END OF STORY

Share
Related Topics
Summer is the time for getting into the car and driving around. It's also a time for music. Cruising along the motorways of Britain at speeds approaching 35mph for most of August has given me the chance to catch up on the sort of music the young people of today are listening to. After just a few weeks I feel I've become something of an expert, and here I present my own guide to the top sounds of the summer of '99:

Down In The Jungle. In my experience, the young people of today have an enormous appetite for animal songs, which this collection seeks to sate once and for all. Classics such as "The Bear Went Over The Mountain", "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?" and the mysteriously popular "Never Smile At A Crocodile" are interspersed with poems about - you guessed it - animals, all performed with brio by an ensemble of out-of-work actors and actresses. Who could want to listen to Test Match Special with this masterpiece sitting in the glove box?

Nellie The Elephant. This tape bears the enigmatic subtitle "See Inlay Card For Details", which belies the tame selection of children's favourites. The interpretations are by the usual hard-up theatre types, but many songs are given a twist by musical direction which can only be described as dangerous. The woman who sings "Daddy's Takin' Us To The Zoo Tomorrow" has been encouraged to use an American accent which veers into hill-billy territory, and the song includes a hitherto unknown final verse, about "Ridin' in the car gettin' sleep-sleep-sleepy", which sticks out like a mock Tudor extension on a Grade II listed Victorian terrace. This is edgy stuff, not afraid to swing from sickly sweet to extra-grating without warning - and young people seem to like it.

Songs From Around The World. It may sound like a humourless exercise in political correctness, but this collection of tunes is a big hit with both the young and the very young. There is little attempt to recreate the ethnic vitality of the music, and all the lyrics are in good old English, but this does serve to lend a structure to what could otherwise be a rag- bag of foreign nonsense.

In addition, the starkly neutral interpretations allow one to regard some familiar material in a fresh light, including classics such as "La Cucaracha", "My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean" and "Polly Wolly Doodle". In my opinion, you haven't really understood "Yellow Bird" until you've heard it sung by a chorus of schoolchildren from the Midlands.

Humpty Dumpty and Other Nursery Rhymes. The idea of setting nursery rhymes to music is not a new one, but this updated, synth-laden sampling breathes new life into even the most hackneyed of traditional English doggerel.

The pace can be sluggish, and the orchestration over-reliant on synthesised harp, but you have to like a tape that uses spooky minor-chord variations to explore the dark side of "Ding Dong Dell".

Dance With The Teletubbies. In my experience, the young people of today love the Teletubbies more than any other pop combo, so you can imagine the disappointment when their decision to pull the tape out of its cassette in order to decorate the back seat in cascades of curly brown ribbon rendered this favourite unplayable. That's the younger generation for you.

Bible Action Songs. You don't have to be religious to enjoy this gentle, well-meaning compilation of God-bothering ditties. Both Old and New Testaments are represented, with songs that range from Salvation Army issue to happy-clappy modern. Includes the all-time go- to-meetin' favourite "Jesus Bits Of Shine". Of course, the real title is "Jesus Bids Us Shine", but try telling that to the young.

Cool Kids and Groovy Grown-Ups. A bold attempt to find a Third Way of family driving music, chiefly upbeat American novelty standards of the 1950s and 1960s. This works well, provided your children like "Lollipop" and "The Locomotion" and you're willing to pretend that there is nothing you'd rather be listening to than "Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko Bop" by Little Anthony and the Imperials. In the end it's neither "cool" nor "groovy", but a hideous, if palliative, compromise. A bit like life itself, in my experience.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: how to spell BBQ and other linguistic irregularities

Guy Keleny
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own