I think that’s the gist of the song anyway as Suggs seems to have played a bit of sentence roulette and chucked anything in there. The video is typical Suggs and by that I mean zany, zanier than Billy and Alex Zane riding space hoppers in Tanzania. We’ve got the lot

• Mugging to the camera;
• Sped up camera work;
• Literal acting out of the lyrics;
• Other assorted berks;
• People coming out a box.

I was pretty disappointed to see this bloke had sold out though, I’m assuming DVDs did for his career. Overall this isn’t his worst by a long stretch but I’ve seen the hot 90 and know there’s much, much worse to come.
I’m now about to send this to Vince for publication so fully expect it to appear like this:

redactorama-thumbScore: 4/10 – jog on you suggy c*nt

James BC
Revisionism strikes.
Up until lunchtime on Friday the next song to review was going to be Something Stupid by Ali and Kibibi Campbell (that’s his daughter, who couldn’t have been more than ten years old at the time). However Vince has now stricken that from the record on the grounds that it is not reggae enough, has no skank, and has no connection to neggae whatsoever except for the Campbell name, itself severely compromised by this point thanks to the Yeah Be Yeah debacle. It’s hard to argue with the decision but it does mean we’ll never know what the other elders think of that effort. To me it has “cutesy album filler” written all over it so I’m baffled at to how it was a single – I dread to think what the rest of the Big Love album must have been like.
And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “I’m going to make a solo album and recruit my tiny daughter to help me reinterpret the Sinatras.”
It does seem like a missed opportunity, since the more I think about the prospect of ALI CAMPBELL covering FRANK SINATRA, the more blackly hilarious it gets. But perhaps including terrible songs just to take pot shots at them runs contrary to the positive One Love philosophy of the neggae blog and the neggae movement in general, may it last forever. (Don’t believe anyone who tells you it ended in 1996, Snoop Lion is living proof that they are wrong.)
Anyway, instead of Something Stupid we have The Tune by Suggs, which whatever else you might say about it, cannot be accused of lacking skank. Unlike the three Suggs tracks we’ve encountered already, The Tune is much more ska than it is reggae: Suggs drops the sunny afternoon observations in favour of a frenetic party tune much more in the early Madness vein. Lyrically it’s a neggae equivalent of Blinded By The Lights by the Streets, except that instead of pills, Suggs‘s party takes a turn for the messy due to (1) having had a little more to drink than is wise and (2) having suddenly got old and uncool without realising it until that exact moment. The lyric comes from the point of view of a man who hasn’t been clubbing for a while but finds himself in a going out scenario, perhaps on the spur of the moment after a work do, sort of having a good time but also realising that the scene has shifted in his absence and he has no chance of properly comprehending the music that is now popular. He blunders about dancing badly (Suggs is very suited to this role) and veering between euphoria – if anything having a little more fun than is healthy – and a queasy contemplation of his own limitations and ultimate mortality. Just like the “madman’s song”, which today would be Skrillex or Magnetic Man, and at the time would have been the Prodigy or the Chemical Brothers, or some of that freaked-out Kula Shaker shizzle, he himself is not quite wrong but not quite right either.
This moment is a universal part of the human experience, so if you haven’t lived it yet then you can be thankful – but also be aware that your youth will not last forever. One day you too will be old and modern music will be too much for you. Even if you enjoy it you will not quite get it, you will become an outsider on the dancefloors you once dominated and the young people who truly belong there, even if they sort of admire that an oldster like you can still try to get your groove on, will not recognise or accept you as one of their own.
None of this is in the video, but I swear it’s there in the song. The Tune is firmly in the Madness tradition of seemingly jaunty songs that actually plumb the dark depths of human experience, a worthy successor to Embarrassment and House of Fun even if it’s not quite in the same league as those two classics. The lyrics were written by Madness’s background genius Mike Barson, but Suggs does a great job of fleshing out the role. The dad-style humour of the spoken “one, two, four, five” and “do you know my brother” bits, which help to fill in the loveable yet pitiable character of the protagonist, can only have come from him. And he even went full method actor on the B-side by covering Alright by Supergrass – the sound of this 80s star and Virgin Radio personality insisting that “We are young” over weirdly exhausted 1950s production adds massively to the pathos.
I’ve already said how I think recruiting Sly and Robbie to update him for the 90s was a masterstroke by Suggs, but they aren’t actually involved much with this one, only being credited with “additional production”. Sadly no one has yet come out with a meticulous history of the recording of the Lone Ranger album like they do with the Beatles so I can’t tell you exactly what the legends’ contribution was – maybe the honking sound at the end of every four bars? But as a true believer in the Madness boys’ genius, it’s reassuring for me to see that they put together something this danceable, poignant and multi-layered without outside help. Well done Suggsy.
Score: 9 out of 10

And so this seemingly endless assignment continues. Today was the first day for a while I got the genuine neg fear, the feeling I get when I know I have to deliver something, just anything to be able to move on with my life for another week. I was supposed to do this last night, but just blanked it from my mind only to wake up at 4am this morning in a state of distress knowing that the task and the elders are not going anywhere and will not have forgotten to bully me via various online social networks as soon as they awake.
‘Come on Jon, you can do this, you have managed far more complex and challenging tasks in your life to date. Don’t let this get you down!’ I kept repeating to my myself in the mirror this morning, a bit like the final scene from Boogie Nights, actually a lot like that in more ways than one! My wife heard me and could tell I was in some kind of emotional turmoil. She comforted me and promised she would cook me my favourite meal tonight if I got on with it and gave it my best effort. ‘What’s the song this week? Is it a good one?’ she asked, but to be honest I don’t even know, I haven’t even listened to it yet. All I know is that it is not a blockbuster as they seem to be drying up by now and I would have spotted it if it was. ‘I’m sure it’s a good one, you might enjoy it. Just listen to the song and think of how it makes you feel and any fond memories that it brings back’ she offered in support.
So I picked myself up off the bathroom floor, wiped away the tears, got dressed and headed for work to deal with it like a man. I even put on Stay Young by Oasis in the car, that song always makes me feel like I can achieve anything. I parked up and strolled into the office confident and with a new sense of purpose ‘I can f*****g do this!’ I said as I walked up the stairs and even had a little fist pump to help motivate me. I open up my PC and check out which artist and song it is.
I feel like a dagger is being pushed slowly and very deliberately through my chest by the Grim Reaper dressed up like Bob Marley. I can’t breathe and I push my chair back a bit and rest my head on my desk. A cleaning lady doing her early rounds stops to makes sure that I am OK but I put a brave face on and thank her for her concern.
After taking a few minutes to pull myself together and again build myself up, I am ready to listen to the tune ‘stay open mined’ I keep saying to myself, ‘it might be one of his better ones’.
I hit play.
After 30 seconds I am in the full foetal position under my desk, shaking and grinning almost hysterically. Like in a cartoon when Tom gets knocked out somehow and has little Jerry’s spinning round his head laughing, I have the same, but they are all neg artists laughing at me; Johnny Gill, Aswad, Bitty Mclean, Bob, Patto, they are all there laughing at me. A guy in my team, who is also in early arrives to see this all going and offers some support. ‘I’ll be OK thanks, I’ve just got some personal issues’ I explain to him, ashamed and embarrassed that listening to a Suggs tune released almost 20 years ago can reduce me to such a state. ‘OK man, but if you need anything or need to talk let me know’ he offered, but how can I share this? He won’t understand. Nobody does.
When will this all end? Who bought this crap in the 90’s? How did Suggs have a career? Does he know what this has done and is still doing to people? I can’t bring myself to write anymore, I have to move on and put it behind me.
At least my wife will now be cooking my favourite meal tonight.
Score: 0/10 – please please make this stop!